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'The Quest' premiere recap: Welcome to Everealm

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Pilot” | Aired July 31, 2014

The first episode of ABC’s reality contest competition show The Quest starts off with our 12 “Paladins” receiving a scroll in the mail, telling them they have been chosen and “their time is now.” One of these 12 everyday people will eventually become the Everealm’s true hero. We’ve got a good mix of contenders, some of which include an MMA fighter, a math teacher, a horse trainer and even a bartender for when they need to hit the local tavern.

The Paladins meet up with a man named Crio, who actually ferries them down a “mystical river,” kind of like the Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland ride, except with way fewer animatronic pirates. Crio introduces the contestants to The Fates, who are three mysterious ladies in the shadows. They’re told to find the 12 pieces of the Sunspear at the edge of Marwood, the dark forest they are about to enter.

Crio ushers them carefully through Marwood, and the Paladins find the 12 Sunspear pieces without breaking a sweat. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong.

As they make their way across the forest, a gigantic, Minotaur-looking beast attacks them and drags away one of Crio’s buddies, which prompts the group to start freaking out and personalities to start emerging.

Crio successfully guides the group to Castle Sanctum, and just when they feel relieved, they are chased across an open field by mounted knights. They are herded into Castle Sanctum and Crio is yanked away, leaving the group waiting awkwardly in the courtyard.

This is where the reality of the show begins. Members of the group begin to try to take control of the situation and establish themselves as leaders. Some suggest they should climb the walls and bolt, while others believe they should stay and trust in The Fates. They collectively decide they should hang around and wait it out, which leads to them having some great “getting to know you” time.

Eventually the gates open up and the vizier (high official) of Castle Sanctum reluctantly lets them in and places them under Crio’s charge. The vizier tells them of the original Quest—when 12 heroes created a magical spear, and the last Paladin standing used it to turn the darkness back and out of Everealm. He also tells them The Fates are testing them to find that one true hero.

Crio then takes them on a tour of Castle Sanctum and shows them where they will be spending their nights. Remember that scene in Harry Potter where H.P. and Ron meet up with Hagrid and they’re taken on a tour of Hogwarts? It’s something like that, except more medieval and with a round table.

Our Paladins get nifty medieval pajamas and hit the hay, only to be rudely awakened by what seems to be a drill sergeant in plate armor telling them to suit up. They all get leather armor, and all of a sudden our Paladins are not only starting to look the part, but also feel the part.

The drill sergeant, whom one of the Paladins calls  “Captain Tightpants” (points if you get that reference), takes them to a field filled with stick dummies and a huge wall of sticks for their first test. The challenge is for the group to break into four teams of three and operate scorpions, which are large planted, standing crossbows. One person climbs a tower and tells their teammates below where to aim and if they hit a dummy, the second person runs ammo and the third aims and fires the scorpion. The team with the most dummy hits wins, while the team with the least goes into another challenge to see who will be banished from Everealm.

As the challenge progresses, the Paladins individually become more interesting. Katie has trouble spotting for her team and it leads to them having the fewest hits. Lina spots for her team and continually tells them they hit a dummy when they really didn’t, in order to keep their morale up. Even the drill sergeant has a funny moment when he yells at the losing group, “I could have killed more with my hands throwing arrows over this wall!” In the best and most heartwarming moment of the episode, Bonnie, a property manager from Louisiana, is voted the hero of the winning group, and earns a Mark of Leadership badge.

The losing team consists of Katie, Christian and Patrick. The Fates tell them they must take up a bow and fire arrows at moving targets that represent their opponents. In the end, Katie’s and Patrick’s targets were hit with the most arrows, leaving Christian to rejoin the group and help decide which of the losing Paladins will be banished. The discussion ignites when the Paladins argue over whether they are there to just play the game or to find the one true hero.

After the discussion, the Paladins are asked to stand behind the person they believe should continue on The Quest. Katie turns around, only to find two of her fellow Paladins standing behind her. She is sent to her fate and magically dissolves into smoke.

The Quest airs Thursdays at 8/7C on ABC.

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