Last week we left off with Mareth and Allanon being literally burned at the stake, and that’s where we begin 2×09, “Wilderun”, the first of the two back-to-back final episodes of the second season of Shannara. Father and daughter are both sure they are going to die. Allanon says Pyria would be proud of Mareth. After some seconds of hopelessness, Jax and Slanter arrive to save the day, Allanon’s collar is removed and he can use magic to extinguish the fire.
Wil and Eretria talk are on their way back from Arborlon. Wil asks her to promise him to look after Mareth should anything happen to him. Eretria refuses to believe anything is happening to him, she won’t let it (ah, the art of foreshadowing!). She also opens up about the darkness inside of her, and how scared she is it will overcome her. Wil once more calls Eretria the strongest person he knows.
Lyria and Cogline go back to his camp as she needs to stay hidden and safe – she argues, she wants to be out there with the others – but he is irremovable, she is not only the Queen of Leah, but also the key to Heaven’s Well. This seemingly pointless scene so blatantly reminds us of Lyria’s development. Nine episodes ago she was saying she didn’t want anything to do with being a princess in that palace and now she wants to go back and be queen. Obviously her life has been completely altered since the beginning of the season, and we also haven’t seen her for a couple of episodes.
The Warlock Lord finds the Codex on General Riga’s corpse and he shows it to Bandon. It is not an object to be shared, he tells his apprentice, only those who claim it for themselves can use it. Bandon then does the obvious thing and takes the Codex, finally turning on the Warlock Lord. He resurrected him, looking for a master who would teach him, and now he is going to kill him because how did he repay Bandon? By defiling Catania and humiliating him. Bandon overestimates his own power or because the Warlock hits him right back and kills him. #JusticeForBandon
Mareth, Jax, Allanon run to Graymark looking for the book, and they find Bandon’s and Riga’s corpses. Allanon regrets the role he had in Bandon’s becoming dark. He dramatically even whispers, “I failed you” in a very Han Solo/Kylo Ren and Dumbledore/Tom Riddle kind of way. Jax regrets not having been the one to kill Riga. Allanon suggests they now split: he and Mareth will go get Lyria, and Jax and Slanter will head off to Leah. Despite the city still being occupied by the Crimson, they will sneak in and show them what has become of their leader.
Wil and Eretria arrive at Cogline’s camp. The Rover and the Princess reunite, and Lyria is formally introduced to Wil. Mareth and Allanon also appear, and Wil runs to hug Mareth. He might just want to act on his feelings after receiving Amberle’s blessing, but will Mareth, after her father told her to detach herself? Wil shows everyone the restored Sword of Shannara, which we find out was forged by Cogline!, and Allanon announces they might win this war yet.
Lyria and Eretria talk about what’s next for them. Eretria isn’t sure she can keep doing this and risk losing Lyria every time. Lyria is optimistic, she says they’ll go to Leah together but Eretria objects that it’s not that simple and happily ever afters are for fairytales. But Lyria believes they deserve a happy ending, so she gets down on one knee, takes one of the many rings off and asks Eretria to be her queen. Instead of showing us Eretria’s answer, the camera moves to her shoulder tattoo, which lights up as she has visions of the red wraiths calling to her.
In Leah, Jax shows the Crimson soldiers the head of General Riga. Their leader is dead and their fight is over. He convinces them to stand down and not to fight him, but to fight with him. They can help save the Four Lands and their crimes will be pardoned. Their captain accepts.
Allanon gives Wil a pep talk. They both know Allanon will die soon, and when the conversation turns to Mareth, we expect Allanon to say they can’t be together. But instead he tells Wil that if he once thought of love as weakness, he is now glad that his spirit will live on in his daughter. Wil promises he will protect Mareth and they finally hug it out.
Wil goes to see Mareth while she trains. He starts off flirty, complimenting her movements and saying he should just give her the Sword of Shannara and their enemy wouldn’t stand a chance. This entire scene constitutes a beautiful dance. Mareth is walking away, Wil is walking closer, she points her sword at him, he still doesn’t hesitate. She finally asks him how it felt seeing Amberle, and he gives her the truth. Painful and good. Amberle taught him the past isn’t what matters, it’s what they do now. Mareth gets the hint and finally walks closer. Wil puts his hands on her shoulders and we think this is it, they’re going to kiss. The music is perfect, the vibe is just right… but Wil needs to tell her something else first. With Ander dead, she is the heir to Arborlon’s throne. He calls her “Majesty” and she suddenly recedes again. She doesn’t want that. She is just accepting her fate as a Druid, she doesn’t want to be Queen.
The Warlock Lord finds the camp via his connection with Eritrea. Allanon and Cogline fight him while Eritrea and Wil are tasked with keeping Lyria safe. But Eretria just can’t control the pull of the Lord anymore, and she turns on Wil, knocking him out. She is now free to get Lyria’s necklace and kidnap her.
