May 27, 2024

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The Wheel Of Time “A Taste Of Solitude”

Season Two, Episode One

OK, back to the further turnings of the Wheel of Time, where Darkfriends, Trollocs, and Fades threaten, oh, everybody.  It’s never a good time to be around when the Wheel turns to that part of its rotation.

Also, Mat got recast between seasons.  Hopefully that won’t be too much of a barrier.

As with any show, particularly one that’s been gone for a while, the first thing to do is check in on the major characters, and that’s essentially what happens here with everyone except Rand since he’s the Dragon Reborn and probably off somewhere trying not to go crazy, Moiraine is doing research since she lost her power, Lan is there but she won’t talk to him, Perrin is traveling with Loial and a search party to find the horn to start the final battle with evil, Egwene and Nynaeve are studying to be Aes Sedai (one more willingly than the other), and Mat is a prisoner in the Aes Sedai tower, possibly even getting a new face while he was there since, you know, new actor.

That said, the show does a good job reminding me of who and what these people are, whether it’s Perrin’s remembering his dead wife while learning to see more with his wolf eyes or Nynaeve and Egwene basically be the exact opposite when it comes to the types of students they are.  Nynaeve has a block that means she can only channel when she’s pissed, but she likewise thinks no one, herself included, deserves that much power.  Egwene is just trying really hard to be great, but the two have each other and that’s what counts.

Lan, however, may have the line of the episode when he says he is surprised someone else told him he needs to be quiet when he doesn’t say much as there is.

But the whole thing here moves as it should.  Reminding the audience who the characters are, right up to Moiraine’s refusal to stop looking into what’s going on even if she’s not opening up to anyone else at the house she’s staying at, is there to show the general intrigue of the characters:  Aes Sedai have a poor reputation for a reason after all.  There’s Liandrin, looking all the world like a blonde version of Xena, basically being the bad guy of the Aes Sedai that can hold Mat prisoner while taunting Nynaeve into channeling despite being told essentially not to train people.

There’s also a good fight scene at the end involving Moiraine’s being attacked by a trio of Fades and how Lan and some others come to her rescue while the cold open showed a little girl being scared away by Trollocs.  The man holding the meeting she runs into, the very same Darkfriend that Rand defeated at the end of season one, takes her out to see the creatures and suggests they aren’t good or evil so much as hungry, a sequence that had me actively wondering if he was going to feed the kid to the Trolloc.  He doesn’t as he seems to mean it when he says the monsters aren’t really monsters and maybe aren’t so scary, but that didn’t stop him from starting something.

Essentially, there are plots in motion, whether its for the Dark One or the Aes Sedai, plots that probably aren’t good for anybody, but there’s still the moments that show the characters’ humanity, like how the lord Perrin is riding with will take the time to bury a dead Darkfriend despite the man’s being a traitor because everyone deserves a proper burial.  What do the Darkfriends want with the Dragon Reborn?  That remains to be seen since men can’t handle magic without going insane, Rand knows that, and that is exactly why he made a run for it in the first place.

Basically, The Wheel of Time came back with a strong first episode back.