Written by: Kelsey Hlavaty
Episode 8: Utopia
This week’s recap will focus on Episode 8 of The Shannara Chronicles which aired Tuesday, February 16th, 2016. Warning: Expect massive spoilers.
Last episode, Amberle and Eretrea fell right into a high school prom; not their own of course but rather an eery look into what the “ancient ones” were doing right before the “apocalyptic event” happened (so many quotations). Still on the run from elf hunters, they are rescued by Wil on a dragon, only to lose Eretrea to the elf hunters and consequently the map of San Francisco they need. Arion and Ander go to fight the Dagda Mor to end the demon/elf war. The Dagda Mor is able to kill Arion but is unable to fight Ander, who returns to the castle and kills the Changeling (who was pretending to be the king). Ander is now the King of the realms.
The episode opens with a trip to a human settlement that resembles closely to what humans were like before the 20th century. The leader, Tye, buys Eretrea from the elf hunters, along with the map that Zora was keeping from her. Noticing her wound is infected, he takes her to infirmary and welcomes her to Utopia while putting her under some pain killers. Wil and Amberle are still searching for Eretrea in the outskirts of the town. Precious angel Amberle does not want Eretrea to feel abandoned again, as she has too many times before. Wil tells Amberle that although they both care about finding her, rest is extremely important. The lovers are in troll country – creatures that love hunting for elves. Back at the castle, Bandon and Allanon notice that the Elcrys is slowly losing all its leaves. Allanon informs Bandon that he has a similar backstory to him – because Bandon’s powers are getting stronger, Allanon will train him to become the next Druid.
As Eretrea tries to escape the infirmary, she runs into the other patient whose face is half melted off. Frightened, she leaves the infirmary but discovers it is within Tye’s quarters. Holding a knife to his neck, Eretrea questions him and demands to know why he’s bought her. He tells her that she is free to leave whenever she wants; she is not a slave, Tye simply wanted to free her from the elf hunters. Understandably, Eretrea does not trust him. Amberle and Wil are still searching for Eretrea. On their journey, they begin to further discuss “The War of the Races” and how the elves created borders to protect themselves but now believe that these borders were created more as a warning. However that discussion ends quickly as they begin to discuss their feelings for each other and begin to take off each other’s clothes until they hear a loud noise. What do you know, it’s Cephelo caught in one of the trolls traps and needs their help. Promising to take the lovebirds to Eretrea (as Cephelo is almost certain she’s at the human settlement near by), Amberle agrees to release him from the trap. At Utopia, Tye explains to Eretrea what the old humans had accomplished before the War and that the elves were so threatened by human capability they erased human history. Eretrea does not believe him; everything he is saying comes from legends she’s heard (their history is erased, of course) but Tye pulls out a gun. Teaching Eretrea how to use it, she becomes more interested in the ability of humans and willingly attends the party the settlement is happening that night.
One of the citizens informs Tye that a sacrifice must happen that night, but Tye no longer wants to include Eretrea in it. At the party, Tye puts on a video of how different humans were before the war, putting on a clip from the original Star Trek series. Entering the settlement, Wil and Amberle run into one of the humans and pretend to be elf hunters looking to trade. The human invites them to join the party and to change from any clothes they have in the room. Tye begins to convince Eretrea that she does not need her friends – she can create her own adventures with her own kind and when Wil tries to convince her to leave with them, she tells him exactly that. While she goes to find the map of San Francisco for them, she runs into the man from the infirmary. He grabs her arm and tells her Tye cannot be trusted. She must go with Wil and Amberle to Safehold as her “body is the vessel and [her] blood is the key”. Tye catches her in his room, demanding to know why she left the party. In true Eretrea fashion, she seduces him and grabs his gun.
Back at the castle, a drunk Ander is reluctant to take the crown. He argues with Allanon, stating that he can never be as brave and as a strong as his brothers and father. However, he pushes through this upset, and accepts his new duties as King at the funeral of his lost family. Eretrea, Wil and Cephelo (who was caught on grounds), are tied to poles and will be sacrificed to the Trolls – this is the agreement the humans have with them. As soon as the first troll arrives, he is shot in the head by comes-to-save-the-day-every-episode Eretrea. Tye and the other humans open fire at the Trio and Cephelo. Subject to a fatal wound, Cephelo finally redeems himself cowboy style telling Eretrea to make as break for it while he takes care of the humans. The rest of the trolls arrive and loom over the humans as they await their fate. The episode ends with the Trio arriving in front of the remains of the Golden Gate Bridge, presumably the entrance to Safehold.
Verdict? Great episode, it was interesting to see humans apart from the rovers within the forest. As well, I loved the small discussion they had about the War of the Races and I would love for them to dive further into this history. It also pleases me that Eretrea is becoming more important (and that she feels important!) and we move closer to Safehold. Being that there is only two more episodes left of the season, I am extremely excited to see this all unravel.
I have grown to really love this show. If you love it too (or hate it), please chat me up on Twitter (@kelhlavaty) as I would love to hear your thoughts!