The Faraway Paladin
by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 12 of
The Faraway Paladin ?
Community score: 4.0
And thus ends the first season of Faraway Paladin. Overall, I'm net positive on the series, but I can't help but feel this ending was somewhat rushed.
As far as finales go, this certainly has all the hallmarks of an action-packed ending. There are lots of battle scenes to enjoy. In fact, I quite liked the combined arms dynamic in the battle with the demons. It reminded me of my days of playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle (well, and playing the current Total War versions I guess) – having blocky regiments face off against demonic beast herds with missile and magic support while the heroic figures deploy buff spells is a good recipe for a battle scene. I for one would like to see more sequences like this going forward.
The emotional hook was there too. Will and Meneldor's discussion over whether Will would be allowed to go alone was solid stuff, especially the revelation that Menelder was suspicious of just how naive Will really was. At the end of the day, Will is just a naive kid trying to do what's right but doesn't always know how to handle success or failure. His physical prowess is impressive, but emotionally he's somewhat sheltered and has much to learn.
I think my major problem is that the big chimera fight feels… random? Not only has the show not done enough to make us invested in the monster as a villain, the fight itself stands in stark contrast to the earlier fight scenes. I understand that having the two primary fighty heroes fight a big bad monster is par for the course, but not two minutes earlier Will was saying how he could not go it alone and was simply one part of a larger fighting force. “Relying on others is important… and that's why Meneldor and I are going off to fight the chimera by ourselves, I guess.”
The other issue, albeit a purely surface-level one, is the demons' visual aesthetic. Whatever faded/cracked filter effect the staff selected makes my eyes hurt (or maybe I'm just an old man). I get that it is intended to give them a supernatural/otherworldly vibe, and in that sense it is successful. However, it also makes them look faded and almost wispy. It strikes me as something you'd use on, say, wraiths or spirits, instead of these demonic creatures. It unintentionally makes them appear less solid and intimidating as a threat.
In any case, the resolution does a good job setting up for next season. Will has accidentally reached what is commonly referred to as “Name Level” in older D&D and has entered the domain management phase of the campaign. Followers, specialists, a personal fief – looks like he will have more on his plate than simple survival. There's also more than a few bones thrown to the Meneldor x Will shippers with Bee opining that “hey you can be WIll's girlfriend” and a not-insignificant amount of handholding right before the credits roll.
To me, the biggest missing component in this finale was any direct references to Will's adoptive family. I still think that is some of the strongest material in The Faraway Paladin, and while I know the show can't constantly reference those early episodes, I think it would have been smart to make a more direct comparison to those events as we close out the season.
Nevertheless, I think this is a strong ending to a strong season and I'm eager to see Season Two when it arrives (hopefully it won't be so far away… pal… I'll stop).
The Faraway Paladin is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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