The Shannara Chronicles is back and fans got an epic two parter. Since so much happens within the two episodes, I’ve decided to break up the recap into two parts. Here are my thoughts on episode 5 named Paranor.
Episode 5 starts out action packed as our characters face some dire challenges. There are a lot of moving pieces and information given in this episode as well as shifting alliances. Hands down the most important parts centered around Eretria and her true identity being revealed and the quest for the Warlock Lord’s skull with Wil and Mareth. But there was a lot happening with all of the characters in this episode and a lot of good character and plot development going on as well. And so I decided to break it up by character or groups of characters.
Ander and Lyria
Ander’s part in this is small, but I think it is important. Ander holds a funeral for Catania, and fans can see that he is broken up over her death. Lyria is there with him and afterwards, Lyria and Ander decide to team up to hunt down the Crimson in the kingdom of Leah. With Lyria’s knowledge of the kingdom, this may come in very handy for Ander.
Much later in the episode, Garet Jax brings the captured Lieutenant of the Crimson to Ander. Ander has reached his limit of mercy and decides to take a much darker route by the use of torture to get information which Garet is all to ready to help him with. How far will Ander and Garet go and what lines are they going to be willingly to cross to catch the Crimson?
Garet Jax has a small, but truly heartbreaking scene as fans learn what it is that he has to do, and why he left Eretria. Jax travels to a seaside home where a little boy and his mother live. We find out that Jax is bringing his earnings to the family of the men who were killed under his command. In this case, he is bringing his earnings to the widow of Connor, a man who fought under him. While he is talking to the mother, the little boy, who is outside playing, screams out. When they get outside to see what is the matter, they see the Crimson’s lieutenant slit the boy’s throat in front of his mother. Garet takes out all the guards, but the mother is left mourning her young son and his death seems senseless. Despite Garet’s good intentions, he brought death to this poor widow’s doorstep who has now also lost her only son. This was heartbreaking to watch. She tells Garet to leave
Garet, with extreme self control, takes the lieutenant hostage. He then takes the Crimson lieutenant back to Ander.
I think Eretria’s part had a huge impact this episode and future implications. The episode begins with Eretria and Garet Jax running down the road away from the Queen’s Guards. Why they need to run from them I’m not sure. That part was a bit confusing other than the Queen still has it out for Eretria, but pretends that she will not attack her. They think they have escaped the guards and Eretria and Jax part ways. He says he has something important to do which does not include helping Eretria and the others stop the Warlock Lord.
Soon afterwards, Eretria is found by a unit of the guards who attack her, but whom she handles quite well. She, unfortunately, does not handle all of them, but soon realizes that she has an ally fighting by her side and we are reintroduced to her old mentor and father figure, Cogline, who uses magic to save her. Instead of heading to Paranor as Eretria intended, Cogline convinces her to head back to the Kingdom of Leah and the Queen.
When they reach the palace, fans soon learn a little more about Cogline. Cogline used to be a Druid who worked for the Queen. He wishes to speak with her and she grants Eretria and Cogline a private audience. The biggest reveal in this part, other than the bit about Cogline’s past, is that we get to know the details behind the deal the Queen made with the Warlock Lord that saved her kingdom, and a deal he will come to collect once he is resurrected.
Queen Tamlin, essentially, made the deal where the Warlock Lord killed her husband, made her Queen and stopped his minions from attacking the Kingdom of Leah in exchange that she allow him to drink from Heaven’s Well. And what is Heaven’s Well? Heaven’s Well is found at the crux of the rivers her kingdom stands over and her people have been protecting. It is an extremely powerful source of magic. If the Warlock Lord drinks from it, he will be unstoppable. Cogline deduces that this was the deal the Queen made which Tamlin then confirms. Cogline is furious, and, as he tells Tamlin, by saving her one kingdom she may have doomed everybody.
Now the next part we see Eretria, she is with Cogline standing on a balcony. She is asking about her mother and the tattoo on her shoulder, and he reveals to her the truth of who she is. This part made me really excited when I heard this as I immediately knew what he was talking about. Cogline tells her that the tattoo is a the symbol of a descendent of a certain ancient sect that existed around the time of the Great War that destroyed everything. The sect was called Armageddon’s Children. Armageddon’s children were a group of hybrids made of human and demons. This meant that any descendent of this group of people could be corrupted by dark magic hence why Cogline did not want Eretria to go to Paranor near Bandon. Eretria’s mother was also a descendent of Armageddon’s Children.
Fans then get to see an emotional flashback into Eretria’s childhood. The demons began to sense Eretria’s magic when she was younger and came after Eretria and her mother. Her mother is mortally wounded, but manages to get into a cave where she meets up with Cogline. She then hands Eretria over to Cogline for his protection and then dies.
