The Shannara Chronicles returns for its second episode of season two with “Wraith.” And in a not so surprising move I don’t want to talk about Wil or what he was doing in this episode because they are bigger things that are still on my mind than Wil wandering about in the woods and trying to escape his fate.
They’ve just started season two and I can already tell that representation has changed this show for the better. It’s made it easier to connect as a person of color to the characters on-screen that are fighting for their lives. And it makes us hope that other shows follow in its lead when it comes to representation.
Another thing that I can’t keep off my mind is the death of Catania. It was brutal and Silent at the same time, a betrayal by someone that she trusted. And in many ways it feels like the end of something that could have been wonderful if she don’t even give it a chance.
Of course I can’t do a review without mentioning Eritrea and the newly-revealed princess Lyria. From one episode to the next they went from adorable scavenging couple to two people who barely knew each other. This led to their subsequent breakup and left me wondering why Eretria would turn her back on Lyria so easily when she understands the pain of living under someone’s thumb who is more powerful than you.
So without further ado, let’s jump into The Shannara Chronicles “Wraith”!
Representation in The Four Lands Matters
Let’s be blunt. The least satisfying part of season one of The Shannara Chronicles, for me at least, was the lack of representation. Ivana and Manu added a little color to the mix but it just looked like a show for and comprised of PWP (pretty white people). Same old thing and same old genre where people of color aren’t really seen or focused on.
But things are changing for season two.
We have Lyria, Mareth, Gareth Jax, and General Riga. Lyria is a princess who knows how to kick ass and is in love with another woman. LGBT representation right there. And then we have Mareth, a woman with magical abilities stronger than the main hero and who isn’t hiding behind and just letting him take the lead. Gareth Jax is a skilled loner who is aware of his capabilities and isn’t as cocky as you would have expected. Even General Riga, who is the villain of the story, goes a big way for representation on The Shannara Chronicles.
We even have a queen that is a woman of color! There is no man or King in sight. This is Queen Tamlin’s kingdom and she will ensure that it survives in any way that she can and on her terms. And the fact that she has been included in this story and in such a manner is wonderful.
Despite its late time slot and it’s move from MTV, this show is still geared towards a younger crowd. Representation in The Shannara Chronicles is important in that it makes them feel like they are part of the story. It makes it easier to relate to characters that look like them and it’ll be very eye-opening for people who haven’t been exposed to characters of color in fantasy situations like this.
Just think about it like this: Right now there is a young creator of color watching The Shannara Chronicles and being blown away by the fact that there is someone that looks like them in a central storyline for a genre they are frequently excluded from. And if The Shannara Chronicles can do it then so can they! So can other shows!
Things that influence us come in many shapes, ways, and forms. This could be it for that young creator of color. This could be when that idea they’ve been mulling over for ages sparks and grows into a diverse and inclusive story that others will connect to. This could be it.
The addition of Lyria, Mareth, Gareth Jax, and General Rigan could be that future spark of creativity. And that’s why representation matters.
The Death of Catania
At first glance her death does it matter as much. You know that she was part of the crew in season 1 and that it’s sad that she died but that’s how things go on a show like this. But for some reason I couldn’t get her death off my mind.
I’ve always loved Catania. There was an innocence to her but she was smart, sweet, and relatable. She didn’t blend into the background as soon as other characters came on screen. I noticed her. And maybe that’s why I can’t get her death off my mind.
Her character seemed to be on the cusp of growing and becoming more fleshed-out. The potential is now lost in her passing. And the only times we will hear about her and how her memory is going to be preserved is when King and are mentions her. Her death is going to be used to fuel his anger and want to get his people back on their feet.
Catania deserved better.
She didn’t have to fall into the age-old trap of dying tragically to get the mail hero on a path of revenge and fighting. She could have been by his side and helping the story move along from a perspective that we didn’t really get in season one. We got the royalty side of elves and Wil’s background. But we never saw the people, the ones behind the scenes that saw everything and are always the more relatable ones.
The Shannara Chronicles has already surprised me so much into episodes that I’m hoping I’m wrong. In the land of magic, elves, trolls, there has to be a way to stop the cliche from happening. Maybe the Kingdom of Leah has the technology to save her from a betrayal by her own people. They’ve already shown the remarkable things they can do with their weapons and their homes.
Who knows what else the Kingdom of Leah has up their sleeve.
The Eretria and Lyria Break Up
Am I the only one that thinks Eritrea was a little heavy-handed when she left Lyria and said there was nothing left in the Kingdom of Leah for her? Eritrea understands being put into a difficult position by those more powerful than you. So I’m having a bit of trouble understanding how she can write Lyria off so fast.
For peace of mind I’m going to attribute her quick dismissal on the fact that she received shocking news after shocking news. Maybe she needs a little time to process what happened to Amberle and the secrets that Lyria has been keeping. Eritrea is a fiercely loyal and loving person once she chooses to let you in. She let Lyria in and there’s no way that this is over.
I’m looking forward to an epic reunion where they talk, kiss, and give the other a chance to explain why one kept secrets and why the other walked away when the secrets came out. No more cliched turn of events The Shannara Chronicles. I want Eritrea and Lyria to talk and really give the love they have between each other a chance at surviving and thriving.
The Shannara Chronicles airs Wednesdays on Spike at 10/9c.