“The answer to your question, Princess, cannot be found in this world.”
After the first episode prelude, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance begins its trek forward as the three main characters—Rian, Brea, and Deet—move forward in their individual narrative arcs. Whereas the first two are forced to navigate unfortunate obstacles, Deet’s journey (for the moment, at least) falls more on the positive side.
After nearly getting eaten by a Spitter, she meets Hup, a podling whose own journey to be a Paladin has him heading for Ha’rar. Hup is a welcome addition to the cast, his French/Italian-like accent combined with his focused enthusiasm is a perfect match for Deet’s wonder and naivete. Aside from the episode’s start, where we see the Aughra’s podling caretaker preparing itself for the day (stylin’ and profilin’ I might add), “Nothing is Simple Anymore” is a reflection of the dark days ahead for Thra and its unlikely protagonists.
The biggest victim of the episode’s serious nature is Rian. Hiding from Skeksis and his fellow guards, he gains an ally in Gurjin. The pair dreamfast and Gurjin sees the truth behind his friend’s claims; the Skeksis killed Mira and their plans for the Crystal are no good for Thra. But as quickly as Rian gains a help, he loses it when Gurjin is captured by the Skekis, though his distraction enables Rian to escape the castle, Mira’s remaining essence in hand. But as difficult as Rian’s journey seems to be, it will only get worse as his father, the Captain, successfully pleads with the Skeksis to hunt down his son in order to save him. Sadly, it appears the Captain takes the slippery words of the Skeksis to heart and his desire to see his son “cured” overriding the questions the story presented to him should create.
One person who isn’t afraid of asking the difficult questions is Brea. The princess is determined to discover the nature of the symbols revealed to her by the strange book, traveling to the Sifa and Elder Cadia for answers. Cadia’s attempts to wipe Brea’s memory—something she craftily turns back on him—not only highlights her intelligence and wit but creates even more questions as to why Cadia wishes her to forget the symbol. Onica, Cadia’s aide, suggests that the symbol represents a new beginning, but she fails to elaborate on this and Brea is thrown off course when, after word of her turning the tables on Cadia reaches her mother, the young princess is relegated to the Order of Lesser Service, a punishment that sits all too well with her elder sister Seladon. Handcuffed by her mother’s decree, Brea will be limited to what she can do and this unknowing mistake by the All-Maudra plays right into the hands of the Skeksis.
Though our protagonists are fighting to get the truth out, the Skeksis continue to weave the tales that the unsophisticated Gelfling take at face value. Yet the Aughra’s awakening may throw a wrench in their plans for Thra, as her connection to this world may help her fight through the Skeksis’ veil of lies. But even the Aughra won’t be enough to take on these vultures; she will need to find those willing to challenge a lifetime of doctrine where the Skeksis are the most benevolent rulers. It will not be an easy task, but one that must be done lest the planet fall into chaos.
A strong follow-up to the premiere, “Nothing is Simple Anymore” artfully moves the story forward. It gives us a better glimpse into the scheming nature of the Skeksis, particularly between one another, while also providing snippets of hope for our heroes. Granted, several of these snippets are obfuscated where Rian and Brea are concerned, but it makes sense that the two who may carry the most damning proof of the Skeksis’ lies face the greatest challenges. Somehow, someway, Rian, Brea, and Deet must come together to share the truth with their kin before it’s too late.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
7.5 out of 10