The Shannara Chronicles is back for another season. Fans are reintroduced to old faces and get to meet some new characters. Here are my thoughts on the season 2 premiere of the Shannara Chronicles called Druid.
It has been awhile since we got to watch a new episode of the Shannara Chronicles and I am excited to say that it is finally back albeit on a different channel (Spike TV). I want to get out there early that I have not read the books yet, but I am in the process of reading them. I do know that the first season was based off of the second book of the original trilogy The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Now the next book in the original trilogy, The Wishsong of Shannara, is based on Wil’s children, Jair and Brin. They obviously did not go that route with the next season, but there are definite references to both Wishsong and Sword of Shannara (first book of the original trilogy).
Since the characters are on their separate journeys in the series, I decided to write the recap through the different characters’s paths.
The episode starts with Eretria. At the end of the last season, last we saw of Eretria she was sacrificing herself to the trolls in order for Amberle and Wil to get to Arborlon. She is then brought in front of the troll king and, when he reveals his face, she recognizes him. We as viewers did not get to see who that person was until now.
Eretria is saved by another rover who dressed up like a troll named Cogline. He is an old face from her past and seemed to know her mother. He has been looking for her for twenty years.
We then get a year jump. Eretria and her new love interest Lyria are out scavenging an old, upturned battleship. They manage to get a few circuit boards, which of course they don’t know what it is they have, but they want to bring it back to Cogline who has established himself as the resident human scientist. As they are about to head back though, Eretria and the group that she is with are ambushed by trolls. Eretria leads some of the trolls away from the group and helps them escape.
Now we get to see a pretty cool action sequence with a badass Eretria taking down two of the trolls and knocking out the last two. One of them though is not knocked out for long, and follows Eretria to a decrepit, vine covered San Francisco bridge. This shot was probably one of my favorites of this episode because it was so familiar and eery in how alien it could look in decay.
Eretria tricks one of the trolls to follow her into getting on a car that is leaning over the edge of a gapping hole in the bridge. The not so bright troll follows her and falls with the rusted out car through the hole just as Eretria jumps to safety on the bridge. She thinks she is safe as she watches the troll fall until she is linebacker tackled by the last troll and taken through the hole herself.
Eretria should have died from the fall as any normal person would have, but in the water, Eretria gets a vision of Amberle who tells her that a new darkness is coming and that she needs to find Wil. Not only did Amberle save Eretria, but she communicated with her over a vast distance. Now we know that Amberle is the new Ellcrys as seen in the dramatic ending of the first season, and we also know that the Ellcrys can send visions to people whom it sees as its champion. Before it was the Chosen and now it is Eretria.
Eretria wakes up safe and sound back in the human encampment, which seems to have taken over a run down downtown San Francisco, and is accompanied by Lyria. Lyria as well as Eretria are shocked that Eretria did not die from the fall, and Lyria tells Eretria that when she found her that all Eretria kept repeating was Amberle’s name. Eretria remembers the strange vision and decides to ask Cogline.
When she meets him, he is fiddling with a new experiment that is generating electricity and she makes a joke that he is up to his old Druid tricks again which suggests that Cogline can do some sort of magic. Eretria insists that she saw Amberle in that water and that she needs to find Wil. Cogline tries to convince her that she was hallucinating and reminded her that Wil never came looking for her. In a defeated way, Eretria bitterly states that Wil and Amberle are probably safe and sound living the good life in Arborlon. Now I loved the use of dramatic irony here as we are reminded that Eretria does not know about what happened to Amberle and the tragic consequences of resurrecting the Ellcrys, but we as viewers do know.
Eretria is not fully convinced though. When Lyria sees Eretria suffering and doubting herself, she drops a huge bomb of information: Cogline is hiding information from Eretria and that some Rover scouts were supposed to keep a certain person from finding Eretria. A few months ago, the scouts had brought something to him that he did not want Eretria to see. This immediately makes Eretria curious, and, with Lyria’s help, they sneak into Cogline’s laboratory.
In the laboratory, they find Wil’s pendent, and Eretria comes to realize that Wil did indeed come looking for her a year ago. Cogline was trying to protect her and keep her away from Wil because he is a Shannara. He seems to know just how important Wil’s bloodline is.
Now Eretria is convinced that what she saw in the vision of Amberle is true. She decides to sneak out and go looking for Wil, but Lyria will not let her go alone. Together they start trekking down a dangerous road in search for Wil. They don’t make it very far though before Eretria and Lyria are attacked by another group of Rovers, and are taken captive.
