Review of Episode 2: Baneling
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Directed by: Michael Hurst
Written by: Chad Fiveash and James Stoteraux
Summary: Richard, Kahlan, Zedd and Cara must find the Stone of Tears in order to seal the rift in the veil caused by the explosion of the Boxes of Orden.
This was an outstanding episode that was tightly managed. Episode Two begins with our favorite couple. Everyone will notice the relationship has changed, deepened. He holds her hand with assurance and Kahlan doesnâ€™t try to jump and run off afraid of his touch or how she might loose control. Richard and Kahlan are committed to each other. (Besides saving the world from the Keeper, they have their own stress â€“ the problem now is figuring out how they can be together. The angst we have known is over hopefully.) It has been replaced by a tension between Cara and Kahlan and for the moment, Richard wondering what is going on. (Remember Richard is â€śif I say it, I will do itâ€ť kind of guy.) At this point Richard accepts Cara as one of them â€“ 1) she helped him kill Darken Rahl, 2) she helped find the girls and killed Triana, a top ranking Mord-Sith, and 3) she is pledged to defend the house of Rahl whether Richard accepts the title or not. This is shrewd because the Mord-Siths have great power with the agiel, can use the breathe of life, and can take orders or use her own initiative. (I donâ€™t know if Cara is as lethal as Denna, but Cara and Richard have history together and have taken each otherâ€™s measure. They are a good fit for a team despite the fact that Cara finds that Richard â€śhas too much of a kind heartâ€ť; yet, both Cara and Richard enjoy a good physical fight. Cara is probably more devious than Richard. She does not admire â€ścompassionâ€ť and just like Denna she finds Richardâ€™s demeanor is difficult to understand because he is â€śone of a kind.â€ť They spent a lot of time together in the â€śfuture.â€ť We know that Denna was a Rahl favorite and personally trained by him. Caraâ€™s history for the TV series has not been discussed. Richard, who tends to give the benefit of the doubt and second chances, champions Cara. But remember she does know Richardâ€™s feelings for Kahlan and the situation between them, she once taunted him about it. To this point in time LOVE is not in Caraâ€™s desires, but pleasure including pleasure through pain is part of her repertoire .)
(Our crusaders find that the Dâ€™Harans have destroyed the Abbey and taken the monks according to Cara to Tathfraine, a Dâ€™Haran death camp. (Strange that the Dâ€™Haranâ€™s have a death camp. I thought the Dâ€™Harans usually killed everyone as they went, or took prisoners to torture. I think that was a favorite past time of Darken Rahl.) Richard, Zedd, Kahlan and Cara arrive just in time to stop the total annihilation of the city: resistance fighters, women, children and other citizens. (BUT WAIT .. what is with Kahlan?? She confesses a soldier and quickly runs back into the battle??? What happened to her being vulnerable after the confession?) Richard gave directions to bury the dead so disease does not spread through an already vulnerable population. Both he and Kahlan model for Cara to show compassion to the villagers to help them get back on their feet. When presented with a similar situation, Cara agrees to allow a young man, Gerald, to borrow a horse and take his brotherâ€™s body outside of the village to bury. But as luck would have it, he takes the treasure stolen from the villagers and exchanged the body for the valuables. When he searched for money or a quick souvenir, Gerald found the flower necklace, he opened it and he was marked by the vial of ink with the imprint of a rune. Cara is sent by Richard to find Gerald and once again proved that she is an invaluable part of the team.
Richard also learned that Abbot Henry had already been killed. Then it is discovered that someone is killing the prisoners. As Richard discussed the problem with Zedd, they figure out that The Keeper has sent â€śbanelingsâ€ť through the rift. It turns out Eleanor is a â€śbanelingâ€ť. Eleanor also killed Gerald, but Cara used the â€śbreath of lifeâ€ť to revive Gerald. Richard figured out that Darken Rahl had become the Keeperâ€™s official host and â€śmakes the Keeperâ€™s deals.â€ť Areas such as Tauthfraine are in such turmoil and easily invaded by the Keeper. And Richard who was â€śmarkedâ€ť by the Keeper has been used to fill the Keeperâ€™s armies with dead souls. To Richardâ€™s credit he burns the bodies which destroyed the source for more soldiers, no bodies to inhabit.
Abbot Henry appeared and he too was a â€śbaneling,â€ť but because he has not killed anyone, the Keeper called him back. Despite Richardâ€™s efforts to find Abbot Henry someone â€śappropriate to killâ€ť, due to Eleanorâ€™s efficient work , he is unable to find a suitable victim. (Some may find this appalling that Richard is willing for someone to be killed. But Richard has tough decisions. To kill a Dâ€™Haran or someone on the Dâ€™Haran side is not that offensive to carry out. He even tells Kahlan that life is valued and will be protected, but for the greater good he is willing to allow the appropriate people to be killed.) But with no one available to die, Abbot Henry is called back to the Keeper. He departed having revealed part of the information the Seeker needed: he must find the locket and the vial that is inside. The first one to open it will be marked by the Rune, which explained why it is on Geraldâ€™s palm. Now, the rune must be taken to Pamoora in order to find the Stone of Tears. According to Abbot Henry, â€śIt is the key.â€ť (Question: key to what?)
Darken Rahl is not pleased that Gerald was taken from The Keeper. The Butcher and his men take the deal and efficiently decimate a city and go back to Tathfaine for
Gerald and the locket. Before Richard, Zedd and Cara leave to find the Butcher and his army, they return to Tathfaine. Richard figured out that as he kills the enemy he fills The Keeperâ€™s ranks with soldiers if they have a body to inhabit. Richard, Kahlan and Zedd understand the The Keeperâ€™s threat. Richard says they must continue to â€śkill to save an innocent life.â€ť He must destroy the enemy.
The finale: William is a baneling. Were you that surprised? Tight shot of William: 1) when the resistance fighter releases the children, 2) William in Momâ€™s arms, 3) William and Mom talking about â€śthe butcherâ€ť killing the people as they lock up the city, 4) William and the group of children without parents and 5) only William is taken by Bertran (Question: Is it possible some of other children are banelings too?)
Two dark endings for the first two episodes. But then so many of you wanted Richard to grow up.
(I miss the eye-messages between Kahlan and Richard, but again we know the commitment was mutual in Reckoning and has matured. These two love each other deeply, but the events that require his attention are serious. They both have steadfastly declared their love for each other. She knows he wants her for his wife and just as he accepted her gifts will continue to honor her. Kahlan too has a destiny to fulfill as The Mother Confessor, but we know that Richard twice has â€śtoldâ€ť her he will be back for her. The good thing is that Kahlan knew she should be beside the Seeker and Zedd is with him. But WHY WHY does Zedd not tell anyone about Shotaâ€™s other prophecy?? )
Looking forward to the next installment: Episode III â€“ Broken
Richard to Kahlen and Kahlen to Richard: All that I am, I am because of you.