Picking up right where the first two episodes (or the first-episode two-parter, depending on how you want to look at it) left off, “Fury” is an odd dichotomy – it gives the viewer a sense that a lot is happening, when in reality, there is very little on-screen that’s actually going on. Perhaps it’s the advance knowledge that this version of Shannara will be a 10-episode miniseries; since we’ll be roughly a third of the way through the series at the conclusion of this episode, there’s no time to waste, right? So why does this episode have the feel of a “throwaway” when compared to how much “important big-picture-plot-stuff” happened last time?
WARNING: What you’re about to read contains spoilers about this episode and possibly other episodes of The Shannara Chronicles. Proceed at your own risk/reward!
RECAP: For as much as the previous episode can be considered a cliffhanger, the action picks up right away: Wil and Amberle are under attack from a Fury, one of the demons being released by the falling leaves of the Ellcrys (the demon leader, Dagda Mor, is name-checked several times in this episode but is never seen, an odd choice for a series that needs to move so quickly towards its conclusion). They are, of course, rescued by Allanon, who defeats the Fury but at a cost: he is severely injured and needs to return to his druid-cave-bed-thingy to regenerate a bit. Wil and Amberle get him there, but are shortly thereafter ambushed by Eretria and her Rover gang, who take them captive.
At the Rover camp, Eretria’s father Cephalo attempts to dupe Wil into staying with their group and showing them how to use the Elfstones. Both gambits backfire, as one might have guessed, and as the two gals start to cat-fight over Wil, another Fury shows up and starts a ruckus. Will manages to kill it by “using” the Elfstones, which is really just a fancy way of saying that he gets lucky and defeats the beast without really knowing what he’s doing.
Allanon finds the group, having awoken from his power nap, and reminds them that it is imperative that they get back to Arborlon ASAP! So the trio makes a bead for the Elvin capital, right? Well, not quite – they stop by a random cabin on their way, because reasons, and they find another elf chained up in the shed, because more reasons. His name is Bandon, and he appears to be semi-psychic, because why not. Reportedly, this character does not exist in the book, but he does in the world of MTV Shannara, because he’s young and cute and stuff, I guess.
Finally, the group gets back to Arborlon, where Amberle has to face a trial for running away from her Chosen duties; several impassioned speeches later, she’s allowed to enter the Ellcrys (there’s a convenient door at the base of the tree and everything!), and we’re given yet another cliffhanger as the princess strolls into Undertreetown…
I applaud the decision to have Allanon rescue Wil and Amberle from the Fury early in the episode, as opposed to having one of the two “heroically” step up and defeat the Fury themselves. It’s an all-too-easy out to give the budding hero/heroine the ability to miraculously work beyond their means in defeating an enemy that is far too powerful for them at that point in their knowledge/training. Even though Wil does manage to defeat a different Fury later in the episode, that battle is a little more “accidental,” so it gets a pass.
My biggest complaint with the episode is probably the end scene, where there’s a door in the Ellcrys. This fact in and of itself isn’t necessarily disconcerting; it’s the fact that, in the first episode, every was so “magic is just a legend” and “this is just an old tree and a symbol for us, nothing more.” No one saw the door in the “simple old tree” and thought “y’know, there might be something more here?” It’s like the legend of Area 51 continuing to be viewed as only a legend even though there’d be highway signs for it – if it looks like something important, it probably is.
CLOSING THOUGHTS: In most series that are as new and “plot-heavy” as this one, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a “breather” episode like this to allow the pacing to settle down a bit. However, The Shannara Chronicles use so many tropes and story/imagery pieces that are akin to other properties (I am not saying that it is unoriginal or plagiarist, simply noting some similarities to other fantasy worlds here) that most viewers are already familiar with much of what they are seeing, so this episode did have an odd sense of “drag” to it. Hopefully things moving forward will continue to captivate as well as the first episode did!
PRINCIPAL CAST FEATURED IN THIS EPISODE:
Ivana Baquero as Eretria
Manu Bennett as Allanon
Austin Butler as Wil Ohmsford
Poppy Drayton as Amberle Elessedil
John Rhys-Davies as Eventine Elessedil