Synopsis: The Wheel of Time picks the story up several months from where it left off. The group has been split up. Rand has faked his death so he can learn to control his powers. Moiraine has been cut off from the source of her power and is pushing her warder Lan away. Nynaeve and Egwene are studying at the White Tower to become Aes Sedai, Mat is being held prisoner by Liandrin. While Perrin and Loial are on a quest to find Horn of Valere.
The series begins with A Taste of Solitude and milks it to the max as we see Nynaeve and Egwene struggle with their studies to become Aea Sedai. Where Egwene struggles to channel her powers. Nynaeve struggles with the expectation that has been put on her since we learned that she is the most powerful channeler for many generations. Yet for some reason she is only able to weave her power whenever put under a great deal of stress. This is not a good thing because it has gotten the interest of Liandrin Guirale who has her own agenda. So both these young women are isolated for different reasons and one’s jealousy over the other could well drive them apart. When they receive a letter from Perrin it only serves to make the two women feel more isolated.
Also at the White Towers Mat is being held prisoner by Liandrin who is keeping him captive to prevent him from using the dagger that possessed him during the first season. But there is also another reason for it, which has not yet been revealed.
Meanwhile, Moiraine is isolating herself from her Warder Lan and seems to have been pushing him away since she was cut off from her power in 2020s season finale. When she gets attacked by some Fades Lan comes to her aid, but even he is not able to beat them as it takes the efforts of Verin, Adeleas, and Tomas with the One Power to save them. By the close of the episode, Moiraine decides to go off on her own and rejects Lan’s help.
Perrin who is still having problems with his inner demons and his newfound affinity with wolves is seeking the Horn of Valere with Ogier Loial. However, their search eventually leads them to be captured by the Seanchan and the terrifying Lady Suroth and Ishamael in the third episode titled What Might Be. Thankfully Perrin is able to make his escape with a little help, but is unable to take Loial with him.
Meanwhile a good part of episodes two and three ‘Strangers and Friends’ and ‘What Might Be’ focus on Rand and his journey to try and find a way to control his powers. Since finding out that he is the Dragon he is fearful that he will go mad like all men do when they have the magical ability to weave elemental power. This sees Rand trying to stay below the radar so as not to draw attention to himself. He has even sought help from Logain Ablar who is being looked after. Ablar is evidently still a bit unhinged and offers Rand little in the way of hope.
Things get bad for Rand later in the story when a sexy dream he has about Selene whom he’s been staying with sets fire to the house where he is staying.
Back at the White Towers Liandrin has encouraged Nynaeve to say she is ready to become Aea Sedai and take the initiation in which she must pass through a magical arch three times and face her worst fears. Nynaeve passes through successfully twice, but the third time she finds herself living a life of what might have been, which means she does not return from her third pass-through, which has Liandrin and the other Aea Sedai assuming that Nynaeve has died. However, later in the episode a grief-stricken Egwene and her new friend Elayne sleep near the arch over for Nynaeve to return looking extremely traumatized from events that she has just lived in a matter of hours.
The performances throughout these episodes are solid. Rosamund Pike continues to be calm and authoritative as Moiraine who has a quiet determination to defeat the dark ones with or without her powers. Zoë Robins continues to be brilliant in her role of Nynaeve al’Meara and has some fantastic scenes with Kate Fleetwood’s manipulative and bitchy Liandrin Guirale who is definitely among the stronger characters in this series.
To be fair. All the actors do well in their respective roles and this is despite the series getting off to a slow start.
The opening episode of the season is a bit of a struggle and is in danger of being as depressing as your average episode of Eastenders at times with some real reach for the shotgun moments. Not that I encourage suicide. I mean it’s easier to just switch the channel right? Thankfully episodes two and three pick things up a little bit and stuff actually happens. Nynaeve’s journey into the arches is one of intrigue and the full-on introduction of the Seanchan and the terrifying Lady Suroth is another.
Overall, there is just enough here to keep me watching. And yes. I know it deviates greatly from the books. I’m watching as someone who has not read the books. So I am not hindered from enjoying or disliking elements of the show by comparing it to the books. Much like with Foundation. This is series is trying to tell an epic story with a massive world and lots of characters. So much of the challenge is keeping up with everything as there are a lot of plot threads and character journeys to follow.
- CGI & Stunts9.7
- Incidental Music10