TV Review: The Shannara Chronicles 1×08 “Utopia”

As The Shannara Chronicles revs up to its first season climax we spend a little time this week exploring the post-apocalyptic wasteland of this world rather than fighting demons, and it made for an interesting ride! Spoilers ahead!


Rather than spending a lot of time with the Elf hunters as previously predicted, this week’s episode kicked off by selling Eretria to a group of humans living in the heart of troll country. Yes, she was saved from her previous predicament by the handsome human guy, who I really wanted to like but ended up being a waste of space, but I still loved getting to see Eretria on her own for a while. I’ve always liked her character more in concept than execution because we only ever see her as third wheel with Wil and Amberle or in a constant power play with Cephelo. This week was the best Eretria episode yet, and I hope the development will carry through from here on out.

The humans are still alive and kicking! At least the hipster portion of the population, who are living in their own little community and remembering the glory days. Despite all the pep talks and flirting, it would seem that Eretria was actually bought as a sacrifice to the trolls (which is the only reason the humans have managed to stay alive this long). But when their leader takes a liking to her, she gets invited to a party instead! Because, why not! To kick off their party the humans show a clip of life during the age of man… no wait, that’s an episode of Star Trek, which was a pretty great moment. Add in the humans booing at Spock because he looks like an elf and I was genuinely laughing out loud. But the humans still need a sacrifice, and it looks like Eretria is still on the menu whether or not Tye gets on board.

Which brings us back to Wil and Amberle. Something shifted after the end of the last episode, and now these two are more than willing to give the smooching while questing thing a go. Which, disappointingly, seems to mean that Wil is willing to abandon Eretria and continue with the mission now that he doesn’t need her as a backup anymore (yes, I’m liking Wil less as the season goes on), but Amberle manages to show a little more loyalty and the two set off to find her. Instead, they find Cephelo. Insert eye roll here. I was less than happy to see this guy turn up again, and it seemed beyond ridiculous that Amberle would be the one advocating to trust him, but here we go anyway! Cephelo leads them to his adopted/purchased daughter and we’re on our merry way. At least Wil has managed to learn his lesson by now, switching out the Elf stones before Cephelo inevitably tried to steal them.

And before we get to the big finale, we take a (thankfully, quick) detour to the Elven leadership. Anders is having second thoughts about being king, but Allanon talks him into it. There wasn’t ever any other outcome possible here, so I’m glad we didn’t take too much time on it. Allanon also thinks Bandon is destined to be a druid as well, but this also seemed to be something a footnote in the episode over all. Also, Commander Tilton didn’t seem all that shaken up about Arion’s death, but who can blame her?

Over in troll country, Cephelo, Amberle and Wil have all been caught (the ears were a bit of a giveaway that they didn’t belong) and staked to the ground to be left for the trolls. Thankfuly, we seem to have given up on the “will all the main characters die” cliffhanger being used at the end of every episode and Eretria swooped in to save the day. It wasn’t all that surprising at this point to see the human settlement taken out, including Tye, what was a little more surprising (and great) was that Cephelo took one for the team and didn’t make it out of the episode alive. Was it out of character for him? Yes. Am I okay with it anyway? Also, yes.

As we go into the final two episodes of the season, now with a map to safe hold, it’s probably a safe bet that this is where the big finale is headed. I’d love to see everyone stay a little more goal focused moving forward since it’s hard to believe that the world is at stake when the characters seem to get sidetracked during every single episode. But for now, I’m happy with this particular episode because it not only downplayed the Elf politics but also gave us more to like about our favorite rover.

Kellie Sheridan may as well live on the internet or in a library. She is a Young Adult author, spending her time writing and watching far too much Netflix near Toronto, Canada. You can find Kellie on Twitter (@Kellie_Sheridan) or contact her by email at