End. Begin. All the Same. is the first episode of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, season one. It was released on Netflix with the rest of the season on August 30, 2019.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Plot[edit | edit source]
The story begins with a narration of the world of Thra, and how all of it's life has stemmed from, and is connected to, The Crystal of Truth. The Crystal was protected by Aughra and her close connection to the Gelfling. Thra existed in perfect harmony with its inhabitants until the arrival of new beings: the Skeksis, who were "not of Thra." The Skeksis beguiled Aughra with an orrery, diverting her attention to the stars; Aughra entrusted the Skeksis with safekeeping the Crystal while she stargazed. Despite swearing to protect the Crystal, the Skeksis began stealing life from it in order to extend their own, declaring themselves rulers of Thra.
The Skeksis regularly gather around the Crystal to draw energy from it and cheat death. In time, their repeated sapping of the energy has the Crystal, diminishing its life-replenishing ability to point of uselessness. Their fear of dying forces Emperor skekSo to claim that skekTek, the scientist is on the verge of finding a solution. The scientist secretly confides to the Emperor thathe has made no such progress. skekSil the Chamberlain overhears the exchange, as the emperor pressures skekTek for immediate results. Meanwhile, the Skeksis' corruption of the Crystal has bled out into Thra and all its creatures, poisoning the land.
Rian, a young Gelfling and castle guard, intercepts two Podling servants with his lover, Mira. They steal several morsels the Podlings are carrying on a food trolley for the Skeksis, and escape to the "Spy Glass". There, they dreamfast about their first meeting until an escaped Silk Spitter prisoner interrupts them, and they depart to report it to the captain. Meanwhile, skekLach the Collector and skekOk the Scroll-Keeper prepare to leave for Ha'rar for a tithing ceremony, with Ordon the captain accompanying them, leaving Tolyn in command. Feeling slighted for not getting command, Rian chooses not to report the Spitter, so he can slay it himself and gain notoriety, bringing Mira and Gurjin along.
In Ha'rar, the Librarian searches for and brings numerous tomes for princess Brea's research until Tavra arrives and surprises Brea by telling her that their mother, All-Maudra Mayrin, is allowing her to attend the tithing ceremony, asking only that Brea not embarrass her or ask the Skeksis questions.
Meanwhile, in the Caves of Grot, Deet gathers glow moss and flies through the open caverns beneath the earth, feeding the moss to her Nurlocs. However, when Deet accidentally feeds a piece of purplish moss to a baby Nurloc, it becomes enraged and bites her. A fully grown Nurloc then attacks her, having been poisoned as well, until she retreats into a crevice.
Brea's Vapra Clan has prepared for the Skeksis' visit and tithing ceremony, but Brea leaves Tavra in order to meet the Skeksis. She accidentally trips after pushing through the throng of Gelfling and lands on the road, forcing the Skeksis' carriage to stop. Having learned Brea to be a princess, skekOk invites Brea into the carriage to be escorted to the citadel. En route, skekOk notices the ink on her face and, surprised that she can read and write, explains his role as the Scroll-Keeper of the Skeksis' "endless" library, containing tomes going back over 1,000 trine. Brea expresses interest in visiting, but skekLach angrily rejects the idea, declaring the knowledge forbidden.
Meanwhile, As Tavra arrives at the thone room in the Citadel, All-Maudra Mayrin wonders where Brea is until the Skeksis arrive with her in tow. When Mayrin appears angry, skekOk assures Brea that he will speak on Brea's behalf, causing Brea to hug him in gratitude, shocking Mayrin and the princesses and making skekOk uncomfortable. The tithing ceremony then proceeds.
Back in the Castle of the Crystal, skekTek the Scientist grudgingly pursues his experiments for a solution to their mortality, feeling unappreciated. He seeks to provide the Crystal with another source of power due to its inability to siphon more from Thra itself, and begins firing it with electricity. As this happens, skekTek begins disintegrating and flowing into the Crystal, impotently ordering it to stop until skekSil the Chamberlain arrives and saves him by turning off the electricity.
SkekTek laments that he caused the Crystal to take life rather than give it, but skekSil suggests that this could in fact be a success: by using the Crystal to take the essence of other creatures, they could harvest that essence to sustain themselves. SkekTek insists that he have a creature to experiment upon, and skekSil suggests that since the Crystal is Thra and provides life, that the creatures closest to Thra would provide the most essence, those being Gelflings.
