Four and a Half Torches (Out of Five)
Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the “Touched” episode of Legend of the Seeker.
Okay, that episode didn’t go where I thought it was going to!
Kahlan visits the Forest of the Night Wisps to find out if there are, in fact, any more confessors in the world and, sure enough, there is one who is being held captive, Rapunzel-like, in a tower by her confessor-hating father.
Indeed, when the would-be confessor talks of traveling to distant lands and falling in love, the father comes right and says flatly, “That’ll never happen Annibelle!”
But what was interesting about the episode — what, for me, brought it up a notch from the series’ steady stream of “good-but-not-great” episodes — was that sweet innocent Annabelle doesn’t want her powers. She wants travel and adventure, sure, but she has no interest in joining Richard and Kahlan’s medieval Scooby gang.
So, after being rescued by Richard and Kahlan, she runs. In short, she becomes the episode’s antagonist (sorta), even going so far as to confess Richard (in a terrific plot-twist that I totally should have seen coming!).
And was Kahlan really going to kill her to get Richard “back”? Wow. Again, harsh!
All is more or less made right in the end — though I was disappointed by the “deux-ex-machina” way they got both Richard de-confessed and Annabelle un-confessored (it was like a line from a particularly hackneyed episode of Star Trek: “That’s never been tried before — but it just might work!”)
I’m thinking they should have kept Richard confessed a while longer — it was a great plot complication. Then again, that would’ve allowed Richard and Kahlan to be “together” — and they can’t have that happen, can they? The conventional TV wisdom says that when the main characters on a show finally sleep together, it kills a show — like Sam and Diane on Cheers. I suppose that really is true. (Plus, it gave Annabelle an opportunity to say, “Being a confessor is a lot like being locked in a tower, isn’t it?” And in the context of the episode, it worked perfectly.)
In general, I’m also really starting to dig the central relationships on the show. Richard is still the least interesting character for me (by far), but I’m intrigued by Kahlan’s practical side, and Cara is a terrific addition to the cast.
Speaking of Star Trek, Cara is reminding me a lot of Star Trek: Voyager’s Seven of Nine, in that, yes, she’s basically decent (probably), but she’s coming from a totally alien perspective that challenges the perspectives of all the other characters.
It also doesn’t hurt that, like Seven of Nine’s Jeri Ryan, the actress who plays Cara, Tabrett Bethell, is smokin’ hot.
Anyway, so far, Cara has been very, very good for the show, and I’m looking forward to learning whatever ulterior motive she clearly has for helping Richard.
A couple of other hopefully-interesting observations about the episode:
- Isn’t it interesting how whenever Richard and Kahlan decide to rescue or visit someone, it just happens to be the most eventful day of their lives, even before the two of them arrive?
- It’s good to see that Rob Tapert and company are reusing the Xena campfire set.
- Is anyone else as creeped out by the whole “confessor” power as I am? I mean, can using that power ever really be a “moral” choice?
- I’m loving the “exposition” characters like Annabelle’s nurse and the Prioress near the Tomb of Pamora. I know that fantasy in general often requires a fair bit of exposition, but I’m always amused when a character is wheeled onto give a long monologue that sets up the story somehow — and then we never see them again.
All in all, this episode was a cut above, if only because I didn’t predict that Annabelle was going to confess Richard, and I totally should have!
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