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)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 7 (Spoiler Free)

My general thoughts and reaction to Episode 7 of The Wheel of Time tv series on Amazon Prime

The Wheel of Time series has arrived on Amazon Prime. These are my general (spoiler-free) reactions to the latest episode:

EPISODE 7: THE DARK ALONG THE WAYS

Perhaps it was the “break” in the main plot for the previous two episodes that set me back a little. It felt like we were getting sidetracked. Maybe that is a part of why I was starting to feel down about the show. This episode, however, has raised my excitement again. There was much that I enjoyed, and a bunch of questions that have yet to be answered. I am still a little mad about one change from the last episode that was never really satisfied in this episode. Despite that, the events that happened in this episode (a favorite character from the book making an appearance, a favorite minor character also making an appearance, and some of the reveals and flashbacks) all got my blood pumping for this show again. One more week!

BONUS: (No Origin…)

As of the time of me writing this, there was no Origin available in the XRAY feature along with this episode. There was a BTS video regarding the weapons and props. It was interesting to view. A good look at what goes into the process of production.

My spirits for the show are back and I am excited for the finale next week. I look forward to what is to come as we wrap up this season.

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)

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)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 6 The Flame of Tar Valon

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

Episode 6 of The Wheel of Time is a mixed bag to me. There were elements that I liked and elements that I was not too keen on. Some of the latter were pretty big and take me out of the story. In the end, I enjoyed it, but with some hesitations.

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

Plot

The cold open for this episode takes us to a river near the city of Tear. A young Siuan Sanche (played by Keira Chansa) is fishing with her father. She can clearly channel and it appears this is a problem in this area. When they return to their hut from fishing, they find it burned down and her father sends her away. I am mixed on this plot point because on the one hand, this is a bit of a change to Siuan as she grew up in the poor streets of the city. She was still the daughter of a fisherman, but one who went out to see. I suppose the budget didn’t allow for that, so they made her more of a poor country girl.

The other hand, this scene was emotional for me. Perhaps because I am a father of two daughters, and I really connected with the father. Though I would have gone with her, first to make sure she arrived, and second even if there was no place for me, I would find some where I can be close (especially if I just lost my livelihood anyway).

Anyway, after the credits, we are back at the tower and Moiraine, Liandrin, and Alanna are standing in the Hall of the Tower awaiting the Amyrlin Seat, an adult Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo). When she arrives, they bring in Logaine who makes remarks about the weakness of Aes Sedai and comments how he still killed one of them. Siuan sees through his remarks as a way of enticing his death, but she denies it.

After he is taken away, she turns her attention on the three Aes Sedai before her. She chastises Liandrin for the debacle with Logaine. Liandrin brings up Moiraine and how she was traveling with a powerful channeler and throws into question what secrets she keeps. Moiraine is forced to prostrate herself in front of Siuan but cannot give the answer to the question asked of her. Siuan tells her that her penance will come the next day.

This scene is where I am beginning to have some problems with the series. When questioned about Nynaeve, Moiraine says that she did not know that she could channel, but only suspected. This is a drastic change from the books that changes a lot. Plus, if that is the case, how did she know that Egwene could channel. Nynaeve is supposed to be more powerful. In the books, detecting a woman’s ability to channel is one of the fundamental aspects. This is a drastic change. Time will tell on what impact this may have as the series plays out. In any case, I am not happy with it.

Continuing with this plot line, we later find that Moiraine and Siuan are in league with each other. This is straight out of the books. The show does take this a step further and show that they are lovers as well. This is not a far stretch from the books, though it is a change. I am indifferent on this change, but I do wonder how this might affect later elements of the series plot.

In any case, Moiraine insists that her penance be exile as she must take the villagers to the Eye of the World. They obtained this from a dream that Siuan had. She returns to the Hall and accepts her penance, delivered to her by Oath Rod, an artifact that binds oaths to the swearer.

In between those scenes, we have the villagers coming together in Tar Valon. First, Moiraine, following her first encounter with the Hall, locates Rand and Mat and steps in. Rand tries to protect Mat by drawing his sword but is thwarted quickly by Lan. I was a tad disappointed that Lan didn’t mention anything about the heron on the blade, but maybe they will have that conversation next episode. Mat pulls his dagger on Moiraine, but she stops him with the power. She recognizes it as having come from Shadar Logoth and extracts the sickness from him, returning it to the dagger. This is another point that left me feeling a little hollow.

In the books, she was only able to contain the sickness and it required a full circle of Aes Sedai to cleanse him from its affects. Barely anything more was said about the dagger other than the fact that if he touches it again, it may take him completely.

Perrin and Egwene are now in Tar Valon and Moiraine is taken by a Yellow Sister them. While Perrin is resting from being treated by the Yellow Ajah, Egwene mentions his golden eyes along with his seeming connection with wolves. Moiraine shows a hint of recognition but does not divulge and swears Egwene to secrecy.

She later calls Egwene to the White Tower and they go to an empty Hall. The door opens and Lan enters, followed by Nynaeve. It is a touching reunion between Egwene and Nynaeve, but shore lived as Moiraine leads them to meet with Siuan. Siuan assesses them and tells them of the coming danger.

We also get a meeting between Moiraine with Lan and Loial where they recruit his help. After her punishment is delivered in the Hall of the Tower, she leaves and rides her horse out to a Waygate some distance from the city. The episode concludes with a reunion of all of the Emond’s Fielders along with Loial, Moiraine, and Lan at the gate. She preps them for the journey through the Ways to their ultimate destination, The Eye of the World. She then opens the gate using the One Power and they enter… all except Mat who watches as it closes his friends off.

