Episode 7: Time to Make… My Move
Another gloriously beautiful shot opens episode 7, this time in the Crystal Desert where the Dousan clan have taken the heroes of Thra in search of answers. Rek’yr parts with Brea offering her a compliment, “The most beautiful desert flowers are always the most dangerous.” And with that, he’s off, and the heroes have to climb a tower during a windstorm. Upon arriving at the top, Deet calls out to the resident of the tower who is revealed to be… a Skeksis. To everyone’s surprise, he is a “fun Skeksis”! “Look upon my wonder!” Within a short time we are aware of the truth of his words. When asked if he is alone, he replies that he is, but “I am also with myself” and a Mystic is revealed. Bill Hader (Barry) is urGoh the Wanderer. And the really slow talker.
We are now back in allegory-land where we are reminded that two halves are always of the same whole. We see this play out when the Hunter and the Archer fight later in the episode. This is an interesting episode because it uses allegory to tell another story, which is represented through “the most sacred art: puppetry”, which is designed to tell a story to the characters. In other words, it’s a story within a story within a story. Eat your heart out, Inception. And the best part is, this is actually good! (Sorry fans of DiCaprio, that movie should have been a hour shorter!)
The episode is largely exposition with some exception, among which are that the Skeksis make a pact with the Ascendancy, the group for which the “spitter” (of episode 1) is a part. These are giant arachnids that can speak when they come together. They remind us of the age old rule that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” with the Skeksis. It’s a doomed pact as the Skeksis have offered them a ruined home. These creatures later attack Stone-in-the-Wood, wrapping the story up. It’s a powerful final scene coupled with superb music, worthy of any Game of Thrones epic. Which is apt, since Lena Headey is Fara who is now a part of the Ascendancy. “I am the Ascendancy.” Barring that, we are in exposition territory now. After a stunningly emotional hug for Lore, before he’s dropped back into component rocks, the two who are one put on a show explaining to the heroes what happened to their race. They were once one whole being called Urskeks. Experimentation with the Crystal divided them and now they need to be whole again. (Ever-positive Deet loves everything she is shown and watches the world with wide-eyed wonder, even clapping at Hup’s rather weak performance.) Meanwhile, even the Emperor isn’t immune to a bit of exposition: he shows the General what that chasm was that we saw an episode or two back. It is the crack from which the Darkening is spreading. The damage to being near it is shown too as the Emperor removes his face plate to show his rotting skin beneath.
This is the shortest episode so far, coming in around 45 minutes which is apt for an episode so heavy with exposition. What struck me as significant is the would-be handshake between Rian and the fun Skeksis. Though it is interrupted by the Hunter, there was initial hesitancy on the part of Rian because he has become so distrustful of the Skeksis. It’s disappointing that the handshake did not take place. Also significant as a viewer is how entranced I was with the puppet show. Sure, a good puppet show should entrance you, but it’s being performed by puppets… whoa… inception again! Like a great nesting doll, we are peeling back the layers and finding more layers. I now suspect heavily that these episodes are layered with all the allegory my sister initially suspected. It’s so unfair that my sister called that from the first episode. But then should I be surprised? When the Skeksis ask for the mightiest Gelfling, they chose the only female I saw in the cage. Well… some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you… ML
The View from my Rainbow Connection
We open with that huge flying stingray Bennu having gotten our heroes as close as possible to the Circle of The Suns. That was not without little Hup getting is air sick. Poor dude. Rek’yr tries to flirt his way into changing Brea’s mind about going the rest of the way. He tells her that death hangs over circle of suns.
Well that was fast, Lore is quite the “rock climber.” See what I did there? Lore gets them all to the top of the Circle of The Suns despite the hurricane of a storm that just rolled in. This is where we meet SkekGra who is clearly a “hippie” who by his own account is “covered in wonder.” He tells our crew of hero’s that 379 trine ago he built Lore when he was cast out by the other Skeksis as a heretic. He teaches us that we are never alone because we are with ourselves. I like that. But wait – he isn’t alone. He has Mystic urGoh the wanderer with him. Oh right, that is his other half. We don’t know that yet unless we saw the movie The Dark Crystal which takes place in 2000 years. Speaking of – I really liked the board game my brother had of it.
Back to the story. Lore hugs brea. SkekGra jokes that Lore never hugged him like that. “I only gave him life.” Sounds like a mom watching her son leaving on his first date with a girl. Anyway, it’s Lore’s time is to rest again. Aww. I liked him. I have a feeling we will see him again.
Now back to the crappy Skeksis Emperor and General who Summon the Ascendancy. Arathim are what we call all the Spitters as a crew. They are grosser in mass. I can’t imagine my brother liked this part. Oh and great news- they talk. Those treacherous Skeksis promise the return of The Caves of Grot, the Spitters ancestral home if they gather gelfling.
Back to the Circle of Suns where Rian and Deet appear to be getting close. You know a guy likes you if he compliments your rump dress.
Oh great- the shows about to start! We are gifted with a play put on by SkekGra and UrGoh about the true history of Thra and their vision from Thra about embracing unity, not division.
Oh that damn Emperor Skeksis knew about the darkening all along. So that’s why he was oozing in the last episode. It’s drawing from him! He kindly shows the General the darkening which is a huge purple crack that is zip zapping underground. He explains that is why he enlisted the Arathim (spitters) by giving them back their home, the caves which are infected with darkening. He is a real piece of work. He thinks true power demands sacrifice which may be true but not when it is literally turning you to ooze. The symbolism of purple being the color of the darkening is brilliant since purple is often associated with power and ambition.
Hey there’s Bennu, our flying stingray friend. This must mean the episode is almost over. They are tying stuff up. Here The Hunter and Rek’ry meet. Rek’ry being a stand up guy withholds the information being requested but the stupid girl in his company gives up the location of Deet, Brea and Rian.
Back to the Circle of The Sun where we learn from our mystic and hippie friend that (and I quote), “Puppetry is an ancient and sacred of art.” Yes- it is Jim Hensen. Nice placement. Also they explain that once they were a single luminous form of one body, one will, and one mind. They came from another plant to Thra. They were called UrSkeks. Greed caused them to break into two halves. They are two bodies longing to become one again. To do this a Gelfling must wield the Dual glaive to unite 7 clans and defeat skeksis. Remember the vision Brea had? The symbol she saw in the library is identified as the Sigil of Great Power, the Aureyal. Alone the Gelfling are small but together the form a cleansing flame. Flames are often a source of light which is a cool revelation when confronted with the saying, “There can be no light without dark.” One problem we encounter now is that the much needed Glaive is not in our possession but rather in the Caves of Grot. A truly heart breaking scene for me when when they are preparing to set off on the hunt for the Glaive. Just as Rian and our hippie Skeksis friend are about to shake hands, The Hunter comes from above with his sword and cuts off SkekGra’s hand and then proceeds to throw Hup, who yet again tries to defend the honor of Deet. The Archer shows up and tries to stop The Hunter. I was excited until I realized he and hunter are one being in two halves and cannot defeat the other without dying. Oh crap, The hunter took Brea so he wouldn’t leave empty handed. Didn’t he want Rian all along? Can’t anything be easy?
Oh great – more bad news. Tavra who was in Skeksis jail was removed from her cell and now the Skeksis general brings Princess Tavra to Stonewood as a zombie version of herself because she was bitten by a Spitter. She unleashes a million baby spitters now on the Stonewood clan who was preparing to battle Skeksis. Those little bastards were hidden under her coat. Eek! Now the whole Clan is bitten by these little turds; they are mind controlled as a part of the ascendancy if spitters who are in turn controlled by skeksis. What a way to end episode 7. DG