The Willow finale has some nice visual flair, but it’s undermined by all the usual problems with faulty logic and prioritizing its big moments over the necessary character work and worldbuilding to make them work.
This recap of the Disney+ series Willow Season 1 Episode 8, “Children of the Wyrm”, contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the Willow Season 1 ending.
The penultimate episode of Willow ended with Kit and Elora finally finding Airk, who had enjoyed something of a makeover, presumably in the salon of Lili, aka The Crone, who we also quickly discover has glowed up a little. These two are the new power couple of the Immemorial City, it seems.
This is the opening of Willow’s season finale, “Children of the Wyrm”, which makes the odd but surprisingly effective decision to take none of it particularly seriously. Kit and Elora have seen enough at this point to know that Airk has been corrupted. They stand back-to-back — the Gales are suddenly guarding the palace’s exit — and mostly just bicker. Kit tries to point out the Crone’s ulterior motives and stumbles over the words since she hasn’t been paying much attention to the worldbuilding either. In the simplest terms, the Crone is the Harbinger of the Wyrm, trying to revive him (it?), and that amber liquid everyone has been chugging is the equivalent of the Wyrm’s mother’s milk, a comparison that Kit rightly nips in the bud before it really gets going.
Willow Season 1 Episode 8 Recap
“Children of the Wyrm” keeps the early emotion back up on the shores of the Shattered Sea, with Graydon and Jade — and eventually Boorman — finding their reasons to leap off the end of the world, and Willow himself finding a reason to stay and saunter back into the mist, though one assumes he’ll turn up later.
The Crone’s sales pitch is a classic routine, showing Kit and Elora snippets of the lives they’ve always wanted in an idyllic glade, with Airk and Sorsha trying to convince them to drink the amber nectar and give themselves over to the Wyrm. Both almost fall for it, but Madmartigan’s disembodied voice saves Kit just long enough for her to realize that Elora has taken the bait. Lili smugly informs her that the Wyrm’s followers have begun rising, just as Kit is turned to stone.
Being turned to stone is a running theme in this finale. It happens outside the Crone’s palace, too, as Boorman, Jade, and Graydon are petrified by a storm that races towards them with an angry, snarling face of swirling sand. But this problem is resolved fairly easily. As we see in Elora’s vision, where she walks to the altar in a lovely dress so that Lili can officiate her wedding to Airk, she hasn’t really taken the Crone’s bait. As it turns out, she’s not really into Airk anymore (although he’s obviously possessed and this isn’t really his fault?). Despite Lili’s warnings of kingdoms being laid to waste and all Elora’s friends being killed, she jilts the prince at the altar, and Willow turns up out of the blue to shatter illusion, free the others from their petrification, and kick off the finale’s proper action.
Lili’s transition from her human form to the Crone is really cool (that eye pop!), so much so that I almost didn’t question how Boorman, Jade, and Graydon had gotten inside the palace — they were turned to stone on the steps outside, and the sequence made very clear the door was locked — or how Willow got not only to the Immemorial City but inside the palace and then Elora’s actual vision. You can really tell that the show wanted its big moment here and wasn’t concerned about how to get it, but I shouldn’t be noticing this stuff!
Anyway, let’s deal with the big moments. Graydon, for instance, tries to take on the Crone with Cherlindrea’s Wand, which backfires considerably — the wand ends up snapped in half and Graydon ends up being flung through the nasty-looking amber portal that led to Elora and Kit’s visions. When Elora has a look through it, she sees the giant, half-buried form of the Wyrm itself nestled in the magma, which is a nice visual, and enough motivation for her to unlock the true extent of her powers. Energy crackles around her hand and she sends the Crone careening all the way out of the door.
Boorman also gives the Kymerian Cuirass to Kit, and the Lux Arcana to Jade, and sends them both to save the day while he remains behind to fight off the Gales in full heroic self-sacrifice mode. Willow remains outside to fight off some of the Wyrm’s new foot soldiers, which seems like the easiest gig in comparison. Kit and Jade fight with Airk, while Elora fights the Crone, now able to just throw magic around from her hands without the need for a wand or vocalizing any spells. It’s cool-looking, but again, probably doesn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things, though is it a nice bit of payoff to Airk’s line earlier asking if she could summon lightning from her fingertips.
The Crone is still able to overpower Elora until Willow gets in her head — literally, with magical telepathy — and spurs her on. The green and red in this whole sequence reminds me very much of Star Wars, which probably isn’t an accident. Elora is able to defeat the Crone, but in her death — as Lili — she passes on the mantle of Harbinger to a grief-stricken Airk, who suddenly reveals his real, corrupted form, and takes up arms against Kit.
Willow Season 1 Ending Explained
Kit, though, is wearing the Cuirass, which has a nice visual of its own as it activates, so she’s able to take down Airk fairly easily, though she’s conflicted about whether or not to kill him, believing that’s perhaps what’s necessary as a sacrifice to prove her commitment to her ideals. But luckily Willow turns up, breaks his staff apart, and gives her the gem inside it, which might bring Airk back from the brink of his possession. This… works? Has the possibility of doing this ever been brought up before this point? Why didn’t we use it to save Ballantine or bring Graydon back when he was affected? Speaking of Graydon, does anyone actually care that he’s dead?
Apparently not, since everyone — including Boorman, who must have single-handedly defeated all the Gales? — leaves in good spirits, deciding to save killing the Wyrm for another day (and presumably another Season).
As it turns out, Graydon isn’t actually dead. He wakes up on the other side of the portal in the midst of what looks like a battlefield, surrounded by corpses. He encounters Elora — I think this is the Crone manifesting as Elora to manipulate him with his libido — who stands at the head of a vast army of monstrous infantry and two-headed, fire-breathing dragon things. As I say, Season 2 is definitely on the agenda.
This is confirmed by the post-credits scene, in which the story book which has been used as an aesthetic for the credits throughout the season is closed and put back on a shelf next to two subsequent volumes. Here, I think, Disney aren’t just confirming Season 2, but also Season 3 as well.
You can stream Disney+ series Willow Season 1 Episode 8, “Children of the Wyrm” exclusively on Disney+. What did you think of the Willow Season 1 ending? Let us know in the comments.