REVIEW: ‘Wheel of Time’ Episode 1×5, “Blood Calls Blood”

The fifth episode of Amazon’s Wheel of Time, “Blood Calls Blood,” is not the strongest episode of the season, but it is emotional.

Amazon’s Wheel of Time has done a rather impressive job of adapting Robert Jordan’s novels. While the adaptation has not always been perfect, the series has successfully captured the feel of the novels, while also allowing for new viewers to jump into this immersive world without having read the novels. Unfortunately, though, as strong as the episodes have been thus far, “Blood Calls Blood” feels like a filler episode.

“Blood Calls Blood” picks up where “The Dragon Reborn” leaves off. After the Aes Sedai gentle Logain, the women and their Warders take to burying the bodies of the fallen. Kerene’s death is one of many, but it’s clear her fellow sisters are still struggling to accept her faith. However, their grief is nothing compared to that of her Warder, Stepin. He’s having trouble accepting her loss and what life entails without Kerene and his duty as a Warder. Despite having only appeared in two episodes, Stepin’s storyline feels vital, for his grief is palpable throughout the episode.

Stepin’s storyline is the best part of “Blood Calls Blood.” It’s a deep study into a minor character, while also further helping to explore the Warders much like the fourth episode focused on the powerful women of the Aes Sedai. Unfortunately, though, the episode realizes it has a story to elevate far too late. It is at this point it becomes clear “Blood Calls Blood” is an episode of convenience.

When the episode finally remembers that Rand and the others are still trying to find one another, it doesn’t really do much more with them than the episodes before it. They’re all still trying to make their way to the White Tower. Mat is still fending off the corruption of the madness, something further teased by Logain’s minor appearance this episode. More importantly, though, the only characters to see their stories truly move forward are those of Egwene and Perrin. After seeking safety with the Tuatha’an for some time, the pair are captured by the Whitecloaks this episode, with death seemingly certain for one of them. However, both Egwene and Perrin have secrets that ultimately help to save them.

This episode is the first we truly get to see of Perrin’s connection to the wolves on screen. While it has been hinted at in earlier episodes, “Blood Calls Blood” is the first to show the wolves coming to his aid in battle. It’s, honestly, one of the better scenes in the episode. It’s well-shot with tense action that’ll leave viewers on the edge of their seats. What follows, however, is a somber note in which the episode ends.

Unable to accept his loss, Stepin makes the decision to end his life. It’s a heartbreaking scene that is only made more powerful by the ritual that follows. Stepin’s body lay in the middle of the room as his fellow Warders gather around him dressed in white. Lan, his closest friend, leads the ritual to let go of their grief. Moiraine stands nearby, enduring the grief of her Warder, while Nynaeve stands behind her with her eyes glued on Lan. It’s the first time the relationship between the two is truly teased. Of course, with just three episodes left to go, it remains to be seen how Wheel of Time successfully brings the two together romantically.

Overall, “Blood Calls Blood” is not the strongest episode of Wheel of Time. It is, however, the most heartbreaking episode viewers will endure so far. With three episodes left, it’s only a matter of time before our group is finally reunited. Or so we can hope.

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