Allanon (Manu Bennett) is the character that keeps us engaged. Bennett’s acting is believable. His character continues to reveal an interesting history to help move us through the show. The writers seem to understand and connect with Allanon, which makes us want to learn more about him. The plot continues to be fast moving with a good amount of action.
Wil’s character continues down the road of too-dumb-to-live (TDTL). Throughout the show his decisions are questionable, his ability to read others seriously lacking, and his commitment to the quest a little wishy-washy. Wil needs to smarten up quickly to make a more believable hero.
Murphy’s Law: If it could’ve went wrong, it did in this episode.
Allanon (Manu Bennett) and Wil (Austin Butler) finds Amberle (Poppy Drayton) at her aunt’s just as a Fury attacks. Her aunt gets killed and Allanon gets injured. Amberle finds out all the other Chosen have been killed. Immediate doom and gloom. She really needs to work on her “my world is falling apart and I’m distraught” act. Not so dramatic exit stage right. The Druid tells Wil to get Amberle back to Arborlon, but of course he doesn’t do as he’s told. Wil and Amberle go to fetch healing mud from the Silver River and step right into an ambush. So, Eretria (Ivana Baquero) and one of her Rover buddies captures them. Here’s the million-dollar question…How did Eretria know where they would be? She’s like the butler on Mr. Deeds, just pops up out of nowhere.
“You’re braver than you look.” – Amberle to Wil
Eretria takes Wil and Amberle back to the Rover camp. Cephelo (James Remar) tries to woo Wil to become a Rover and orders Eretria to kill Amberle. All this takes Eretria by surprise. She doesn’t want to kill for any reason. She shows a bit of jealousy towards the attention Cephelo shows to Wil. The writers have done justice to Eretria’s character. There’s a connection to her pain of wanting the love of a person she knows is better off out of her life. As much as she hates Cephelo, he is the closest thing she has to a parent. We want to cheer for Etretria even though what she’s doing is wrong.
In the theme of things going wrong…Eretria tries to help Amberle escape. Instead of taking the opportunity to run, Amberle drags Eretria out at knife point and attempts to blackmail Cephelo into letting Wil free. Surprise Amberle! He doesn’t care about her. Amberle has no ability to read people. We want to see her as the heroine, but like Wil, her character is missing something for us to fully commit to her. She claims she’s doing everything to help everyone else, but all her actions are derived from her own wants and needs. During Amberle’s failed rescue attempt, a fury attacks. Wil is able to activate the Elf Stone to kill the fury, but it knocks him unconscious and they are captured again. The two of them probably couldn’t think themselves out of bed in the morning. Good thing the Druid comes to the rescue. Allanon is like why can’t you two listen??? Same question we had.
“I think there’s more to you then that.” – Wil to Eretria (You don’t even know her, Wil! And what you do know isn’t good. Let her go!)
Guilt is worn like a royal cloak and trust is given too freely.
Ander Elessedil is guilty for training Amberle to run the Gauntlet. His father, King Eventine Elessedil (John Rhys-Davies), isn’t very comforting by responding that Ander over indulges Amberle. Ander’s treatment of Amberle links back to his guilty over Amberle’s father being killed. He thinks the King blames him for Amberle’s father’s death, which the king weakly denies. The relationship between the king and his surviving sons is greatly tainted by the death of their brother. Although the King acts as if it doesn’t affect him, there is definite tension in the air. The seat of this throne is tarnished by the unresolved issues between Eventine and his sons. Ander is someone to root for. He seems honorable and loves Amberle. Unlike his brother, Arion, Ander’s pain over his brother’s death has given him compassion. Arion on the other hand is jaded with being hidden in his dead brother’s shadow.
Amberle don’t want to go back to Arborlon because she thinks she has caused everything that’s gone wrong. She confides in Wil that it’s her fault that these things are unfolding. It’s interesting that she is so open with someone she just met. She has no idea who Wil or Allanon are, yet she goes off with Wil. She jumps right on to his claim that he’s from the Shannara line. Not even Wil is convinced of his royal lineage, but Amberle is all in for the run. The Princess needs some lessons in self-preservation.
On the way back to Arborlon, Wil, Amberle, and Allanon run into a demon ravaged home. As they check out the premises, they hear something behind a locked door in the barn. They find a boy in an iron muzzle and chained up. Amberle not only lets him loose but insists they take him with them back to Arborlon. Hey, Amberle! You know nothing about this guy! He might be a murderer. Not real smart for someone who has a bunch of demons after her.
“If you want to survive in this world, you have to start taking care of yourself because no one is going to do that for you.” -Eretria to Amberle
Final Verdict: While the show is still entertaining, the character development for the hero and heroine leaves much to be desired.
After watching episodes 1 and 2, there were high hopes for the show. It was hard to talk about episode 3 without running into episode 4. They almost ran together like one long episode. It’s a little disappointing to admit at this point the show is taking a downward spiral. Interest was spurred by wanting to know what happened next, but the characters became less and less engaging. The plot is becoming a little too predictable.
We’re used to alpha males as heroes. That’s not what Wil offers. We could probably be okay with that if he smartens up a bit. The writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have pushed the ignorance of innocence too far. We want to feel like the hero can protect us, but when he continues to make one bad decision after the next it’s difficult to stay connected with him. Yes. Wil has the look of a golden Norse demi-god, but that’s about all he has working for him right now. Even when he engaged the Elf Stones, it was like a miracle. After not knowing anything about the stones, all of a sudden he points them towards the demon and it works. Hmm… Let’s say something inside of him took over and activated the magic. Immediately afterwards, he passes out. Still not very heroic.
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about the hero without pointing out the flaws in our heroine. Princess Amberle has her own share of issues. She is so self-absorbed that she can’t see what’s right in front of her face. She misreads people and situations constantly. For someone who is in serious danger, she is overly trusting and take foolish risks. The only person she seems to have problems with is Eretria who actually never really did her much harm. We get flashes of visions and snippets of information to try to give us the motivation behind her actions, but none of what’s been given truly justifies why the princess makes the decisions she does. We need deeper conflict and motivations for Amberle’s drastic reactions and thinking. She’s fast becoming the heroine we love to hate. Or just don’t care about.
Okay. The show wasn’t all bad. The secondary characters are the ones keeping us engaged in the Shannara Chronicles. Eretria’s character is everything a heroine should be. She’s strong, self-sufficient, honorable (as much as a thief can be), and has a good sense of self. While she is vulnerable, she has a strength driving her to complete what she needs to do to survive. We want her to win.
Allanon is by far the show favorite. Who wouldn’t swoon over a ruggedly handsome druid who can heal himself and isn’t afraid to use his magic no matter the consequences? He’s always right on time to be the hero and save the day. His mystery makes us want to know more, draws us to him. He’s like a chest player and everyone else are pawns in his game. Allanon will bring viewers back for a few more episodes.
The plot is still interesting. It hasn’t come to the point that we won’t watch anymore, but the show will only get a few episodes unless they swiftly turn Wil and Amberle around. What will the next few episodes bring?
Questions, Comments, and Concerns:
- What do you do with a hero that has no fight in him? Wil gives in so easily and he has “sucker” written across his forehead.
- Who else have questions about the person who setup the rules of this world? Some of them don’t quite make sense with what’s going on.
- Allanon! More of him, please!
- Are the Ellcrys dead now? Are all the demons unleashed? Trying to follow the rules of magic.
The Shannara Chronicles Review: 1×03 Fury