Okay, so I know I said I’d have this up yesterday, but again, I’ve been swamped, and I’m already lousy at time management. For real. I’ve barely had time to play any of my online games!
Okay, so that wasn’t a very good argument. I’ll just admit I’m late getting this up so we can move on to resolving the cliffhanger from episode 2, and dive into episode three.
Before that, and I am going to be very brief here, I want to reiterate that the chief complaints I’ve seen of this series so far is that it moves way too fast, and that nothing ever seems to happen. These two arguments are often levied within a breath of each other, making me suspect that the people writing the reviews were high.
Admittedly, things happen fast. The show has the pacing of a mocking bird on speed. But to then say that nothing ever happens is just asking for random people like me to question if beating your head against a brick wall is a hobby, or a lifestyle choice. Mainly because things do happen. Lots of things.
As we will see shortly.
“Fury” picks up right where “Chosen” left off, with a Fury class demon bearing down on Wil and Amberle, as Wil waves a dagger at it. We saw in the two part series premier that Wil had more or less embraced being a total pessimist, so it kind of makes sense, given everything that he has seen and experienced since leaving his home town, that getting eaten by a demon would, really, be the most logical way out of having to deal with all this insanity.
Just in case you don’t remember, let’s recap. Failed to save his mom, struck out on his own, got drugged and robbed by a woman he hoped to get busy with, got woken up by a pissy Druid, dragged to the fallen Druid keep, had a wall thrown at him, dragged to the Elven capitol where a demon is slaughtering people his age willy nilly, sent to dig around through the belongings of a Princess, dragged to another place, where he saw said Princess naked, nearly got his throat cut out, then attacked by a demon. That’s not even mentioning the crazy Druid wanting him to master brain melting magic rocks, by the way.
Yeah, getting eaten probably sounds like the better option right now. And don’t you even give me any of that “when you put it that way” nonsense. That is literally want has happened to him so far, and they haven’t even set on the actual quest yet! So, yes, it makes sense that Wil has given in the full on crazy of his situation, and tries to protect the Princess who, less than ten minutes ago, kicked his ass!
And he’s doing it with a dagger!
I am going to have so much fun with you, Wil.
Anyway, before the Fury can eat him and Amberle, Allanon manages to shrug off falling from a cliff, and uses his mighty morphing power sword to lop of the Fury’s head. Too bad he couldn’t just throw a fireball at it or something.
Sorry. Right. That’s a Wizard spell. As a Druid, he should have cast lightening.
Allanon realizes that the Dagda Mor isn’t going to leave things to one Fury, and that more will be coming as quickly as his Evilness can get them out of the Forbidding. Amberle wants to go see if her aunt Pyria is okay, first, while Wil goobers about in shock that they were just attacked by a demon. Allanon stops Amberle, since he knows that getting eaten by a demon is not a flesh wound, and somehow manages to get Wil to get his shit together before more monsters can show up.
It’s important to point out that he actually does tell them that more will be coming. Like, he actually says, “More will be coming. We need to leave.” This is incredibly important in a minute.
They head down the beach a little ways before stopping… for reasons. I’m not sure what those reasons were. Personally, I’d think that if I’d just seen a giant, horrific, flying demon eat a member of my family before trying to eat me, I’d put a hell of a lot of miles between me and that spot the other demons know I am at before deciding to have a chat.
Stop they do, however, so Amberle can demand to know what’s happening. Wil doesn’t know, since no one was suppose to know where they’d gone. Allanon declares, very gravely, that the agent of the Dagda Mor in the palace will stop at nothing to finish off the Chosen.
Oops. Yeah. Probably should have worded that better, oh mighty Druid. Amberle realizes that all the other Chosen, including Lorin, are dead, freaks out, and runs off alone.
Still near where there are demons looking for her. Ah, Wil. You don’t get to be the only stupid person this week. Enjoy it while it lasts, buddy.
Wil gets to give Allanon shit, another thing he best enjoy while it lasts, before going after her. While they chase down the beach, in full view of flying, people eating demons, we see that Allanon got hurt in that little scuffle. Not from falling off the cliff, mind you. No, that just winded him for a moment. When he chopped off the Fury’s head, it got a claw strike in on him and he’s not doing well.
When the only person who can actually kill the flying, people eating demon is gravely wounded, and wants to hurry, it might be wise to actually hurry. Just saying.
