The Shannara Chronicles season finale reminds us that everything comes at a price.
Shannara opens on an washed out scenic landscape. Amberle stands in this mystical space and sees a figure in the distance. The voice that permeates her mind is speaking to her directly now, explaining that the last leaf from the Ellcrys has fallen and that there’s not much time now. But who is the person speaking with her? Whose voice has she been following since she was a little girl?
Her own, as it turns out…
’You are the seed, Amberle’
Yes, the figure who has been guiding her along this quest is Amberle herself. A very wise ethereal Amberle, but Amberle all the same.
And this version of herself has a message to pass on. “You were chosen. Like I once was. Fate has tied us to the Ellcrys. As I end, you will begin,” Amberle says to her other self. (The whole thing is very Dumbledore and Harry at the King’s Cross station.) Confused and distraught, the princess tries to clarify. “End? But I can save you. I have the seed,” she pushes. But this otherworldly Amberle knows something she hasn’t shared yet: “You are the seed, Amberle.”
At this moment we flash back to Wil. He’s still clutching Eretria and holding onto her limp body. Grief stricken, he grabs hold of his elfstones and uses them to revive the Rover girl. Realizing Amberle is still missing, Eretria jumps up and uses her body to unlock the Bloodfire once again, giving her friend the time she needs to escape.
The princess hears Wil calling for her in the mystical space and she returns to her friends. The three run into each other’s arms and hold on tightly. But Amberle can’t bring herself to tell them what she now knows, that she must sacrifice herself to the Ellcrys in order for it to be reborn.
‘Only a king knows the weight of a crown’
As the Dagda Mor army moves in, Ander knows their only option is to hold the demons back until Amberle returns to revive the tree. A full on war against the Dagda Mor is impossible for them to win even with the gnomes by their side. Battle plans are made and King Ander readies his troops.
As Ander and Allanon prepare for the oncoming fight, Amberle, Wil, and Eretria work to remove themselves from the Safehold tunnels. Unfortunately, the trolls they avoided while coming into Safehold have awoken, forcing the three to hightail it out of the passage. They come across a gate that could hold the trolls back and give them time to escape. (Hooray!) Except the door only closes from one side. (Boo!)
Acting without reservation, Eretria shoves her friends through and closes the gate behind them. “I bought you some time! Use it,” she orders. And although the two are devastated, they must leave her behind. They can’t let her sacrifice go to waste. Wil promises he’ll return for her, and Amberle uses Eretria’s courage to bolster her own. They begin their long trip home back to Arborlon, both determined to fulfill the quest to save the Four Lands.
’Do you trust me?’
We press pause on the bigger action for a moment while we watch Catania check on Bandon. She wants to see if he’s okay while being locked away during the battle. But instead of simply spending time with the girl, he uses her to escape and mercilessly kills the guard in the process. At this point we don’t know if we’re dealing with the Dagda Mor, Bandon, or a warped combination of the two. But whoever is in control of this body, they’ve definitely crossed over into the dark side.
Wil and Amberle see Arborlon in the distance, but the Dagda Mor’s army prevents them from being able to get through. So while waiting for darkness to cover them, they hide away until sunset. They don’t let their time together go to waste either. Instead of confessing to Wil that she must sacrifice herself to the Ellcrys tree, Amberle confesses something else instead. “I love you Wil Ohmsford,” she shares. “And I’m not ready to let you go, not yet.” The two kiss (along with other stuff) before they have to plunge head first into the danger. With a little help from Allanon, the two make it through the demon army back to the Ellcrys tree.
Cue big fighting sequence. During the heat of battle, Commander Tilton comes across the possessed body of Arion. The mangy version of her lost love takes her off guard and the beautiful warrior goddess is stabbed through her stomach and falls to her death. Shocked, Ander steps in and immediately stabs the mutilated corpse of his brother. And with his last dying breath, Arion wakes from his possessed stupor and tells his brother he must end his life. “Release me. Please. Please,” he gasps. Ander says his final goodbyes and puts his brother down.
The Dagda Mor tries to stop Amberle and Wil from entering the tree, but his attempts are futile. Amberle tearfully explains to Wil what she must do and he uses his magic to hold the demon leader off while Amberle enters the Ellcrys. Each and every demon vanishes, the Dagda Mor is beheaded by Allanon, and the Ellcrys is restored.
’She understood the price’
Heartbroken, Wil sits at the foot of the Ellcrys, asking Amberle’s essence to speak to him through the tree. Allanon assures him she will speak in her own time but to be patient. While he waits, Wil knows what he must do. He must return to Safehold to retrieve Eretria.
And guess who shows up in the heaping remains of the Forbidden? It’s none other than creepy ass Bandon. Dressed like the Death Eater he now basically is, and holding onto the Warlock Sword he got from who knows where, not only are his eyes blackened out, he looks ready to wreak some havoc.
Wil says his goodbyes to Allanon, off to rescue his friend. But before the episode ends, we have one more cliffhanger to dangle off of.
Eretria is being dragged through the tunnels of Safehold, alive but obviously scared and pissed she’s been captured. Thrown at the feet of a troll, we see the beast remove its mask. Although we don’t know who’s face is revealed, Eretria certainty does. “It’s you,” she says, and then the show fades to black.
And that’s it! That’s the end of season 1 of The Shannara Chronicles everyone!