The Shannara Chronicles has returned for a second season, with a whole new quest to embark on and a slew of new characters to join Wil (Austin Butler) on his latest magical adventure. The first season saw Wil, Eretria (Ivana Banquero) and Amberle (Poppy Drayton) journey across their land to save the world (and become embroiled in a love triangle along the way, of course). As the demons gathered to attack and the Ellcrys slowly died, Ander (Aaron Jakubenko) stepped up to become King while they waited for the young trio to complete their quest.

The season 1 finale ended with sacrifices on all sides, but with the world saved from the demon horde – and some new alliances brokered by the war. Amberle sacrificed herself to become the Ellcrys and trap the demons once more, Eretria sacrificed herself to a pack of Trolls to save Amberle and Wil, and Wil managed to get out alive… but seriously unhappy about the price of magic. Now, with the show’s season 2 premiere, we return to Four Lands a year later to find a new threat rising, and new heroes to meet it. ‘Druid’ is the kind of premiere that does a lot of catching up and setting up, but with the same gorgeous visuals and characters that fans already love, which makes all the exposition interesting.

What Have Wil And Eretria Been Up To?

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Starting, of course, with the original heroes and the cliffhanger that season 1 ended on. Last season, when Eretria was dragged off by Trolls, it looked like she was done for – until the leader pulled off his mask and Eretria recognized him. Clearly, this was not the end that the young Rover expected, but the identity of the leader wasn’t revealed until the opening of the this week’s episode, when we learned that it is… Cogline. Wait. Who? Cogline is a man with Druid markings on his neck and a fascination with ancient human tech, and he just so happened to know Eretria as a child! He invites Eretria to stay with him until her friends come back for her – and a year later, she’s still there. These days, Eretria is a tech-hunting, troll-killing, face-paint-wearing next-level badass with a new girlfriend, but her past comes back to haunt her when a Troll knocks her off a bridge and she has a vision of Amberle.

Wil, meanwhile, has returned to his original plan of becoming a healer, and is working with a settlement of healer Gnomes who are training him in their healing arts. He still has the elfstones, but he uses them primarily to conjure up his own visions of Amberle when he’s alone at night (and shirtless, of course, because what would an episode of Shannara be without shirtless Wil?). He’s a dedicated and capable healer, but he’s still shaky after his experiences last season, and is rocking a lone-wolf attitude to match.

Finally, King Ander (Aaron Jakubenko) is attempting to put his kingdom back together again after the demon attack, but they’re running out of money, and things aren’t as wonderfully prosperous for the elves as they were at the start of season 1.

The New Bad Guys

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Which brings us neatly to the first of two new bad guys who are going to be making life hard for Wil and his friends this season: The Crimson. Headed up by Elf-general-gone-bad Riga (Desmond Chiam), the Crimson are a band of anti-magic warriors, scouring the Four Lands for magic users to murder. Riga originally fought alongside the elves against the demons, but this battle has convinced him that magic is the root of all evil, and he’s gone rogue. Not only does Riga murder magic users, he has started nailing them to trees with his sign cut into their heads, just to make the point. He’s also willing to pay handsomely for information about anyone known to do magic, slaughter anyone else who gets in the way, and now he’s after Wil. Despite this, he’s building up some real support among the elves, so it looks like Ander isn’t in for an easy life on the throne yet.

Of course, General Riga and the Crimson aren’t the only guys on Wil’s trail. Bandon the Seer (Marcus Vanco) has also gone full dark side, and is now gunning to return the Warlock Lord to life so that he can study under a new evil Master. Dark Bandon gets some phenomenally blood-soaked scenes in the premiere, as he and some new snake-slaves of his go to a forbidding castle that Skeletor would be proud to live in. There, he raises a desiccated heart from a tomb, and makes it bleed for the snake-slaves to slurp up. Dark Bandon isn’t unopposed, however, as Allanon (Manu Bennett) has been tracking his former protege, and the two have a master/apprentice battle worthy of Star Wars, before Bandon also decides that he should go after Wil as his next order of business.

Page 2: New Heroes In Four Lands

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