My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 2 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.
This episode, entitled “Shadow’s Waiting”-,” was where the story really begins picking up. In my initial reaction blog, I had called it a transition episode. I stand by that as it takes us from the original introductions to the characters and story of the first episode and begins moving the story to a new mile marker (which could be considered the latter half of episode 3 considering where they go and what happens after). Throughout, there are plenty of opportunities where the characters can pause for development and further understanding. This is good as it helps us the viewer get their bearings regarding the plot and figuring out who’s who. There are a couple of great moments in this episode that I just loved. I will get into those further below.
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!
This episode started out with a bang with the introduction of The Children of the Light (often referred to as White Cloaks). You see the Questioner, Eamon Valda (Abdul Salis). This was a scene that I was waiting for sense getting a glimpse of it in the trailer. In the books, I mostly saw the White Cloaks as an annoyance and not much of a menace. With this scene, they set the group up, especially the questioners, as a real threat.
The White Cloak cold open was followed by the opening credits which I love. I enjoyed the way that it showed the “Pattern of the Ages” being brought together and showcasing the lore through the elegant tapestries. I believe this opening beats even The Game of Thrones opening with its elegance and beauty.
Then we cut to Moiraine, Lan, and the villagers galloping across the landscape. They are in a mad rush and successfully leading the menace away from the village. A moment of respite follows as they board the ferry crossing just in time to escape the horde of trollocs on their tails. As a scene (largely) from the books, I enjoyed the nuances. Of course, there were many differences, but none too jarring. Eventually, after the loss of the ferryman, they reach a clearing where they get to finally take a break for a bit before continuing their journey.
During their rest, Moiraine pulls Egwene aside and explains to her that she can use the one power. While Egwene was upset over the incident at the river crossing, Moiraine gives her a lesson on the practicality of the world. She starts off by reciting the three oaths of the Aes Sedai which I loved hearing in full instead of the abridged version we got in the
From there, we return to a couple scenes with Egwene and Rand then Egwene and Perrin (who is brooding by the fire and nursing an injury on his leg). Then we get the dream sequence where Rand pulls a bat out of his mouth and sees a dark figure. The dreams were prominent in the books (and in my opinion, sometimes annoying as they would break the beat of the story). I liked how it was implemented here. Rand then challenges Moiraine here and there are some character moments that I will get back to in a bit. It was also here where we get the line that we first heard from the table read well over 2 years ago at the beginning of the show’s production.
On the move again, the party encounters a legion of White Cloaks. Again, Sails shines as Valda. He brings a flare of villainy to the character that will make him among the most hated villains in the series, I am sure. After parting from the White Cloaks, they head into one of the highlight scenes of the episode.
The song of Manetheren was beautiful. And it was clear that the group had sung it before. They had pretty good harmony together. In any case, this leads to Moiraine giving her epic speech about the last stand of Manetheren. While moved from when it was recited in the books, it is great to hear the speech in all its glory here. It is also moving and gives an insight into the core of our villager gang and the stock they come from.
Following the tale, they come to another resting stop. Egwene and Rand confront each other about their feelings and Perrin has a meeting with a pack of wolves. This was an exciting moment as fans of the book are almost positive who the wolf that licks his wound is. During their rest, they are interrupted when they realize that the trollocs and fade have caught up with them. With Moiraine weakened by the wound she suffered in the first episode, they soon rush into the abandoned city of Shadar Logoth.
They seek refuge and Lan gives the group a rundown of the history of the city. They rest again and Mat and Perrin have a touching moment. However, he soon does what the warder warned him not to do and he touches something, a knife he found amidst some rubble in the city. It is unclear whether this act triggers the evil or if it was just happenstance, but this sets off the mad rush to escape the city, splitting up in the progress.
The episode concludes with a moment of epic-ness where a trollocs blade is held to Lan’s throat as he tends to Moiraine. He turns to find that the holder of that blade is Nynaeve.
A number of character moments occur in this episode now that the show is able to move pass the introductions of the pilot. We see Rand and Egwene’s relationship starting to fracture following their ‘breakup’ in the first episode. It is clear that bitterness is setting in for Rand. While some decry this as melodrama, I feel that it is not far off from what would happen. The characters are overwhelmed by many emotions having lost friends and loved ones and leaving their homes. I am not saying that Rand is in the right for how he behaves, but that I could see this happening in a real-life situation (so to speak). They do seem to resolve the tension a bit later before the group splits.
Perrin is undergoing some grief, understandably so. And he reveals that he has a wound that he has been hiding from the group. Why he is hiding it is not sure. Is he scared to have Moiraine heal it? At this point, it is not revealed. Though it sets up his encounter with the wolf later on in the episode.
Mat starts coming into his own in this episode. The first episode introduced him as a scoundrel with a heart. Here we have him trying to be the levity of the group. I mentioned before his line from the table read. I also noticed when the White Cloaks order the group off their horses, he remains on his while the rest begin dismounting. Even though the next cut shows him already dismounted, it just shows his independence and defiant spirit. I also enjoyed his quip about Lan when they were in Shadar Logoth. Of course, this is also where he makes a fateful mistake that will change him for the rest of the series.
While she was only in the episode for a few seconds, Nynaeve shines here a bit as she gets the drop on Lan in the closing scene. It was the perfect closing point and sets up something that many book fans have been waiting to see.
Special Effects / Action
While we get some better look at trollocs throughout this episode – and I say they look good – I do hope that the only battles with them will all be at night. It seems that is the case whenever we see them in the series. I enjoyed the effects of the whirlpool on the river when Moiraine destroys the ferry. Perhaps the highlight effect of the episode was in the opening shots when we see the Aes Sedai being burned through the reflection on the goblet.
Other than that, most of the effects seemed well. I have heard some complain that mashidar (the mindless entity that attacks them in Shadar Logoth) was an inky blackness and not a mist as seen in the books, but I was ok with how it was portrayed. That leads me to the only real action in the episode, the escape from Shadar Logoth.
Overall, this was an excellent episode. After the 1st episode (of which I have watched a couple more times since posting my in-depth analysis the other day and I suppose I can see the complaints over the pacing of the first episode) this one is where the series begins to find its footing. There are great character moments as the story begins its transition from the introduction to the heart. Speaking of introductions, bringing in the White Cloaks at this point is a highlight. While in the books, their introduction makes them out to be more of a joke, this introduction provides them as a larger threat.