The first episode of Amazon’s Wheel of Time has its issues, and the second episode, “Shadow’s Waiting” does a fine job at fixing most of them. However, the third episode, “A Place of Safety,” is where the show finds itself.
“A Place of Safety” sees our group of characters divided. Following the shadows overtaking the abandoned city they’d sought shelter in – Shadar Logoth – the group is forced to seek safety or accept death. Desperate to stay alive, the cast of characters went in search of the nearest escape. This, of course, resulted in groups losing track of each other as they got out in various ways. This episode revolves around them trying to find their way back to one another. Of course, things do not go as planned.
The episode opens with a trolloc dragging Nynaeve al’Meara behind it. Of course, Nynaeve is believed to be dead at the end of episode one following the trolloc attack at the village of the Two Rivers. This opening, however, shows how she was able to escape and go in search of the others. We then cut to the present time as she demands answers from Lan. While she struggles to accept the teens are no longer with Lan and Moiraine, she offers to try and heal Moiraine of the poison coursing through her body.
As the episode unfolds, we cut to Rand and Mat and Egwene and Perrin. While Rand and Mat are in the mountains, desperately trying to locate the others, we see Egwene and Perrin traveling through a deserted area. As the teens reckon with the idea of going home, they are reminded of why they can’t return. As Moiraine explains early on, one of the four are the Dragon reborn and so long as they remain in the Two Rivers, the Fade and trollocs will continue to come.
Rand and Mat eventually find shelter in a nearby village where they are welcomed by a young lady named Dana. However, they soon learn the village they landed in is far from welcoming. While Egwene and Perrin find themselves surrounded by wolves who look to have brought them to safety thanks to travelers. As we cut back to Lan and Moiraine, we find she’s barely reacting to the concoction Nynaeve used to draw out the poison. This, of course, leaves Rosamund Pike‘s Moiraine on the sidelines for the remainder of the episode. It does, however, allow for us to see the relationship between Lan and Nynaeve begin to develop.
For an episode that is meant to simply move along the plot “A Place of Safety” is an excellent exploration of Jordan’s world and the trials and tribulations these characters will need to endure. Mat, who has mainly served as a plot device thus far, finally showcases some true emotions this episode. There’s a vulnerability to him that he has hidden up until this point. When he tries to talk Rand into going home, it’s evident he’s doing so because he wants to return to his sisters. He knows the choice Rand will make, but he tries his best to change his mind because he doesn’t want to leave him behind. His actions are frustrating, sure, but it’s a great dive into his character.
The same could be said with Perrin. While the show has yet to explain the wolves and why they are following him, knowing the series will explore his relationship with the wolves is satisfying. So far, we’ve seen him suffering from the knowledge of knowing he killed his wife on accident while trying to recover from a wound on his shin. He’s been relatively quiet, trying not to disturb the others as he comes to terms with his mistakes. The moments between him and Egwene are so well done, especially the moment in which he finally lets his grief and pain overtake him.
The best part of the episode, however, is the ending when Lan and Moiraine are greeted by Liandrin Sedai, who reveals she has captured a man claiming to be the Dragon Reborn. However, as Moiraine knows, the man is not the Dragon Reborn. Although weak from the poison in her body, for the first time this episode, her eyes are wide and alert as they fall upon the caged man. It’s a huge cliffhanger, but it makes what is still to come in “The Dragon Reborn” all the more exciting.
With three episodes down, Amazon’s Wheel of Time is proving to be a well-done take on Robert Jordan‘s books. Yes, it does make some changes, as do all adaptations, but the changes ultimately work. The imagery is stunning, the costume work is fantastic, the casting choices are great and the score only helps to elevate the story. It’s hard not to enjoy this take on the beloved fantasy series.