The present time Eretria is dismayed that she may turn evil, but Cogline believes that she is capable of being a force for either good or evil and he believes she is already a force for good. He tells her that the Ellcrys would not have chosen her to activate the bloodfire in the first season if she had chosen to be evil, but Eretria is still a little doubtful. He does warn her that if the Warlock Lord does get resurrected, he will immediately be able to sense Eretria and try to get inside her head to control her.
Later in the episode, Cogline takes it one step further and decides to try and teach Eretria to control the darkness inside her. He brings her to an underground compound which used to be an old police station. Cogline has captured and locked up a low level Mord Wraith. He tells Eretria that the creature can sense her ability. He then drops the electrical barrier and lets Eretria into the Lord Wraith’s cell. He tells her to use her mind and take control of the Mord Wraith. Eretria easily gets the creature to kneel with her mind, and even she said that was too easy which is a bit disturbing even for Cogline. One thing that is disturbing for her is that she liked doing this. Will Eretria fall to the dark side?
Wil, Allanon, Mareth
This was definitely the meat of this episode and a lot of critical plot development and character development occurs for all three characters. Wil, Allanon and Mareth make it to Paranor, but before they go in, Mareth and Allanon have a falling out in that he doesn’t want her to come with them and she thinks he still doesn’t trust her. Now fans think she has left the group for good, but later in the episode we see that is not so.
Inside, Wil and Allanon quickly come across Bandon who has Flick held by sword point. Bandon reads Wil’s mind to see if Wil has any treacherous plans which he does not. He then wounds Flick with the sword with a poison as insurance. Just because Bandon can trust Wil does not mean he trusts Allanon since he can not read Allanon’s mind.
With seemingly no choice and Flick’s life in mortal peril, Allanon activates a nearby dais and reveals what seems to be the Warlock Lord’s skull, but is soon found out to be another illusion created by Mareth who was secretly working with Allanon to deceive Bandon. Bandon is taken off guard by Allanon and a fight ensues between the two of them. They end up near the Dais. Mareth opens up the real magical vault nearby and sends out a barrier spell on the caged area around the dais. Fortunately and unfortunately, both Allanon and Bandon are trapped inside the cage and unable to do harm to each other or leave.
But Flick is still dying a slow and painful death. Allanon seemed to know that Flick may become a casualty and found this acceptable while Wil will not allow Allanon to sacrifice his uncle as well. Only Bandon offers the cure to Wil if he and Mareth find the Warlock Lord’s skull. The real dais within the real vault can only be activated by a Shannara and a druid. Mareth and Wil decide to take Bandon’s offer and activate the dais. Allanon warns Wil that if Mareth is not his daughter, the magic would rebound and they would both die. This is basically a test to prove whether or not Mareth is Allanon’s true blood daughter.
As it turns out she is, and the dais activates and a portal takes them to the very place where they should be able to find the Warlock Lord’s skull. But what is the place that they get transported to? Well that is where this gets interesting. They are transported back to Shady Vale, where Wil’s is from, but not present day Shady Vale as they soon discover. Wil and Mareth come across a young Shea Ohmsford as he is being attacked by the local bullies. Once they realize who he is, they know he has to be the key in finding the skull.
Shea is a sweet, charming, handsome young man who is not the crazed father that Wil grew up knowing. Wil also meets his mother when she was younger. This is heartbreaking as Wil realizes that if his father never got the elf stones or the sword of Shannara and never knew his heritage, then would his father and mother suffered the tragic fate they suffer? Mareth warns that the past can not be changed as Shea was destined to stop the Warlock Lord the first time.
But Shea is not completely untouched by the events of what is going on. Shea, it seems, is having visions of Mord Wraiths without knowing what the creatures are. Shea thought he was going crazy and in thinking so, started to push his then girlfriend, Hedde and Wil’s future mother, away. But when he sees a vision of Hedde in danger, Shea runs off from Wil in search of her.
Now Wil is in a complicated situation as someone with foreknowledge often is. Do you change the past to save the ones you love? Does he tell his father everything he knows or will this make the future so much worse? If there is the possibility of changing the past, why send a portal to the past? That seems so dangerous of a thing to do to hide one skull.
Shea, on his search for Hedde in order to save her, finds himself in a dangerous situation when he comes face to face with a Mord Wraith. The Mord Wraith shouts out the word Shannara before Wil shows up and destroys him with the elf stones. When Shea asks what a Shannara is, Wil tells him that Shea is a Shannara and that is how the episode ends.
Now as one can see, a lot happens in one episode. I definitely liked the action packed scenes and I loved the reveal of Eretria’s connection to Armageddon’s children even if this is not a part of her character in the books. I also liked the time traveling aspect of this episode and the position it puts Wil in. I did think some things were a bit rushed as if they were trying to fit too much into one episode, but overall I did like the episode and I can’t wait to see the next one of this two parter.