The Spies is the third episode in the first series of the TV series. It was released on 17 November 2019 on BBC One and on 18 November 2019 on HBO and was watched over 8 million times during the four weeks following its release in the UK.

The episode is all about Lyra Belacqua and her time with thee gyptians who take her in.

Plot[edit | edit source]

After being kidnapped by the Gobblers and kept in a van, Lyra Belacqua is rescued by gyptians, including Tony Costa who take her back to the gyptian boats along with one of the Gobblers they manage to capture.

Meanwhile, Marisa Coulter visits Jordan College, getting Magisterium guards to search for anything heretical or illegal. Marisa goes to Dr Carne and demands he tell her where Lyra is and, later, whether he has an alethiometer. When the Master refuses to tell her, Marisa demands the guards to search everywhere over the college and, later, when he says Lyra has it, to tear everything apart.

Lyra travels on a gyptian boat through London and is eventually taken onto Ma Costa's boat where Ma immediately quizzes Tony on where he has been. Lyra is then asked to go and talk to John Faa and Coram van Texel about what she knows about where the General Oblation Board were taking her but she tells them that she does not know. John then tells Lyra to stay with the gyptians and, after talking about her father Lord Asriel, she agrees.

Carlo Boreal and Pavel Rasek talk at the Magisterium about how Marisa had, that day, bady disrupted Jordan College's scholastic sanctuary. Carlo tells him she will have to pay a consequence. Pavel also tells Carlo that there is a rumour the gyptians have Lyra and that officers are being dispatched.

On Ma's boat, Lyra investigates the alethiometer and its symbols. She later talks about her future and her safety with the gyptians. Meanwhile, Carlo visits Oxford again, crossing through a window, only to find his car has a clamp attached.

Lyra and Coram talk together on one of the boats where Coram tells her about settling dæmons and what it says about the human. Coram tells Lyra he sometimes thinks Sophonax should take a different form. He then takes Lyra down into the boat and shows her Benjamin de Ruyter interrogating the single Gobbler he had managed to capture.

The photos of John that Thomas found

After getting his car working, Carlo goes to visit Thomas where he finds out about John Parry and his history in Thomas' world and how he disappeared and crossed to Lyra's before acquiring a dæmon. He also finds out about his wife and son. Thomas gives him an envelope with all the information he knows.

The State Police

After Benjamin finishes the interrogation and only finds out that they are going to take the children to the North, Lyra tells Coram and Benjamin that there were quite a few things at Marisa's flat they could go and collect but Coram forbids it. Their discussion is interrupted by the sound of the State Police (under the authorisation of the Magisterium) and their zeppelins and Lyra is swiftly hidden. The Police raid the gyptian boats, showing John that they are looking for the girl whom he claimed he hadn't seen. They came very close to coming to Lyra but ended up missing where she was hiding in Ma's boat. Whilst they were looking, Ma continually asked them about her son, Billy Costa and whether they were searching for him. Still furious about Lyra running away and her inability to find her, Marisa goes into Lyra's room and tears apart her sheets and pillow.

Gyptian boats together

After being let out, Lyra runs onto the land as she doesn't feel safe with the gyptians anymore and asks why Marisa keeps on looking for her, never giving up. When Ma tells her there are things that are best left unknown and Lyra turns to leave, Ma tells Lyra that Marisa is, in fact, her mother and how she was given birth in shame after a scandal with Lord Asriel. Lyra is shocked and finds out how Edward Coulter, Marisa's husband, went looking for Asriel to kill his baby and that a gyptian nurse hid with Lyra in a wardbrobe until Asriel came and killed Edward; then, when the law stripped Asriel of all his property, Lyra was taken to a nunnery but, when the great flood came, Asriel took Lyra to Jordan. She also tells Lyra that the gyptian nurse was herself. Ma leaves Lyra alone after this.

Marisa and a spy-fly

Whilst drinking, walking on the top of the balcony of her flat and nearly falling off, Marisa releases two spy-flies to look for Lyra (after letting them sense her dress) and find out where she is. At the same time, Carlo opens the envelope Thomas had given him and finds a photo of John's son, Will. He tells an agent to watch Will and his mother and report back to him.

