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The Shannara Chronicles - Wraith - Advanced Review





While I liked the premiere of season 2, this episode is vastly superior. Its fast pace and cuts from one character to another make it a whirlwind ride. It’s still heavy on exposition but it balances it out with action and intrigue. Again, two new characters are introduced and they definitely make an impression. Queen Tamlin of the humans is a force to be reckoned with and no stranger to political intrigue. She is likely to be a “love to hate” kind of character and could end up one of a trio of Big Bad’s along with General Riga of the Crimson and the Warlock King. Actually, at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if Riga ends up reporting to her, although that is purely speculation on my part. The other new character is Garet Jax and let’s just say the guy knows how to make an entrance. A very bloody entrance. If Bandon is Anakin Skywalker, then Jax is Han Solo. He’s a kick butt loner bounty hunter with no allegiance except to himself and a cocky attitude that just screams “soon to be reformed bad boy,” although I’m not quite sure who will be the one reforming him yet. He can also take down Eretria, which he does...twice. Like Mareth and Lyria before them, Tamlin and Jax round out the characters nicely and add to the plot, especially Tamlin.


Hinted at in the premiere, our 4 intrepid heroes (Wil, Eretria, Allanon, and Ander) continue marching slowly towards reunion. Wil and Mareth pick up where they left off, being chased by the wraith. Mareth is more of a fighter while Wil prefers to hide out in sanctuary. The loss of Amberle scarred his psyche and he still wants nothing to do with magic. Therefore, it is Mareth again who provides a distraction from the wraith. I continue to love the Mareth character but Wil gets a lot of good material in this episode as well. Reconnecting with his uncle, he learns more about his family’s role in taking down the Warlock King the first time around. His uncle also does an abrupt U-turn in his thinking about magical abilities. He actually encourages Wil to use his magic and it seems like he will play a greater part this season than he did in the last. That’s a good thing because these scenes between Wil and his uncle are some of the better Wil scenes of the show.


Meanwhile, Ander heads to Leah with Allanon, eventually meeting up with Eretria again so she finally gets the lowdown on what happened in Arborlon when the Dagda Mor attacked. Sadly, Ander’s recap is done offscreen so we never see Eritrea's reaction to it. Although I understand the need to NOT recap in an episode still heavy on exposition, I feel it is an important moment for the character so I wish they had used a recap scene instead of the lengthy previouslies. Ander, too, has his own major moment when he is forced to choose between his own happiness and the welfare of his kingdom. It’s a great scene with Catania, showing how much Ander has progressed as a character and leader, which Queen Tamlin points out as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. There is the political intrigue of Leah, all the action, and several good character moments that combine to make the episode fly by. It feels like, in season 2, The Shannara Chronicles has found its balance and I can’t wait to see where they take it.


Grade: A-



Best Scene - This is hard but I’m going with Catania and Ander talk
Best Reason to Watch - the reveals about Mareth, Lyria, and Uncle
Best Reason to Cover Your Eyes - Jax’s entrance, which may be the most graphic violence in TSC history
Best Confrontation and Exposition Dump - Bandon vs….
Best Joan Crawford Impression - Tamlin
Biggest Surprise - BETRAYAL!!! / a character might be dead (By the way, if this character comes back as a demon, I revolt.)
Most Kick Butt - the “bad” guys (Bandon, Jax, Riga) who keep beating up the “good” guys (Allanon, Eretria, Wil). It’s a hard episode for the good guys.
Most Valuable Character - Tamlin, who adds just the right amount of intrigue and menace
Least Likely to Forget a Debt - Mareth
Least Missed - Amberle
Character You Least Want to Screw With - Bandon and his witchy mind powers
The “Trouble in Paradise” Award - Eretria and Lyria



Quotes:

“Anybody ever tell you, you’re a pain in the a**.”
“I was finding it hard to believe that Allanon could have a daughter, but you are sounding more like him by the minute.”
“She forgot to mention a lot of things.”
“Someone’s a little rusty.”
“The truth is you cannot face the Crimson or the Warlock Lord alone.”
“This is about the survival of the elves. Your father, your brother, Amberle, they all gave their lives so that we could build a better world. It’s time we start doing that.”
“Well then you got some bad information.”
“You’re lucky. I have a soft spot for hopeless romantics.”








 
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