This whole scene was problematic for me. I didn’t like that Mat was left behind. I figure that it has to do with the recasting of his character. I can’t fault them too much for that, but, still, it was out of character for Mat, and it was pointed out by others that Moiraine just stood there and watched despite having said earlier that she would kill them before letting the Dark One have any of them. Then she leaves him behind without a second thought.

Still, it does kind of complicate the story. Perhaps that is why they just had Moiraine heal him so that the change in appearance could be contributed to his separation from the dagger. Perhaps the hardest part is not knowing WHY he was recast. I want to respect Barney Harris and whatever the reason, I wish him well. No knowing just makes the change all the more painful.

The other problem is the Waygate. I was not a fan from the moment they were first shown and speculated to be such. When it was confirmed, I was disappointed. Now that I have seen it in action, that disappointment has grown. It makes no sense if they were a gift to the Ogier, why would it require channeling to open. That defeats the purpose. I have been quite forgiven regarding many of the changes, but this one really eats at me.

Characters

Most of the episode focused on Moiraine. She was at the center of nearly every scene. I am fine with them expanding the love relationship between her and Siuan. I don’t think it was necessary, but I am not complaining either. I did like her line to Egwene and Nynaeve how the Amyrlin waits for only one woman and neither of those two were that woman. And I found the reversal of “on your knees” funny.

I already mentioned the reunion between Nynaeve and Egwene and how touching it was. Another moment I liked was when Egwene and Nynaeve were meeting with Siuan. When Siuan was talking about finally meeting a woman so strong in the power, and calls out Nynaeve’s name, I laughed when Egwene was standing tall until the end and immediately deflated. It fit her character, I felt. I also liked how when Siuan told them about the last battle coming, Egwene was ready to go.

 I felt that the scene when Moiraine and Maigan meet in the sauna was not needed. I don’t feel it really added anything. While I am not a prude to be sure, it did feel rather Game of Thrones like. Likewise, I have been getting more annoyed than anything every time Liandrin pops up. I did like that Moiraine finally stood up to her and put her in her place.

Special Effects / Action

This episode wasn’t really action or effects heavy. There were a few instances of weaves, but most of the episode was exposition and setting up for the final two episodes. Perhaps I would have been impressed with the Waygate if I wasn’t so upset about how they used it.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

This episode is far from my favorite. It was almost a little off-putting. I have to admit that I am a little less excited. Perhaps part of that is the wariness over the negativity and in-fighting between fans. Many either love it (finding it perfect in every way) or loathe it (finding it as blasphemous to the source material). I have been somewhere in the middle from the get-go, leaning toward loving it, but reserved in some aspects, at least. I’ve adapted to many of the changes. After watching this episode (maybe it was the Waygate, maybe it was Mat being left behind, maybe it has nothing to do with the show and just my general depression over things going on in my life… I don’t know), I feel like I just swallowed a bitter-sweet pill.

This was a bump in the road for me. I feel really shaken. There is nothing to do but ride it out and see where it takes us. Hopefully, the last two episodes will restore my faith.

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)

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 First Thoughts – Episode 6 (Spoiler Free)

My general thoughts and reaction to Episode 6 of The Wheel of Time tv series on Amazon Prime

The Wheel of Time series has arrived on Amazon Prime. These are my general (spoiler-free) reactions to the latest episode:

EPISODE 6: THE FLAME OF TAR VALON

This was an interesting episode. There were some good parts, some questionable decisions, some expected changes, and some not-so-expected twists. Right now, I don’t know what to say. While I enjoyed the episode, overall, there were some disappointments with how they handled certain things. One element in particular kind of set me back. Still, I am not shaken from liking the series. It was great to see Loial again and there were a few touching moments. The cold open for this episode nearly had me in tears (no pun intended).

Loial points out the best restaurants in Tar Valon.

BONUS: AN OGIER’S LONGING

The Origin video alongside this episode was, perhaps, the weakest so far. I liked it, but it was slow to unfold (perhaps because it is “narrated” by an Ogier). Still, it was good information for those wishing to learn more about the world and, in particular, the Ogier.

We are down to two episodes left in the season. I am interested in seeing how it unfolds. This episode was not my favorite. But it was good nonetheless, despite some disappointments.

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)

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. 5 Blood Calls Blood

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 5 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

First, let me clear something up. I am not a critic. These deep dives and my first thoughts blogs are not meant as reviews. That is why I don’t give a score, really. I say all this because I see other people’s reactions and dissections and sometimes feel I am not giving the episode a full scrutiny. I’ll think of things later that I should have said or see something from somebody that points out something that I miss (be it an easter egg, a representation, a point of view, etc.).

These are my gut reactions and my takeaways. These are my feelings and my thoughts. These are my likes and dislikes. Maybe I have pointed out something that others have missed. They are based on my own experiences, feelings, and opinions. I share them so that I can get them off my chest. So that I can “partake” in the discussion. Take them for what they are.

To that end, take the show for what it is and what YOU make of it. A lot of opinions are floating around — good and bad. If you like the show, then great. If not, that’s OK. In that case I am sorry that you don’t like it. Its not going to be perfect and not going to please everybody. That is impossible. Even if they had made the show exactly from the books with no deviation, somebody would find fault with it. Take it for what it is. Maybe if you let go expectations, you will find that the show can be quite enjoyable.

