Arriving outside the Circle of the Suns, Hup is very ill due to his flight with the Dousan on Bennu, which Rek'yr calls "air sickness", and insists that the retching will pass. Rek'yr again offers to take Brea to the Wellspring, saying that death hangs over the Circle and their quest. Brea insists she can handle herself, so Rek'yr kisses her hand and departs, warning of a storm. Rian, Deet, Hup, Brea, and Lore soon reach the base of the circle, but find no way up and are quickly hemmed in by an approaching sandstorm with lightning threaded through it. Lore attempts to carry Brea up the shear rock face, but Brea insists he carry everyone, so they all ascend together.
At the summit, the band are astonished to be greeted by a Skeksis; skekGra the Heretic, who explains that he left Lore to leave a message 379 trine ago, and when Rian questions why a Skeksis would be so welcoming, he assures them that he is a "fun Skeksis". He introduces them to urGoh, skekGra's urRu half, and sends him to prepare a "surprise" for them. Despite Brea's protestations, skekGra insists on them doing the surprise due to the long wait, and then deactivates Lore after Brea hugs him. SkekGra then sends his disgruntled guests away to await his surprise.
In the Castle of the Crystal, Emperor skekSo brings General skekVar to the Arathim nest, and makes contact with their hive mind, the Ascendancy. He offers their ancestral home, the Caves of Grot, in exchange for them crushing the Gelfling, to which they agree. Once more in the Circle of the Suns, Rian comforts a homesick Deet until urGoh summoned them to witness his and skekGra's theatrical performance. Back in the Castle, skekSo reveals to skekVar that he is harnessing the Darkening, and that because it had spread throughout the land, it would consume the Arathim when they returned to Grot. He orders skekVar to comply with the Ascendency's request for a powerful Gelfling, and then to crush Stone-in-the-Wood.
At the same time, skekMal the Hunter catches up to Rek'yr, demanding to know where Rian went. Rek'yr refuses on the basis of skekMal being a "butcher", even under threat of mutilation, saying his body and life belong to Thra. SkekMal throws one of his servants off the cliffside to increase the threat, and although Rek'yr assures skekMal that they would all gladly die than submit, his last surviving servant betrays him and reveals that Rian is in the Circle of the Suns. SkekMal then beats Rek'yr down and orders the other servant to escort him there on Bennu, and she hastily complies.
In the Circle, urGoh and skekGra finish their opera piece and then explain how the Skeksis and urRu used to be one being; urSkeks. They came to Thra, bewitched Aughra with an orrery, and abused the Crystal until they split in two, the Skeksis breaking off a shard in their rage. SkekGra and urGoh desired unification, so they created the Dual Glaive, "cast in deepest fires of the inner sun", which when wielded by Gelfling would unite the seven clans and defeat the Skeksis. UrGoh explains then that the Glaive is hidden within the Caves of Grot, and Brea and Rian thank them and assure them that they will be made whole again.
In Stone-in-the-Wood, Maudra Fara returns and prepares the Stonewood Clan for their own war against the Skeksis, and although Aughra attempts to dissuade her, to convince her to "survive" instead, Fara insists on fighting. In the Castle of the Crystal, skekVar and skekTek select Tavra for the Arathim assault on Stone-in-the-Wood.
Once more in the Circle of the Suns, urGoh and skekGra prepare to see their guests off. As skekGra reaches to shake Rian's hand, a knife thrown by skekMal sinks into it, both skekGra and urGoh screaming in pain at the mirrored injury. SkekMal descends from above, attempting to strike Deet until Hup blocks it with his spoon. Bemused, skekMal throws Hup away to crash into some rafters, advancing on Rian even as Deet runs to Hup's aid and skekGra sends Brea to reactivate Lore. Rian draws a sword, but skekMal effortlessly slices it in half and prepares to strike Rian himself down.
Before the fatal blow can land, an arrow from urVa the Archer hits skekMal in the chest, driving him back. UrVa shoots him once again, saying that skekMal cannot defeat him without defeating himself, as they are two halves of the same whole. In response, the badly wounded skekMal bids his farewell, kidnapping Brea as he retreats on Bennu. Brea manages only to scream for Rian to "find the Glaive!" and to drop her journal for Rian to recover.
