Willow Episode 1 Review: Of Tropes and Set-ups

Willow Episode 1 Review of tropes and set ups

It’s that time again. Disney is pulling at our nostalgia bone and hoping they have a winner in Willow the series.

It’s a continuation of the 1988 film which was loved by people of all ages. From the story to the characters, growth, and scenery, it was a wild ride, but can the series match the energy, wit, and overall feel?

Weeeeeeeell, I am reviewing the series episode by episode. There will be spoilers. I don’t do spoiler-free reviews, sorry about that.

The Tropes

This fantasy tale had its share of tropes. Let’s start with the royals, shall we?

Kit is the spoiled princess that wishes to be more and to choose her own fate. What fate would that be? Well, to adventure and love who she wants to love. She is tomboyish, brash, stubborn, and all-around insufferable. This seems to be the norm for how they are writing many females these days. I can’t say I am a fan.

Sorsha, the queen, definitely got a job with its own headaches, one of which is maintaining a kingdom’s strength. To do that, she is marrying off Kit to Graydon, a prince from Galladoor. You read that right. He’s Kit’s betrothed, and she’s not too happy about that.

Graydon? Quiet, insightful, and sympathetic, but not too keen on adventures or fighting. They have put him in the role of being a bit of a coward, but he’s pampered sooooooo.

Airk, Kit’s twin brother and prince of the kingdom is a skirt-chasing, responsibility-shirking teen whose antics never seem to get him into trouble. This is yet another trope when it comes to princes. So, it’s not surprising.

In my experience of reading and watching fantasy, a prince is either overly warlike and a dullard, a coward, a playboy, a lazy little shit, a pampered ass, or, on occasion, someone whom you would die for in battle.

Jade is Kit’s love. Yes, they are lesbians. It’s about time some of you got over LGBT representation being everywhere and started gaging it on how it’s represented. Here, they are the best of friends, and they also have disagreements, just like a straight couple. She is also the first woman to receive the honor of being trained as a knight.

Muffin Girl/Elora, the Chosen one… She has been hidden from the enemy most of her life, and her identity has been hidden from herself as well. I can’t say I agree with that, but there you go.

Willow, the teacher/sorcerer, The Yoda to Elora’s Luke if you will. He has his own stumbling blocks. First is the fact he’s never taught anyone. Elora is his first student. What trope is this? This novice teacher who becomes impatient and loses faith in his student and himself, that trope.

Boorman, the thief and experienced one of the group. We find out something about him later.

No Madmartigan?

Nope, unfortunately, for those who do not know, Val Kilmer, the ever-loveable Madmartigan can no longer act. After his bout with throat cancer, and two tracheotomies, he speaks through a vocalizer. So, they had to find a way to write him out.

Summary…skip this section if you don’t want spoilers…

We open the episode with Kit and Jade sparring when the Man-at-Arms comes to tell the princess she has to get ready for dinner as they are having guests. The prince is rounded up, too, after being found kissing muffing girl, who falls in love with the prince. (Yes, the “love at first sight” trope.” This show is wrackin’ ’em up, isn’t it?}

Later on, there is an argument as Kit is told who she will be marrying. Kit has a temper tantrum when Jade tells her she has been accepted to knight’s training. Airk comes to Kit’s aid only to be told by Kit to buzz off.

The Gails, the namesake of the episode, attack the castle and injure the Man-at-Arms who is corrupted in the process. Airk is kidnapped.

This sparks the choosing of a party to rescue the prince with the above-mentioned people as the party, minus the Man-At-Arms. There is an older knight going in his stead. Elora is not part of the group.

As they make their way to the barrier’s gate, Elora walks up to the camp and is told to turn around. As you can imagine, she is not happy about this and sets out on her own the next morning.

They lose the old soldier after passing the gate and leaving the safety of the barrier. Elora? She walks right through the barrier without the need of a gate.

They are off to find Willow and rescue Airk. It isn’t until they reach Willow that they discover muffin girl is Elora. Even Elora doesn’t believe it at first.

My issues

1. The gate not having any kind of actual gate or drawbridge caught me by surprise. This is supposed to be the only entry to the kingdom without being kept out by the barrier, and you can CLOSE IT?

2. Prince being captured so easily. He can’t have missed THAT many training sessions. He eventually had to have had some training. This provided too obvious a trigger for the series.

3. Elora’s secret is discovered so soon. I know she is the chosen one, but popping the lid off of this reveal was rushed, in my opinion. Then again, if you are going to train the chosen one, she has to know she’s the chosen one, right? Right.

4. Too many predictable moments.

5. They made it seem in the first episode as if Madmartigan abandoned his family. I did not like this.

The Fight scenes

They weren’t bad. They weren’t awe-inspiring and needed some more work as far as the choreography was concerned, but they were tolerable. It was clear no one had the upper hand except for the Gails, and that was by way of the writing.

Overall feel

Gritty. Dirty. Unrefined. I know this is supposed to mimic a more gritty era, but the lighting and fog in many scenes made it difficult to track what was going on in some scenes. The effects were good. They weren’t over the top. The landscapes are beautiful.

The ruined Nelwyn village was sparse. You could see SOMEthing was there once, but it gave the impression far more time had passed than we thought. This makes the time frame skewed and disjointed.


Predictable and clunky at times, but you could follow it. The arguments you saw coming didn’t help much if at all. We’ve seen those before. I wouldn’t say much of it was forced. It just reminded me of mediocre writing and an average script.


Two and a half shots out of five.


The episode was average at best, something you would play when nothing else is on and you just need the noise. It’s watchable, but not rewatchable. It uses as many tropes as it can while being predictable.

See you next time,
Anissa “Maddy” Walker


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