EPISODE DISECTION

Anyway, time to get off the soapbox and get to the episode.

FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and may 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!

Plot

This episode was emotional. It has been said by others and there is no other way to describe it. It certainly was a different ride than the other episodes. But that is not a bad thing. It had its ups and downs and its good and bad. Let’s dive in.

The episode opened with the funeral of those lost in the attack on the camp. It was a beautiful ceremony heightened by the singing wails of Alanna (Priyanka Bose). The pain of Karene’s (Clare Perkins) warder, Stepin (Peter Franzén) was evident.

After the intro, we find that all groups have closed in on Tar Valon. Apparently, some of the Aes Sedai and warders break off from the rest on go into the city while the rest make ready for the procession later in the episode. The group that went ahead, of course, included Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve. They take Nynaeve to a room in the Warder’s Quarters where Moiraine instructs her to stay. There is a small confrontation between them, but Moiraine ultimately offers her protection.

Rand and Mat reach the city. The take refuge in an inn because Rand is worried about Mat and his sickness. Throughout their scenes, a familiar face pops up in the background. They are blink and you’ll miss it moments, but the eagle eye can catch Padan Fain (the peddler from episode 1) lurking around. These were well placed moments.

Perhaps the highlight of Rand and Mat’s storyline in this episode is the appearance of the Ogier, Loial (Hammed Animashaun). A fan favorite character that I will delve more into below in characters and effects below. Loial does retrieve Nynaeve from the White Tower grounds and brings her to Rand and Mat for a heartfelt reunion.

Perrin and Egwene seem to be a bit happy as the Tinker Wagons draw near to Tar Valon. Unfortunately, that joy is cut short when the Tinkers encounter White Cloak questioners led by Eamon Valda (Abdul Salis). They run but are captured anyway. Though there is no status on what happened to the Tinkers after they were brutalized by the White Cloaks.

Egwene is stripped and washed in a cringey (though impactful) scene, then given a white garment and strapped to a chair. Perrin is brought in while Valda attempts to get Egwene to confess to channeling. He tortures Perrin, though in the process, revealing something special about Perrin to the audience. He then leaves them to decide which one will die and which one will go free.

When Valda returns, he begins to work on Perrin when Egwene channels a pitiful flame. He laughs, but she apparently used that flame to mask her true intent, burning the ropes binding herself and Perrin. He snaps free of his binding causing fear to grip Valda before Egwene stabs him, takes his trophy rings, and escapes with Perrin with the aide of wolves who are attacking the other white cloaks.

The final plotline revolved around Stepin as he dealt with the loss of his Aes Sedai. While that seemed to be the focus, it also featured Moiraine and Lan and reflecting on their bond. There are references throughout, as they discuss with each other (and with others), about what would happen if Moiraine were to die. It all comes to a head when Lan stays with Stepin to watch over him, only to be drugged to sleep and discover Stepin’s body the next morning.

The final moments featured the funeral rites of Stepin. Lan was given the duty of primary griever and demonstrated great emotion as he thudded his chest in agony. Many claim that this was out of character for Lan, who does not share emotion. I argue that he does have emotions, he is just in control of them. He can hold his emotions back but release them when he needs to. Being stoic does not mean being a robot. Plus, he was given the charge of grieving for everybody in the room. Lan is dutiful and if commanded to display emotion, he is going to do it. And he damn sure did it.

Characters

Besides the Lan moment, there were a lot of character moments throughout this episode. First, let’s address the Ogier in the room… Loial. For a split second, I was hesitant when I saw him walk on screen. But then, I focused on the character, and he was the truest to book representation. He was only in a couple of scenes this episode, but I loved every minute of them.

Mat and Rand had little development, but it was good to see their reunion with Nynaeve. Nynaeve had that wonderful story regarding Egwene that she shared with Rand. It was about Egwene having a deadly sickness when she was younger and how they did not expect her to live. But Egwene was not ready, so she sat through a night of agony and broke the fever. It is implied that she did it on her own and I have heard some complaints about that. But there is nothing in the story that says that Nynaeve did not unknowingly contribute, so…

Other than that, though Nynaeve was present, she did not really feature specifically outside of a run-in with Liandrin and her confrontation with Moiraine. Lan and Moiraine were dealing with the warder bond storyline, and it was great seeing how that affected them. I feel that the characters that got the most development this episode were Egwene and Perrin.

When they were captured by the White Cloaks, we are given a scene where Egwene is stripped and washed by her captors. It is a cringy scene to watch but it shows how these people (if their brutalizing of a group of pacifists wasn’t enough). When Valda kept pressing her, it was great to see the fire in her as she pushed back. When she through that pitiful fireball at Valda, I had to laugh, but then it showed her cunning as she burned the ropes while he laughed her off.

Perrin’s development was huge. We have finally reached where he has more lines and his confession about killing his wife was emotional. That change to his story really paid off here. There was also a key moment while he was being tortured where his eyes changed color. It was only during the time when his emotions were heightened, so that leaves me wondering a few things (more on that in a moment). In any case, it was great seeing that aspect of him, even if it was brief.

Special Effects / Action

Since this episode focused mostly on emotion, it wasn’t exactly effects or action heavy. It was interesting to see the nod towards The Lord of the Rings with the ring being melted. Action was limited to the White Cloaks assaulting the Tuatha’an, Perrin and Egwene’s torture, and Lan racing through the halls to find his friend. For the most part, what was there was effect and action wise was OK.

