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A Fantastic The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 7 Review & Recap

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  • 16 min read

The Dark Along the Ways is the best episode in the show’s first season. It’s the kind of TV I want to see, and if I overlook occasional flaws in the editing, The Wheel of Time adaptation delivers a joyous watch in general. It’s storytelling that continues to engage.

The acting quality, strong characters, expanding plot, and worldbuilding bring life to The Wheel of Time. I love the music, costuming, cinematography, and the sets, too, so I’ve little to complain about.

The Two Rivers team are worried, sitting at a table and not looking at each other. Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins) stands with a hand on her chair.
The Two Rivers team consider their options.

It’s an excellent decision to start watching The Wheel of Time TV series now because I’m sure it will explode in popularity over the next few years.

Like Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones alumni), this show is creating new stars, and it’s great to see it all from the beginning.

It’s also a pleasure to write about it for you. So, please enjoy my fantastic The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 7 review and recap.

Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 7 Review feature image.

This review & recap has spoilers for The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 7.

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 7

“The Dark Along the Ways” – Moiraine and her charges are diverted from their path by an unexpected encounter. This diversion, though, reveals many things — Moiraine’s true goal, Lan’s past, the fractures that have grown in the group, and the identity of the Dragon Reborn.

Head-and-shoulders shot of Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) in Fal Dara.
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike)

The Dark Along the Ways Cold Open

Tigraine Mantear (Magdalena Sittova), an Aiel Maiden of the Spear, runs through the snow. She’s heavily pregnant and looking for a safe place to give birth. Bodies, blood, and other things litter the scene.

Tigraine’s purpose is as anxious as it is urgent, with her stuck on the outer edges of the battle. The imposing Dragonmount lingers in the background as she flees for the sake of her unborn child.

Tigraine unveils as she reaches a rock and clutches her womb, but the next moment, a pursuing soldier wields his sword from behind. The Aiel woman reacts instantly, dragging the man by his yellow cloak and throwing him to the floor. She slays him with her spear in the same motion, right through the head.

This woman has guts; if the dead soldier had brains, they’re spilled on the snow now.

More soldiers arrive, and Tigraine dispatches them magnificently but takes a disturbing wound to her side from one attacker. She swiftly kills the aggressor and wrestles his cloak away to use as a birthing blanket.

As Tigraine starts to give birth, yet another swordsman intercepts her. His sword is marked with a heron, such as the one Tam al’Thor uses in the first episode (now in Rand’s possession). The moment causes a shudder as we cut to the opening credits.

It’s worth watching again, so here you are:

My Opinion

Magdalena Sittova, a stunt performer, is unbelievably good in this sequence. She nails all the beats of resilience, skill, and urgency that reflect the enormity of this event. The camera shots are sensational, the backdrop looks fantastic, and everything feels as threatening and violent as a battle should.

It’s the best cold open of the season by far and gets The Dark Along the Ways off to a sizzling start.

For book readers like myself, there’s an inconsistency with the Aiel (Tigraine) unveiling before she kills. It’s something an Aiel wouldn’t do. The scene wouldn’t work as well if Tigraine remained veiled, though, and we wouldn’t discover how brilliant an actor Magdalena Sittova is either.

The camera work for this scene (see the video at the bottom of this review) is off the charts for a TV show. Everything is captured wonderfully. Hats off, to coin a phrase (or veils off, maybe).

The Dark Along the Ways Review and Recap

The first exchanges reacting to the Mat situation were filmed after the actor departed from the show (I referenced this in my last review). Mat isn’t following the party to fight the Dark One, so what if he’s the Dragon?

Barney Harris was brilliant in the role of Mat, and his exit saddens me. I can’t speculate on the reasons for his departure, but I’m grateful for the performances he gave us in the first six episodes. The production thinks on its feet and does as good a job as possible. The drama heightens, but it doesn’t land well enough for my liking.

It’s disappointing that the party is split as the group dynamic is one of The Wheel of Time’s best assets. For those wondering, the character of Mat Cauthon has been recast, so we’ll be seeing him again (and at his best) in future seasons.

Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) in the Ways, holding a flaming torch.
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) in the Ways.

The Ways

Loial, as an Ogier character, is not elevated enough for my liking. His race is the most familiar with the way of the Ways, but little of his guidance is shown on screen. That’s a shame for one of the most enigmatic characters in the books. He has been grossly underutilized in the show so far.

The opening interactions are all about Mat, and the show patches dialogue together. It’s an anti-climactic end to Mat’s arc in the first season, and I feel for everyone involved. I’m sure they hated having to go this route.

Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) holds a flaming torch as he leads the party through the Ways.
Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) leads the party through the Ways.

