THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 4 of The Wheel of Time.

These are my deep look into each episode of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. I will investigate each episode in depth and give my reactions, thoughts, and takeaways. These dives are for book readers as they contain heavy spoilers throughout while I weigh each episode against my knowledge of the books and story and will touch upon things throughout the books. I will focus on the episode itself and will not delve into future episodes.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

When I first finished watching this episode, I was in tears. Not a heavy downpour. Just a raw, emotional high had over swept me. It was a rollercoaster the whole way through. There were some moments of touching character development and moments of intensity. Through it all, I enjoyed just about any minute of it. In fact, I can’t think of anything off-hand that I didn’t like. My deep dive into the episode follow.

FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and my reference any point in any of the books. If you have not read the books or seen the episode and want to avoid spoilers, DO NOT READ ON until you have done so. You HAVE been WARNED!

EPISODE DISECTION

Plot

Every episode so far has had a cold open and this one is no different. We start out with a flashback to the kingdom of Ghealdan. The castle is under siege and soldiers are frantically running everywhere. The king is in retreat as a figure follows. Battered and wounded, the king becomes cornered as the figure approaches. The man is Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte). He is the self-proclaimed Dragon Reborn. They converse and Logain convinces the king that he is not there to conquer. Despite voices telling him to kill the king, he instead heals him and gains him as a follower.

Perrin / Egwene

Following the opening credits, we cut back to the present. Again, we split between several different plot lines. The first plot line is Perrin and Nynaeve and their time with the Tuatha’an (the Tinkers). The two are welcomed by the group, in particular Aram. As the wagons roll out, the pair follows along. They are told of the beliefs of the Tuatha’an, a pacifist belief called The Way of the Leaf. When they stop for a rest, the group partakes in merriment and dancing. Egwene is swept in as Aram gets close to her. Perrin, on the other hand, pulls in on himself and has a discussion with Ila.

What I enjoyed about this scene is how Perrin’s internal conflict resonates within himself. When he wonders why they don’t defend themselves, Ila turns it on him, asking how he has felt since he held the axe. This leaves Perrin internalizing. The scene and his later discussion with Ila about the Way of the Leaf, her story as to why she follows it, was quite powerful.

Rand / Mat / Thom

The next plotline follows Mat, Thom, and Rand as they race across the countryside. They have procured horses, apparently through horse theft on the part of the gleeman. They come to a farm and intend to sneak into the barn and sleep for the night. However, they are waylaid by the farmer and his family. They manage to convince the farmer that they mean no harm and agree to work for a little rest.

Mat (Barney Harris) sees ‘something’ while Rand (Josha Stradowski) and Thom (Alexandre Willaume) look on.

As they work, Mat seems to be getting a little sick. He steps away and spits up a blackness that soon disappears. He is startled by a little girl. She gives him bread and they have a conversation about his sisters. She gives him a doll, Birgette to take to them. Meanwhile Thom tells Rand the story of his nephew. The boy was able to channel and was eventually gentled by the Aes Sedai, followed later by suicide. Thom is concerned that Mat may be able to channel as well and that is the reason for his behavior.

Later, Rand has a dream where he sees Perrin beating on a forge. However, there is a body on that forge. Mat walks by in a trance with bloody hands and Egwene is taken captive by the mysterious fire-eyed man. When he wakes, Mat is missing. He and Thom go to the farmhouse and find the family slaughtered. Mat is standing in a trance with his dagger out toward a corner. They soon realize that there is a Fade there and it attacks. Thom holds it off while the boys make their escape.

This was a great plot line. Mat’s connection with the girl was touching, but painful given her fate. It was interesting to hear the story of Thom’s nephew as well. I have heard complaints about the blackness that comes out of Mat’s mouth. I think it is obvious that this a subtle hint for those who are not familiar with the books the source of Mat’s sickness. It is a visual representation.

Moiraine / Lan / Nynaeve

This plotline kicks off with the three now in the Aes Sedai camp as they guard the captured Logain. Moiraine is being healed by Kerene Sedai (Clare Perkins) while Lan is practicing with her Warder, Stepin (Peter Franzén). Nynaeve is overlooking the camp when she is approached by Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood). They exchange some words until Lan approaches and Liandrin leaves. Later, Nynaeve joins Lan at the fire with the other Warders and we get some good banter and some exposition.

Moiraine joins her sisters with Logain and they discuss the how strong he is. You can sense some mistrust between the sisters. Moiriane and Alanna (Priyanka Bose) reminisce about their time as novices while they shield Logain together. These scenes give us some exposition and insight into the sisterhood of the Aes Sedai.

Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) confronts Logain (Alvero Morte).

After Lan later leaves Nynaeve by the fire, he returns to Moiraine, and they discuss the Dragon. Moiraine obviously does not believe that Logain is the Dragon. The next day, Lan and Nynaeve share a touching scene together where they appear to connect. However, it is cut short by a disturbance in the camp.

Karene and Liandrin are in with Logain and the former mentions that her wards are alerting her that Logain’s followers are attacking the camp. Outside, the Warders and other Aes Sedai are gathered for defense. As the battle begins, Alanna stops some incoming arrows and uses them against the attackers. They make a strategic retreat to the cave. Inside the cave, Logain overpowers the shield held against him, throwing both his Aes Sedai guards across the room.

Moriane walks in and confronts him. She tells him that the voices he hears are madness. Karene strikes him with the power and the three sisters quickly place another shield on him. As they do, he strikes out. Karene sacrifices herself to protect Moiraine and Liandrin and pays with her life. Her Warder is struck by the loss. He goes into a rage on the battlefield, quickly dispatching anybody in his way, and rushes to the cave. As others begin piling into the cave, Stepin arrives and sees the body of his bonded Aes Sedai. He launches himself into a strike against Logain. This disrupts the shield and Logain shatters his axes, sending shards across the room.

Many are taken down, including Liandrin, Moiraine, and Lan. Nynaeve, sees this and rushes to Lan’s side. She screams as a blazing light surrounds her and weaves strike out to all who are injured, instantly healing their wounds. This sets Logain back and he is left vulnerable enough for the Aes Sedai to link and gentle him on the spot. The episode ends with a look at Nynaeve, haggard from the exertion, but with a fierce look on her face.

This was what I came for! I have been uncertain about many changes made for the adaptation. This scene was one as well. However, most of my doubts about the show have all but washed away with this scene. It was an epic moment to be sure. I am now invested in this series full hearted.

Characters

The character development for many of the characters comes through well in this episode. In episode 3, Mat referenced his background in horse trading. This episode has him demonstrating it when he is trying to calm the horse he is riding. Later, he even mentions that the mare he is riding is afraid of her own shadow. They were small demonstrations, but great nods to his knowledge of horses.

He also has a great moment with the little girl. It is a great moment, reminding of his love for his sisters. And I loved the call-out to the fans with the name of the doll, Birgette. It makes what happens on the farm later in the episode even more painful. And I was sorry to see that he dropped the doll while making his escape.

While Rand doesn’t get much in the way of development, it is good to see that he begins to relax when it comes to Thom. The conversation they have seems to go a long way toward that. Egwene doesn’t get much development either. The Tuatha’an plotline seems to focus mostly on Perrin and his struggle. While it played out differently in the books, his struggle with violence is a key part of his character. I feel I am beginning to accept the change they made with giving him a wife in the first episode. I do question whether Egwene knows that it was Perrin that delivered the fatal blow. They way she responded when Ila asked him whether he ever picked up an axe seemed to indicate that she knew.

It is great seeing Moiraine with her fellow Aes Sedai in this episode. She is still as guarded as ever, and even her sisters point it out. But there is an air of familiarity that helps to open her up to the viewer a little. The real shining character development comes from Nynaeve. It is shown that she can read people through her interaction with Liandrin. The best part was the moment when Liandrin leaves, she immediately tells Lan that the woman is a snake.

Lan (Daniel Henney) protecting Nynaeve (Zoe Robins)

Her character is further revealed at the campfire with the Warders. She seems to boast about tracking Lan to the other Warders’ delight (I still want to know how, especially given the changes to her background). It was also good to see her growing admiration and respect of Lan. She is clearly easing on him as she gets to know him and letting her guard down. He is clearly doing the same with her. Their conversation about the ritual and the words that her parents told her before they hid her away really showed how they were connecting.

Of course, her character really shined during the climax of the episode. I was beginning to expect that Nynaeve would do something to help at the end, but I was in no way prepared for the events that unfolded. When Moiraine went down, I just thought, “Great! She just got healed.” When I saw Lan go down with a mortal wound to his neck, I was in shock.

Special Effects / Action

The effects and action were good this episode. I don’t have too many complaints from what I saw. One complaint that I have heard was the blackness leaking from Mat’s mouth. I understood this to be a way of visually cluing the viewer in on the source of his “sickness.”

Alanna (Priyanka Bose) and her Warder prepare to defend.

