The Shannara Chronicles is back with a regular length episode this week. Let’s see how it does using the standard television format, shall we? Spoilers ahead!
Surprise, surprise. Our heroes didn’t die during their demon encounter. I know, I’m shocked too. Allanon, Wil and Amberle all made it away from Aunt Pyria’s beach, though our druid leader had taken a pretty gruesome hit and is fading fast. Wil knows of a stream with healing powers nearby (again, emphasizing just how small this world they live in is) but both he and Amberle manage to get kidnapped by Eretria and her rover buddies before he can get the mud to Allanon. Which ends up being no big deal since the druid will ultimately be saved by magic druid cave embers anyway. Probably explains why he dramatically smeared blood on the cave’s location earlier.
At the rover camp, Wil is being wined and dined as Cephelo tries to find a way to unlock the elf stones that had been stolen from Wil in the last episode. Meanwhile, he’s planning to have his daughter kill Amberle as plan B for convincing Wil to give up the info he needs (information that Wil doesn’t have). Amberle once again manages to get the upper hand on Eretria, planning to trade Cephelo his daughter’s life for her and Wil’s freedom, not realizing how little Eretria is valued with her people. Thankfully, a well timed demon attack offers up the perfect distraction. Wil manages to air-punch the elf stones into working and destroys the demon easily enough, letting Allanon make his dramatic, day-saving entrance later once Cephelo tries to regain the stones.
Eretria is nowhere to be seen (I was kind of hoping she’d jump ship and join the group now rather than continuing to be some sort of pseudo villain) as Allanon, Wil and Amberle stop at a farmhouse that had been attacked by demons. The house’s residents have been slaughtered, but the son they leave inexplicably locked up in the cellar is a-okay. They decide to take Bandon with them, practically inviting them to join their group with little resistance in spite of the fact that this guy clearly has some secrets of his own. This, like a few other scenes in this episode, felt a little rushed. I’m definitely wondering what kind of season wide story arc they have in mind if the writers are already in this much of a rush.
Let’s take a second to talk about how our main trio is coming across so far. I’ve been an Austin Butler fan for a while now, and am genuinely enjoying him as Wil so far. Wil’s character is still a little bland, but we are only a few episodes in and he’s got a lot of room to grow. As for Amberle, I think I’m going to vote yay here as well. Poppy Drayton is doing a solid job of making her both vulnerable and strong in her own right, though I wish our Princess would be a little less wishy-washy in her convictions. Which leaves Ivana Baquero as Eretria. At this point, I want to like our rover girl more than I actually do. Her backstory seems a bit forced, and something about her character has yet to land the right impression. Again, it’s still early, but I’d love to be cheering for all three of these characters and hope the show (and the actors) will let us get there.
The episode ends with Amberle apologizing for abandoning her post and volunteering herself to carry the Ellcrys seed, which is to be expected since she’s the only member of the Chosen left. But seeing how even earlier this episode she was still planning to run, fate of the planet be damned, it’s a little hard to buy that she believes in this cause above all else. And so she enters the Ellcrys, hoping the tree will deem her worthy. Way to go show for ending yet another episode on a “will our main character survive” style cliffhanger that we already know the answer to. Still, predictable storytelling and cheesy MTV moments aside, I’ll definitely be back for more next week.