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‘The Shannara Chronicles’ Recap: Magic is Here to Stay

This week on The Shannara Chronicles, we are given two new episodes once again and the action just doesn’t stop! The sophomore season of the show is proving to keep audiences on their collective toes as we are given more deaths, resurrections, reunions, and views into other worlds. On top of that, characters continue to develop and grow as they encounter one challenging situation after another.

Here are the unforgettable moments from episode 7, Warlock and 8, Amberle:

The Shannara Chronicles

Leah falls under Crimson control

Picking up from last week, Queen Tamlin gives her talisman to Lyria and sacrifices herself to save her daughter. She tells Eretria and some of her guards to take the tunnels to get out of the city while she stays behind with Jax and Slanter. This is her come to Jesus moment as she finally realizes that her choices have caught up to her and she shows remorse and tells her daughter that she loves her. It’s a huge change for her character who had been so manipulative the entire season. When Riga enters the throne room he tells Tamlin to bow down to him or he will begin kill her subjects. The queen swallows her pride and bends the knee.

The Shannara Chronicles

Allanon is in a coma

Meanwhil Wil and Mareth take Allanon to Storlock but the healers there are not able to do anything since this is a magical wound. One of the healers though gives Mr. Ohmsford a book that Allanon left with him and it turns out to be the Druid’s Codex. Mareth is able to read druid because her mom taught her when she was young (through old love letters that Allanon had written) and she finds a passage where she can enter his dream in order to bring he out of the coma. To achieve this, the same rune is carved over the druid’s heart is and on Mareth’s palm. She then recites an incantation that will allow her passage into his dreamscape, the catch is that if her father dies while she’s still in there she too will die.

The Shannara Chronicles

Inside Allanon’s dreams

The spell takes a moment to kick in but Mareth wakes up to find herself in a field. As she searches for her father, a winged demon appears and is about to kill her when she is saved by dear ol’ dad who asks what the heck she’s doing here. Turns out that he is in this coma for a reason and that is because he needs to communicate with someone only accessible through this state. That someone is Bremen, his old master who died many years ago. He summons the man’s soul and explains that he was told a new druid would appear and that he believed it was Bandon. Bremen says that it wasn’t Bandon but Mareth and Allanon’s all but she’s my daughter how can this be? His master says she has innate magical talent that will even surpass his own. Boom! This is the first time he’s acknowledge her as his kid but is warned that hopefully he manages to train her enough before his own mortal journey comes to an end. Lastly Bremen hands Allanon a new sword hilt.

When father and daughter wake up, Wil notices that one of Allanon’s neck runes light up and vanishes only to reappear on Mareth’s back. He tells his progeny that everything is going to change because she is going to be the next druid. On the plus side however, Allanon’s magic wound from Bandon healed itself. The druid then reads Eretria’s mind and the ex-rover explains that Amberle came to her in another vision and wants Wil in Arborlon. Mr. Ohmsford protests that he doesn’t know how to get into the tree and that he’d tried so many times. Allanon says it will be different this time because he has actually been summoned.

Wil and Mareth have a little goodbye chat outside where he tells her that Allanon may not be the world’s greatest dad but he’ll be a hell of a teacher. She in the meantime understands that he’s scared to see Amberle again after wanting nothing but that (and being disappointed) for an entire year. There’s a lot of unsaid things in the air as the two characters have gone through quite a bit together this season so far. There’s definitely chemistry between the duo and I’m hoping that they’ll have a chance to explore that at some point in the future. Also who could resist Wil when he looks at you with such piercing eyes.

Shannara Chronicles

Death sentences in Leah

Queen Tamlin, Jax, and Slanter are all slated to be executed by the Crimson. Her highness and the mercenary have a little heart-to-heart as the end draws near and appear to find some common ground. Before she is led out of her cell, the queen begs Jax to find and protect Lyria and Heaven’s Well at all costs. As she is walks outside, a solar eclipse is visible and this is obviously a bad sign. Riga is then about to push her off the ledge when she turns around and takes the step herself, choosing to go on her own terms instead of his.

Shannara Chronicles

Mareth is the last of the Elessidils

Well how could I forget that Mareth is not only Allanon’s daughter but also the niece of King Eventine since her mother Pyria was his sister. So she is now not only the next druid but the rightful heir to Arborlon’s throne. Wil confirms this with Eretria. Meanwhile Allanon presents Mareth with her own special sword that was given to him by Bremen in the dreamscape. She is able to activate it by clearing her mind and begins her training.

Shannara Chronicles

Bandon comes to Graymark

Bandon arrives Graymark and kills all the Crimson soldiers inside, claiming the fortress for the Warlock Lord. Looks like he will be performing the resurrection there. He uses Allanon’s blood that is still on the Warlock Blade to drawn sigils in the sand and recites an incantation to bring his lord back to life. During the eclipse’s peak, he completes the ritual and succeeds in bringing back his deceased master. The Warlock Lord rises and seizes his sword, magically clothes himself, and walks to his throne room. Bandon follows him and is shocked that the guy has Allanon’s face (albeit a very demonized one). I’m guessing that’s because the druid’s DNA was used to resurrect him. What fun for Manu Bennett to be playing two different characters!

