Having now watched the latest episode here is my The Wheel of Time Episode 4 review. Boy was this a good episode, loved it. Before I get into why let me set up my SPOILER policy here. This review will have some SPOILERS for Episode 4 (minimum I can), but NO BOOK SPOILERS after Episode 4. I’ll talk a little about some changes, but nothing that will reveal where the story is going.
Episode 4 carries on unsurprisingly from where we left off in Episode 3. There are now three groups of characters. We have Rand, Matt and Thom as group 1. Perrin and Egwene with the Tinkers as group 2. Finally we have Moiraine, Lan, and Nynaeve as group 3. I am going to talk about each of these separately.
I really enjoyed everything between Rand, Matt and Thom. In some ways, this little segment is most similar to how the books go, and yet there are changes. As said previously, in the books there is little mystery to who The Dragon Reborn really is. In the show they are doing a really good job so far of making that very vague. As such there are a few changes to how things go down with Rand, Matt and Thom.
However, this won’t be the last time this episode where I say the show version may actually be superior to the books. In the books Matt, Rand and Thom spend a lot more time travelling from village, to village, In the show this is all condensed into one episode and it works far better for me. Sacrilege for book fans I know. However I did always think the first book dragged a little in this section. The actors do incredibly well here and this episode with all three groups manages to fit in a lot of exposition whilst making it feel natural and still well paced.
The attack by the Fade was horrific and I felt so sorry for that family, and Matt especially. Unless, was it Matt or the Fade who killed them? Thom protecting the boys by taking on the Fade was in the books as well, but not quite as dramatically as it was presented here and it was great.
Perrin and Egwene’s journey with the Tinkers wasn’t exactly a highlight in the book for me. However there is a lot of good lore in this secti9on and somehow the show managed to reduce all that to a few scenes with Perrin. I suspect things in the Tinker camp will liven up next week. But the way the Tinkers were represented by one story was actually pretty heartbreaking and in my opinion beautifully written and performed. I ‘got’ Perrin more this week finally.
We spend the least time with this group in Episode 4, but what we do get is just perfection for me. Plus we needed more time for group 3 below.
What’s most interesting here is that in the books this group is who we spend least time with. In the show, this has all been expanded out and it’s true again to say the show did better than the book here for me. In the books Logain is eventually stilled/gentled, whatever term you wish to use. The end result of all this will be the same in the show, but instead of having this all explained to us in future books, they show us the events in real time.
Where exactly Logain is gentled is different, but this was far more powerful than having it happen ‘off-screen’ like the book. The best thing was getting to see Aes Sedai interact with their warders. It might seem silly, but in the books it is all written from a PoV angle. That means the only Aes Sedai and Warder relationships we truly see much of are the ones that have PoV’s like Lan and Moiraine.
There’s so much to like here. Subtle differences between Aes Sedai and their warders depending on which Ajah they are from. For example, the greens often take more than one and also quite often marry them and have that kind of relationship as well. Red’s, they take no warders and generally most of them don’t even like men that much. I don’t mean in a sexual sense as that’s not quite always the case. Then we get to the battle and we see multiple Aes Sedai fighting with their warders protecting them whilst other Aes Sedai shield Logain. It was so cool.
Logain himself was excellent and I loved how they depicted the madness of the corruption upon the male side of the One Power. Logain believes his madness is actually previous versions of the Dragon trying to teach him how to be better. Moiraine is convinced Logain is not the Dragon though. He is both too old and despite being strong, not as strong as the Dragon should be.
Then we have everyone suddenly dying on the floor. Lan’s throat cut, Moiraine Impaled, others several injured and Lan looks certain to die even with Aes Sedai help. A saddened and angry Nynaeve then explodes with the One Power and heals everyone, causing even Logain to realize how powerful she is. I was almost in tears at that scene it was so well done, immediately followed by Logain’s tears as he is cut off from the One Power forever. Such a powerful scene and we learn one very important detail. Nynaeve, despite being untrained, is a helluva lot more powerful than any of the Aes Sedai we have met thus far, far outstripping even Moiraine. You better believe the Aes Sedai are about to take a far keener interest in Nynaeve than she’d like. Phenomenal stuff.
There is one tiny little detail I hope they explain, maybe a plot hole, maybe not? Men can feel, but they cannot see the weaves of the Aes Sedai. Women cannot see, or feel the weaves of a male channeler. Yet, when Logain see’s the power of Nynaeve he is taken aback. I hope they explain that it produced some sort of visible light, or that he didn’t actually see anything, just felt it. Men already have an advantage slightly over women in the books because they are able to tell when a women is channeling whereas women cannot even do that without some aid. I guess we will find out in time?
This is to those who ate all book changes and want a blow by blow visual version of the hooks. It would be rotten and you’d hate it despite it being what you asked for. You cannot read the minds of character on a TV show or film. There would be hours of characters lying in bed thinking about the days events and it having to be narrated by the character. That’s awful. Book HAVE to be changed for the visual medium.
What I love about this show is that it feel like a different story slightly than the books, but one that will have the same broad end results. Exactly as creator Robert Jordan described how two ages that are the same would still be different when the Wheel comes around again. The show could be 500k years before the books, or it could be a Million years after the books. The end will still be the end, but how we get there may change.
So far I’d say that Episode 4 did the job of about 10 chapters in the book in one episode and also did it better by showing and not telling. A good example of this is the build up of respect between Nynaeve and Lan, it’s in the books also, but much harder to see because of the whole PoV thing. So when some stuff happens eventually, it kinda comes as a surprise. I am liking Nynaeve much more than I did at this point of the books. She went on to become my favorite female character for sure in the books, but I didn’t initially like her.
This is adaptation done with care and attention and also being brave enough to make some changes. Bravo! This is now the series I look forward to new episodes of the most. Hawkeye is decent, but it’s just not this good. As such, The Wheel of Time Episode 4 is the first I’m going top marks for.
We will also be recording a new episode of The Dragon Reviewed this weekend folks. I will be once again joined by Kyle and Christine as they review and theorize about the show having never read the books and I will be there to guide them along. You can catch episode 1 above where we cover the first three episodes of the show last week in the second related section above.
What did you think of my The Wheel of Time Episode 4 review. What did you think of The Wheel of Time Episode 4? Leave any thoughts below as always.