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Amazon’s ‘The Wheel Of Time’ Stumbles At The End – Spoiler Filled Season End Review

8 Minute Read
Dec 29 2021
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Amazon’s new Wheel of Time series attempts to adapt a sprawling and beloved fantasy series, with mixed results.

Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time is a classic and massive fantasy series. It has helped shape modern fantasy and is well recognized among genre fans. This year, Amazon has brought the series to TV screens with a show adaptation. We took a look at how the first four episodes were a bit rough. Now, with the second half of the show is out, let’s look at how the final episodes went.

WARNING: Book And Show Spoilers After the Trailer

 

Episode 5: “Big City Blues”

Like the previous two episodes, this one is split into three storylines. The first and least eventful focuses on Rand and Mat; after they have traveled for a month, they reach Tar Valon, the city of the Aes Sedai. They rent a room, which costs the same as a month’s stay back home (that they somehow have money for despite being broke in the last episode). After they secure lodging, the pair watch the Aes Sedai parade Logain. They meet Loial and are eventually reunited with Nynaeve.

Simultaneously  Nynaeve, Moiraine, and Lan have also arrived in Tar Valon. Moiraine wants to hind Nynaeve and keeps her out of Tower politics. All the other Aes Sedai are out right now since we don’t meet any new ones this episode. The bulk of this plot focuses on the grief of a warder whose Aes Sedai died in the last episode. Lan tries to comfort him, but it doesn’t go well, and the Warder takes his own life.

wheel of time episode 5 Daniel henney

via Amazon

In the final storyline, PerrinEgwene, and the Tinkers arrive outside Tar Valon. There they are ambushed by White Cloaks, who capture Perrin and Egwene. Perrin is tortured, and Egwene is given the choice of channeling and being killed or letting Perrin die. She channels, Perrin goes berserk, and wolves attack the camp, allowing them to escape.

The episode overall was pretty good. It was slower and didn’t have much action, but it focused more on personal stories and character work. Mat and Rand’s storyline is pretty much from the Wheel of Time novel (just taking place in another location). Perrin and Egwene’s story also mirrors the book. The third storyline, which gets the most attention, is the only new invention.

Episode 6: “Love On Trial”

Compared to the previous few, this episode is very straightforward. It revolves around the arrival of the leader of the Aes Sedai – Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat. She starts off clearly opposed to Moiraine and is publicly upset with her recent actions. It is, however, soon revealed that she and Moiraine are lovers. Their public animosity is cover for behind-the-scenes machinations.

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wheel of time episode 6

via Amazon

Moiraine convinces Siuan to banish her from Tar Valon to carry out her plans. The Aes Sedai plan for Moiraine to take the rest of the main characters to the Eye of the World, where they think the Dark One is imprisoned. They hope that one of the five will reveal themselves to be the Dragon Reborn and kill the Dark One.

While this is going on, all the characters are now in Tar Valon. Moiraine has found them all, but each group doesn’t know she has done so. She notices that Mat is possessed by the evil dagger and seems to heal him. She also takes Nynaeve and Egewene to meet Siuan.

Finally, the whole group meets up (with the addition of Loial) to take a Waygate to the Eye of the World. As they enter the Ways, Mat nopes out and leaves the group, staying behind. The episode ends here.

wheel of time group

via Amazon

This is another character-heavy episode and worked well for me. I’m a big fan of the Moiraine/Siuan relationship, something that was hinted at in the Wheel of Time books and a primary fan theory. The biggest issue here is Mat’s abandonment of the group. That was unplanned. Mat’s actor Barney Harris left the show unexpectedly during the filming of this episode.

Episode 7: “Everyone Bones”

The group, having lost Mat, travels through the Ways for a short time. However, the arrival of Trollocs and some channeling forces them to leave the ways early and visit the Borderland’s city of Fal Dara. Here we get a boatload of drama. The group meets Min, a seer, who tells Moiraine some pretty useless information about the group.

via Amazon

Perrin, Rand, Nynaeve, and Egwene are then told that only one of them is the Dragon Reborn. That one will be the only one to survive the trip to the Eye of the World. The rest will die. The group debates going or staying and end up fighting once Nynaeve lets slip that Perrin has been in love with Egwene (and apparently only married his wife because she and Rand got together).

The group breaks up to wander around and sulk. Moiraine worries about the coming fight. Nynaeve meets Lan’s adopted family and then sleeps with Lan. Egwene and Rand make up, then make out, and more. Perrin, umm, Perrin does something? The writers mostly forget Loial is around.

