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LEGEND OF THE SEEKER: Identity Mix-Ups, New Villains, and Mysterious Boxes.
By Erika Blake
The theme for this week’s episode of LEGEND OF THE SEEKER was mistaken identities. IDENTITY opens with Richard battling w/ a huge D’Haran, losing his sword and balance, and getting skewered to death. The scene turns to a woman viewing the scene in a bowl of water and she makes the unsettling proclamation that the Seeker will die in 3 days. Ouch score a big one for Darken Rahl.
The scene shifts to a storefront owner chatting w/ a D’Haran soldier about things that are going on in the encampment of Kahlabra and his son Gryff’s wedding. The D’Haran receives a nice bribe and says that he’ll be at the wedding the next day. When the store owner leaves for the evening he’s surrounded in a back alley by 3 dark figures who turn out to be Kahlan, Zedd, and Richard. Morcant, the store owner, is a member of the resistance and invites the trio into dinner to exchange news. Full of insider information Morcant tells them about the supply runs that he’s been making for the D’Harans and how his small bribes help to keep the information flowing.
The subject switches to the pending marriage of his son when Gryff arrives. Gryff is star struck upon meeting Richard and begins recounting stories of Seekers from the past when he points out a nick that’s on the hilt of the Sword of Truth. Richard is mildly interested in the off of the cuff remark and thanks him for explaining where the damage came from. Everyone then congratulates Gryff on his pending nuptials, to which Zedd proclaims, “Of all the magic in the world there is none that is more powerful than love.” Both Kahlan and Richard suddenly get very uncomfortable and miserable upon hearing the words and squirm in unison.
The next morning Gryff and Richard are seen sword sparring in the courtyard. Richard is handily matching every trust and parry that Gryff sends his way, but he’s grateful to have a skilled partner to practice against. Gryff talks about his pending nuptials and how he would prefer to be off fighting Darken Rahl since his marriage is arranged. Richard replies that he rather envies the normal life that Gryff has and wistfully says that he might never be able to marry and have children. Gryff scoffs – but he’s got Kahlan, to which Richard replies in the old “I’m not saying what I really mean” tone that he and Kahlan aren’t romantically interested in each other, Gryff apparently believes Richard, the inflection is lost on him. Anyone who didn’t immediately get the “Freaky Friday” vibe from this scene doesn’t know squat about TV – this plot device has been used on every sci-fi series from CHARMED, The X-FILES, SMALLVILLE, STARGATE SG1…need I go on? Does that make it a bad thing? No, it usually sets the stage for a great mix of humor and drama. As an aside to this scene, I will add that as the season is progressing here, Richard is becoming a mighty skilled swordsman, so much so that it almost doesn’t appear that the Sword of Truth is the reason…he’s just got mad moves and skills that Craig Horner shows off as being effortless. Richard is enjoyable to watch while he parries, thrusts, and attacks with his sword whether it’s in battle or practice. Of course I prefer him to practice shirtless…but that’s just MY preference.
When Gryff goes into the house to prepare for his new in-law’s arrivals, an old woman approaches Richard and warns him against going to Kahlabra if he does he will die. He will know her words to be true when he sees the eagle and then the woman mysteriously vanishes. The scene then shifts to the woods and the old woman morphs into the sorceress Shota who predicted Richard’s death at the beginning of the episode.
Back at the manor the resistance fighters are planning their attack on Kahlabra. Morcant explains how he’s got a shipment of supplies to send up to the encampment and our trio works up a plan to take out the camp through infiltration. Morcant also drops a bomb that a D’Haran big wig named Nas is coming to oversee the project. Kahlan is gripped in fear – Demmin Nas is know for his ruthlessness and is Darken Rahl’s highest ranking commander. Richard, who knows nothing of the man, devises a deliciously devious plan to get them intel on the location of Darken Rahl. He explains that himself and Kahlan will get into the commander’s tent where Kahlan can confess him – they could have their own ally in Darken Rahl’s inner circle. Kahlan and Zedd are both impressed by Richard’s cunning plan. We’ve had a very nice layering of character development with Richard this season he’s gone from being a whiney boy to a strategist who’s developing all of the basic skills needed to command armies. The pacing of the show has been great for showing this character growth and I expect that as the season progresses Richard will just get stronger and tougher…particularly directly AFTER the show returns in January…but I won’t go into that yet.
