The Wheel Of Time – Season 1, Episode 4: The Dragon Reborn

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With our heroes still split into three groups, we start to get some world building that adds some clarity to what is going on. The storylines with Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford), who are travelling with a band of Tinkers, and Rand (Josha Stradowski) and Mat (Barney Harris), who are on the run with Thom the Gleeman (Alexandre Willaume), are mostly pushed aside so the focus is on Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), Lan (Daniel Henney), Nynaeve (Zoe Robbins) and the Aes Sedai.

We kick off with the Christ-like figure of the self-proclaimed Dragon Reborn, Logain (Alvaro Morte), channeling power to take a city from it’s king. He is infected by the darkness, that manifests itself in the form dark tendrils that whisper into his ear like a devil on his shoulder, but he is still in control. He spares the monarch’s life in exchange for allegiance. Jumping forward to the present, when Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve encounter him he has been imprisoned in a cage by a group of lead by Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood), a red-ringed Aes Sedai. As channelling the One Power drives men mad, her plan is to Gentle him which is basically a process where he will be magically neutered. This brings her into conflict with Kerene (Clare Perkins), a green-ringed Aes Sedai, who believes he should stand trial. If Logain is really the Dragon Reborn, they can’t afford to strip him of his power.

Eslewhere, Rand, Mat, and Thom are looking for shelter and are taken in by a farming faimily in exchange for labour. Mat is clearly still suffering from the effects of the daggar he picked up in Shadar Logoth and this is putting everyone at unease even though he bonds with the farmers young daughter. Thom, who seems to have knowledge of what is going on but won’t share, tells Rand his thinks Mat can channel the One Power. He might be the Dragon Reborn but it is looking like the madness is already setting in. During the night, Rand is awoken to find Mat surrounded by the dead farmer and his family, has the worst happened? Not yet, as a Fade emerges from the shadows and tries to kill them. Thom jumps to their rescue going hand to hand with the Fade and exhibiting a surprising amount of skill with a blade. Rand and Mat escape and Thom’s fate becomes a mystery.

The slowest part of the episode is Perrin and Egwene storyline. They get a lesson in pacifism, or as it is known in this world “the Way of the Leaf”, while on their travels with the Tinkers. They are pacifists to the extreme and would rather be killed so they can fertilise the plants than stand up for themselves. It’s surprising their ideology has survived in this world of monsters. But again, they seem like they have a great knowledge of everything that is going on and are just not saying. If only people would talk to each other then this Dragon Reborn conundrum would be answered a lot quicker.

It’s back at the Aes Sedai camp that the story moves forward. Moiraine is healed by Kerene and we can finally move on from the injury she received in the first episode. We start to see the world through the eyes of Nynaeve, a character unfamiliar with this environment, we learn about it along with her. She begins to form a bond with Lan and we are informed on various things from this world, like religion, the relationships between the Warders and the Aes Sedai, religion, and the meaning Aes Sedai’s different coloured clothing.

All seems to be calm until Logain’s army attack. This distraction give him a chance to escape and in the process he kills Kerene. Her warder, Stepin (Peter Franzén), senses this due to their bond and everyone rushes to the cave where Logain was imprisoned. All the Aes Sedai join forces to recapture him but Stepin, stricken with grief, tries to kill Logain with a blow from an axe. Logain’s powers cause the axe to shatter, with the shrapnel kill many of those present. Nynaeve, in shock by seeing Lan bleeding out through a neck wound, channels the One Power for the first time with an explosion of light. She heals everyone an pushes Logain back. With everyone in shock at what has happened, Liandrin takes the opportunity to link all the Aes Sedais powers to gentle Logain, ending his threat.

With everything now set up, the show is starting to find it’s groove. This is the best episode so far and feels more polished all round. Now that we are playing with more than just our core characters, all of which initially felt a bit bland, the show has been injected with a bit of flavour and lifted everyone’s performances. If only the Tinkers, who you would think would liven everything up, weren’t so dull.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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