The Shannara Chronicles 1×04 Review: Changeling
This week on The Shannara Chronicles, we stray even further from the plot of the book, perhaps for the better – it remains to be seen.
So far, the changes on The Shannara Chronicles have allowed them to expand on Eretria’s character, and personally any changes that allow for more opportunities for badass ladies to be badass is pretty good. As I’ve said before, she wasn’t even in the book yet at this point, and she definitely wasn’t deemed necessary to the quest by the Ellcrys. Appearing in both Amberle’s and Bandon’s visions proves that she will be important – more important than she was in the book.
Amberle having to prove herself to the Ellcrys was something that was not explored in the book, so it was nice to see it play out on screen. In the book, Amberle wanders off, something happens with the Ellcrys, and she comes back with the seed. In “Changeling”, we had a little bit of an Empire Strikes Back moment where she has to journey into the tree and face her darkest fears; apparently, her darkest fear is having to kill Wil. Although, it could be having to kill someone that she knows and cares about, or even merely having to kill anyone. For all that Amberle is pretty adept with a sword, she also doesn’t have that strong of a stomach. I found that sequence to be very well done. There was a bit where the green screen was pretty obvious, but it disappeared quickly and came across as fairly seamless.
Bandon’s mere existence is already affecting the plot, since as a seer he is able to influence what is going on around him. He was able to prevent Catania’s death by chasing after her. However, as he doesn’t seem to be traveling with the group headed to Safehold, he may have already fulfilled his usefulness. It is, after all, thanks to him that Allanon discovered the Changeling.
Speaking of the Changeling, I’m extremely glad that it isn’t actually dead. For one, it was just a little too easy. Allanon breaks its neck and it just dies? It’s a demon; surely it’s more resilient than that. For another, the Changeling plays an extremely important role throughout the story, and I worried that eliminating such an essential component so early would be detrimental to the plot. Thankfully, this was not to be the case, as we saw at the end of the episode, where it appears that the Changeling was simply playing possum. I don’t appreciate the unnecessary gore, but that’s just me not liking gore all that much.
As someone who is not a fan of love triangles, except in the rare instances when they are done extremely well, I’m a little wary of how they are inflating the relationships on the show. In circumstances like this, romance never really makes any sense, considering the characters usually have more important things to worry about. In the case of The Shannara Chronicles, I don’t feel they have developed either pairing – Wil/Eretria or Wil/Amberle – well enough for the sexy times to be happening already. Amberle’s reaction to learning that Wil and Eretria had slept together doesn’t particularly mesh with what we’ve seen of their relationship so far, but then she could have simply been judging him for his taste in women.
Also, is it just me, or does Austin Butler look like he’s always on the verge of crying? His eyes have that perpetual sad puppy dog look.
One nitpick that I must point out, or I wouldn’t be me: How is Allanon able to figure out that Wil slept with Eretria, but not that Bandon is a seer? Seems like a weird lapse in his mystical Druid powers.
So far, The Shannara Chronicles is doing an admirable job of adapting the story to screen. I’m still having issues with the dialogue but I’m just going to have to deal with it, because this is an MTV show and that’s how they talk on MTV. I’m happy that we’re finally beginning our quest to Safehold, four episodes in, but I do worry how the changes will affect the things to come. (Things that, to be fair, I don’t really remember.) There has been a lot of action, so it’s not as though the plot is dragging, but we’re almost halfway through the season and we just now started the journey. I hope this doesn’t cause corners to be cut in future episodes!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from THE Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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