The journey of the friends continues, and we have realized that each episode shows them taking only one step forward—at least everyone except Nynaeve. She has the strongest arc in The Wheel of Time season 2 so far, which comes as a surprise because she wasn’t very likable to those who have read the books. She was still a strong character, but we also want to see the others have equally compelling growth arcs. It is disappointing that very little is happening with Rand and Perrin, who are in the middle of so many confusing things. Regardless, here is a recap of the episode.
Perrin’s subplot in The Wheel of Time episode 3 reminds us of Moiraine’s words in episode 2, when she said that the Destroyer of Hope was looking to recruit allies to awaken the Dark One again. That explains his meeting with those women with claws for nails and why he encouraged a girl to make friends with a Trolloc. The Master of Lies is manipulating everyone around him, and where he cannot do that, he uses the brute force of his followers.
Queen Soroth, the woman with the golden mask but perfect Korean lip makeup, wants everyone to kneel to her. She says she is here to collect what is due to Luthair Paendrag, and the people of the village owe it to her. Girls with terrible smoky eyes and a golden cover over their mouth select more girls from among the people to preferably join them. The soldiers are not given a choice except to bend the knee, especially after they see how one of them is brutally murdered for refusing to do that. But later that day, when Perrin regains consciousness in the carriage, he sees Ishamael and is horrified that he is still alive. But the man knows what Perrin can do and promises to keep an eye on him right before he disappears, and Elyas and his wolves come there to rescue Perrin and the others.
He is finally freed from prison by a disgruntled Liandrin, and she says some of the most hurtful stuff ever to him. To be honest, most of it is true, except that a therapist (if only he had one) would have used much gentler terms to convey the same thing. Either way, Liandrin’s words have such an effect that he is unable to meet Egwene and comfort her, even though he sees her crying. Mat simply goes back and frees Min, and both of them decide to escape. Here is the twist in the tale: Min has been working for Liandrin this whole time, and her fear of the latter’s cheekbones probably came from this arrangement between the two. They want to be free of whatever hold Moiraine has on them, and Mat is the means to that end. Poor Mat is already in love with Min, and she knows it. It is not going to be long before this gets revealed, and Mat is left with a heartbreak that leaves his emotions so volatile that he once again gives in to his impulses.
Frankly, nothing happened to him in this episode, despite the real dragon meeting the former false dragon. Logain recognizes Rand and asks him to get him a particular bottle of wine. Rand has no choice but to oblige, and he accompanies Selene to the dinner party organized before the “Hunt for the Horn.” It is a contest in which the winner gets half of the queen’s assets if he manages to find this fabled horn. However, most people don’t survive it, and nobody has won it so far. At the party, Rand comes to know that it is simply a political move, and nobody actually cares about the reward as much as they do about eliminating powerful people.
Rand takes the wine bottle to Logain, who just says that there is no way that Rand can stop the power coursing through him. All this hubbub only to hear this, so no wonder Rand is furious. But a revelation is that when Logain saw Mat and Rand in the first season, we thought he had laughed at something he had sensed in Mat. It turns out that he was laughing at Rand and the promise he held to do something. Right now, Rand has a lot of power in him, but he doesn’t know how to use it, which is why he ends up accidentally setting Selene’s inn on fire.
Does Nynaeve Come Back Alive From The Test?
To become the Accepted, Nynaeve must pass through three different arches and fight the illusions she faces there to always come back and choose the sisterhood of the Aes Sedai. She can choose not to do it then, but once she starts, she cannot stop, and should she fail even one of the tests, she would be assumed to be dead. Nynaeve grits herself and goes through her first arch, where she returns to a childhood memory. Her father and mother are attacked along with her, and they ask her to hide while they fight the attackers. The gate to go back opens, and Nynaeve rushes, leaving behind her first fear, that of not being able to help her loved ones. This continues to be Nynaeve’s greatest fear, and she faces it once again in the second arch, where she sees the devastation left behind in Two Rivers due to the lack of wisdom.
The arch is manipulating and weakening Nynaeve by constantly making her re-evaluate her life, priorities, and whether she should even choose to be an Aes Sedai over fighting for her loved ones. It is a morally gray test that firmly establishes that loyalty to Aes Sedai is above everything right and wrong. But Nynaeve doesn’t accept that, and when she doesn’t remember what happened in the third arch, she finds her reason to go back to the life she knows. She refuses to be an Aes Sedai and leaves the tower, taking her leave from Egwene. Outside, she meets Lan, and he is ready to start a life with her. It is quite heartbreaking to think that this is probably what Nynaeve wanted above all else: to live a peaceful life with Lan and have her friends around her. But it is all just a continuing illusion.
While everyone outside has assumed that she is dead even though Egwene is desperately trying to fight for her, Nynaeve in the arch is happy with Lan, Perrin, and Mat—that is, until the Trollocs come and destroy everything. However, Nynaeve has been called the most powerful Aes Sedai there is, and at the end of The Wheel of Time Episode 3, her grief makes her channel her power, even though she technically can’t in this world. This has to be why the portal opens once again, and she goes out of it with her daughter, who disappears the moment her feet touch reality.
While we like each of the episodes, we are forced to wonder whether, as a season, The Wheel of Time will make a compelling narrative. Even Season 1 was just a lot of running around before one big thing happened right at the end. Season 2 is showing no such inclination, but we are wary, and we will only know more going forward.