There were two moments that sat me back for a second. The first was Loial. His look was not quite satisfying at first glance. However, I stopped caring almost immediately once I focused in on Hamed’s performance. He WAS Loial. It was fun seeing him and I was happy every time he spoke. For what it is worth, the problems that I had the most with the costume was the wig and no ears (as described in the books). I didn’t have a problem with his height. It would have been too unrealistic to have him taller. I also noticed that his hands were clearly prosthetics. I hope they can improve them over time, but I was not too upset with them.

The other problem that I had was with Perrin. When he broke from the ropes and stood up, I had an image between The Incredible Hulk and some Frankenstein movie with the way he moved toward Valda. That kind of pulled me out of it for a moment. I loved the Incredible Hulk when I was growing up (for context, I am referring to the 70s series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno). So, I was torn as I kind of liked how that called back to it the way his eyes turned yellow, and he bulked up with his rage. Part of me would not be unhappy if they kept his eyes only turning yellow at certain points.

The other aspect is what really pulled me out. When he looked like a hulking monster stalking toward Valda, it kind of looked humorous (in likely in a way not intended). That said, I enjoyed the overall arch and was happy with how the scene played out in the end.

One last thing to note is that I am starting to see some of the complaints with editing or pacing. I agree with some of those complaints and yet others I think the show is fine as is. The biggest thing was some of the cuts like Rand and Mat walking into the inn, then immediately going to their room. Or when it is suggested that Nynaeve check out the garden and it cuts to Loial bringing her into the inn. It feels like in both cases, something was left out.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

It has been a few days since I first watched the episode as I wrap up this deep dive. Because of that, I have seen thoughts from others, and it generally seems like many either loved the episode or hated it. For me, it was a great episode. Perhaps on par with episode 4, but for different reasons. This episode carried an emotional theme that reflected in all of the three primary storylines. New introductions of a fan favorite character from the books were pleasant as well. Only three episodes left in the season. I am wondering how they are going to bring it all together. Until then, I am happy to be on this ride.

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)

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)

Other

The Wheel of Time Midseason Impressions – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 5 (Spoiler Free)

My general thoughts and reaction to Episode 5 of The Wheel of Time tv series on Amazon Prime

The Wheel of Time series has arrived on Amazon Prime. These are my general (spoiler-free) reactions to the latest episode:

EPISODE 5: BLOOD CALLS BLOOD

If you have not watched this episode yet, prepare for a lot of tears. Not just sad tears, either. Some of them are joyful (others, not so much). I can really see the story coming together. What can I say without giving anything away? It is difficult to do.

Arm and arm against the White Cloaks

Probably the best I can say is that the changes that were made are starting to merge back into the familiar for us book readers, in my opinion. That is the best part of it. I am easing my stances on the changes greatly. Also, I was able to call a few events early. Not by much, mind you. But there were scenes in the preview that I realized were about to happen and why they were about to happen just before it was revealed. In any case, I am going to have a lot to say in my deep dive.

One last thing… I heard on social media (which I checked briefly after completing the episode) that a certain phrase that I have been waiting for was finally uttered. That phrase being “blood and ashes.” Unfortunately, I missed it and will have to do a rewatch to catch it. Let’s just hope that is not the last time it is used.

A Laughing Logain – What is he laughing at???

BONUS: THE WHITE TOWER (and BTS)

The White Tower animation was a good breakdown of the origins and description of the White Tower and the Aes Sedai (post-breaking). Worth a check-out if you are new to the series. Your decision if you want to wait until the end of the season or watch them as they come, but the bonus animations have been pretty good little tidbits of lore.

I also watched the first two BTS bonuses watch are two parts of Creating the Look. They were informative and showcased the details that went into creating the costumes and the looks of the different people. I’m beginning to overload and will have to watch the Creating the Music a bit later (hopefully by the time I am done with my deep dive.

With that, I am beginning to let go of my trepidations of the changes from the book material. I feel that the showrunner, Rafe Judkins, and his crew of talent are crafting something truly epic. With only three episodes to go, I am ecstatic. Overall, I am very happy with what I have seen so far. At my first watch, I couldn’t even think of anything that I didn’t like about the episode. Some things may pop up after subsequent watches. But they are obviously small if they are there.

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)

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 Midseason Impressions

Having watched the first four episodes of The Wheel of Time, I offer my impressions and respond to some of the critics.

TV shows, movies, and video games can be like a fine meal. The preparation can take a long time, but when it comes time to indulge, it is over in a matter of moments. The Wheel of Time is no exception. Season 1 began production over 2 years ago. Sure, there were some delays due to a little global issue that got in the way, but the amount of work, effort, and money that went into creating it. Nonetheless, it has been a long time coming.

Season 1 finally premiered about 2 weeks ago (give or take depending on whether you got to see the special screenings). Now, with last weeks entrée, we are halfway through the season. So far, it has been met with tremendous praise from book-readers and newcomers alike. But also, it has been criticized by newcomers who just don’t get it and book-readers who call the whole show blasphemous.

The season hasn’t completed yet, so it can’t be fairly judged. I’ll certainly give it until the end before I come up with a final verdict. However, we have had a healthy taste of the show. Episode 1 made an excellent appetizer while episodes 2 and 3 served up as a good 1st entrée. Episode 4 was the second entrée, preparing us for the main course that we shall savor over the next few weeks. With that in mind, I want to look at how it is going, what my takes are, and how I feel about what is being said by others.

