We gave it a B+
Alas, Allanon runs into some trouble in the stables as he’s preparing for the journey. “Some trouble” in this case means Gen. Riga’s enchanted brass knuckles that make him impervious to magic. Allanon’s quickly overpowered, cuffed with a magic-blocking collar, and loaded onto a Crimson horse.
Catania and Eretria witness Allanon’s capture, and they split up so Catania can inform Ander and Eretria can find Wil. But when Catania tells the rando elf guard they’re traveling with that someone betrayed their location to The Crimson, rando guard stabs her in the stomach and leaves her for dead. NOT COOL, YOU FILTHY TRAITOR.
Now let’s check in on Wil and Mareth, who are headed toward Uncle Flick in Shady Vale when a pursuing mord wraith forces them to jump a waterfall and take shelter in the green-lit grotto where Wil used to hide as a kid when his classmates started picking on him for his short-tipped, half-elf ears.
Mareth’s only half elf, too; her mother was Pyria, the late King Eventine’s sister and Allanon’s long-lost love whom we saw die in the series premiere. Wil points out that her imperious manner confirms the DNA she shares with Allanon.
Mareth explains that she was born with innate magic, unlike Allanon, whose magic was acquired. Since Allanon left before Pyria knew she was pregnant, all of Mareth’s magical ability is self-taught, and she now wants to learn from her father.
As they set out on their journey again, Wil argues that magic is overrated. Mareth correctly points out that he uses magic himself when it’s convenient, and if he truly wanted an ordinary life, he’d have tossed out the Elfstones. Druid’s daughter: 1, Short Tips: 0. Mareth also conjures a faux-Wil illusion to tell the real Wil what a pain he is, which is the best use of magic we’ve seen on Shannara so far.
When they arrive at Shady Vale, they find an injured Uncle Flick inside his ravaged home. Wil promises to fix him up and get them to safety, but Flick insists that they need to take a stand against their enemies. Then he tells Wil some facts he didn’t know about his family history.
Flick traveled with Shea when Allanon called him to face the Warlock Lord. After the war, Flick promised Shea that he would raise Wil as his own and keep him safe from magic. But now Flick says he was wrong to tell Wil to get rid of the Elfstones in season 1; magic isn’t what killed Shea, it was the regret that came from denying his magical purpose.
When three mord wraiths come screeching into view, Mareth tells the Ohmsfords to get to the barn while she buys them time by creating multiple illusions of herself running hither and yon as a distraction. (Only in the Four Lands can a person reasonably be described as running hither and yon.)
When the snake wraith appears in the barn, Wil hits him with a blast of blue Elfstones magic, but before they can run, Bandon kicks down the door. He says all he wants is justice for magic users who are hunted and abused by people like The Crimson and Allanon.
He then reads Wil’s mind to confirm that Wil blames Allanon for Amberle’ sacrifice and tries to tempt Wil with the promise of the Warlock Lord bringing Amberle back to him. You know, Bandon’s kind of got a point here: He and Wil are theoretically on the same side against the anti-magic crusaders, and Allanon did play Wil dirty about Amberle’s fate. But of course, Bandon’s way too dark side for Wil to actually align with, which Bandon proves by pinning Wil to the wall and making blood ooze from his ears and nose.
He demands the location of the Warlock Lord’s skull, and Flick finally confesses that he and Wil’s father were the ones who helped Allanon hide the skull. It’s locked in a magical safe in Paranor, the ancient druidic headquarters, to be opened only by a Druid and a Shannara. That’s all Bandon needs to hear to make his next move: He gives Wil three days to deliver Allanon to Druid’s Keep, or Flick is dead.
So where does that leave us? With Eretria searching for Wil, Wil searching for Allanon, Allanon captured by the Crimson, Lyria and Ander maybe getting married, Catania probably dead, and Bandon presumably kicking back on Skull Mountain, enjoying the satisfaction you feel when an evil plan comes together.
- Bandon described himself to Dr. Gnome as “something you’ll never comprehend,” which is now the only title I want on my business cards.
- Do some math with me, won’t you? Allanon went into Druid hibernation after he, Shea, and Flick defeated the Warlock Lord the last time, which was 30-ish years ago. But doesn’t Mareth seems younger than 30? And didn’t Pyria seem older than the 50-ish she likely would’ve been in her scenes last season? Eh, I should probably stop worrying about the timeline and just enjoy the pretty elves.
- Those wanting the full backstory on Flick and Shea defeating the Warlock Lord can find it in Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara, although details have changed from page to screen, of course.
- Did the second episode of the season surprise you with its secret princesses and handmaiden murders? Let me know in the comments!