I loved watching the Aes Sedai working in tandem during the Dragonsworn battle. An example is a Warder turning to hold up his shield to block incoming arrows while his Aes Sedai stood behind and prepared her weave. Even Nynaeve got in on the early action as a man tried to overtake her. She immediately fought him off with barely a blink.

Of course, the highlight was during the last few minutes. The struggle with Logain and Nynaeve’s subsequent mass healing were sights to behold. Especially the latter, that was the scene that left me in tears of awe.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

As I said, this episode left me in tears. Not tears of sadness. But tears that spawned from the raw emotion that overwhelmed me as the final events unfolded. As the series goes on, there are still things that could be done (scenes omitted, changes to egregious) that could pull me away from the show. But I am now hooked and anxious to see where they take things from here.

LINKS

First Thoughts

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

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THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 3 A Place of Safety

My (SPOLIER-FILLED) deep dive into episode 3 of The Wheel of Time.

These are my deep look into each episode of Amazon Prime’s The Wheel of Time. I will investigate each episode in depth and give my reactions, thoughts, and takeaways. These dives are for book readers as they contain heavy spoilers throughout while I weigh each episode against my knowledge of the books and story and will touch upon things throughout the books. I will focus on the episode itself and will not delve into future episodes.

INITIAL REACTIONS

Summary

I enjoyed episode 3 “A Place of Safety” a lot and felt it did good to move the plot further. Now that we are getting aligned with the characters and their motivations, this episode placed each many of the characters into situations that would be the pivotal turn for their development in the first season. It furthered the worldbuilding for the viewer, introducing more elements from the greater world, and had wonderful plot and character development.

FINAL WARNING: Following this paragraph will contain HEAVY SPOILERS of the episode and my reference any point in any of the books. If you have not read the books or seen the episode and want to avoid spoilers, DO NOT READ ON until you have done so. You HAVE been WARNED!

EPISODE DISECTION

Plot

Egwene and Perrin encounter some Tinkers

After the conclusion of the 2nd episode, episode 3 opens with a flashback to Nynaeve being dragged by a trolloc into the woods. It drops her to check up on an injured fellow trolloc, then begins to brutalize it and eat it. Nynaeve takes this time to escape. She flees into the cave with the sacred pool and hides while the trolloc pursuits her. As it enters the pool, attempting to spear fish her, she rises behind like a callback to Predator or Apocalypse Now, grabs its sword and kills the beast. The scene ends with the epic braid flip from the trailer, and we cut back to her having Lan at sword point – the same sword she swiped from the trolloc.

That was an epic setup and showcase of Nynaeve’s character. This is even furthered with her confrontation with Lan as she demands the whereabouts of her friends. He tries to convince her to help Moiraine who is badly wounded before finally disarming her. This whole setup is a key moment and a wonderful framework for what happens with their characters in the future.

From there, we cut to Rand and Mat in a hilly area calling out for Egwene and Perrin. Mat calms Rand down and points out that his yells could bring them danger. When he tries to convince Rand to return home with him, Rand insists on traveling on to Tar Valon as that was their destination.

Moving on to Egwene and Perrin, they are crossing a plain while being harried by wolves. They seek out an out cove where they get a fire started; though they don’t know if it was Perrin’s traditional method of rock and blade or Egwene using the power that started it. They take shelter by the fire, using it to keep the wolves at bay.

The rest of the episode is a lot of going back and forth between plotlines. So I’m gonna focus on what at a time at this point. It is here that we return to Lan, Nynaeve, and Moiraine. Lan convinces Nynaeve to treat Moiraine’s wound. She gathers some herbs and makes an ointment to ease the pain. It is slow going, but it gives Lan and Nynaeve time to further connect. Though, Nynaeve is a bit closed to the Warder’s questioning. Eventually, he leaves her to tend to Moiraine to find help. He returns to gather them up and lead them to safety and help.

They finally come to that help in the form of a group of Aes Sedai. Moiraine is well enough by this time to communicate, and they find that the Aes Sedai has captured a man who calls himself Dragon. This plot, while not very active, did give some quality character time. While Moiraine is out of commission through most of the scene, she does feverishly call out a name that holds significance to her. Nynaeve and Lan, as mentioned, spend some time together and you see that he is both annoyed by and intrigued with this woman who was able to track him. I DO hope that she eventually provides the explanation as to how she followed and located them.

We return to Perrin and Egwene. Perrin has a dream where he discovers a wolf eating the remains of his wife, Laila. She then turns her head at him and we get a glimpse of the flame eyed being before he wakes from the dream.

