The Shannara Chronicles, S1 Ep5 – Reaper

This episode of The Shannara Chronicles marks a turning point for several minor characters, as well as shows more of the Rover, Eretria.

For most of the season so far, Eretria has been a minor player in the grander scheme of things, but when she was revealed to be one of the three chosen to go on the quest of the Ellcrys, it was clear that she was a truly vital part of the group. And this episode finally gives her a chance to shine.

The Shannara Chronicles, S1 Ep5 - ReaperAmberle’s group is ambushed on the road by Cephalo and his band of Rovers. Eretria is freed from the Elves as well as from the Rovers, since she has done her duty by them. But it turns out she has a conscience and some sense of honor, after all. She rescues Amberle from Cephalo’s clutches (also for an impressive monetary reward, but still) and they rejoin Wil and the rest of the group, bringing Cephalo along as a hostage.

But just as they arrive at their destination, they discover that it has been overrun by a giant demon called Reaper. This latest monstrosity is an impressively menacing piece of CGI. Amberle’s soldiers are powerless to fight it, but Cephalo comes up with an ingenious plan to lure it to a spot where they had been about to be trapped by poisonous gas. The Rover throws in a spark and the Reaper explodes. While Cephalo is still not someone to be trusted, he is someone who knows how to survive.

The Shannara Chronicles, S1 Ep5 - ReaperBack in Arborlon, Allanon begins to train Bandon in the use of his latent magical powers. They approach the Ellcrys and Bandon tries to control his emotions and the visions that he gets whenever he is in contact with the tree. He also tries to do this with Allanon himself. But after a series of grim visions where Bandon encounters the Dagd Mor, he seems to be trapped in some kind of mind prison, a problem Allanon will now have to deal with.

This episode also featured some flashbacks to ten years ago to the moment when Amberle’s father was killed by a gnome who had infiltrated the palace. This gave Amberle’s uncle, Anders, more to do as well since back in the present day, he decides to enlist the help of this gnome. His brother advises against it, but he is determined.

The Shannara Chronicles, S1 Ep5 - ReaperSeeing more of Eventine’s sons and their complicated romantic entanglements (basically, another love triangle) helps us invest more in them as characters. We now better understand their motivations, and see them acting while Amberle is on her quest. No doubt whatever they do in the future will also impact the story.

The Shannara Chronicles ends this week on a pretty intense cliffhanger, in which we see that the Changeling has morphed into Prince Arion and then murdered King Eventine, before assuming his form and sitting on the throne. It’s a very jarring development, and one that the other characters will probably not discover until a very inconvenient moment.

The tension is mounting on The Shannara Chronicles, not just for the trio on the main quest but also for the rest of the minor characters. The show is settling into a more reasonable pace and is becoming more and more engaging every week.