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A Fantastic The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 8 Review & Recap

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  • 22 min read

Unfortunately, the Season 1 finale underwhelms and limps to a finish. It’s ironic that The Eye of the World episode for TV begins and ends confusingly. The first novel in the book series does the same thing, and it shares the same name. I hope my The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 8 review and recap aren’t equally disappointing.

Granted, Episode 8 does succeed in setting up some intriguing plotlines for the second season, but the ones we’ve been following for weeks are let down.

The final episode leaves me disheartened after last week’s sizzling climax, and earlier episodes are dumbed down by its entry. It leaves a blemish on the season.

I understand there was a panicked rewrite of the script because of the situation with Barney Harris. Covid measures also meant filming couldn’t occur in the planned locations, extras were few or non-existent, and the plot had to be changed on the fly.

They could have delayed the release so the production team had more time to give The Wheel of Time the epic ending it deserved. What we get instead is rushed CGI, fake-out deaths, and confusion.

However, what we get is what we get, and it’s not all bad. Just scroll a bit further for my fantastic review and recap.

Lady Amalisa (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) and Lord Agelmar (Thomas Chaanhing) are almost silhouetted by a round, open window. Amalisa stands behind Agelmar, fastening his armor.
Lady Amalisa (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) and Lord Agelmar (Thomas Chaanhing).
Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 8 Review feature image.

This review & recap has spoilers for The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 8.

The Wheel of Time Season 1 Episode 8

“The Eye of the World” – season finale. For twenty years, Moiraine has dreamed and worked towards this moment. But she can’t stop the Dragon Reborn from seeing the appeal of the Dark.

Head and shoulders shot of the Dark One (Fares Fares).
The Dark One (Fares Fares)

The Eye of the World Cold Open

The finale starts with a curve ball, whether book series readers or show-only viewers. It’s set 3,000 years before the action we’ve been following, in a preceding Age known as the Age of Legends. The dialogue is in the Old Tongue, with subtitles for our understanding.

Lews Therin Telamon (Alexander Karim), the Dragon to which the Dragon Reborn prophecies refer, pleads with Latra Posae Decume (Katie Ray Brayben). He wants the Tamyrlin (this Age’s equivalent to the Amyrlin Seat) to join him in caging the Dark One, but Latra Posae feels this will endanger the people they are sworn to protect.

There’s an amicable fissure between the male and female Aes Sedai, but Lews Therin is adamant in his cause. Latra Posae Decume refuses to change her position, however.

We know the result of Lews Therin Telamon’s actions – a cataclysmic breaking of the world. We don’t get to see the sealing of the Bore or the Breaking, though. Not this season, anyway.

Lews Therin Telamon (Alexander Karim) wears a pin in the shape of a dragon. He's pleading with Latra Posae Decume (Katie Ray Brayben) who wears a white suit.
Lews Therin Telamon (Alexander Karim) and Latra Posae Decume (Katie Ray Brayben).

My Opinion

This cold open aggravates me, especially after the dramatic reveal that closed the preceding episode.

I want to see the characters we recognize dealing with their current situation, not two long-dead figureheads having a sober discussion in a nursery. Yes, I realize this contradicts my delight for the flashbacks shown in earlier cold opens, but the ones we’ve seen before all draw from recent history. More to the point, they occur within the Age we’ve been following and the story we’re being told.

In summary, the show doesn’t achieve what it wants here. The reason is the same as why the first book’s prologue wasn’t used in the season premiere. It is confusing.

Latra Posae foreshadows the Dark One corrupting the One Power’s male half, but we already know that. She then refers to Lews Therin as the “Dragon Reborn,” which feels odd. I suppose we should see this in the context of the Wheel forever spinning out new Dragons so it can be excused. It does stick out like a sore thumb, though.

In the first episode, Moiraine states, “And him they named Dragon.”

That’s why Rand becomes the Dragon Reborn in this Age. Couldn’t we have left it there?

I admire the use of the Old Tongue in this scene. Earlier episodes make us aware of archaic words and open us up for later developments that may or may not occur as the plot progresses. Parts of the dialogue also set things up for later in this episode.

There are crumbs of mitigation there, but I feel deflated as the opening credits roll.

The Eye of the World Review and Recap

The Blight seems very ordered when we view it from above, and I find that a peculiar choice. It also doesn’t feel as petrifying as I imagined it to be. We do see a couple of severed heads and a corpse, though.

“Don’t touch anything,” Moiraine warns as she and Rand continue wading through the branches of dead trees. There’s suddenly time for a thirty-minute rest despite seven episodes of urgency. It all makes me smile and grimace at the same time.

The pause allows us to glimpse the seven towers of Malkier, a city swallowed by the Blight decades ago. It’s the place of Lan’s birth and legacy. His would-be kingdom. Book readers needed that.

Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) resting in the Blight. Her cloak is dusty and the trees look thin and barren.
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) in the Blight.

Back in Fal Dara

Egwene is sad about Rand’s departure and plans to go after him, but Perrin changes her mind. I must agree with the blacksmith. Certain death is a good reason for not going.

They both express their love for Rand and share a hug, which I’m sure he’ll appreciate.

Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) in a red shirt and Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden) in blue are sat in conversation.
Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden).

Lan is anxious, too. Moiraine’s masking of the Warder bond means he can’t sense her movements. Being incapable of finding his Aes Sedai compromises his duty to protect her. It’s something Nynaeve can understand despite her resentment of Moiraine.

Nynaeve reveals she has a “tell” to track Moiraine down. An odd thing for Lan not to have noticed over the years, but Nynaeve is a sharp woman. They share a romantic moment, with Lan’s eloquent soliloquy etched on my heart.

“I will hate the man you choose because he is not me. And I will love him if he makes you smile. You are as beautiful as the sunrise; you are as fierce as a warrior. You are a lioness, Wisdom.”

Tears aside, I’m ready to invest in the episode now. This is what I want!

Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) and Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins) face each other, holding hands.
Lan Mandragoran (Daniel Henney) and Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) share a tender moment.

The Dark One

Rand gasps awake, and Moiraine demands to know what he dreamt. He only has time to tell her that the Dark One is coming before a sword rips straight through the Aes Sedai’s throat. Moiraine’s mouth bleeds, and she slumps to the floor, dead. A chilling and monumental twist to the plot.

The fire-eyed demon from Rand’s dreams is the killer, and the boy retaliates by firing an arrow through one of the flaming eyes. The Dark One (Fares Fares) pushes the shaft deep into his skull and shapeshifts.

He reappears in human form, wearing clothes like we saw in the cold open, and mocks Lews Therin’s failure in the last Age. The Dark One is trying to draw Rand into a conversation.

The Dark One (Fares Fares) holds a sword pointing forward. He has a black suit and white shirt in the Blight.
The Dark One (Fares Fares) points his sword.

It occurs to Rand that this is just a dream, and he ends it by planting the heron-marked blade through his stomach. Gasping awake, Moiraine demands to know what he dreamt.

The entire sequence needs its own dramatic license, and it’s great we have good actors to play it out. Splendid.

Rand, influenced by the Dark One’s words to him, demands a plan from Moiraine. Her answer is to present Rand with a sa’angreal, an ancient artifact that allows a channeler to draw far more of the One Power than their natural ability can achieve. It’s the same statuette we see Moiraine wrap at the start of the season.

Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) find their way through dead trees in the Blight.
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) make their way through the Blight.

Listening to the Wind

Nynaeve stands on a balcony, listening for any clues in the wind. She confesses to Egwene that she appears to have lost the ability since wielding the One Power.

Egwene hasn’t, though. Her ears tremble with mounting screams and growling, just like she heard back in the Two Rivers, but worse. Something is wrong, and it’s almost certainly Shadowspawn.

Back in the Blight

Rand questions whether he can use the One Power when needed and whether Moiraine can teach him what to do.

She can’t. Instead, Moiraine tells a story about her time as a Novice in The White Tower. She intends to give Rand a sense of what he must, can, and will do when his life is on the line. Or so she hopes.

Head and shoulders picture of Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) looking horrified in the Blight.
Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) in the Blight.

Min Farshaw

Yay, Min’s here!

Min refuses to reveal anything about private viewings as Perrin, Nynaeve, and Egwene try to interrogate her. However, she does share information about her talent. Whether good or bad, what she sees always comes true in the end.

That leads to Min suddenly experiencing a sequence of morbid viewings. Nynaeve kneels in pain while soldiers die at the inn’s tables. A warning horn sounds before Min can tell the group what she’s just seen.

I love Kae Alexander’s portrayal of Min and how her visions are captured for television. I am biased, of course, as she’s one of my favorite book characters. It could always have gone the other way, though.

Darkfriends and Doom

Fades and Trollocs march to Tarwin’s Gap, and with the breaking of drawbridges, it’s clear Darkfriends exist within the walls of Fal Dara.

Lord Agelmar has a plan. He will send his entire force to try and hold the Gap’s fortress.

It’s a plan that won’t work, as Lady Amalisa points out.

Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) is helping Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing) into his gold armor.
Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) helps Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing) with his armor.

Agelmar Jagad is resigned to the city’s fate but is a man of resolve, even when defeat is inevitable. Despite Lady Amalisa’s assumption, he insists he needs his own armor in this war, not that of his forebears who won heroic victories over Trolloc hordes. Amalisa can’t persuade Agelmar to stay in the city either.

