REVIEW: The Wheel of Time E3: A Place of Safety

The Wheel of Time E3: A Place of Safety continues the improvements made in the previous episode as we follow the separate journeys of our heroes following their split in the shadow city. Comparisons to Game of Thrones will be made (and rightfully so) as the Amazon series introduces viewers to a world filled with magic and more exposition than they are perhaps used to on a fantasy TV series but A Place of Safety shows signs that the series can grow into something memorable.

As always, reader, ‘ware spoliers herein.

A Place of Safety shows how Nynaeve escaped her trolloc captor and how she ended up with a concerned Lan who is trying to keep the wounded sorceress Moiraine alive. Lan outfoxes Nynaeve but soon realises that she is needed to help Moiraine. Nynaeve tries her best but trolloc poison is a difficult thing to cure and so their best bet for help seems to be the dastardly group of red-cloaked Aes Sedai we encountered in episode one, a group who have caged a man believing himself to be the Dragon Reborn… Egwene and Perrin wander across a barren landscape, chased (or guided?) by wolves towards a travelling people who eventually welcome them with open arms. Perrin has another nightmare involving the being with ember eyes as a wolf eats the open guts of his dead wife. All in all, the pair seem to end the episode on a positive note compared with the fortunes of their friends…

Rand and Mat make it to a bustling town and are able to take a breath following their escape from the darkness. A caged outsider is found dead outside the town but the pair are welcomed and allowed to stay if they work for their accommodation thanks to the friendly barmaid, Dana. The gleeman, Thom, shares a glum song in the tavern before scolding Mat who attempts to steal from the corpse seen earlier. Rand befriends the barmaid before discovering that she is in fact a follower of the Dark One and wishes to trade his life for glory. The Dark One apparently wishes to break the Wheel of Time and end the cycle of pain and suffering – building on the themes of the second episode. Thom’s thrown knife pierces Dana’s throat during her speech about the Dark One and puts an end to her tale. Mat and Rand – who seems to be stronger than at least three men according to Dana – escape the town and follow Thom to the east.

A Place of Safety continues the focus on the relationships between the humans in the show. Dana wishes to improve her boring existence by aiding the Dark One and her goal is a reasonable one. Breaking the Wheel of suffering and pain is one which seems to be a valid aim. It adds to the morally grey area emphasised in the second episode. Mat longs to go home and Rand wishes to head to the White Tower in the hope of seeing Egwene again. The decisions based on human feelings and emotions continue to be a strong point in the series. By the end of The Wheel of Time E3, the audience has a good understanding of the main characters and how they are expected to behave and that will be a strength as the series moves on.

A Place of Safety is a strong episode that plays on the complex emotions and desires of the main cast. By the end of the episode, the characters are well known and the audience is ready to continue the journey. Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series is one full of complex worldbuilding and there will be difficulties along the way of this ambitious adaptation. By the end of episode 3, The Wheel of Time has earned the faith of its audience to be able to display what it is capable of across the first season. So far, it doesn’t seem to be just a load of old trollocs…

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Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Flames of Rebellion, the first part of The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of English at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Demon's Souls. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.