When Richard examines the map he sees the eagle that the old woman warned him about and finally tells Kahlan and Zedd about the warning. Like Richard in the books who is always dismissive of magical omens, he blows it off and is hell bent on completing their mission. The scene changes to Shota in her lair and she’s angry when her vision water doesn’t alter the image and still sees Richard dying. She decides that she has to take matters into her own hands. We then come to the reluctant groom Gryff who receives and unexpected guest – Shota arrives and tells him that she’s going to make his dreams come true and turn him into the Seeker. Out in the courtyard, Richard is confused when Kahlan demands to know why he’s strapping the Sword of Truth onto his belt. Gryff exits the house with Zedd. The old wizard is furious to see the sword in the hands of the wrong owner and calls it to him and delivers it into Gryff’s eager hands. Richard is left stunned and confused when the new trio takes off without him. When Morcant comes out and tells him to prepare for the arrival of his new in-laws Richard knows that something has gone horribly wrong and catches his altered reflection in the well. When the bride’s brother comes along, Richard flees but is easily tracked down by the family. He tries to reach for his sword but of course comes up empty. The bride’s brother threatens that if he doesn’t marry his sister he’s going to the D’Harans and telling them that Morcant is working with the Resistance.
The best thing about the whole identity switch was that Richard knew right off of the bat that the sorceress was responsible and he has the single minded determination to get back with his friends to complete their mission. Richard isn’t stupid and the writers know it.
The wedding involved exchanging vows and the bride and groom getting their arms chained together to signify their union. The marriage itself was rather hilarious with Richard’s pained facial expressions over the awkwardness of the entire situation. He might not have been the groom who was supposed to marry the girl, but he certainly felt the blazing heat of rage from the brother-in-law if he didn’t go through with it. Richard is a hero he’d rather face humiliation than risk losing a trusted ally. He went through with the crazy marriage for Morcant’s sake even if the groom’s father had no idea.
Shota sees that the Seeker is otherwise occupied and now Gryff is the one who will die in Richard’s place. Day shifts to night and Kahlan, Zedd, and Gryff are making final plans on what to do when they get into the camp. Gryff who finds this all to be a wonderful adventure, like the ones that he’s memorized from his Seeker history books quotes one of the older Seekers and Zedd is puzzled by this newfound knowledge. Gryff/Richard covers up his nerdiness by picking up the book and stating that Gryff gave it to him. Zedd is delighted that Richard is proactively reading about the history of Seekers but then turns back to their plans and asks for Richard’s advice. In an uncertain voice Gryff suggests a diversion which makes Grandpa proud and he decides that he’ll light up all of the highly volatile Dragon’s Breath Ore around the site. I love Zedd’s style, why go for a small distraction when you can blow up the entire place?
Considering how decisive Richard was at coming up with the plan back in town, Zedd and Kahlan should’ve been tipped off by Gryff’s timid suggestion that something was off with him…but Wizard’s First Rule always apply – people will believe a lie because they want to believe it. Why should they doubt that Richard isn’t who he claims to be? They have no reason to.