If you have been following my reactions and deep dives, it is plain to see that I have generally been loving it so far. Yes, there are a lot of changes from the books (I’ll get into momentarily). And some people have pointed out flaws like the pacing being a little too fast (especially the first episode). However, what we have received in the show is a treat for the senses. And the bonus is that it has the potential to act as a gateway for newcomers who may have been put off by the length of the series to crack open the books and give it a chance.

Moiraine is not feeling good.

Back to the changes, they are abundant. Some are minor but many are quite big. Since I began watching, I have held reservations about a lot of them in my mind. As the season has been playing out, I have been starting to ease my feelings towards them. Since the beginning of production, there have been repeated cautions from the show makers that the show would not be a one-for-one adaptation. They have said repeatedly that there has to be changes to reflect the different medium being utilized.

One suggestion has been to look at this adaptation as a different turning of the wheel from the novels. That is a good way to look at it. However, the counter to that is that it feels like a cop-out to justify making such significant changes from the source material. Many fans have wanted to see the pages of the book come to life. And these changes have altered the source material too much. I understand that point-of-view and I hold nothing against those views.

For me, it has been a mixed bag. While I have been a little taken back by some of the changes, others I agree with 100%. Now that I have seen a few episodes, I am beginning to accept those changes as I see where they are going. While I can’t say for certain, there are certain elements that I think they are playing with the idea but have full intention of sticking to the source. For example, the identity of the Dragon Reborn. This is a big element of the first book, but the answer is pretty clear who it will be.

The show is keeping it a little more ambiguous and allowing for speculation and discussion as the season progresses. The format of a TV show practically demands this effort to keep viewers engaged. With a book, since the revelation of who it is becomes revealed at the end, there is no need for speculation. But a serial show wants viewers to ponder the question. To that end, I believe they are keeping the identity the same. I don’t believe the long-term story would work otherwise. The showrunners have even said that they want to keep the heart of the characters intact and that can’t happen if they change their roles.

In the end, we still have four more episodes this season, so I am trying to keep an open mind with how they are going. There are certainly changes that they can make that would truly be criminal. Be they scenes omitted, or arcs changed that completely change the dynamic of the story at large (or even some of the sub plots). Perhaps I’ll do a (book-spoiler filled) blog in the near future that will cover this. For my mind, I feel that there are many changes in the first couple of books that would benefit from alteration, condensing, or even cutting. Book four, however, leave that one alone.

White Cloaks (Children of the Light) looking “fierce”

It is hard to cover the TV series and where it stands with the fandom without touching upon one element. It is a complaint that many viewers are glossing over and rejecting outright. That is the complaint that the series is too “woke.” Why even address it? Well, somebody needs to tackle this head-on instead of just brushing it aside. In a nutshell, the complaint is that some of the changes have been made to cater to certain people. This covers the gamut of including a multi-ethnic cast, same-sex relationships, a flip on the gender dynamics, etc.

Before I go any further, I feel that I need to come clean about my political standings (I believe for the first time on my blog). I am right leaning. I’m not going to delve deep into what that means. However, I will say that I believe that the world is more complex than “one or the other” and is reflected by the major themes of The Wheel of Time. In the case of this show, and the arguments that I hear against it, I hear them. I don’t like when it feels like companies, be they film and TV studios, universities, or businesses, are going through a list and checking off boxes. If there is hate when a Japanese character role is filled by an American actor, I also hate it when the situation is the other way. But enough already.

When the cast was announced, there were shockwaves. Initially, that shockwave was felt by most of the fandom. However, it was because the actors did not reflect the head-canon developed by numerous images, cover art, fan art, etc. The author, Robert Jordan, even had his own dream cast list for many of the major characters. When the dust settled, many found that the casting was good or, at least, they were willing to give them a chance. That said, the case has been laid out many times through character descriptions and the setting itself.

For me, I am fine with it if it makes sense to the setting/world, and it is not forced. I feel as long as it is not feeling like they were checking off a list, let it be. I believe that the setting and worldbuilding justifies diversity in the characters. And that includes sexuality. The world of The Wheel of Time has always felt more like the classical period in that regard where bisexuality and homosexuality were generally accepted or at least not frowned upon. So, I am ok with the nods that have been in the show so far. Even in the books, there were indications, even though it was not explicitly explored.

Finally, the last of the “woke” complaints is in regard to the female dominance of the world. It is true that in the books, there is a large matriarchal feel to the world. Women hold a lot of power throughout the land, even in the book. I feel that the complaint is that men who have some power seem to be getting demoted or stripped of their power altogether. For example, The Two Rivers (Emonds Field specifically) does have the Women’s Circle and they hold great sway over the village (it really is a small town, really). However, there is also a mayor and a village council that is made up of men. The mayor is Egwene’s father (and the innkeeper), Bran al’Vere. In the show, he seems to have been stripped of his mayoral role and reduced as the “lesser partner” of the inn.

Applaud for your Gleeman

Another example is that Raen, of the Tuatha’an (Tinkers) was the primary speaker for the group. It feels like he and Ila were switched as the “leader” of this band of Tinkers. These are both elements causing some people to complain. There are other concerns such as the removal of the saidin/saidar dichotomy. For all these gender-based complaints, I am holding a wait and see. First, one of the core themes of The Wheel of Time centers around gender dynamics. I do believe that they are keeping that intact. We have already seen it with some of the less savory characters and their disdain. But also, I feel that they are slowly feeding us elements of the world building and characters so as not to overwhelm viewers (especially newcomers) too much. They have a lot to cover and only 8 episodes to do it. It is better to space things out and introduce the characters. I a sense, think of season one as the tutorial for the world before things really start to heat up.

