As The Wheel of Time keeps turning for season 2, our story gets darker and all the more magical.
Prime Video has been hit and miss with fantasy over the years. But The Wheel of Time is proving to be one of the most high calibre shows the streamer has under its belt – and season 2 is another testament to that.
Season 1 had the difficult job of introducing fans to a complex and rich high fantasy world, succeeding in a way that meant that Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's story could reach a whole new audience. At least in the first four episodes provided for review, season 2 has the luxury of slowing down, giving us longer to spend with flawed characters – and it's all the better for it.
We pick up with our heroes following the "final battle" at the end of season 1 – which turned out not to be the final battle at all, but only the beginning of the terrors to come. Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Nynaeve (Zoe Robins) are on a journey to harness their powers but it proves more difficult than either of them could ever have imagined. Nynaeve's journey is actually one of the most compelling in season 2 as she faces horrors along the way, while her friendship with Egwene is tested to the limit.
Elsewhere, Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) is on his own journey, figuring out powers teased in season 1 while Rand (Josha Stradowski), believed dead by his friends, hides away. Unfortunately, despite the revelation of Rand as the Dragon Reborn in season 1, he remains the most boring member of the group, seemingly losing all agency in the first episodes of season 2.
Thankfully, Rand's story is the only place in which the story sags a little, and Rosamund Pike continues to be the glue that ties everything together as the inscrutable Moiraine. At the end of season 1, we saw her lose everything as she was cut off from the One Power, with that thread continuing into season 2 while her relationship with warder Lan (Daniel Henney) is changed completely. Plus, we learn more about her backstory than ever before.
Elsewhere, we're re-introduced to Mat, now played by Dónal Finn after he replaced Barney Harris in the role. While re-castings are never easy, Finn does well to embody the character of Mat without mimicking Harris. As we start season 2, Mat's as troubled as ever, wracked with guilt after his absence at last season's battle, and wondering whether his friends will ever forgive him.
As season 2 gets darker, it also introduces new characters with some having a bigger impact than others. Kate Fleetwood's Liandrin Guirale has a larger role this season, providing a mesmerising performance while Kae Alexander's Min Farshaw is similarly compelling.
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Only time will tell as to how the rest of the season will play out, but the first four episodes provide a promising start, setting up bigger stakes – not an easy feat when you consider what happened in season 1. Tearing our heroes apart was a risk but it gives them time to shine on their own and even more of a reason to fight – to find their way back to each other.
Read more Wheel of Time:
- Wheel of Time season 2: Release date, cast and plot
- The Wheel of Time's Mat Cauthon recast explained: Who is actor Dónal Finn?
- The Wheel of Time heroes torn apart in season 2 trailer
- How did The Wheel of Time season 1 end? Full recap
We're faced with even more horrifying enemies, even more suspense, and even more magic. There are still elements we'd love to see from the remaining episodes, namely a little more epic action, more jaw-dropping shocks and surprises, and the pace picking up a little with Rand's story – all of which we suspect are on the way.
The Wheel of Time is already a force to be reckoned with. Now it has a chance to sit among the fantasy greats – here's hoping it's not a chance squandered.
The Wheel of Time season 2 will be available to stream on Prime Video on 1st September.
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