Back in town Richard discovers that he and Bronwyn (one of my favorite names btw) are to be locked up together until morning to signify the close of their union. Richard is far from pleased upon hearing this…and then is even more thrilled when the Mordant’s D’Haran friend toasts Lord Rahl at the wedding. Richard tries to fit in and begrudgingly picks up his drink, but Bronwyn forces his hand down. Richard’s interest is piqued by the girl perhaps she will help him and be sympathetic to his plight. Her brother then stands for what promises to be a long and boring toast. He starts it with stating that he hopes for Gryff/Bronwyn to have lots of children. Richard bolts to his feet and declares to a laughing crowd that he’s ready to get right on that and asks Bronwyn to join him. Playing the part of the horny groom apparently won him brownie points and got him the exit that he wanted for the scene shifts to them getting locked into their chambers. Richard tells Bronwyn who he really is and instead of winning her trust ends up with a crying young woman on his hands who believes that she’s been married off to a madman.
Meanwhile Zedd must’ve been off sleeping and Gryff makes the moves on Kahlan and recants the story of one of the Seekers past who made a dome in Aydrindril in honor of his lost love. Kahlan is pulled in by the tale since the dome still stands even though the story is thousands of years old. Gryff tells her that he’d die for her. Believing that this is Richard talking, Kahlan is taken aback but is drawn to Gryff as he leans in to kiss her – Kahlan pulls back at the last second and the moment is broken. Sorry Gryff – it’s not so easy winning over the fair Confessor/maiden – she’s way too much woman and complicated for you dreamer boy.
Richard decides to deny that he’s the Seeker, tells Bronwyn that they should just escape. She can have the gold bands on their wrists and start a new life on her own. He shows her the window as their escape route. They are next seen out in the forest on the run and come across Shota’s henchman who pulls a sword on the unarmed Seeker. In the heat of taunting he calls Richard the Seeker. Richard eyeballs a large stick on the ground and distracts the man by asking him not to hurt the girl and flicks the stick up with his toe and into his hand. He deftly thwacks the henchman and gets his sword. Suddenly there’s another man behind the couple. Richard ends up fighting both of them with Bronwyn ducking under his arms and trying to get out of his way. When the 2 men run off Bronwyn realizes that Richard had been telling the truth all along that he really is the Seeker. As I mentioned before – even without The Sword of Truth on hand, Richard has become an amazing swordsman and his skills are easy to recognize.
In the morning Richard pries the restraints off of Bronwyn and himself and hands them to her explaining that he HAS to get to his friends up in Kahlabra. Bronwyn says that the fastest way is through a series of caves and she can show him the way through. Reluctantly Richard accepts her help.
Kahlan is distraught, she doesn’t know what to do, Richard tried to kiss her and now she’s an emotional wreck. Zedd is concerned that her not telling Richard the truth is going to endanger their mission and she explains that she was trying to spare him so that they COULD complete the mission. Clearly her secret is now becoming a huge problem and Zedd’s angry attitude infers that she needs to fix things NOW. (I will add as an aside, I love Kahlan’s new golden coat that covers her Confessor dress – the style and design of it is stunning and the color positively makes Bridget glow and is striking against her dark hair.)
Inside a crate on the wagon, Kahlan finally reveals her big secret to “Richard.” A Confessor’s magic is always present and she has to always keep it in check. If she does not hold it back, it could surface unexpectedly. This is why Confessors never marry or be with someone who they care deeply about. In the throes of passion a Confessor will lose control of her power and release it directly into her lover, thereby turning him into her slave and stripping away everything that she loved about the man as his identity is stolen from him forever. OUCH…welcome book newbs to the horrific secret that makes Kahlan/Richard one of the most frustrating couples to ‘ship for in literature…and now on TV. The fact that Gryff shows ZERO emotion over her telling him this and her tearful explanation should’ve again tipped off Kahlan that something was wrong. He says nothing and doesn’t react. The real Richard will be devastated and outraged over the news, Kahlan simply feels relieved to be released from the burden and that “Richard” seems to be taking the news so well. Gryff by the way is an ASS for allowing Kahlan to reveal this very personal thing about herself and not out himself as a fraud.
