I feel like we’ve been here before. Only four episodes in and The Shannara Chronicles is starting to retread some territory. Episode four was my least favorite episode yet, and I’m feeling a little hesitant about next week based on the preview. For now, let’s recap.
The gang is back together! At least for one episode. After seeing Amberle safely through her Ellcrys trial (the big test was to make sure she had enough fortitude to kill Wil because after a week together he’s the person she cares about the most?) with a shiny new vision to guide her on her quest, Team Elf has a plan! But before they can leave they need to figure out who the spy in the castle is… because reasons! I would think getting Amberle (the obvious victim of choice) out of the castle would be the better plan, but hey, let’s go with it. Thanks to Bandon, who we learn can see the deaths of those he touches, the cast quickly learns what the viewers already knew, the assassin can take any shape and has been doing just that since episode one. The whole thing seemed a little too paint by numbers to me, without any real creativity going into the plot or problem surrounding the episode, but at least things are moving forward.
Meanwhile, Eretria is back as her father/master has once again sent her to retrieve the Elf Stones. And oh look, she tried the same ploy on Wil that she did the first time they met, and it worked all over again. With the added bonus of sexy times plus an extra knife to stab in Amberle’s heart even though she’s insisting on keeping her distance from Wil as the Ellcrys commanded. With how quickly the plot is moving, it’s a little frustrating to see Wil making no growth of his own, but that’s a problem for another day. Eretria is quickly caught and briefly thought to be the assassin. Once her name is cleared, all she has to do is play decoy-Amberle in order to win her freedom… Not! Amberle backs out of the deal at the last second because Eretria was in her Ellcrys vision and needs to join them on their quest. The quest that will start… eventually!
I will admit that the climax of the episode, while not terribly complicated or original, did manage to be less unoriginal than I thought it would be. The team set up a bait-and-switch in order to lure the changeling out and then did the same to us for the final attack and reveal. So well done, The Shannara Chronicles. Well done. Overall, this was still an enjoyable episode but had a few more frustrating moments than the ones preceding it.