This week on The Shannara Chronicles, everyone does stupid things for stupid reasons, character assassination happens for no reason at all, girls bond at a prom, and the plot goes absolutely nowhere.
Look, I’m gonna be straight with you guys. The only reason I’m actually covering this episode is because you guys keep reading these posts. I’m not vain enough to claim I’m doing this for any reason other than that. My Shannara posts get read, so I keep making them. Simple as that.
Personally, I’d rather be playing through Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines again.
I’m running a Toreador this time. Killing other vampires with an artsy flair instead of just brutalizing them in my usual Brujah fashion. It’s a departure for me.
Still, since these posts have proven popular with my small readership, I suppose I can brutalize one of my favorite fantasy series instead. It hurts me more than it does Mr. Brooks, I’m sure.
I mentioned this back in my first post on The Shannara Chronicles, but I’m going to repeat it here. Terry Brooks Shannara series was a big part of why I wanted to become a fantasy author myself. That, and Dungeons & Dragons. Watching his Shannara series be reduced to this, it hurts more than I can say. More than I really care to endure week after week.
I’m also big enough to admit that I enjoy getting reads, though, so here I am, suffering through the assassination of one of my most beloved fantasy series, for you guys.
Some part of me hope you appreciate that. Another part of me thinks you guys are assholes. Sadistic assholes. That I love.
We may have an unhealthy relationship.
Anyway, here we are, at episode seven of a ten episode series, and I can’t help but wonder just where the hell the plot went. It certainly isn’t moving towards any kind of a meaningful resolution. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at all, except in circles as out so called heroes act like high school teenagers.
In a sign even the writers know this, Amberle and Eretria spend time bonding at a prom. Seriously. During which, Amberle discovers the joy of playing D&D, making me roll my eyes so hard I think I gave myself a concussion.
Can we move towards an actual resolution, perhaps, show? Cause, that’d be nice.
All that aside, let’s get into the episode, so my suffering can end for a week.
We begin with Wil waking up far from the frozen hell that was Pykon. Exactly how he got washed so far downstream, much less while still going in the direction he wanted, all without getting hypothermia, is not explained, so I’m just going to say a wizard did it.
Oh, lets not forget the Reaper. Not content to let the previous defeat of this super badass demon be considered too anti-climactic, the Reaper is dead from having fallen into a river. The same river that Wil fell in, and is just fine. When you are given an anti-climactic end, get up and go for an even more anti-climactic end! It’s the Shannara way!
Anyway, Wil is worried about the women folk, who can’t survive long without his manliness there to protect them. Finding a blood trail, he follows it and soon encounters a random Elf, who tries to kill him.
Must be a viewer.
Wil manages to convince the Elf not to kill him, again because a wizard did it. Sure, he showed the guy he had Elf ears, too, but that was after he more or less managed to not get his head bashed in by a rock. Presumably with the help of a wizard, who did it.
Meanwhile, back in Arborlon, Ander is trying to convince his brother and Eviltine that attacking the Dagda Mor head on is suicide. Arion doesn’t care, because he has a powerful man-need to kill something. Eviltine decides both of them shall go, even though that leaves no one to inherit the throne, and should be a giant screaming sign that something is wrong. Instead, they agree to go, because everyone in this show is massively stupid.
Well, okay, Ander does object and offers to go alone, on the grounds that Arion is the crown Prince. When Eviltine shrugs that off, he doesn’t offer any further arguments, though. Because that might involve being smart.
Back with the party, Amberle wakes up and almost runs right into the Elf hunters that took the random Elf’s ear, but Eretria finds her and the two slip away before the generic fantasy barbarians can see them.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Allanon is alive, in a Druid cave, trying to heal the wounds he got from the obviously evil sword Arion stabbed him with. Only because Manu Bennett’s contract isn’t up yet, though.
In Arborlon, we get brief male nudity, but only from behind, to remind us this is on MTV, before Arion and Tilton debate obeying the King’s orders, even though those orders are stupid. Arion even admits that this plan is suicide, but he must go, in order to prove himself worthy of being King.
Uh… what? How is getting yourself killed proving yourself worthy to be King? You’ll be dead. You can’t sit on the throne if your dead. Never mind that, though, look at the pretty mostly naked people! That’s better than a plot! Whee!
Back with Wil, he’s tending random Elf’s ear, or rather, the hole where his ear should be. He does this by basically getting the guy high, admitting that this combination of herbs is good for recreational use as well.
Come on. Seriously? The hero of our story is a crackhead? Or was this suppose to be some sort of a stance on the legalization of pot? I honestly can’t tell. I can’t get past the fact that Wil just admitted to using drugs.
