The Wheel of Time Season 1, Ep. 4: “The Dragon Reborn”
Amazon’s The Wheel of Time is back with another episode and W-O-W is it a good one. If you’ve been following the show, then you know that episode three, “A Place of Safety,” was the slowest one of the season so far. Even though it ended on a cliffhanger—a man who calls himself the Dragon reborn has been captured by the Aes Sedai—it wasn’t enough to jolt any energy into what was an otherwise dull episode. But this week’s installment more than makes up for episode three’s shortcomings.
“The Dragon Reborn” opens on the kingdom of Ghealdan, the buildings on fire and the people in a panic. Soldiers try to usher their king to safety while a man, Logan Albar (Álvaro Morte), follows ominously behind. He wields the One Power—which we learn turns men mad because the Dark One tainted it—and makes his way to the king. Instead of killing him, he tells the man, “The last Dragon broke the world. But I plan to bind it.”
We then cut to the present day, where Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) is being healed by another Aes Sedai by the name of Kerene Nagashi (Clare Perkins) and finds out that the false Dragon is being held in magical bonds. She tells Moiraine that his power is unlike anything she’s ever seen before and that it takes a constant watch of at least two Aes Sedai to keep him contain and even then the effort to stop him is extraordinary.
From here, the episode is divided into three sections, like the last one was.
Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene (Madeleine Madden) continue to journey with the Tuatha’an. They learn about the group’s non-violent ways, participate in a huge party after a day of travelling, and Aram (Daryl McCormack) talks to Egwene about the man she clearly still loves.
Rand (Josha Stradowski), Mat (Barney Harris), and Thom (Alexandre Willaume) continue their journey to find safety, eventually staying in a farmer’s barn for the night. It’s clear that Mat’s dreams about the Dark One are getting worse and even leading him to sleepwalk. Thom talks to Mat about his son who, like Mat, had a connection to the One Power and how he eventually killed himself when the Aes Sedai “gentled” him (aka. permanently severed his connection to magic). The episode ends with a Fade finding the group, and Thom holding it off so Mat and Rand can escape on horseback.
Back at the Aes Sedai camp, we learn about the deep connection that exists between a Warder and his Aes Sedai, the different types of Aes Sedais, and what some of them believe when it comes to the Dragon. Lan (Daniel Henney) and Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) grow closer, with Lan going so far as to help her to understand her parents’ final words to her before they were killed. As they’re talking, the Dragon’s army attacks the camp while he manages to break free of his magical bindings. Things go horribly wrong, and he kills Kerene and mortally wounds nearly everyone in camp, including Lan whose throat is slit. In the most shocking revelation of the episode, Nynaeve releases a guttural scream and a wave of power emanates from her and washes over everyone, healing their wounds. The Aes Sedai gentle Logan and the episode ends with audiences wondering if Nynaeve is the real Dragon.
Why We Loved the Episode
“The Dragon” reborn is a fast-paced episode of an already entertaining show. The battle scenes between Logan and the people of Ghealdan, as well as Logan and the Aes Sedai, are captivating, well shot, and full of intensity. The show does a great job of establishing characters—like that of Kerene and her Warder, Stepin (Peter Franzén)—so the battles feel especially high-stakes. Even though we were only introduced to Kerene this episode, her death had weight to it, and seeing Stepin mourn her was especially difficult.
Episode four also does a great job of helping us explore the lore of The Wheel of Time without feeling heavy-handed. We learned about the more insidious nature of the Aes Sedai, particularly their approach to men who get too close to the One Power, and saw firsthand what happens to someone who gets too close to magic they’re not meant to wield. We also get a nefarious glimpse at the Dark One’s hold on Mat, and what previously felt like inconsequential dreams now feels like a very real threat to their safety.
“The Dragon Reborn” feels like another masterful episode in fantasy writing and character building and keeps audiences excited for next week. If you haven’t started watching The Wheel of Time, we can’t encourage you enough to check it out on Amazon Prime, with new episodes available every Friday.