Instead, Wil and Amberle get a bonding moment as he shares his grief over losing his mother, even though she only lost a guy she wasn’t in love with, a bunch of people who hated her for having the gall to have a vagina, and her aunt, whom she hadn’t actually seen in years, and was just exchanging letters with a few times a year. Totally the same thing.
Joking and sarcasm aside, what could easily be a trite scene is saved by Butler and Drayton actually being good enough actors to infuse the entire thing with real emotion. That, and Wil gets another really great line after she thanks him for protecting her, and he tells her not to confuse terror for bravery. He may be a dork, but at least he’s self aware.
Allanon cockblocks Wil by collapsing from his injuries, like a dick. He does manage to tell them that he needs them to take him to a Druid cave located nearby. That is rather convenient, as I’d think Druid caves aren’t like 7-11’s, but what the hell. Off they go to the Druid cave. For some reason, Amberle rides behind Wil, with Allanon draped over his horse like luggage, instead of the other way around. Guess with Lorin dead, she needs a new boy toy to be confused over.
At the Druid cave, Wil tries to stop the bleeding, but can’t, as he doesn’t have anything to suture the wound with. Allanon basically tells him to piss off and get Amberle back to the Ellcrys, apparently forgetting that even if Wil did do that, none of them know where the hell Safe Hold is, how to get the seed, or how to avoid the Changeling that’s still lurking about the palace.
This is one place where I will say that Wil displays a great deal more common sense than Allanon. He knows that without the Druid, they are basically lost, since Allanon is not only the one with the magic book, but the only one who knows how to use it, how to fight the demons, and the only magic user on hand. That Wil would put saving his life over obeying him is the most practical, intelligent thing he will likely ever do.
Allanon, being a dick, doesn’t care.
While Allanon is dying and still managing to make grave declarations, Wil and Amberle go to find the shores of the nearby Silver River. Wil knows, since he is a healer, that there is healing properties in the mud. Amberle wants to stay with Allanon, but since Allanon is basically just laying there, Wil figures it’d be better if she was where he could her. Just in case he needs to impotently wave his dagger around again.
Back in Arborlon, Ander is watching leaves fall off the Ellcrys and getting drunk, something Eventine calls him out on. Seems there have been numerous demon attacks in the westlands already, which means the Dagda Mor already has more minions than we’ve seen yet. Ander responds to this by acting like a baby.
Briefly, we learn that his elder brother, Amberle’s father, and first prince, died saving Ander from Gnomes. Ander blames himself, and assumes his father does to, wishing it had been Ander who had died instead. When Eventine doesn’t confirm or deny this, what with having an apocalypse to deal with and all, Ander storms off, eyes full of manly tears. Eventine just gives the most royal eyeroll ever, because both of his surviving sons are fucking idiots.
Back over in Wil’s World, Amberle learns that Wil was chosen to protect her by Allanon because he is descended from the Shannara bloodline, which she thinks is awesome. Wil is less impressed with his own lineage, and tells her that once he gets her back to Arborlon, he’s done with this lunacy, and heading out to do what he wanted in the first place, train as a healer. Amberle, however, is whatevering out of this first, promising to save Allanon, then bailing.
Somehow, I don’t think reluctant hero quite applies to these two, who are actually arguing over who gets to escape the quest to save the world first.
They reach the Silver River, and Wil strips down to be eye candy to Amberle and the audience alike before diving in and swimming around to find his magic mud. When he resurfaces, however, Amberle is nowhere to be seen. At least, not until he makes it back to the shore and learns she has been captured by Eretria.
Two people who want to abandon the quest to save the world caught by someone who doesn’t give a shit about teh world. These guys are gonna be the best of friends before this over, I can tell.
Now, as you’ll recall, Eretria is tasked with finding Wil so he can show Cephelo how to work the Elfstone. She also has a beef with Amberle for out thieving her and stealing her horse. For Eretria, this is pretty much what Christmas must feel like, as she’s succeeded at actually catching all the Pokemon she needs.
Wil attempts to appeal to her better nature, but she doesn’t really seem to have one, even when he tells her that someone will die if they don’t get back. Eretria basically calls that bad luck, then laughs off his story of demons. I’m sure she could be more unpleasant if she tried, but not by much.
The two are collared by Eretria and her hulking bodyguard, tied to horses, and lead through the forest. Amberle tries to glare a hole in Eretria’s back, to no avail, before giving Wil shit for having fallen for Eretria’s seductions. He points out that when you spend your life being judged, you try to be more open minded, but this just ends up getting him drug for a while.
