Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (5)

Episode 5: She Knows All the Secrets

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Rian can’t catch a break.  Mira, his love, has been drained of her essence and what’s left of her is in a vial.  He’s been excommunicated and hunted by his own people.  His dad just died.  And now Chamberlain has caught him, taken Mira’s vial of essence and proceeds to drink it right in front of him.  Then, to throw salt and vinegar on the wound, he even crushes the vial.

Meanwhile we are seeing the effects on the land.  A herd of 80 landstriders have broken from their cages and run off.  The one the Glefling were able to capture shows glowing purple eyes and wild behavior.  Even their droppings have glowing purple emanating from within.  The blight on the land is spreading.  Here again, allegory is present; the way we treat the land has untold consequences on the environment at large.

In the Skeksis castle, the Emperor is taking power from a chasm.  We are left to wonder what he’s up to.  Does this have anything to do with his rotting finger?  This ties in with the aforementioned blight.  The series so far has been clear on the idea of a cycle; one need not look farther than the title of the first episode to see that.  But the Skeksis are breaking that cycle and it’s having consequences planetwide. We saw that from episode 1 when Deet noticed the changed behavior in the animals that she takes care of. Things are getting worse and we know it has to do with the Skeksis’ abuse of the Crystal.

Speaking of Deet, her friendship with Hup is wonderful.  When Hup loses faith in himself, it’s the inspirational Deet who reminds him that he is not “nobody” but a paladin in heart and spirit equal to the greatest knight.  Yeah, I got a lump in the throat while watching this scene!  I love the chemistry between the two of them.  And then I have to remind myself of the craftsmanship with puppets…

While Chamberlain is transporting the captive Rian back to the Skeksis castle, they have a conversation and depressingly, I understood Chamberlain’s point of view.  It is essentially the “one man’s good is another man’s evil” debate.  And it’s compounded by his own comment that he is the “voice of reason in such crazed world!”  But the sad truth is that some of what he says does click, both for me and Rian.  Is this because there’s truth to it, or because he has manipulated us?  The writing is impressive.

Aughra, still looking for wisdom from mother Ear… um… Thra, has resorted to all the same mystical tricks we use here on Earth: rune casting, tea leaves, rain dancing, smoke and incense… but nothing works.  And then after some adorable creature goes nuts in her hand, she realizes she’s not listening.  She sits with her old friend, the Sanctuary Tree, and decides to be at peace with it.  They are one with each other.  And Aughra’s eye begins to open…

Meanwhile Deet and Hup arrive in Ha’rar.  Here, Deet dreamfasts to share her experiences.  This goes on with all of the main characters in different circumstances, coinciding with Aughra’s vision.  Like the last episode where a father believed his son, now mother believes daughter and a massive shared dream-state begins.  Aughra’s dance and music, while strange, is inspiring.  The shared vision is wonderful and at the end of episode 5, the half-way point in the series, the Heroes of Thra have been established.  It’s a wonderful victory and should have ended the middle of the series on a high note.  But stories don’t always work to plan…

Brea’s mother, the All-Maudra (Helena Bonham Carter) is struck down by the General.  She lies in a pool of pink blood as she dies.  Brea’s sister Seladon, now the new All-Maudra, declares the Heroes of Thra as enemies and they are put in the Skeksis carriage to be brought to the castle.  Things are looking dire for all…

But I’m not sadistic.  I won’t end on a bleak note, oh no.  Not me!  I was still riding high on the Skeksis observation that the “redhead possesses a strong aura”.  Yeah, you bet we do!  ML

The view from my rainbow connection

We open to Rian caught by The Hunter. Chamberlain stops The Hunter from killing Rian as his trophy. Chamberlain wants Rian alive to embarrass the General and impress The Emperor. Chamberlain hunts power while The Hunter hunts trophies. Oh and Chamberlain drinks the remainder of Mira’s essence. That made me sad. I was hoping for some better resolution.

Next we hear that the Landstriders all went wacko and escaped due to the darkening infecting them. The All Maudra is finally seeing what the farmers have been telling her all long about the purple veins in the ground and shows mercy on the single landstrider left by cutting it free rather than killing it.

There is a sweet moment between Deet and Hup where she reminds him of his bravery and likeness to a Paladin already, even with his spoon sword.

Back to The General who is in the All Maudra’s chamber requesting volunteers to fight along side the Skeksis. We know they will be used as a meal by draining off their essence but the All Maudra doesn’t know this yet and allows her people to volunteer.

Oh that turd Seladon tells her mother to value tradition over self righteousness when Brea alerts her mother of the creature Lore who she just awakened below her mother’s chamber. Yet again, and thankfully, All Maudra chooses to hear Brea out over Seladon. Brea introduces her mother to Lore. She is closer now than ever to knowing the truth.

Over to Aughra. She is trying to make Thra sing to her. Nothing is working. Not smoke, stones, leaves, or sand. She begs Thra to offer mercy to the creatures who have suffered due to her mistakes and Thra abides. We see a little creature brought back to life by the Sanctuary tree. It is here that Aughra realizes she must listen to her old friend, Thra. So she learns to just sit with the tree and listen.

Next scene is in a snow filled land called Ha’ra. Here Deet unknowingly goes on a shopping spree courtesy of Hup stealing some clothing to disguise Deet so she can get in to see the All Maudra. It works.

Naia and Gurgin (brother and sister) save Rian from the Chamberlain’s carriage and causes the carriage to crash afterwards. Great job! I hoped Chamberlain would be hurt. Somehow he isn’t but at least they get away!

One of the best scenes yet happens now when we see several Gelfling dreamfast in different locations while we also see Mother Aughra chanting by the Sanctuary Tree. In a flash their minds are transported to the Dream Space. Mother Aughra is there with her third eye finally open again. It is almost heavenly how they are all together in mind. Mother Aughra, the Proud All Maudra, the Clever Brea, Fierce Naia, Wise Kylan, and Gurgin. Just Gurgin?! Oh don’t forget Loyal Seladon the jackass who is soon to be cast out of the Dream Space for not being a believer. Not sure that was wise since now she is back in mind and body to alert the Skeksis of what she perceives as traitors in the mist.

Mother Aughra has identified her main heroes. Rian, Deet, and Brea will need to light the Fires of Resistance and answer Thra’s call. They must follow Lore to the Circle of the Suns.

Quickly, a funny scene before the heartbreaking one that ends this episode. We hear the Skeksis who are hand picking the Gelfling they will end up draining (ahem, have fighting along side them) say that they can’t tell each princess apart because they all look the same. Unfortunately for the All Maudra, the princess who is there is Seladon and she is now turning on her mother and sister. She tells the Skeksis they plan to stand up to them to which All Maudra lays into them for all of their deceit. Here with a swift move- she is killed by the blade of a Skeksis in front of both Brea and Seladon. We have a new All Maudra. I guess I was right about Seladon and Chamberlian being all too similar after all.

On to episode 6.  DG

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