The Wheel of Time returns to our screens with several high-power character performances. This is a spoiler review, so please check out our previous coverage of the series HERE.
We’ve crossed the halfway point of season one, and we reach a time jump! One month has passed between episode four “A Place of Safety”, and this episode “Blood Calls Blood”. Nynaeve (Zoë Robins), Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), and Lan (Daniel Henney) have reached the White Tower with the group of Aes Sedai and the false dragon who has been gentled. They’re paraded through the town outside of the White Tower, both as a celebration of the defeat of their enemies and for the town to mourn Kerene’s death. Then we get glimpses at Mat (Barney Harris) and Rand (Josha Stradowski) as they approach the White Tower and Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) as they approach with the Tinkers.
Rand and Mat make their way into town and get to an inn where they rent a room. Mat is clearly starting to go mad, and Rand wants to protect him from the Aes Sedai. With him potentially being able to channel, the madness is worrying. But I also wonder if the darkness from Shadar Logoth traveled with the dagger he took and is taking over him. Either could fit. He goes to do some research at a local library and runs into a librarian who finds Nynaeve and brings her to them in the inn. Here, she states she will help with what she can in regards to Mat’s state of mind.
Perrin and Egwene get on the very edge of the town and reunite with their group, when the Children of the Light, the Whitecloaks confront the tinkers, and one of the questioners spots Egwene and Perrin. Because of this, the Tinkers stand up with their non-violent ways and try to prevent the Whitecloaks from getting to the two potential dragons. Unfortunately, several Tinkers are injured, and some are killed. What follows is an interesting thing for the Whitecloaks to do. Egwene is stripped of the clothes she’s wearing, and washed, then redressed in a simple white slip dress. Perrin is gagged and tied up over a bench.
The questioner snacks on a baby pig, while talking with Egwene. He figures out she’s not an Aes Sedai, but believes she can channel. He confesses why the Children of the Light hunt the Aes Sedai, because they believe channeling from the Dark One. Hence, why they hunt the Aes Sedai, to cleave darkness from the world. He cuts into Perrin’s back and tells them both, Egwene channels, she dies, Perrin goes free. Egwene doesn’t channel, Perrin dies, she goes free. Meanwhile, while he slices into Perrin’s back, Perrin’s eyes glow yellow. We saw this in previous episodes, but this one really emphasizes it.
It’ll be interesting to see how that continues in The Wheel of Time, as when the questioner returns, Egwene manages to channel. She distracts the questioner, and burns Perrin’s ropes off, allowing him to escape. They take down the questioner and leave him wounded. However, they soon find the wolves are now taking down the Whitecloak’s camp. Egwene and Perrin are able to leave safely. Rutherford and Madden in these scenes do a phenomenal job of generating emotion, especially as Perrin confesses he’s the one who killed Laila.
The White Tower is where we get some additional greatness in character work from Henney. His character Lan is best friends with Stepin the Warder for Kerene, the Aes Sedai the false dragon killed. Lan tries to help Stepin through his grief as the bond between Aes Sedai and Warder takes its toll on him. It drives him to the point of suicide after he talks about creating another bond with an Aes Sedai. So the episode ends with another funeral, where Lan mourns his friend. They accept the grief, and Henney breaks down the scene so well. He was powerful, emotional, and it leaves a mark.
Not much else occurs in the episode of The Wheel of Time. The Aes Sedai have several conversations, one in particular between Moiraine and Alanna where Alanna voices her wish that Moiraine would take over the leadership of the Aes Sedai. Nynaeve talks with Liandrin about some of the plans for her at the White Tower. The actors empower the key moments in this episode, as they lean into the emotional moments of death, torture and PTSD. Celine Song did an amazing job writing the episode, and director Salli Richardson did an outstanding job capturing the scenes. – Katie Rentschler
Season Rating: 7.63/10
The Wheel of Time Episodes 1-5 are now streaming on Amazon Prime.