Back in Stone-in-the-Wood, Maudra Fara plans for a morning attack on the Castle of the Crystal due to their lack of guards. However, Fara is interrupted by the arrival of skekVar the General. SkekVar activates a blinding light on his carriage, and numerous Arathim Silk Spitters emerge out of the woods, but the Stonewood Gelfling become confused due to the Arathim not attacking. Eventually Tavra walks forward in a cloak, and when Fara challenges Tavra for standing with "the very monsters who murdered your mother", Tavra replied, in a multifaceted voice, "We are not Tavra".
Tavra then lifts her cloak, to reveal that she's covered in Arathim Threaders, mind-controlling parasitic spiders. They flood from her, overwhelming the Stonewood defenders and incorporating them all into the Arathim's Ascendancy hive mind. As one, they willingly go into Skeksis custody and depart for the Castle of the Crystal. One of the last of the Threaders even attempts to take control of Aughra's mind, who had been neutrally watching the events unfold. Aughra easily pulls the Threader aside, preventing herself from being taken and tossing it away.
As the entire Stonewood clan walk to the Castle of the Crystal, skekSo watches from his telescope and laughs.
In order of appearance:
|Hup||Victor Yerrid||Victor Yerrid|
|Rian||Taron Egerton||Neil Sterenberg|
|Deet||Nathalie Emmanuel||Beccy Henderson|
|Brea||Anya Taylor-Joy||Alice Dinnean|
|Rek'yr||Theo James||Olly Taylor|
|SkekGra the Heretic||Andy Samberg||Damian Farrell|
|UrGoh the Wanderer||Bill Hader||Olly Taylor|
|SkekSo the Emperor||Jason Isaacs||Dave Chapman|
|SkekVar the General||Benedict Wong||Kevin Clash|
|SkekMal the Hunter||Ralph Ineson||Kevin Clash|
|Puppet Show Gelfling||N/A||Barnaby Dixon|
|Maudra Fara||Lena Headey||Alice Dinnean|
|Aughra||Donna Kimball||Kevin Clash|
|Baffi||Dave Goelz||Dave Goelz|
|SkekZok the Ritual Master||Keegan-Michael Key||Victor Yerrid|
|SkekTek the Scientist||Mark Hamill||Olly Taylor|
|Tavra||Caitriona Balfe||Neil Sterenberg|
|Red-Haired Paladin||Warrick Brownlow-Pike||Warrick Brownlow-Pike|
|Gruenak #1||Kevin Clash||Kevin Clash|
|Gruenak #2||Neil Sterenberg||Neil Sterenberg|
|UrVa the Archer||Ólafur Darri Ólafsson||Olly Taylor|
Additional Puppeteers: Derek Arnold, Don Austen, Daisie Beattie, Sue Beattie, Mikey Brett, Lynn Robertson Bruce, Sarah Burgess, Tim Cherry-Jones, Sheila Clark, Marcus Clarke, Patrick Comerford, Leah Cross, Fred Davis, Callum Dixon, Ronnie Le Drew, Phil Eason, Josh Elwell, Iestyn Evans, Cecily Fay, Julia Frost, Lesa Gillespie, George Glover, Joe Greco, Claire Roi Harvey, Richard Hay, Andy Heath, Mark Jefferis, Nick Kellington, Chris Kendall, Steven Kynman, Matthew Lyons, Mark Mander, Lewis McCabe, Alison McGowan, Laurence Moran, Wim Oppenheimer, Angie Passmore, Colin Purves, Hugh Purves, Andy Robb, Trovy Simpson, Andrew Spooner, Yvonne Stone, David Taylor, Chris Thatcher, Dilpreet Kaur Walia, Mark Whitaker, Victoria Willing, Michael Windsor, Phill Woodfine, Fran Wright and Liam Wright.
Additional Voices: Warrick Brownlow-Pike, Dave Chapman, Stewart Clarke, Barbara Drennan, Damian Farrell, William Gaminara, Louise Gold, Beccy Henderson, Isabella Laughland, Omar Malik, Sarah Beck Mather, Mark Restuccia, Irfan Shamji, Helena Smee and Neil Sterenberg.
- The title of this episode is a line spoken by SkekSil before he attempts to seize the throne after SkekSo's death in The Dark Crystal.
- ↑ Henson, J. & Oz, F. (dir.); Henson, J., Kurtz, G. & Lazer, D. (prod.); Henson, J. & Odell, D. (writ.) (December 17, 1982). The Dark Crystal