The men will defend the Gap, and the women will protect the city should the men fail, Agelmar commands. He doesn’t expect the Gap or the city to be held. He will send word south, though, letting the world know the Dark One is strengthening and the Last Battle is upon them.

The Eye of the World

Rand and Moiraine reach their destination, the beautifully ominous Eye of the World, and he remembers it. It is where the last Dragon went to seal the Dark One’s prison after all.

Moiraine resigns herself to impending death, and they both walk down to the Eye.

Lan is in hot pursuit, expressing bitterness as he passes the towers of Malkier. There’s no time to dwell on it, though, as he continues to track down his Aes Sedai.

A Dream of Serenity

Rand has a vague recollection of the Eye and sees a ghost of Lews Therin Telamon and the Dark One in human form. Rand knows he fought him here and recognizes the symbol on the Eye. He touches it.

And then Rand is in a humble farmhouse with the happy laughing of a woman and baby outside. He wanders out to find Egwene playing happily with their child. It’s a charming, sunny day, and Rand takes the little one. It’s a blissful family occasion with Bel Tine approaching (they’re making lanterns).

At the Eye, Moiraine tries frantically to wake Rand from sleep, but the Dark One confronts her. He’s obviously orchestrating Rand’s dream. Moiraine draws on the Source, but the Dark One’s retaliation leaves her powerless.

The Dark One (Fares Fares) stands over Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) who is knelt with Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) asleep on her lap.
The Dark One (Fares Fares) stands over Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) as Rand (Josha Stradowski) sleeps.

Tarwin’s Gap

Lord Agelmar Jagad roars for Shienar, and his army marches towards the Gap’s fortress. Sadly, though, the enemies they’re about to face (roaring Trollocs) are retro-CGI poorly done.

Shienarans on horseback gallop through a field towards Tarwin's Gap.
Shienarans gallop towards Tarwin’s Gap.

In the city, Shienarans are smashing through the throne room’s dais for reasons that become clear later. Foreigners are being evacuated, so we see Min leaving on a cart. I’m happy to know she’s safe, at least.

Nynaeve and Egwene plan to leave the city but choose to stay when they learn the One Power is needed to protect Fal Dara. Perrin doesn’t want to desert the Fal Darans either, and Loial is loyal, so they stay put, too.

The 8-bit Trollocs roar as they attack Tarwin Gap’s fortress. The Shienarans use crossbows to fire them down. It’s to little avail as the horde begins to mount the walls. Lord Agelmar takes a spear to his breastplate and slumps, presumed dead.

Lady Amalisa, who is meant to defend the city, is inexplicably standing outside with two other channelers. Nynaeve and Egwene join them.

As Trollocs approach, the women link their powers to Amalisa, who draws on the sum of their strength and more. The joint forces obliterate 10-20,000 approaching Trollocs but at the expense of Amalisa’s life and those of the other two Shienarans. The One Power has burnt them out, and it’s not a pretty look.

Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver)'s face is starting to blister and the One Power looks like smoke around her.
Lady Amalisa Jagad (Sandra Yi Sencindiver) burns out.

It appears the same fate has befallen Nynaeve, but Egwene has strength enough to heal her. The One Power can’t cure death, but Nynaeve is spent as Egwene holds her. Hopefully, that oddity will be explained next season.

Perrin is sulking about doing nothing (to be fair, he hasn’t done much all season). Loial gives him the blatantly obvious advice that perhaps he should ask if there’s anything he can do to help. Welcome light against the shade.

Light or Dark

Rand is starting to feel perplexed by his perfect world. Something seems amiss, so he asks Egwene a question to determine whether his surroundings are natural. Egwene answers correctly, which moves Rand to tears. Before he’s overwhelmed by this utopia, though, Egwene and the baby freeze in time.

Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) touches his forehead to Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden)'s brow.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) and Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden).

The Dark One is there to offer Rand all these wonders and more. Rand has the power to remake the world as he will, and the Dark One can show him how.

Talking with Moiraine at the Eye of the World, the Dark One torments her about Rand’s choice between the Light and the Dark. Moiraine puts a knife to Rand’s throat, willing to use it should he choose the wrong path.

In the dream world, the Dark One harms and then heals Egwene to show what can be made of reality. Rand asks how he can make it real, which is worrying.

The Dark One shows him, and Rand draws on the True Power, but the corruption of saidin (the male half of the One Power) enters his weaves. Rand clasps the sa’angreal, decision made.

He knows Egwene. He loves Egwene. He knows his own joy would not be hers. She aspires for more. The Dark One doesn’t understand that Rand was raised in the Two Rivers, where the blood of Manetheran runs deep.

“What about what she wants? And as much as I love her, as much as I want this – I know that she doesn’t. That woman… who doesn’t care about being a Wisdom… being an Aes Sedai… that’s not the woman I love.”

