The Shannara Chronicles “Pykon” Review (Season 1 Episode 6)

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On the latest episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” the main team continued their quest, while Ander, Tilton and Slanter began theirs, and the Changeling enacted her latest nefarious plan, under the guise of the King, in “Pykon.”

First and foremost, my apologies for occasionally mixing up Arion and Ander in last week’s review. The fact that the latter was with Tilton in the past while the former is with her in the present, coupled with the similarities between the actors themselves and the fact that you rarely hear their names used throughout- mostly the King just calls them “son” and they didn’t even say their names at all in this one until very nearly the end of it! Combine that with the Kardashian-esque quality of all of the King’s family seeming to have “A” names, and you can see my confusion!

Anyway, this did not go over well with book-readers online, so I do apologize, and feel free to let me know if I make any other such mistakes and I will be sure to rectify them ASAP. Of course, to be fair, my mixing up two character’s names are undoubtedly the least of book-readers’ complaints, from what I can gather online. Many of them are none too happy about the vast array of changes being made between the show version and the book version, most recently including the King dying sooner than he did in the books. Wonder what they will have to say about this episode’s events?

Personally, I get it, but I also don’t take it personally if you know what I mean. I love “Game of Thrones,” for instance, but I don’t care that they changed certain things from the books, or that they are going to be going beyond the books very soon. The books are the books, and will always be there, and the show is the show and it is what it is. Why should “TSC” be any different?

You don’t like it, stop bitching and go watch something else. Period. I don’t mind valid complaints, but enough with the whining about “changes.” Time for YOU to change your point of view and let us enjoy the show. Is that too much to ask?

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Moving on, this was a great episode, IMHO, with some unexpected twists and some surprising deaths to boot. It might well be my favorite since the two-part premiere. At the very least, it wasn’t boring, between Amberle’s sex dreams and Eretria’s bisexual revelations and all the action and even a little torture. Never a dull moment in Shannara-land, that’s for sure.

We began with the aforementioned wet dream, as Amberle went from getting it on with Wil on a merry-go-round type playground ride (more remnants of Earth’s past) to getting up close and personal with…the Dagda Mor! Eep! Let’s leave that to the Changeling, shall we? Understandably unnerved, she wants to leave at once, which Crispin seconds, as a winter storm is a-brewing. (Insert “winter is coming” joke here.)

Meanwhile, back at the kingdom, the Changeling does a little historical reading, and discovers that a sword that can potentially be used to vanquish Allanon is hidden right on the grounds somewhere in a vault. She tasks her “son” Arion to find it, smartly playing on his mistrust of Allanon to do so and telling him she suspects that he has been turned evil by the Dagda Mor.

Faced with slow-going through the mountains due to the storm, Cephelo suggests a short cut known as Pykon, and though dubious, the team agrees to give it a shot, warning him if it’s a trick, it won’t end well for him. Wil also points out that another demon may be anticipating them going the long way, so it’s a better bet if they do something unexpected. Sure enough, another demon rises and heads their way shortly thereafter.

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Back at the kingdom, Allanon continues to watch over a still out of it Bandon. Catania arrives to check up on him, but he suddenly springs up and grabs Allanon and he has a vision of Bandon being held captive by old DM, who also possesses him for a spell. The now-demonic Allanon grabs Catania to strangle her, but Arion intervenes and saves her, now more convinced than ever Allanon is bad news.

His work done, the Dagda Mor leaves him and waits for the Changeling’s plan to finish Allanon off. Arion and Catania go in search of the Blade of the Warlock, which she thinks might lie in a chamber underneath the dungeons. Sure enough, they find a bunch of writing on the walls, and are able to figure out how to open another chamber within a carved formation of stone in the center of the room. The sword arises of its own accord and Arion takes it and heads back to the palace.

Meanwhile, brother Ander and Slanter come across one of the latter’s people dead, which the former says represents evidence he is telling the truth about the impending demon takeover. Slanter asks to do Last Rites for his fallen brother, but predictably uses this as an opportunity and grabs a blade from his fallen comrade and holds it to Ander’s neck, threatening to kill him if he’s not let go. Tilton agrees and Slanter takes off, with all their horses in tow. Whoops! That plan backfired- or did it?

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Back on the mountain, everyone’s getting more and more dubious of Cephelo’s alleged short-cut until Wil spots it finally- the mythical Pykon of the episode’s title. The team all proceed over to the fortress there, where they are greeted by a little girl, Mag (Anais Shand) and her guardian/protector Remo, who claims to be the only one left of his kind, along with Mag.

However, he says that the short-cut they seek has collapsed in an avalanche, so that they are out of luck there. He nonetheless invites them in to weather the storm and have some dinner and the like. Cephelo is rightfully dubious but they accept nonetheless.

