The series may have started limply but by The Wheel of Time E5: Blood Calls Blood, this show is starting to become must see television. The adaptation of Robert Jordan’s beloved series is starting to hit its stride and this week is yet another example of how much the show has improved since that first uninspiring episode. Game of Thrones can take a break; there’s a new fantasy darling in town that will appeal to fantasy fans and casual fans alike.
Blood Calls Blood displays the confidence of the writers and the excellent cast. Moving at a quicker pace than in the novels, some of our heroes from Two Rivers arrive at the White Tower as the fake Dragon Reborn is dragged in a cage into the heart of Tar Valon. Tar Valon – the spectacular home of the Aes Sedai pulls the cast back together as they deal with the fallout from the last episode. Mat continues his journey into his full blown emo phase and Rand does his best to keep things light as he wanders through the city and meets the amazingly wonderful, Loial, an Ogier. The peaceful, slow talking Ogier is a highlight of the episode and a character that fans of the series and newcomers will instantly love (even if he is slightly altered from the novels). Loial casually identifies Rand as an Aiel – a warrior race from the desert lands to the east, and he finds it amusing when Rand denies this. Egwene and Perrin are captured by the malicious Children of Light and the sadistic Eamon Valda tortures Perrin to test Egwene and force her into channelling. Valda is played to perfection as he revels in his sick game of torture until a pack of wolves suddenly arrive…
The heart of Blood Calls Blood belongs to the gang leading the Logaine into the city. Moiraine’s Warder, Lan, worries about losing the person he cares for most as he watches his friend, Stepin, fall into despair and grief. The episode really shows the viewer how strong the connection is between the Aes Sedai and their Warders and it is heart breaking to watch Stepin unable to deal with his grief. The moments of emotion in the episode are powerful and really force the show to step it up a level. We have connected with the characters and now the writers play with those connections by putting them through hell. The Wheel of Time E5 is proof that this is a show that knows exactly what it is doing. There is even a hint of Game of Thrones in the politics of The White Tower as the Aes Sedai make a play for Nynaeve.
Blood Calls Blood is a near perfect episode of fantasy television. The pace may be quicker than the novel but the writing is tight and the cast is perfect in their roles. Packed with emotion, the episode is the best one yet and a sign that the series is on its way to be one of the greatest fantasy shows in the history of television. Stunning scenery, excellent writing, and an emotional ending that ends the episode on a perfect note. Blood Calls Blood blends the high fantasy of Lord of the Rings grit of Game of Thrones. I can’t wait for episode 6.