UNMARKED SPOILERS BELOW
- The Skeksis are just as frightening as they were in the 1982 film. Their cruelty and depravity are even more on display here than it was in the film, considering they have much more screentime and the Gelfling essence they bask in isn't hard to come by yet.
- Special points go to skekSo the Emperor's decaying beak, and the Fly-worthy scene where he tears off one of his own rotting fingernails.
- skekLach the Collector is walking Nausea Fuel with their face full of pustules, and what oozes out of them when they're popped.
- What's more, we get to see the highly unpleasant aspects of some of the Skeksis' personalities that we didn't get to see in the original movie, they are as follows:
- SkekSil the Chamberlain is a manipulative and petty sociopath with no loyalty towards anyone but himself and the Emperor, and is the only one who has absolutely no qualms with breaking the Skeksis Ape Shall Not Kill Ape rule if it means repaying the Skeksis who replaces him as advisor with cold-blooded murder.
- SkekZok the Ritual-Master is a sadist who enjoys torturing his fellow Skeksis as part of his "rituals".
- SkekTek the Scientist is, oddly enough the only Skeksis who contemplates his actions when Aughra offers him a chance of redemption, however when the Emperor sees him talking to Aughra he rejects her offer and continues his inevitable downward spiral towards the Moral Event Horizon.
- SkekSo the Emperor is the absolute worst out of all the Skeksis, and is willing to do anything to prolong his life. Up to and including genocide
- The Skeksis extract the life essence of hapless creatures, just like they did in the film.
- Essence draining in the 1982 film was a slow process that mostly involved shining a light into the victim's eyes. As seen in the third trailer, having one's essence drained involves it violently and painfully being ripped out of you. Yikes.
- When Mira becomes the first living creature to be drained, she doesn't become an empty shell like what happened to the Pod People and what nearly happened to Kira in the movie. She dies and explodes into particles of light! Even the Skeksis were horrified...for a while anyway.
- Daniel Pemberton's score makes this moment even more unsettling.
- It happens this way because she's directly exposed to the Dark Crystal. The Scientist later conceived a mirror that filters the Crystal's power just enough to leave the hapless creature zombified and get the essence all the same. In some way, death like that of Mira's is preferable to a Fate Worse than Death that is becoming a zombified servant of the Skeksis...
- Also, imagine what it must be like to be Rian - watching helplessly as your loved one is murdered in cold blood by the beings you've been told to worship all your life, and then seeing those same beings gobble up her liquified remains like a flock of hungry vultures.
- Later while Rian is hanging upside and helpless, the Chamberlain takes the bottle containing Mira's essence and guzzles it in front of him with sadistic glee, yelling "TASTY! TASTY!"
- An utterly terrified skekTek getting his right eye eaten right out of the socket by a peeper beetle, while surrounded by the other jeering Skeksis. The beetle actually forces his eyelid open before chowing down. You can hear the beetle chomping juicily for several seconds after the screen cuts to black. There's a reason it's the image for this page — and apparently, it was the most benign take of several.
Ritual-Master: When we fail ourselves...
- The incredibly unsettling chants the Skeksis engage in as the Ritual-Master carries the Peeper Beetle's container to the restrained Scientist sets up a terrifying atmosphere. skekTek's terrified screams and horrific cries for mercy, combined with skekSo's Evil Laugh accenting the chants don't help things either.
Skeksis: WE MUST BE PUNISHED!
Ritual-Master: When we fail each other...
Skeksis: WE MUST BE PUNISHED!!
Ritual-Master: When we fail our Emperor...!
Skeksis: WE MUST BE PUNISHED!!!
Scientist: Mercy! Mercy!! MERCY!!!
- And also consider the fact that the Mystic counterpart to the Scientist, urTih the Alchemist, would have suffered a similar fate, except the Scientist knew it was coming. The Alchemist? The first hint likely would have been when some phantom force started ripping his eye apart.
- The scene where, in the aftermath of the murder of the All-Maudra and the defeat of the Castle Guard revolt, the Emperor jubilantly declares that the Skeksis are "freed" from the burden of having to be Villains With Good Publicity and can simply be Obviously Evil is horrifying to watch. Even the Chamberlain seems disturbed.
- The Skeksis turning on Seladon, tearing her robes and finery from her so violently her face is left scarred. Though they thankfully stop at her dress, she's then dragged screaming from the chamber by her hair.
- Before they rip apart her costume, she tries to convince them to spare the other Gelfling but kill the "traitors". They cruelly say "No" and mock her and confirm that they are indeed devouring Gelfling of their essence, revealing that they are not the firm but benevolent rulers that she foolishly led herself to believe. You can see the look of horror and despair on her face as her reality comes crashing down. And poor Aughra can only watch the whole scene in horror through her eye that she planted on Seladon earlier.
- Making it even more worse is that even after this, Seladon is still unable to accept that the Skeksis are doing this because they're actually this cruel, and instead tries to rationalize it all by laying blame on Brea and the other rebels while imprisoned and awaiting her fate. It's a very real form of self-shaming and victim-blaming that survivors of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse face in Real Life.
