The 5th and 6th episodes of The Shannara Chronicles…twice the fun, twice the heartbreak.

I sit here and contemplated how to begin a review of what I’ve just watched. And honestly, the only way I can start is with a simple shellshocked “wow.”

I’ve enjoyed the Shannara Chronicles during it’s run. Critics might even call me biased because I find the show so much fun. I try, when I can, to give insight into failings I see. And the truth is, if one wished to be picky, one can find plenty of faults. It’s a TV show geared towards young adults and fantasy lovers, but it’s not the political dynasty of Game of Thrones. One can’t expect it to be; it is, after all, a cable show. But I think it’s entertaining! It’s well-paced, and not the endless dredging of Thrones. It’s beautiful. The artwork is well thought for creating a fantasy realm set in our own Earth’s future, and the costumes and props are gorgeous. The acting is occasionally overdone, but then again, who isn’t a bit dramatic when they are at the age of most of our characters. And the writing may not be Shakespeare, but it’s exactly what it is supposed to be; a playful romp on the small screen, designed to capture our attention, and hopefully keep it for a little while.

And tonight, I saw not one, but two episodes, that gave me everything I want in a fantasy story. Hungry grabs for power! Twisted and cruel prophecies. Budding love in the air… And utterly heartbreaking murder!

We were awarded two hours of the whimsical story in one night tonight, and it really pushed all my happy buttons. Now, true, there is a question of why two episodes? There doesn’t seem to be a mid-season break. In fact, when researched, I found that the next and final four episodes of the season will be shown again in the next coming weeks, two per night. So could this be a bizarre way of Spike pushing through the season, to its end? Does that bode well for a third season, or does that suggest that our second season will be the final? For now, we’re not sure the answer. But as a fan who loves to binge watch, I’m not complaining, yet.

So much happens with this week’s double feature. We discover more truths about several characters’ backstories. One, though I won’t spoil who, even uncovers a demonic and dangerous history, and it’s implied that this could be very problematic in the quest to defeat the Warlock Lord and his minions, including the sick and disturbed Bandon. How are we to trust the leaders of our story, when the plot continues to throw us pitches from the left field? In my opinion… Who cares? I’ve always felt that if a story doesn’t keep you on your toes with some excellent antagonism, really, where is the hook? So I relish when things are thrown onto the path, blocking the heroes once again. And every step of the journey this week challenges our companions, both emotionally and physically. We get battle, magic, intimacy, and shocking moments, sure to put the characters in turmoil they have yet to feel.

What of the relationships of our heroes? Our elven king, Anders, who is a precious cinnamon roll, too sweet, too pure(do we still say that?) contemplates whether marrying the stunning Lyria is the right move, for either of them. Any fool knows that Lyria’s mother, the duplicitous Queen Tamlin of Leah, is a woman with schemes behind schemes. Will this marriage save the Elves? Or ruin them? Lyria has been clear that her heart belongs to the rugged wild creature that is Eretria, who can’t seem to decide whether she trusts or loves the Leah Princess. What will marriage to the king mean for their as-yet ill-fated affair? Wil and Mareth seem to have found a comfortable camaraderie between them. Is there more in store for them, or is Wil still in love and pining for his own elven royal, the lost Emberle? We can’t forget the constant struggle of Wil versus Allannon, that worries all. They may need to work together, to save the Four Lands. But will our young Shannara be able to forgive the druid for all the problems that have come into his life, all the pain and loss, for which he blames Allannon? Or is worse to come? And the Crimson? Will the routing out of that vile cadre of jihad-level murderers succeed? Who will die to win that war? Perhaps the better question might be… Who will survive?

So many questions when we start this week’s viewing. And some answers may even arise, but questions like these so often only lead to more questions. With so much to ponder, I’m at a loss for words, unable to guess what happens next! All I can say is that one thing is for certain. You really should watch every minute of this week’s episodes, right down to the last, because it is a hard blow to your heart. And it is not to be missed.

The second season of The Shannara Chronicles airs on Wednesdays on Spike TV.

Jesse Danger Dyer

Jesse Danger Dyer is a queer artist/writer/reader/fanboy/game-master of all things fantasy and sci-fi. He also saw Return of the Jedi in theaters, so there's that.


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