Five Torches (Out of Five)
Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the “Torn” episode of Legend of the Seeker.
After last week’s terrific wrap-up of the Sisters of the Light arc, Legend of the Seeker comes back swingin’ with a great episode where our heroine Kahlan gives us double the fun. This was probably the best episode so far this season, in no small part due to the performance of Bridget Regan. But more on that in a minute …
We begin with the gang spotting two men hanging from a tree. They learn that someone has assigned himself the title of “High Lord Regent” and is attempting to usurp Kahlan’s authority in Aydindril. So the heroes decide to split up (which always works out so well for them, doesn’t it?) with Zedd and Kahlan heading to Aydindril while Richard and Cara continue on the quest. Just as they’re about to teleport, Kahlan wishes she could stay with Richard, and surprise, she does! Well, one version of her, anyway.
Zedd and the other Kahlan arrive in Aydindril and learn that a dude named Fyren is the one who appointed himself Lord High Whatever, so Kahlan immediately confesses the crap out of him and assumes the throne. And for anyone who’s ever seen a fantasy show before, we know instinctively that Kahlan hasn’t just been doubled — her personality has been split in two: One Kahlan has all of her tough-as-nails leadership skills, and one has her softer side that’s in looooove with Richard. (It’s Valentine’s Day, remember.) The bummer for the sweet Kahlan, though, is that she has no confessor power.
So the silver lining? Without her confessor power, that means she and Richard can finally — FINALLY — get it on. (Again, I remind you, it’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re all thinking about the same thing, right?) Over in Idendrill, the Kahlan who’s all business is continuing that trend, deciding that Fyren is the best choice around to sire the next Confessor.
So beautiful, noble Kahlan, who has been chaste as long as we’ve known her, gets two simultaneous love scenes with two different dudes! You go ‘head, Kahlan. You get yours. Of course, it’s a PG show, so there’s an awful lot of kissing with clothes on, but none of the good stuff, and both guys manage to keep their pants on for the entire act. Where’s all the nudity?
Hmm. I think I may be watching too much Spartacus.
Moving on …
When Richard, Cara, and Sweet-Kahlan arrive in Aydindril, All-Business-Kahlan has become a tyrant, obsessed with her own power. Needless to say, good wins out, the Kahlans are reunited, and all is good in the world.
So what made this episode so great? Usually I favor the more action-oriented episodes that deal with the internal mythology of the show, and this episode was not that. Instead, it gave us a deep psychological insight to Kahlan, who is a fascinating character given all the challenges she must face.
The episode could have been farcical, a throwaway romantic Valentine’s Day show, but the combination of good writing and an intelligent performance by Bridget Regan really gave us something meaty to chew on. Like some of the best Buffy episodes, it used a gimmick — “we’re splitting Kahlan in TWO!” — to really explore just who this woman is, and like all fantasy at its absolute best, it made us ponder real life.
What does it mean to cut ourselves off from our emotions? We’re told that’s exactly what world leaders have to do when they enter office, for how could you declare war on a country if you’re empathizing with all the civilians who will be killed? Conversely, how many times have we let our romantic feelings get the best of us, and found ourselves saying and doing things that seem odd, sometimes even crazy, all in the name of love?
These are, most certainly, Big Questions. That Legend of the Seeker went there proves it’s a show with some meat on its bones, and with episodes like these, it makes us as the audience not only care about the characters — which is much harder to do than it sounds — but ask ourselves the questions it raises about life in general.
The anchor to this episode was, of course, Bridget Regan. I’ve always enjoyed her on the show, and have written about it before many times. (And now that I know she occasionally reads our reviews, I love her even more!) But she certainly went above and beyond with her performance in “Torn,” and it shows.
- LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Episode Review (2-4): Apparently, Rapunzel was a Confessor
- LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Season and Finale Review: More, Please!
- SEEKER Recap (1-18): Screw 17 AGAIN, This is How to do Body-Switching!
- Farewell, LEGEND OF THE SEEKER: A Eulogy
- LEGEND OF THE SEEKER Episode Review (2-10): How Richard Got His Groove Back