- Everything that happens to the Gruenak slaves. Having their mouths sewn shut by the Chamberlain and being forced to help drain Gelfling is horrifying enough. Then during their failed escape skekTek throws one into the castle's central shaft to burn alive, and bludgeons the other to death as it whimpers in terror and then screams in agony. The body is then combined with the Arathim corpse to create the first Garthim.
- As skekTek is bludgeoning the remaining Gruenak, its blood splatters the face of his pet bird — the living embodiment of the best in him.
- SkekMal the Hunter himself. Implacable, without a shred of mercy, and feared by even his fellow Skeksis. After seeing the others shambling about, it's quite a shock to witness just how agile the Hunter is. If his interactions with Rian are anything to go by, he also takes his victims alive and waits until they are awake before collecting his grisly trophies.
- His fight with Ordon and Rian must be noted for how terrifyingly fast and brutal he is, scaling the trees to chase the Gelfling on the ground and fighting them with both pairs of arms, and not even being phased after escaping the carnivorous plants that he had dragged Ordon into with nary a scratch on him, snatching a distraught Rian up before Deet and Hup were even able to react.
- After skekMal appears to 'die' the first time, the remaining Skeksis decide to 'honour' him... by rigging his body up with ropes and pulleys, and constructing his corpse into a macabre statue. The shot revealing the grotesque memorial is preceded by a short montage, scored like a horror movie, with the living Skeksis excitedly plastering skekMal's body with makeup and finery. This is really one of the more outwardly insane things that the Skeksis do; it's like they're unable to cope with the idea of their own mortality, so they decide that the next best thing they can do is ensure that skekMal 'lives forever' as a perverse, creepy organic statue.
- The death of skekLach the Collector - exploding in a mass of pus over the other horrified Skeksis. One can only imagine what happened to her urRu/Mystic counterpart.
- A mind-controlled Tavra throwing back her cloak to reveal herself covered in tiny threader Arathim, who overwhelm the Stonewood Gelfling completely. The entire Clan, under the sway of the Arathim, are made to walk to the Castle where death by draining awaits them.
- Several of the controlled Gelfling are released from Arathim control just after they've been strapped into the draining chairs. They only have a few moments of comprehension and pure horror before the process starts and they die begging and screaming in agony.
- Then there's the guard who remained loyal to the Skeksis and told them of the other guards' uprising. He's Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves even as he's pleading to skekTek that he is loyal.
- Worse is how it's obvious the Skeksis could have kept them docile and under control through the process. They want the Gelfing to know exactly what's happening and relish in their last moments being pure terror.
- The Arathim Hive Mind proves to be a double-edged sword after they retake the cave of Grot and start falling prey to the corrupted Nurlocs. Every time a single one is devoured, they all feel it.
- Deet's vision of herself fully corrupted by the Darkening and sitting on the Skeksis' throne. And it seems to be on its way to coming true by the season's end.
- When skekMal the Hunter confronts Rek'yr and demands he give up the heroes' location, Rek'yr refuses even in the face of skekMal's very real threats to cut off his limbs. skekMal responds by grabbing Rek'yr's compatriot by the face and hurling him off a cliff. You don't see him hit the ground but you definitely hear it. Rek'yr still doesn't yield but his remaining comrade cracks and gives the heroes up, her terror evident in her voice. Given the sudden and shocking brutality of this scene, it's hardly surprising.
- The Chamberlain appearing out of nowhere to brutally impale Tavra through the chest as she rushes the General is as horrifying as it is sudden.
- When the All-Maudra finally begins to believe Brea about the true nature of the Skeksis, the old lady stands up to the General and the Ritual-Master and gives them a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech. How does the General respond? By cutting her down right in the middle of her throne room. And although you don't see anything, it's implied he disemboweled her.
- The Chamberlain murdering the already-wounded General, after gaining his trust, and friendship all to make it easier for him to get the drop on skekVar and kill him. All because the Emperor chose the General to replace him as chief advisor back in episode 4. The way the General's body cracks and then collapses inwards as he dies doesn't help either.
- We never see the guards' failed attempt to take the castle, but we certainly see the aftermath. It's a massacre with all but one guard killed or drained and the entire court of Skeksis without so much as a scratch. The lighting is dark and flickers along with the lanterns as it sweeps over the carnage and we see one cowering guard snatched up by skekAyuk and dragged away to the Chamber of Life as the poor guard writhes and cries out and the Gourmand chortles with satisfaction. A frightening reminder that even as slothful and decadent as they've become, the Skeksis are some of the mightiest beings on Thra and slaughtered countless races when they were in their prime.Gourmand: Oh I do hope you taste better than you fight!
- It's a small example but when the Scientist confronts Chamberlain over the essence he stole, you can hear them make very guttural roars at each other. It shows just how animalistic even the most intelligent of the Skeksis can be under the surface.
- The Darkening. As the Crystal of Truth is drained of energy and corrupted, so is Thra. A purple miasma has soaked all throughout the planet, acting as poison for anyone who ingests it. Animals gain glowing purple eyes and rampage, attacking and thrashing at anything around them. Eventually, the corruption proves too much and kills the victim. This is happening all over the world, slowly but surely. Knowing full well the costs, the Emperor has been spreading the Darkening in his experiments to control its power. Said power takes a very physical toll on his body, eating away at him from the inside out.