The Wheel of Time Episode 5 review! In this review there will be spoilers up to and including Episode 5, but no book spoilers for what comes next. So let’s get into the meat of this episode.
Our three groups of travelers stories continue this week and once again I will cover the stories of each of these groups separately. First up this week I want to begin with Perrin and Egwene.
Perrin, Egwene and the Whitecloaks – Wheel of Time Episode 5 Review
The peaceful journey with the Tinkers is over, Eamon Valda and his group of Whitecloaks decide to hassle the Tu’Athan. Valda after spotting and recognizing Perrin and Egwene wants them brought for questioning. Aram tries to help the pair escape whilst the rest of his people stand firm in their peaceful way. However the pair do get captured by Valda and put to the question.
I’ll start by pointing out the events here are very different than in the books, and yet the end results of all this will largely be the same. Perrin and Egwene do indeed have a run in with Whitecloaks in the books and do escape with the aid of wolves. Strangely with this adaptation there are certain events being sped up, and certain events being held back. I guess the connection between Perrin and the Wolves is harder to represent visually and such they’ve slowed down Perrin’s education of what is happening.
This is fine, there is a scene which is quite dramatic around this time in the books that simply would not hit at all in Season 1 of the show. I’m fully expecting this event with Perrin to make it’s way back in a later season once the audience is ready for it to happen.
As for the whole torture and questioning scene I thought it was suitably horrible and creepy which is exactly as it should be. Valda reveals what he believes his true purpose to be regarding Aes Sedai and also proves he is willing to kill an innocent man, just to test if a woman can Channel. I thought all three lead actors here were fantastic and Valda is a character you instantly hate, which is great. I won’t get into where Perrin or Egwene’s story is going, nor Valda’s, though I can see the threads of a pattern forming.
Of the three groups, this was my favorite section in this episode and it had the most excitement and drama for me.
Matt and Rand – Wheel of Time Episode 5 Review
Ok, Matt and Rand did a fair bit of walking and hanging around town this episode. That might seem slow to non-book readers, but these scenes were filled with Easter eggs. Some of those eggs I cannot get into for spoilers, but has any eagle eyed fans spotted a certain Padan Fain hanging about Matt and Rand again this week? Watch their scenes entering the Inn and listen for the whistling, you’ve heard that before in Episode 1 and Episode 2. I won’t get into what comes next, but you are supposed to have now started to notice Fain appearing for sure.
I love how protective Rand is becoming of Matt and what an excellent job Barney Harris is doing showing the descent of Matt into some scary territory. I’ll say this not for the last time, but I hope Donal Finn is great as the recast Matt in Season 2, Harris has been excellent in Season 1 and it’s as shame that whatever took him out the show happened.
I kinda loved everything about the Rand and Matt story this week and the performances, but I have to talk about one character introduced on his own. Plus, if I was to really explain some of the things I loved in this story this week I’d spoil to much for later on. The question is, not understanding any of the little Easter eggs, or nuances in this story, will non-book readers just find it dull? That’s a question I find it hard to answer coming at the show from my point of view.
Loial – Wheel of Time Episode 5 Review
This week saw the introduction of a fan favorite in Loial the Ogier. LRM has covered some leaked images of Loial previously and it’s safe to say fans were displease with the look. I was also, I just didn’t see Loial in the images I was looking at. However showrunner Rafe Judkins has spoken about how they had to make a fundamental choice. CGI up Loial more, and use him less, or vice versa. They chose to have Loial around much more and I can now say I think Rafe made the right call.
Sure some fans remain unhappy with Loial’s look. But actor Hammed Animashaun nails it. When Loial appeared, I’m thinking, here we go. Within 2-3 minutes I had forgotten about the strange look and accepted Hammed as Loial. The voice and the mannerisms are just perfection and that sells the character more than the look for me. Loial is supposed to be far taller than a Human and Hammed is only a couple inches over 6 foot. However you can clearly see that using forced perspectives they are going to still have Loial be around a foot taller than Rand, and Rand is tall.
The scene where Loial just appears with Nynaeve and then rambles on in the background whilst everyone just ignores him is brilliant. Non-book readers won’t fully get it yet, but the book fans I think at this moment knew Rafe had made the right call. Well some of them, there are still some who refuse to accept Loial based on his looks, which is their decision. In my opinion the looks were much better than the leaked shots anyway. Then, do we expect anything else from leaked shots?
Moiraine, Nynaeve, and Lan- Wheel of Time Episode 5 Review
This story crossed over with Matt and Rand’s once or twice and by the end Nynaeve had met back up with the pair. Thanks to my man Loial anyway. There was a lot of great drama in this story, but I also have to say there were a few issues for me.
Nynaeve was amazing, so was Moiraine, but I’m not sure I loved that ending and how much emotion was milked from Lan and the other warders in the chest thumping scene. I felt the emotion, but at the same time also found it a but much. Moiraine mirroring Lan’s emotions despite her calm Aes Sedai poise was great and the saving of this scene. Lan ripping on his shirt was a bit tropey though and it almost threatened to be silly.
I predicted that Steppan was going to off himself after the death of Karene. Warder’s go into a berserker rage mode in the books, but are also often no longer concerned with their own lives. The show is doing things differently by taking this time to show us the power of that warder bond now, so we understand it in moments later on. As said, it was just a little too much for me.
Like above there are things I did like, but I can’t talk about the reasons why yet. However I loved all Moiraine’s conversations in this week’s episode. There are some little Easter eggs in there for book fans also to watch out for. Rosamund Pike is doing such a good job as Moiraine and there’s a lot to appreciate this week.
Merging Characters – A Slight Concern
Ok, I have to talk about what I think is becoming a merging of two different characters from the books. But how to explain with out spoilers? Well let’s say that there are a few details this week which make me think a character called Elaida might not appear in the show. I think it’s looking like she may be merged with Liandrin who has been there since Episode 1. Is this the worst thing in the world? No, potentially. However if I was going to merge these characters together, it’s Elaida I’d have kept and not Liandrin who isn’t as major a character as Elaida. I have a very good argument for why that should be the case. Sadly it goes into too many book spoilers to express it at this early stage.
I cannot say for certain Elaida may not show up next week, and this has been a worry about nothing? However there were a few things said, which screamed Elaida to me in Liandrin’s scenes this week. Some fans have been wondering about this potential merge even from Episode 1. Liandrin and Elaida are alike, both very strong Aes Sedai, and both are Red’s. However there is one very big difference between these characters I can’t get into. As such the loss of either one would be concerning. If I had to make that choice though, if I had to lose one of them? I’d lose Liandrin before Elaida.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Liandrin has been great in the show so far and played well by actress Kate Fleetwood. If Liandrin is Elaida, they have cast her well with Fleetwood. But why not just call her Elaida and not Liandrin if that’s the case? I guess we will find out, if Elaida is not in Episode 6, then I fear we have lost her.
Wrap it up.
Overall this is a good episode, but clearly a set-up episode. People get to where they need to be for things to pick up the pace again next week. Those who had watched the first 6 episodes, have said 6 was the best. But sometimes I appreciate the quiet moments and little teases for the future. It’s in these moments we get to see the actors really embodying the characters. However, I still think the director went a little too far with Lan in that last scene. Only Pike’s performance as Moiraine at the same time saved the moment from getting silly for me.
As such, I am going with a lower score this week. Remember to check out episode 3 of The Dragon Reviewed, which should be available on Monday. To see the previous episode where we reviewed The Wheel of Time Episode 4, see the related link above.
What did you think of my The Wheel of Time Episode 5 review. What did you think of Episode 5 yourself. Leave any thoughts below as always.