Legend of the Seeker's second season continues to raise the stakes for our heroes as they search for a way to defeat this season's new villain, the Keeper of the underworld. The show is still good weekend entertainment, with dashing heroes and exciting action sequences (which could stand to lose a little of the slow-motion gimmick), but it has also become surprisingly dark, which is not a bad thing.
It is perhaps unavoidable that the show will take a grim turn when so much time is spent in the underworld and with the dead. In "Baneling" the dead are given a chance to return to the land of the living, the catch being that they must kill in order to keep from being pulled back to the underworld. That the Keeper can use anyone Richard kills against him in this way is a moral puzzle that Richard will have to deal with. By killing his enemies, he actually makes his adversary stronger.
The story takes more than a few unexpected twists and turns, and I enjoyed the fact that I could not always guess what was going to happen. After setting up the audience with scenes of unfortunate townspeople being rescued from a D'Haran death camp, it is revealed as the episode progresses that it is not only the evil D'Harans who have accepted the deal from the Keeper to kill on his command, but that some of the outwardly innocent townspeople are not what they seem. Since Legend of the Seeker is often very straightforward, with the evil people easy to spot and the good people being unflinchingly good, it is nice to see them take a slightly different path here. Although they do make an effort to give the sympathetic people supposedly good reasons for taking the Keeper's deal, like the Abbot who is trying to make sure the information about the Stone of Tears is not lost.
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