The sixth episode of The Shannara Chronicles will forever go down in history as the Mines of Moria episode. No, there weren’t any orc hordes or magical armor, but there were a few moments that seemed to call right back to the first Lord of the Rings movie, on top of some already frustrating moments. Still, “Pykon” did manage to move the plot forward, if only by an inch, and offer up a few genuine surprises, though it will be interesting to see how many of this weeks supposed deaths actually stick. As always, there are spoilers abound in this recap.
We open with a dream sequence of the MTV variety. Amberle is still hurt about Wil hooking up with Eretria, but still manages to work up a pretty steamy dream about our half-elf hero. This whole sequence is a pretty minor moment though as the group quickly moves to deciding how to get to their final destination. None of their options seem great, so instead they decide to go looking for the legendary Pykon outpost as it’s supposed to have a pass through the mountains. Not everyone thinks this place even exists but Cephelo insists that his parents died in Pykon’s dungeons, and somehow we trust this guy now, so off we go.
The getting to Pykon scene is just as snowy and frustrating as The Fellowship of the Ring‘s mountain passage scene. And both finding the door and the abandoned feel to the front lobby seem Tolkien inspired as well, though there’s no riddle sequence, which was a little disappointing. But they make it to Pykon, only to discover that there’s only one guy left living there with his somewhat creepy daughter. The hold’s keeper Remo is also quick to inform everyone that the passage they’re looking for has collapsed years ago. Both Cephelo and viewer’s don’t believe him for a second, but no one else really seems that concerned by the whole thing.
Most of the gang sits down for dinner in Pykon, though Wil is taking the first watch at the front door along with the little girl who lives there. And I think this is as good a time as any to talk about Cephelo. Not only is this guy the absolute worst, but why does he gets to eat dinner with everyone else? When did he become anything other than a prisoner? He tried to rape Amberle literally a couple of days ago and now he’s part of the group even though there’s no chance he’s not going to betray them at the first opportunity. It really makes you wonder if this particular group stands a chance of saving the world if they’re using this kind of logic. But before Cephelo can betray anyone, their host does it first. Everyone is knocked out during dinner. Most are taken off to the dungeon, but little girl Mags somehow gets a nearly full grown, unconscious Wil off to safety. Insert now obligatory torture and threat of rape scene before Wil swoops in to save Amberle, and Mags promptly hits her dad in the dead with a hammer just as everyone else manages to escape on their own.
Things don’t go much better for good old Uncle Anders. He’s on a quest of his own with both his ex-girlfriend and the gnome that killed his brother. But Ander’s is determined that something good will come from all of this and makes a rookie mistake, allowing the gnome to go free. But as luck would have it, that same gnome stumbles across the growing demon army (seriously, how tiny is the world these people live in that the demon army is about a days ride away from the castle and no one has noticed yet?) and comes back to warn the elves who have kept him prisoner for ten years. Because he’s just a good guy. And then Anders lets the gnome go, because he’s a good guy too. Yeah, that was a little silly. And we didn’t even end up learning much at all from this entire plot arc. Although, shouldn’t the Ellcrys be looking a lot more sparse if that many leaves have fallen off of it already?
Back at the castle, things are more than a little tense. Last week a changeling killed the King and is now living in his skin. And since Allanon is the only major character left, the new bad guy quickly turns his sights on him. The “king” sends Arion to go looking for an ancient weapon, saying the druid has been keeping it for them all along. Arion doesn’t waste a chance to impress his dad or show everyone how tough he is and runs Allanon through with a sword with zero hesitation. I doubt supposed death will actually stick, but kudos for the changeling for not bothering to bide its time before killing of major players.
This episode ends off with the grand escape from Pykon. Not only is the creepy little girl killed so that the writer’s wouldn’t have to worry about getting rid of her later, and Crispin is killed because there’s no point in keeping him around past this point either, but it all happens very quickly in a sequence that seems to lower instead of raise the stakes. You mean this weeks big bag guy who survived a hammer to the head didn’t hear the giant demon coming even though it was less than 30 seconds behind him? Huh. But none of that matters, because the main trio gets out only to be betrayed by Cephelo and dropped down a giant cliff with the big demon. Yes, this is right out of Gandalf’s death scene, and no, no one actually thinks there is any chance that all three main characters died here. But hey, we’re used to these kinds of cliffhangers at this point, and I’ll be tuning in again next week even though I know the same thing will probably happen again.