The Shannara Chronicles “Utopia” Review (Season 1 Episode 8)

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On the latest episode of “The Shannara Chronicles,” I could practically hear the eyes rolling as our heroes took a detour into a human camp where they watched old “Star Trek” reruns on film (!) and listened to EDM on vinyl and had what looked like an Amish dance party because they were trying to keep the “traditions” of old-school humans alive, in “Utopia.” Yep, if book fans were foaming at the mouth about the changes made before now, I can only imagine what they thought of all this, in which “TSC” went full MTV on us, to near-ludicrous results.

Okay, scratch that- it was absolutely ridiculous, no doubt about it. From Amberle and Wil taking a pit stop in troll territory to get it on to the revelation that the humans were making a sacrifice to the trolls to “keep the peace,” I halfway expected Jason Voorhees– or at least the Teen Wolf crew- to show up and start slaughtering everyone. Or the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” crew to show up and start singing about how you “gotta pay the troll toll”!

Somehow, in the midst of all this silliness, some progress was made, somewhat. After having a crisis of faith and wanting to give up her quest to join up with the hipsters and dance the night away, Eretria had an exchange with the wounded Hebel (Simon Ward, “Syrenia”), who had traveled to their stained-glass building destination and lived to tell the tale where others did not. He informed her that her “body is the vessel and her blood is the key.”

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Now, how he knew this, much less who she was is never explained, making this a real deus ex machina, to be sure. But nonetheless, it proved to Eretria that she was an important part of the quest and that she needed to stick with them, despite her misgivings about the important role she was to play, if any. So, now she knows she’s an essential part of it all, which technically she already should have, and we can get on with it, hopefully without any more preposterous detours to cater to the MTV target audience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that business is business and that you absolutely should play to your intended audience in some ways, but here’s the thing: I think the audience for this is actually smarter than MTV gives them credit for, and would have been on board even without all this sucking up via wonky techno music and the like. I mean, they have Clubland for that, right?

So, yeah, try and keep your trendy crapola out of our fantasy epics and maybe, just maybe, those of us who actually enjoy the core storyline will continue to watch, okay? Besides, the books are filled with plenty enough material to draw from without all this extraneous BS. Alright- rant over. Back to the episode.

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Besides all that aforementioned human camp detour shenanigans, we also got the return of Cephelo, who redeemed himself somewhat when he not only led Wil and Amberle to said camp to rescue Eretria, but went so far as to sacrifice himself to save them when a shoot-out ensued with the humans as all concerned tried to make a break for it, lest they be eaten by rampaging trolls.

Granted, doesn’t necessarily make up for the fact that Cephelo tried to freaking rape Amberle at one point, not to mention his cutting that zip line and potentially killing everyone on it, but hey, it’s a start, I guess. It’s also an end, as Cephelo was shot and killed in the melee. But still, our heroes got away, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

Also killed in the escape were the jealous Frances (Shara Connolly, “Go Girls”) and the human leader Tye (Josh McKenzie, also of “Go Girls”), who probably deserved it for being named Tye alone. Ugh. He did get to make out with Eretria for a hot minute and teach her how to shoot a gun, so there was that in his favor.

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But yeah, when you stand on a soapbox talking about all the great things man has achieved and how they were keeping those traditions alive, only to turn around and reveal you’re killing people to save your own behinds, it kind of renders those points moot. So yeah, good riddance to bad rubbish. Hopefully, the humans’ next leader will be less douchey.

Beyond that, Ander, after a drunken moment of self-doubt, ascended to the throne, with the help of a pep talk/ “snap out of it” speech from Allanon, who essentially called him a chicken if he didn’t step up and fight for his kingdom. Allanon also told Bandon that he had the makings to be a new druid, with the proper training.

Though reluctant, it seems likely that it will happen, at which point Allanon will probably need to watch his back, because I’m guessing his days will be numbered after that. Probably just as well, as actor Manu Bennett, a long way from “Spartacus” and “Arrow,” deserves better. But it also serves MTV’s own ongoing quest to pare down the cast to the youngest and hottest of the bunch, so there’s that as well.

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That was really about it. As predicted last week, much of the episode was devoted to Will and Amberle rescuing Eretria and that was exactly what we got here, though I don’t think anyone could have predicted the whole electronica hoedown nonsense that went down in this installment. I’d say Terry Brooks is probably rolling over in his grave, but he’s still alive, so hopefully he’s counting his money instead because this could not be what he had in mind when MTV approached him to do an adaptation.

So, what did you think of the latest episode of “The Shannara Chronicles”? Are you glad everyone is back together so we can get on with the quest again finally? What did you think of the whole disco “Star Trek” boogie down fiasco? (Love that imdb.com gave Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner co-starring credits in this thing- I’m sure they’re thrilled to have this on their resume. Actually, Nimoy really is dead, so I’m sure his pointy Spock ears are burning right now in shame from the association from beyond the grave.)

Will they make it to their destination by the end of the season? Sound off on this and more down below, and see you next week!