‘The Shannara Chronicles’ 2×05 & 2×06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

The Shannara Chronicles treated us to two back-to-back episodes in what felt like an action packed fantasy movie in “Paranor” and “Crimson.”

We finally got to unearth and learn more about Wil and Eretria’s past, which have been shrouded by pain and issues of abandonment since the start. Allanon continued with his ‘anything for the greater good’ schtick. And here’s hoping that he realizes the opportunity to start anew that his daughter (yes, his daughter) is offering him.

Then there comes Ander. Sweet Prince Ander who was stripped of his family, his love, and now his life. His death was most unexpected and left us feeling uncertain about where The Four Lands are going to end up next without this benevolent and uniting ruler.

Without further ado, let’s talk The Shannara Chronicles “Paranor” and Crimson”!

Connecting with Their Pasts: Eretria and Wil Edition

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

What Wil and Eretria have discovered about their pasts cannot be easily brushed aside. They are now essential parts of them that will define them in the moments and battles to come. In a show like The Shannara Chronicles there’s plenty that I’m uncertain of when it comes to The Warlock Lord and the future of The Four Lands. But I’m certain that Wil and Eretria will use these discoveries to become stronger, more resilient individuals.

Wil’s scenes with his father and mother were as you’d expect, lovely additions that gave Wil the peace he hasn’t had for ages. From here on out Wil will be more sure of the person he is and the line he’s come from. He’ll understand on a deeper level that saving The Four Lands from The Warlock Lord is something only a Shannara like him can do. There’s no use denying his fate anymore.

Despite learning that Eritrea is half demon and that The Warlock Lord could possibly use her for evil, I think she’s stronger for this discovery as well. Her past has been shrouded in so much mystery, making it so she’s never found a place, history, or people to call her own. Now she has an opportunity, a choice, to reject what runs through her veins and stand with Wil and the rest of their people for the side of the light.

Building Lives Not Defined by That of Our Parents

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

At the heart of The Shannara Chronicles is a story of people trying to live their lives in such a way where they aren’t defined by their parents or the mistakes they made while they were alive. It’s a tragic but relatable thing that we can all connect to no matter where you’re from or what age you are. Every day is a fight against the ones who raised us and the world we have been left with by our predecessors.

Every time Wil uses the Elfstones he fights against the power that consumed his father, destroyed his childhood, and caused fear in the hearts of the dark and power. Eretria fights her Rover past and now the call of the dark side because of the blood running through her veins via her mother’s choices. And the late Ander and Lyria fought against the choices their parents made in an effort to secure their kingdoms and save their families, lives and bonds be damned.

We all mess up. There’s no denying that. We are flawed and don’t mean to leave the world in shambling as we pass on from this life to another. But we do leave a mess. And like Wil, Eretria, Ander, and Lyria, they fight to make sure this world is better for having them in it.

Allanon and the Opportunity He Has with Mareth

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

Allanon continues on a path where the greater good takes precedence over everything else. It’s left him alone and bitter, those around him not trusting him as far as they can throw him. And if he doesn’t learn from his mistakes, he’s bound to a life of solitude like the rest of the druids before him.

Mareth is a chance to start anew. It’s an opportunity to care for someone else and learn how to depend on those around you as a means of finding better solutions. The only thing he has to do is reach out to Mareth. And now that her blood has proven her to be his child, there should be nothing holding him back besides his stubbornness.

Wait…that could hold him back. Crossing fingers for him.

No one likes watching tired old story arcs where the person does the same thing over and over. And that’s what Allanon is doing now. He’s stagnating, remaining as the same person he’s always been instead of understanding and realizing that change can happen, even for someone so set in his ways like he is.-

The Ander Death I Never Saw Coming

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

Another Elessedil bites the dust. (Going to have dive into the wiki later because he could be the last one for all we know.) Part of me hates The Shannara Chronicles for tricking me in this way, the other wants to take the Spike network out for a drink. I didn’t see King Ander’s death coming at all.

Men like Ander, the good guy rallying the forces of good against evil, don’t die. They rise up out of the ashes of their home, unite the unlikely, and save the day, no matter the odds against them. Ander’s home was burned down and this was his rise. This was the moment for him to set out on a whole new arc for his character that would’ve defined him as a King for the rest of his life.

Then Ander died.

The Shannara Chronicles isn’t like Game of Thrones. And I’ve never had to worry if one of my favorites…lie, I worried about Amberle and Catania…let’s start again. I have never had to worry much about my favorites or the core characters dying because this show followed the familiar cliche of ‘if you’re a key character that’s been here since day one, you probably won’t die.’

Now my faith is all shaken up. Now I worry and wonder if my favorites are going to die because that’s how the word works. It doesn’t matter if you are the chosen one with the sword, a tattoo on the back of your shoulder, or the first female runner at a kind of sexist competition. You can die in this world and any other.

So, hold onto your favs. Enjoy them while they’re here and go on this journey with them. But be ready, no, be prepared for the fact that they can die and there’s nothing we can do about it besides stare in disbelief as their bodies hit the floor and the life drains out of their eyes.

Favorite Scene from “Paranor”:

This rover girl with recently discovered demon blood running through her veins, took out a whole squadron of trained warriors like it was nothing. It makes you wonder if  Eretria’s demon blood had something to do with this outcome or if the Kingdom of Leah is extremely lacking in their training. Let’s just go with Eretria is a badass who is constantly underestimated but always ends up on top.

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

Favorite Scene from “Crimson”:

There was something so touching and heartbreaking about watching Wil talk to a younger version of his mother. This was the woman who gave him the Elfstones and set him on his path. This was the woman who cared for him and loved him. And she felt it. She felt the connection in his stare and wondered who this young and brave man was.

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

Additional Notes:
  1. Dear Shannara Gods, Please make it that Bandon appeared at the right moment and saved Catania. Her body was never found. That can mean two things: 1) the actress couldn’t come back because of time constraints or 2) we haven’t seen the last of this character. I’m hoping for the latter.
  2. Wil and Mareth giving each other “looks” felt like it came out of nowhere. They haven’t spent enough time together for Shea to remark on how she looks at him and ask if they’re together. Tragedy and tough situations have a way of bringing people together, I’ll give them that, but there hasn’t been the development to have them bumping into each other and awkwardly shuffling away because feelings. Or maybe I’m wrong and that’s how you catch feelings. In that case, my life is a lie.
  3. I’m really enjoying how Bandon sits on the ledge between being completely evil/lost to us and having a chance to redeem himself. In no way am I forgiving or forgetting what he did to the child who lived in his childhood home. But if Regina over on Once Upon a Time can destroy villages and still have a redemption arc then so can Bandon.
  4. Lyria in her wedding dress = wigs snatched. True story.
  5. I really like that Eretria and Lyria’s stories aren’t solely defined by the fact that they are together. Eretria has her past to deal with and the demon blood running through her veins. And Lyria is marrying a man who understands who she is and respects that. (Tipping my hat to Ander for being an ally and understanding that this was a political marriage between two people who love others and just want to save their people.)

'The Shannara Chronicles' 2x05 & 2x06 Review: Paranor & Crimson

The Shannara Chronicles airs Wednesdays on Spike at 9/8c with two episodes.

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