The Shannara Chronicles delivers another stellar second season episode that leaves viewers with plenty of feels, even if some of it is a little predictable. It’s not the fault of Shannara Chronicles that the genre demands certain things. It’s hard to break free and, in some cases, it goes beyond the type of story and to the nature of storytelling. We love twists. We love when bad guys get what they deserve. But we also like a surprise. Shannara does its best to fulfill both those spaces. Shannara is also a confident show, trusting its narrative despite everything else is on TV. The producers are telling their story. And while some things succumb to the formulae that comes with a show like this, other things become a pleasant surprise. And episode eight is an hour of proof of this point.
Shannara Chronicles Episode 8: Amberle
Wil must confront his past. The bond between Allanon and Mareth continues to grow.
It begins with Wil reaching the Ellcrys where he will learn something about how to save the world. He’s joined by Eretria on this quest, and the pair gets to share a moment together before, once again, they are forced apart. Eretria takes on one side quest while Wil continues with his mission to see Amberlee at the Ellcrys.
The Warlock Lord is back, and his appearance was a big shocker last week. Here’s Exhibit A of the repetitive and the familiar. Raising the great evil is the norm. It happens in countless stories. Bandon as the mortal minion of this dark master is part of that. However, Bandon’s journey is fresh, full of dastardly deeds and character moments that reveal the weakness inside. However, upon bringing the Warlock Lord back, neither Bandon nor viewers expected the great evil to take the form of Allanon. Albeit it with piercings, a modulated voice, and heavy dark makeup.
But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Allanon has embraced Mareth as his daughter. But in episode seven, he learns something even more critical about her. Mareth is the next Druid, meant to replace Allanon. So now, the father must train the daughter to master the vast powers of magic and combat. The dynamic between the pair is like a planet and moon, never able to truly come together. Allanon’s ignorance of Mareth’s existence kept them apart. Then it was his arrogance. Now, though together for training, they are separated emotionally. Allanon with his mind firmly focused on the fate of the Four Lands. Meanwhile, Mareth is young and impatient and just wants to know her father. But the pair seems likely to forever orbit around each other at a distance. Presumably, it’ll won’t happen until it’s too late because, frankly, that’s good drama.
Bandon’s wish was to raise the Warlock Lord and get his love back. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. The Warlock Lord isn’t interested in matchmaking but global domination. A girlfriend will cloud Bandon’s mind, but another solution will give the Warlock Lord a powerful ally.
There’s a lot to unpack in episode eight.
Wil spends most of the episode talking to Amberlee in an Ellcrys-induced fever dream. As per usual for a dream character, Amberley says the precise and vaguely cryptic things she needs to say. Just enough to get Wil’s ears twitching as the brain churns. Wil must “face his truth” which is again another trope for these stories, but the result is a beautiful moment for the character and a turn of fate that is destined to bring this epic conflict between good and evil to a head.
There’s a lot to unpack in episode eight. Shannara tells a very concise story. It doesn’t convolute things with added subplots that don’t need to be there. On other networks, this show would be riddled with love triangles, long bouts of exposition and worse. Here, love is a force of inspiration or weakness, depending on who you are and who or what you love.
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