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wheel of time rand

via Amazon

Finally, with the help of flashbacks, Rand figures out he is the Dragon Reborn. He first goes to Min, who confirms this. He then goes to Moiraine, and the two sneak off the Eye of the World alone to spare the others.

While some of the drama in this episode felt forced, overall, I enjoyed another character-focused episode. Fal Dara looked outstanding, and we got some payoff on the Lan/Nynaeve romance. On the other hand, many things felt rushed and unneeded. Min seems older than I thought she would be. I wouldn’t say I liked how her visions were shown. I also don’t know why Fal Dara wasn’t always their target, as it turns out they really needed to go there.

Episode 8: “Things Fall Apart”

Episode 8 (one of the worst of the season) is also split into three storylines. As Rand and Moiraine have slipped away, the City of Fal Dara suddenly finds itself under attack by a massive army of trollocs. The people call for help, and all the men ride out to the outer walls. There they are attacked by a horde of really poorly rendered trollocs, and all die. Rather quickly. So much for the men who have defended this area for thousands of years.

wheel of time horse charge

via Amazon

The trollocs then approach the city. Luckily Nynaeve, Egwene, and three women who were too weak to become Aes Sedia are standing on a plane in their way. The women link their powers (how do Nynaeave and Egwene know how to do this complicated action, who knows!) and kill all the Trolics with lightning. But they’ve drawn too much power, and the three other women burn out and are killed. Nynaeve also surfers burn out and maybe dies – I couldn’t tell. Egwene, however, is really sad and heals her.

Meanwhile, Perrin and Loial are hanging out in the castle of Fal Dara when Padan Fain (from the first episode) and some Fades show up. They kill all the elite guards of Dal Dara in about two seconds and stab Loial. Their goal is to steal the mythical Horn of Valere and set up season 2. Fain monologues at Perrin for a bit, who stands around doing nothing and then leaves.

wheel of time morraine forest

via Amazon

Finally, Rand and Moiraine travel to the Eye of the World, which is only a day away from Fal Dara. On the way, they stop to sleep, and Rand talks to who he thinks is the Dark One in a dream. Not sure why, but ok. They reach the Eye and confront this person who either blocks or stills Moiraine and tempts Rand with offers of power and the ability to create his perfect world.

Rand rejects this and blasts the dude with power, seemingly killing, but his sly smirk hints otherwise. Rand then peaces out, asking Moiraine to tell the others he is dead instead of having them watch him go mad.

Lan shows up and comforts Moiraine. They notice that the large circle of unbreakable stone in the Eye of the World has been broken. Moiraine realizes that everything has been a trap, and rather than being the last battle, this was the first. Lastly, in the stinger, a fleet of strange ships shows up and uses the power to launch a massive tidal wave at a mostly empty beach for some reason.

via Amazon

Overall this was a pretty disappointing episode. It looks absolutely horrible with poorly rendered graphics and strange lighting. The fighting in Fal Dara looked bad, often took place off-screen, and made little sense. Why didn’t the channels go to the wall with the rest of the army and fight from there? Had they done so, the whole army would have survived.

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The Perrin/Fain interactions also felt off, though this is likely because it was supposed to be between Mat and Fain. The Rand/Dark One confrontation was oddly edited and felt very abrupt and anti-climactic (a criticism of the Wheel of Time book ending). Overall the episode looked bad and fell flat.


via GIPHY

Wheel of Time Final Season One Thoughts

Season One of The Wheel of Time presented a wildly uneven ride. It started very rough, found some footing midway through, and then fell at the end. It’s not great that the first and last episodes are the worst as they are the most likely to stick in people’s minds.

The show made some significant deviations from the book. This is, of course, necessary in an adaptation, but many of the changes here felt non-sensical or pointless. I understand why many things were cut, but new storylines were mainly for the worse.

via Amazon

When it stuck to smaller intimate scenes and the actors brought their best, the show could really shine. However, many of the more actiony or large-scale story beats fell flat. Mostly I’d say the show needed more time. We never really got enough interaction, as we saw at the start of episode two, between the main characters. Their relationships feel underdeveloped and Rand, the Dragon, and central character, still feels very underused and unknown to us.

Many of the Characters (Mat, Moiraine, and Perrin in particular) feel far off from their book selves and ultimately weaker or worse people. At the end of the day, I generally liked the first go at adapting the books, but I’m not excited about it. It had its moments. I’ll likely watch season two, but that will be despite, not because of season one.

 

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