By Kieran Burt.
Willow has come to an end and while it isn’t the fully pleasing finale one could have hoped for, it isn’t all bad. The stunning visuals of last week are carried on here, and the finale bears a similar level of quality when it comes to characters and its villains.
Graydon completes his arc of someone who only saw himself as a coward to someone who believes in themselves. Tony Revolori has a great moment here when he stands up to the Crone, with a strong and confident performance. And despite the shocking end to his story this season, his selfish love for Elora leaves for an interesting, if not entirely clear hint for season two.
The episode looks great, for a similar reason to episode seven. There is creativity with how the spells are animated and shown, and the final battle is more creative than just boring wandwork. Indeed, it breaks the wand and says no, no dull pieces of wood allowed. Elora and the Crone both crackle with magic, and that’s clearly shown through the choice to show the spells as more like electricity, zapping each other with the force of a lightning bolt.
While Warwick Davis’ Willow was important to the finale and the season in general, this story was very much about the passing of the torch to the new generation. His journey of feeling like an imposter to accepting his position as a sorcerer concludes in a small and disappointing manner, with it being resolved in a conversation with Elora. But he is the
The Gales are completely wasted in this finale, and have been for most of the season. Their presence has been barely felt, and they do seem to be making strides to try and fix that here, that falls about when they disappear about halfway through the episode. They do have a cool design but that isn’t backed up by cool action. If a season two is pursued, then hopefully they are used more widely, as their fates aren’t clear.
The Crone herself gets a lot of screentime, with her motivation being established and there is a point where the plot successfully convinces audiences of a big moment involving her, before pulling the rug. But this certainly feels like it’s making up for lost time, as the Crone wasn’t present in the season nearly enough to make her a compelling villain, and the CGIness of the villain doesn’t give an amazing performance to latch onto.
Another wasted element is Boorman’s character. He is much more funny this episode when the moment calls for it, but when it comes to his big moment, it’s somewhat neutered by being behind a closed door, and ends rather underwhelmingly. And that’s pretty much it for his character this episode. His arc of scoundrel to hero ends in an unsatisfying way, which is a shame.
Willow’s music is puzzling. Franchises have often distinct and memorable themes for each character (especially other Lucasfilm properties), its use licensed is all the more noticeable, especially because this is the finale. Elora’s theme should be pumping out of the speakers when she and the Crone fight, but instead it’s a track that feels rather generic. And Willow does have a recognisable theme, so for it to be neglected for the final episode is confusing.
So while Willow does fumble some of its characters at the end and make some baffling musical choices it does have some redeeming factors. Graydon finally gets his big moment, and the final spell battle is creative. The series overall was alright, but childish drama missteps with characters, and at times unclear world building drag it down. If there is a season two, there are things to be improved going forward.