S2 E1
October 11, 2017 at 11:03 PM EDT

Wil and the Elves

Elf Prince Ander is ruling over a struggling kingdom. A year after the demon wars, too many elves are still homeless because there isn’t enough money or elfpower to rebuild, and the other races are disinclined to help.

Worse, an extremist elf group called The Crimson, led by Gen. Riga (Desmond Chiam), is ripping through the countryside, killing anyone who practices magic or refuses to report on magical citizens. They’re tapping into elvish fear and hate and turning the citizenry against Ander.

We see their handiwork in two elves who’ve been murdered and nailed to trees, with signs that say “magic users.” Their foreheads are branded with something that, so help me, looked a little like the Wonder Woman logo at first.

Riga himself possesses one normal eye and one freaky blue one, and he’s extremely interested in the location of  one Wil Ohmsford. He’s even got a drawing of Wil on a most-wanted baseball card-type thing. His combination of threats and cash convince a local farmer to mention that a Flick Ohmsford lives in nearby Shady Vale village.

So what’s going on with Wil himself? He’s cut his beautiful hair (but no worries, he kept dem abs), and, thanks to Allanon, he’s the only human allowed to train at what seems to be a gnome teaching hospital. A young woman (Malese Jow) arrives seeking treatment for a burned hand and tells him he looks familiar, but he declines to give her his name, indicating some caution on his part. After he leaves, she uses magic to heal the burn. Dun!

Wil seems happy learning the healing arts…until he freezes up during a surgical lesson, plagued with flashback of Amberle, demons, and saving the world. The head of gnomish surgery calls him “Mr. Ohmsford,” which is such a professor thing to do, and asks him to step outside. Dr. Gnome suggests that healing may not be Wil’s calling, particularly when he has a far greater gift. (Hint: It starts with “e” and ends in “lfstones.”) Wil says the price of magic is too high. “I’m not interested in saving the world anymore, just the people that I care about.” Dr. Gnome gives him one more chance to get it together or he’s out.

That night, Wil uses the Elfstones to summon a vision of Amberle. He tells her he’s lost without her, but when he tries to touch her, she disappears, and he falls to his knees.

Burn lady, whose name is Mareth, finds him later at a tavern and casually mentions the bounty on his head. Wil’s quick to pull a knife on her — “It’s not the first time a woman’s tried to take advantage of me” — but she offers to help Wil escape the real bounty hunters in the tavern. In fact, she already killed one of them outside, and as proof, she shows him his most-wanted baseball card.

They try to escape by acting like drunks on their way to a hookup, but the bounty hunters throw down in the middle of the tavern. Mareth saves the day with some lethal knife work, but not before Wil takes a nasty slice to the ribs.

Back in his room, Mareth gets a load of his stab wound and wants to fetch a healer. But Wil worries that a bar fight might get him expelled, so he uses the Elfstones to heal himself. It takes a great deal of grunting on his part, and he passes out from the effort, leaving Mareth to sniff, “How did this guy ever save the world?” Dang, lady, you don’t know his life!

Wil wakes up to the sound of distress outside as wounded people stagger in from Shady Vale. A survivor tells Wil that The Crimson were looking for him. His uncle Flick hid during the attack, but the man doesn’t know what became of him.

Things get even worse when Bandon’s mord wraiths roll into town, catching Wil as he’s pocketing the Elfstones and preparing to leave. Wil’s understandably startled by an enormous demon materializing in his quarters and blasting him through the wall. He pulls out the Stones and prepares to attack when he suddenly sees himself off to the side, running away so the snaky wraith will give chase.

He turns in shock to find that Mareth created the illusion. She irritably confirms that yes, she has magic, and when he insists that she explain who she really is, she admits that Allanon’s her father, and she wants Wil’s help finding him.

Aaaaand credits!

Season 2 is shaping up to be another travel-heavy show, with Eretria and The Crimson both hunting for Wil, Wil and Mareth hunting for Allanon, Ander hunting for The Crimson, Bandon hunting for a good deep conditioner, and Allanon hunting for…Wil? The Mord wraiths? His sense of humor? It remains to be seen.

So are you on board for the adventure this season? Can the new characters fill the Amberle-shaped hole in your heart? Will Lyria’s secret background play into the main plot threads? And readers of Terry Brooks’ Shannara novels, are you enjoying the little callbacks to the books (hey, mechanically inclined Druid Cogline!), or do you still wish it were a more faithful adaptation? Good, bad, or indifferent, let me know in the comments!

We wrote a react for this episode, which means we’ll just be checking in occasionally, but if this is a show you’d like to read about each week, please let us know! You can email chat@ew.com with your feedback and suggestions.

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