We finally get our first sight of Demmin Nas in person. The man is imposing, broad chested, huge, and has on gorgeous, obviously higher ranking D’Haran armor. He immediately asks to be taken to the unearthed vault. In the caves they place a barrel of Dragon Breath Ore in front of an ancient sealed door and Demmin waits to make sure that the fuse will catch and the barrel explodes. Deep underground Richard and Bronwyn are now panicking that they’ll be caved in and run for it. Right after Demmin extracts an ancient vase out of the opened vault Richard and Bronwyn fall at their feet. The D’Haran who Gryff’s father had traded with identified them as local townsfolk but Demmin decides that he needs to interrogate them to make sure that they aren’t spies. When the D’Haran is tying them up Richard appeals to the man’s greed and tells him that if he doesn’t let them escape, he’ll tell Demmin all about the bribes that he’s been keeping for himself from Gryff’s Father and is rewarded with a key to his cuffs.
Zedd arrives at the camp and directs the 2 giant boxes to be delivered to the Commanders tent. Gryff and Kahlan burst out when the guards leave and Kahlan immediately begins searching for clues over what Darken Rahl could possibly be looking for. She finds a leather map holder and opens it to discover an ancient scroll covered in the same text that was written in the Book of Counted Shadows. She shows it to Richard and asks him to translate. Of course only Richard CAN read it and Gryff is revealed as a fraud just in time for Zedd to arrive all pleased that he’d ignited all of the Dragon’s Breath. Kahlan puts two and two together that the sorceress must’ve been behind the identity switch because of foreseeing Richard’s death. Gryff immediately panics…playing Seeker is all fun and games until the Seeker is supposed to die! Before he can flee Demmin Nas enters the tent, sees the sword, and begins to fight Gryff. Both Zedd and Kahlan are occupied taking out Demmin’s guards. Gryff, who is no Richard Cypher loses the sword and ends up reliving Shota’s vision. Before he can get skewered, Richard shows up, picks up the sword, and engages Nas. Bronwyn and Gryff both help fight the other guards while Richard tears into Rahl’s right hand man, matching and beating him in swordplay. He eventually unswords the huge man, but Demmin is saved by a group of D’Haran guards and whisked out of the tent before Kahlan can Confess him. She retrieves the ancient scroll and our heroes flee the exploding camp.
We return to a very happy Richard who is back to seeing his own face staring back at him in the pond water and Zedd tells him that the spell must’ve broken once they went past the point of the sorceress’s prophecy. Kahlan approaches Gryff and she mentions how annoyed she was to have finally said her secret to the wrong person. Gryff tells her to just do it for Richard and that it’ll be alright. UGH – so Kahlan heard this same advice from Renn because Renn knew that Richard has true feelings for her and that he’d reciprocate her love. Gryff thinks that Richard doesn’t love her and told her to tell him because he thinks Richard won’t care. *Forehead smack* to quote WFR Zedd, “Nothing is ever easy.”
Richard talks to Gryff who thanks him for showing him that being a Seeker is more than just using the sword and swooning over fair maidens (rolls eyes – dude NO BODY wants Richard’s job you dumbass!) He gives Richard his Seeker history book and runs off to be with his fiancee. Richard goes to Kahlan who sheepishly says that she heard that Richard got married. He grins “Yes, it was a lovely ceremony.” To which she gives the odd ball reply that was filled with heartache, “I’m glad.”
Our trio are bummed that they didn’t get to turn Demmin Nas into Kahlan’s love slave but our crafty Confessor still managed to save the day and brings out the parchment to Richard to read. Richard tells them that it’s a ledger that was written on the day that the volcano erupted stating that the people of Kahlabra died protecting their greatest treasure…the last remaining Boxes of Orden. *Enter fangirl squeeling*yes I hypothesized back in my LISTENER review that this was likely coming, but still it was fabulous to hear it finally come out on the show. Richard is startled by the shocked expressions on both Zedd and Kahlan’s faces. Zedd explains that there are 3 boxes of Orden and that each contain unimaginably powerful magic. That it is said that whoever possesses all 3 boxes will be able to rule the world. As he’s speaking we cut to Demmin Nass smashing the vase and extracting an intricately decorated golden box.
