The Wheel of Time episode 4 continued the three separate plotlines from episode 3, with Moiraine, Lan and Nynaeve getting the spotlight. Rand, Mat and Thom dealt with a Fade while Perrin and Egwene learned more about the pacifistic Tinkers. This episode once again featured strong acting from all of the main cast and most of the side characters, especially Zoe Robbins (Nynaeve) and Daniel Henney (Lan).
I especially loved the chemistry between Lan and Nyaneve, both as characters and actors. Their relationship continued to grow into something that books fans will recognize. But this episode also introduced Logain Ablar (Álvaro Morte), not only a man who can channel, but also one who has proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn.
So, let's dive into the latest chapter of Amazon Prime Video's The Wheel of Time adaptation.
The Wheel of Time episode 4 recap: What happened with Mat?
In the last episode, a Darkfriend (someone sworn to the Dark One) attacked Rand and Mat. Thom, the gleeman they met, saved them and told them to flee the town with him. In episode 4, they came across a farm and earned a place to stay for the night in exchange for work. But in the night, Rand and Thom find a sick and deranged Mat in the farmhouse with the farmer family slaughtered. A Fade suddenly appeared from the shadows and attacked, so Rand and Mat ran while Thom fought the monster.
So did Mat kill the family or did the Fade? If you’ll notice, Mat’s ruby-hilted dagger was clean with no sign of blood. In the Wheel of Time books, Fades are known as particularly violent and sadistic creatures, so I like to think the one in this episode killed the farmers. Mat was obviously very sick, though, since we saw the black goop from Shadar Logoth coming out of his mouth.
Perrin and Egwene continued their slow plotline. They were still traveling with the Tinkers and we got to learn more about the pacificists. Their philosophy is called the Way of the Leaf, where they believe that all violence, and instruments of it, are abhorrent. The show did a better job of making the Tinkers seem less foolish than the books did, despite the fact that a hardcore pacifist lifestyle in a world with murderous monsters seems a bit ridiculous. (That’s not a stab at real-world pacificists, because I generally agree with them.)
Over with Moiraine, Lan and Nynaeve, an Aes Sedai named Kerene healed Moiraine’s wound while Lan and Nynaeve further developed their relationship. Nynaeve met the Warders accompanying the Aes Sedai who had captured Logain. But as things started to seem a bit too calm, the false Dragon’s army, which had presumably fled when he was captured, returned. This resulted in a fierce battle in the Aes Sedai camp. In the chaos, Logain broke free and killed Kerene.
Kerene’s Warder felt this and ran to the cave where the Aes Sedai held Logain. When a Warder’s Aes Sedai dies, he almost always will go into a fit of rage and grief, often throwing himself into danger to avenge her. Kerene’s Warder did just that, attacking Logain with his axes. Logain blocked the weapons with the Power and shattered them, shooting shrapnel throughout the cave. Everyone is wounded except Nynaeve — Moiraine has an axe haft in her belly and a shard of blade slashed Lan’s throat.
Episode 4 culminated in a reveal that Nynaeve can channel as she desperately tried to stop Lan from bleeding out. Not only that, but she’s extremely powerful.
The Wheel of Time episode 4 review: A noted improvement
The reveal of Nynaeve's powers worked really well. And while her healing of everyone wounded in the cave differs greatly from the book, it works. Nynaeve is a very strong character, both in will and strength in the One Power, and I was really glad to see the show reveal this so early on.
Since Moiraine, Nynaeve and Lan find themselves in an Aes Sedai camp, the show used this moment to show how these characters differ. The women of the White Tower come from all backgrounds and cultures, and you get to see bits of that in their attire. No two women look the same, with one even wearing a headscarf. The costuming department knocked it out of the park, showing us individuality from within the organization (even as they wore similar colors).
Logain’s story in this episode features much stronger characterization than he had in the first Wheel of Time book. Later on in the series, he becomes very important, so I liked seeing the show take the time to truly establish his character. It also helped that Álvaro Morte’s acting is incredibly good, truly selling himself as Logain to me like the rest of the cast has done.
The Wheel of Time also continued to impress me with the quality of the camera shots. From beautiful, sweeping landscapes to the gritty cave where the Aes Sedai imprisoned Logain, I found myself frequently noting how gorgeous everything looked. I also thought that the battle scene about halfway through the episode was shot well, with well-chosen camera angles.
This enables you to see more uses of the One Power, such as making the ground explode. This was followed by excellent choreography between the Aes Sedai and their Warders, which clued the audience in on the bond they share.
I also really enjoyed the visual representation of the Aes Sedai gentling Logain. (Gentling means permanently cutting a man off the One Power.) The female channelers literally ripped the Power out of him and I almost felt bad for him. He truly believed he was the Dragon Reborn, which I found compelling — he wasn’t really a villain, but rather a man who had decided to shoulder the burden of saving the world.
The Wheel of Time episode 4 outlook
Overall, I think this episode is the best one so far, and it's raising my overall view of the series. The acting, the cinematography, the costuming and the writing all stood out to me for their quality, even more than the previous two episodes.
The Wheel of Time’s first season is already half over and there’s a lot of ground left to cover. I suspect we’ll see more of Mat, Rand, Perrin and Egwene in episode 5, which lands on December 3.