“Together, we unite the Gelfling and stop the Darkening.”
For the second straight episode, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance opens on a lighter note, taking its time to remind viewers of the weighty burden the three protagonists must endure as Rian confronts his father, Deet and Hup run into trouble with another clan, and Brea holds the answers to her visions and fate of Thra in her hands.
Of the three main characters, Rian’s arc is absent of any real levity. As promising as his actions to help a stranded couple are, he’s quickly reminded of his circumstance when they recognize him as the Gelfling guard accused of murder. Incredulity of this internet-like dissemination of information notwithstanding, the conviction of Rian’s guilt just because the Skeksis said so is an all-too stark reminder that this type of blind trust in what one’s ‘superior’ says is a characteristic present throughout human history, thus there’s no reason the Gelfling should be immune to such fallacies. This is furthered emphasized when both Rian’s father and his Maudra dismiss his claims against the Skeksis as nothing more than a symptom of his illness. Though he escapes, eventually running into Deet in the woods, Rian has fallen to his lowest point and, if anyone could use even a modicum of cheerfulness, it’s him.
Speaking of Deet, her journey to Ha’rar is thrown off course when she discovers just how tribal the above-ground clans can be when, after ignoring Hup’s advice, finds herself embroiled in a bar fight (yes, a bar fight in Thra!) with members of the Stone-in-the-Woods clan. This isn’t the first time Deet’s naiveté in this new world (to her) has gotten her into trouble. But the prejudices of fellow Gelfling must be difficult to understand for someone whose life has been so entwined in harmony with nature.
She’s further reminded of this clan divide when, after Hup is imprisoned for his role in the fracas, a guard refuses to allow her audience with the Maudra. Disheartened by her inability to help her friend, Deet finds inspiration during her short conversation with Rian and, with renewed confidence, makes her way back to Stone-in-the-Wood to free Hup.
Faced with a thrine-long stint with the Order of Lesser Service, Brea is less than enamored with her punishment. Aside from meeting a Gelfling named Juni (who’d make a great princess, her hair is quite shiny), Brea’s short time with the Order involves chasing dirty podlings to bath before she decides running from her forced responsibilities is in the interests of her sanity. Though something could be said for her spoiled attitude on partaking in such ‘menial’ tasks, considering the importance on discerning her visions, Brea actually has a built-in excuse for her lack of engagement. “What Was Sundered” also gives a bit more on her character as a whole, with her sister Tavra pointing out the eerie similarities between Brea and Seladon. Further inspired by Tavra and her mission as a whole, Brea retrieves the jewel Onica mentioned. But it’s no jewel; it is the chrysalis of an imperial unamoth, the totem animal of Brea’s clan. When, at Onica’s behest, she asks it where to find answers, it hatches and leads her to a secret entrance under the throne.
Considering the medium used to tell this tale, “What Was Sundered and Undone” provides a much needed boost of comic relief to an otherwise bleak tale. More importantly, it does so in a manner that is both organic and doesn’t arrest any of the positive momentum the series has achieved thus far. All three characters (four, if you count the Aughra) move forward in their individual journey, not just from the larger narrative perspective but their own character arcs as well. It’s a telltale sign of great storytelling when the actions of the protagonists and the antagonists in their way are captivating and logically sound, all the while maintaining a pace where each episode gives viewers just enough to salivate at the prospect of more.
The Truth Lies…
- Though I’m not certain how integral her role will be in the series, the writers’ ability to paint Seladon as a sympathetic character is nothing short of brilliant. My first opinions of her were decidedly unkind but watching the truth behind what she’s going through, the dismissive nature of her mother towards her that fuels her insecurities—even after Seladon dutifully reminds her mother of their responsibility to prevent “matters of the heart” from distracting them—is a reminder that we must be careful how quickly it is that we judge others. This does not absolve people of thoughtless or heinous actions, but their circumstances can offer insight into why they act the way they do.
- Now that the Aughra is awake, what will she be able to do to spark the Gelfling from their blind loyalty to the Skeksis. Or is it, since her slumber lasted for so long and most have never been privy to her as keeper of the Crystal, that the Gelfling lack the will to move past their Skeksis loyalty? Gelfling crone she may be, but something tells me this Aughra has a few more tricks up her sleeve before she calls it quits.
‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ – “What Was Sundered and Undone”