I've spent a lot of time in these reviews talking about how faithful the Wheel Of Time show has been to its source material. Obviously, "faithful" is a subjective, not objective point; there have been plenty of omissions and diversions from the original text so far, and we can argue over how many of those changes were necessary. But the basic structure of the show is, on the whole, almost shockingly close to The Eye Of The World . As someone who grew up watching television shows mangle books I loved, maybe I'm overselling just how impressive that is. But the first four episodes have done a great job in reassuring me that yes, the people making the series have read the novels, and they likely even took notes.
Still, an adaptation can't be entirely faithful. Different formats have different needs, and budgets, and as Jordan's books spiral outward, it's inevitable that the television version would have to find ways to streamline and adjust and find something like an essence in all that world-building. Eye is relatively straightforward as fantasy novels go, and most of "Blood Calls Blood" is still sticking to the book's basic arc, as Nyneave, Rand, and Mat are reunited by a new friend, and Egwene and Perrin suffer horribly at the hands of the Whitecloaks. But the reason I'm opening with all this adaptation talk is that "Blood" also offers a subplot which is, as far as I can remember, completely original to the series.
It springs off the fallout from last week's attack on the Aes Sedai camp, as the warder, Stefan, struggles to deal with the death of the sister he was bonded to. Once Moraine, Lan, and the others arrive at Tar Valon, Stefan talks with his fellow warders about his grief, and they make plans for him to be bonded again with an Aes Sedai from the Green aja. (There is a low-key but funny joke about how Stefan isn't sure how he'll handle being bonded along side two other men; I appreciate that the show has made an effort to establish gay relationships in this world, something notably absent from the novels.) He goes to Nyneave for a sleeping drug to help him get through the night, but it's ruse; he drugs Lan and goes off alone to kill himself. The next day, we see the men and women of the Tower mourning his death.
The only real answer I can come up with is that the show is still struggling to find the emotional weight it needs to really sell the conflict at its heart. It's all well and good to talk about "Dark Ones" and "the end of the world," but anyone who's read or watched fantasy before is familiar with these concepts. The Wheel Of Time needs to find a way to make its world feel specific and real, and one way to do that is by telling smaller, self-contained stories within individual episodes that serve to provide texture to everything else. It's just, in this particular case, it feels like a misfire. The season is only eight episodes long, and this is a lot of time to spend on someone who (unless they've made some major changes down the line) isn't particularly relevant to the what happens next.
Far more useful
Plotting-wise, this is all pretty abrupt. We've established Valda as a bastard, but the sudden escalation to "okay, I'm just going to cut on this guy for a while, you do what you need to do" feels like it's slightly missing the point about the Children of the Light—they're assholes, but they're assholes with a code , and while Valda is worse than most, there are at least should be more justification here than just "Well, I'm pretty sure you can do magic, so fuck it." It makes what could've been an interesting character into a one note villain, and while he exits the scene pretty abruptly here, I would've preferred if the episode had spent more time developing him and less dealing with Stefan's grief.
But on a visceral level, this works just fine. Watching Perrin get brutally tortured is rough, and watching Egwene struggle to use magic to free them both has an intensity to it that the show has only found intermittently. It's also deeply satisfying when she succeeds in tricking Valda, throwing a small flame at him to distract him while she burns away the ropes holding Perrin in place. Things get funky, though, when a sudden attack by wolf pack gives Perrin and Egwene the time they need to escape. This is an important part of Perrin's character (there's a reason his eyes turned yellow when Valda tortured him), but the actual wolf massacare borders on goofy, with some abrupt cuts and bad effects work that fail to sell the real impact of the event.
More than anything "Blood Calls Blood" feels like The Wheel Of Time trying to work around the inherent limitations of television, for better and worse. It's clumsy, but it's probably necessary; the show wasn't going to survive if it didn't start working harder at finding its own voice. And hell, in its way, the budgetary limitations of that wolf attack have their own charms. I can see being put off by it, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish it had been better handled (or that I'm not worried about the show will deal with Perrin's connection to wolves going forward), but the late '90s TV miniseries vibes gave me some pleasantly strong nostalgia feelings. Those feelings won't carry the show for long, though, and fingers crossed it finds its footing soon.
- The only other major development of note is the introduction of Loial, a friendly ogier Rand meets while he and Mat are staying at an inn in Tar Valon. I'm not completely sold on the make-up work here, but the performance is charming and good-natured and a little dorky, which is pretty much the character to a T. Mat is still not doing great, and Rand is struggling to hold things together while his friend breaks down.
- She doesn't get a ton to do this week, but I continue to take a considerable amount of joy in Rosamund Pike's performance. There's just this low-slung confidence to her movements and her line deliveries that sells the material in a way few other actors on the show have managed so far.
- Perrin confessed to Egwene that he killed Laila. Still the single strangest decision on the show to me, and one that has yet to really pay off in any meaningful way.
- Isuzu V-Cross & Mahindra Thar show the POWER of 4 wheel-drive: Live example on video
- Recently Published Book Spotlight: The Hiddenness Argument
- Mineral Gray Metallic BMW F30 335i with aftermarket Carbon Graphite wheels
- Every Time I Thought the Purdue Pharma OxyContin Story Was Over, I Was Wrong
- The power of movement
- Family Movies Demonstrate Staying Power in Theaters
- 13 hidden features of iOS 12 worth getting excited about
- Ireland's Hidden Heartlands: Top 10 things to do in Ireland's newest tourism region
- First the legislature proposed a blatant power grab. Now it wants a hidden one, too.
- Slovenian company makes in-wheel plug-and-play electric motors
- Stuffing A Dirt Bike Engine In A Power Wheels Mustang Is My Kind Of 72 MPH Deathtrap
- BMW's Redone 2019 X5 Adds Size, Power and Fancier Tech
More hidden powers are discovered on an uneven Wheel Of Time have 1345 words, post on www.avclub.com at December 3, 2021. This is cached page on Konitono.Blog. If you want remove this page, please contact us.