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This ‘Willow’ Episode 2 Moment Is a Hilarious Callback to the Original Film

Elora and Willow in 'Willow' episode 2.

Willow, currently streaming on Disney Plus, picks up several years after the end of the original film. Willow (Warwick Davis) is the High Aldwin of Nelwyn and a seasoned sorcerer, while Dove (Ellie Bamber), the kitchen maid, found out that she’s actually fabled empress and high priestess Elora Danan. Part of the plot of Willow centers on Elora’s training to become the heroine who’s prophesied to defeat the evil Crone, and the series kicks that training off with a callback to Willow’s own early days as a sorcerer.

In episode 2, “The High Aldwin,” Willow takes Elora and the others to Nelwyn so they can hash out a plan. Once they’re there, the Nelwyn call for Willow to prove that Elora is indeed the Empress by giving her the finger test.

For Willow fans, the finger test is one of the most memorable parts of the original film—and the Willow series adds a delightful new twist.

What’s the finger test?

In the original film, Willow is a young farmer who wants to be a sorcerer. At a festival, the High Aldwin calls up all the young people hoping to become his apprentice, and gives them a test: he holds up one hand and asks them which finger has the power to control the world. Willow’s instinct tells him to hold up his own finger, but he doesn’t trust himself and he chooses one of the High Aldwin’s fingers instead. Later, though, the High Aldwin tells him that his first instinct was correct.

The High Aldwin doesn’t take Willow on as an apprentice that day, but Willow finds his way to sorcery anyway. He goes into his adventure with an important lesson under his belt: trust his gut.

Willow is not a fan of the finger test

When the Nelwyn pressure Willow into giving Elora the finger test, you can tell he’s apprehensive. Willow himself failed the test when he was young, but he still had the right idea and went on to become a sorcerer—that means it’s not a well-designed test! As the Nelwyn chant “Finger test!” you can almost see Willow doing the calculations in his head. What will happen if she fails the test in front of all these people? How much of a wrench will it throw in his plans to train her in sorcery? How can he salvage this situation?

Willow caves to the Nelwyns’ pressure, but he tries to help Elora out. As she decides which finger to choose, Willow quietly mouths the word “yours” over and over again. Elora doesn’t understand what he’s trying to tell her, though, and chooses one of his, making the same mistake he did when he was young.

Willow has the benefit of hindsight to know that the finger test doesn’t prove anything. It’s telling, though, that he gives her the test anyway. Willow has clearly let the position of High Aldwin go to his head—he’s carried into the main hall on a litter, waving like a monarch, and then makes a grand proclamation about how powerful Elora is—and he ends up caught in the trap of his own ego.

Willow is one of the older characters in the fellowship on its way to save Airk, but it looks like he still has some learning and growing to do. It’s good to know that, even though Elora, Kit, and the other young characters are taking center stage in this series, Willow will still be as flawed and layered as he was in the original film.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) lives in Los Angeles, where she reads tarot and watches Marvel movies. You can check out more of her writing at linktr.ee/juliaglassman, or find her on Twitter at @juliaglassman.