THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 6 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.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

I am changing how I break down the episodes below. Instead of breaking down into Plot, Characters, and Effects/Action, I will be just going over the good and the bad along with any other notes I have from the episode. I think it will be a more streamlined way to look at each episode. There are only two episodes left, and this one brought my spirits back a bit in regard to the show. Read on for my break down of this episode.

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!

EPISODE DISECTION

The Good

Right off, we get a blazing start as we see an Aiel warrior laden with spears rushing along the outskirts of a battle. We quickly realize that the warrior is a woman, and she is pregnant. She cringes in pain signaling that the baby is ready to arrive. Several soldiers engage her and she puts up a ferocious battle. She takes a wound but continues fighting until her attackers are all dealt with, left bleeding on the ground. She finally slumps to the ground and begins to push when a sword is held up to her. That is when the cold open fades to the opening credits.

Traveling through the Ways

This was the best cold open yet. I have seen this opinion shared by many others. There have been a few dissenters, but I feel that most of them have already decided to hate everything about this show, likely since before it even went live.

Into the episode proper, several great things happened. I enjoyed the Ways itself, despite my dislike of how they entered. Personally, I was glad that we did not spend a whole lot of time there, where I heard others suggest that they wanted longer time in the Ways. We had a couple great scenes with Perrin spotting the guide stone ahead of the party and rush to get out of the nearest Waygate.

Machin Shin, the Black Wind, was different from the books. I was a little torn about this because the things said in the book were very unsettling where here, they decided to go with it engaging each person’s fears and worries.

After they left the Ways, they moved on to the city of Fal Dara. It was great seeing the character Uno Nomesta (Guy Roberts) make an appearance, even if it was for one line. I still want more WoT swears!

They are taking to the King of Fal Dara, Lord Agelmar (Thomas Chaanhing) who is a bit put off that an Aes Sedai has come to oversee his kingdom and their fight to keep the blight at bay. Once Moiraine tells him that she is there for a different reason and gives him a warning about trollocs using the Ways, he becomes more hospitable.

Moiraine then goes and talks with Agelmar’s sister, the Lady Amalisa (Sandra Yi Sencindiver). This is where they namedrop Min who now resides in Fal Dara instead of Baerlon as in the books. Moiraine also asks Lady Amalisa to send a message to the Red Ajah to seek out Mat Cauthon. At first, I was put off by this, but now I figure it just may be a bit of Daes Dae’mar (the Game of Houses… a concept from the books). This would be acceptable to me.

Min having visions

Moving along, we finally meet Min Farshaw (Kae Alexander). I loved her scenes in this and loved the actress portraying her. The vision effects were interesting. That scene is followed by a meeting between the main party about Min and their next steps. I’ll touch on this scene later.

Later, Lan and Moiraine meet up, than he goes to visit a family. At first, I was confused with who he was visiting, but it is explained later in the episode and makes sense. I know some will complain about him showing some emotion here, but I don’t mind it. I rather enjoy getting to see that he is not a complete stone.

Of course, Nynaeve is stalking him, and he calls her out on it before inviting her in. We get to see them afterwards and more of their relationship develop as she follows him into his room.

The next big moment is Rand target practicing in the courtyard of the Keep. He is a little off the mark and clearly distracted. Egwene finds him there and the two seemingly make up. He even tells her that he will go with her to Tar Valon and become her Warder.

Later, he is in bed dreaming of the events when his father was wounded during the trolloc attack. He also flashes back to when he was taking his father back into town and his father was rambling on about finding a woman on the mountain and a boy infant. Rand returns to target practicing and hits bullseyes every time as he flashes back to moments where he channeled the One Power. I enjoyed the sequence very much.

Target Practice with Rand al’Thor (coming this fall)

Of course, it wasn’t over. He goes to see Min and she tells him that her first vision was a soldier she crossed paths with. She saw visions of snow and blood. As she describes the visions, we cut to the woman from the cold open and the soldier who has her cornered. Seeing her distress, he buries his sword in the snow and helps her complete the child birth, using the sword to cut the cord. Sadly, the woman than dies and the soldier, a young Tam, walks away with the child swaddled in the cape of one of his fallen comrades. This was an epic moment and drove home the episode for me.

We conclude with Egwene, Nynaeve, and Perrin meeting up and making their decision. Lan comes to the door and explains that Moiraine has masked their bond and is gone. They realize that she has gone to the Eye of the World alone with Rand, the Dragon Reborn.

            It is the moments like these that I came for. Even with the changes, I was happy to see this moment, along with the other scenes described above. Still, there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way.

The Bad

Aside from my dislike of how they entered the Ways via channeling and no reference or explanation as to why that is the case (Loial even mentions that the Ways that they can’t reopen the gate as use of the One Power would attract Machin Shin as if that is the only way to open it), the other aspect that felt off was the absence of Mat. Given the situation with the actor not returning and the production team having to recast the character, I am a little more forgiving, however, it still leaves a lot of questions with how they are going to go forward with the story.

The next big downer for me was the meeting of the group following Min’s visions. I’m a little annoyed by the idea that whoever is NOT the Dragon will not survive the Eye of the World. It seems to me that they all have to survive. It has become clear that they each have roles to play in the series. I feel that this is unnecessary tension.

The EF4 in the Ways

Moreso, I am put off by the unnecessary tension of Perrin having interest in Egwene. I just don’t see a need to introduce this sub plot that should be moot in any case. I have heard arguments about something Perrin said in book 1 where he implies that he loves her. In the passage, he goes on to say that it is not like she is a sister, but her and Rand are an “item.” The problem I have is that this is one line that is throwaway at best and to me it is a stretch to interpret this as him having feelings for her. It is just an unnecessary plot point that can only serve to get in the way of later storylines for all characters involved.

Finally, I was not really a fan of how they depicted the Blight. I just didn’t like the bramble-like trees. I pictured it from the books as more of a baron rock desert area with pockets of gnarled trees. Though, that point is minor (for now).

Other Notes

This episode was packed with many things. Much of it was good, though some was a little questionable at least. One thing that I can say about this series is that it has been taking the phrase “show don’t tell” to heart, in some cases to its own detriment. I feel that, besides the pacing, this is the show’s greatest problem. While there is wisdom in that statement, sometimes “tell” should not be overlooked.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

As I have said, this episode went a long way in restoring my faith in the show after a little slump from the previous two episodes. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. Still, this episode had some solid plot and character development that kept me gripped.

Lan leading the Ways

I can’t believe that next Friday is already the finale. I expect it to be good to say the least. Though a lot of questions remain, many are being satisfied as we go along and we seem to (mostly) be converging together with where the plot of the books ends, even if it will be a bit different.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 7 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 5 Blood Calls Blood – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

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