Bandon and Allanon
The last we saw of Bandon he was succombing to his powers and being sucked into the dark side, something that Allanon warned him could happen if he did not learn to control his powers. We see Bandon a year later trekking through the snow with a new group of followers. They find themselves at Skull Mountain. Now from what little I know of the books, Skull Mountain is the home of the Warlock Lord who was the main villain the first book of the trilogy The Sword of Shannara, and the main villain that Shea Ohmsford (Wil’s dad) and Allanon had to face off with.
Bandon and his crew of new followers come into the main hall of Skull Mountain which is the tomb of the Warlock Lord. Using dark magic, he gives the leader of his followers snake eyes and special powers. Using the sword he got from the Dagda Mor in the first season, he opens the tomb which reveals the heart of the Warlock Lord. Bandon then uses magic to resurrect it, and the blood flows from the heart down his hands. He puts the heart back onto the pedestal he got it from on top of the coffin. In an eery scene, we see the blood fill the lines of the coffin.
At that very moment, Allanon throws back the door and marches in. It seems Allanon has been tracking Bandon for months. We hear that Bandon blames Allanon for sacrificing him to the Dagda Mor. Allanon also mentions how the Dagda Mor’s sword is controlling Bandon and his actions.
Allanon and Bandon begin to fight and as they do so, the followers drink the blood of the Warlock Lord’s heart. They become Mord Wraiths which are very dangerous magic users who are no longer fully human.
Allanon looks in horror upon the new creation of the Mord Wraith, especially the gruesome looking leader. The Leader then uses his power and sends Allanon flying through a window out of the keep. Bandon gets a vision from the sword. They are searching for the skull of the Warlock Lord, and, according to the sword, Wil is the only one who may know where it is. He then orders the Mord Wraiths to track down the last Shannara.
Allanon watches in horror on the snow covered mountainside as the Mord Wraiths take a smoke form and leave the fortress in search for Wil.
Ander is still the Elven king in the season premiere, but he is a king under duress. The Elven people are stretched thin as they begin to rebuild from the demon attack on their lands. Ander is hoping, especially with the Elven treasury depleted and manpower stretched thin, to get some help from the other races. Some members of the other races like Slanter the Gnome are loyal to the Elves, but, as Slanter points out, there are still some who would love to see the Elves crumble.
On a visit to a village desolated by the destruction of the war, Ander’s brought the news of a growing problem in his own ranks by Catania. Catania, as fans remember, was a close friend and maid servant to Amberle. She was also a love interest for Bandon until he attacked her.
Catania brings King Ander into the nearby forest where two elves have been brutally killed and staked to trees. Signs with the words magic users are draped on their bodies. We now learn of a new threat to this world which is the Crimson. The Crimson are a dissident group of Elves who blame magic and magic users for the demons getting out and the war. The Crimson are spreading hatred and encouraging hatred.
It seems that Ander knew of the problem, but did not know how far or how bad it had gotten. The Crimson are being led by a General Riga. We actually get to meet General Riga later in the episode in a tense scene when he is interrogating a farmer. He asks about the whereabouts of Wil Ohmsford. The farmer does not know Wil, but he does know of a Flick Ohmsford (Wil’s Uncle) in Shady Vale.
I can definitely see this being a main problem in this second season. It will be interesting to see where they go with this storyline.
I think my favorite performance in this episode is Austin Butler as he depicts a very different Wil that we saw in the first season. This premiere really shows a broken man who has grown to almost hate magic. After the loss of Amberle to magic, Wil has vowed to live as a simple healer in the town of Storlock, a town of Gnome healers.
Now Wil meets a new character in the hospital he works in by the name of Mareth (Malese Jow). Mareth comes into the hospital looking for some medical attention for a burn, and is helped out by Wil. She says she recognizes Wil and tries to get him to say his real name aloud to which he says he is just another healer around here. Now this interesting part with Wil can be seen in two ways: 1.) Wil is forsaking his name as a way to get away from his painful memories and his past 2.) the second becomes more evident later in the episode when it becomes clear that there is a bounty on his head by the Crimson. This scene ends with Mareth healing herself which immediately alerts the viewer that she has an ulterior motive for wanting to meet Wil. Is Mareth a friend or foe?
Wil is distant and cold to almost every person he meets and he definitely demonstrated signs of PTSD. This is most apparent in a sad scene where he is drunk and alone. He has burn marks on his arms which suggests that they are self inflicted. While he seems to have a distaste for using magic, he does use the Elfstones to heal his arm in this sad scene, and in the process sees the outline of Amberle. When he reaches for her, she disappears and Wil is left in his own despair. I thought they really did a good job portraying a truly traumatized character in this scene.