Deet escapeds from the mad Nurlocs and finds her way to the Sanctuary Tree, which begins to speak. The tree explains that the Nurloc attacked Deet because it was infected by the Darkening, a contamination within the Crystal of Truth. As the Crystal and Thra are "one and the same", as the Crystal became infected, Thra itself did as well. The tree explains that the Great Trees kept it contained in the ground, but that now it is too powerful to restrain, and spreads to the world above. The tree then gives her a vision of all life becoming tainted and insane, even other Gelfling, and she passes out.
At the castle, Rian, Mira and Gurjin continue their pursuit of the Spitter, until they realize that it has gone into the catacombs, forbidden to Gelfling. Mira flies down into them anyway and is eventually found by skekTek, who captures her. SkekOk, meanwhile, oversees the tithing process and pressures a poor farmer whose crops have died of blight to give up a family heirloom, much to Brea's consternation.
Retiring to the library, Brea investigates the tithing laws and questions their validity, causing the Librarian to take her book away to stop her questioning the Skeksis. As they fight over the book, something activates within it and the room begins shaking. The Librarian flees in terror, while Brea stays to witness the book emit a vortex of light forming a geometric symbol. Brea flees to tell her mother, but is shocked to see the farmer's pendant on her chest, having been given to her by the Skeksis after reaping it as a tithe. Brea demands she give it back, and when her mother asks if she would give all their blessings from the Skeksis back, Brea responds that she would, resulting in her mother scolding her.
In Grot, Deet awakens to find herself surrounded by her family, and their Maudra Argot. Deet insists that the tree spoke to her and tasked her with stopping the Darkening, which the Maudra believes. Argot then sends her off with medicine to heal and a blindfold to allow her eyes to adjust to the surface world, telling her to warn the All-Maudra of the danger.
Having followed in search of Mira, Rian finds the Skeksis and Mira in the Chamber of Life. SkekTek places her in front of the Crystal, demanding she gaze upon it, until it begins to draw away her essence as he charges it with electricity once more. Stabbing two tubes into Mira's back, her essence is drained completely into a bowl and she vanishes, damaging the machinery in the process. SkekTek invites the emperor to drink the essence, and when he becames stronger and rejuvenated, all of the Skeksis crowd to drink until skekTek takes the remainder away to store for later. Exultant, the emperor declares a celebration of conquering death itself, and all the Skeksis begin to dance and be merry as Rian watches in horror.
The Skeksis notice his presence and order the exits sealed and him apprehended. SkekSil however assures the Emperor that the other Gelfling will not believe Rian even if he tells the truth, as they want to be ruled by the Skeksis, and that the Skeksis will rule until the stars go dark.
Brea steals the farmer's necklace from Mayrin and returns it.
Characters[edit | edit source]
In order of appearance:
Additional Puppeteers: Derek Arnold, James Arnott, Don Austen, Laura Bacon, William Banyard, Daisie Beattie, Sue Beattie, Mikey Brett, Lynn Robertson Bruce, Sarah Burgess, Carl Chadd, Tim Cherry-Jones, Sheila Clark, Marcus Clarke, Richard Coombs, Leah Cross, Fred Davis, Callum Dixon, Ronnie Le Drew, Phil Eason, Josh Elwell, Iestyn Evans, Cecily Fay, Phil Fletcher, Julia Frost, Lesa Gillespie, Joe Greco, Claire Roi Harvey, Andy Heath, Mark Jefferis, Chris Kendall, Steven Kynman, Matthew Lyons, Mark Mander, Lewis McCabe, Alison McGowan, Wim Oppenheimer, Angie Passmore, Colin Purves, Hugh Purves, Kerris Peeling, Andy Robb, Trovy Simpson, Andrew Spooner, Yvonne Stone, David Taylor, Chris Thatcher, Dilpreet Kaur Walia, Mark Whitaker, Victoria Willing, Michael Windsor, Fran Wright and Liam Wright.
Additional Voices: Stewart Clarke, Dave Chapman, Alice Dinnean, Barbara Drennan, Damian Farrell, Louise Gold, Isabella Laughland, Omar Malik, Sarah Beck Mather, Jack Myers, Irfan Shamji, Helena Smee, Neil Sterenberg and Olly Taylor.
Title[edit | edit source]
The Great Conjunction is the end of the world! Or the beginning. Hm! End, begin, all the same. Big change. Sometimes good. Hm! Sometimes bad.