Morcant’s informant tells Nas that the Seeker and his companions escaped. Nass doesn’t care he’s got his prize to take to Rahl. If you need a comparison on why this is all very bad news there’s a very ominous tone to this whole scene that reminds me a lot of Raiders of the Lost Ark w/ the Nazis hell bent on delivering the Ark to Hitler. The Boxes of Orden are The Sword or Truth book’s Ark of the Covenant or their Ring of Power if you will, they have that level of magical power to the story.
Richard, Zedd, and Kahlan are back trudging through the woods planning their next step when the old woman comes upon them and congratulates Richard on being alive. Zedd threatens the woman to reveal her true form and she morphs into Shota. Zedd and she apparently have history and not the good kind, Zedd looks like he’s ready to fry her on the spot. Shota ignores the bristling wizard and is still very sorry for Richard for he has hard times ahead of him. Richard is furious with her rambling, he survived her stupid prophecy. Shota spats that his dying was only a vision prophecies that are written in the Halls of Prophecies are unstoppable. What she saw on them is that someone who the Seeker cares about the most will betray him. She says it’s the one in white and points to Kahlan. Kahlan refuses to believe and there ends the episode.
This episode rocked so hard it wasn’t even funny – it left me freaking cheering at the brilliant way that the writers are reimagining the books and are managing to put new spins on the material that book fans already know. They’ve done the impossible and left fans like myself completely in the dark as to how they’re going to actually accomplish getting to the climactic end of WIZARD’S FIRST RULE.
If anything IDENTITY showed that the writers on LEGEND know what they are doing and that for book purists who have had any doubts that the main core elements of WIZARD’S FIRST RULE won’t be addressed in the series – this episode allayed those worries. The writers are incredibly clever with how they’re mapping out this season and continually tying the episodes to the books without faithfully following them. Up until now nobody knew why Richard/Kahlan couldn’t be together – and they gave us a convenient way for Kahlan to out her secret without saying it to Richard. Not only did we get to see in her delivery of the doomed message to Gryff that her reason sucks, but that she’s in agony over it, implying that her feelings for Richard are much deeper than Zedd even suspects them to be. Now the viewers are in on the secret which will only make it utter agony to watch our ill fated young lovers get closer with Kahlan still hiding her secret from Richard.
Richard got to be portrayed as he always is in the books which is 100% mission bound. There was so much to love about him – he was decisive, distrusting of magic and strangers – Richard was 100% spot on in his characterization. The boy is becoming a man. The mate swapping is a story element that is pulled from TEMPLE OF THE WINDS…as a note from this reviewer can we HOPE that they never go there on the show and let this silly romp take its place? U-G-H!
Renato Bartolomei did a fantastic job as Demmin Nas. Although they ripped out the storyline of him being a child molester (which REALLY was unnecessary even in the books) Renato did a great job of playing cold, commanding, and scarily in control. In a lot of ways I think he’s scarier than Rahl. Since he escaped, I guarantee that we’ll be seeing him again and that he and Richard have unfinished business to take care of.
Best of all was the introduction of the Boxes of Orden. I’ve speculated in The Confessor and Seeker Society forums that the Boxes would end up being the driving force for the last ½ of the season. Couple that with the Richard/Kahlan angst getting WAY cranked up – we’ve only got great things ahead of us on the show. Speaking of which – we won’t get a new episode until January 10th which is titled DENNA. For any book newbies be prepared for what should be the darkest episode of the season. Guys will be thrilled (and some fangirls.) This fangirl will be sharpening her knife and wishing for a painful death to be delivered swiftly onto Denna who will likely be one the most memorable and life altering characters to cross paths with poor, poor Richard. By the times things are almost over, he might wish that Shota had just let him get killed.