Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review - Legend of the Seeker Season 2 Episode 19 Extinction

On the heels of the news that Legend of the Seeker was canceled, watching "Extinction" was very bittersweet for me. I enjoyed the episode, but I knew it would be there would only be 3 new episodes after this. And before anyone starts on about the fan campaign, they rarely work. If anyone wants tangible suggestions, I recommend reading my 10 Steps to Save Your Favorite Show. It's satirical, but it's better than any Twitter campaign or letter writing campaign.

Fan anger has been taken out on a number of people, including Disney and Syfy. I don't know what's going on behind the scenes at ABC, so I wouldn't be able to comment on Disney, but Syfy is another case. The only case of a drama going from first-run syndication to cable that I can remember is Babylon 5, and it was for a lame final season over 10 years ago, so it's untested how well Legend of the Seeker would actually do. No one really knows how well first-run syndication ratings would translate to cable, even if Legend of the Seeker currently outperforms virtually every Syfy show. We know Syfy doesn't value science fiction and would rather have wrestling and its predictable ratings. These days, they either go with light dramedies or spin-offs, nothing too ambitious or risky.

These last few episodes are focusing on the fight against the Keeper, and since the tasks seems rather easy (do xyz to close the rift), the writers have extended the story by making the characters from place to place to get something or complete a task. In and of itself, the plot isn't too exciting and very artificial, except the writers sprinkle in great tidbits along the way which dampens the banality of the overall plot and makes the episodes quite fun.

Zedd was mostly out of the way as the pairings of Richard/Darken Rahl and Kahlan/Cara/Night Wisp took center stage. Darken Rahl burns the forest of the Night Wisps and grabs the last Night Wisp, forcing Richard to hand over the scroll. Darken Rahl, looking to reclaim his glory, decides to help only because saving the world from the Keeper will make him look good. To keep some leverage, he burns the scroll after reading it. He and Richard go on while Kahlan and Cara go to save the Night Wisps. Though rather aimless, the walking and talking between the brothers was laced with nice dialogue and interestingly, there is sort of a throwaway retcon, revealing that Darken Rahl was the first baneling. Does this add anything or than that Darken Rahl is more of a bastard than we thought?

I absolutely loved Kahlan and Kara talking to the Night Wisp. The humor on the show is best when it's not overtly silly. Kara's straight talk brought out her vulnerabilities and was very funny how the Night Wisp got her to say things she wouldn't to someone else. The Night Wisps are all saved in the end, which was predictable and fitting for Legend of the Seeker's upbeat tone.

The Sisters of the Dark again tried to interfere and the Keeper even gave some random guy an epic arm. Conveniently, the regular part of the arm, right above where the metal awesomeness was, can easily be cut off. Yeah, it's stupid. This whole season has been built on this journey to seal the rift and it hasn't really gone anywhere, and there are finally three episodes left for the season and series to be resolved.

Just I don't sound contradictory, here's my reply to a comment below "My point is, the frame of the season--sealing the rift--has largely been redundant and dragged out far too long to fit a 22-episode season. Everything in between has been great as was in the case of "Extinction." The overall plot of the episode was contrived so that there would be lots of walking and talking. The episodes works not because of the plot, but because there was good stuff happening outside of the plot, e.g. Cara talking to the Night Wisp."

Score: 8.8/10
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