As a kid of the ’90s, I got into the high fantasy genre in the 2000s, courtesy of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” (yes, we all hate its author). So, there wasn’t any chance for “Willow,” the 1988 movie, to be on my radar. But it’s 2023, and I am glad that I am not only championing the movie (which is quite an underappreciated gem) but also the legacy sequel show, which isn’t doing great numbers. And, just like before, those who are sleeping on this brilliant piece of work are missing out on its amazing cast of actors, jaw-dropping visuals, absorbing sound design, sense of wonder, and the fact that it’s so enjoyably gay. Well, the first season of the show has come to an end. In last week’s episode, the team of Julia Cooperman, Bob Dolman, Jonathan Kasdan, and Jamie Childs set the stage for an interesting clash by taking Elora, Willow, Graydon, Kit, Jade, and Boorman across the Shattered Sea and into the Immemorial City. There, Kit and Elora were welcomed by Airk, who had seemingly been consumed by the Crone’s powers.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Willow Destroys the Crone’s Illusion
From the get-go, it’s pretty obvious that Airk has gone off the deep end by drinking the gross juice that’s apparently coming out of the Wyrm (yes, very gross). And he wants Kit and Elora to join them so that the Crone (disguised as Lili) can be freed, and then she can awaken the Wyrm because the Crone is its harbinger. Really simple. But since Kit and Elora aren’t idiots, they reject this proposal. They do their best to resist their temptation to look into the golden void in the Wyrm’s temple. However, they eventually give in and are thrown into an illusion where Kit is taken aside by an imaginary version of Sorsha, and Elora is whisked away by an imaginary version of Airk. These phantasmata are obviously the Crone’s or the Wyrm’s way of making Kit and Elora more malleable. Elora seemingly gives in, takes the Wyrm juice, and goes to marry Airk, which is attended by fictional versions of her friends. Kit, though, realizes that she’s in an illusion after hearing Madmartigan’s voice, who tells her to be Elora’s protector. Sadly, she’s too late because the Crone turns Kit into stone and proceeds with the wedding.
Although Willow doesn’t want to jump off the edge of the world and reach the Immemorial City, Jade, Graydon, and Boorman (kind of reluctantly) take their respective leaps of faith. As they approach the temple, they notice a giant plume hurtling toward them. Graydon tries to get the door opened with his magical flute but fails to do so, and they turn into stone as well. At the imaginary wedding, when Airk goes in for the kiss with Elora, we see her magical powers exiting her mouth and almost entering Airk’s. But that’s when Elora comes to her senses (or maybe she was faking ignorance the whole time) and tells the Crone that she isn’t in the mood to give in and marry this snarky and creepy version of Airk. The Crone reminds Elora that if she doesn’t do this, death and destruction are going to follow her. That’s when Willow shows up as well to break the illusion, free Elora from the Crone’s magic, and also bring Kit, Jade, Boorman, and Graydon out of their stony prisons. The Crone stops pretending to be Lili and emerges in her original form, which is undoubtedly hideous and conceived with some of the best mixes of CGI, VFX, and SFX that I have seen recently.
Willow And Kit Save Airk
A brutal fight begins between the heroes and the villains. The heroes apparently suffer a casualty in the form of Graydon, as he’s blown into bits by the Crone and thrown into the golden veil of the Wyrm. When Elora rushes to the spot where Graydon is killed, she gets a glimpse of the Wyrm, which is a literal, gigantic worm with no beginning and no end. Yes, that’s how long and massive it is. Elora, angered by the Crone’s actions, turns towards her and blasts her out of the temple. Boorman gives up the Kymerian Cuirass and puts it on Kit, and he gives the responsibility of the Lux Arcana to Jade so that she can use it on Kit at the opportune moment. He pushes them out of the temple and locks himself in there with the Gales. Elora, who doesn’t need the wand now to channel her powers, and the Crone engage in a brutal battle, while Kit and Jade unite to take on Airk, who is still possessed and believes that fighting for the Crone and the Wyrm is the right thing to do. Elora keeps getting knocked down. So, Willow advises her to accept the fact that she might fail or that she might succeed. However, if she doesn’t act fearlessly, then she isn’t going to get anywhere.
