We gave it a B+
Welcome to the first in a series of weeks with back-to-back episodes as The Shannara Chronicles races toward the end of its second season! Buckle up, because we’re about to cover tons of ground and say goodbye to a few characters along the way.
In and around Paranor
Outside Paranor, Wil, Allanon, and Mareth squabble about how to confront Bandon. Allanon keeps Wil in the dark about his plans since Bandon will be able to read Wil’s mind, and he benches Mareth because she can’t control her magic. Disgusted, she gallops away, leaving Willanon to seek out Bandon and Flick in a ruined cavern.
Flick tells Wil he shouldn’t have come, while Bandon negs Allanon with, “You look tired.” (He’s one to talk, though; evil is no excuse for skipping a good deep conditioner, bro.) To convince Wil to cooperate, Bandon slices Flick’s face with his poisoned sword, promising the cure once he has the Warlock Lord’s skull.
Allanon reluctantly leads Bandon to the skull, which is resting on a dais, while Mareth creeps around the periphery. Yep, the skull is one of her illusions, and she generates a druidic spell that traps both Bandon and Allanon inside a cell where violence and magic are both inhibited.
Wil’s incensed that Allanon and Mareth cooked up this plan behind his back and accuses Allanon of never intending to save Flick, which Allanon denies. When Wil tries to heal Flick with the Elfstones, it just makes things worse, so Wil decides to turn over the skull. Locating it requires the blood of a Shannara and a Druid, and since Allanon’s locked up, this means Mareth’s about to take one heck of a paternity test.
They use the Elfstones to retrace the steps that Allanon and Shea took 30 years ago, plus Mareth’s best guess based on the little Allanon told her about the magic of Paranor. (It involves touching a series of runes that light up like a Simon Says.)
This leads them to a concrete chamber containing a podium with slots for both their hands. From his cell, Allanon warns that if Mareth’s not his daughter, they’ll both die. But she trusts Wil and sticks her hand in anyway. It’s painful, and Flick is spitting black-looking blood as a bright light blots everything out.
Mareth and Wil wake near Shady Vale, Wil’s childhood home, where Allanon presumably hid the skull. The last time they saw it, it was in flames thanks to the mord wraiths, but now it’s green, bucolic, and bustling with cheerful people playing in the river, strolling, flirting, and giving Wil the eye.
Wil finds it odd that he doesn’t recognize a single person, although he still intercedes when they find a pack of men bullying a “filthy half-breed” for bothering one of their sisters. The bully pulls a dagger, but Wil brandishes his sword and (of course) says, “I think mine’s bigger.”
The young man they saved introduces himself as Shea. Shea Ohmsford. *surprised spit take*
Yeah, okay, most of us probably guessed we were dealing with time travel by this point, but that doesn’t make this whole sequence any less enjoyable as it unfolds. (Although if Shea’s a “half-breed,” doesn’t that make Wil only a quarter elf? I swear, I thought he was introduced as a half elf last season.)
Shea, unaware of the shock bomb he just delivered, says he was adopted by humans, but some villagers still don’t trust him. Mareth badly lies that they’re from out of town, so Shea offers to feed them. Aww, he’s a nice guy! I agree with Mareth’s comment that this must be where Wil gets niceness.
Wil and Mareth quietly freak out about traveling back to a time before everything hit the fan. Wil’s tempted to tell Shea to run away and avoid his fate, but Mareth points out that this might let the Warlock Lord win in their past/Shea’s future. Yeah, I don’t think sweet, simple Wil has given much thought to the ramifications of time travel before this moment.
After the meal, they split up. Mareth keeps Shea busy by confessing her big ol’ crush on Wil, which Shea picked up on immediately, while Wil searches the barn for the skull. He’s caught red-handed by a blonde who was eyeing him earlier. She thanks Wil for rescuing Shea from her brother, which makes this Heady, Wil’s mother.
She immediately unloads all of her relationship woes onto this complete stranger, and when Shea overhears her complaining about him hiding things, he ends their relationship while Wil stands by all, “Ummm, can you not?”
Gotta say, this is all super rushed — Mareth’s feelings for Wil, Wil’s youthful parents confiding big secrets literally seconds after meeting him, their breaking up — but whatever. If you’ve got a show featuring time travel in pursuit of a demon skull, you just have to roll with it. (Next page: Brace yourself for scarecrows)