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‘Willow’ Episode Six Recap: “Prisoners of Skellin”

(L-R, center): Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) and Kit (Ruby Cruz) with Sentinel Trolls in Lucasfilm's WILLOW exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode six of Willow*

Were you waiting for Christian Slater to show up? Here he is, and he doesn’t disappoint. Kit (Ruby Cruz) and Willow (Warwick Davis) have been kidnapped by trolls and sent to their underground city. They get locked up in a cage next to Madmartigan (Slater). He’s not Madmartigan, but he introduces himself as such, which would’ve been strange because the show has been using archival footage of the original film, with Val Kilmer‘s intact presence as Kit’s father.

Slater is Allagash, a close ally of Madmartigan, who was betrayed by Boorman (Amar Chadha-Patel) on their quest for the Kymerian cuirass. Of course, Boorman says to Kit that Allagash is the one who betrayed them and sent Madmartigan beneath the troll city and is now trapped there. Kit believes she’ll be able to rescue him, but Elora Danan (Ellie Bamber) tells her that if she goes, she will be as trapped as her father was. I wonder if we will see Kilmer in some capacity in the show, though I don’t expect it to happen, as the actor has battled many health problems over the years.

He briefly appeared in Top Gun: Maverick, but his throat cancer diagnosis was integrated into the movie. Kilmer used a computer for most of the sequence, until the last bit, and most poignant, moment with Iceman and Maverick (Tom Cruise) until his character dies a couple of scenes later. I’m not sure you can integrate Kilmer’s health struggles into a medieval show. However, the way they are currently handling Madmartigan’s arc, respecting the legacy the actor brought to the first film while teasing where he could be, is interesting enough not to write him off or, worse yet, kill him without a proper goodbye. Kilmer and Davis made Willow what it was, and it would be a shame to waste him off-screen without him being at least an integral part of the story.

But as for the present story, it makes sense for Madmartigan not to be included in the quest and only be slightly teased, which could open a door for a potential Kilmer appearance at some point (should there be more seasons of this). Kit is having trouble trusting Allagash and Boorman and is ultimately conflicted on which account of the story she can believe because they’re both shady! Boorman has been leading Jade (Erin Kellyman), Graydon (Tony Revolori), and Elora into a vault to retrieve the cuirass because that’s the only thing this dude has been looking for since the beginning of the show. He does not care whether or not Kit or Willow survive, and some pretty menacing trolls interrogate them to boot.

The action scenes are fun and fast-paced this time but are, unfortunately, murkier than usual. Instead of fog, the action sequences are set in an underground cave, which is very dark. I guess they’ll never please me with how they stage medieval action, especially with how Ron Howard had a massive sense of scale in the original film, but there have been worse set-pieces than what is presented in this episode. As for Slater, he has the time of his life as Allagash. You can see his arc coming a mile away, but he infuses a level of charm that couldn’t have been possible with another actor. He is a one-of-a-kind talent, and it’s a shame that this will likely be the only time we will see him in the show.

Now, what about Airk (Dempsey Bryk)? The episode opens and closes with him stuck in the Immemorial City, drinking contaminated water that’s bound to corrupt his mind the way Graydon and Ballantine (Ralph Ineson) did. And he seems to be visited by a prisoner, who tells him he has the key to freeing them from the Immemorial City. Is this true? I have no idea, but Airk could be corrupted by the Crone, making him an antagonist as the show reaches its penultimate episodes.

The sixth episode of Willow is now available to stream on Disney+.

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Written by Maxance Vincent

Maxance Vincent is a freelance film and TV critic, and a recent graduate of a BFA in Film Studies at the Université de Montréal. He is currently finishing a specialization in Video Game Studies, focusing on the psychological effects regarding the critical discourse on violent video games.

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