My final word on this is that I hear the complaints and I don’t want to shut them down immediately like so many are doing in the fandom. In the end, though, I don’t feel that the show has gone too politically charged in either favor. There will be elements that hit home. That’s the nature of literature and especially fantasy. But I have always felt that The Wheel of Time has far reaching appeals even with different perspectives and ideologies and can have a resonating tone. The greatest appeal is that it does not necessarily say that one is right or wrong but shows the mistakes that both sides make when engaging with one another… particularly communication. As the show goes on, I will be looking for this aspect and hoping that it stays true to this perspective.

Other newcomers may be coming from another show or franchise in fantasy or sci-fi and feel it is beneath their favorite or trying too much to be like their favorite or whatever. It sounds like they are just there to justify their favorite series and find fault in whatever is NOT their favorite. Again, we don’t care about your opinion. To that note, I welcome people who want to honestly give this show a chance. If they still don’t like it, that is totally fine. But you can generally tell who is dismissing it genuinely and who is dismissing it for their own glorification. Myself, I have checked out other shows and properties (The Witcher, Shadow and Bone, etc.) and I am still considering others (Cowboy Beebop) to check out. I do not feel I am betraying my loyalty to the franchise I love if I happen to enjoy the other shows. So, get off your high horse, relax, and enjoy things for what they are, not what you want them to be or what they are not.

With the politically charged accusations dealt with and out of the way (and hopefully put to bed), there is another group of critics that I have seen bashing the series from the get-go. Well, two groups really, one the hard-core fans that are furious that the story is not one-for-one. The other group is the newcomers that turn their nose up at it and insist on putting it down. Maybe they don’t watch or read fantasy and they feel that it is beneath them (as many who hold disdain for the fantasy genre as a whole). To those people I ask, why are you even watching. We don’t want your opinion if the only reason that you are watching is to bash it and make yourselves feel good.

My biggest problem is the critics. I suppose as I am preparing my novella for the world, I should be nice to critics, but I have always had (as a consumer) a mistrust of critic reviews. Especially when it came to the mainstream. I have always been of the mind of enjoying things for what they are and not putting too much stock in the opinions of egomaniacs. And that is what I think of most film and TV critics. Too many times have they bashed things that I loved and hailed things that were absolute garbage in my opinion. This often reflects in critical duds that appeal to the masses and/or develop cult followings. So, take critical reviews for what they are worth, guidelines from the opinion of (often elite egomaniacs) one person.

Back to the fans of the books who are outraged over the changes, well, I addressed a lot of that already. Some of the complaints I agree with to an extent, but I am waiting to see how things unfold throughout the season. I have been watching a few reaction videos and I have been loving watching their reactions. I’ll try to link a few below. But a couple of them have been pretty harsh on the series so far. Some I agree with and others not so much. Knights Watch is one of those that has been going pretty hard. It is from a Youtuber I like to watch for their historical facts when it comes to weapons and such, Shad of Shadiversity. Shad and his fellow watchers (Shad has read the books, his companions have not) have ripped apart many aspects of the show. He has given it some praise and benefit of the doubt. The reaction to the 4th episode has been overwhelmingly praising, however. (He didn’t like Stepin’s axes, though).

Tori Talks TV (YouTube Review of Episodes 1 – 3)

There has been some fairly harsh criticism of the show. As I have said, some of it is (at least somewhat) justified. There is certainly room for improvement. After my initial take, I have begun to see some of the pacing issues that others have been complaining about. Some of the effects have come through a little wonky. Others have looked great. And some dialogue has some holes or come off a little cheesy. But for the most part I do like the dialogue and feel that it is mostly filling its purpose. If anything, my biggest complaint so far is that it doesn’t have much in the way of “WoT swears.”

This Fade isn’t Happy

CONCLUSION

The show has a long way to go and is facing some growing pains right now. Troubles are to be expected as it finds its footing and establishes this world and its complexity. Having made it through the first half of the first season, I feel it has a lot of promise and, while taking different approaches to the story, can get through to the story points that we area all waiting for. I am happy with the overall direction and while I question some of the decisions, I am waiting to see how they turn out before giving a final verdict.

That said, for those who are upset, give it some time. Let’s see how they take the show and if they can get it on course. As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of scenes and events that I want to see from the books and as long as they have those scenes, I will be happy. Until then, I will ride this wave and enjoy it while it lasts. I will likely revisit this when the season is over and give my overall impression. The only thing that I have left to say to the showrunners is, for light’s sake, can we get some bloody “blood and ashes” thrown in? Maybe a “woolhead” and a “mother’s milk in a cup” too?

Links

THE WHEEL OF TIME TIDBITS – WOT casting by Robert Jordan (tumblr.com)

Wheel of Time Casting Controversy RESOLVED! – YouTube

KNIGHTS WATCH – YouTube

Shadiversity – YouTube

Reactions

Tori Talks TV – The Wheel of Time Episodes 1-3 Review (Haven’t Read the Books) – YouTube

pReviewed (with Jay and Adam) – The Wheel of Time – Season. 1 Eps 1 Reaction – YouTube

Matthew V. Haynes – WHAT!? – The Wheel Of Time Ep 1 “Leavetaking” REACTION!! – YouTube

Father Roderick – My reaction to The Wheel of Time episode one! – YouTube

Knights Watch – The WHEEL OF TIME episode 4 FULL REVIEW and discussion – YouTube

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 4 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

When I first finished watching this episode, I was in tears. Not a heavy downpour. Just a raw, emotional high had over swept me. It was a rollercoaster the whole way through. There were some moments of touching character development and moments of intensity. Through it all, I enjoyed just about any minute of it. In fact, I can’t think of anything off-hand that I didn’t like. My deep dive into the episode follow.

