While “Breakline” turned out to be one of The Shannara Chronicles busier episodes, juggling four different plot lines, it also ended up being one of the more enjoyable episodes of the series so far. Quite a bit happened, so let’s jump in! If you haven’t watched the episode yet, watch out for spoilers!
After falling to their supposed deaths last week, shockingly our main trio made it out alive. Even less of a surprise was yet another reminder about just how small the fantasy world of The Four Lands is. Wil, Amberle and Eretria’s drop from frozen peaks landed them in a river that swept them right on back to the grasslands, but also managed to separate the group. Wil collided into a one-eared elf who ran afoul of a group of Elf hunters while Eretria and Amberle found themselves in a buried high school from the human age of days gone by, running from those same hunters. The episode mostly focused around the game of hide and go seek surrounding this new foe, with Wil helping his new friend to free his winged creature of a companion, and the girls exploring an old high school, interested in the clues it could offer up about the age of man. There was also a cute moment where Amberle picked up some blue Dungeons and Dragons dice that clearly reminded her of the Elf Stones and Wil.
I appreciated that the primary stories this week focused more on building relationships. The main focus was on Amberle and Eretria who finally had the chance to get to know one another outside of Eretria’s relationship with Cephelo (I didn’t miss that guy even a little bit this week). It would be nice to see this new bond play out in future episodes rather than just continually going back to them being at each other’s throats, but I won’t hold my breath. This is doubly true since the high school dungeon crawl ended with Eretria being shot in the side and missing her chance at escape. We last see her being carried off by her captors while Wil and Amberle make swoony eyes at each other rather than actively planning her rescue. This does seem like a way to drag the quest on longer, since we know Eretria has to be there for whatever Amberle saw in her vision, but I wish we’d gotten to see something with the main trio working together rather than simply another instance of them being separated and inevitably reunited.
The real meat of this episode came back at the palace with all of the adult characters. The King is still being impersonated by the changeling and isn’t really even trying that hard to hide his nefarious purposes, sending both of his sons out on something of a suicide mission. Ander isn’t sure about much of anything at this point, but after winning some points with his dad last week, Arion is all too eager to do whatever is asked of him. The two set off to find the demon army even knowing they likely won’t come back. But fortunately for them (at least one of them) Allanon isn’t really dead. He once again woke up in the druid cage in order to be healed from last week’s dramatic death scene. He didn’t have a whole lot to do this week besides come back from the dead and swoop in on Ander and Arion’s story, but only in time to help the younger (and more likeable brother). Arion paid the price for his loyalty/not being able to tell when his dad is being impersonated by a minion of Hell, with his life. Probably for the best as he had yet to really add anything to the story, but I’m sure all of this upheaval is going to be a big shock for Amberle when she, or if she, returns.
Unlike last week’s episode where it seemed (vaguely) possible that all four of the most central characters were dead, it looks like this week brought with it two deaths that could actually stick. The first technically happened a while back now, with the death of King Eventine. Now the changeling who had been impersonating him is dead too after Anders got up to speed on everything that had happened, so it looks like that character is gone for good from The Shannara Chronicles. Add Arion’s death onto that and the entire political landscape of the elves has changed pretty quickly, and likely for the better. This show had been somewhat bogged down with characters, so hopefully this will help lead to more balanced pacing and a few scenes where we can grow more attached to the characters we already have.