Here is where the unnecessary but amusing bath scene between Amberle and Eretria takes place, and though the former rebuffs the latter’s advances, we do get some nice bonding between the characters and we see that Eretria has a mark on her back that allegedly belongs to her previous “owner” to mark his “property. Someone else sees as well, and alerts the girls, who also start to become dubious of where they are.

Alas, all the warning signs aren’t enough to keep them from being drugged by Remo over dinner, despite Cephelo’s insistence that he try his first. Turns out that Remo has built up a tolerance to the drug, and is immune to it, so all concerned pass out, and wake up to the sounds of torture in the next room to find everyone but Wil hanging upside down from the chandelier- from the chande-LIERS. (Probably not what Sia had in mind when she wrote that song.)

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Turns out that the place used to be a military outpost, and Amberle’s grandfather assigned Remo the position of lead interrogator, only to send someone to kill him off after the war ended. They succeeded in killing his wife, but he emerged victorious, and has been killing off anyone who comes there since. So, needless to say, when Amberle informs him who she really is, it does not go over well, and she instantly becomes next in line to get tortured.

Fortunately for her, Wil has bonded with little Mag over a seashell and when he wakes up, she helps him infiltrate Remo’s torture lair and Wil is able to overtake him with an assist from Mag and free the Princess before Remo can play Jigsaw with her manicure.

Meanwhile, Eretria is able to flip off of her spot on the chandelier and escape, setting the others free. They get to Remo’s lair just in time to see Wil and Amberle kissing, much to Eretria’s chagrin.

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Back at the kingdom, Allanon pleads his case to the “King,” which, for obvious reasons, falls on deaf ears. Allanon spots the history book open on his table and sees the sword and recognizes it, saying it’s a danger to them all. It’s certainly a danger to him, as Arion stabs him with it twice, upon which he disappears into the ether, never to be seen again in this episode. I suspect we haven’t seen the last of him, though.

Brother Ander laments to Tilton what he got them into, saying he should of known not to try and work with his brother’s killer in the first place. Tilton says not to blame himself, and points out that Arion hasn’t been the same since it happened, and clearly blames himself, as well he should, and that’s when he started drinking and the like and changed as a person and they stopped seeing one another.

Out of nowhere, Slanter arrives, having changed his mind abruptly and thinking twice about his abandonment of his traveling companions. Turns out he has good reason, as there is a massive demon army lurking not far from there, and he now believes that Ander was telling the truth about the impending war. Ander lets him go, and Slanter vows to tell his people how honorably he handled himself, in hopes of repairing the rift between the gnomes and the elves. So, you see, diplomacy pays off, after all! Maybe.

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Back at the fortress, Mag leads the team to the secret passage of Pykon, which, as it turns out, is still there despite what Remo said. They go to leave when Remo returns, and shoots poor Mag dead, which I decidedly did not see coming. Damn MTV- killing off a kid! Pretty ballsy. An enraged Amberle stabs Remo with her sword and this time he stays down. Wil leaves Mag his mom’s seashell and they open the door to leave.

But wait- there’s more! The demon arrives and attacks, with Crispin stepping in to fight it as the other scramble to safety. Eretria and Cephelo get there first, only to find a zip-line across the chasm there. They go across, but Eretria realizes that she has to go back to return the pulley device to get the others across. Cephero balks, pointing out that the demon could come at any moment, but she insists.

She fetches Wil and Amberle, who inform her that Crispin is dead and that they are all that is left of the team now. (The rest were tortured and killed by Remo.) They go to cross the ravine, but the demon arrives, hot on their heels and Cephelo refuses to take any chances and cuts the wire to keep the demon at bay. Unfortunately, in doing so, he also sends the three heroes careening to their deaths in the process- or does he?

Well, obviously not, or we wouldn’t have a show, but regardless, that’s where we leave things, so we’ll have to wait until then to find out what happened. Curse you, MTV! So, this was a solid episode with some effective character development on most of the major leads’ ends, as well as some solid action sequences.

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Yes, the dream sequence/sexy bath-time scene were oh-so-trendy MTV-style Y/A wish fulfillment, but they were also revealing in other ways, as it put Amberle in touch for her real feelings for Wil, paving the way for them to be together for in the real world (no, not the show, lol), and gave the girls time to bond in earnest for the first time since Eretria saved Amberle’s bacon. So, I’m okay with them, as pseudo-exploitative as they might have been to some.

I suppose it’s obvious to say that none of THAT was in the books, but we covered all that already, so I digress. The important thing was, it was entertaining and fun, and occasionally pretty hardcore. Once again- they killed a freaking KID. Pretty hardcore there.

So, yeah, I enjoyed it all around, so deal with it haters. But feel free to sound off with some valid criticism if you didn’t, down below in the comment section, and I’ll see you next week. Thanks for reading!