Having dispatched the Guardian-Succubus so quickly, Snuka has already reached the final objective of his reconnaissance mission, and is standing in awe and in front of the dark crystal at the same time.
Where he is joined by the rest of the team in short order, establishing the fact that they must have been following him at a short distance the whole way. Which does save a lot of plot time, for otherwise I would have had to illustrate how Snuka makes his way back in order to deliver a report, and then the whole team starts on a re-invasion of the Crystal Palace.
But the team already being there doesn’t just save plot time, I think it’s also perfectly plausible in itself:
for one thing, nobody on the team has ever been known to show tremendous amounts of patience, not even the absent Professor. Biff gaining some patience in connection with his intellectual empowerment would have been imaginable, but wasn’t guaranteed – and definitely hasn’t been in evidence.
And for the other, more important, thing: the team barging after Snuka and not waiting for his report makes all of Snuka’s efforts and sacrifices completely senseless – and that’s exactly the kind of thing that would naturally happen to Snuka at any opportunity.
The dark crystal looks just the way you’d expect it to look: a giant, glittering, floating crystal from which a purplish glow emanates. And Mopey is technically right when she points out that that glow means that the crystal isn’t actually ‘dark’ in any meaningful sense of the word, but really just the opposite. That can’t really be avoided, though – a crystal that’s actually dark would just be too dull, un-crystal-like and contribute nothing to lighting the scene sufficiently for shooting. Purple is the perfect compromise between metaphorical darkness and the practical considerations of a visual medium, that’s what makes the color so popular for this sort of application.
And then, before our heroes can really do anything, the Evil Queen shows up, wearing the appropriate facial hair for an announcement of refusal/denial. I guess it’s really on now.
More on Monday.