Deet frees Hup from the Stonewood clan's dungeon by pretending to be a monster that scares the guards, using her luminescent moss from the Caves of Grot to great effect. In Ha'rar, Brea attempts to decipher the hidden chamber's riddle before realizing it reveals the Gelfling clan hierarchy to be false while awakening a stone golem that plays a recording on its body to talk to her. The voice introduces the giant as Lore and explains that he will guide her to the Circle of the Suns, attracting the attention of Brea's oldest sister Seladon. Meanwhile, Aughra encounters urVa the Mystic Archer, who advises her to learn from Thra to restore her connection to the planet. At the same time, the Skeksis' banquet in honor of skekEkt's return turns sour when Emperor skekSo replaces skekSil the Chamberlain as his advisor with skekVar the General. This leads skekSil to summon skekMal the Hunter to retrieve Rian. As skekVar and skekZok leave to recruit "volunteers" from the Gelfling tribes, skekMal finds Rian after he dreamfasted the truth to Tavra, Ordon, Gurjin's sister Naia, and Kylan. skekMal survives Ordon's sacrificial attempt to stop him with ravenous Gobbles and then runs off with Rian as Deet and Hup watch powerlessly.
Tropes featured in this episode include:
- All for Nothing: Ordon sacrificing himself to stop skekMal could be seen as this, as the latter survives being eaten by Gobbles.
- Divided We Fall: The message that is implied by the riddle that Brea faces in the crypt beneath the throne room in Ha'rar: the Gelfling clan hierarchy, which Brea has known all her life, is a falsehood that exists only to divide the Gelflings.
- Egomaniac Hunter: skekMal initially feels insulted when given a Gelfling target.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Surprisingly, the Scientist seems to genuinely care about the "pets" locked up in cages around his lab (even if they only ever hiss and shriek), and the Emperor slowly strangles one to make him talk. The Scientist then coos and comforts the poor animal after the Emperor leaves.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Scientist is as nasty as any other Skeksis, but even he thinks draining too many Gelflings and further disrupting the balance of Thra is going too far. He urges the Emperor to consume only the bare minimum they need to survive and to keep Thra's imbalance to a minimum, not gorge recklessly.
- Heel Realization: While trying to solve the mysterious puzzle in the secret chamber, Brea finally questions why "Grotton are always last" like her people always say, and then wonders why her people say that, and then slowly realizes that the Fantastic Racism that Gelflings hold against each other is all lies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Ordon sacrifices himself to save his son from the Hunter. He fails, but points for effort.
- Knight of Cerebus: Not that The Dark Crystal is lighthearted by any means, but skekMal the Hunter is notably more violent and agile than the other Skeksis, who are visibly perturbed by his presence. And whereas most of his compatriots prefer subterfuge, backstabbing and relying on mooks to do their dirty work, the Hunter actively pursues his quarry all by himself, posing a much more immediate threat to the protagonists.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As the camera passes through a torch at the beginning of the episode it flares up and sets the logo on fire.
- Papa Wolf: Ordon surely won't let the Skeksis Hunter touch his son.
- Pass the Popcorn: The Chamberlain and the General get into a violent argument and leave the table during the Skeksis' dinner to yell at each other behind it. The Ornamentalist then says "How exciting!" and "There's going to be a fight!" when watching them squabble, and the Gourmand gets excited as well while still eating and remarks "A meal and a show!".
- Pragmatic Villainy: The Chamberlain and Scientist both urge the other Skeksis to drain only the bare minimum amount of Gelflings they need to survive, not gorge recklessly.
- Redemption Equals Death: Ordon redeems himself for doubting his son just in time to die for him.
- Taking You with Me: The Hunter Skeksis tells Ordon this verbatim as he's being eaten alive by Gobbles.
- Trickster Mentor: Twice over!
- urVa the Archer, the Mystic who helps Aughra, forces her to walk a long way to the Shelter Tree (by firing arrows) in order to talk to him, and then looses an arrow directly into the air so that it lands directly into the ground in front of her, when she asks who can teach her to reconnect with the Song of Thra. She then realizes that Thra itself can teach her... only to gripe that he could have said that from the beginning! Not force her to do all that walking or shoot an arrow into the ground.
- The secret chamber where Brea seeks answers gives her a glowing stone and symbols of each Gelfling Clan, and an inscription that makes her believe she should press the glowing stone against each symbol in the order of importance. It then glows and switches off at random after each try, leaving her desperately trying to figure out what the proper order is. Eventually, she realizes the randomness is the point: there is no order, no hierarchy of importance; the Clans are all equal. It is at this moment that the riddle is solved.
- Villain Has a Point: The Skeksis are eager to drain the essence of every last Gelfling across Thra, yet the Chamberlain (of all Skeksis!) points out that they should take only what they need to survive.