My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 3 of The Wheel of Time.
These are my deep look into each episode of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. I will investigate each episode in depth and give my reactions, thoughts, and takeaways. These dives are for book readers as they contain heavy spoilers throughout while I weigh each episode against my knowledge of the books and story and will touch upon things throughout the books. I will focus on the episode itself and will not delve into future episodes.
I enjoyed episode 3 “A Place of Safety” a lot and felt it did good to move the plot further. Now that we are getting aligned with the characters and their motivations, this episode placed each many of the characters into situations that would be the pivotal turn for their development in the first season. It furthered the worldbuilding for the viewer, introducing more elements from the greater world, and had wonderful plot and character development.
FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and my reference any point in any of the books. If you have not read the books or seen the episode and want to avoid spoilers, DO NOT READ ON until you have done so. You HAVE been WARNED!
After the conclusion of the 2nd episode, episode 3 opens with a flashback to Nynaeve being dragged by a trolloc into the woods. It drops her to check up on an injured fellow trolloc, then begins to brutalize it and eat it. Nynaeve takes this time to escape. She flees into the cave with the sacred pool and hides while the trolloc pursuits her. As it enters the pool, attempting to spear fish her, she rises behind like a callback to Predator or Apocalypse Now, grabs its sword and kills the beast. The scene ends with the epic braid flip from the trailer, and we cut back to her having Lan at sword point – the same sword she swiped from the trolloc.
That was an epic setup and showcase of Nynaeve’s character. This is even furthered with her confrontation with Lan as she demands the whereabouts of her friends. He tries to convince her to help Moiraine who is badly wounded before finally disarming her. This whole setup is a key moment and a wonderful framework for what happens with their characters in the future.
From there, we cut to Rand and Mat in a hilly area calling out for Egwene and Perrin. Mat calms Rand down and points out that his yells could bring them danger. When he tries to convince Rand to return home with him, Rand insists on traveling on to Tar Valon as that was their destination.
Moving on to Egwene and Perrin, they are crossing a plain while being harried by wolves. They seek out an out cove where they get a fire started; though they don’t know if it was Perrin’s traditional method of rock and blade or Egwene using the power that started it. They take shelter by the fire, using it to keep the wolves at bay.
The rest of the episode is a lot of going back and forth between plotlines. So I’m gonna focus on what at a time at this point. It is here that we return to Lan, Nynaeve, and Moiraine. Lan convinces Nynaeve to treat Moiraine’s wound. She gathers some herbs and makes an ointment to ease the pain. It is slow going, but it gives Lan and Nynaeve time to further connect. Though, Nynaeve is a bit closed to the Warder’s questioning. Eventually, he leaves her to tend to Moiraine to find help. He returns to gather them up and lead them to safety and help.
They finally come to that help in the form of a group of Aes Sedai. Moiraine is well enough by this time to communicate, and they find that the Aes Sedai has captured a man who calls himself Dragon. This plot, while not very active, did give some quality character time. While Moiraine is out of commission through most of the scene, she does feverishly call out a name that holds significance to her. Nynaeve and Lan, as mentioned, spend some time together and you see that he is both annoyed by and intrigued with this woman who was able to track him. I DO hope that she eventually provides the explanation as to how she followed and located them.
We return to Perrin and Egwene. Perrin has a dream where he discovers a wolf eating the remains of his wife, Laila. She then turns her head at him and we get a glimpse of the flame eyed being before he wakes from the dream.
They wake and run from the wolves. But when they reach wagon tracks, it becomes apparent that the wolves are holding back and not chasing them. It is as if they were guiding the pair. After a touching scene where Egwene sees the conflict within Perrin, they follow the tracks and encounter a group of people known as the Traveling Folk, or Tinkers. They are taking in and fed and this is where their plot ends for this episode.
The last plot sees Mat and Rand coming to a small mining town. There is a person in a cage that Mat later learns in an Aiel. They go to a tavern and encounter the innkeeper, Dana (Izuka Hoyle), and the gleeman, Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume). The gleeman sings a chilling song about “The Man Who Can’t Forget” and teaches Mat a valuable lesson. These ask Dana for a bed and Rand insists they will work for it. She leads them out to cut wood and serve drinks, having discussions with each one in turn.
Later, Mat goes out, thinking to take the belongings from the caged Aiel when he is interrupted by Thom. Thom lets him carry out his task in exchange for helping to bury the man. He then tells Mat about the Aiel. They exchange names and Mat steals back his coin purse, to Thom’s admiration.
Back at the inn, Rand finishes chopping wood and Dana leads him to a room. They have a conversation about their lives and begin to connect. When she leans in for a kiss, however, Rand jerks back. She then reveals that she looked too much like Egwene and this unsettles Rand. She takes his sword, and he tries to escape through the door which is now locked. Despite Dana telling him that the door in impossible to break through, he does just that and escapes.
He runs into Mat as Dana pursuits, and they run away together. Dana takes a shortcut and cuts them off where she reveals that she has had dreams of “the five of them.” She reveals that a Fade is coming and tells them that she has aligned with the shadow. As she tries to convince them to give up, a knife protrudes through her throat. Thom overheard the conversation and urges them to escape with him.
A lot of great character moments happen in this episode. First, we have Perrin who is dealing with his guilt and almost confesses to Egwene about what happened with Laila. There is also allusions to he connection with the wolves when he realizes that they were forcing them in a direction that led to help.
Again, Nynaeve and Lan are given much development together and we see that she is more than just a wisdom of some backwater town. You can see the admiration on Lan, despite his annoyance with her. In the earlier scenes, his shock that she tried to kill him after he just said that she wouldn’t almost had a hint of respect.
Rand comes off a bit innocent (though not as much as in the books at this point). Mat really shines in this episode. He has a few great lines throughout and his interactions with Thom are another sign of what’s to come.
Special Effects / Action
There are some great, subtle effects in this episode as well. One of the greatest is a scene towards the end after Dana is killed. As they walk away, the camera pans down to show her blood streaming across the street. This transitions smoothly into the tree line of the next scene where Lan, Moiraine, and Nynaeve encounter the Aes Sedai.
Another great affect I didn’t even notice until my third watch of the episode. As Perrin seemingly wakes up in his forge to the sound of thunder, he rises and begins looking for Laila. As he passes a window, red eyes appear from outside the window and form into the figure seen in Rand’s dream in episode 2. The scene was chilling and gave me exorcist vibes.
Overall, this was a great episode. Ranking the plot points, I would put Perrin and Egwene at third, Lan and Nynaeve at second, and Mat and Rand at first. However, all had their ups and downs. I was a little put out that it was Ila (Maria Doyle Kennedy) that “led” the tinkers where the books had Raen (Narinder Samra) filling the position of “seeker.” I did like Aram (Daryl McCormack). He certainly gives the vibe of a conflicted person who doesn’t necessarily belong with the group he is a part of. I am sure the nature of the Tinkers will be explored in future episodes (likely the next one)
I spoke several times about the connection between Nynaeve and Lan. Their chemistry is something to keep an eye on. Though I wasn’t certain about moving the introduction of Thom back, I am feeling much more comfortable with it after watching this episode. I think I even like this grittier portrayal of the character.
With the third episode in the can, I am anxiously awaiting the 4th episode. By the time I got to write this, the previews have already begun surfacing online. As soon as I watch it, I will drop my spoiler free review and reaction followed by the in-depth analysis (which should be) by the next day. Unfortunately, I was delayed a bit with this reviews due to life at home (with a newborn).