Shannara fans rejoice! Season 2 is here and it's started off pretty well. For the most part.
Penned 6 months ago.
It was 86°F in San Diego, CA and the clear sky.
Daft Punk by Pentatonix was spinning on the ol' iTunes.
So this is my Season 2, Episode 1 review, it will be spoilery, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to have it ruined, stop now!
Okay, I’m assuming that if you are still here you either have seen the episode or don’t care if my ramblings spoil things for you. Off the bat, I give this episode a B+/A-.
I’m not going to do a play by play review of the show, instead, I’m going to list the top ten WTF moments.
This one was pretty interesting, and honestly not something I saw coming. He is a character from the books, he is introduced first in Wishsong where he is a crazy old man living in the middle of nowhere with his granddaughter.
We find out later in the books that he is actually ancient. A failed druid who didn’t trust magic, so he left and decided to study science instead. He left right after he learned an early form of the druid sleep, which is why he is still alive.
So yeah, she is still around more or less. I am assuming they added long-range telepathy to the list of the powers of the Ellcrys which explains her conversation with Eritrea. Also, she later shows up when Wil uses the Elfstones to hallucinate her.
Man, Mr. McAbs is not doing well. He finally beings his education with the Stors, the mayo clinic of the four lands, but is dealing with some PTSD from his battle with the demons and the loss of Amberle.
Seeing him use the Elfstones to, I am assuming, Hallucinate Amberle, was really weird. At first, I thought he was using the stones to actually communicate with her, but she showed up in her pre-tree clothes which leads me to believe it wasn’t actually her.
This one was really interesting and could be extremely cool depending on how they handle it. She is another character from the books, but from the Prequel First King of Shannara, which deals with Bremen forging the Sword of Shannara and giving it to Jerle Shannara.
In the book, she is convinced that her father is Bremen, not Allanon although it makes sense to update that since she is popping up 500+ years later in the TV version of the Shannara Universe.
She is extremely powerful and possesses innate magic, which is incredibly rare in the books, and how she came by that magic is not pleasant.
6: The Crimson
It feels like the writers grabbed the magic-hating Federation, a human kingdom in the Southland that appears in the Heritage Series, and just made them Elves instead, which could be interesting, but feels like a hard sell for a race of beings that used to literally be made of magic to now be leading a crusade to murder anyone that uses magic.
But stranger things have happened. It’s interesting that the leader of the Crimson is telling people that Wil released the Dagda Mor and the demons. Whether he is intentionally twisting the truth or is himself misled will be revealed in time, but it opens up some interesting options.
One thing is for sure, they are brutal and efficient. Destroying Shady Vale while looking for Wil is pretty hardcore. They seem like the bigger threat at the moment.
While it was obvious that he was going to be one of the main antagonists of this season, it was surprising to see how much more powerful he had become in a year.
Apparently, he has amassed enough new power to stand up to Allanon when he crashes Bandon’s ritual. There is some suggestion that the Warlock Lord is speaking to Bandon, which I assume is where he has learned his new magic or at least received it from him, but we don’t really know for sure. Time will tell I guess.
4: The State of the Elves
At the beginning of the episode, we find out that the elves are basically broke, and as such haven’t been able to really recover from the war with the demons. While this seems odd, like where did all the money go? You already had a standing army, the demons really never reached the inner gates of Arborlon, etc. I am assuming that this plot point will actually be important down the road, but right now I’m at a loss of how they came to this state, and why it would be important to the over-arching story.
3: The MordWraiths
We get to see a new generation of Mord Wraiths born, and I have to say, other than the Harry Potter-ness of the way they fly, very cool all around. I can’t wait to see more of them as the season goes on. In the books, the Mordwraiths were druids who left with Brona and became twisted by the magic of the Ildatch, a book of magic from the time of faerie, and later another group of Mordwraiths came from a group of men who found the book after the Warlock Lord was destroyed and were perverted by its power.
Why these guys are interesting is that they are usually on par with Allanon power wise, and as such are a threat with actual stakes. They are cunning, determined and powered by malevolent magic. Should be fun.
I just want to go on record here and thank Manu Bennet for bringing Allanon to life. Allanon is my all time favorite character in the Shannara books and Mr. Bennet has done an amazing job of capturing what was so great about the character.
In the books, Allanon is constantly tortured by the decisions he has to make, the ways he has had to manipulate people, for the good of the Four Lands. During an exchange with Bandon, you get to see this pain rise above the skin so to speak. It was nice to see Mr. Bennet have the chance to bring more depth to his portrayal.
That being said, it bothers me how much they have powered down Allanon. I get not wanting him to be to OP, but having a hard time-fighting Bandon? Not right people. Allanon is over 500 years old, with countless battles behind him against beings like the Warlock Lord and the Dagda Mor. He would wipe the floor with Bandon.
I know this sounds odd since he isn’t a character really in the series, but my God people could you give Shea a break?
I was already not excited about what they did with Shea in the first season, making him a miserable drunk who killed himself, abandoning his wife and child, but now they even took his victory over the Warlock Lord away as well.
Which sucks. It just sucks.
And it doesn’t need to be this way. You could have had Bandon follow in the footsteps of Brona, collecting artifacts that were created and used by him, to become the new Warlock Lord. Include the Ildatch, which is how Brona became the Warlock Lord in the first place, and at this time in the story, it is still around. It’s mind-boggling.
I don’t know how they are going to justify this in a way that is even remotely satisfying for those of us who read the books, but I am willing to wait and see.
But I’m not happy.
I hope you enjoyed reading Shannara Explained:S02E01
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