The Shannara Chronicles Recap: Breaking Into (And Out Of) Graymark
If there’s one thing that’s become clear to us over the past few episodes, it’s that Season 2 of The Shannara Chronicles is noticeably darker and more intense than Season 1—which is saying a lot, considering that several characters were abused, murdered, and assaulted last year.
But it’s easy to feel uncertain about the fate of our scrappy do-gooders when Wil, who is and pretty much always has been an audience surrogate, can’t stop sulking about the fact that Allanon betrayed him and Amberle. Wil has convinced himself that Allanon is a fraud who only cares about himself, but he puts his feelings aside and embarks on a quest to free Allanon from the Crimson’s clutches in order to save his beloved Uncle Flick. Wil’s joined by Mareth as well as Eretria (who left Leah to find him at the end of last week’s episode) and Jax (who Eretria temporarily “hired” to help track Wil down). We thought it would take Eretria the better part of the episode to find Wil, but we’re glad she found him right away so that we could finally see Wil and Eretria interact with one another again.
Wil tells the others about his plan to find Allanon and Jax informs him that Allanon was taken to Graymark, an old gnome fortress that the Crimson’s been using as its headquarters. Jax refuses to help them get there—that is, until Eretria and Mareth question his bravery and fearlessness. Seeing Eretria and Mareth on screen together for the first time draws attention to their similarities, and we wouldn’t complain if they team up and become some sort of smart-alecky, butt-kicking power duo later in the season.
Meanwhile, Tamlin and Ander are working to solidify their elven-human alliance. But just as we (and Lyria) suspected, Tamlin isn’t helping the elves out of the goodness of her heart. In a moment of sympathy, Tamlin tells Lyria about her plan to use Lyria and Ander’s arranged marriage to earn Ander’s trust and eventually take over the Westland. Tamlin also tells her daughter that Eretria immediately agreed to stay away from Leah in exchange for a bag of diamonds, convincing Lyria that Eretria doesn’t care about her as much as she thought she did. But if you ask us, Lyria and Eretria’s story is far from over.
On their way to Graymark, Eretria and Wil try to catch up on a year’s worth of missed conversations. Their happy reunion doesn’t start off so happy—Eretria’s understandably upset that the idealistic, hopeful Wil she once knew has been replaced with someone resentful and cynical while Wil accuses Eretria of judging him for turning to his Elfstones for comfort. But they manage to patch things up right before the Crimson drags Wil into Graymark, as Wil owns up to his actions and (as he should) thanks Eretria for leaving a life of relative comfort and safety to try to save him.
Wil gets thrown into one of the Crimson’s jail cells, but manages to break free within seconds by using a lock pick he hid inside his mouth. He comes close to freeing Allanon too, but right before they can escape Riga and his minions come barging in. They not only recapture Wil and Allanon but also start draining all of Wil’s blood from his body to coax Allanon into revealing where the Codex of Paranor (the source of Allanon’s magic) is located. Fortunately Mareth uses the magic father-daughter connection she apparently shares with Allanon to sense where he and Wil are trapped. She, Eretria, and Jax attack Riga and escape the cell along with Wil and Allanon. Thanks to Mareth’s fire-wielding powers (she’s a lot more magical than we thought) they also escape Graymark, though Allanon very nearly doesn’t make it.
After being apart for two and half episodes, the gang is back together again. But Bandon, the Crimson, and Tamlin are on their tails, and Wil is still furious with Allanon for letting Amberle sacrifice herself. Will Allanon and Wil try to get along next week, or will they end up turning against each other before confronting the real enemy?
What to look for in next week’s episode
1. Jax’s Backstory
When Jax delivers Wil to the Crimson, one of the guards makes a pointed comment about a Border Legion Commander who survived a demon attack and left the rest of his team to die. We assume this must have been what happened to Jax, as the comment affects him so much that he ends up handing the Elfstones over to the Crimson without putting up a fight. He also tells Mareth that he once had a cause he was “willing to die for,” and experiences a strange vision right before nearly being attacked by a Crimson guard. Despite Jax’s insistence that he “doesn’t do” backstories, something tells us that we (and his new allies) are going to learn a lot more about his past than he’d like.
2. Riga’s Backstory
This week we learned that Riga holds a grudge against magic-users because he lost his wife and unborn child during the Dagda Mor’s attack on Arborlon last season. We also learned that Riga’s body contains Mwellret blood, making him essentially impervious to magic (including Allanon’s all-powerful Druid magic). Allanon observes that Riga knows a lot about magic for someone who supposedly hates all magic-users, making us think that there’s something else about his past Riga hasn’t told anyone just yet. Could Riga be a self-loathing magic user himself? Or perhaps he was once betrayed by a magic-user he believed to be his friend.
3. Tamlin’s Allegiance
Near the end of the episode Tamlin speaks to General Edain, Ander’s supposed confidante and the main who killed Catania in last week’s “Wraith.” Tamlin asks Edain for a meeting with Riga and threatens to kill him when he initially refuses. We knew Tamlin was ruthless, but we had no idea she was working for (or with?) the bad guys. How loyal is Tamlin to Riga? How long has she been in cahoots with the Crimson? And how much is she willing to sacrifice in order to do the Crimson’s bidding?