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The Shannara Chronicles - Druid - Advanced Review

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Previously on The Shannara Chronicles….it’s been over 1.5 years since the last episode aired. Therefore even the previouslies may not be enough for some viewers to remember season 1. Basically, two kickbutt young females with daddy issues (Princess Amberle and Eretria) set out to save a magic tree called the Ellcrys, which can hold back the demon hordes. Joining them is a rather useless shannara (read: wizard) named Wil, who occasionally saves their lives with magic even though they generally take care of themselves and him. For some unknown reason, they both fall for Wil but Amberle gets him in the end.

They are sent out on their journey by the last known druid, Allanon, who never heard a proverb he didn't like to repeat.  He inexplicably does not join them as added protection but instead stays in Arborlon to bicker with the Elf King, who is ticked that his favorite son, Amberle’s father, died. He is a jerk to his remaining kids, Hot Prince and Slacker Prince, and that’s even before he is killed and replaced by an evil shapeshifter. Since Arborlon doesn't have enough problems, the two princes make a terrible tactical decision, leaving Hot Prince dead and Slacker Prince the new guilt-ridden king. At the same time, a powerful seer named Bandon channels his inner Anakin Skywalker, complete with an about turn to the dark side.

Meanwhile, the epic quest goes horribly wrong about a dozen times and eventually the demons are released. In San Francisco, the intrepid trio meet up with some trolls and the Guardians of the Bloodstone, neither of which are happy to see them. Eretria stabs herself, Amberle goes towards the light, and Wil finally gets his magic stones hero moment. The Guardians tell Amberle that she needs to hurry back to Arborlon so Eretria sacrifices herself to get Amberle home, where a political coup threatens Reformed Slacker King while Hot Prince is turned into a demon and kills his ex. Allanon and Wil fight the Dagda Mor (head demon) while Amberle gives herself to the Ellcrys and thus captures the demons once again. Allanon does his own Dumbledore impression by admitting that he knew all along that Amberle would have to sacrifice herself to save the day. Having won the battle but lost his girlfriend, Wil heads out to search for Eretria.

Season 2 starts one year later with the people of the Four Lands still trying to recover from the demon attack. Eretria lives among her mother’s people in San Francisco with her new lover and bodyguard, Lyria. Apparently there’s little communication in the Four Lands because she still doesn’t know that Amberle was turned into a tree and she’s a little miffed that neither Amberle or Wil have come looking for her. After all, last they knew, she was surrounded by trolls. Wil is hiding away at a healing colony, learning to hone his traditional medical skills to the bafflement of his teacher, who knows Wil is capable of great magical power. Having lost Amberle, Wil no longer wants anything to do with magic - unless it is to conjure up glimpses of his ex-girlfriend.

The one most screwed though is King Ander, the former Slacker Prince, who has traded in a political coup for a military one. While Ander is focused on returning the Elvin people back to their homes and rebuilding, there is not enough money in the coffers to do so and the other races aren’t that psyched to help the elves return to power. General Riga, in a bid to dethrone the new king, stirs up hatred against magic users, blaming them for the rise of the demon army in the first place. He consolidates his own army called The Crimson to forge a swath of terror, torturing people, burning down villages, and executing anyone suspected of magical abilities. But he’s not alone in trying to use the chaos to his advantage. Bandon, Allanon’s former protege, has the Demon King’s blade and with it, he tries to raise an evil to rival the Dagda Mor.

If you liked season 1 of The Shannara Chronicles, chances are that you will like the season 2 premiere as well. The pacing is good and it wraps up season 1 pretty quickly so that it can delve right into the new storylines. Allanon still speaks fluent fortune cookie but Eretria remains a fascinating character who will not let others dictate how she chooses to run her life. Those who wonder how the show can continue with its lead character out of commission may find themselves focused on the new characters instead. Both Lyria and Mareth are kick butt females and Mareth especially has a lot of promise. She takes over the role of Wil protector but only on her own terms, revealing an interesting tie to another character that could lead to much-needed backstory. Sadly, the actor who plays Wil is still the weak link in the acting department, being overshadowed by everyone he’s on screen with but his fans can look forward to a shirtless scene. By far the best news though is that the annoying love triangle appears to be over. It dragged season 1 down and needed to go. Another plus is the character growth in King Ander, which started in season 1 and appears to continue here. While his own people still seem a bit iffy on his ability to lead, he is determined to help his people in this time of chaos and will not let hatred win.

Grade: B

Best Reason to Watch - Mareth
Best Quote - “....sometimes the truth doesn’t set you free. It brings you more pain.” “That will be for me to discover.”
Best Snark - “How did this guy ever save the world?”
Best Action Scene - Allanon vs. …...
Best Strategy - Eretria vs. the trolls
Best Reveal - Mareth’s / the head healer’s
Coolest Magic - the wraith / Projection Wil
Most Likely to Quote a Fortune Cookie - Allanon
Biggest Surprise - a character that should not be there is there twice
Bad Guys that Most Needed to Go - the Rovers

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