“Gelfling have always been strongest when they’ve stood together. Never apart.”
The search for the Dual Glaive continues as Rian and Deet’s seemingly arduous quest is finished in record time and Mother Aughra makes one more sacrifice in her defense of Thra.
Helpless at the hands of the Skeksis, Brea and Seladon are moments away from becoming an injection of essence to heal the dying Hunter until Mother Aughra arrives. Of the handful of characters that have deserved a healthier amount of screen-time, Aughra at the top of the list. Never backing down, she commands authority without even trying (Seladon could use some lessons). When she barges into the castle, demanding the Emperor frees the Gelfling, her fearless aura tempers any Skeksis from putting their hands on her. Desperate to keep the Hunter alive (and their own aura of immortality intact), the Emperor agrees to let his prisoners go in exchange for Aughra willingly giving up her essence (though he sends the General to ensure no Gelfling escapes). As Aughra sacrifices herself, Brea, Seladon, and the others escape the castle, thanks in large part to Tavra, who has somehow maintained a symbiosis with the Ascendancy. Unfortunately, what could have been a very interesting concept to explore (should a season 2 be greenlit) becomes no more than a footnote when Tavra is run through by the Chamberlain, as she readied to strike the killing blow on the General. It’s a disappointing choice by the writers, though her death is not necessarily in vain. It sparks two vital narrative pieces; for the Chamberlain, it gives him the clout to propose a plan to create an army of super soldiers to fight at the side of the Skeksis but, more importantly, Tavra uses her dying breath to heal the massive rift between Brea and Seladon. The three sisters’ final scene together is as emotionally fulfilling as any in the series thus far. It even offers a modicum of redemption for Seladon (I can’t hate her anymore…damn it!). As they say goodbye to Tavra, they soon discover Rian’s own journey has given them the one thing they’ll need to unite all of Thra.
Safe from the collapse of the Sanctuary Tree, Rian and Deet waste no time refocusing on their quest to retrieve the Dual Glaive. Maudra Argot reveals a substantial surprise when she shows the pair the first part of the Glaive, hidden in her staff since the end of the Arathim wars. Once carried by Ordon (yes, we get another dreamfast, albeit one of only a few seconds), Rian’s father, the second half lies in the forge in Stone-in-the-Moss village. The duo make their way there on the back of a Landstrider and though these last few episodes threaten to rival the credulity-straining distance jumps featured in the final two seasons of Game of Thrones, at least The Dark Crystal tries to make it somewhat believable. When they arrive at the village, the second half is even easier to spot than the first and, when Rian combines the two pieces, the flames of Thra transmorph into blue fire in which Rian is able to speak to his fellow Gelfling. For much of this series, Rian has always come across as a somewhat subdued personality, never really putting himself out there. But when he addresses Thra, the spark of leadership his father saw in Rian is finally freed. It’s a rousing speech that would have made William Wallace proud, and though the Emperor tries to re-establish his fear-based awe, it’s far too late for that. Thra will no longer stand idly by and allow itself to slowly be drained by invaders. The war, dear friends, has well and truly begun.
Despite its emotional-charged ending, there is a missing ingredient in “The Crystal Calls”, one that’s difficult to identify. It’s adequate in its role as the finale lead-in but the resounding triumph and expectation of what comes next is somewhat muted by the road taken to get there. Maybe it’s the spastic nature of how the episode is cut or some of the questionable narrative choices made regarding certain characters…either way, “The Crystal Call” just can’t quite get over that hump that prevents its solid effort from being something a bit more special.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – “The Crystal Calls”
7 out of 10