RECAP: THE WHEEL OF TIME S1E3 — Never split the party

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With a name like “A Place of Safety”, you’d think that our heroes might find safe haven, but things do not go smoothly for all of them. Written by The Clarkson Twins and directed by Wayne Yip, episode 3 of The Wheel of Time manages to finally hit its stride as our heroes face foes without the safety net of their previous companions.

Led by Wolves

So let’s start off with Egwene and Perrin, who have been running themselves ragged with the sound of wolves on their heels. They stop for the night and Perrin desperately tries to start a fire. Egwene, trying to harness the One Power, is able to aid him in the process though is still unsure of her abilities.

Considering where to go next, Perrin notes that Rand will likely go to the Tar Valon since he knows that Egwene will be there, so they both decide to go to the Tar Valon. I like this little moment and all moments that hint at the closeness of the Emond’s Field gang. I like that Perrin knows Rand well enough to make the right choice on where to go.

In his dreams, Perrin is haunted by wolves again. The man with the eyes like embers lurks in the shadows of his dreams while he sees a wolf eating the intestines of his wife Laila. Dreams play a pretty large role in The Wheel of Time books, so it’s important to keep note of when our characters enter into their dreams.

Wheel of Time
Credit: Prime Video

Being waken up by Egwene, the two are on the run again as the howl of wolves gets closer, but as they reach a path they come across the sign of wagon wheels. Egwene wonders if the wolves guided them to these tracks, rather than chased them. Hmm… it’s almost like in the last episode, one of you had a strange and friendly encounter with a wolf?

It’s interesting because the show seems to be hinting at a potential connection between Perrin and Egwene. I wonder if the show will pivot and pair the two of them up, which would be interesting but quite a stark diversion from their book versions. I don’t hate it where it is now, but it does imply some larger changes in later seasons.

The tracks lead them to a group of Tinkers, a group that is not so subtly inspired by nomadic Romani people. Tinkers might have a poor public perception, but they are staunch pacifists. Egwene and Perrin meet Illa (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Raen (Narinder Samra), and Aram (Daryl McCormack), who take the two in and give them shelter and food.

Wheel of Time
Credit: Prime Video

Toss A Coin To Your Gleeman

Meanwhile on a separate road is Mat and Rand. Mat is eager to turn back for home, but Rand, as predicted by Perrin, wants to head to the Tar Valon because he assumes Egwene will go there.

The two trek and come across a small mining town called Breen’s Spring. Walking up to the town, they are greeted by a hanging cage with a dead man inside, who has been struck by multiple arrows. It’s hardly the most welcoming sight, but Mat spots a trinket on the man that catches his eye.

Entering into the tavern, Mat and Rand meet Dana (Izuka Hoyle), the barmaid, and watch a performance by the gleeman Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume). Honestly, this introduction of Thom is far better than his introduction in the books, which I always found to be rather uneventful. A gleeman, as you can tell by the title, is essentially a performer, a bard of sorts. He can juggle and act and sing, but Thom’s introduction is far from the bards that we might be familiar with.

He’s gruff and cool, and his performance of the song about the last Dragon, the one who broke the world, is so melancholy it actually made me misty-eyed. Unfortunately, one big mistake in characterization is when Thom picks the pocket of the pickpocket who steals from Mat but instead of giving Mat back his much-needed coin purse, he decides to keep it. Why? These boys are clearly running on fumes. It doesn’t make sense given the direction they’re going with the character.

Wheel of Time
Credit: Prime Video

But, now without Mat’s share of the money, the two don’t have enough to stay for the night. Dana gives the two the job of chopping wood to pay, but Mat decides to saunter off. Mat, in general, has been acting kind of rude and mean to Rand. I wonder why? (I mean, I know, but for the sake of non-book readers, I wonder.) Instead, he heads inside and Dana gives him the job of serving drinks, which admittedly seems much more his speed.

As the day passed into night, Mat finishes his shift and wanders out to the edge of town, back to the man in the cage. There, he is confronted by Thom, who is here to bury the man. He points out that the man is an Aiel, judging by his coppery red hair, and is an honor-bound fighter. Thom heard the men in town boasting about killing an Aiel, but he knew that the man died due to the prejudice of the townspeople.

When Thom asks Mat what is he doing there, Mat admits that he is there to steal from the man. And Thom, who understands that sometimes people do things they’re not proud of in moments of desperation, nods and lets Mat proceed but makes him help in burying the man. It’s a somber scene, but a good one that adds to both our sympathies for the desperate Mat who apologizes to the dead man and also the depth of his character, as a person who is willing to do dishonorable things for an honorable cause.

Wheel of Time
Credit: Prime Video

Back at the tavern, Rand shares a drink with Dana after she takes him to a room where he can rest for the night. But, what starts as a nice conversation soon turns sour as the charismatic Dana reveals her true colors. She locks Rand into the room and attacks him. Rand manages to escape the room, even though Dana stated that the door was made of ironwood and three men couldn’t break it down.

She chases Rand and Mat, who returns to the chaos. Cornering them, she says that she sees them in her dreams, referring to the rest of the Emond’s Field gang and that she knows about the prophecy of the Dragon Reborn. She says the Dark One wants to break the wheel and end the suffering that the wheel perpetuates.

Dana is a compelling character, you can totally see why she would become a Darkfriend, someone sworn body, and soul to the Dark One. She has been trapped in this small, grim town her entire life. She dreams of a life that she will never be able to have, one that sees her traveling the world and exploring new places. Her life has been a disappointment, and the Dark One seductive offer was a branch for a drowning woman.

But she also threatens our heroes, and Thom arrives at the nick of time to kill her and order the boys to run from the town, especially now that a Fade is on the way.

You Actually Tried To Kill Me

Now, flashback to the night of the trolloc attack on Emond’s Field. We spot Nynaeve being dragged away by a trolloc by the braid, but she manages not only to escape but kill the trolloc that grabbed her in the sacred pool we saw her cleaning in the first episode.

Since then, she’s been tracking the group to get the kids back and has finally caught up with them. Except, now it’s just Lan and an unconscious Moiraine. I love this scene between Lan and Nynaeve, where he is about to disarm her, assuming she wouldn’t dare kill him only for her to lunge with her sword drawn. Hell yeah, Nynaeve!

Lan
Credit: Prime Video

Lan knocks her out though and ties her to a tree since she clearly can’t be trusted not to bare her teeth. But, as Moiraine continues to fade from the trolloc poison, we watch as Lan gets more desperate. It doesn’t help that he can likely feel her pain, and the brief moment that Moiraine was conscious ended with her laying the blame on him for dooming them in Shadar Logoth.

Without anywhere else to turn, he frees Nynaeve, knowing she is a Wisdom and can help with the wound. Again, I enjoy the banter between these two characters. Lan, being protective of Moiraine and curious at Nynaeve’s skill, and Nynaeve, clearly with a bit of a chip on her shoulder and prideful, but also concerned and willing to help.

But, despite Nynaeve’s best efforts, they need an Aes Sedai, and Lan goes off searching. They find one and take a weak Moiraine on horseback to meet a group of Red Aes Sedai, the same ones we saw early in the first episode. Liandrin greets Moiraine and proudly proclaims that they have captured the man calling himself the Dragon. Behind her is a man in a caged wagon, his name is Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte). And hell yeah that is The Professor from Money Heist!

Logain
Credit: Prime Video

Will Perrin and Egwene make it to Tar Valon with the Tinkers safely? Can Mat and Rand outrun a Fade chasing them? What will happen with Logain? Find out next week on The Wheel of Time!

The Wheel of Time streams Fridays exclusively on Prime Video.

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