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A Fantastic The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 3 Review & Recap

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  • 12 min read

After a hit-and-miss start to the season, The Wheel of Time starts to shine in A Place of Safety and feels more familiar. There are formidable sequences right from the start and twists at the end. Perfect!

If you’re a fan of the book series, as I am, then this episode may be your favorite of the season. It captures my reading experience from The Eye of the World (the first book) as young characters find their way in a strange and dangerous world.

Please continue to read for my fantastic The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 3 review and recap.

Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 3 Review feature image.

This review & recap has spoilers for The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 3.

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 3

“A Place of Safety” – Moiraine and Lan find help in an unexpected – and unwanted – quarter, as the separated villagers try to find their way back to each other, or at least to refuge. But they soon learn how far the Dark One’s reach extends and how few they can trust on the road.

Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden) look to defend themselves with knives.
Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) look to defend themselves.

A Place of Safety Cold Open

A Place of Safety begins with a flashback to Winternight, just after the Trolloc snatched Nynaeve (Zoë Robins).

The beast drags the semi-conscious Wisdom by her braid but carelessly leaves her for a moment (stupid Trolloc!) to see to a wounded comrade. Do Shadowspawn care for each other despite their blood lust? Ah, no, the Trolloc is feasting on its suffering ally instead.

Nynaeve makes her escape – you go, girl!

She runs – and boy, does she run – back to the cave pool she was cleaning before all the chaos began. Unfortunately, it might need another freshen-up after this whole sequence. The Trolloc, with its eye still on the prize, pursues and stabs at the pool where Nynaeve is hiding.

As the Trolloc descends into the water and further stupidity, Nynaeve rises on its blindside and steals its belt knife. The same one she threatens Lan with at the end of Shadows Waiting. She ends her ordeal by quickly burying the knife in the Trolloc.

Nynaeve rises from the water and swings her braid defiantly. Epic! And the opening credits roll.

My Opinion

Yes, yes, yes!

Zoë Robins’ effort in this scene is extraordinary. The sequence shows Nynaeve as a badass to respect, and her determination obliterates any previous objections to her temperament.

The Trolloc’s blood shaping into a Dragon’s Fang is a nice nod to book readers – there are examples of this throughout the season, but this one tops them all. It’s also the best cold open yet.

Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) on horseback.
Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) on horseback.

A Place of Safety Review and Recap

We continue from where we left off in Shadows Waiting, with Nynaeve asking whether her friends are still alive. Lan confesses that the group’s separation is all his fault and that Moiraine is incapacitated.

He asks for Nynaeve’s help because of her skill in herbal remedies. Nynaeve, however, prefers a quick kill and points her knife toward the Warder. Lan abruptly restrains her, though. Kudos to him after what we’ve just seen from Nynaeve.

Rand and Mat

The boys are lost and desperately shouting for their friends. They discuss their destination, with Mat arguing that they should return home. Rand counters with the “Trollocs will destroy the village” argument, which is morally sound. Plus, he asserts that home wouldn’t be home without friends and family, which is nice.

“All roads lead to the White Tower,” Rand thinks. “That’s not how roads work,” Mat responds. It is a brilliant line in a compelling scene where the juxtaposition shines. I note that the overture sounds like birdsong, but is it something more sinister? I’m unsure, and nothing seems to come of it, so don’t worry.

Egwene and Perrin

Perrin and Egwene are lost, too, though they have wolves howling behind them rather than birds. They echo Mat and Rand’s thoughts as they try to light a fire. It appears that Egwene uses the One Power to achieve this feat, an awkward fail for Perrin.

He’s still troubled but is doing his best to look out for Egwene as they try to figure out what to do. A reunion with their friends is the aim, so Perrin admits that Rand will go wherever he thinks Egwene will go. That would be the White Tower, then. All roads lead there, after all.

Does Perrin harbor deeper feelings for Egwene?

I hope not. Egwene is Rand’s intended, and Perrin is just one axe swing away from a happy marriage and one of Rand’s best friends.

A Place of Safety is already building desperate and changing perspectives from our main characters. I’m engaged and excited to see how this all pans out.

Nynaeve and Lan

Nynaeve is tied to a tree, so she hasn’t played ball with Lan. He continues to tend to Moiraine, but he and Nynaeve begin to realize they need each other. Nynaeve for the sake of her friends from the Two Rivers, and Lan for Moiraine and their greater mission.

Nynaeve relents from her belligerence and agrees to help heal Moiraine. She doesn’t have to like it, though. There’s a gathering of herbs and some titter-tatter between the pair, and as Nynaeve mixes the herbs, we recognize the growing chemistry she has with Lan. Subtle but unmistakable. I like it.

But please wake Rosamund Pike up! She elevates this show, and we’ve been missing her for a while now.

Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) stood by a tree.
Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney)

Perrin’s Dream

Perrin is in a sexy nightshirt – charming – but his wife isn’t in bed. A less lovely figure with flaming eyes stands outside the window looking in. Spooky, right?

Perrin sees a wolf devouring Laila, just like the Trolloc that chewed on its mate in the cold open. Thankfully, the fiery-eyed window-watcher shocks Perrin and wakes him from the dream.

I don’t get it, and it doesn’t work for me. No purpose is served here other than to remind us that Perrin killed his wife. I remember. Every shot we get of Perrin reminds me of the fact.

