The Shannara Chronicles recap: Pykon
Amberle wanders into a 'Saw' movie, and Allanon completely burns out
Another week, another shocking death (or five?) on The Shannara Chronicles. But are those characters all dead, mostly dead, or slightly alive?
Let’s start with the group suffering no fatalities tonight: Prince Ander, Commander Tilton, and brother-murdering steampunk gnome Slanter. On their way to find the demon army, they discover a group of slaughtered gnomes, and Slanter asks to deliver last rites. Softie Ander allows it, despite the protests of Tilton (whose first name I think is Diana, which is hilariously pedestrian for this show, like what, they couldn’t at least make it Dyahna or something?).
Ander, who you’ll recall wanted to be a diplomat, reasons that if elves and gnomes have a common enemy, it’s an opportunity to end 30 years of war. Unfortunately, Slanter takes the opportunity to grab a dagger from one of the bodies and run off with their horses. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal, gnome!
Ander and Diana are stuck wandering the green hills and blaming themselves for everything that’s gone wrong. Ander, in particular, wanted to redeem himself for failing to protect Amberle’s father the night he died, the night he says everything changed.
Diana agrees. “The Ander I love disappeared, lost in booze and anger and doubt. I wake every morning hoping he’ll return,” she says.
Okay, first, on behalf of Arion, the prince she’s currently dating: Ouch. Second, have we seen signs of drunk, angry Ander? In general, he’s been reasonable and proactive. We needed more drunken bitterness to support this bit of character development.
Anyway, before they can kiss or apologize or punch each other, Slanter comes riding up. He found the demon army, and he feels obligated to show them. And it’s bad, man. The demon army is as epically CGI’d as you can imagine: thousands of them, massing in hordes.
“We’re doomed,” Ander summarizes succinctly. Then he frees Slanter to warn his people. The gnome asks what chance the elves have. None, obviously, but Ander says they’ll face the demons for the sake of all the races.
As Slanter leaves, he says, “I will speak of your honor. In another life, we are not enemies.” I suspect that’s not the last we’ll see of Slanter, and also, it’s weird that he knows how I usually say goodbye to my mother-in-law.
Now, to Arborlon, where Arion’s thrown for a loop when Eventine (now the Changeling) basically says, “Hey, remember how I told you we need to trust Allanon? Yeah, stop trusting him.” According to Changentine, the Warlock Lord’s sword will defeat the Dagda Mor and is somewhere inside the castle, so why hasn’t Allanon acquired it? Changentine cruelly plays to his son’s deepest wishes, offering to set their past disagreements behind them.
“You’re the only one I can trust,” Changentine says.
Warmed by this fatherly approval, Arion goes to confronts Allanon, who’s standing over a catatonic Bandon with Catania. Then Bandon bolts awake and grabs Allanon, pulling him into the demonic vision where the Dagda Mor has caged Bandon’s soul. The DM uses Bandon’s power as a conduit to infect Allanon with demon mojo.
This is hella bad timing because demon-possessed Allanon starts choking Catania as Arion enters and quite understandably assumes that his father’s right. Arion and Catania agree that if Allanon’s in league with the demons, they need to find that sword, which we can assume is bad news if Changentine wants it.
Catania and Arion find the sword with surprisingly little trouble, and when Allanon’s called to the throne room and realizes what’s up, he’s alarmed: “This sword is not a salvation. It is a talisman of evil.”
Too late, Allanon realizes that Eventine just hasn’t been himself lately, if you know what I mean, but before he can say anything, Arion runs him through with the Warlock Lord’s sword, and Allanon burns away to nothing.
“You did it, my son. The Druid is no more,” Changetine croons, giving Arion a quick, not-at-all creepy shoulder rub.
So, um, Allanon’s dead? That looked pretty final, and maybe I’m in denial, but I’m hoping it’s some kind of Druid magic trick. Allanon’s got way too much work yet to do, training Bandon and whatnot. I want to believe, guys. But if this really is curtains, Allanon can rest in peace knowing that we’ll miss his sunny disposition and constant practical joking.
NEXT: Brace yourself, Princess Rover fans
Finally this week, let’s check in with the traveling love triangle. Amberle and Wil (shirtless again, as is presumably specified in his contract) are kissing in a gorgeous, sun-limned playground as Wil confesses his feelings for Amberle and says he only slept with Eretria because he couldn’t have what he really wanted.
But then Wil morphs into the Dagda Mor because psych, it’s a dream! Hey, we’ve all been there the morning after when cutie Mr. Short Tips turns out to be a demon with a skin condition, amirite? No, but really, Wil wakes Amberle up from her nightmare, and she insists that they need to get a move on because winter is com— er, a snowstorm’s on the way.
Wil suggests that they change their route to the Wilderun in case the Reaper’s still hot on their trail, and Cephelo mentions a shortcut through the Pykon fortress. Even though no shortcut in the history of epic quests has ever been a good thing, they agree.
This shortcut involves a windy, snowy, and altogether terrifyingly narrow mountainous ledge, and Crispin gripes that Cephelo’s stupidity’s going to get them killed. A camera pan shows that they’re at one of the big statues that we see in the credits, and beyond that is a snowed-over castle accessed by a narrow bridge. (Book readers, did you get as excited about this bridge as I did?)
They make their way inside and find an abandoned hall. Or is it?
It’s not, of course; a silent child beckons them to follow her.