Elora launches her final assault on the Crone, and it ends with the Crone getting a hole punched through her chest and a part of her head being blown off. Airk rushes over to the Crone to check if she’s okay, and she passes on her powers to him by kissing him pretty passionately. If you think that’s disgusting, let me assure you that disgust is aptly reflected on Kit, Elora, and Jade’s faces. While reeling from that shocking imagery, Jade realizes that Kit has to be the one to not only defeat Airk but also rid him of Crone’s spell, so she inserts the Lux Arcana into the Cuirass. Thankfully, and as predicted by Boorman, it works on Kit and the Cuirass unfolds to form a full-body armor, which is further proof of the show’s amazing costume design. Kit fights Airk in a beautifully choreographed and inventively lit action set piece. And when she’s about to stab Airk through his chest, the heroes stop her, and Willow tells her to use the magic stone in his staff to call out to her brother. Airk’s time with Kit flashes before his eyes, and he regains consciousness. His face still has scars from his disfigurement. But that’s the least of their worries now.
‘Willow’ Season 1: Ending Explained – Has Graydon Traveled Forward in Time? What Does The Mid-Credits Tease Mean?
Boorman comes out of the temple, and he has apparently killed the remaining members of the Gales all on his own. How? I don’t know. Because they spent the entire season running away from them. And then Boorman just killed them offscreen? That too without the Cuirass? That’s stupendous and maybe an indicator that all Boorman had to do was truly believe in himself and let go of his fear, just like Elora did. He doesn’t come out empty-handed because he has retrieved Graydon’s flute, which he passes on to Elora. They briefly mourn Graydon’s death, and while looking off into the horizon, they wonder about two things. One is their plan of action regarding getting out of the Immemorial City because there’s no end to it, and it just loops back to the starting point. Two, the fate of the Wyrm because it’s still sitting there inside the temple. Well, it’s clear that six people aren’t enough to beat a giant worm. So, going back in there to face it is out of the question. As for escaping the Immemorial City, that’s left ambiguous. My best guess is that they’ve got to get back to where they came from and then try to ascend back to the world.
But wait, that’s not where the show ends. As the heroes walk away into the sunset, the camera floats into the golden veil and focuses on Graydon lying on a battlefield full of dead soldiers. He gets up and walks towards a figure standing at a distance. When that figure turns, it’s revealed to be Elora. However, this isn’t the Elora that we all know and love. This Elora seems to have been corrupted and is leading the Crone and the Wyrm’s army (which is made of weird creatures and a two-headed, flame-breathing dragon). Elora says that Graydon must join her because she’s about to begin her reign. That can mean only one thing. Graydon has been purposefully or unintentionally launched into the future, and what he sees is Elora’s ultimate fate. If you’re wondering how Elora can be corrupted to this extent, well, there are several hints. The first one is the moment when her attention lingers on the temple door. It’s quite possible that she has a supernatural connection to the Wyrm after her battle with the Crone, thereby making her vulnerable to the Wyrm’s mind control. The second and third hints are Airk and Boorman. Airk can still have a bit of the Crone, while Boorman can be under the Gales’ control (we don’t know what happened offscreen). So, either of them can go into Manchurian Candidate mode and turn Elora over to the dark side.
Unlike the rest of the episodes, there’s a brief mid-credits scene. If you didn’t skip the opening and closing moments of each episode, you’d know that each episode is treated like a chapter of a book titled “Willow,” complete with illustrations from the episode itself. During the final moments of episode 8, we get a poster for the show. And when the reader closes the book (that represents the first season of “Willow”) and returns it to the shelf they took it from, we see two more volumes beside it. This probably means that the showrunners are planning to do two more seasons of this brilliant show. Will it happen, though? The chances are extremely low because of the abysmal viewership. If Disney overlooks it and decides to double down and let Jonathan Kasdan and his team do their thing, then we’ll get the entirety of Willow and his friends’ journeys. If not, well, I will be happy with what I’ve gotten, and I’ll hope that more and more people tune into Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar and bask in its glory, therefore increasing its chances of getting two more seasons!