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The Wheel of Time season 2 episode 3, recap — how does Nynaeve make it back to the White Tower?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023


This recap of the Prime Video series The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3, “What Might Be,” contains spoilers.

The Wheel of Time episode, "What Might Be," is the best one-hour of television Prime Video has ever done. Filled with twists, turns, suspense, and excitement, The Wheel of Time is turning into the series Prime Video envisioned.

The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3 recap

Where do the Aes Sedai take Nynaeve?

The Aes Sedai activate the "ter'angreal," three arches that reveal Nynaeve's fears. Facing these arches is dangerous; many never return. An Aes Sedai tells Nynaeve she hasn't tried the first arch. Conquering a fear through an arch allows one chance to return.

The arches' origins and purpose are unknown. To simplify, Nynaeve must pass through each arch once, completing the cycle three times. Stopping results in expulsion with a year's silver, no return.

She must pursue self-improvement and embrace danger, following Liandrin's advice.

She has three chances to begin; declining the third expels her. Unfazed, Nynaeve walks through the first arch, reminded to act for herself, powerless within.

What is Nynaeve's first fear?

Nynaeve's initial fear is confronting her parents' deaths. After gathering crimson roots, her father cleanses her hands of the red poison, cautioning, "Remember, red means dead."

Armed men assault them, but Nynaeve's mother rescues them with her bow and arrow. Seeking refuge in their farmhouse, Nynaeve is wounded and told to hide in a concealed basement. Through a floor crack, she witnesses her mother's demise.

At this point, an archway opens (remember, just once), and Nynaeve reluctantly steps through. She returns to the tower, purified with water, absolved of her wrongdoings, and restored to purity of soul. Yet, her wound remains.

What awaits Nynaeve in the second arch?

Nynaeve walks through the second arch into a makeshift hospital, where a woman tends to the sick during a plague outbreak. Among the patients is Sam, Rand's father. A woman there scolds Nynaeve, questioning her medical skills.

This stems from Nynaeve's abandonment of them without returning. She turns her attention to Sam, who thanks Nynaeve for caring for Rand. The archway reappears. Nynaeve assures Sam she'll return, and he pleads for her to stay.

Nynaeve is returned to the Aes Sedai and cleansed of her sins, yet she implores to return. They advise her not to burden herself with her issues; they are hers to confront, and she must persist.

Who does Nynaeve kill in the third arch?

While it's uncertain whether she kills Lan, Nynaeve does so with a hatchet. In a fever dream-like scene, she floats in the air, dressed in red, clutching her head, and screaming.

She wears her usual clothes, too, gripping the weapon, with alternating scenes of Lan wounded, bleeding, and unconscious. Nynaeve reemerges through an arch, blood-splattered. Her sins are cleansed, noting the blood isn't hers.

She holds an item of Lan's, promptly recognizing it, but its significance pales as she passes the test. Nynaeve enters the White Tower, bound to the Aes Sedai, rejecting the ring. Despite Liandrin's warning, she departs the room, risking no re-entry.

Why did Nynaeve miss her return within the third arch?

Nynaeve departs, and as she leaves, Lan arrives, explaining that he rushed to her, hearing she intended to enter the arches. Nynaeve admits her inability to proceed and her plan to return home. In response,

Lan offers to accompany her, and Nynaeve agrees, recognizing the broken bond with Moraine. They kiss, but an arch materializes behind Nynaeve, vanishing before she notices. What has transpired constitutes her third fear regarding her emotions for Lan.

Consequently, Nynaeve doesn't reappear, leading the Aes Sedai to surmise her demise. They hold Liandrin responsible for manipulating Nynaeve, asserting she wasn't prepared.

To whom does Perrin swear his allegiance?

Perrin swears his allegiance to the High Lady Suroth, the former Seanchan noblewoman who "fell in disgrace and is now da'covale." The Seanchan women, who have pieces of gold covering their mouths, begin to pick young women to enslave.

One of Perrin's associates wants to fight but is picked out by a soldier to swear his allegiance to Suroth. He is made to kneel and, when he refuses, is killed by being impaled through his mouth and straight through his head.

Perrin hesitates to kneel and pledge his allegiance but is convinced to do so because his pride is not worth his life.

Leane is a mole for who?

No, Mat didn't meet a super cool girl out of chance on the other side of the prison wall. Liandrin planted Leane. We don't know why, but while Mat sleeps, Liandrin wakes him and tells Mat he can leave to be a friend to Gwen, who is upset after being told Nynaeve died in the arches.

Mat finds Gwen but leaves her and frees Leane, who lets Mat think their leaving is his idea. Leane meets Liandrin in the kitchen before they go. The Red Aes Sedai reminds Leane that this could free them from Moiraine' holding them with blackmail.

Other Notes:

  • Logain asks Rand to grab him a costly bottle of wine to answer his burning questions.

  • Gwen is informed that Nynaeve died in the arches and is overcome with grief. She then displaces her anger onto Elayne.

  • Rand informs Logain he is the Dragon Reborn, but the prisoner tells Rand he cannot stop it.

  • Perrin is woken by the Dark One as he is transported, who informs Perrin that Moiraine lied to him.

  • Perrin is freed by a wolf pack led by Elyas, who escapes.

The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3 Ending Explained

How does Nynaeve make it back to the White Tower?

Nynaeve, somehow, is given a second chance when an archway appears. Living in an alternate reality, she has a young daughter with Lan. Perrin is there, who watches Nynaeve's daughter from time to time. Mat shows up with a note from her mother.

After eating dinner, Trollacs attack. Nynaeve takes her daughter to the secret shelter beneath the floor, just like in her first fear in archway one. Mat, Perrin, and Lan are all killed. Suddenly, the archway appears. Nynaeve grabs her daughter and runs through.

However, when she arrives back at the white tower, a red blood stain is all she is holding, and her daughter is gone. She was seeing the entire scene when she walked into the second arch. You also notice her daughter is dressed in red.

Grade: "The Wheel of Time episode, "What Might Be," is simply the best one-hour of television Prime Video has ever done. Filled with twists, turns, suspense, and excitement, The Wheel of Time is turning into the series Prime Video envisioned." 10/10

What did you think of The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 3? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Prime Video.

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Cassidy McGarry
Cassidy McGarry

Good recap. I didn't notice that Suroth was called da'covale so that's something for when I rewatch. A couple names in the review threw me off for a moment, Sam, Gwen and Leanne but after figuring out who reviewer referred to, I got the gist of the summary

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