“Anyone else have a problem with this plan?” Eretria asks
“Following a creepy kid through an abandoned fortress? Not at all,” Wil replies.
The child, Mag, takes them to meet her father, Remo. He was an inquisitor during the last War of the Races and is now the fortress caretaker who doesn’t get guests very often but is pleased to play host. Sure. Seems legit.
Okay, Princess Rover fans, hold onto your butts. The next scene has Eretria joining Amberle for a nice soak in a candle-lit pool. Eretria taunts Amberle for not making a move on Wil, then makes a move of her own, saying she’s happy to jump into bed with either gender. Amberle scoffs, “You and Cephelo deserve each other.” Then she notices a tattoo on Eretria’s shoulder, and the Rover admits, “It’s just how my first owner kept track of his property.” For the first time, Amberle looks a little sorrowful about the life Eretria’s led.
Honestly, I’m not sure what angle Eretria’s playing here. Does she think seducing Amberle will get her better treatment? Is she just messing with the princess’ head? Does she want to be sure Tumblr never runs out of gifs? We may never know.
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After sexy bath time, the gang sits down to an uncomfortable dinner while Wil keeps watch for demons in the hall. Cephelo wisely swaps plates with Remo, claiming his had too many peas, and when Remo takes a bite from his new plate, everyone else digs in.
Mag brings Wil a plate of food, too. He lets her hold a seashell that belonged to his mother, and he learns that Mag’s late mother was human, too, and that Mag has never been outside of the fortress. And then he passes out because of course, the food is drugged. You’d think Wil would recognize the symptoms by now.
We then cut to the dinner table, where all the guests are passed out, and the whole things reminds me a bit of the scariest scene in Pan’s Labyrinth (fitting, of course, with Ivana Baquero there).
NEXT: And then everybody dies, maybe
Wil wakes up in another room, where tiny Mag somehow carried him, I guess? Eh, whatever, all the ladies love Wil. He convinces her to help him and his friends escape and promises that she can leave with them to see the ocean and the seashells.
Remo, meanwhile, has everybody trussed up, and he explains that he’s built up a tolerance for the wolf’s nettle that put the rest of them to sleep. They were iocaned! Inconceivable! Amberle announces that she’s the king’s granddaughter and demands they be released. Oh, gurl, you’ve got some things to learn about the world.
Naturally, Remo drags her to his torture chamber first because it turns out that he is super crazy. Amberle’s in a real Saw situation, complete with spiked head, neck, and finger clamps. She pleads that if she dies, the entire world will fall into darkness, but I bet Remo gets that from his victims all the time.
He sets to work on what seems to be a fingernail puller-outer device when he’s interrupted by Mag, who’s got blood on her knife. Mag explains that Wil tried to escape, which makes Amberle sob harder.
Remo’s advancing on her with the through-the-nose lobotomizer that he used on his wife when suddenly Wil appears! He and Mag kill Remo (or do they?), and he frees Amberle.
“I thought I’d lost you,” she breathes, then kisses him. There you go, Wamberle fans! But of course, the rest of the group have freed themselves and walk in at that very moment, and we can all watch as Eretria’s complicated, treacherous little heart breaks in real time.
Kissing done, the group heads to the door leading to the Wilderun pass when Remo staggers in. Man, Wil is bad at murder. Remo shoots a crossbow at them, and sweet little Mag steps in front of Wil, taking an arrow to the back. Amberle takes Remo out once and for all, and poor Mag dies clutching Wil’s seashell. Murder better next time, Halfling.
Then the roar of the Reaper tears through the halls, causing them to race out the door, where they learn that the only way across the enormous cavern is via zip line. The Rovers go first, promising to send the trolley back for the elves. But too soon, the Reaper appears. Crispin turns to fight it and dies almost immediately. So long, Captain Edensong. You weren’t very nice, but you were handsome, so that was something.
Speaking of not nice, Cephelo decides to cut the zip line so the demon can’t make it across, which would also strand Wil and Amberle, and have you ever in your life wanted to see something more than you wanted to see the Reaper just a-zip lining across that cavern?
Eretria tells Cephelo to stop and slides back for the elves, even though Cephelo yells after her, “Eretria, they’ll never choose you!” But she made her decision. Wil and Amberle grab the bar, and they all start back across the cavern.
Wil, in action hero mode, hangs from the bar with one hand while he wields the Elfstones with the other. This time, they flare to life, and he screams, “Just die, already!”
The blue fire hits the Reaper as Cephelo succeeds in cutting the line. Every member of our favorite love triangle plus one angry demon suffer what seems to be a terminal fall into the chasm.
So. That’s a lot of presumably dead people this week. It’s a safe bet that we’re going to see the Wambertrio again, but wither Allanon? Bring back our cranky Druid!
The Brooks Nook
(Reminder: This section is for those of you who’ve read Terry Brooks’ novel that the show is based on and contains MILD SPOILERS FOR NON-READERS. Be sure to keep the comments safe for the un-Stoned.)
Well, did the epic bridge scene live up to your expectations? It’s about the closest we’ve come to iconic book events, and I enjoyed the heck out of it, even with the differences. RIP, Crispin. You were better in the book.
More interesting to me is the Warlock Lord’s sword. Is this the show’s version of the Sword of Shannara? That didn’t look like a “here is your true nature, now die” death for Allanon, and we all know that he appears in other books. We’ll see Allanon again, right? Right?
The Shannara Chronicles