Lan discusses the potential consequences of Mat’s loss with Moiraine as the party moves forward in the flame-lit dark. Despite Moiraine’s need for speed, the party walks with a lack of pace (or not at all) as they also consider Mat’s reluctance to enter the Waygate. Where is all the human haste, Loial?

As always, the actors own their parts, and the opening is saved by their integrity. I’m also lifted when the party comes across the damaged guiding stone.

Perrin demonstrates an acute vision he can’t explain, and Loial says more. There’s also a nice moment between Rand and Egwene, so I think my gripes might come from overanalyzing.

I also understand why things had to change, as bitter as I feel about it. In truth, I am enjoying The Dark Along the Ways regardless of the missing Mat Cauthon.

A Trolloc and the Black Wind

A Trolloc briefly appears before someone blasts it into the abyss with the One Power. At the moment, I think by Egwene.

Machin Shin, the Black Wind, taunts our protagonists, so Moiraine redirects her recruits to the nearest Waygate, outside the fortress city of Fal Dara. We glimpse another character following the party, and it’s not Mat.

They all hear the voices of Machin Shin before leaving. It preys on their weaknesses, insecurities, and doubts. Paranoia floods their thoughts, and their worst fears are exposed to the point of self-blame and recrimination.

They try to be steadfast, and Nynaeve holds back the Black Wind with another sensational burst of the One Power. Moiraine also weaves so they can escape the Ways, and it all looks terrific.

Fal Dara

The scenic shots of Fal Dara are great, the fortress looks impressive, and the backdrop equally so.

Lan Mandragoran is received warmly by Uno Nomesta (Guy Roberts). If the show does this secondary character justice, I promise you’ll fall in love with him.

The group is welcomed in Fal Dara, albeit with some reluctance, by Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing). He believes the Aes Sedai is involving herself in their affairs (which is not the purpose of Moiraine’s visit, as we know).

Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing) on his throne, hands resting on his thighs.
Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing)

The Shienaran is aware of mounting threats from the Blight, and Lord Agelmar isn’t pleased about any Aes Sedai interference. That’s until Moiraine tells him about the threat within the Ways.

Lord Agelmar tells his men to assemble a defensive ward and protect the Fal Daran Waygate. Meanwhile, a man exits the Ways, strutting confidently towards the stronghold. It’s Padan Fain, the whistling peddler. What’s he doing here?

Lady Amalisa

We learn that Lord Agelmar’s sister, Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver), is White Tower trained but doesn’t have sufficient strength in the Power to become a full Aes Sedai.

Moiraine asks Lady Amalisa to carry a message to the Red Ajah in Tar Valon to find Mat Cauthon. This is clearly a script adjustment and covers Moiraine’s actions if Mat turns out to be the Dragon. Moiraine asks to see Min, one of my favorite book characters, so I feel giddy.

Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) with hands held on her belly, a ring prominent on her middle finger.
Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver)

Min’s Visions

Min Farshaw (Kae Alexander) works in a tavern but has a unique talent that explains Moiraine’s eagerness to see her. She sees auras surrounding people that foreshadow their future. Webs in the Pattern, so to speak, and she can interpret their meaning.

Min views yellow eyes and blood in Perrin; Rand rocking a baby; white flame and a ring of gold for Egwene and Nynaeve; and the four are linked, which is extremely rare.

For Moiraine, Min predicts the Amyrlin Seat will be her downfall. That shocks Siuan Sanche’s lover, though it might just allude to her recent banishment. Or it could foretell whatever happens in the season finale.

I’m so happy Min’s ability doesn’t look cheesy on screen. I did go into the season with concerns about how her visions would be shown. Kae Alexander sells her character well and is another inspired casting. I can see a Min crush forming in the Pattern.

Min Farshaw (Kae Alexander) behind her bar in Fal Dara.
Min Farshaw (Kae Alexander)

Night Falls

Moiraine plans to leave with the group at sunrise, so it’s time for the Two Rivers team to ask the hard questions. Whoever is not the Dragon, Moiraine informs them, will die at the Eye of the World. That includes Lan and herself, so it is a sacrificial mission for most.

Rand, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Perrin confer amongst themselves as they try to come to a decision about whether they should go to the Eye or not. The conversation breaks down into bickering, first about Mat and then Perrin’s possible affection for Egwene (please don’t make this a thing). Nynaeve misspeaks, but Rand dissembles the group’s unity by facing off with Perrin.

The moment pays off later in the episode. Rand is troubled.

Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) look conflicted as they face each other.
Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski).

Lan’s Goodbyes

Moiraine is understandably worried. She would prefer not to coerce the party to travel to the Eye of the World against their will. Lan tries to reassure her, but Moiraine also thinks about Min’s viewing and her bond with Lan. Death is expected on the morrow, after all.

In an act of selflessness, she persuades Lan to say his goodbyes to the people who raised him. She also endorses the Wisdom, Nynaeve al’Meara, ostensibly giving her consent to anything that happens there.