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Wil finally sees Amberle again, gets closure

When Eretria and Wil arrive at Arborlon, members of the Chosen have been slaughtered by the Crimson outside the chamber of the Ellcrys. The halfling tries to procrastinate his reunion with Amberle by saying that they need to go after the others who seemingly fled into the forest. Leave it to Eretria to say no you have to go into the tree and talk to your dead ladylove now. Wil knows that she’s right does what he’s supposed to. He walks into the tree and is transported to a beach where a familiar figure is waiting. The reunion between these two are tugging on the heartstrings! Wil finally gets to express his pent up anger from Amberle’s decision to sacrifice herself without telling him. He felt abandoned and left alone to pick up the pieces. Amberle for her part understands why he’s upset but reasons that this was her destiny and now he has to accept his. He argues that he doesn’t have what it takes to save the Four Lands like her and Shea and that he’s seen the truth that he fails. Wil further tells her that he’s knows that the Warlock Lord wins and kills everyone he cares about Allanon, Eretria, with Amberle adding Mareth to that list. Still, she explains that the future isn’t decided yet and that he can win with the Sword of Shannara. Well they have a huge problem because Wil shows her the broken blade.

As they walk on the beach together, she tells him that the truth is never easy and that the sword shattered because he wasn’t ready. When he asks what that truth is, he hears his father’s voice and walks into their barn. Shea appears and tells his son that he’s here to help. Wil though is still in denial and claims that he’s not a hero and can’t save anybody. However, dad explains that he became an alcoholic and dies in that cave alone because he is the true failure. Shea couldn’t risk not coming back to Hedy and not having him that he was too scared to make the ultimate sacrifice. He was ashamed to be alive because he couldn’t face his truth and he doesn’t want his son to make the same mistake. So does that mean that ultimately, Wil revealing his true identity to Shea actually contributed to his dad’s downfall? Yikes. This is why when time travel is tricky business. Unless of course Wil was MEANT to tell Shea about all that stuff because Wil had to grow up the way he did? The duo then enter one of the huts in Storlock and Wil says that all he ever wanted to be was a healer but that wasn’t his destiny. He asks his father how can he defeat the Warlock Lord once and for all and Shea answers that he must drive the Sword of Shannara straight through his heart. Dad also says that he must make peace with his past to a confused Wil because he thought he’d resolved his issues already. Nope, not yet! Amberle is his final truth as he must finally accept that she is truly gone and let go. When he is able finally do so in front of the spirit of the Ellcrys (aka Ambertree), the Sword of Shannara becomes whole again.

Side note: If Riga hates magic so much, why doesn’t he try to destroy the Ellcrys? Sure that would release the Dagda Mor and the demons back on their land but he can totally handle that since he’s impervious to magic and all.

Shannara Chronicles

Bandon has a teeny request for the Warlock Lord

So back at Graymark, the Warlock Lord asks why Bandon’s resurrected him and trapped him inside his foe’s (Allanon’s) body and the elf responds that he wants to serve him. So wait a sec, I thought the evil sword was controlling him and the Warlock Lord WANTED to be brought back. Why is he questioning the motivations behind it? The super powerful magical being senses though that Bandon wants something else to which the younger man admits to. The two walk to a different chamber where a dead Catania rests. He says that if she is brought back to life he will be the Warlock Lord’s servant forever. Did he see when/how she would truly die last season and decided to bring this evil dude back to save her?

The Warlock Lord grants his wish and brings her back to life but she tells Bandon that she’d rather be dead that be with him. OUCH. His evilness though gets tired of their spat and he commands Catania to come to him. She is engulfed in red smoke and turns into a more zombie looking creature with veins popping out of her face and her eyes looking lit up with light. She walks to the Warlock Lord, sits down on his lap and begins to make out with him. UHM WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!! Bandon is also likely thinking that exact same thing because he tells the guy to stay away from her like an angry child but is thrust back with magic. Oh dude, what did you expect?

When Bandon wakes up the Warlock Lord provides some very Allanon-like teachings that love is an illusion and that he must empty his mind. He tells the elf that Catania never loved him and that no one ever did. He then says that Bandon must kill his desire, but that would certainly mean destroying the good left in him. The Warlock Lord sagely explains that the darkness doesn’t serve them, they serve the darkness. Conflicted, Bandon takes the blade and eventually gives in to the dark side and stabs Catania, who once again dies. This is actually a measure of kindness towards her because she wasn’t in control of her own body and didn’t want to be there. Bandon’s eyes light up and it looks like he’s now actually enjoying it when moments ago he was in tears. The Warlock Lord grasps his new apprentice’s hand and says that now Bandon can walk by his side. So this was a test and his journey to the dark side is complete.