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

Plot

Every episode so far has had a cold open and this one is no different. We start out with a flashback to the kingdom of Ghealdan. The castle is under siege and soldiers are frantically running everywhere. The king is in retreat as a figure follows. Battered and wounded, the king becomes cornered as the figure approaches. The man is Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte). He is the self-proclaimed Dragon Reborn. They converse and Logain convinces the king that he is not there to conquer. Despite voices telling him to kill the king, he instead heals him and gains him as a follower.

Perrin / Egwene

Following the opening credits, we cut back to the present. Again, we split between several different plot lines. The first plot line is Perrin and Nynaeve and their time with the Tuatha’an (the Tinkers). The two are welcomed by the group, in particular Aram. As the wagons roll out, the pair follows along. They are told of the beliefs of the Tuatha’an, a pacifist belief called The Way of the Leaf. When they stop for a rest, the group partakes in merriment and dancing. Egwene is swept in as Aram gets close to her. Perrin, on the other hand, pulls in on himself and has a discussion with Ila.

What I enjoyed about this scene is how Perrin’s internal conflict resonates within himself. When he wonders why they don’t defend themselves, Ila turns it on him, asking how he has felt since he held the axe. This leaves Perrin internalizing. The scene and his later discussion with Ila about the Way of the Leaf, her story as to why she follows it, was quite powerful.

Rand / Mat / Thom

The next plotline follows Mat, Thom, and Rand as they race across the countryside. They have procured horses, apparently through horse theft on the part of the gleeman. They come to a farm and intend to sneak into the barn and sleep for the night. However, they are waylaid by the farmer and his family. They manage to convince the farmer that they mean no harm and agree to work for a little rest.

Mat (Barney Harris) sees ‘something’ while Rand (Josha Stradowski) and Thom (Alexandre Willaume) look on.

As they work, Mat seems to be getting a little sick. He steps away and spits up a blackness that soon disappears. He is startled by a little girl. She gives him bread and they have a conversation about his sisters. She gives him a doll, Birgette to take to them. Meanwhile Thom tells Rand the story of his nephew. The boy was able to channel and was eventually gentled by the Aes Sedai, followed later by suicide. Thom is concerned that Mat may be able to channel as well and that is the reason for his behavior.

Later, Rand has a dream where he sees Perrin beating on a forge. However, there is a body on that forge. Mat walks by in a trance with bloody hands and Egwene is taken captive by the mysterious fire-eyed man. When he wakes, Mat is missing. He and Thom go to the farmhouse and find the family slaughtered. Mat is standing in a trance with his dagger out toward a corner. They soon realize that there is a Fade there and it attacks. Thom holds it off while the boys make their escape.

This was a great plot line. Mat’s connection with the girl was touching, but painful given her fate. It was interesting to hear the story of Thom’s nephew as well. I have heard complaints about the blackness that comes out of Mat’s mouth. I think it is obvious that this a subtle hint for those who are not familiar with the books the source of Mat’s sickness. It is a visual representation.

Moiraine / Lan / Nynaeve

This plotline kicks off with the three now in the Aes Sedai camp as they guard the captured Logain. Moiraine is being healed by Kerene Sedai (Clare Perkins) while Lan is practicing with her Warder, Stepin (Peter Franzén). Nynaeve is overlooking the camp when she is approached by Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood). They exchange some words until Lan approaches and Liandrin leaves. Later, Nynaeve joins Lan at the fire with the other Warders and we get some good banter and some exposition.

Moiraine joins her sisters with Logain and they discuss the how strong he is. You can sense some mistrust between the sisters. Moiriane and Alanna (Priyanka Bose) reminisce about their time as novices while they shield Logain together. These scenes give us some exposition and insight into the sisterhood of the Aes Sedai.

Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) confronts Logain (Alvero Morte).

After Lan later leaves Nynaeve by the fire, he returns to Moiraine, and they discuss the Dragon. Moiraine obviously does not believe that Logain is the Dragon. The next day, Lan and Nynaeve share a touching scene together where they appear to connect. However, it is cut short by a disturbance in the camp.

Karene and Liandrin are in with Logain and the former mentions that her wards are alerting her that Logain’s followers are attacking the camp. Outside, the Warders and other Aes Sedai are gathered for defense. As the battle begins, Alanna stops some incoming arrows and uses them against the attackers. They make a strategic retreat to the cave. Inside the cave, Logain overpowers the shield held against him, throwing both his Aes Sedai guards across the room.

Moriane walks in and confronts him. She tells him that the voices he hears are madness. Karene strikes him with the power and the three sisters quickly place another shield on him. As they do, he strikes out. Karene sacrifices herself to protect Moiraine and Liandrin and pays with her life. Her Warder is struck by the loss. He goes into a rage on the battlefield, quickly dispatching anybody in his way, and rushes to the cave. As others begin piling into the cave, Stepin arrives and sees the body of his bonded Aes Sedai. He launches himself into a strike against Logain. This disrupts the shield and Logain shatters his axes, sending shards across the room.

