Now that ‘Game of Thrones’ has come to an end (with a finale that we will never recover from), a gaping hole in the fantasy genre needs to be filled. While HBO has quite a few shows lined up, including a prequel to the biggest show on the planet, it is Netflix that has received the first shot.
‘The Dark Crystal’ was first released in 1982, and had been a modest success at the box office. But it did not receive the response it should have, or we would already have had another pop-culture franchise. A sequel had been planned but it never worked out, which led the creators to explore the idea of a prequel. It lingered for a while before getting the attention of Netflix. Fans of the movie have waited a lifetime for this prequel, and to their utter delight, the wait that lasted a thousand trines was worth it. The series draws inspiration from rich mythology of its source material and has an exceptional opportunity of creating a great fantasy series out of it. If you haven’t yet seen it, head over to Netflix.
Summary of the Plot
Set in another world, another time, ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ takes place long before the events of the film. Skeksis are the Lords of the Crystal while Aughra is busy watching the stars. The seven clans of Gelflings are happily subjugated to the Skeksis, completely unaware of their true nature. After his friend, Mira, is harvested for essence, Rian’s eyes are opened and he decides to expose them to the whole world. But this is not going to be an easy task. Skeksis are considered equivalent to gods, and they have already perpetuated lies about Rian, which has made the Gelflings wary of him. He is joined in his quest by Princess Brea of Vapra Clan and Deet of Grottan Clan.
Princess Brea discovers the secret after stumbling on a secret vault beneath her mother’s throne. Deet is motivated by the increasing blight in her home. The problem is slowly taking over the rest of the world. When Thra calls out for help, Aughra returns, only to find that the Skeksis have been using the Crystal to further their immortality. She wants to set things right, but the connection between her and Thra is broken. She needs to re-establish it if she wants to help the heroes of this story.
Dark Crystal Age of Resistance Ending
After firmly tying its story to the film, by its final episode, ‘Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ succeeds in taking a new turn, the one that doesn’t depend on its predecessor so much. The storytelling of the show is pretty packed so a lot of things happen over the course of nine episodes. It moves so fast that you don’t have time to catch a breath; it is packed with such action and adventure that you don’t really want a break from it. With all the seven clans of Gelflings united against the Skeksis, the resistance begins to take shape in the tenth episode.
All the pieces come together, and it gets pretty explosive by the end. Since the show is a prequel, it was expected to see some details related to the film popping here and there. In the final episode, we get a lot of that. The origin of the Garthims, who are a product of the Scientist’s sadistic imagination, is revealed. The war at Stone-In-the-Wood is won, but the future bodes “dark and full of terrors” for its characters. Since a lot of things happen at once, let’s break it down one plot-twist at a time.
How Did Mother Aughra Come Back?
Mother Aughra was my favourite character in ‘The Dark Crystal’ and she continues to be so in ‘Age of Resistance’. The fact that the showrunners stayed remarkably true to its predecessor says a lot about their own fandom, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the show has come out of a dedicated fan-fiction! Mother Aughra is basically the God of Thra. She has been there since the beginning and is the only one who understands the most about the planet and its creatures. If you have indulged in the prequel novels, then you must know that she is the one who lay the rules of nomenclature for everything on the planet and taught the Gelflings everything they do (or don’t) know. She is truly connected to Thra and the Crystal, so much so that she can feel it calling out to her when the Skeksis’ misuse begins to destroy it. The Skeksis, as well as the Mystics, are aliens to this planet. They are not connected to it the way the beings of Thra are, and that’s why they don’t see what Aughra has in store for them.
Blinded by her ambition and the unwavering loyalty to the Lords of the Crystal, Seladon believes that she can make a truce with the Skeksis. By now, she has already lost the faith of major clans, and the others, too, are wary of her. Despite this, she feels strong because she believes she has some sway over the Lords. Her faith is butchered when the Skeksis reveal that the rumours are true, that they really are stealing the Gelflings’ essence.
Even though shocked, Seladon offers a compromise so that they don’t attack all of them at once. They mock her viciously, and in a stomach-churning scene, condemn her to the same fate as the rest of her kin. Aughra’s eye shows her everything and out of pity for Seladon, as well as her sisters, she offers her own essence to the Skeksis when they are in the middle of trying to revive the Hunter. It works and the dying Hunter receives a new life. In the battle against the Gelflings, he destroys Rian’s sword and is about to crush him, when his Urru counterpart, the Archer, realises what Aughra had told him about “ending the hunt”. He jumps off a cliff, and as the Mystic’s body disintegrates, the Hunter dies too. But that’s not the end of it. The real shock comes when Aughra jumps out of the Hunter. Now, what trick did she pull here?
As I said, Aughra knows the workings of Thra better than anyone else. She has been around since the dawn of time and is much stronger than the other creatures of the planet. The Crystal doesn’t affect her the way it affects the Gelflings or the Podlings. She has to willingly submit herself to it, in order to get her essence. What the Skeksis forget here is that she also draws her power from the Crystal. So, to think that it would kill her is outright foolishness. She has also been called a “witch” on several occasions, so you can assume that she has a plan up her sleeve. She had anticipated that the Hunter and the Archer’s end of hunt will need a push. Because she can see the future, she must have had a rough idea of how things would turn out. She was only waiting for the right opportunity to offer herself to the Skeksis. When the Hunter dies, her essence is sent back to Thra, from which she rejuvenates herself and comes back in all her glory.
What Killed the Hunter?
Speaking of the Hunter, what did kill him? After having Aughra’s essence, he was more powerful than ever. But a simple act of the Archer’s sacrifice made him disappear into thin air. Why did this happen? The reason behind this is the connection between the Mystics and Skeksis. Before arriving on Thra, they were a single entity. After sending Aughra on a quest to explore other stars, they began exploiting the Crystal, which eventually cracked. Just as the Crystal broke, so did the aliens. The Urrus became the good, benevolent creatures while the Skeksis ended up being their nefarious alter-egos.
