The Calm Before The Storm
With Skekmal’s health hanging in the balance, Episode 9 of Dark Crystal sees the Scientist shackle Brea and a few other feisty Gelfling in order to drain their essence. As they try fruitlessly to escape, Rian exits the caves and finds the Dual Glaive in the most unlikely of places, only to realize the blade isn’t fully complete.
While the Skeksis scramble to produce essence for The Hunter, Aughra appears before them, claiming to pay her respects and say goodbye to the dying Skeksis. She offers a trade – her life for the captured Gelfling. After telling them about what lies in death, Aughra convinces them to take her deal. As the Ascendancy lead the Gelfling outside, Princess Tavra reveals she was playing along the whole time and Aughra was simply buying them time.
Unfortunately, the General figures out their plan and confronts them deep in the catacombs. Tavra dives forward though and plunges her sword into the General as the Spitters all appear and join in the fight. Defeated for now, the Skeksis stagger back but as Tavra is about to deliver the killing blow, Chamberlain appears and wildly slashes his scimitar at her, knocking her back.
Meanwhile, Aughra is drained of essence while the Skeksis laugh maniacally at her death. She disappears from existence, as the rest of the Skeksis stop laughing and watch in horror as The Hunter dies – their efforts to save him completely in vain. In the aftermath of his death, the Skeksis deliberate over what to do about their fallen comrade. Chamberlain steps forward and offers his words of wisdom amidst the carnage, suggesting they build a new army of giant Arathim.
Following her war wounds, Brea and Seladon mourn over their wounded sister while Rian and Deet work together, finding the missing half of the Glaive. As they combine the two pieces, blue flames rise in the air while at Ha’Rar the Elder cries out to the heavens as the sky appears to be on fire. All across Thar, blue pyres rise up, prompting the Skeksis to shudder and squabble amongst themselves. The crystal crackles to life and begins to broadcast the Gelfling message.
Rian looks inside the flames, speaking to all Gelfling and telling them the truth about the Skeksis. He pleads with the clans to rise up together and fight back and as their message spreads across the land, in the aftermath of his rousing speech, Rian wonders whether anyone will heed the call and arrive for the battle ahead.
There’s some really nice ideas thrown around in this episode surrounding death and rebirth. It’s an interesting topic and one that Dark Crystal has danced around for much of the series’ run time but here, seeing the Skeksis openly discuss this possibility, really helps build character and an inevitably progression with the show.
While there is a good amount of plot progression, the way Age Of Resistance has slowly built toward this final fight has been nothing short of masterful. The general plotting has been very good but here, with all our characters together, Dark Crystal really does well to build character just before the plunge into battle. In a way, this episode reminds me of those moments prior to Helm’s Deep and Pelennor Fields in Lord Of The Rings, as the quiet excitement for the big battle ahead slowly bubbles up. It’s great stuff and Age Of Resistance delivers one of its best episodes here, leading in nicely to the climactic finale.