I attended the panel for the show at SDCC 2015, and I’ve been waiting for it with bated breath ever since. The show is based on Terry Brooks’ series of Shannara fantasy novels, and over the past decade I have read every single one. So far this season: the Ellcrys, which creates the Forbidding and keeps the Four lands demon-free, is dying. Only Amberle, the Elvish princess, can save it. She’s joined by the Druid Allanon and Wil, a half-Elf with a mythic lineage. Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie.
The Shannara Chronicles has clearly separated into three distinct storylines: Amberle’s quest for the Bloodfire, the defense of Arborlon, and Prince Ander’s trip to the Breakline.
Allanon attempts to reach Bandon through a psychic link, only to discover that the seer’s mind has been locked away by the Dagda Mor, and that the boy can now be controlled by the warlock. The warlock can also control Allanon, and the druid attacks Prince Arion under the Dagda Mor’s influence.
This is all the fuel that the Changeling–masquerading as King Eventine–needs to sway Arion against the druid. The faux king persuades Arion to retrieve a magic sword from the caverns beneath Arborlon. A sword that he claims can defeat the demon army and is proof of Allanon’s treachery as he did not tell the Elves about it.
Arion fetches the sword and then stabs Allanon with it. Twice. The druid disappears in a shadowy flames and smoke, and the faux king ominously says, “The druid is no more.”
At the Breakline
Prince Ander and Commander Tilton reach the Breakline with the help of the gnome, Slanter. Ander and Tilton have a frank discussion about what went wrong in their relationship (yep, definitely another love triangle) and they seem to put some ghosts of their past to rest. Slanter commends Ander for his honour in their dealings. All indications point to the gnomes being more willing to help the Elves in the upcoming war against demons.
When Ander and Tilton reach the edge of the Forbidding and see the demon armies that await, they realise that they are going to need all the help they can get.
Team Ellcrys on the Quest to the Bloodfire
The sixth episode of the season begins with Wil taking Amberle to an abandoned and crumbling playground set. It’s a nice homage to Brooks’ The Word and the Void series, and a subtle suggestion into the origins of the dystopia of The Shannara Chronicles. Wil and Amberle confess their feelings for each other and embrace in a passionate kiss until…Amberle wakes up.
Yes, Amberle was dreaming about Wil, and it looks like the Eretria/Wil/Amberle love triangle is getting more complicated. More on that later.
Team Ellcrys becomes aware that someone in Arborlon is conveying information to the demons about their quest. They decide that they have to take a different path–one that the demons wouldn’t know about–through the fortress of Pykon, which has supposedly been abandoned since the end of the war.
The fortress’ old commander and his daughter still live there, and they welcome the weary travellers to take a break from their journey. They bathe, they rest, and they eat…drugged food.
When the group awakens from their drugged sleep, the old elf guard reveals that he was the lead interrogator for the Elves during the war. (“Interrogation,” in this case, means “torture.”) He’s bitter against the Elessedil family for dissolving his job, and he’s a sickening kind of pleased that Amberle has found her way into his dominion. Trigger warning: what follows in the episode are scenes of torture, explicit mentions of rape, and mentions of lobotomy as a form of control. If this is unsettling to you, please take care when watching this episode.
Wil, who befriended the interrogator’s half-Elf daugher Mag, is able to save Amberle with the girl’s help. The reunited couple meets with a passionate kiss, much to the disappointment of Eretria. Mag shows them the way out of Pykon, but before Team Ellcrys can leave the mountain for good (and give Mag a better home), the interrogator returns and attempts to kill Wil. It’s Mag who saves him, and Mag who pays the ultimate price in the most tragic moment of a dark episode. Amberle kills the interrogator, but the relief is short-lived once Team Ellcrys realises that the demon has followed them to Pykon.
Crispin McCutie (What? That’s not his name?) stays behind to face the demon and to give the others a chance to escape. This sacrifice, of course, is McCutie’s swan song. He is no match for the demon, and neither is the rest of the team. Amberle, Wil, and Eretria tumble over the side of the mountain with the demon, leaving viewers with quite the cliffhanger.
Pun fully intended.
Still To Come
The conversation between Ander and Tilton at the Breakline suggests another source of tension between Arion and the rest of his family. It is likely that Arion will become more influenced by the demon masquerading as his father, so Tilton and Ander will probably reunite to face him (and rekindle their romance?)
As for Eretria/Wil/Amberle? The love triangle seemed to be centered on Wil may not be so clear cut. Eretria’s approach to Amberle in the bath suggests that Eretria may be equally fond of both princess and half-Elf. It certainly would explain why she stays behind to help them face the demon at the end of the episode. And, hell, if you’re like me, you’ll spend the next week on Tumblr looking at Princess Rover gif sets (yes, Princess Rover, it’s a ship).
What about the Druid?
Is Allanon actually dead? Arion stabbed him twice with a magic blade, but the druid did survive thirty years of sleeping in a frozen cave. So, the answer is: who knows? Without Allanon, Arborlon is defenseless, so I’m going to guess that the druid will magically make a reappearance. That is not an exaggeration. For fans of the books, you know how large of a role Allanon plays in the bigger storyline, and it is likely that he will do the same in the show.
Status: maybe dead, but probably only temporarily.
The Shannara Chronicles airs on Tuesdays at 10 pm on MTV.
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