The penultimate one episode of Willow is here, and we think it’s the best yet. If you have watch any genre of TV in the last decade, it makes sense; the penultimate episode is usually the best. It’s when everything the audience has been invested in or waiting to see comes to fruition, ending right on the edge of the last thing leading into the finale. And so it was with the seventh episode of Willowfeaturing each character’s breaking point and ultimate evolution – as well as so many amazing training montages, Rocky would be proud.
Right from the first episode, we’ve known that the mission Willow and the group are on would take them beyond the broken sea. So the episode called “Beyond the Shattered Sea” gave you a good idea that this whole quest to save Prince Airk is coming to an end.
But first there were two cliffhangers to clean up from last week. The first was this mysterious woman (played by Game of Thrones‘ Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) who randomly appeared in the unforgettable city with Arik. She explains that she is from the city of Cashmere, one of the kingdom’s big cities, and shuts down Arik’s creepy flirting. But before it gets too difficult, Arik spots his sister Kit in a pool of rust-colored water. And then he dives in and reaches out to her—and the screen flips, and now it’s Kit’s perspective. We last saw her stuck under the ground of Skellin, and she’s still there. She reaches out to her brother and almost grabs him, before Elora’s spell finally works and frees her.
Kit and Willow have finally been rescued, Boorman has secured the Kymerian Cuirass, and the journey can continue. Or can it? Battered, battered and tired, the group has finally reached the Broken Sea, where all the maps end. Willow explains that they have to walk the rest of the way, but Kit is too sick. They need rest, and wouldn’t you know that? There is an inn nearby.
The inn is run by a man named Zeb, played by Lucasfilm legend Julian Glover. (He was the evil Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadewhich marks approximately the fifth direct Indiana Jones reference we’ve seen across the show.) Zeb offers the crew food, shelter, and even a ride in the form of a creature called a Mudmander. He also explains how he’s been at the broken sea for so long that he doesn’t even remember why he’s there (he rattles off several possible quests, one of which in turn evokes Last Crusade), and that he does not believe there is anything beyond the broken sea.
It’s just a very strange situation all around, one that seems to be reaching a boiling point when the group is once again attacked by Gales. Now look. The Gales were a super cool enemy in the first few episodes, but by this point our heroes have dealt with them pretty easily multiple times and the tension is almost gone. Nevertheless, the group takes off on a boat driven by Mudmander and chased by Gales. A huge battle ensues, Kit gets injured, Graydon realizes he can do magic, and finally the servants of the Crone are thwarted again. It was probably the best scene involving the Gales so far, with plenty of great moments – but again, any sense of danger from them is long gone.
Back in Immemorial City, Airk finds his mysterious woman staring at a large bright light. She wants to go into it, thinking maybe it’s the only way out, but he manages to stop her. However, he is confused. The city seems to change around him and he learns that this woman, like him, is also a princess captured by someone and brought here. The plot thickens, as does the trust between them.
After their battle with the Gales, the group stops to rest. Graydon names the adorable Mudmander Kenneth and Willow tells Graydon how impressed he is that he was able to find magic in him. However, Elora has had it. She’s wasted time and tells Willow it’s time to train. As she and he exchange some spells, Kit gets up the energy to spar with Jade as well, and it’s montage time!
What’s better than a training montage? Absolutely nothing…unless that montage involves people shooting cool spells at each other with wands. Much thanks to the dynamic, 360-degree lighting effects, these Willow scenes made Harry Potter movies look ridiculous by comparison and were easily the most beautiful images of this entire season so far.
Kit and Jade also work out, but also flirt, and after they tackle each other to the ground, Kit confesses his love again. They start making out and have what almost felt like a sex edit (which is when you slowly fade out of a passionate kiss, implying that the couple is about to do something you can’t show on your Disney+ show). Willow continues to challenge Elora to dig deeper, find parts of herself she doesn’t like, and the exercise brings out Elora’s deadliest spell yet. You realize that when she says she wants to kill the witch, she doesn’t just mean it, she wants to deliver.
Back with Arik and the mystery princess, she talks about how she was never happy in her kingdom of Cashmere. She doesn’t want to depend on any rules, and so she kisses Airk. He, uncharacteristically, pushes her off, saying that he really is in love with Dove aka Brunhilda aka Elora, which is when the princess lets it all out. She reveals that she has been in the Immemorial City for a long time, and she is actually the one who brought him here. Yes, friends, if you had “Mystery Girl Is Actually the Evil End Boss” on your bingo card, we think you nailed it. It’s not explicitly stated, but it seems like she’s the Crone and she’s slowly starting to pull Airk to her side. He runs, but by the end of the episode he’s crawled back and tells her he’ll do whatever she wants. What she wants is for him to drink from a special cup, which is not a good sign.
Back on the broken sea, everyone seems to be losing their minds a little. Elora and Kit share a moment where they finally connect over their insecurities. Boorman tries to activate the Cuirass, but it doesn’t work. Willow has dreams that his daughter, Mims, is in grave danger and needs him. He even tries to contact her, only to be visited by a vision that she is infected with evil. His guilt over abandoning his family finally gives us an explanation for what happened to the rest of them from the original film. Sometime in the past, while he was on another adventure, Willow’s wife needed him, but he wasn’t there. She then died and his son was so angry that he left. This explains Willow’s desire to stop the mission and go home. That might actually have happened too, but can’t because Graydon let a sick Kenneth go.
They are out of food and have little or no motivation or energy, but the journey must continue. Elora thinks Willow was right in the first place, they must go to the end of their journey. And so the unraveling continues. A giant skull on the horizon could be real or a mirage. Graydon tells Elora that he loves her, and even though he knows she doesn’t love him back, she thanks her for making him the man he always wanted to be. And then they reach the edge of the world.
A giant waterfall marks the edge of the broken sea and everyone wants to give up. They thought they were going to see the city, but it is not there. Elora is especially distraught because this was to be her fate. To go to the Immortal City, defeat the crown and die. Wait, what? Yes, she knows the vision Willow had all those years ago – the one we’ve seen several times throughout the series. He is completely devastated by both her knowledge of it and the fact that he has failed to save her. Emotions are high and everyone is ready to give up, but not Kit. Kit tells Elora that she has never believed in anything her whole life, but she believes in her. And the pair decide they will continue together, jumping off the waterfall as the group looks on in shock.
As you might expect, two of the show’s leads don’t die after the jump. In fact, they find themselves where they want to be: The Immortal City. That’s when a door opens revealing… Prince Airk. Only, it’s not the same Airk they remember. With that goal at the beginning of Willow was reached. Kit and Elora have found Airk. But this is an Airk seduced by Crone, the mortal enemy of Elora Danan. Perhaps, in the season finale, the showdown the audience has been thinking about for 30 years will happen: Elora vs. the personification of darkness.
As I said at the start, “Beyond the Shattered Sea” is my favorite episode of Willow yet. I’ve said it a few times on this recap journey, but every time I’ve meant it. Here, it’s because not only did we get super fun action and cool, exciting montages, but each character completed their journey. They are a different person than when they posted at the beginning of the show. The only question is whether these new, more experienced versions of the characters will be able to defeat the Crone once and for all.
There’s only one more episode left Willowits first season again. Watch “Beyond the Shattered Sea” here.
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