Amberle tries to engage Eretria in honorable combat, and gets headbutted unconscious, as a lesson that some people don’t actually fight fair. With that, the two are taken back to the Rover camp and separated. Wil is tied to a stake, until Cephalo shows up and starts laying on the charm, wanting to lull Wil to his side.
Wil is kinda stupid, but even he can learn from his mistakes, and knows better than to trust a Rover. Still, he plays along until he can grab the Elfstones Eretria stole, Amberle, and get the hell out of there to see if Allanon is still alive. Cephalo offers to let him be a Rover, and as such, part of a family, refusing to even hear his answer until the feast that night.
Back at the beach, a second Fury arrives, finds the dead one, and sets about tracking our heroes. This is sure to end well.
With the demon on the way, Cephelo now reveals his evil plan. He plans to have Eretria and Amberle fight, probably not fairly, in an effort to convince Wil that Amberle’s life depends on him telling Cephalo how to sue the Elfstone. Once he knows that, he pretty much plans to just kill them both.
Eretria rally doesn’t want to be involved in any of this, and figure that since she brought Wil, like she promised, she’s done and free to go. Cephelo sees it differently, letting her know that if he doesn’t get what he wants, he’ll kill Eretria.
Man. Some father figure you are, dude. I mean, there’s motivating your kids, then there’s that.
After night falls, we rejoin Allanon, and learn why he wanted to go to the Druid cave as the alter thingy he was left on has healed him. It didn’t look like it was a gentle healing, but he’s back in fighting form. A lot of shit could have been avoided if he’d just told Wil that’s why he wanted to go there, but I figure Allanon couldn’t figure out a way to pronounce it gravely.
Back at the Rover camp, Amberle wakes up from the sleepy time headbutt Eretria gave her, to find Eretria gloating over her. She tries to appeal to Eretria’s humanity, and it works about as well as when Wil tried it. If at first you don’t succeed, I suppose.
That aside, Eretria has actually come to free her and help her escape, as she has no intention of killing for Cephelo. It isn’t that Eretria doesn’t like killing or anything, she just prefers to use it as a last resort, rather than doing it for shits and giggles. Mostly, though, she’s come to see that Cephelo has no intention of upholding their bargain to free her and plans to free Amberle just to spite him. Which isn’t a bad plan, or at least, it wouldn’t be if she’d ever given Amberle even a sliver a reason to trust her.
Amberle figures this is a trap, and takes Eretria’s dagger and tries to use her as a hostage to get Wil and her out of there. Really, if Eretria had given this a little thought, she probably could have seen this coming, but she’s too busy trying to fuck with Cephelo. To be fair, she does try to warn Amberle this won’t work.
Now, the funniest part of the whole conversation between Amberle and Eretria is that Amberle flat out says she won’t leave Wil, to which Eretria argues that she doesn’t get how the world works. You have to take care of yourself, because no one else will. Even though taking care of someone else was exactly what Wil and Amberle were trying to do when they were captured, and both have actively asked after the well being of the other since they arrived in the Rover camp, AND Amberle openly states she won’t leave Wil behind. All of these things directly contradict Eretria’s statement, which she totally fails to see.
At least, I find it hysterical, as it shows Eretria to be utterly myopic in her world view, something that I figure is going to end up biting her in the ass sooner or later.
Anyway, Cephelo is still trying to woo Wil over, to no avail. Amberle drags Eretria out and threatens to kill her if Cephelo doesn’t release them both, and after a bit of overacting on Cephelo’s part, learns he could care less. Eretria uses Amberle’s confusion over that to get free and starts to kick her ass when Wil intervenes.
With Amberle’s life on the line, Wil asks what Cephelo wants, and learns that he wants to know how to use the Elfstones, which he gives to Wil and orders him to demonstrate. Since Wil has no idea how to use them either, he’s kind of in a no win scenario. Good thing that other Fury arrives at that point and sends the Rover camp into a panic.
The demon dives at Eretria, but Amberle saves her, because she’s one of the good guys. Wil notices the Elfstones have gotten all glowey and runs over to defend them both, unleashing a repulsor blast that would make Tony Stark say “Dayum!”, incinerating the Fury. After which, he passes out.
Having once again had her worldview openly contradicted, Eretria helps Amberle drag him into a tent to see if he’s still alive. Amberle spots a dagger and grabs it, threatening Eretria, at least, until Cephelo shows up. She figures she’d do better to threaten him, and he does offer to let her and Wil walk away in exchange for the Elfstones. When she hesitates, he disarms her and starts to strangle her when he gets Druid smacked across the tent.