At a gyptian Byanroping on a boat, John talks about leading the gyptians to the North. Raymond van Gerrit suggests that they don't do anything and surrender Lyra. After support rises for Raymond's suggestion, Lyra begins to speak and tells the gyptians that the children will be the most scared and that the Gobblers will keep taking children. Coram tells them that they will travel to Trollesund and seek the help of the witches. John Faa rouses the gyptians with a speech to encourage them.

Marisa strangles Benjamin

Benjamin and Tony leave secretly during the night to go to Mairsa's flat to try and find out where the children are being taken. Tony tells Lyra where they are going as Lyra spots him leaving (as she is awake, looking at the symbols on her alethiometer) and tells him where they can find the things they are searching for: in her study. When they go, Lyra tries to make the alethiometer work and finds that, if she makes her mind go blank, the needle will begin to swing and point at a symbol. As Tony and Benjamin arrive at the flat, Ma discovers that her son has gone and asks Lyra to tell her.

After arriving at the flat and sneaking into her office to recover the papers, the golden monkey spies Tony and Benjamin and attacks before they can leave. Tony escapes through a window while Benjamin is trapped in the flat, facing Marisa who has a gun. Marisa crawls on his back, demanding he tell her where Lyra is and who sent him. Before she can find out anything, Benjamin pushes Marisa out of the way and jumps down the lift shaft, killing himself.

Meanwhile, on the boat, Ma discovers Tony has gone and gets angry with Coram. Lyra decides to show him her alethiometer and Coram tells her a bit about it. After Coram leaves, Lyra, eventually, through blanking her mind and guessing the symbols, discovers that Benjamin has died. Going out, she runs to Coram and tells him the news just before the spy-flies attack. After capturing one, the other spy-fly escapes and flies back to Marisa to tell her that it has spotted Lyra.

On the boat, before Tony arrives back, Lyra suggests that Ma blame her for not stopping Tony but Coram tells her that many tried to stop him. When alone with Coram, Lyra tells him about the alethiometer she was given by Dr Carne and Coram recognises it, telling her that it takes years of study to read it. On her own, Lyra tries to clear her mind again and chooses three symbols to reflect the situation and she finds, to her surprise, that the needle answers. It answers with an hourglass with a skull on top. She immediately runs to Coram to say that Benjamin is dead. Just then, the two spy-flies attack and, een though one escapes, Coram manages to trap the other. Coram realises that Marisa knows where they are and that they have to head to the North.

At that moment, Tony manages to return with papers which have the names of the kidnapped children on and tells the gyptians what has happened to Benjamin. Later, Coram tells John about Lyra being able to read the alethiometer without the book, shocking John whom Coram then encourages to lead the gyptians. The gyptians then get ready to head to Trollesund without trying to rescue Benjamin's body, knowing Marisa will have it in her possession.

While on the boat, Lyra attempts to throw the box containing the spy-fly overboard but is stopped by Ma who tells her to keep it as a sign of her mother's desperate attempts to find her. Marisa is visited by Carlo who talks to her about the gyptian raid on her flat. During this talk, the spy-fly returns and Marisa knows that it has seen Lyra.[1]

Release[edit | edit source]

"The Spies" comes from the title of the ninth chapter of Northern Lights. The original release was on 17 November 2019 on BBC One at 8pm GMT in the UK[2] and on 18 November 2019 on HBO at 9pm ET in the US.[3] It was watched by 5.4 million people live in the UK (a drop of 300 000 from the week before)[4], over 7.217 million times in the week following the release and over 8.255 million times during the 28 days afterwards.[5] In the US, it was watched by around 348 000.[6]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main article: His Dark Materials (TV series)#Cast

Videos[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

His Dark Materials TV episodes
Series 1 Lyra's JordanThe Idea of NorthThe SpiesArmourThe Lost BoyThe Daemon-CagesThe Fight to the DeathBetrayal
Series 2 The City of MagpiesThe CaveTheftTower of the AngelsThe ScholarMaliceÆsahættr
Other Making His Dark Materials
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