Legend of the Seeker (2009)

Picking up immediately where the first season left off, the second installment in the Legend of the Seeker series is an action packed adventure that pits our favorite sword-wielding hero against a far more formidable enemy than he might have ever imagined.

Freedom has come to the Midlands with the death of its tyrannical leader, the sorcerer Darken Rahl, at the hands of the Seeker, a young man prophesied to defeat great evil wherever he finds it. But in using an ancient and powerful magic to bring about his adversary’s death, Richard has accidentally torn a rift in the barrier between the Midlands and the Underworld. The ruler of the Underworld is a vicious harbinger of death determined on conquering the world of the living. Known only as the Keeper, he uses the tear in the rift to send forth his hellish minions to prey on the souls of the living. The invincible immortal beings begin a trail of slaughter that Richard must find some way to halt, little realizing that the Keeper has another follower willing to do his bidding – the ghost of Darken Rahl is to act as an intermediary between the Keeper and Seeker.

In the meantime, the Mord’Sith that assisted them in defeating Rahl has taken command of her sisters, much to the annoyance of one of her companions. Triana has been ordered by Rahl to cast Cara out of their gathering, but makes the mistake of leaving her alive. When the Mord’Sith storm a neighboring village and kidnap seven little girls they intend to “train” to join their order, Cara and the Mother Confessor, Kahlan must unite to rescue the children. But worse perils and revealed secrets lie ahead that will threaten all their welfare and test the boundaries of friendship. Richard’s grandfather and wizard Zedd has learned of another prophecy that claims Richard will widen the rift and allow the Keeper out of the Underworld. Soon, the Seeker might become his own greatest enemy in the battle between good and evil.

Among my friends, it is no secret that this is one of my favorite shows on television. It fills a fantasy void while being exceptionally well written and entertaining. Loosely based on a book series but much more streamlined, the series is more formidable this season. The villain is infinitely more powerful, the romance is kicked up a notch, and there are new characters thrown into the mix, but that doesn’t mean it has lost the charm of the first season. The season premiere is one of the best hours of television I have seen in awhile. It does have its flaws and moves very quickly, but it sets up an entire season in the span of an hour and was good enough that I watched it a second time within hours of its airing. (There is no greater invention than recordable DVR!) The faults are minimal but worth mentioning. Guest starring as Triana is Charisma Carpenter, best known for her snotty Cordelia on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off, Angel. I bought her as Cordelia. As a vicious Mord’Sith, not so much. She simply cannot pull off a convincing [b]witch. That she came and went so fast only shows that the show was doing a popular bait and switch, an attempt to get fans of other franchises to tune in. Nothing wrong with that, but something of a letdown for any Carpenter fans hoping for a mid-season stretch.

The return of certain characters is interesting and will be fun to see how it pans out in the long run. There was a resounding squeal from the Craig Parker fans when Darken Rahl made his reappearance — ghost or not, we do love our soft-spoken villain and I for one am hoping we see a lot more of him as the season progresses. There is some division over Cara at the moment — will she be loved or hated by the audience? I already like her, as sort of the anti-Kahlan, which I think will bring a great dynamic to the group if it is done right. Kahlan is such a moral compass that having a ruthless female no doubt always pushing the boundaries of morality (… the life and death kind…) will be a nice parallel. I haven’t read all of the book that this season is based on, but so far have seen that they have drawn a lot of things directly from the source material — the Keeper, Darken Rahl’s ghost, and the threat surrounding Richard’s fate. They have, however, pursued one major difference that has fans up in arms — in the book series, Richard is Darken Rahl’s son, and in the television series, they are brothers.

I think the writers have come up with a nice alternative and I liked the flashbacks to Rahl’s younger years and his father’s determination to have a son to defeat the older, evil one. (It also explains why in the “alternate reality” in the finale last season, Rahl and Kahlan’s child grew up so ugly — he just resembled his grandfather, poor kid. I’m still not sure why the child was blonde, though — as one of my guy friends said while watching it with me, “What color hair does the milkman have?”) But I’m not sure where they are going with it, since it implied that the older Rahl may still be alive somewhere in the Midlands. Supposedly, he is a tyrant, but I rather suspect they will put a twist on it.

Interviews with the cast and trailers for weeks have hinted that this season is going to be “sexier” than the first. I don’t doubt it if the premiere is any indication — it features nearly naked Mord’Sith and a same-sex kiss. Bridget Regan, who plays Kahlan, has also blushingly admitted that she is filming her first love scene. Last season had a few saucy moments here and there. I hope this season keeps it to a minimum as well.

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