Yup. Allanon has arrived, and is not in the mood to deal with petty Rover chieftains with delusions of grandeur. He’s got a fucking world to save, damn it. He is so focused on that, in fact, that when Amberle expresses amazement he’s fine, he just snaps that she and Wil were suppose to go to Arborlon. In my head, he threw in a goram, just for good Firefly measure.
“You two were suppose to be in goram Arborlon!”
See? Totally works. I guess you could say that Wil and Amberle failed that city.
Fine, I’ll behave. Spoil sports.
Allanon drags them out and the next morning uses magic to heal Wil, while gravely pronouncing how the Elfstones are Wil’s burden. Amberle expresses regret over causing all this, when Allanon gets tired of that shit and tells her that this was destined to happen, and it isn’t her fault. It has been coming for centuries, and has nothing to do with her, beyond her being in the right place and the right time.
About time somebody told her vagina didn’t break the world.
Wil wakes up and Allanon gives him shit over not having gone straight to Arborlon, then walks over to mount up and ride. Wil, the poor dumb bastard, just lays there trying to figure out what the fuck happened.
With this side quest out of the way, they head out, but soon encounter a farmhouse that has been attacked by demons. The farmers are dead, and pretty gruesomely so, sending Wil to throw up in the barn. One doesn’t just go throwing up in front of a Princess, after all.
Amberle goes to check up on him and the two hear someone thumping about behind a locked door. Not to worry, it isn’t a demon. It’s just the Gimp from Pulp Fiction.
Actually, it’s an Elf named Bandon. Those dead farmers are his parents, and he seems to be in a pretty deep state of shock. Apparently, his folks locked him in there with that mask on for some bizarre reason that’ll probably be important later. For now, it just makes it hard to feel sorry they got eaten.
Amberle decides to take him back to Arborlon with them, which Allanon and Wil both think is a terrible idea. Allanon because he’s all about the quest, and Wil because… well.. because he’s really settling into being a total pessimist. Regardless, Amberle has decreed it, so off they go with Bandon, despite Allanon letting them know he can’t read the guys thoughts, which makes it hard for him to trust him.
Dude, when the only way you can trust people is if you can read their thoughts, you have issues.
Over at the Rover camp, Eretria is trying to whatever out, having held up her end of the deal. Cephelo, proving he’s a total dick, disagrees. He also learns that Amberle is the Princess of Arborlon, and thinks that is the sort of thing Eretria should have shared sooner, as it makes her valuable. He threatens to kill her if she doesn’t bring him the Elfstones, and Amberle.
Yeah, he’s not ever going to set her free. Time for a change of plan, Eretria. Maybe trust the folks who saved you from that demon, proving your world view is wrong? Yes? Oh, no. Okay, then.
Our heroes, plus Bandon, arrive in Arborlon, and we get a hint as to why Bandon was in the bondage cellar. When Amberle touches him, he gets a vision of her death. Which means he has a magic power, and one he apparently can’t control, so odds were he was in that cellar of his own accord.
Allanon orders the Blackwatch to not take their eyes off Amberle as she is reunited with Ander, and learns that the Elven Council blames her for killing the Ellcrys. This actually backs up the reason she left Arborlon in the first place, proving that she wouldn’t have gotten any help there, just blame. At least, until Allanon showed up, something she never could have predicted. Now, though, she has to appease the Council, and prove her vagina isn’t capable of killing sacred trees, just so she can go get the seed that will save the world from demons.
Wil decides this is the end of the line for him, and tells her he’s getting off the crazy train. She isn’t happy about it, but does understand. Allanon starts to try and talk him out of it, but Wil shoots him down, and even refuses to take the Elfstones. Allanon decides to let it go for now and focus on one problem at a time.
Before Wil can leave, Bandon stops him, begging him not abandon Amberle. Wil starts to blow him off, until Bandon tells him that if he doesn’t go to Safe Hold with Amberle, something terrible will happen. Now, I’d make a joke about how the crazy guy from the bondage cellar accomplished what the Druid couldn’t, but the fact is, Wil knows that there is no possible way for Bandon to know about Safe Hold.
In fact, he has been with the guy every single minute since they found him, so that he knows about this right and properly wigs Wil out. Enough that he begins to reconsider his decision, despite getting this dire warning from a crazy guy he found in a cellar. Unlike all the other dire warnings he’s been getting from a crazy guy that found him in a bathtub. Ya know, Wil’s life is full of dire warnings from crazy guys that show up in weird places.
