Willow Episode 8 review: The Crone reveals herself in underwhelming finale

The fellowship of friends in Willow.Disney/Lucasfilm

Willow Episode 8 brings all the disparate characters together to battle the Crone in Immemorial City. But while there are brief moments of tension and excitement, the Season 1 climax is mostly underwhelming.

Willow has been a romp in some episodes, and a slog in others. The finale was a bit of both, ending the overarching storyline in predictable fashion, tying up several loose ends, and setting up story for a potential second season.

But while this episode was called ‘Children of the Wyrm,’ we never got a sense of the power of that titular Wyrm, with the Crone instead taking center stage. And while she dispatched one of our heroes with ease, the witch wasn’t much of a challenge for the rest.

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And that lack of threat made for an underwhelming climax that ends the story of Willow not all that far from where it began. WARNING – WILLOW SPOILERS AHEAD.

The leap of faith

Episode 7 saw Kit and Elora making a leap of faith to reach Prince Arik in the Undead City. They find him there, with short hair, and a distant stare; the future king having apparently let go of his fear, and fallen under the Crone’s spell.

Arik claims the Crone is amazing and fascinating and intense, and asks only that they listen to her, to get a sense of the ‘Great Awakening’ that’s about to occur.

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The rest of the crew, meanwhile, listen to Willow delivering ever-more exposition before they too make the jump. So Jade is told she has to help her friends win the war. Graydon is told he’s on the way to becoming a great sorcerer. And Boorman is told he’s loyal and dedicated and strong.

They make the leap – possibly to escape Willow’s endless chatter – and soon find themselves turned into stone. While in an act of seeming cowardice, Willow wanders back home; an unexpected journey for the beloved character to make.

The harbinger of the wyrm

Presenting herself as a great beauty, the Crone claims that she will awaken the Wyrm to usher in a new age. She encourages Kit and Elora to enter the light to see more clearly, and so they do just that.

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Kit comes face-to-face Queen Sorsha – or rather a trickster version of the character – but before “mother” can convince her daughter to side with the witch, Kit hears her father Madmartigan (as voiced by Val Kilmer’s son, Jack).

Though it’s still not entirely clear where the character is or what he’s doing, Madmartigan has greatly influenced proceedings, and here he gives Kit the strength to say no, by telling her love is sacrifice, and that she must become both Elora Danan’s sword, and her shield.

At the same time, Arik is wooing Elora, encouraging her to drink a magic potion, and marry him to put things right. But while she initially agrees to the union, Elora ultimately says no, finding him a bit creepy, and telling Arik “I don’t think I’m into you anymore.”

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Understandably, this angers the Crone, who turns monstrous, and readies herself to for battle.

Sibling rivalry

Before that battle commences, Willow reappears, meaning we lost him for all of about 10 minutes. A baffling mini-arc for the character that doesn’t ring true. He immediately uses magic to turn the stone statues back into humans, and then it’s on.

The Crone brushes Elora to one side, claiming she lacks conviction. Graydon has a go, but while he possesses the passion Danan apparently lacks, the Crone seems to kill him with a flick of the wrist.

Twin fights follow, Elora and the Crone firing lightning bolts at each other, and Kit – now wearing the magic armour – battling her brother Arik.

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The sibling sword-fight is much more interesting, feeling like it has real stakes. But both are over too soon, Elora taking out the Crone with an almighty blast, and Kit getting the upper hand on her bro, but unable to kill him.

Elora believes the Prince can be brought back using love, “the most powerful thing in the universe.” And so through tears Kit begs her brother to return, which Arik does; the spell finally broken.

The Verdict – Is Willow Episode 8 good?

There were no surprises in Episode 8 of Willow, and thanks to a brief postscript in which Graydon is alive, no deaths. With an ensemble this big, it really felt like someone had to die to reinforce the Wyrm’s threat.

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Indeed, aside form defeating The Crone, little has really happened across the eight episodes, with more time spent setting stuff up a larger story for future seasons. Which are hinted at by a mid-credit scene that illustrates this is Volume 1 of a 3-Volume story.

But we don’t want to be told the Wyrm is angry, to be revisited at a later date; rather we want to see that here-and-now, to find out what all the fuss is about, and give our brave heroes a villain worthy of their efforts.

Willow Episode 8 Score: 3/5

An average end to a solid season, the Willow finale did what it needed to do in terms of rounding off this story, but the climax played out in underwhelming fashion.

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You can now stream all of Willow on Disney+, while we’ve written up an explanation of the show’s ending here.

Previous Willow Reviews