The Shannara Chronicles “Fury” Review (Season 1 Episode 3)

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On the third episode of “The Shannarah Chronicles,” we picked up right where we left off, with Wil (Austin Butler) and Amberle (Poppy Drayton) about to become “Fury” food. Naturally, it was Allanon (Manu Bennett) to the rescue, who promptly cut off one of its arms before decapitating and finishing it off, though not without some bodily harm to himself.

Instructing a squabbling, still reeling Amberle and Wil to take him to a nearby Druid-friendly cave, things weren’t looking good, but I think we all knew, regardless of whether we read the books or not, that they weren’t going to kill off arguably the best character on the show- with apologies to Eretria, who I also love- so soon into the proceedings.

Wil and Amberle head to the so-called Silver River to get some mud with supposed healing properties, but are unfortunately descended upon by Eretria (Ivana Baquero) and her cohort, who shackle them up and bring them to her father as agreed upon in the previous episode. Once there, Cephelo (James Remar) tries to woo Wil into joining the ranks of the Rovers, where he can be trained as a Healer, just like he originally wanted.

Naturally, there’s a catch, which is that he wants Wil to show him how to use the Elf stones. Wil says even he doesn’t know, but then another Fury attacks the camp and he figures it out soon enough and vanquishes the beast before it can do much damage to the village. As aforementioned on the show, the magic takes a toll and he collapses.

Amberle tries to kill Cephelo after a threat to his own daughter proves laughable to all concerned- really nice, dad; no wonder Eretria can’t get out of there fast enough. She fails, but a returning Allanon, since healed by some fire sparks within the Druid cave, intervenes and saves her and Wil alike. Needless to say, Cephelo isn’t happy about the development and tells his daughter either she gets Wil and the stones back or she’s done for.

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After some more hemming and hawing on Amberle’s part and healing on Wil’s, Allanon finally convinces them to return to Arborlon, the princess’ kingdom, albeit begrudgingly. It’s no wonder, as upon their arrival, her uncle Ander (Aaron Jakubenko) says that most everyone on the Council blames Amberle for everything that has happened, including the death of the Chosen and the dying of the tree, the Ellcrys, for abandoning her post and running off.

Along the way home, the three also pick up a fourth member of the crew, under decidedly dubious circumstances. After finding a bunch of slaughtered animals, then people, they find a young man named Bandon (Marcus Vanco, “Unbroken”), who is locked away and chained up in a back room. Color me skeptical, but I can’t say I blame Wil and Allanon for being dubious of taking him along- especially since he refuses to say why he’s being locked up.

However, it becomes clearer later when it is revealed that Bandon seemingly has similar powers to Amberle, in that when he touches someone (or perhaps something as well, though we don’t see any evidence of that as of yet), he gets visions. One we see features a dead Amberle, so that’s not good, obviously. But what happened to her? Either way, I’m guessing Bandon was locked away for being suspected of being a witch or the like.

It’s that vision that convinces Wil to stay after initially wanting to bail once the princess is returned safely home. He also vouches for Amberle to the Council, who are indeed wary of her and the tales of demons returning and the like. They agree to let her try to save the tree, in a manner of speaking, thanks in no small part to Wil’s kind words. Not that they entirely have a choice, as she is, after all, the last of the Chosen.

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Basically, as I detailed in the last review, we have a sort of “Lord of the Rings”-style set-up here: Amberle must go into the tree, retrieve the seed that can be used to grow another, healthy tree, but only after said seed is purified in the waters of Lake Minnetonka- oh, wait, that’s “Purple Rain”- make that submerged in the Bloodfire and then returned to the kingdom. To do so, she must travel to Safehold, which is also where Bandon sees harm coming to her.

We end with Amberle thanking Wil for his help and touching the tree and a door opening within it and her going inside. Obviously, we’ll have to wait until next week to see what transpires inside the Ellcrys. Or not, technically, as the next episode is already available online, apparently. I might go ahead and check it out, as I’d like to see what happens, but I’ll forgo getting into it here regardless, for those who want to wait until next week and watch it live.

So, this was another relatively solid episode overall. The main actors are growing into their characters nicely, and though some of the changes made to the source material are a bit dubious- i.e. the revelation that the action takes place on a “fallen” Earth happening so soon, the decision to gloss over the first book in the series they’re adapting- I actually like a lot of the others, notably the fleshing out of the female characters, who were a bit more stock in the books, if I recall correctly.

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Yes, the show can be a bit CGI-happy at times, but I thought the practical gore effects were pretty well done and effectively gruesome, and I didn’t mind the takedowns of the Furies, as fake as they might have been visually. It’s no worse than some of the CGI-driven FX on “The Walking Dead” and most people love that (though certainly not all), so I can’t say I have a problem with it, in a general sense.

Beyond that, I don’t have a lot of complaints about the show as of yet. Yes, the tale is a bit familiar, but it’s nice to have a fantasy-driven show on the air to bide the time until my beloved “Game of Thrones” returns, and it does fill a niche for that, as, say what you will about MTV’s involvement, there aren’t a lot of shows like this on basic cable. And for those standards, MTV is getting away with quite a bit here, so I can’t say I have a problem with it. It might not be “GOT,” but what is?

So, what did you think about the third episode of “The Shannara Chronicles”? If you’re someone who read the books more recently than I have, how did you think they compared? If you’re someone who hasn’t read them at all, did you still enjoy it? Did you have any problem following it? (As much as I love the complexity of “GOT,” it was refreshing to watch something much less complicated and easier to follow- I sometimes feel like I need a Wikipedia at hand at all times when watching that show to keep up with everyone and everything!) Will you continue to watch? What did you think of the cast? Do you have a favorite or least favorite? Sound off below in the comments section, and see you next week!