In the aftermath of the chaos, episode 8 of Dark Crystal sees Seladon arrive at Stone-In-The -Wood dressed all in black. As she leaves, having fully succumbed to the dark side, Aughra sneaks her eye on Seladon in order to spy on the Skeksis. Determined to try and thwart the General, Chamberlain tries a different tactic back at the Castle as Seladon approaches, this time convincing the Gruenaks to switch the essence for simple vials of water in order to make him weak.
Meanwhile, Rian and Deet set out to retrieve the Glaive, knowing that Brea’s capture is to act as bait to lure them in. They descend in the caves and as they do, watch in horror as the Threaders attach themselves to the Gelfling and lead them on to the castle. Scrambling to her home, she heads deep into the underground village, only to find her house abandoned and her brother controlled by The Ascendancy. However, before they can decide what to do next, a darkened Nurloc arrives, prompting Rian to antagonize it and get its attention, saving Deet and her brother.
At the Castle of the Crystal, the Gelfling are sat infront of the crystal and drained of essence, screaming in pain. Disappearing from their chairs, the various vials are full of liquid and carted off to the Skeksis, who hungrily devour the drinks. The General, however, questions his drink which doesn’t seem to work, while Chamberlain watches on in the distance smiling.
Seladon enters the great chamber and pleads with the Emperor for mercy, only to be met with a blunt “no”. Realizing she’s in over her head, Seladon is surrounded by Skeksis taunting and laughing at her. Smashing her crown on the ground, her pleas are drowned out by the sound of rapturous laughter, as they rip her crown off and drag her to the laboratory, intent on draining her essence too.
Deep in the caves, the controlled Bobb’n, Deet’s brother, saves Rian and Deet from succumbing to the Threaders, telling them to follow her. Given Rian and Deet saved the Spitters earlier, they tell them they used to live in the caves until they refused Skeksis rule and were exiled. Figuring out that the Skeksis have fooled them into returning to the caves, they agree to let them escape, in exchange for teaming up together and fighting the Skeksis.
After discussing amongst themselves, they agree to fight with the Gelfling. While Deet leads the Arathim up, Rian heads off in search of the Glaive as The Darkening consumes The Sanctuary Tree. Just before its last living embers die out to the Nurloc, it passes on all knowledge to Deet, including flashes from the original film of the crystal healing.
As new alliances are formed, the stray Threader brings back Aughra’s eye, prompting the witch to decide now is the time to make her move, as the final fight approaches.
The twist at the end of the episode involving the Arathim teaming up with the Gelfling is a really nice touch here and definitely something that caught me off guard while I was watching this. The fight with the Nurloc early on is another particularly memorable moment, and the action sequences in general have been very good in the series.
While the episode itself may not be as action-packed as some of the others, the added inclusion of the Spitters and some much-needed back story over their motivations, certainly helps reinforce just how detailed this world is and what a great job the script writers have done in producing a living, breathing world. The battle lines are well and truly drawn now though, leading our characters in one combined direction – a climactic battle with the Skeksis.