The Dragon Reborn — the real one, this time — is revealed in Wheel of Time’s penultimate episode.
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Courtesy Amazon Prime Video.

No, that's not a blanket tucked under her tunic. And, no, she's not Game Of Thrones' Ygritte. She's an Aiel, the pregnant warrior we see at the top of "The Dark Along The Ways," and, as we learn by episode's end, the baby in her belly grows up to be none other than Rand (Josha Stradowski), a.k.a the Dragon Reborn.

Before we learn all that, though, there's a journey to be had: Our heroes must cross the otherworldly Ways to the Borderlands, where they can seek out the Eye of the World and — fingers crossed — vanquish the imprisoned Dark One. Easy peasy.

Black as pitch and constructed from crumbling stone, the Ogier pathways are rife with terrors of their own. Loial (Hammed Animashaun) warns his fellow travelers not to use magic here, lest they stir up Machin Shin, a cruel specter also known as the Black Wind. As they carefully navigate the darkness, a question is raised: Did they leave Mat (Barney Harris) behind, or did he leave them? They're divided, but both Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and Lan (Daniel Henney) believe they're safer without him. "There's an inherent darkness to him," Moiraine says, noting that even if he were the Dragon Reborn, he'd likely side with the Dark One. This doesn't sit well with Rand, who's still fiercely protective of his friend.

Wheel of Time
Josha Stradowski as Rand al'Thor
| Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

The Ways, already an unwelcoming otherworld, becomes even eerier when the group finds a Guiding Stone that's been defiled, "as if someone was trying to destroy it." The sensation that they're being watched and/or followed is confirmed when a Trolloc rears its ugly head, scaring Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and summoning a reflexive burst of magic. The Trolloc is dead, but the Black Wind is awakened. As Moiraine and Loial frantically shepherd them to an exit, it swirls around the group like a swarm of shrieking bees and whispers their darkest fears into existence. Egwene is an imposter, it says. Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) wanted Layla dead. It tells Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) her friends will die screaming, just like her parents. Still, she's the one that saves them, powering through the onslaught and dropping a magic bomb that allows Moiraine the chance to open the Waygate and escape.

Free from its maddening swirl, our heroes stumble into the sickly shadow of Fal Dara. They're alive, but shaken. Thankfully, the city welcomes them, offering them sanctuary. They'll need it, too, as the Blight — the corrupted land wherein the Eye of the World resides — lies just beyond its walls.

There's also a handful of friendly faces to be found in Fal Dara, at least for Moiraine and Lan. Moiraine, for example, meets up with Min (Kae Alexander), an undercover bartender with the ability to see visions that foretell the future. What she sees in the Two Rivers folk is somewhat vague — Rand holding a baby, Perrin with golden eyes and blood on his chin — but what she sees about Moiraine is scarily specific. The Amyrlin Seat, she portends, will be her "downfall."

Wheel of Time
Kae Alexander (Min Farshaw)
| Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

Lan, meanwhile, is well-received in Fal Dara. In the evening, Nynaeve follows him as he sits for dinner with a local family. He spots her in no time, sneaks up on her, and invites her in. It's a nice evening, but Nynaeve still doesn't understand how these people know Lan. He explains to her that the family's patriarch was one of his father's armsmen when his family ruled over a nation called Malkier, which was long ago overrun by the Blight. It pains Lan to discuss it; he'd be its king if it still existed. But it also brings the pair closer, given that both lost their parents at a young age. He lets a chance for a kiss pass by when they part, but when Nynaeve slips into his room he can't resist her.

It's a big step for him. As we saw with Stepin, it's tragically easy for a Warder to allow his life to be consumed by the Aes Sedai. Earlier in the episode, he counters Moiraine's worry that she's "taken everything" from him by asserting that she has actually given his life meaning. Of course, multiple things can give a life meaning. By letting Nynaeve in, he's allowing himself to accept that.

Wheel of Time
Daniel Henney (Lan Mondragoran), Zoë Robins (Nynaeve al'Meara)
| Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

But not everybody is getting along as well as Lan and Nynaeve. When Moiraine reveals that the Eye of the World could be a suicide mission for everyone but the Dragon, Nynaeve defies the dictates of fate to which Moiraine's clung. It's their choice, she says, not the Wheel's. With Moiraine gone, Nynaeve questions why any of them should believe such an ancient prophecy. Egwene argues that it's bigger than the prophecy: "If there's a chance she's right, then it's worth it." For her, it's about doing what's right, not what the Wheel demands. Their argument soon sparks another, this time between Perrin and Rand. Rand curses her dismissiveness of Mat. Perrin defends her. Rand accuses Perrin of pining for Egwene. A decision isn't reached. No one wins.

Wheel of Time
Josha Stradowski (Rand al'Thor), Madeleine Madden (Egwene al'Vere)
| Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

Rand and Egwene patch things up in the late hours. He accepts that his fear of her leaving him to study at the White Tower is stifling her, acknowledging that her burgeoning power is something that can't be ignored. And if she becomes an Aes Sedai, he'd be honored to be her Warder.

Such a future is not in the cards, however. That night, his dreams remind him of what he's long been suppressing. It's become unavoidable since the Black Shadow whispered it in his ear. He's the one. He's the Dragon Reborn. We flash back to Tam's feverish memory of Rand's birth. To Dana's shock when he crashed through the iron door. And, most tellingly, it becomes clear that the reflexive burst of magic in the Ways didn't come from Egwene, but from Rand. He can touch the One Power.

Wheel of Time
Rosamund Pike (Moiraine Damodred)
| Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon Studios

This revelation brings him to Min. He asks her for clarity and she tells him of a vision she had years back upon seeing a man with the same heron-marked blade Rand now carries. It was Tam, who, we learn, was the soldier who set upon the pregnant Aiel we saw at the beginning of the episode. The Aiel died after the baby was born and Tam raised it as his own. Min calls that baby "something impossible." Rand, absorbing all of this, asks if he makes it back from the Eye of the World. Her refusal to answer speaks volumes. "I didn't think so," Rand sighs.

In the morning, Nynaeve, Egwene, and Perrin discover that Moiraine is gone. Rand is, too. Turns out they won't have to decide if they want to travel to the Eye of the World, after all. Rand and Moiraine are already on their way.

Beyond the city walls are our heroes, staring down a sweeping expanse of thick, spider-like thickets — the Blight. The road won't be easy.

Other Observations:

  • Moiraine says if Min's true nature were revealed, she'd be "hounded every minute of the day, or worse." Her powers seem to exist independent of the Aes Sedai. Why is she bartending?
  • Moiraine hasn't forgotten about Mat. In fact, she sends a message to Liandrin and the Red Ajah about him. That… doesn't bode well.
  • This show is so packed with plot that it's refreshing to see our heroes just banter over a beer in the ale house. I wish there were more moments like these.

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Related content:

The Wheel of Time
The Wheel of Time (TV series)

Based on the bestselling series of novels by Robert Jordan, this fantasy show follows the mystic Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) as she searches for the reincarnated messiah figure known as the Dragon Reborn, who can save the world from the Dark One

type
  • TV Show
rating
genre
creator
  • Rafe Judkins
network
  • Amazon Prime Video

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