Anyway, Elf dude tells Wil all about the Elf hunters, which is basically just a bunch of Z movie barbarian extras who hunt Elves for their ears, then sell them to Gnomes, who use them as an aphrodisiac. Because… actually, I have no idea why. Eating Elf ears has been a running thing with this show, but even with Elf dudes explanation, it makes no sense. Maybe it’s suppose to be some kind of message about racism? I’m honestly not sure.
As that’s happening, Amberle and Eretria are running through the forest, when the low rent barbarians find them and shoot arrows at everything around them. They run, but Amberle falls over her own feet and has to leave her fathers sword behind. The barbarians find the sword, and decide to get the rest of their band in on the hunt.
Then Amberle and Eretria fall into a pit.
It’s not a trap, mind you. It’s a gymnasium, where a high school was holding a prom before the old world ended. Somehow, it’s still in pretty good shape, complete with streamers and year books you can flip through. Eretria thinks it should have rotted away, bu Amberle says it was sealed and preserved.
Except for the bats. Which kind of implies that it wasn’t sealed very well. Which in turn implies everything should have rotted away. No time for sense though, we’ve got to get back to Wil and the Elf dude.
They’ve tracked down the barbarian camp, and these guys are so low rent it hurts.
Wil manages to sneak up on them, because stealth is a key skill for healers, and learns they don’t have Amberle and Eretria, so he’s gonna go try and find them. The barbarians leave first, however, with one staying behind, for some reason.
Back at the prom, Amberle and Eretria have lots of time to bond and be all sisterly. For two people who hate each other, that is. It probably has something to do with Eretria’s new hairstyle that she picked up while unconscious in the river.
Whatever the reason, they are now friends. Eretria wants to find a way out, but Amberle is content to sit around, looking through yearbooks, and waiting for Wil to come save her. It is only grudgingly that she decides to let Eretria take charge. I guess Amberle thinks she’s kinda butch, which is close enough to male that her weak female sensibilities can handle it.
Oh, and I now have a mild concussion from banging my head against my desk. Thanks for that.
Over in Arborlon, Arion and Ander are getting ready to go on their suicide mission so Arion can return victorious and prove he is worthy to be the Litch King. Tilton stops him for a makeout session, and Arion acts like a douchebag, which she finds hot, because that’s how women are written in this show.
Basically, she pleads with him to come back alive. From the suicide mission. Which he says is the plan. Even though it’s a suicide mission. Something even he agreed with earlier, and will again shortly.
I don’t even know what to say at this point. This show actively hates itself, and its viewers. That’s the only thing that makes sense.
Encumbered by stupidity, we press on.
Back at the Druid Cave, Allanon has a vision of his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Allanon says that after 300 years, he’s tired and ready to die. Fuck the world. Obi-Wan assures him a new Druid has been born, and he must teach that one before he can pass on. Then, he heals Allanon with his Force powers, shows him the future, gives him new clothes, and a shiny new staff.
That’s a pretty convenient plot development there, guys.
Much like Allanon, I am weary and wish this world would end, but we’re only half way through the episode, so let us press on to even greater heights of stupidity.
Meanwhile, at the prom, Amberle and Eretria wander around looking for a door out, while ignoring all those little beams of sunlight shining all over the place. Those probably aren’t ways out, though, since the place is sealed. Even when they do find a door, it is buried, so all they can do is beat their feeble little girl hands in vain.
This show actively makes me hate myself for watching it. That’s really something.
Amberle immediately gives up, because they are faced with a mild obstacle. Eretria notices she’s bleeding, and wraps her in a football jacket, which means they are going steady, I think. Either that, or she’s hoping mutant rats are nesting inside it after it’s hung there for a thousand years without rotting. Which, I can’t tell.
As they head back so Eretria can inspect Amberle’s injury, Amberle stops to pick up some D&D dice, because this show really does hate us and wants us to know how much.
Back with Wil and his new friend, Wil is getting ready to track the barbarian horde, though that may be a strong word for what this bunch is, but doesn’t get to because his new friend goes nuts over seeing the lone barbarian playing with his ear. By which, I mean the ear he cut off the Elf. How the Elf knows that is his ear, I have no idea, but then again, I don’t know why the barbarian is playing with it, either.
He rushes into the camp, making Wil follow, and gets his ass kicked by the barbarian. He almost loses his other ear, but Wil saves him, because he’s a man, and that’s what men do. They save helpless women and nerds.
I’ve never seen a fantasy series that hated its own audience so fucking much.
Back at the prom, Eretria pokes at Amberle’s injury. She doesn’t clean it, or do anything, she just pokes at it. Then they talk about Wil, and Amberle actually says, “I’m sure he’ll sail in here any minute and save the day.”
You know what, when you actually have the female lead openly state that she is such a damsel in distress, she can’t even get out of a gym without a man there to help her, you have crossed the line into a parody.
Amberle then talks about her how hurt she is that during a time of war, her grandfather made some hard calls and bad decisions. This, of course, means the Elves deserve to die, and the world should be overrun with demons. Or something. I don’t know. She’s so fucking melodramatic, I can’t even cope.