Thus ensues an incredible sequence between Lan and Nynaeve, who is not so cautious in spying on the Warder on this occasion. Lan is dining with people who are all but family to him, and she is looking in from the outside. Soon enough, but with care, Lan entices Nynaeve to join him.

Later, in Lan’s rooms, the pair kiss and consummate their growing romance. The moment is sacred because it all hinges on the dire fates awaiting them. In the morning, Nynaeve questions why Lan’s adopted family called him “Dai Shan.”

In the show, it is a title given to future kings of Malkier, which was overrun by the Blight. He’s a king without a kingdom, a man without a home.

Oh, I have bubbles of tears in my eyes. “It’s just my contact lenses,” I tell my girlfriend.

Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins) looks sad and thoughtful with Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) standing behind her.
Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) with Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney).

Rand’s Discovery

Rand works shots with his bow, missing his targets as tension gets the better of him. Egwene joins him, and they make up in a heartbreaking scene. The couple go on to share a bed, but Rand is sleepless. His head is spinning with difficult memories…

Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) and Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden) reconcile. He has his hand on Egwene's arm whilst hers rests on Rand's waist.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) reconcile.

Following the Trolloc attack on the Two Rivers, Tam al’Thor is fitful from his wound. He mutters to his dead wife, Kari, about a crying baby he found on Dragonmount.

Rand returns to the archery range, and his arrows always hit the central target.

Rand uses the One Power to break down the door in Breen’s Spring, and it’s him, not Egwene, who takes down the Trolloc in the Ways. The voice of Machin Shin taunts Rand as it exposes his truth, and his own voice echoes in Rand’s head.

“You… are… the Dragon Reborn!”

Rand goes to see Min and questions his identity. She shares a vision with him set up in the cold open.

It was Tam who last approached Tigraine, the pregnant Aiel. He cut the umbilical cord as Tigraine succumbed to her wounds. The baby is Rand al’Thor, the Dragon reborn on the slopes of Dragonmount. The reveal is beautifully done, and my expectations are far exceeded.

Rand knocks on a door, presumably to join the Two Rivers group, but Moiraine answers. Rand is succinct.

“It’s me,” he tells her, and Moiraine’s eyes widen. She masks the bond with Lan so she and Rand can head to the Blight alone.

The Dark Along the Ways ends with my girlfriend pretending not to realize I’ve been crying throughout.

The Dark Along the Ways Rating

Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 7 Rating. 9/10.

As the season’s standout episode, I scored this a 9 out of 10. The Dark Along the Ways uses relationships as its theme, and that delights me immensely.

The dynamics between the protagonists have me moved to tears, and the cold opening is extraordinary. The backdrops, cinematography, sound effects, action, and performances all hold up to scrutiny.

The introduction of Min, excellently portrayed by Kae Alexander, thrills me to watch. The show uses and displays her talent well. The visualization isn’t over the top, so I can believe in Min’s gift, and I’m particularly pleased that the sparks of light she sees, with the shadow trying to swallow them, made the cut.

Lan and Nynaeve, Rand and Egwene, and then Rand and Min are adorable as they interact. The dialogue is punchy and well-written, and the Dragon Reborn reveal is heartbreaking.

The Dark Along the Ways hits its notes throughout, and whatever happens in the finale, The Wheel of Time does enough in its first season because of this episode.

Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins) looks earnest with Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) in the streets of Fal Dara.
Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) with Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford).

Best Actor

Josha Stradowski as Rand al’Thor

Josha Stradowski delicately delivers the Dragon Reborn reveal, and Rand al’Thor’s character finally comes to prominence in The Dark Along the Ways. He is a worthy winner of my Best Actor award for this episode.

Rand’s character is troubled, affectionate, terrified, and angry with his lot, and I’ve enjoyed Josha Stradowski’s performance of him throughout the season. For the first time, though, he is given gritty dialogue and a chance to shine in this episode, and he does.

Josha Stradowski gives an understated performance that feels natural despite his striking presence on screen. He expertly conveys Rand’s irascibility and other quirks, and we can empathize with Rand through Josha’s performance. He’s an exceptionally talented young man.

Josha has shown great chemistry with his colleagues throughout the season. I can’t think of an exception. His interactions with Madeleine Madden and Kae Alexander are particularly watchable in The Dark Along the Ways.

It’s been worth the wait. The Dragon is reborn! May the Light protect us all.

Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) holds his bow by his side, about to raise it.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) at the target range.

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 7, The Dark Along the Ways.

Watch “The Dark Along the Ways” Today!

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Is The Dark Along the Ways your favorite episode of the first season? If not, what beats it?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Did The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 7 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 8 review, but until next time, may the Light shine on you, my friends!

Russell

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