Mareth shows up to help her father and the Warlock Lord uses this temporary destruction to neutralize Allanon too, after Cogline. Mareth bravely takes on him but he knocks her out too. He advances on her with two swords drawn
The first episode ends with Eretria absorbing the red wraiths and opening her eyes, now snake-like.
This is where 2×10 “Blood” begins, even though the two episodes flow really perfectly together in terms of pace and tone, and it probably should just have been a two-hour finale.
Allanon uses the last of his strength to save Mareth from the Warlock Lord’s blow and tells her to go find Wil. Mareth, who has just begun calling him ‘Father’ refuses to leave him until he tells her he will always be with her. We can all tell this is Allanon’s final battle. She is about to run away when Wil arrives, just in time to watch the Warlock Lord destroy Allanon. He runs his blade through the Druid’s body and it disintegrates. The WL also disappears.
With Allanon gone, the Druid and the Shannara to defeat the Warlock Lord must be Wil and Mareth. They ride to Leah with Cogline, and find Garet Jax in charge
Eretria is now the Warlock Lord’s pawn. She kidnaps Lyria and brings her to him. His plan is to contaminate Heaven’s Well with his blood, and he uses Lyria to open it. Meanwhile, Eretria acts as his spy from the inside: Jax trusts her and gives her access to the dam. The blood quickly spreads, and Cogline informs Jax that she must be under the Warlock’s control.
We are at the final battle, the real climax of the story. Wil and Mareth fight the Warlock Lord, but he is too strong. They try different strategies but none seem to be working. He is too powerful for their magic, and Wil at last resolves to use the Sword of Shannara. He gets close enough, but the Warlock Lord stabs him in the stomach with his massive sword. Mareth, temporally unconscious, jolts awake and tosses the sword to Wil, who stabs the Warlock Lord right back. There is an awkward moment of double impalement before the dark lord disintegrates just like Allanon did.
Wil remembers his father’s words about the blood of Shannara, and finds his blood can cleanse the water of the Warlock’s blood. He is bleeding out and doesn’t have enough magic to heal his wound. He says goodbye to Mareth, they share a tender kiss, and Wil pulls an Amberle. He lets himself fall into the Well. The water is clean again.
Cogline and Jax knock Eretria out and Cogline performs a druid ritual to get the darkness of the wraiths out of her. When she wakes up, she looks like herself again.
Flash forward to Lyria’s coronation scene. She praises their victory and does a quick tribute to the fallen. She announces it is time to rebuild. Afterwards, Eretria tells Lyria she will be a great queen, and the people will draw from her strength. But she isn’t ready to settle down with her yet. The Rover needs to work on the darkness inside of her, so she gives the newly-crowned Queen her rings back. They kiss one last time before Eretria leaves.
Jax is made General of Leah. As he says goodbye to Eretria, Mareth and Cogline, he proudly admits he now has people who are worth fighting for. Eretria asks him to keep the queen safe for her and they hug each other tight.
The unlikely trio of Mareth, Cogline, and Eretria ride away. We don’t know where they are headed, but they stop to pay their respects to Allanon’s tomb. Cogline needs to continue Mareth’s druid training and to help Eretria overcome the darkness, but shouldn’t Mareth also be heading to Arborlon to rule? We don’t know.
The episode ends with the cliffhanger of Wil waking up surrounded by bones, with winged demons flying at him.
This second season has been an absolute rollercoaster. Every single episode has been amazing, and Shannara needs to be renewed for a season 3.
Now, a couple of extra comments. We lost so many characters this season, and ironically, we didn’t lose any in the finale, if you consider that Wil is probably alive somewhere far away. Wil’s final sacrifice shows his development this season more than anything else. At the beginning of the season, we found him bitter because he didn’t understand why Amberle would sacrifice her life and their love to save the world. Now he gets it, and he does the exact same to Mareth.
I am so sorry that Bandon didn’t get to come back from the darkness, he deserved a second chance. At least Eretria is getting hers. On another note, Allanon shouldn’t be dead. In the books, he even introduces himself to Wil and Eretria’s children decades later the events of the show. I am confident that he would be coming back next season.
I am confident that Lyria and Mareth will be amazing queens. Mareth will be able to juggle her duties of Druid and Queen if she wants to. As Wil told her, “You are a much better badass than a reluctant hero.”
This is it, folks. It has been a pleasure to review this amazing second season of Shannara with you all. Now all we gotta do is push the network to renew the show. We are already organizing campaigns with #RenewShannara, so make sure you partitipate! For theories and anything else, you can find me on Twitter at @ladymultifandom. I will hopefully return to the Four Lands next year.