The next day is the scene where he tries to operate and can’t. The head healer notices that Wil is slipping and puts him on final warning as well as reveal that Wil’s place was secured by Allanon which does not sit well with him.
The next we see of Wil is at night in a rundown tavern where he is drinking alone. Mareth decides to join him and reveals that she knows who he is and the bounty on his head. Wil is quick to pull on a knife on her and shows absolutely no remorse or doubt about the action which again shows just how beaten down he has become. Mareth reveals that she is not a bounty hunter after him, but that there are two bounty hunters in the tavern watching him, and that she took out their third which was how she got the bounty hunter card with his information. Wil knows he can’t fully trust her, but he does notice the two bounty hunters she had pointed out who are scoping him out. Mareth makes a plan to act like he is taking her home as to slip out of the tavern.
This plan does not work as Wil and Mareth are stopped at the door by the two bounty hunters. A fight ensues and Wil and Mareth find themselves fighting for their lives. Mareth has some talent for close combat and handles her foe pretty easily. A drunk Wil is not as fortunate and is wounded by the bigger bounty hunter before Mareth saves him by killing the bounty hunter. They make use of the chaos and clip out of the tavern. Mareth takes Wil back to his place. She wants to call a doctor, but Wil says no to this as he is already on thin ice. Instead, he pulls out the Elfstones again and heals himself in front of her revealing that he can do magic to her. He then passes out and she wonders aloud if this is the same guy who saved the world which suggests that she knows a lot more than she has let on.
Wil wakes the next morning to the sounds of a disturbance outside his little house. When he goes outside, he sees a huge influx of wounded coming into Storlock. Shady Vale was attacked. Wil, if you remember, is from Shady Vale as well as his uncle Flick. He goes to search for his uncle amongst the wounded and comes across a family friend. The family friend tells him that Shady Vale was attacked by the Crimson who were looking for Wil. That same family friend told Flick to hide and tells Wil to leave Storlock. Wil then orders the healers to take the man to surgery, but is left wondering about the fate of his uncle. He mentions that he thought he was safe in Storlock from the Crimson because it was a neutral zone. It seems that may not be the case any more.
Night comes and Wil is packing to leave, but he does not leave quite fast enough as one of the Mord Wraiths (the leader) materializes in his home. Before Wil can even react, the Mord Wraith uses his magic to launch Wil straight through the back wall of his house. Wounded and dazed, but clutching the Elfstones in his hands, Wil finds temporary shelter amongst the debris. As he tries to formulate what his next move should be, he sees his own doppelganger appear near him. The doppelganger leads the Mord Wraith away.
Mareth appears by his side and says the doppelganger won’t fool the Mord Wraith for long which reveals to Wil that she can do magic. With the Crimson around and not knowing who to trust, revealing one’s magic to another could potentially be dangerous. Wil will not let her go nor will he leave with her until she tells him what she wants. In a shocking twist that ends the episode, Mareth says that she is looking for Allanon because he is her father.
Nods to the Book Series
-Mareth is a character in the book series, but she is in the prequel book The First King of Shannara, which takes place 500 years before Wil’s time. It will be interesting to see how they incorporate her into the television series as she is claiming to be Allanon’s daughter.
-The Mord Wraiths are real creatures in the book series. They were once human followers of the Warlock Lord, but were turned into these dark creatures by a powerful book of magic called the Ildatch. The Ildatch is seen primarily in the third book of the original Shannara Chronicles series by Terry Brooks called the Wishsong of Shannara. Wishsong was supposed to be the tale of Wil’s children, Jair and Brin.
-The Warlock Lord is mentioned in a few of the books, but he is the main villain in the first book The Sword of Shannara.
-The Crimson is a real organization in the book series that spreads dissent against magic and magic users.
-Wil being a healer in Storlock is actually how readers were first introduced to his character in the Elfstones of Shannara.
-Flick Ohmsford played a huge role in accompanying his younger brother Shea Ohmsford (Wil’s father) in the fight against the Warlock Lord in the Sword of Shannara.
-In the book series, the only weapon that could really do damage and kill the Warlock Lord was the Sword of Shannara which can only be wielded by someone of the Shannara bloodline. In the trailer we do see Wil wielding a sword. Is this the famous Sword of Shannara?
Overall, I really liked this episode and found coming back to this world to be very entertaining. It has sparked a renewed interest to read the books and I may be able to compare it to the books more later on. I am interested to see what is going to happen next.