Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Spoiler Review: The Wheel of Time
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Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Spoiler Review: The Wheel of Time Continues To Build The Epic Fantasy World

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BY December 12, 2021

The Wheel of Time continues to raise the stakes in episodes 2 & 3 of Amazon’s epic fantasy adaptation. At the end of the premiere episode, we saw our young heroes leave their home of the Two Rivers with an Aes Sedai named Moiraine and Lan – her Warder. The next two episodes dropped at the same time as the premiere, and pair together nicely. So, let’s explore what happens in episode 2 –  “Shadow’s Waiting” and episode 3 – “A Place of Safety.”

Children of Light: The Shadow Rising

Wheel of Time Whitecloaks Episodes 2 & 3 Image via Amazon Prime

Episode 2 begins by introducing us to one of the other major groups in the world. We meet Eamon Valda, one of the Children of Light – also called the Whitecloaks. In a chilling moment, we see Valda eat an ortolan while calmly talking to an Aes Sedai he has tied to a stake. He has cut off her hands to prevent her from channeling. And he collects her Aes Sedai ring to add to his macabre collection. I have to say that I hate witch burnings in media, but the final shot of her burning reflected in Valda’s goblet is horrifyingly beautiful.

When we see our heroes again, the group is riding away from Trollocs. They arrive at Taren Ferry where Moiraine convinces the Ferryman to take them across. When the Trollocs do show up, they stop short at the river and we learn that they cannot cross deep water. An eerie moment occurs when a rider emerges from the group of Shadowspawn and faces down the group. This is a Myrddraal – referred to in the show as one of the “Eyeless” or a “Fade.”

The Power Of The Aes Sedai

Wheel of Time Moiraine Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

The Ferryman is insistent that he return to his home to help his family, but Moiraine cannot allow him to give the Shadowspawn a way to cross the river.  She uses the One Power to sink the ferry, and the foolish man goes down with his craft. The young people from the Two Rivers watch in horror as he drowns, and their distrust of the Aes Sedai grows.

This episode is a bit slower paced than the premiere, but it establishes a lot of important world-building as it goes along. We learn that Egwene has the ability to channel, as Moiraine teaches her how to touch the One Power. The four young people share a creepy dream that involves bats and a man with “eyes like embers.” Upon awakening, they all find dead bats strewn about the forest, and Moiraine warns them of the power of dreams. Eventually they encounter the very same group of Whitecloaks we saw at the beginning of the episode, and Valda tries to intimidate Moiraine into revealing herself as an Aes Sedai.

This scene is extremely effective at showing the ways that the Aes Sedai can work around the three oaths they must swear when becoming full sisters of the White Tower. They cannot lie directly, they cannot kill with the One Power, and they cannot use the One Power as a weapon except as a last resort (or against Shadowspawn). If you pay close attention to everything that Moraine says in this scene, not one word is a lie. As Moiraine explains to Egwene, people often hear the truth that they want to hear. Verbiage is important, and if Egwene is to become an Aes Sedai she must learn to hone her mind and hear the truth in between the words that people speak.

The History of Manetheren

Wheel of Time Ensemble Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

The real showpiece of this episode comes with the empty city that they travel to – Shadar Logoth. The episode builds up to this location in a reasonably straightforward scene that has a lot of implications. As they travel Mat, Egwene, Perrin, and Rand suddenly break out into song.  This battle hymn tells the story of the ancient kingdom of Manetheren – the place where the Two Rivers now stands. I loved this song and the moment when Moiraine and Lan identify the story it is telling.

Moiraine tells the group the true story of Manetheren – how they held out against a horde of Shadowspawn for 13 days. No help ever arrived. The last Queen of Manetheren used the One Power to channel a massive burst of energy that eventually destroyed the Trolloc army. She died in the process, burning herself out by drawing too much of the One Power.

Shadar Logoth: Into The Cursed City

Wheel of Time Photos Shadar Logoth Episodes 2 & 3 Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

One of the groups that should have shown up to help Manetheren were the people of Shadar Logoth. But instead they built a huge wall around their city and let the world burn. For their betrayal, they were cursed and all of the people of the city mysteriously disappeared. As the group races to escape the Fade that has found them, Moiraine is too weak to channel due to the Trolloc poison still afflicting her. Lan makes the (questionable) decision to escape to Shadar Logoth –  a place where not even Trollocs dare to tread.

It is in Shadar Logoth that we see a turning point for the character of Mat. He has already been established as a gambler and a rogue. And he is unable to resist picking up shiny things. Mat awakens in the night, called by an unseen force to a dagger that is waiting for him. As he picks it up, a shadow spreads across the city. It turns a horse to dust, and chases our heroes. They are forced to separate, with Mat and Rand escaping through a sewer grate while Egwene and Perrin leap from the walls into the river. Meanwhile, Lan rushes an unconscious Moiraine to safety only to find a dagger at his throat.

