The Wheel of Time debuted their first three episodes together, therefore this recap will reference events that happened in the first three episodes.
“Shadow’s Waiting”, directed again by Uta Briesweitz and written by Amanda Shuman, starts with a cold opening with Abdul Salis‘ Eamon Valda torturing and burning an Aes Sedai alive. He is a member of the Children of the Light or the Whitecloaks, an extremist organization of soldiers who hate anyone who can wield the One Power, especially Aes Sedai. Salis is perfectly villainous as he crunches down on some kind of painful meal that cuts up the inside of his mouth, relishing in the horrific murder in front of him, hanging from his belt a chain of Aes Sedai rings.
Meanwhile, the gang is fleeing the trollocs and arrives at Taren Ferry crossing, where a man takes them across a river. When the trollocs and a fade arrives, with heavy shades of Lord of the Rings at that moment, Moiraine destroys the raft that brought them across, the ferryman dies in the process of jumping into the water to try and go after the raft.
This shocks the kids and begins to cause seeds of mistrust and doubt to grow within Rand. Even as she uses her power to protect the kids, Rand begins to wonder what will happen to him if he steps out of line like the ferryman. It’s made worse when Moiraine pulls Egwene away at night to speak with her, singling her out.
Here, Moiraine tells Egwene about the three oaths that the Aes Sedai are bound to. First, to speak no word that is not true. Second, to make no weapon with which one may kill another. Third, never to use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends or Shadowspawn, or in the extreme defense of her life, the life of her Warder, or another Aes Sedai.
“Words are important, and how we use them is important,” Moiraine explains as she says that she did not kill the ferryman. If he took the ferry back to the other side he would have been killed by trollocs and then the trollocs would have killed the group. Moiraine teases Egwene with the potential of joining the Aes Sedai and gently coaxes out Egwene’s potential for power and channeling.
After a horrific nightmare where Rand vomits up a dead bat (a scene that actually made me gag) and sees a man with fire in his eyes, the group wakes up shocked. They all dreamed of the same man and had nightmares themselves. Rand immediately blames Moiraine, assuming she is pulling the strings on some kind of scheme, and mistrusts Egwene when she speaks up for Moiraine.
It’s hard to feel too much sympathy for Rand since he tends to act like a petulant child at this point. He and his friends have been uprooted from their homes and from everything they know, but he is really the only one who throws a fit about it. The group ultimately decides to stick with Moiraine, they couldn’t go back home anyway because of the trollocs.
As they’re traveling, they come across the procession of whitecloaks, and Moiriane acts quickly to disguise their identities. She hands her ring over to Lan and instructs them that she’s a lady from a fallen house going to the city to see her sister and the kids are in her care. Remember, Aes Sedai can’t lie so they have to be practiced in weaving their words to make people believe what they want to believe.
Here we also meet Stuart Graham‘s Geofram Bornhald, who seems to be the less extreme version compared to Valda. They interrogate Moiraine but eventually let her go. It feels odd for a Whitecloak to suggest going to an Aes Sedai for healing, but perhaps that was written in to show that Bornhald might be more reasonable? Also, you can definitely tell Bornhald rolls his eyes sometimes at Valda’s intensity.
As the group travels on, the kids begin singing a song about Manetheren in a surprisingly well-harmonized rendition. Not knowing who or what Manetheren is, Moiraine tells them the story of the people of Manetheren, their ancestors ostensibly, and how they fought off hoards of trollocs during the trolloc war. They were betrayed by people who promised them aid and eventually massacred but their efforts were remembered, especially their queen who used the One Power to destroy the invading army but ultimately costing her her life.
Stopping to camp for the night, Perrin meets some wolves out in the woods while getting water. But surprisingly, they do not attack him. Instead, one of them licks a wound on his leg and they seem pretty harmless.
The group tries to rest, with Moiraine fading fast and unable to even stay conscious, but when as night falls, the trollocs have picked up their trail and they’re on the run again. Now, they head toward the cursed city of Shadar Logoth.
We learn from Lan that the city of Shadar Logoth was once rich and prosperous. But during the Trolloc Wars they turned their backs on people. They were the ones who promised aid to Manetheren but never came. Instead, they built tall walls and hid behind them. When the wars were over, people came to the city for help but it was empty. It was said that evil consumed the people from inside.
So yeah… this is the terrible place that not even trollocs will step into.
Rand and Egwene make up after their arguments, sharing a nice moment watching the sunset together, managing to repair their relationship, though it’s undeniably altered at this point. Meanwhile, Mat gives Perrin a dagger that Laila made for him to try and comfort him. Both of these are important moments that remind us of just how close these kids are to each other and the fact that they have always been friends since childhood.
Unfortunately, the nice moment is ruined when Mat, awakened at night, wanders the city and finds a dagger to replace the one he just gave away. Of course, Lan warned everyone not to touch anything here, and of course, Mat did not listen. Suddenly the city comes to life as a black rot spreads and kills everything that it touches.
The group is split up trying to evade the evil. Egwene escapes with Perrin, Matt escapes with Rand, and Lan grasps onto a dying Moiraine as they all make it out of Shadar Logoth. But hey, all hope is not lost, because Nynaeve is alive! She holds a knife to Lan’s throat and demands to be taken to the kids.
Like the previous episode, this one is trying to find its footing still. The balance between lore and character development still isn’t perfect. But the small scenes between the kids, or when we get to see Moiraine work, those scenes are some of the best. Valda’s introduction was quite the sinister treat. Also, the Manetheren song was amazing and I can only hope that we get more folk songs as the series progresses because those are fantastic!
The Wheel of Time streams Fridays exclusively on Prime Video.