Shannara Chronicles

Mareth’s training continues

Father and daughter spend time together in Storlock as Mareth’s training commences. He is teaching her how to fight with the sword first because magic is only used sparingly as it always comes with a price. During one of their spars, Allanon collapses and two more runes vanish from his neck. It seems that because he didn’t take the druid’s sleep after fighting the Dagda Mor he is now dying from lack of magic. The sleep was supposed to replenish his power but it could take decades to do so and he had to find Bandon. The elder druid is resting in bed when Mareth asks him if he ever loved her mother and eventually he admits that she was the only woman he ever loved. Allanon keeps trying to teach her that she cannot be attached to anyone because emotions will cloud her judgment. Understandably she’s having a hard time with this because she is one of those attachments to him. But because he needs to rest to agrees to leave.

While she’s training outside, the Crimson arrive (tipped off by an angry elf who lost his hand to a demon). Riga has her put into a magic suppressant collar and orders Allanon to give him the Druid Codex or he will kill Mareth. The druid does so and Riga orders his men to kill them both while he returns to Graymark because of a breach. Meanwhile, father and daughter are tied to a stake as it is lit by a Crimson soldier. Mareth cries that this is her fault and Allanon tells her that she is more important to him than a book. They clasp hands as flames erupt all around them.

Shannara Chronicles

Someone loses their head at Graymark

As Riga and his men enter Graymark, they are greeted by Bandon and the Warlock Lord. His evilness easily destroys the Crimson soldiers through a magical fire but the general only gets a scratch. The elf is ready to do battle when the Warlock Lord traps him in a rope of barbed wires. He then uses the wires to string Riga up in between the fortress doors and then proceeds to rip his head off while saying that the Four Lands will be consumed by magic. The powerful dark magic user then asks Bandon if Queen Tamlin had any kids and the elf answers yes, the Princess Lyria. Their next task is to find her in order to access Heaven’s Well.

Shannara Chronicles

Eretria versus the Crimson

Eretria manages to locate the other members of the Chosen who are still alive. She tricks some of the Crimson to follow her while she doubles back and frees the captive elves. They make a run for the tunnels underneath Arborlon (every big city needs these as escape routes fyi) but are soon caught by their assailants once again. Who saves them? It’s a MORD WRAITH! WHAAAAAT??? YESSS!!! So one of the Warlock Lord’s servants dispatches the Crimson and Eretria tries to control it only to have the darned thing enter her instead. She seems to absorb it and her eyes turn black. When Wil emerges from the Ellcrys and finds her, she’s unconscious outside of the chamber with some very bloody hands. He asks her if the other Chosen are safe and she answers yes but as they hug, the ex-rover’s eyes go black for a second again. As the two head to the enclave we see the lifeless body of one of the Chosen hidden in the shrubs. Looks like the darkness took over Eretria and she slaughtered them all without even realizing it.

Final Thoughts

  • The show does an amazing job lighting the characters, everyone looks so good. Everyone’s skin is glowing, well except for the Warlock Lord but he’s technically dead?
  • It’s so nice to see Poppy Drayton back on on the show and like Wil, I feel a sense of closure now that she has moved on to become the Ellcrys. Also with Ander’s death it feels like a changing of the guard where a new generation of Elessidils (in Mareth) will be able to lead the elves on a new path. Whether or not she will be accepted because she’s a halfling will be interesting to find out.
  • Speaking of which, Wil and Mareth are kind of adorable together with their dreamy looks. Stop it guys. Just kidding, don’t stop.
  • So much character development in Queen Tamlin and Jax! Tamlin especially really tugged at the heartstrings as she finally did was right and died with honor. She didn’t try to manipulate her way out of her circumstances but met it head on instead. Though part of me wonders if she would rather die than have to face the Warlock Lord herself? She’s left that problem for Lyria to deal with as her daughter must now protect Heaven’s Well.
  • Jax it seems like is on his way to becoming a hero again. He’s promised the queen’s guard to protect the princess given that the guy helped him and Slanter escape Leah.
  • Bandon’s final journey to the dark side of the Force, I mean magic, was really quite clever on the Warlock Lord’s part. I’ll resurrect your woman only to have you kill her so then you’ll literally and figuratively be destroying your capacity to love.
  • Also poor Catania has died twice already this season. Not cool.
  • How nice and convenient that the Sword of Shannara can be made whole again within the Ellcrys as long as Wil was ready. Surely Ambertree knew that it was broken in the first place and was part of the reason why she had Eretria bring him back to Arborlon.
  • Does the Warlock Lord perhaps ship Bandon and Eretria and does he plan to use both of them for their magic? If Bandon and Eretria had a kid and then Wil and Mareth had one as well, it would be the ultimate dark side/light side battle in the Four Lands! But I digress…
  • It was also extremely gratifying to see the two main villains this season battle it out with the Warlock Lord triumphing over General Riga. Despite Riga being magic resistant as Mareth pointed out a few episodes ago, he wasn’t impervious to other things. Allanon warned him that he didn’t know what he was up against and ultimately he died because he was over confident. Now the Druid’s Codex is in the hands of the evil guys.

The Shannara Chronicles airs Wednesday at 10/9 Central on SpikeTV.

About Nicole C

Nicole is the Features Editor for The Workprint.

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