The Wheel of Time returns to our screens with a season finale that raises more questions. This is a spoiler review, so please check out our previous coverage of the series HERE.
Episode 8 of The Wheel of Time – titled “The Eye of the World” – ends season 1 of Amazon’s standout series. Some questions are answered, while some are not. Some new things are brought to light, and left dangling for the future. Let’s break down what happened by group.
Firstly, we see the past… 3000 years before to be precise. The Dragon Reborn, Lews Therin Telamon, and the Tamyrlin Seat Latra Posae Decume argue about how to handle the Dark One. She warns Lews that he and his men could take the world back 1000 years. If he continues, she and her women Aes Sedai will pick the pieces back up. All this takes place in a nursery, where Lews calls himself the dad to the baby. The two Aes Sedai speak a different language than we hear in the present time, and when we see a glimpse outside the window, we see ships flying, and it looks like a futuristic utopia.
In the present, Egwene (Madeleine Madden) and Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) confess their love for Rand, hoping he’ll make it through, while Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) shows Lan (Daniel Henney) how to track Moiraine. Worried, Egwene, Nynaeve, and Perrin confront Min on what she saw for Rand. Min won’t tell them and sees several deaths of those in the bar, including Nynaeve’s. It’s then revealed an army of Trollocs is headed for the city. Inglemar says he and his personal guard will defend the Gap. Amalisa helps Inglemar put on armor, asking him to stay, or consider wearing their father’s armor. He refuses but says the battle will not be won. Amalisa tells him the city will not fall and begins to prepare defenses, wearing her father’s armor.
She requests any woman who can channel to meet with her, and Nynaeve and Egwene do. Inglemar’s men start breaking apart the stone under the throne, and Loial and Perrin help. Inglemar dies in defense of Fal Dara, while Amalisa unites the channelers to create a lightning storm to defeat the Trollocs. Perrin and Loial reveal the Horn of Valere, which can call the greatest warriors of the Pattern to aid in the Last Battle.
Amalisa is unable to release the power, which begins to kill the channelers, until Nynaeve takes what Egwene is channeling into herself, allowing Egwene to survive. Padan Fain attacks the throne room to take the Horn; and explains to Perrin that he, Nynaeve, Egwene, Rand, and Mat are all focal points for the Wheel. Typically there’s one or two in a generation, but this time there were five in a single village. Fain states all five have a part to play, the war is just beginning. Egwene, still outside the city, channels into Nynaeve, managing to bring her back.
For the rest of our group, Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and Rand (Josha Stradowski) travel through the Blight. When they take a rest, Rand dreams of the Dark One. He wakes to Moiraine, who consequently asks him what he dreamed of. Rand tells her it was the Dark One. As they continue on, Rand asks Moiraine what her plan is. She presents a sa’angreal, holding thousands of channeler’s power within. She wants Rand to channel into it to increase his power, to put the Dark One back where he belongs. Rand asks Moiraine to teach him to channel, and Moiraine says if he can, to avoid channeling, as it will drive him closer to madness. They arrive at the Eye of the World, and Rand recognizes it, from outside, and within.
Rand sees his past life in the middle of the room, with the Dark One. He proceeds to find himself in his dream life, created by the Dark One. Moiraine tries to wake Rand, and she is gentled by the Dark One. When he asks what side Moiraine thinks Rand will choose, she reveals her backup plan. She will kill Rand to prevent him from helping the Dark One escape. Rand asks the Dark One how he can make the dream real. Rand starts channeling, first light, and then dark. He thinks it through and then starts feeding power into the sa’angreal. Rand uses his love of who Egwene is to eliminate the Dark One, cracking the symbol below him and Moiraine.
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Rand tells Moiraine he cannot return with her because he has felt the madness. He asks her to tell the others he died at the Eye. She asks where he will go, but he simply says goodbye. Lan shows up to the Eye, and hugs Moiraine, asking where Rand is. Moiraine says he’s gone. When Lan asks her to unmask the bond, she confesses she can’t that she’s been cut off from the Source. Moiraine shows Lan a stone she’s been holding, cuendillar which is thought to be unbreakable. It was a piece of the symbol that cracked. Lan and Moiraine wonder what it could mean, and Moiraine believes this was not the Last Battle. She fears it could be the first.
Away from everything, on the far western coast, there’s a girl on a beach. Birds are flying in from the ocean, and she sees a flotilla. On one of those ships, we see four women, dressed strangely. Two speak a language, they are dressed similarly, and two with golden pieces in their mouths channel, while similar things happen on each ship. Together, they create a tidal wave, which is the last thing we see before the credits roll.
This season of The Wheel of Time was absolutely superb. The entire cast has done a marvelous job, and the writing staff has done a lot of work to present an entire book into eight hours of television. In terms of the season finale here, the directing by Ciaran Donnelly is once again extremely on point. The action sequences flow effortlessly, and yet again, they had a lot to deal with in terms of what’s on-screen. Rafe Judkins, the showrunner, gets to bookend the season as the writer of the episodes, and in doing so has to begin and end what the viewer sees. He absolutely brought an intriguing world to life.
There are thirteen books in The Wheel of Time, all revolving around our core group of five I believe, so there’s a lot left in the story. I hoped we would get more on the rest of the five besides Rand, but we will have to see that in future seasons. While it’s intriguing Egwene was able to heal Nynaeve after she died, it’s definitely a bit anticlimactic. Otherwise, nothing too spectacular from them. And the final scene we get is definitely intriguing to see where we’ll end up in season two. I will say, I was sorely lacking some Henney in this episode.
Overall, the creators have really outdone themselves. Pike is definitely the queen of the show, she knows precisely what she’s doing, and is killing every minute of it. Henney, Madden, and Bose are all ones to watch for where they’ll go from here. Is it time for season 2 yet? – Katie Rentschler
The Wheel of Time Season 1 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.