Well team, we’ve made it to the end of the season. After 10 episodes, The Shannara Chronicles had its finale this week and so far there’s no word on a second season, so this could very well be the end of our time in The Four Lands. But this season’s quest is complete, so let’s talk about it.
We kick things off with Amberle still in the Bloodfire, talking to the embodiment of the current Ellcrys who happens to look just like her. It turns out that Amberle isn’t carrying the seed to create the next Ellcrys and stem the tide of the demon army, but she is the seed. She has to sacrifice herself completely if there’s any hope of saving everyone, something our heroine isn’t all that keen to do. Wil and a recently revived Eretria (it really doesn’t seem like anyone stays dead in this show) get her out of the Bloodfire and take off to get back home. Unfortunately, those trolls they bypassed earlier have woken up and aren’t all that happy. Now it’s Eretria’s turn to sacrifice herself so that the other two can go on, and our favorite rover is left behind for the bulk of the epiosde.
One of my long running complaints with the series has been the ambiguous nature of the size of The Four Lands, and the season finale did not disappoint on that front. It took us most of the season to get to Safehold and only one dramatic horseback riding scene to get back. Of course, they’re a tiny bit too late and the newly crowned King Ander has to rally the troops to hold off the demon horde long enough for Wil and Amberle to get through to the Ellcrys. The big battle scene itself is fittingly intense and has a distinct Lord of the Rings vibe to it.
As everyone is battling it out, the episode’s sacrificial theme shows up again as it’s time for Amberle to save the day and become the Ellcrys. Wil isn’t a big fan of this idea, but does what he has to do so Amberle can walk into the base of the existing tree and … well, who can say? It was hard to really feel much of the intended emotional impact here and I felt the same lack when Amberle was confessing her love for Wil earlier. Over the course of 10 episodes I never really came to care about these two as much as I would have liked. Where as in the first few episodes I found Eretria’s character kind of silly and she turned out to be the presence I most wanted to see more of in the finale.
Speaking of character development … Bandon anyone? Thanks to Catania not learning her lesson about how much this guy should really not be trusted, Bandon is free and more than a little nuts. It looks like they’re setting him up to be the big bad of the second season should there be one. I wish we’d had the opportunity to grow into his character a little more over the course of the season, but I can say that for a lot of characters, so all we can do is wait and see what his end game is should we get more episodes of The Shannara Chronicles.
All in all this was a fairly dramatic finale, though slightly diminished by the show’s willingness to bring back dead characters. Those who have read the books probably have a good idea about what might be in store for season two, but who can say for sure? At least Eretria is okay. But I swear, if the person behind that troll mask was Cephelo (and odds are that it will be), this show and I are going to have some words.