They wake and run from the wolves. But when they reach wagon tracks, it becomes apparent that the wolves are holding back and not chasing them. It is as if they were guiding the pair. After a touching scene where Egwene sees the conflict within Perrin, they follow the tracks and encounter a group of people known as the Traveling Folk, or Tinkers. They are taking in and fed and this is where their plot ends for this episode.

The last plot sees Mat and Rand coming to a small mining town. There is a person in a cage that Mat later learns in an Aiel. They go to a tavern and encounter the innkeeper, Dana (Izuka Hoyle), and the gleeman, Thom Merrilin (Alexandre Willaume). The gleeman sings a chilling song about “The Man Who Can’t Forget” and teaches Mat a valuable lesson. These ask Dana for a bed and Rand insists they will work for it. She leads them out to cut wood and serve drinks, having discussions with each one in turn.

Later, Mat goes out, thinking to take the belongings from the caged Aiel when he is interrupted by Thom. Thom lets him carry out his task in exchange for helping to bury the man. He then tells Mat about the Aiel. They exchange names and Mat steals back his coin purse, to Thom’s admiration.

Back at the inn, Rand finishes chopping wood and Dana leads him to a room. They have a conversation about their lives and begin to connect. When she leans in for a kiss, however, Rand jerks back. She then reveals that she looked too much like Egwene and this unsettles Rand. She takes his sword, and he tries to escape through the door which is now locked. Despite Dana telling him that the door in impossible to break through, he does just that and escapes.

He runs into Mat as Dana pursuits, and they run away together. Dana takes a shortcut and cuts them off where she reveals that she has had dreams of “the five of them.” She reveals that a Fade is coming and tells them that she has aligned with the shadow. As she tries to convince them to give up, a knife protrudes through her throat. Thom overheard the conversation and urges them to escape with him.

Characters

A lot of great character moments happen in this episode. First, we have Perrin who is dealing with his guilt and almost confesses to Egwene about what happened with Laila. There is also allusions to he connection with the wolves when he realizes that they were forcing them in a direction that led to help.

Again, Nynaeve and Lan are given much development together and we see that she is more than just a wisdom of some backwater town. You can see the admiration on Lan, despite his annoyance with her. In the earlier scenes, his shock that she tried to kill him after he just said that she wouldn’t almost had a hint of respect.

Rand comes off a bit innocent (though not as much as in the books at this point). Mat really shines in this episode. He has a few great lines throughout and his interactions with Thom are another sign of what’s to come.

Special Effects / Action

There are some great, subtle effects in this episode as well. One of the greatest is a scene towards the end after Dana is killed. As they walk away, the camera pans down to show her blood streaming across the street. This transitions smoothly into the tree line of the next scene where Lan, Moiraine, and Nynaeve encounter the Aes Sedai.

Another great affect I didn’t even notice until my third watch of the episode. As Perrin seemingly wakes up in his forge to the sound of thunder, he rises and begins looking for Laila. As he passes a window, red eyes appear from outside the window and form into the figure seen in Rand’s dream in episode 2. The scene was chilling and gave me exorcist vibes.

OVERALL FEELING

Summary

Overall, this was a great episode. Ranking the plot points, I would put Perrin and Egwene at third, Lan and Nynaeve at second, and Mat and Rand at first. However, all had their ups and downs. I was a little put out that it was Ila (Maria Doyle Kennedy) that “led” the tinkers where the books had Raen (Narinder Samra) filling the position of “seeker.” I did like Aram (Daryl McCormack). He certainly gives the vibe of a conflicted person who doesn’t necessarily belong with the group he is a part of. I am sure the nature of the Tinkers will be explored in future episodes (likely the next one)

I spoke several times about the connection between Nynaeve and Lan. Their chemistry is something to keep an eye on. Though I wasn’t certain about moving the introduction of Thom back, I am feeling much more comfortable with it after watching this episode. I think I even like this grittier portrayal of the character.

With the third episode in the can, I am anxiously awaiting the 4th episode. By the time I got to write this, the previews have already begun surfacing online. As soon as I watch it, I will drop my spoiler free review and reaction followed by the in-depth analysis (which should be) by the next day. Unfortunately, I was delayed a bit with this reviews due to life at home (with a newborn).

Conclusion

LINKS

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episodes 1 – 3 – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

The Wheel of Time First Thoughts – Episode 4 (Spoiler Free) – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

Deep Dives

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 1 Leavetaking – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 2 Shadow’s Waiting – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)

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THE WHEEL OF TIME DEEP DIVE ep. 4 The Dragon Reborn – S. J.Serio (sjserio.com)