The Shannara Chronicles: “Breakline”

banner by the Collected Mutineer
banner by the Collected Mutineer

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, and Eretria, a Rover.  Warning: Spoilers ahead. 

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Synopsis

Team Ellcrys

Team Ellcrys is separated after tumbling off the edge of a cliff at the end of “Pykon.” Fortunately, the long drop into unknown territory seems to have killed the reaper demon; theories as to why an Elf, a half-Elf, and a Rover survived the fall can be submitted to me via Twitter. Wil stumbles around, looking for Eretria and Amberle, but instead finds Perk, an Elf with a missing ear. His ear has been taken by Elf hunters, a group of humans who believes that Elf ears hold medicinal properties and essentially poach anyone with pointier ears than a human.

While Wil and Perk are able to outwit the hunters, Eretria and Amberle are not so lucky, stumbling across their path multiple times. While fleeing through the forest, Amberle drops her sword, and the Elf hunters quickly realise that they’re hunting a royal Elf. This, of course, churns up their manic searching to level 10 and in their hurry to escape, Amberle and Eretria fall through some rotten floorboards and into the past.

Screenshot 2016-02-10 16.40.08

The princess and rover have fallen into a decaying high school, still decorated from a prom. They have a rather tender moment when they realise that they are both orphans and therefore have something in common after all. “Who would have thought?” says Amberle. “The Princess and the Rover, bound by the same tragic fate.” It was the most touching moment of the episode, and is inevitably ruined by the arrival of the Elf hunters.  As they search for a way out, Eretria efficiently takes out most of the Elf hunters, and Amberle sees the window from her Ellcrys vision, and learns it is in an abandoned church near what was once San Francisco, providing them with another clue with how to complete their quest for the Bloodfire.

Unfortunately, the remaining Elf hunter, Zora, is wise to Eretria’s talents since they are ex-girlfriends. Cue that awkward moment when your ex walks into the prom to see you with another girl.

Luckily, Wil’s new friend Perk is a Wing Rider, and they show up in time to save Amberle from becoming some goblin’s penicillin. It’s a juxtaposition with the ending of “Pykon” as the three are air-lifted from the crumbling high school, but Zora has one last trick up her sleeve. Or should I say ‘arrow’? A wounded Eretria falls from her lifeline to safety, and is left behind, much to the dismay of Amberle.

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In Arborlon

After Ander and Commander Tilton’s return from the Breakline, a plan is quickly spurred into motion by King Eventine (who is actually the Changeling). “Two sons, one blade, one purpose,” Eventine says as he sends his sons off to the Breakline to kill the Dagda Mor.

Ander and Arion do not question their father, even though the plan of attack seems entirely out of character for the king. Even Commander Tilton, the most faithful soldier, advises Arion not to go. The brothers do go, however, and after a second uneventful trip to the Breakline, they see nothing of the demon army that Ander had seen a few days before, just the Dagda Mor, standing alone.

It’s a trap, a demonic plan to end the royal house of Elessedil, and make the conquering of the Four Lands almost entirely without defence. Luckily Allanon is not actually dead, and appears at the Breakline to help the Elvish princes. The Dagda Mor is thwarted, but not defeated. It is too late, however, for Arion.

Screenshot 2016-02-10 20.30.50

A heartbroken Ander returns to Arborlon with Allanon, and the Changeling is at last defeated. Ander is the new king of the Elves, and in the face of the biggest threat to the Four Lands since the War of the Races, he is visibly shaken.

Still To Come

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The Death of Arion

The death of the Elvish king and the crown prince leaves Arborlon with a leader who was never supposed to become king. While the Changeling has been dealt with and the Dagda Mor was unable to kill both princes, the damage has been done: Arborlon has been thrust into turmoil. Even if Ander were prepared to take the crown, the death of so many members of the royal family will cause unrest and distrust throughout the Elvish kingdom.

This is not exactly an opportune time to question the methods of royal security, especially since the Dagda Mor’s demon army will be knocking at Arborlon’s door any day. The death of Arion will likely result in some political disruption, and will make it harder for Ander to move the Elves to action against the demon threat. Also, the return of Allanon after having been branded a traitor? It is likely Ander will have to prove himself many, many times before the end comes.

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Love Triangles

While the Ander/Tilton/Arion love triangle ceases to be, the Amberle/Wil/Eretria triangle is just beginning to spark. But, perhaps the triangle looks more like this: Wil/Amberle/Eretria, with the princess at the epicenter of an emotional tug-of-war. This week we learned that on The Shannara Chronicles, Eretria is canonically bisexual and the suggestive teasing she has been casting toward Amberle since they met may be more than just teasing.

Although this trait of Eretria’s deviates from the book’s storyline, I cannot find myself to be put off by it. As a bisexual woman who craves representation on television, Eretria’s character is like a cold glass of water in the middle of the Sahara. As a fan of the books but not of spoilers, this is all I can say about how this will affect the show: I think the conclusion of this season of The Shannara Chronicles will be much more emotional for the audience if Eretria does, indeed, have feelings for Amberle.

Until next week, you can find me squeeing about PrincessRover over on Twitter or Tumblr.

The Shannara Chronicles airs on Tuesdays at 10 pm on MTV. 

-The Collectress


Enjoy our nerdy rambles and adventures? Help support our coverage of SDCC 2016 by clicking here. Also, come squee with me about PrincessRover on Twitter

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