The new season of The Wheel of Time happens to be much better than the first, especially for non-readers such as myself. I understand that, due to certain circumstances, season 1 had a lot of drawbacks that led to a really unworthy season finale. This season appears to be doing better in those aspects, but the biggest drawback is that because all the main characters are split up, there’s a lot of ground to cover in very little time. This leads to each episode missing one or more characters, meaning we lose track of who is where in the timeline. Episode 5 is missing all the fun characters like Alanna and Mat, who bring some humor to the show. Additionally, each part gets further divided through the episode, making you go from one thing to another continuously, leaving you in a bit of a daze. For someone like me who is still in the process of learning about the world of The Wheel of Time, this is a little bit frustrating, and I just want to pay attention to one thing at a time. But without further ado, let’s quickly get into the details of episode 5.
Perrin and the Aiel
Perrin is with Elyas and the pack because he thinks they’re leading him to Loial. He realizes too late that Elyas is actually leading him back to the town where they got picked up. Perrin decides to leave the pack, but Hopper the wolf joins him. Perrin gets a vision of his dead friend, and it seems the Shienarans haven’t even buried the man but caged him up. He gets Hopper to wait outside the town and goes inside to find some people locked up in cages. He finds an Aiel woman locked up in a cage and then meets a White Cloak without notice. Dain Bornhald gives the Aiel woman some water and shows Perrin to the bar in the town. Perrin is curious about why the Aiel woman is locked up, and Dain, the White Cloak just tells him it’s because she’s far from home and Aiel people are deadly. Perrin notices the White Cloak that had captured him and Egwene and decides to get a room to hide from him. He overhears the conversation between the questioner and his new friend Dain, which allows him to learn that Loial has been taken to Falme, where the Shienarans have set up base.
Perrin sets the Aiel woman free out of the goodness of his heart, and they fight the White Cloaks. She’s incredible at fighting, as imagined, and Perrin isn’t too bad himself. They defeat the White Cloaks, and just when she’s about to kill Dain, Perrin stops her because he did somewhat spare their lives earlier. Now Perrin, Hopper, and the Aiel woman, Aviendha, are a team and travel together to Falme.
The strangers, as the White Cloaks call them, have set base in Falme. Ishamael offers their leader, the High Lord, the horn of Valere, which truly pleases him. On the other hand, Suroth is punished for venturing into that village without permission. Her long nails are cut off as a punishment, and she is furious at Ishamael for being made to suffer the consequences of his actions. It seems Suroth is the only one who has pledged herself to the Dark, not all of the Shienarans. They want to fight the darkness, and Ishamael is making sure that there isn’t an uprising from within. Even though the High Lord doesn’t know where Ishamael appeared from, he’s willing to give him some attention because of his gift or him, the horn.
Liandrin and the novices
Liandrin journeys alone with the novices and keeps them restrained. When Nynaeve is awake, she asks how Liandrin could break the oaths so easily. Nynaeve’s quick wit makes her realize that Liandrin was recruiting her for the Black Ajah, those who are the Darkfriends. Liandrin brings the girls to Suroth, but Elayne and Nynaeve successfully escaped from there. Egwene is captured and given as a gift from Suroth and Ishamael to the High Lord. The Shienarans “tame” the women who can channel with collars and Egwene is brought to her knees and leashed like a dog. On the other hand, Nynaeve, who is being stubborn as usual when all Elayne wants to do is help them, doesn’t care about anything but saving Egwene. Elayne wants the same thing, but she knows how to go about it in a strategic way. Unfortunately, they get caught by someone and are knocked unconscious. But, luckily, it’s an Aes Sedai of the Yellow Ajah and her warder who have found them to keep them safe from the rest of the town. Suroth has put out a search for both of them with their descriptions.
Verin at the tower
It seems Moiraine wasn’t the only one who wanted to travel. Verin makes her way to the tower and gets some gossip from her Brown Ajah sisters. There’s something odd about her inquiries. She goes up to the mistress of novices to find out where the two new powerful novices are—Nynaeve and Egwene, of course—but she’s told they’ve been allowed to go out of the tower with Elayne. This leaves Verin very suspicious. She meets Liandrin and tells her that she’s there to see the girls, but they’re out. Liandrin tells her that there was some sort of attack in the area, and the girls, who are the most important assets they have right now, will be in trouble. Liandrin gets Verin to go with her and talk to the keeper to get the girls back safely. There’s definitely something fishy going on here.
Rand and Moiraine
After Moiraine managed to slit Lanfear’s throat, she was able to escape with Rand and get some horses for them. They barely get far before Lanfear is back to normal and standing upright. She immediately follows them and is under the impression that they’re headed to Tar Valon, when in reality they’re actually heading back to Moiraine’s home in Cairhien. On the journey, Moiraine finally tells Rand that he didn’t defeat the Dark One and that it was Ishamael that he set free. Back in the town, Anvaere’s son is visiting because his wedding to the queen is just around the corner.
Moiraine warns Rand that if they fall asleep, Lanfear will find them in their dreams, so they must quickly clean up, eat, and leave. Barthanes, the nephew, seems like a sweet enough person, and Moiraine is happy to see him. She asks him to host Rand while she gets washed up. Unlike what Moiraine expected, Anvaere comes to check in on her rather than coax answers out of Rand. She gives her a piece of advice that Moiraine herself gave her many years ago. If one is afraid or upset about something, they must simply ask themselves if it’s true. Anvaere poses the question, “Can Moiraine know without a doubt that she needs to protect Rand?” Moiraine understands Anvaere’s point (although it’s a bit strange that Anvaere puts a robe on her when she’s still filthy) and gives Rand the choice to meet Lanfear in his dreams.
Lanfear and Ishamael talk in the dream world, and it is brought to our knowledge that it’s possible that Lanfear can betray the dark side. She is also one of the smartest of the lot outside of Ishamael himself, but according to him, the Dark One only talks to him because he truly believes they must win. They discuss their findings about the girls and Rand. Ultimately, Rand chooses to sleep because he believes the love between him and Lanfear is at least a little bit real. Moiraine tells him that Lanfear used to be the dragon’s love before he met his wife. She felt betrayed and pledged allegiance to the Dark One in order to get the dragon back for herself. Moiraine believes Rand can possibly change Lanfear’s mind or at least extract information from her. When Rand sleeps, he is in a desert, tied to a wheel, with Lanfear, all dressed in black, sitting across him.
Is it just me, or is it a bit strange that somehow the Dark One’s people are more culturally diverse? As I mentioned earlier, there’s something all over the place about this episode, and there’s just too much happening. If it continues to go on like this, I’ll find it hard to keep track and stay interested. Additionally, we don’t seem to be getting any closer to this big battle. Also, I’m sorry, but Nynaeve has got to be one of the most irritating characters in fantasy media ever! Please learn from your mistakes and stop being so stubborn. It’s so frustrating watching such a strong woman become so weak through her stupidity. Anyway, I rest my case. I guess with great power comes great stupidity, too. Ishamael says Mat was born to be on his side, but I’d really hope the show doesn’t take this boring route and Mat, who loves his dear sisters, remains on the side of the light.