While that’s happening, Amberle is appearing before the Council and her grandfather. Most of what happens is just recap at this point, as Allanon tells the Council what’s up, Amberle confirms it, tells her grandfather what happened to Pyria, and Eventine gives the Council the lowdown on the prophecy. Since Amberle is the only Chosen left who can carry out this quest, letting her back into to see he Ellcrys is kinda important.
Not that Arion agrees. No, he’s Prince Dick and decides this is a good time to go dicking all over the room, openly challenging Eventine, and trying to blame everything that’s happened on Gnomes. Maybe Trolls and humans, too, but mostly Gnomes. As far as he’s concerned, sending Amberle on some dumb quest is a waste of time, when they got killin to be doin. Besides, she abandoned her position as Chosen, so fuck her.
Again, I can’t tell if Arion is stupid, blind, terrified, or complicit. I do know I’d really like it if he’d shut the hell up, though.
Wil arrives and pretty much tells him to shut up, pointing out that Amberle didn’t abandon anything, since she went looking for a way to save the world. Arion orders him to be thrown out, and Allanon casually drops the Shannara bomb, which means Arion not only can’t throw Wil out, but just got demoted to number two in line for the throne, since Wil could literally take it if he wanted to.
Which he doesn’t, because he really does just want to go learn to be a healer. Still, Bandon got to him, and he figures he best stick around. Besides just knowing it’s the right thing to do, he kind of likes Amberle, and doesn’t want her to die, or the world to get over run with demons. He is, after all, one of the idiots who lives in it.
It’s amazing how useful that line has ended up being.
Wil gives an impassioned speech, and sways the Council into letting Amberle go see the Ellcrys. Granted, it probably had more to do with him being a Shannara than anything he said, but whatever works, am I right?
When he finishes talking, there is a great moment where he goes to stand by Allanon and quietly asks him not to say what he wants to say. Deciding to be less of a dick than usual, Allanon just gives him back the Elfstones and smirks.
With Amberle being allowed back in, she still has to prove herself worthy to the Ellcrys, a test that will either end with her getting the seed, or being killed by the tree. No pressure. With that, the magic tree door opens, and in she goes, leading us to our next cliffhanger.
There’s two big things I want to tackle in the afterthoughts this week, and the first has to do with another of the criticisms being levied at The Shannara Chronicles. Namely, that the cast is too white.
I’ll grant that it is heavily white. However, the people making a huge deal out of this are overlooking a few things I feel really need to be be pointed out. Manu Bennett, who plays Allanon, is Maori. Ivana Baquero, who plays Eretria, is Spanish. Emilia Burns, who plays Commander Tilton, is black, and Marcus Vanco, who plays Bandon, has a definite look to him of not being entirely white. I’m not sure what his background is, so I could be wrong, and he could just have a really fabulous tan, but those eyes are way too pretty for him to be a pure white boy.
Point is, there’s a good bit more diversity happening here than the show is actually being given credit for. Let’s not let perfect be the enemy of good, as The Shannara Chronicles is doing way better on the diversity front than say, Gods of Egypt, which has a completely white cast playing Egyptians.
Sometimes, we have to celebrate our small victories, instead of bitching and moaning that they aren’t huge victories. I’m not saying settle, just don’t crap all over a show that is doing better than most of the stuff on tv, and cinema. Hold it up, prove that diversity works, and talk a step forward.
Granted, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens having a woman and a black guy in the leading roles and chewing it’s way to the top box office spot of all time, small victories may seem too small, but they still matter.
The second thing is what I already know is going to be getting called out as a massive plot hole, namely that Wil agrees to go back to the quest after Bandon talks to him. The main thing I want to touch on here is the amazing job Marcus Vanco does playing this scene. His palpable fear, doubt, and desperation comes off the screen.
For Bandon, it is understandable that after Amberle basically saved him from starving to death tied up in a cellar, he’d want to do anything he could to make sure she didn’t die the way his vision showed, but Vanco really sells the ever loving hell out it. His genuine passion would make it hard for anyone to just ignore him, even had he not invoked Safe Hold, when Wil knows he can’t know about that.
In a show full of actors giving solid performances, Vanco really manages to hold his own with so little screen time and material to work with. I know the series is deviating greatly from the book, so I’m just hoping Vanco gets to hang around to show off his acting chops for the rest of the series.
I’ll be back next week with episode four: Changeling. Have a great weekend!