Shannara 2×07 fittingly titled “Warlock” starts right after the death of King Ander (RIP, I will never not cry about this). Tamlin’s guards buy our heroes enough time for the final goodbyes. For the first – and last – time we see a motherly side of Tamlin that has been hidden until now. The Queen tells her daughter she loves her and gives her a necklace to keep safe: it is the key to unlocking Heaven’s Well, which only Lyria can access. Lyria and Eretria run away. They find shelter in Cogline’s wraith prison, where Amberle visits Eretria in her dreams. The Elven Princess commands her to take Wil to the Ellcrys, he is their only hope (the time of Obi Wan Kenobi is passed, it would seem).
Wil and Mareth take a weak and wounded Allanon to Storloc, but medicine has no effect on Druids. They have to look for a cure elsewhere, and find a solution in the sacred Codex: it is a rune that lets Mareth enter his dream state to wake him up, but should he die while she is in his mind, she will suffer the same fate. We get a hint that Wil might return Mareth’s romantic feelings in the way he is very concerned and does not want her to risk her life, not even for Allanon. But she has her way, and the rune is applied (can I say it looks very similar to Shadowhunters’ parabatai rune?)
In the dream state, Mareth wanders through a seemingly deserted land until a flying demon attacks her, and Allanon finally shows up to come to her rescue. He claims she shouldn’t have joined him in his dreams and that it is not time for him to return yet, as there is someone he needs to speak to that he can only reach in this state. Nonetheless, the two of them arrive at the sacred land of the druids. Allanon’s old master reminds him of the command to train another druid, and Allanon realizes his own mistake. He thought his master had meant for him to train Bannon, when he was referring to Mareth all along.
Watching over her, Wil grows worried. He is holding Mareth’s hand right when Eretria bursts in. They hug and it’s affectionate and intimate, and can I again say how much I love their dynamic this season? She reveals Amberle sent her to find him, and that he needs to get to the Ellcrys as soon as possible, and this time Wil conceals his disappointment at Amberle contacting Eretria instead of him. Even though at this point shouldn’t he be wondering if there’s a reason behind this? If it’s him that the Ellcrys wanted to communicate with, why always choose Eretria to deliver the message? Maybe it’s because of the Rover’s newfound magical abilities, or maybe it’s just a plot device to bring them together again. Despite this, Wil is not inclined to go to Arborlon. He spent weeks on the floor of the Sanctuary after the defeat of the Dagda Mor, laying his hand on the Ellcrys begging Amberle to reveal herself to him. Now that he has just started to heal from that wound, he is afraid of being hurt and disappointed again. He doesn’t want to see Arborlon and be reminded that Amberle is gone.
Meanwhile in Leah, Riga quickly seizes the entire palace and proclaims himself in charge of both Leah and Arborlon. He orders Ander’s body to be thrown in the falls at the edge of the palace. Desecrating the King’s body and his memory is the quickest way of breaking the spirits of those who still resist him (and our hearts). Riga gives Tamlin the chance to bow to him, but the Queen refuses to recognize his authority, knowing that she is choosing death over treason.
In Graymark, Bandon kills every Crimson soldier, as they are usurping the Warlock Lord’s stronghold. He then proceeds with the ritual and uses Allanon’s blood to revive the dark lord. This is possibly the reason why Allanon jolts awake in Storloc and why another rune of his disappears. Mareth also wakes and the same rune transfers to her, another sign that she is the designated heir of the druid. Allanon agrees with Eretria and convinces Wil to go to Arborlon: this time will be different, the Ellcrys will give him the answers he seeks because he has been summoned.
As Eretria and Wil prepare to go, he has a conversation with Mareth – and yes, he is totally starting to reciprocate her feelings – where they stare at each other lovingly and discuss what Amberle meant to Wil. At one point Eretria must feel that going from sheer desperation over Amberle to making heart eyes at Mareth is where Wil should draw the line, because she not-so-subtly interrupts them with the oldest and lousiest excuse in the world, they need to go. Wil walks away, half-embarrassed, and this gives the girls a chance to talk. Eretria admits she knows “that look”, as she’s been in love with Wil Omhsford herself, she tells Mareth with a smile and no hint of pettiness or jealousy. Mareth does not try to deny anything and instead honestly asks, “Is it weird I’m jealous of a tree?”
Eretria also updates Wil on the dead count and drops the bomb: Ander is dead, who will rule the Elves? There are no more Elessedils, but Wil corrects her (and confirms my theory!): Mareth is the heir, as she is Pyria’s daughter, thus a niece to the late King Eventine. (Just think that in an alternate universe, Amberle and Mareth could’ve grown up as sisters, we were robbed of an iconic friendship.) But right now, Mareth is training to become the next last Druid, and Allanon presents her with a dagger.
In the dungeons of Leah, Tamlin and Jax talk about past mistakes. The Queen confesses all she ever wanted was to provide for her daughter and her kingdom, and despite her actions she always had the best of intentions. Jax remarks they all start that way, before reality kicks in. Tamlin knows it’s too late for regrets, the end is near and she’s ready to face it. She asks the weapons master to look after her daughter, and he promises he will protect Lyria. Tamlin is brought to the throne room where her entire court will witness her execution. With a dignity worth of the great queen she has been, she refuses to be pushed down into the falls – she jumps. What a beautiful, emotional and perfectly designed scene. We lost an incredibly strong-willed woman tonight, an amazingly realistic character and a great addition to the show. She will be missed by many, both on and off screen.
We return to Graymark for the very last scene of the episode. Bandon has successfully summoned the Warlock Lord. In a rather cleverly-shot sequence, we only see the Warlock rise and walk from behind. It is only when he ascends to his throne that the camera allows us to see his face: it’s Allanon, or an evil version of him.
This season on Shannara, it looks like it’s in the writers’ contract that every episode must end with at least one significant death and a cliffhanger. It’s an emotional rollercoaster for us, but we love it anyway.