Many are taken down, including Liandrin, Moiraine, and Lan. Nynaeve, sees this and rushes to Lan’s side. She screams as a blazing light surrounds her and weaves strike out to all who are injured, instantly healing their wounds. This sets Logain back and he is left vulnerable enough for the Aes Sedai to link and gentle him on the spot. The episode ends with a look at Nynaeve, haggard from the exertion, but with a fierce look on her face.

This was what I came for! I have been uncertain about many changes made for the adaptation. This scene was one as well. However, most of my doubts about the show have all but washed away with this scene. It was an epic moment to be sure. I am now invested in this series full hearted.

Characters

The character development for many of the characters comes through well in this episode. In episode 3, Mat referenced his background in horse trading. This episode has him demonstrating it when he is trying to calm the horse he is riding. Later, he even mentions that the mare he is riding is afraid of her own shadow. They were small demonstrations, but great nods to his knowledge of horses.

He also has a great moment with the little girl. It is a great moment, reminding of his love for his sisters. And I loved the call-out to the fans with the name of the doll, Birgette. It makes what happens on the farm later in the episode even more painful. And I was sorry to see that he dropped the doll while making his escape.

While Rand doesn’t get much in the way of development, it is good to see that he begins to relax when it comes to Thom. The conversation they have seems to go a long way toward that. Egwene doesn’t get much development either. The Tuatha’an plotline seems to focus mostly on Perrin and his struggle. While it played out differently in the books, his struggle with violence is a key part of his character. I feel I am beginning to accept the change they made with giving him a wife in the first episode. I do question whether Egwene knows that it was Perrin that delivered the fatal blow. They way she responded when Ila asked him whether he ever picked up an axe seemed to indicate that she knew.

It is great seeing Moiraine with her fellow Aes Sedai in this episode. She is still as guarded as ever, and even her sisters point it out. But there is an air of familiarity that helps to open her up to the viewer a little. The real shining character development comes from Nynaeve. It is shown that she can read people through her interaction with Liandrin. The best part was the moment when Liandrin leaves, she immediately tells Lan that the woman is a snake.

Lan (Daniel Henney) protecting Nynaeve (Zoe Robins)

Her character is further revealed at the campfire with the Warders. She seems to boast about tracking Lan to the other Warders’ delight (I still want to know how, especially given the changes to her background). It was also good to see her growing admiration and respect of Lan. She is clearly easing on him as she gets to know him and letting her guard down. He is clearly doing the same with her. Their conversation about the ritual and the words that her parents told her before they hid her away really showed how they were connecting.

Of course, her character really shined during the climax of the episode. I was beginning to expect that Nynaeve would do something to help at the end, but I was in no way prepared for the events that unfolded. When Moiraine went down, I just thought, “Great! She just got healed.” When I saw Lan go down with a mortal wound to his neck, I was in shock.

Special Effects / Action

The effects and action were good this episode. I don’t have too many complaints from what I saw. One complaint that I have heard was the blackness leaking from Mat’s mouth. I understood this to be a way of visually cluing the viewer in on the source of his “sickness.”

Alanna (Priyanka Bose) and her Warder prepare to defend.

I loved watching the Aes Sedai working in tandem during the Dragonsworn battle. An example is a Warder turning to hold up his shield to block incoming arrows while his Aes Sedai stood behind and prepared her weave. Even Nynaeve got in on the early action as a man tried to overtake her. She immediately fought him off with barely a blink.

Of course, the highlight was during the last few minutes. The struggle with Logain and Nynaeve’s subsequent mass healing were sights to behold. Especially the latter, that was the scene that left me in tears of awe.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

As I said, this episode left me in tears. Not tears of sadness. But tears that spawned from the raw emotion that overwhelmed me as the final events unfolded. As the series goes on, there are still things that could be done (scenes omitted, changes to egregious) that could pull me away from the show. But I am now hooked and anxious to see where they take things from here.

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)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (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. 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)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 8 The Eye of the World – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free)

My general thoughts and reaction to Episode 4 of The Wheel of Time tv series on Amazon Prime

The Wheel of Time series has arrived on Amazon Prime. These are my general (spoiler-free) reactions to the latest episode:

EPISODE 4: THE DRAGON REBORN

I am in tears! What an impact this episode had.

This episode, like the last one, was divided into three paths, each following a different set of characters. While I didn’t dislike any of the plot points specifically, two of them stood out to me. The Egwene / Perrin plot was the least exciting, though it did have some great character moments and exposition. I didn’t hate it, but the other plot paths far outshined them.

The second plot point was Mat, Rand, and Thom as they continue their journey. I was beginning to think this was going to be the highlight of the episode until it concluded with still a lot of time left. The third plot, following Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve really stood out. Great character moments laid the groundwork for future events and it concluded with a moment of epic-ness I was not expecting.

BONUS: SAIDIN, SAIDAR, STONE

The bonus video released alongside episode 4 was an interesting “lecture” on the nature of The One Power. It is the first time that it is mentioned that the One Power is split into two halves, Saidin (the male half) and Saidar (the female half). Worth checking out if you want to learn more about the lore of The Wheel of Time.

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is my favorite episode so far. I really enjoyed the character moments and exposition. Each episode seems to be bringing just a little bit more to the table in a way to ease newcomers to The Wheel while still driving the plot forward.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – 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)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (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)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 8 The Eye of the World – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety

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.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

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!

EPISODE DISECTION

Plot

Egwene and Perrin encounter some Tinkers

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.

Characters

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 FEELING

Summary

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).

Conclusion

LINKS

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)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 8 (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. 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)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 7 The Dark Along the Ways – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 8 The Eye of the World – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)