The Spies is the third episode in the first series of the TV series. It was released on 17 November on BBC One and on 18 November 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 te gyptians who take her in.

Plot[edit | edit source]

After being kidnapped by the Gobblers, 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 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 had been. Lyra is then asked to go and talk to John Faa and Coram van Texel about what she knows abou the General Oblation Board but she says she knows little. John then tells Lyra to stay with the gyptians.

Carlo Boreal and Pavel Rasek talk at the Magisterium about how Marisa had, that day, disrupted its scholastic sanctuary. Carlo tells him she will have to pay a consequence. Pavel also tells Carlo that there is a rumour the gyptians have the child.

On Ma's boat, Lyra has a go with the alethiometer to see if she can read anything. She later talks to Ma who tells Lyra she is glad that she's staying on the boat and that's she safe with them. Meanwhile, Carlo visits Oxford again, crossing through a window, only to find his car has had a wheel clamp put on it.

Lyra and Coram talk together on one of the boats where Coram talks a bit about dæmons and settling. Coram tells Lyra he sometimes thinks Sophonax should take the form of something else. 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 leaving in his car, Carlo goes to visit Thomas where he finds out about John Parry and his history in Will's world and how he disappeared and crossed to Lyra's world. He also finds out about his wife and son. Thomas gives him an envelope with all the information he knows.

The State Police

After finishing the interrogation and only finding out that they were 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 and their zeppelins and Lyra is swiftly hidden. The Police raid the gyptian boats, showing John that they are looking for the girl who 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.

Gyptian boats together

Still angry about Lyra running away and her inability to find her, Marisa goes into Lyra's room and tears apart her sheets and pillow, extremely angry. Meanwhile, with the gyptians, Lyra goes onto land as she doesn't feel safe with the gyptians anymore. When Ma goes to her and 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 Ma hid with Lyra in a wardbrobe until Asriel came and killed Edward. Ma leaves Lyra alone but Lyra doesn't leave.

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 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 them and report back to him.

At a gyptian meeting on a boat, John talks about sending 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 really scared and that the Gobblers will keep taking them. Coram tells them that they will travel to Trollesund and seek the help of the witches.

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 and tells him where they can find the things they are searching for. After arriving and sneaking into her office to recover the papers, the golden monkey spies them and attacks before they can leave. Tony escapes through a window, locking the door behind him and fleeing. Meanwhile, Benjamin is trapped in the flat, facing Marisa. 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 through which they entered, 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.

Tony then returns and tells the gyptians what has happened to Benjamin, much to Coram's shock. Coram tells John about Lyra's discoveries and, after considering that Marisa will soon find out where they are through the spy-fly, they decide to go to the North immediately to find the children without trying to rescue Benjamin's body, knowing Marisa will have it in her possession.

Whilst on a boat to Trollesund, Lyra attempts to throw the box containing the spy-fly overboard but is stopped by Ma who tells her to keep it as it's 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 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 on BBC One at 8pm GMT in the UK[2] and on 18 November 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
Other Making His Dark Materials
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