While lost in the Valley of Perdition, Richard is forced to experience his worst nightmares come to life, a version of what might have been for Richard and his friends if things had gone terribly wrong. The scenes are so filled with heartbreak that when Richard and his friends are finally reunited at the end it is even more of a relief than it would have already been.
One of the things that makes sci-fi and fantasy series special is that they are able to play with reality like this, giving the audience a chance to see the "what if" version of things. Richard's visions are filled with complete loss; it is not surprising that one of the first things he hallucinates is having to watch another man get everything he ever wanted to have with Kahlan. Of course, this is soon overshadowed by even greater tragedy.
The episode itself moves steadily toward reuniting Richard with Kahlan, Zedd and Cara as the group arrives at the Palace of the Prophets. Making the same mistake she made last week with Richard, the Prelate chooses to lie to Kahlan in order to try to force Kahlan to do what she wants. This would be a more interesting exploration of the concept of free will versus a preordained future, if we hadn't already gone through a similar scenario last episode.
While the situation may seem like a retread, Sister Verna's heroic actions that save the day -- as she chooses to side against the Prelate -- are worth the trip. If Sister Verna hadn't already been likable enough, this would have done it. I don't know if she will be sticking around for more episodes, but I would love it if she joined them for more of the journey.
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