*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode five of Willow*
The fifth episode of Willow sees our heroes pursued by the Gales as they zero in on Elora Danan (Ellie Bamber). After our titular character (Warwick Davis) kills both the Lich and the Doom with a flamethrower (where did he get that?) inside a fun chase scene that opens the episode, the crew goes into the Wildwood, as they know they can’t be hunted by the Gales then. However, Wildwood has its dangers: the air inside could make them hallucinate, which could prove not advantageous.
But it looks like that was a fluke since Wildwood is the home to the Bone Reavers. The heroes are quickly captured by them, with their leader, Scorpia (Adwoa Aboah), who are looking to kill them. Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) has a history with Scorpia, but that’s not the most surprising twist: Jade (Erin Kellyman) is Scorpia’s sister and a Bone Reaver.
After that revelation, the Bone Reavers free the heroes and host a feast for Jade in a dance sequence highly reminiscent of the Zion sequence in The Matrix Reloaded. It’s as weird and equally entrancing as that film. And as much as Willow‘s fifth episode moves the plot along and gives surprising revelations that weren’t previously laid out, its sluggish pace and clichéd character arcs make it its weakest episode yet.
For instance, there’s a will they/won’t they arc between Jade and Kit (Ruby Cruz). It’s been established before that they love each other and that Kit is forced to marry Graydon (Tony Revolori) to unite the kingdoms of Tir Asleen and Galladoorn (and it looks like Graydon is in love with Elora anyways, so it’s not like he shares deep affection for Kit). However, Jade breaks up with Kit after they take a truth plum, and they learn that her father, Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), killed Jade’s father and that Kit knew about her origins. However, they’re quick to reconcile (because they love each other) and are about to share a kiss until she gets randomly kidnapped by trolls. That whole circling around did not feel earned, and it especially felt quite insulting to the audience if it didn’t pay off. Of course, it will deliver at some point, but it felt like a total cop-out for now.
Then there’s the arc between Elora and Willow, which seems to be tension-filled. They forgive each other for their mistakes until he reveals to Graydon that he didn’t defeat Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) and that it was “dumb luck” that caused her death. Willow also doesn’t like that Elora is using his wand and doing whatever she feels with it, as it is a precious object meant only to be used when she has mastered other types of magic. She doesn’t want to listen to a charlatan who based his success on a lie. That’s interesting enough, but it gets somewhat clichéd as the episode progresses, especially with how Elora treats Willow this time. No one said it was going to be easy, though…
Finally, Jade’s “big reveal.” While it adds a “surprising” moment, it does nothing to her character or significantly advances the story. It also doesn’t help that most of her progression gets halted by trolls coming out of nowhere and kidnapping Kit, putting the Bone Reavers in danger. I would hope this entire bit will pay off satisfyingly, but it doesn’t seem like that will be the case for now. Time will tell exactly how our heroes react to Kit’s sudden kidnapping next week. And where did Airk (Dempsey Bryk) go in the Immemorial City? It was teased that something would happen with his character, but did the showrunners forget? We’ll see what happens soon enough…
The fifth episode of Willow is now available to stream on Disney+.