The Wheel of Time season 2: a mixed return (review)

The Wheel of Time season 2: a mixed return (review)

Amazon Prime’s flagship fantasy series struggles to convince and, in wanting to do too much, gets lost in its flamboyant mythology…

After two years of waiting, season 2 of The Wheel of Time finally shows up. For those with fickle memories, the final episode revealed Rand as the Dragon Reborn, who then went with Moiraine to fight Ishmael in the ancient ruins of Fal Dara. But together, they did not defeat the Dark One, and they even freed him from his cage…

At the start of season 2, we find Moraine isolated, vulnerable, frustrated. Because in addition to having lost her powers following this confrontation, the Unique Power which linked her to Lan is no longer, and the two companions “find themselves in deafening silence, cut off from each other“, as recently told us Rosamund Pike. As for the five young people from Deux-Rivières, they are scattered all over the world: at the White Tower, Nynaeve and Egwene are training to become Aes Sedai, while Mat is sequestered there without them knowing it . Perrin goes in search of the Horn of Valère, and Rand hides incognito in a village.

Rosamund Pike: “Moraine will be much more vulnerable in season 2 of The Wheel of Time”

Only problem: the abrupt change of point of view makes the narration rather uneven, and it is sometimes difficult to detect the common thread. Especially since the threat that reigns and whose dangerousness we are told over and over again remains invisible, and the issues surrounding it escape us, especially when the twists and turns happen too quickly and do not have the expected impact. If only the fate reserved for each character could keep us in suspense and help us become attached to them… While some are still underdeveloped, between an Egwene who is too smooth and a Perrin whose fate matters little to us, others, like Rand, are definitely more in-depth but treated in a disappointing manner given their importance.

At the end of the first season, we could find the characters reduced to archetypes, it seems that these new episodes attempt to remedy this. First with Nynaeve, whose anger and doubts give her a certain depth, then with Mat, who brings humor and vulnerability. Of course, the strong point of the series remains the same: the complex bond between Lan and Moraine. The latter’s past, which is gradually revealed to us, allows us to better understand the reasons behind the cold and distant character that she establishes in each of her relationships…

Fans of the books, rather skeptical about season 1 of The Wheel of Time, will certainly not change their minds about this new season which attempts to condense two books – The Great Quest and The Dragon Reincarnated – in the space of 8 episodes. A little too ambitious? Maybe. But even if the series approaches its mythology fussily and gets lost in trying to do too much, it remains pleasant to dive into this universe rich in possibilities and new characters, with a feminist subtext that is always very intelligently introduced.

The Wheel of Time season 2, from September 1 on Prime Video (one episode per week). Number of episodes seen: 4/8

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