Blah, blah, blah, she and Eretria bond over being orphans, and look like they are gonna make out, but don’t get to, because the barbarian arrive. Eretria and Amberle go hide, because Wil isn’t there to protect them.
Back at camp, Wil and his new friend interrogate the barbarian they captured, learn which way the barbarians went to look for the womenz, and then angry one eared Elf slits the guys throat. Wil is horrified, though I have no idea why. What did he think they were going to do, tie the guy up? Tickle him until he was their friend?
One Ear heads over to free his friend, and Wil is shocked by whatever he sees in the cave, already over the brutal murder of the guy who would have happily stabbed them in the back.
Back at the prom, Amberle acts like a damsel in distress to lure a barbarian into a trap. It isn’t hard, since she’s had so much practice. Eretria kills the guy, and they go take out another, thus securing the climbing gear they need to escape.
Meanwhile, Ander and Arion have arrived, and we are reminded that this is a suicide mission. Arion plays it off by claiming that is the burden of Princes, which makes even less sense than his plan to come back alive from the suicide mission.
Over with Amberle and Eretria, they are about to escape when Amberle spots an old newspaper clipping about an earthquake. There’s a picture of the stained glass window from her vision, next to a map, that points them straight to Safehold.
Wow. The dues ex machina is strong with this episode. It’s one thing for the heroes to stumble upon a key piece of information, but it’s totally another when they have it handed to them in the most stupid way possible. Such as finding it in a newspaper clipping that has survived hanging on the wall for a thousand years or more.
They are quickly captured by the lead barbarian, a scary woman that we know is scary, because she use to be Eretria’s girlfriend. At least the one off comment about Eretria being bi wasn’t so one offed after all, but did we have to use it to build up to gay people are evil? Really?
Well, barbarian lady is pissed and only became an evil Elf hunter because Eretria walked out on her or something. Whatever. This is stupid, so lets fast forward.
We rejoin Ander and Arion, who have arrived at the Black Henge and learn all the demons are gone. Arion assumes they are marching on Arborlon, meaning this is the time to strike, save the world, and go down as the hero the world will remember forever. Cause he’s a dick.
There’s some more with Eretria and Amberle. Wil literally swings in and saves them both, and they are so grateful, they almost give him a threesome on the spot. Turns out, One Ear was a Wingrider, and has a giant bird. They all grab the rope and fly away.
Well, Eretria gets shot and falls back into barbarian hands, but that’s what happens when you aren’t a good, clean, straight, white girl. The hero doesn’t save you.
Over with Ander and Arion, they try to sneak in and kill the Dagda Mor, only to learn he was waiting for them, since he organized all of this and everything. He reveals that the sword Arion has been swinging around is actually his, that Eventine is dead, replaced by the Changeling, and Arion is nothing but a butt puppet.
Naturally, upon learning all this, Arion tries to stab him with the super magic sword. Of evil. That belongs to the Dagda Mor. This goes about as well as you’d think, and he kills Arion.
I figured he was going to die, but assumed he would do so redeeming himself. Turns out, nope. He just dies a completely pointless, senseless, needless death. Then Allanon shows up, does some magic, frees Bandon, and protects Ander from being killed by the Dagda Mor, who is mildly annoyed by all this.
Oh, and Bandon wakes up, looking all sexy and shirtless.
Wil and Amberle, in the meantime, decide to abandon their quest to search for Eretria, but only after Amberle admits she picked up the D&D dice because they remind her of Wil and his Elfstones. By which, she means his balls. Cause she wants them. Since as we all know, the only reason women would ever want to play D&D is to get the hot nerd men. Because they are all fake geeks.
This show seriously hates its own audience, so much it hurts.
Back in Arborlon, Ander tells Eviltine of Arion’s death, before whipping out Allanon’s mighty morphin sword, and killing the Changeling. It turns to ash on the spot, begging the question, why didn’t Allanon do that in the first place instead of breaking the damn things neck?
Whatever. This show doesn’t try to make sense. The creative team behind it hates fantasy, and everyone who loves it. Nothing about this makes sense, it’s sexist to the point even dudebro’s are going, “Whoa, WTF?” and is somewhat racist as well.
This hurts me. It hurts me because this could have been so great. It could have been the thing that proved fantasy was a viable genre for television. Instead, it wallows in every cliche it can find, and spits on its own audience in contempt, not just of them, but the source material, and the genre as a whole.
While Game of Thrones has its problems, without a doubt, The Shannara Chronicles is infinitely worse, and there is not a single sign it’s going to get better anytime soon.
There are still three episodes left, which I will recap, but I’ve lost any hope that this show can be saved. That it can be anything but a massive insult to fans of the books, Mr. Brooks, and fantasy a whole.
It’s garbage, rotting in the landfill of television, and nothing more.