The Return of Nynaeve in Episodes 2 & 3 of The Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time Nynaeve Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

Who wields the dagger? Why it is none other than our lost Wisdom – Nynaeve al’Meara as the third episode reveals. That episode – “A Place of Safety” – opens with a flashback showing how Nynaeve escaped the Trolloc that abducted her and eventually killed it. She tracked Lan to Shadar Logoth, in an attempt to find her friends.

The scenes between Lan and Nynaeve in this episode are among the best the series has to offer. Theirs is an important relationship that largely  occurs off-page in the books, and bringing these moments to life on-screen is one of the best changes the show has made. You can see Nynaeve’s internal struggle as she finally consents to helping Moiraine. And it is clear that Lan is intrigued by this young woman.

The Heroes Separated in Episodes 2 & 3 of The Wheel of Time

Wheel of Time Tinkers Episodes 2 & 3 Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

Meanwhile our young heroes have been separated and must continue their respective journeys to Tar Valon. Perrin and Egwene find themselves chased across an open plain by a pack of wolves. This eventually leads them to some tracks from a caravan that they follow. Here is where we see Perrin start to become protective of Egwene. His guilt over killing his wife in the premiere episode is already affecting his character. But the two of them journey onward to find a group of Tinkers – a traveling people who follow the pacifistic Way of the Leaf. For now, this is their place of safety.

Thom Merrilin: The Man Who Can’t Forget

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Thom Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

Rand and Mat continue through the mountains to a small mining town. Here they take shelter at the inn, working for their meals and a place to sleep. They also encounter a gleeman named Thom Merrilin, who promptly steals Mat’s coin purse. I have to say that I’m not wildly impressed with the singing voice of the actor they got to play Thom. However, the song he sings about the Dragon – “The Man Who Can’t Forget” is extremely compelling, and important to the lore of the world.

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3: A Dead Aielman

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Image via Amazon Prime

Mat ventures out into the darkness to where a corpse hangs in a cage. There is a jewel dangling from the corpse’s belt, and Mat wants to claim it. However, he is interrupted by Thom who questions his intentions. We learn that the dead man was an Aiel – a member of a tribal group that lives in the desert called The Waste. You can typically identify an Aiel by their distinctive red hair and height. They are still feared and reviled after a bloody war that happened in recent history. The Aielman was killed because of that prejudice, as Thom reveals that you only need to fear an Aiel when they are veiled. This one had his face exposed, and was no threat to the town.

In a rare moment of honesty, Mat reveals he needs money to get home and Thom lets him search the body. Along with the jewel, he finds a small carving of a stone dog. This is an important object, representative of the clan this Aielman belonged to. The fact that Mat has it may be important in the future.

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3: A Darkfriend Threatens Rand

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Image via Amazon Prime

Meanwhile, Rand is getting to know the innkeeper Dana. He reveals to her that he never put much stock in the concept of the Wheel of Time until now. Dana tries to make a move on Rand, who pulls back. And in a sudden twist, we learn that Dana is a Darkfriend. These are normal people who have been seduced by the Dark One, and have sworn themselves to him. Dana reveals that she has already called for one of the Eyeless, and only needs to keep Rand imprisoned until the Shadowspawn  arrive. She put Mat and Rand in the barn for a reason, the door is made of ironwood and cannot be broken down. Except in an unusual show of strength, Rand does exactly that and escapes.

Rand runs headlong into Mat and the two of them come face to face with Dana again. She speaks about how the Dragon could save the world – but only if they join the Dark One. She says that she has seen Mat and Rand in her dreams, along with the other Ta’veren But she is cut short by one of Thom’s throwing knives in her throat, and dies. Mat and Rand leave town with Thom, once again running for their lives.

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3: Rejoining the Aes Sedai

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 Aes Sedai Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

The end of episode 3 sees the return of Liandrin Sedai, who appeared at the beginning of the premiere episode. Lan and Nynaeve join up with this group in order to find a healer for Moiraine. And the sisters reveal that they have captured a man claiming to be the Dragon Reborn. The episode ends with a close-up on the man who can channel, a character named Logain who will be extremely important in events to come.

Wheel of Time Photos Episodes 2 & 3 Photo by Jan Thijs via Amazon Studios

Wheel of Time Episodes 2 & 3 work together nicely to establish how deeply rooted the Shadow is in the world of The Wheel of Time. From the cursed city of Shadar Logoth, to the darkfriend trying to trap Mat and Rand, and the ever-present fear of the Eyeless. The shadow is rising. The world is nearing the end of this Age and yet another battle against the darkness.

What will the next episode bring for our heroes? Stay tuned to Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter for all of our Wheel of Time reviews.

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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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