Due to a polarising difference in their characters, the Skeksis continued to exploit the Crystal to keep themselves immortal, while the Mystics went into hiding, using natural magic to sustain themselves and waiting for the time to get back to their original form. A strong rivalry developed between the creatures and they became each other’s archenemies. However, not all Skeksis were bad. One of them, called the Conqueror, realised the error of their ways and asked his companions to get back with the Mystics. Obviously, the idea was not received well and he was banished from the community, labelled as the Heretic. Accompanied by his Mystic counterpart, the Wanderer, he took to a reclusive lifestyle.
Despite having separated corporeally, the Mystics and the Skeksis are one and the same entity. They are connected to each other through their souls and have a direct relation to each other’s lifeline. If one dies, the other perishes too. There is no way around that, and this is why the Skeksis and the Mystics don’t engage each other in battle. No one’s coming out of it alive! The Hunter’s Mystic counterpart was the Archer, and when the latter decided to sacrifice himself for the greater cause, the Skeksi (?) died too.
The Crystal Shard
The plot of ‘The Dark Crystal’ rests on a broken shard from the Crystal that the protagonist has to find, in order to defeat the Skeksis. In ‘The Age of Resistance’, we know that the Crystal is broken, but the mention of the shard as a means to an end doesn’t come up until later. The Heretic and the Wanderer tell Rian, Brea and Deet that in order to defeat the Skeksis, they need to find a special sword- the Dual Glaive. History dictates that the last time the sword was used against the Arathims. In fact, it was Rian’s father who wielded it. After the rebellion was quashed, he broke the sword into two halves, one of which he gave to the Grottan Clan. Rian and Deet succeed in reuniting both halves, but when it comes to actually use it, the result is highly underwhelming. Not only does it not really kill a Skeksis, but it is also easily destroyed by the Hunter.
In the end, Brea finds the crystal shard that came out from its broken hilt and realises why they were sent on the quest to retrieve the blade. How exactly the Crystal ended up in the sword is not much explored in the show, but we can count it in as a subplot for the next season. That is another story to bookmark. How the show approaches this story will be quite interesting because Aughra spent a lot of time trying to locate the shard after the Great Division, along with her son! With him not in the picture (yet), the showrunners might take some liberty about the journey of the shard.
What Happened to Deet?
Now for the million-dollar question: what about Deet? The Gentle Deet comes from the Grottan Clan that lives so deep underground that other clans have almost forgotten about them. Having lived all her life in the caves in the heart of Thra, she is forced to go to the surface when the Darkening begins to destroy her home. Being new to the whole scene, she is enthusiastic about meeting people, making friends and knowing everything. She even loves the opera of the Heretic and the Wanderer, something that even Hup sleeps through. So, to see her at the end like that was immensely heart-breaking.
When she goes back to the caves with Rian, she discovers that the Arathims have taken over her clan. Rian makes a truce with them and that situation is handled, but there is no stopping the Darkening. The Sanctuary Tree, which had been protecting Thra for such a long time, finally gives up. But not before transferring its powers to Deet. During the transfer, Deet has a series of visions, which might not make sense to the people who have not seen the film. In it, she sees a woman running around with a baby. We can safely assume that that baby is Kira, who was later found and raised by the Podlings. She sees a Gelfling inserting the broken shard into the Crystal. It might be Rian, but then this would create a paradox regarding the events of the film. In the movie, Jen is the one to fulfil the prophecy, something which hasn’t yet been addressed in the show. The last image to flash in her mind is her own self, sitting on a throne and overpowered by the Darkening.
The ability allows her to heal anyone who is under the influence of the Darkening. But there is a price. In order to heal someone, she has to take their sickness on herself. The Sanctuary Tree was ancient and strong, which is why it could hold off the Darkening for so long. Deet, on the other hand, is a simple Gelfling, and she is not able to survive it much longer. In the final battle, when the Skeksis wield the power of the Darkening, Deet is forced to use her newly gained powers. She takes in an overwhelming amount of the Darkening, which eventually takes over her completely. While others rejoice in their victory, she sadly walks away. Rian follows her, only to find that destruction follows her now.
Deet accepts her fate and knows that she can’t be with her friends and her clan anymore, because the Darkening inside her will affect them. The power to help people has taken a completely different form now. How it affects her personality is yet to be seen. Will she turn into a bad person, or will she continue to be a good person in a bad situation? The Darkening is a direct result of the breaking of the Crystal, which means it will only retreat when the problem is fixed. We know that is not going to happen anytime soon. What that means for Deet’s character arc will be an interesting watch.
The Dark Crystal Season 2: What to Expect?
‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ ends on a bittersweet note. It does an excellent job of building on the mythology of Thra and leaves a lot of loose ends that easily warrant a continuation. The second season of ‘The Dark Crystal’ has a lot of issues to address. With the clans reunited against the Skeksis, the war is inevitable. They have numbers but the odds are balanced by the Garthims that the opposition now possesses. Also, we know that it ends with the Gelflings perishing off the face of Thra, only survived by Jen and Kira. So, be ready to shed some tears because almost every character has a sword hanging on their head. Deet’s fate is another storyline that we are very interested in, apart from Aughra’s.
There is also a mention of her son in the prequel novels, so we might get to see him too. Due to its protagonists, major focus of the story was on three clans. This could change in the next season, especially if there is an increase in the role of Rek’yr from the Dousan clan. If you had grown to like Lore, then don’t worry. Now that Hup has the trinket that can bring him back to life, we will see his return as well. The most important thing to look forward to is the prophecy and how it drives the plot of the series.