Battle of the Slaughtered Lamb
Episode 3 of Willow Season 1 starts with Boorman telling a story to Kit about Thuul, the Rightful King of Kymeria, riding out of the city gates to meet his tyrant brother and 2000 Death Dealers. However, Kit rudely interrupts and calls this story boring.
The group soon realize that Elora has been taken, and the group head out to try and find her. It’s Jade who finds Ballantine, who has tied up Elora to the back of his horse. She knows he’s not himself but just before they fight, Willow arrives and puts a stop to this. That is, until a whole bunch of soldiers appear and help out Ballantine. Willow eventually gets involved and tries to use his magic but it’s not enough, Elora is taken away and they all disappear.
As the caravan ride on, a big storm in the distance begins brewing, with the Crone’s voice on the wind. It seems the Crone is going to banish Elora rather than kill her, but of course that’s not going to be so easy. When we cut back to Elora, she cuts loose from Ballantine’s horse and runs, heading into the woods alone late at night.
Elora inexplicably arrives at a strange hut run by Hubert and Anne, two hunters who act like men, complete with manspreading and gruff voices.
Elora hurriedly tells them her real royal name too, and even shows them the mark, prompting the pair to decide to serve by her side. Good thing they don’t decide to betray her, eh?
Ballantine suddenly shows up though and stabs Hubert. As a result, Elora and Anna hurry through the woods and try to escape. It’s no good but Anne is also chopped down (off-screen so she may actually still be alive.)
The caravan comes unstuck, prompting the group to split up. Our villainous Kit heads off alongside equally villainous Boorman while the others head in the other direction. The pair end up wandering through a graveyard, with the secret of the Cuirass all Kit’s really interested in. It’s worth pointing out that she hasn’t once expressed genuine concern for her brother or anyone else beyond Jade.
Meanwhile, Willow’s group find themselves face to face with Ballantine and the other possessed soldiers. Jade fights Ballantine off, but they soon all end up in the graveyard from before, with Kit bursting through the rocks and joining the fight. And just in time too, given it appears Wererats have arrived just as the Boorman claimed earlier in the episode!
Silas ends up getting stabbed and passes away, prompting Willow to get involved and use his magic to ward off their foes. Unfortunately, Graydon has actually been stabbed in the skirmish and it appears he’s on the verge of being turned. As they continue on, Nockmaar happens to be in the distance, and the episode ends with an absolutely atrocious female vocal version of Enter Sandman by Metallica. That pretty much sums up this show so far, doesn’t it?
The Episode Review
The end vocal is perhaps fitting given what we’ve seen from this below-average-at-best fantasy fare so far. Women acting like men, complete with manspreading, arrogance and gruff voices, diminishes the true virtues women have and I’m not quite sure why those hunters were made that way.
Compared to say Luisa from Encanto, who backed up her strength with a strong heart, or even Hwa-Ryeong, the virtuous and strong Queen in recent K-drama Under The Queen’s Umbrella, Willow’s characters have absolutely no depth or compelling characterisation. I’ve seen NPCs in video games with more personality than this lot!
The story itself is a simple fetch quest, with a fellowship off in search of the big bad and saving the “damsel in distress” which in this case is a male. So far there’s been absolutely nothing here to help Willow stand out from the plethora of other fantasy shows on the market and it seems from the first couple of episodes, the fanbase is already split on this one.
As the weeks go by, Willow has quite the mountain to climb and episodes like this do the show absolutely no favours to draw fans back in.