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MCM BUZZ – Movies, TV, Comics, Gaming, Anime, Cosplay News & Reviews » The Shannara Chronicles S1E02 “Chosen, Part 2” REVIEW
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The Shannara Chronicles S1E02 “Chosen, Part 2” REVIEW

The Shannara Chronicles S01E02 “Chosen Part II” REVIEW

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stars 4

Airing in the UK on 5Star on Thursdays at 9pm

Writers: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Director: Jonathan Liebesman

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • “The Four Lands is in great danger. Only the last son of Shannara can save it.” So says the druid Allanon after he finds Wil sleeping in the bath tub Eretria dumped him in. He doesn’t waste time revealing that it’s actually Wil himself who is this “last son of Shannara”, and that – like his Father before him – Wil has magic running through his blood. A little difficult to swallow for a boy who thought magic only existed in stories his whole life; he believed his Father to have been a deadbeat drunk, and certainly not a druid.
  • As the leaves fall from the Ellcrys, more demons are spawning in the land of the Forbidden. One, a changeling, is tasked with moving to the upper world and dealing with the Chosen.
  • Amberle stumbles across Eretria, but it’s not a friendly encounter. Eretria attempts to drug Amberle as she did Wil, but Amberle outsmarts her, making off with her horse. Eretria’s father very nearly sells her off for this mishap, but he reconsiders when he sees the Elf Stones she was able to acquire.
  • Allanon takes Wil to the Druid’s Keep, where men and women from all races trained in magic. According to Allanon, there’s a Codex hidden there that could help to save the Ellcrys. Although Wil is sceptical at first, when Allanon uses his magic to break the Codex from its seal, he has no choice but to believe.

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  • The Codex tells Allanon that a Chosen must take the seed from a flower that blooms only when the Ellcrys is dying, take it to Safehold to immerse it in “bloodfire”, and finally take it back to Arbolon so the Ellcrys can be re-born. It all sounds a little convoluted, especially taking into account the problem of Safehold supposedly not existing.
  • Allanon has a vision of the Dagda Mor, a druid corrupted by evil who is now, for all intents and purposes, a demon. He warns Allanon that the Chosen will not be able to help; that their fate is already sealed. Hearing that, Allanon and Wil race back to Arbolon – but the changeling has already struck. All of the Chosen, save for Amberle, have been violently slaughtered. Wil and Allanon race to find Amberle and make sure she’s still alive.
  • After a near-fatal encounter with a troll, Amberle is saved and taken in by her aunt, who she been communicating with via letters in the past. Amberle had been trying to find her since, supposedly, she witnessed magic during the War of the Races. It’s through their letters that Wil is able to locate Amberle, but their introductions are cut short when a demon appears and violently kills Amberle’s aunt – then goes after her and Wil.

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Review:

This second episode of The Shannara Chronicles proves that a series shouldn’t be judged by its cover – or its first episode, anyway. “Chosen Part 2” has a far darker tone than its predecessor, and shows that it isn’t afraid to veer on the gory side. The cheesy teen romance and cringe-worthy dialogue is, thankfully, less evident here, replaced instead with magic, world-building and bloodshed.

As the sacred tree Ellcrys continues to deteriorate, so our protagonists are forced into action. This episode focuses on Allanon, the stoic druid who had been hibernating for years upon years to replenish his magic before being awoken by the call of the Ellcrys. It doesn’t take long before he’s showing off his impressive magical abilities – hopefully a sign of things to come. Interestingly, there’s a heavy emphasis on magic “having a price” in this world; using such a powerful magic spell leaves vicious burns on Allanon’s hands, and it was magic that turned Wil’s father from a powerful druid to a deadbeat drunk in his final days. Despite the toll using his magic takes, Allanon seems like a man dedicated to his cause, willing to sacrifice even love for the greater good.

On the other hand, we have the Dagda Mor, a once great druid corrupted by dark magic to become demonic. He sends the demons born from the Ellcrys’s falling leaves to the Four Lands to attack those living in it, which results in some pretty hefty bloodshed. It wasn’t easy watching long, drawn-out scenes in which the focus is on Elven corpses skewered to the floor in pools of blood, or seeing a character being literally ripped to shreds by a demon, but it certainly showed how far Shannara is willing to go – and that it takes itself more seriously than the first episode might have had you believe.

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Whilst Allanon isn’t dealing with demons or visions, he spends his time in this episode guiding who we now know is the last of the Shannara bloodline: Wil. It’s clear he wasn’t what Allanon was expecting, and to be fair, it’s easy to see why. Wil comes across as a little airheaded, reacting to things mostly through his shallow attempts at comic relief rather than any real emotion. He does pull through in helping to find Amberle though, so he could have some potential. Plus his and Allanon’s bordering-on-amicable banter throughout the episode is fun enough to watch. Is there a transformation from clueless teen to formidable druid waiting in the wings for Wil?

Hopefully there’s going to be more of Amberle and Eretria in the next episode. It’s great to see such powerful women on TV, and a particular highlight of this episode was the two of them facing off for the first time, in a forest surrounded by… satellite dishes? Both girls have their merits; Amberle is a kickass princess who’s proved that she can come out on top even when she’s blindfolded, whilst Eretria is an independent, street-smart (or maybe forest-smart, in this case) rover girl who can use manipulation to her advantage. (Speaking of the rover clans, who exactly are they? Amberle calls them a, “blight on the Four Lands”, and we know that they’re ruthless: stealing to survive and willing to sell off their daughters if need be, but not much more than that.) Unfortunately for Eretria, Amberle sees through her act, making off with her horse instead of being drugged and robbed. Eretria’s sure to be wanting revenge for that.

“Chosen Part II” ends on a cliff-hanger, with Amberle’s aunt having been ripped to shreds by a demon, and Wil and Amberle facing the same fate. It’s a dramatic ending to a great episode that’s filled with all kinds of new information and world-building for audiences to absorb, and we hope for more of the same next time!

 

The Good:

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  • With this episode, Shannara proves that just because it’s a show for young adults, that doesn’t mean it’s planning on laying off the violence. It’s shown us a no-holds barred bloodthirsty take on demons, and there’s sure to be more to come.
  • Allanon proves to be one of the most interesting characters on the show so far, particularly since he’s our token magic user for the time being.
  • Amberle and Eretria’s fiery face-off is a great example of two headstrong young women showing that they can hold their own in the face of danger.
  • The world-building is being laid on thick and fast, with rovers, trolls, gnomes, demons, the Dagda Mor and more being introduced this episode, making for a more enriched viewing experience.

 

The Bad:

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  • The scene in which the Changeling appears for the first time seemed excessive; did she have to be naked? Did they have to kiss? It was uncomfortable to watch – but maybe that was the point.
  • Whilst improved, the dialogue can still be hit and miss – take Wil’s attempts at humour, for example.

 

And The Random:

  • Allanon and the Dagda Mor both speak what is called Noalath, or the “druid language” in this episode. This was created by David J Peterson, who is renowned for crafting Game Of Throne’s Dothraki and High Valyrian languages. “Noalath” itself translates to “The Great Tongue.”

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  • Did you spot? Amongst all the “our world” detritus that litters the landscape of the show there was a wheel from a Spirograph set which was a wonderfully odd choice. Can we see a piece from Mousetrap next?

Review by Jessica Anson


 

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