The Wheel of Time returns to our screens with key moments for this season’s story. This is a spoiler review, so please check out our previous coverage of the series HERE.
Episode 7 of The Wheel of Time – titled “The Dark Along the Ways” – is quite the stand-out installment in the series. Specifically, it’s the one where it dives so deep into its characters that just describing the plot is a handful. So instead of simplifying it into a paragraph or two, how about we devote this entire piece to recounting the small details?
In this episode, we find Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), Nynaeve (Zoë Robins), Lan (Daniel Henney), Rand (Josha Stradowski), Egwene (Madeleine Madden), and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) trying to go back for Mat. Loial (Hammed Animashaun) tells them they cannot use the One Power without drawing attention from the Machin Chin. As a whole, the young adults make the choice to move forward, hoping to defeat the dark one and vowing to find Mat when it’s over.
During a group rest, a black wind stirs after Egwene channels to defend the group against a trolloc, and Moiraine tells them Machin Chin (the black wind) will speak to them. Lo and behold, that’s what it does! It tells Moiraine she will murder the Two Rivers group on her journey. Egwene is told she is an imposter, Rand is told Egwene will never love him. Perrin is told he wanted Laila dead, so he could love another. Lan is told he can’t protect Moiraine, that he’ll watch her die. Nynaeve is told she will watch all her friends die and not be able to do anything.
She then channels a shield around them, allowing Moiraine to open the gate. Everyone escapes back to the world in the midst of a desert with the fortress city of Fal Dara. Moiraine sees the concern on everyone’s faces and tells them whatever they heard in the wind to put it out of their minds. But it doesn’t look like it’s going too far.
Entering the city, it looks like Lan is friends with the people here, and they call him Dai Shin. They are welcomed by Lord Agelmar who swears his support while his Black Hawk flag flies. There’s a quick flash back to the way gate, where it appears that someone who looks like Mat has found his way through. We then see the group walk through the city. Egwene realizes Rand still has thoughts about the wind and reminds him none of it is true. Perrin and Nynaeve walk by and he believes he saw Padan Fain, the peddler who was at the two rivers when the trollocs attacked. Nynaeve confirms she saw the peddler die.
The travelers we are following in The Wheel of Time end up in a bar, where it turns out the bartender is Min, a seer Moiraine asked about earlier in the episode. It’s here that Moiraine asks Min for details on the young adults. Her vision includes bloodied Perrin with yellow eyes, Rand holding a baby, the girls as a white flame, and a ring of gold. She doesn’t see which one is the dragon, but the group is all linked. The visions are equally clear, which means they’re important to the pattern (wheel). Moiraine figures out Min saw something for her. The Amerlyn Seat will be her downfall. This is shocking after last week’s episode.
The group returns, and Moiraine lets them know they will leave at sunrise. The group asks who the bartender was, and after some prodding by Nynaeve are told she’s a seer. And Moiraine hoped she would lead her to who the dragon is. As only the dragon will survive going to the Eye of the World. Moiraine tells the group she didn’t get an answer so all of them will go. When questioned, she tells them she didn’t choose the path but she will follow it because she knows it’s right. The wheel of time ultimately doesn’t care one way or another.
The Two Rivers group starts to argue about the journey to the Eye of the World. Egwene’s faith in Moiraine is brought into question, and Perrin and Rand get into a fight over Egwene. When someone questions Perrin’s love for his dead wife, he doubles down that the only woman he ever loved was his wife. Egwene defends her faith in Moiraine, saying if there’s a chance she’s right then the journey is worth it.
Lan and Moiraine are alone on the balcony, talking about if the group will come. Moiraine is reminded of the night she and Lan met, and she confesses she feels like she took everything from him. Lan says she took nothing; that before her he had nothing to live for, and nothing to die for – she has now given him both. Moiraine smiles and asks if there are goodbyes she needs to make in the city before they go, and tells him she likes Nynaeve.
Back in the castle, Nynaeve and Lan walk together, talking about the family. She thanks him for including her, and he jokes she didn’t give him much of a choice. Later on in his room, he disrobes, where we see some nasty scars on his back, and then Nynaeve enters. She asks if he wants her to go, and that answer is no, as they kiss!
We turn now to Rand and Egwene; Rand is firing at targets, frustrated he’s missing when Egwene comes out. They know each other very well, and he apologizes for the comments about Perrin. Egwene states that wasn’t her issue, and it boils down to Rand didn’t want to lose her. Egwene states for the umpteenth time this episode of The Wheel of Time that he won’t lose her. Rand asks her no matter what that she go to the White Tower after this is all over. She knows being an Aes Sedai will mean no companionship, but he says he’ll go with her to be her warder. They promise to stand by each other, and they’ll make it out of the Eye of the World.
Next, Nynaeve and Lan have a conversation about what “Dai Shin” means. Lan states it’s the title of future kings of Malkier. Which doesn’t matter anymore as Malkier was taken by the blight. The family they went and saw was the family of an almsman of Lan’s father, who smuggled him to safety from the blight. Nynaeve sits down and states she didn’t understand why he bonded himself to Moiraine, but now she feels like she understands. He needed belonging, and now he belongs to Moiraine. Lan corrects her and states Moiraine doesn’t own him, that it’s the same way the kids own her.
Meanwhile, Rand flashes back to carrying his dad through the forest, and he talks about a person named Kari. We get a direct glimpse, as the wind tells him that was the dragon reborn, and that he also channeled at the trolloc. While he’s thinking through all of this, he’s firing at the target, hitting the bullseye every time.
Rand soon asks Min to tell him he’s not the dragon reborn. Instead of telling him no, Min tells Rand of her first vision. In this vision, we see Rand’s father help a pregnant soldier from the opening scene give birth on the snowy mountain. Although she dies after giving birth, the father continues to raise the baby, and Min refers to this baby as “someone impossible”. Rand asks what she sees now, to which Min states “the Eye of the World”. Rand asks if he makes it back: Min walks away and Rand says he didn’t think so.
Later on Nynaeve asks what Perrin and Egwene have decided, and the two confirm they’re going, while Egwene asks where Rand is. There’s a cut to Rand walking down the hall, and knocking on a door. Nynaeve opens the door and Lan walks in, while Moraine answers Rand’s knock. Lan says Moraine is gone and has blocked their bond. Egwene realizes Rand left with her as we get another glimpse at Rand telling Moraine it’s him. Rand and Moiraine walk up to what is the blight. They have to go through it to get to the eye of the world. They start the journey, and that is how “The Dark Along the Ways” ends.
The Wheel of Time behind the scenes crew packed a punch with this episode. There’s a lot to cover, between the details of the Ways, Lan’s history, and the punches thrown during the black wind’s speech. Not to mention revealing Rand as the dragon reborn. Director Ciaran Donnelly keeps everything flowing near perfectly, with not a moment wasted during the episode. Writers Amanda Kate Shuman & Katherine B. McKenna really had a lot to cover in The Wheel of Time‘s penultimate episode for season 1.
The show’s slowly been building this world, and giving us more and more material throughout, it’s absolutely superb. I do wish some of this episode had a little more breathing room in it. But no complaints anywhere else! I can’t wait to see what happens in The Wheel of Time season finale! – Katie Rentschler
The Wheel of Time Episodes 1-7 are now streaming on Amazon Prime.