Plot Synopsis: The episode opens with a monk passing away in a winter castle. The other monks worry that he will reveal their location to Darken Rahl. Sure enough Darken Rahl interrogates the old man on the location of his father. Apparently these monks knew all about him. The episode shifts to Thaddicus who is accosted by Darken Rahl. He tells him the location of his father since apparently Panis Rahl has killed Zedd and Thaddicus's father. Thaddicus heads out to convince Zedd to go after him.
He meets up with them using the Mapmaker's cool map. We watch a flashback on how Panis Rahl deceived their father and killed him using a Zedd disguise. Zedd apparently took an oath to kill him with Thaddicus. They head off on a revenge road trip. We then watch a flashback, on how Panis Rahl and young Zedd used to be friends, and how Zedd's father tried to tell him that teaching magic to a Rahl was a bad idea. Zedd didn't listen. Panis later convinced Zedd not to go home to make peace with his father, using some hot princess.
Meanwhile Richard, Kahlan, and Cara run into some old guy, all of whose papers have floated away. He tries to join Richard on his quest since apparently he knows how to use the Stone of Tears. Cara seems suspicious. Apparently this instructive scroll is locked away in a wall and only this guy knows where it is. On top of that snowy mountain, Zedd and Thaddicus kill a bunch of monks. They think they kill Panis but unfortunately it was another monk's disguise. While they are burning bodies, Darken Rahl appears and lets them know where Panis Rahl is. He is disguised as old scholar helping out Richard.
Richard has a nice fireside chat with the guy who we now know is Panis Rahl. Panis tells him that he is proud of him. In the morning Zedd and Thaddicus ride in and try to kill Panis, Richard protects him in the confusion. We then have an Empire like moment of Panis admitting he is Richard's father. Panis tries to convince everyone that he is not a bad guy. Apparently, Panis's baby was cursed by a wizard. He let it die and then had a Mord Sith revive it. That was why he went to Zedd's father dressed as Zedd. Zedd's father had been convinced by Shota's vision of Darken Rahl's patricidal rise to power.
Thus what Panis did was just an act of revenge. He also admits how much he admired Zedd and could not sacrifice his first born son. Panis decided that the way to make everything better was to sire Richard. Nice. Darken Rahl, worried that they might get the instruction scroll gets the Sisters of the Dark to steal the scroll from Richard. He also tells them to kill Panis.
Panis opens the wall and gets the scroll and then gives it to Richard. Panis suggests they kill him, but Zedd stops him to stop all the murdering. Just then the Sisters of the Dark attack. Most of them are slaughtered but the leader manages to get the scroll, and another one throws a dacra at Zedd. Panis steps in its way sacrificing himself. Everyone is really sad as he dies. It's very moving. He goes to the underworld where Darken Rahl forgives him and hugs him. Thaddicus leaves everyone, strangely only saying goodbye to Zedd. Zedd also tells Richard that the greatest sin one can commit is to do the work of the Creator. Zedd apparently cast the fertility spell on Panis. Basically this is all Zedd's fault. Thanks a lot. Richard then gives him some good old fashioned self confidence and they head off on their way.
Commentary: I love how family of the main characters shows up for one episode to get killed. Are there any episodes where a family member shows up and is not murdered? Though I suppose siblings are safe as Thaddicus, Jennsen, and Kahlan's sister are still around. Parents though... Done. We found out that Panis Rahl actually wasn't that bad of a guy. He just made bad decisions. It was clear how killing his own son would be difficult. I love how his resolution was just to have another son. Yeah that will do it. Also it was pretty clear how the scholar was going to be Panis Rahl since the guy playing him was John Rhys-Davies. He was great though. He belongs in a fantasy universe.
Alright my knitpicking with this episode has to do with the Sisters of the Dark. How many of these women are there? Every single episode a dozen of them get destroyed. I thought this was like an exclusive club. Apparently you just sign up in some forest stand in the Midlands and they hand you a dacra and a red dress and let you go fight the Seeker. Also when that one was on the roof above Kahlan, why didn't she just throw her dacra instead of slowly jumping at her allowing Richard a jump save. They also probably want to upgrade those dacras for something that flies faster. How many time is someone going to step in front of one. Maybe just some regular daggers. Or anything that doesn't fly with the velocity of a beach ball.
I liked how they brought Young Zedd back. Did anyone notice whether Panis Rahl was the same actor? The whole flashback thing had a pretty cool continuity feel to it. I feel like when they skip forward or back there is certain disconnect with the present but this felt right on. I also like that we are just not going to talk about how Zedd and Thaddicus slaughtered those innocent monks. Never happened. Panis Rahl was a strong character due in no small part to Rhys-Davies acting chops. I thought the relationship between Zedd and Panis in both the past and the future was very believable. Young Zedd totally would have bailed on his wizard duties to hook up with some princesses. Everyone is having a good time.
Richard and Kahlan Romance Index: 4 out of 10.
They held hands. She uncomfortably smiled when Panis suggested how great it is to save the world with someone you love. Does he have experience here? Bet he never had to deal with the Confessor Conundrum. He probably wouldn't have resisted like Richard. How terrible it must have been for a pretty girl to grow up in D'Hara with Panis and Zedd running around. They didn't have an abstinent role model like Richard. I guess things are better?
Zedd's Creepiness Factor: 5 out of 10.
He wasn't outwardly creepy but I just can't get over those poor monks. They had knives Zedd. You burned them to a crisp. All they were doing is serving the Creator in the wintry castle. Now they are rewarded with Darken Rahl's torture in the Underworld. Yeah Zedd... you're a great guy!
Thaddicus: "Please Zedd. While father was being killed, I just stood there like a trembling lamb and did nothing. Don't make me do nothing now."
Panis Rahl: "Zedd is telling the truth. I am a scholar, but I am also Panis Rahl... your father."
Panis Rahl: "I want you to know son, you have been in my heart from the moment I heard the prophecy of your coming."
Darken Rahl: "I forgive you father. Do you forgive me?"
Richard: "All we can do is make the best choices we can... and keep putting one foot in front of the other."
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