the shannara chronicles

the-shannara-chronicles-ellcrys

The First Season of The Shannara Chronicles comes to a close with the battle between good and evil, death, the fall of one villain and the rise of another, and plenty of cliffhangers should MTV decide to bring back the series for a Second Season. Like much of the First Season, the finale is a bit of a mixed bag. The climactic battle the series has teased us about for weeks finally comes to pass. It’s here the limits of a cable budget are felt as the battle lacks the size and scope of what the series has built up over ten episodes.

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the-shannara-chronicles-safehold

As the last leaf from the Ellcrys falls and civil war threatens to end Ander‘s (Aaron Jakubenko) rule before it ever begins, Wil (Austin Butler), Amberle (Poppy Drayton) and Eretria (Ivana Baquero) finally make it to Safehold through the tunnels beneath the ruins of San Fransisco. While Ander strikes an unlikely truce with the Gnomes to stop his position being usurped by an ambitious member of the High Council, the fate of several members of the quest is left in question as “Safehold” comes to a close.

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the-shannara-chronicles-pykon

The company’s quest to reach the Wilderun leads Wil (Austin Butler), Amberle (Poppy Drayton), Eretria (Ivana Baquero), Cephelo (James Remar), and the remaining canon-fodder extras into the mountains to the (mostly) abandoned Elven fortress of Pykon. Here they will encounter a single caretaker and his daughter who offer shelter from the storm but have far more notorious plans for the travelers. I am growing a bit concerned with The Lord of the Rings-style wanderings of our group as their goal of reaching the Bloodfire seems further from them with each weekly adventure than closer to a conclusion.

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the-shannara-chronicles-reaper

Amberle‘s (Poppy Drayton) quest to take the seed to the Bloodfire gets off to a rocky start when the company is taken captive by the Rovers. Leaving Wil (Austin Butler) and the soldiers to die, Cephelo (James Remar) takes the Elf Stones and the Elven princess as his payment for Eretria‘s (Ivana Baquero) freedom. Eretria’s betrayal of her father figure marks an important turning point for her character choosing to become part of the quest (while also saving the series from going down a dark path given the desires of the Rovers’ leader). Despite his assistance later in the episode, it’s hard to forgive or forget Cephelo’s attempted rape of Amberle.

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the-shannara-chronicles-changeling

After Amberle (Poppy Drayton) completes her quest inside the Ellcrys (which takes far less time than expected) and returns with the seed, the princess is attacked by a Changeling taking advantage of Eretria‘s (Ivana Baquero) presence after the Rover sneaks into the palace to seduce Wil (Austin Butler) and get her hands on the Elf Stones. Eventually the truth of the situation is worked out as the series sends the love triangle out into the world to save it from Armageddon. Given her experience within the tree Amberle is unnecessarily cool to Will, who finds a much warmer reception in his room as the episode plays with some very dumb romcom tropes in order to set the stage for the end of the episode and the quest moving forward.

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the-shannara-chronicles-fury

The attack of the demon, Allanon‘s (Manu Bennett) injury, and the capture of Amberle Elessedil (Poppy Drayton) and Wil Ohmsford (Austin Butler) by Rovers leads to an extended detour for fellowship’s return to Arborlon. Eventually the group will make it back to the Elven kingdom, but not before another encounter with Eretria (Ivana Baquero) and her father’s (James Remar) band and another demon attack which forces Wil to step-up and use the elf stones to save the day (something he vows to never do again).

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the-shannara-chronicles-chosen

I still remember when MTV played music videos. So watching a sci-fi series like The Shannara Chronicles seemed more than a little out of place. However, at least for someone that hasn’t read Terry BrooksThe Sword of Shannara Trilogy, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. I had expected something similar to the more modestly produced Legend of the Seeker series, but MTV appears to have spared no reasonable expense on the show’s production values.

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