The Beginning Of The End
The Dark Crystal is one of those timeless classics that holds up against the test of time. I remember watching it as a child and having recently rewatched that film in preparation for this series, I went in with the original story fresh in my mind. The result is something that breathes new life into the world of Thra, a beautifully crafted recreation of this alien planet and an intriguing prequel that leads things nicely in to the feature film.
We begin with a narrated introduction, courtesy of Sigourney Weaver. It’s here we’re introduced to the world of Thra – and the crystal itself. The arrival of the Skeksis causes imbalance to the world and with the crystal entrusted to this villaneous race, the result is a slow-spreading corruption that bleeds across Thra.
After a failed injection of life from the crystal, the Skeksis make plans for how to siphon life essence to keep themselves young and continue to cheat death. With the Gelfling oblivious to their sinister plan, the crystal’s corruption begins to tighten its grip, causing numerous creatures to evolve and become maniacally crazed.
Castle guard Rian and his friend Mira approach two workers and steal fruit from their cart, laughing as they escape as we begin our tale. After racing to the top, Mira boasts about beating Rian in a foot-race, mentioning about her wings in a lovely throwback to the original film.
Catching their breath, they dream-fast together until they’re interrupted by one of the corrupted creatures. Deciding against telling the Captain, the two child Gelflings are reprimanded for their stealing before the guards leave with the Skeksis for H’Rar.
In their absence, fellow Gelfling Deet is attacked by a group of slug-like creatures who appear to have been infected by the corruption. As she manages to break free, she learns more about the horrors cursing the world, courtesy of The Sanctuary Tree. It’s here she’s given a mission – gather the Gelfling for the upcoming fight in order to sustain the world’s livelihood, which she relays on to her villagers.
In H’Rar, a wondrous library full of mischievous creatures reveals the Princess Brea and her sister excited for the arrival of the Skeksis. As the carriage rumbles into town, Brea, in her excitement, stumbles and almost gets hit by the passing cart. The two Skeksis invite her in and take her back to the castle, where they discuss their past.
As they arrive at the Great Chamber, Brea is coldly welcomed in by her family, while the Skeksis put their plan into action – involving draining power from H’Rar. As the Skeksis line the villagers up and demand offerings, Brea questions the morality and sense of it all, given the birds have a lot already. Heading back to her library, Brea has a vision prompting her to rush back to the palace, where her Mother discusses the fruitlessness of questioning the way things are.
Deep underground, the Skeksis experiment goes wrong and the scientist inadvertently reverses its hold. Lamenting his own foolishness,Chamberlain convinces him to use this to their advantage, using the crystal to drain life-force from the Gelfling to sustain their young looks.
Meanwhile, Mira and Rian are attacked by the spitter in the dungeons, which eventually escapes from them into the forbidden catacombs. Determined to track it down, Mira flies down only to come face to face with a Skeksis lurking in the shadows.
Following her into the depths of the caves, Rian hides above as he watches the Skeksis put their diabolical plan into action in stunned silence. Seeing first-hand the corruption of the Crystal Of Truth, they blast the crystal with electricity. Pleading for her life, the Skesis silence her by stabbing needles into her spine. The crystal absorbs her essence, transferring it into the life-force liquid familiar from the original film.
During their celebratory dance, Rian’s tears drop on one of the Skeksis below, prompting them to go on a man-hunt for him while he hurries through the caves to the surface. Confident they’ll prevail, Chamberlain reminds the Emperor that the Skeksis law is final and to ignore that would be to go against the Gelfling’s very purpose. Taunting the Gelfling and calling them weak, Chamberlain continues to promote the Skeksis while our trio of heroes prepare for the inevitable battle ahead.
As an opening episode, Age Of Resistance does a great job reintroducing key characters and adding some depth to the already established lore. The trio of heroes at the heart of this have some nice development and of course the aesthetically pleasing vistas breathe life into this classic tale.
Going forward it’ll be interesting to see how the story plays out but for now, Age Of Resistance is a worthy prologue to The Dark Crystal and a very impressive episode to begin things with.