I don’t like Perrin and Egwene running from the wolves in the real world, either. They’re obviously being shepherded, though the reason isn’t made very clear. I hope it’s for their own good, as I like these characters.

The Tinkers

We have what the wolves might have been doing explained to us. We don’t need it, but in context, I’d probably be talking about it too.

Barring the first scene, Perrin and Egwene’s travels have become dull. They’re littered with jarring dialogue and equally flat landscapes. They act well, but they’re not given much.

The introduction of the Tinkers sticks in my throat, like the bat from Shadows Waiting. The meeting is forced, cheesy, and unconvincing, and I physically feel for the actors. I’m pleased to report that all this redeems itself in a later episode, but that doesn’t make this any less disappointing. Let’s move on.

Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) are wrapped in blankets as they sit on barrels talking to the Tinkers.
Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) with the Tinkers.

Breen’s Spring

It thrills me to tell you that the scenes at Breen’s Spring are the best we’ve seen from The Wheel of Time adaptation. Mat and Rand pass through villages and towns in the book series, seeking safety. They find Darkfriends (those sworn to the Dark One) along the way.

The TV series can’t hope to capture all the stops and encounters on their journey, but the show takes the heart and thematic importance of those experiences and tries to wrap them into one visit to Breen’s Spring. And the show pulls it off superbly! I’m genuinely surprised, and A Place of Safety delights me for it.

Dana

We learn later that it’s an Aiel strung up in the cage as Rand and Mat enter Breen’s Spring. They end up in an inn called Four Kings, where Dana (Izuka Hoyle) serves as a seemingly pleasant and robust innkeeper. Dana keeps Mat’s flirtations at bay and gets the boys working.

Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume) smiling with arms spread wide in the Four Kings Inn.
Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume) in the Four Kings Inn.

A gleeman, Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume), is introduced with a song to pluck the heartstrings. Dana lifts the locals’ humor after the downbeat music, but Mat has his purse stolen. Thom merrily picks it back from the thief, leaving Mat thoroughly down on his luck. He has no fortune in his flirtation with Dana, either.

“Does anyone need a horse trader with no horses?” Dana asks her drunk patrons, and I laugh aloud.

Dana is philosophical with Mat and Rand about her past and aspirations. She’s firm in the resolve she has found for herself, which is unfortunate. She’s a Darkfriend. Rand bursts through an unbreakable door to find his freedom, and Dana’s plan doesn’t go to plan.

I won’t cite all the Breen’s Spring scenes for you – I hope you’ve watched it by now. The Mat and Thom scene with the Aiel corpse (which Mat robs, the scoundrel!) builds a connection between those two characters that I hope is developed further.

Despite its differences, this all feels like a homage to Robert Jordan’s work. I didn’t guess Dana was a Darkfriend, even though I knew there would be one in this episode. You got me, Rafe Judkins (the showrunner).

The Climax

Moiraine is brought to a group of Aes Sedai by Lan so she can be healed from the Trolloc wound. She’s in for another shock to the system, though. Red Sisters have captured and caged a man calling himself the Dragon Reborn!

Who is the Dragon? We’ll have to watch and find out, but yay, Moiraine’s awake!

On a wagon, Alanna (Priyanka Bose), an Aes Sedai in a green cloak, watches the captive Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte) in a metal cage.
Alanna Sedai (Priyanka Bose) guards the captive Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte).

A Place of Safety Rating

Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 3 Rating. 8/10.

Apart from some Perrin and Egwene scenes, A Place of Safety is a great watch, so I scored it an 8. Despite changes to the original books, I am falling deeper into The Wheel of Time world as the show progresses.

Face shot of Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte) in his cage.
Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte)

The cold open is impressive, and the Breen’s Spring scenes are equally captivating. I particularly like how we start to see the chemistry building between Lan and Nynaeve, with the mixing of herbs giving us a visual to show this.

The acting continues to impress – I particularly enjoyed the Rand and Mat interactions and want more!

Best Actor

Izuka Hoyle as Dana

Thom Merrilin’s (Alexandre Willaume’s) song, “The Man Who Can’t Forget,” a solemn ode about the breaking of the world, is the highlight of this episode. Willaume deserves a shout-out here as a result.

Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume) seated with his guitar, somber.
Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume)

However, Izuka Hoyle’s portrayal of Dana warms me to A Place of Safety. She is captivating and believable from the outset.

Dana comes across as a typically bawdy innkeeper, running the Four Kings Inn with a “don’t mess with me” attitude, but as she flirts and plays with Rand’s emotions, Dana reveals a sinister side that leads to the surprising twist.

I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t because Izuka Hoyle acts the part remarkably well (helped, of course, by excellently written dialogue). It’s a shame we won’t see her in future episodes, but at least she gets a good (if unpleasant) ending.

Behind the Scenes Video

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes footage, which Prime Video has shared on YouTube. It’s a look inside The Wheel of Time Episode 3, A Place of Safety.

Watch “A Place of Safety” Today!

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Let me know your thoughts on A Place of Safety in the comments. Did The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 3 meet your expectations? Do you agree with my rating and review? I always respond as soon as possible and answer any questions you have.

Clicking the image below takes you to my Episode 4 review, but until next time, may the Light shine on you, my friends!

Russell

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