The Wheel of Time 2×01, 2×02 & 2×03 Review: “A Taste of Solitude”, “Strangers and Friends” and “What Might Be”

Nynaeve (Zoe Robins) in The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3 ‘What Might Be’

The Wheel of Time returns for a season 2 after an extended hiatus with three character-driven episodes that set the stage for a jam-packed second season.

In 2021, The Wheel of Time ended its first season with an intense finale that put each character on separate paths. In 2023, the second season finally returned, kick-starting its run with three episodes: ‘A Taste of Solitude,’ ‘Strangers and Friends,’ and ‘What Might Be.’ While each episode has some great moments, the third episode, “What Might Be” is the strongest of them.

‘A Taste of Solitude’ opens months after Rand’s (Josha Stradowski) initial showdown with The Dark One (Fares Fares). After failing to defeat the Dark One, Rand requested that Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) tell the others that he died as he departed on a self-imposed exile. Though Rand isn’t present in the opening episode, the ramifications of his failed showdown and presumed death still loom large.

Moiraine, separated from her powers and keeping Rand’s secrets to herself, pushes Lan (Daniel Henney) away as they figure out their next moves. Egwene (Madeleine Madden) is eager to excel at her Aes Sedai training, while Nynaeve (Zoe Robins) refuses to take part in channeling. Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) searches for the traitor Padan (Johann Myers) with the help of a group including Loial (Hammed Animashaun). Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood) has been holding Mat (Donal Finn) captive. The role of Mat has been recast from last season. And though recasting a main character is always a challenge, the transition feels relatively seamless with Finn’s performance.

The first episode is paced pretty slowly compared to the other episodes. While it’s a good way to ease back into the world and characters of The Wheel of Time, it may be difficult for more casual viewers to get hooked back into the series. However, despite some strain, fans will enjoy the character moments and the depth given to each character’s arc. The dynamics between both Moiraine and Lan and Egwene and Nynaeve are still enjoyable.

After an attack on Moiraine, and Liandrin attempting to force Nynaeve to train with her at the conclusion of ‘A Taste of Solitude’, episode 2 ‘Strangers and Friends’ follows and finally gives the audience a glimpse of Dragon Reborn Rand. He has been laying low, taking a job at a medical facility, and starting a fling with a mysterious Selene (Natasha O’Keefe). Rand’s interaction with one of the patients is sweet, though his relationship with Selene is slightly unnerving despite their chemistry.

Elsewhere, Mat befriends Min (Kae Alexander), who is being held in a nearby cell. Moiraine continues to push Lan away, but not before admitting what really happened with Rand and the Dark One during the season one fianle. Egwene befriends a new novice Elayne (Ceara Coveney), while Nynaeve discovers Liandrin’s secret as she remains resistant to Aes Sedai training. Perrin grapples with his wolf abilities and ends the episode face-to-face with the Dark One. Each of these interwoven storylines are compelling, and the episode’s pacing is an improvement over the previous chapter.

‘Strangers and Friends’ ends with Liandrin and her fellow Aes Sedai members offering Nynaeve a challenge that will force her to face her worst fears. Nynaeve ultimately accepts and episode 3 ‘What Might Be’ opens with her undergoing the trials by walking through a bunch of portals. She relives the trauma of her parent’s death and is chastised for abandoning her people back home.

The trials are well executed on screen and Robins does a great job at showing Nynaeve’s increasing trauma. The final trial is dreamlike, where Nynaeve reunites with Lan and the two decide to go home to start a life together. When Nynaeve doesn’t return to the real world, Liandrin and the Aes Sedai presume that she is dead.

Of the new characters introduced so far this season, Elayne is the best new addition. Though she is a privileged royal, she still has a kind personality and her fast-developing dynamic with Egwene is particularly enjoyable. Her attempts to comfort Egwene after believing that Nynaeve is dead, even offering to stay with her overnight in the room where Nynaeve took her test make Elayne even more likable.

Meanwhile, the Dark One’s cohorts order those surrounding them, including Perrin, to pledge allegiance to them. Though Perrin reluctantly bows with everyone else, it will be exciting to see how he will eventually stand up to the Dark One and embrace his abilities.

Liandrin, feeling grief over Nynaeve, releases Mat from captivity and Mat takes Min with him. However, it is soon revealed that Min is working with Liandrin. I’m looking forward to learning what exactly their plan is for Mat and Moiraine.

Rand (Josha Stradowski) and Logain (Alvaro Morte) in The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3 ‘What Might Be’

Additionally, Rand tries to talk to new patient Logain (Alvaro Morte), last season’s false dragon, about his own abilities. Logain will only speak to him if Rand provides him with a special wine, causing Rand to go undercover at a nobles-only party.

While Rand succeeds in his mission, his obvious disgust at the nobles’ treatment of the town’s poorer citizens makes him an even more endearing protagonist.

Unfortunately, Logain is not much help and Rand must continue to navigate his powers on his own.

‘What Might Be’ ends aptly with a possible vision of the future. Nynaeve has created a life with Lan and their daughter, while Perrin and Mat are heavily involved in their lives. The three men are killed in an attack and Nynaeve tries to save her daughter when the final portal appears to her. Though the reveal that Nynaeve didn’t actually die isn’t surprising, it’s still a relief seeing her come back through the portal, though sans the daughter from her vision, and be comforted by Egwene in the aftermath.

‘A Taste of Solitude,’ ‘Strangers and Friends,’ and ‘What Might Be’ do a great job of focusing on the emotional arcs of the characters we’ve come to love.

The current three episodes of The Wheel of Time season 2 feature increasing pacing that teases exciting potential arcs for every character and builds up overall excitement for viewers to see what will transpire during the sophomore season.

What did you think of The Wheel of Time season 2 premiere?

Let us know.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

Help support independent journalism. Subscribe to our Patreon.

Copyright © The Geekiary

Do not copy our content in whole to other websites. If you are reading this anywhere besides, it has been stolen.
Read our policies before commenting. Be kind to each other.