He wakes from the dreamworld and blasts his smiling nemesis away. Rand chooses the Light!

Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski) holds a shining object with an outstretched arm. White and black threads of the Power billow from him. The Dark One (Fares Fares) Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) watch.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) channels the One Power.

The Horn of Valere

The men are at work, unpicking the dais, as Perrin and Loial show up to help. In another room, Padan Fain (Darkfriend and former peddler) has obtained a password to access chambers in the city. He enters with Fades, and they kill the unfortunate Shienaran women who have been keeping guard.

What’s buried beneath the dais is a box holding the fabled Horn of Valere. The Horn is to be used at the Last Battle to bring the Pattern’s most lauded heroes to the side of whoever blows it. The Shienarans plan to give it to the Dragon Reborn, but Padan Fain has other ideas.

Perrin hears screams and the clashing of weapons. He races to the noise, only to find Loial stabbed by Padan Fain. There are dead Shienarans nearby.

Padan Fain has the ruby-embedded dagger that corrupted Mat, and he also takes off with the chest with the Horn of Valere inside. An artifact that could decide the fate of the Last Battle is now in the hands of the Dark!

Padan Fain explains to Perrin that he peddled to the Two Rivers each year because all five – Rand, Mat, Perrin, Nynaeve, and Egwene – are ta’veren (focal points of the Wheel’s pattern). The desire was, and is, to turn one or all of them to the Shadow.

The peddler teases Season 2 with news that this is a beginning, not the end, and all five will have a part to play as the Wheel spins its pattern. Padan Fain leaves with the Shadar Logoth dagger and the Horn of Valere.

Perrin stands, hopelessly lost in his misery. Nothing new there, then.

Padan Fain (Johann Myers) lounges on the Fal Dara throne. He has the chest holding the Horn of Valere beneath his arm.
Padan Fain (Johann Myers) lounges on the Fal Dara throne.

Rand’s Departure and Lan’s Arrival

Rand decides to leave by himself. He has felt the corruption of the Power and the madness it brings, and he refuses to bring death to his loved ones as Lews Therin Telamon had.

He begs a favor from Moiraine first, though. She must tell his friends that he died at the Eye, that he didn’t make it back. Moiraine reminds Rand that she cannot lie, but Rand knows Moiraine too well. She’ll find a way.

Rand, our hero, leaves us then, not sharing his destination. Lan arrives too late.

The Warder finds Moiraine inspecting a piece of the Eye’s symbol. He asks where Rand is. “He’s gone,” Moiraine replies, subverting the truth already.

The Eye of the World symbol was made with cuendillar – a strong stone that not even the One Power can scratch. The piece she holds has cracked away, though. It means the seals are weakening, and this display at the Eye of the World was not the Last Battle. Moiraine fears it was the first.

Lan asks Moiraine to unmask the bond, but she can’t. She can’t touch the Source!

Something Completely Different

A small girl collects shells on a beach, seagulls squawking above. Her attention is drawn by a fleet of approaching ships. The terrifying vessels carry men in masks, women with face paint, and two other women with a metal covering over their mouths.

The gagged women are commanded to channel the One Power, and they raise the ocean water to launch a giant tsunami on the mainland. The poor girl is unlikely to survive what’s heading her way.

Women on an armored ship channel the One Power into the sea, raising a tsunami.
Channeling from the armored ship raises a tsunami.

So, the season ends by giving us a few clues about what’s to come. These new arrivals will surely be antagonists, and Padan Fain is a dreadful thing waiting to happen.

What will the Whitecloaks have to say about all this? What about our protagonists, most notably the Dragon Reborn? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

The Eye of the World Rating

Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 8 Rating. 5.5/10.

Regrettably, I scored The Eye of the World a 5.5 out of 10 because it failed to complete the circular plot I think the show intended.

Perrin’s encounter with Padan Fain makes no sense. With the ruby-embedded dagger plot, I accept that this meeting should have been with Mat Cauthon. The fake-out deaths (at least, I hope they’re fake, right?) of Moiraine, Lord Agelmar, Nynaeve, and Loial are too much for one episode.

The season doesn’t get the explosive ending I was expecting and which it deserved. Battle scenes should blow our minds, but the ones The Eye of the World gives us are tepid and underwhelming. The last few scenes are set-ups for Season 2, which is good to do, but a more rounded end to this first outing would have been more satisfying.

Season 1 of The Wheel of Time TV series is a pleasure. I give it a 7 out of 10 rating overall.

The acting, costuming, cinematography, and soundtrack are outstanding throughout, and I look forward to the next season. To my knowledge, there haven’t been any hiccups in its production, and new characters and locations will be exciting to see.

The front of a large ship. Two women, with metal covering their mouths, have the back of their hands raised in front them. There are two other women behind with hands clasped at their sides. Two soldiers guard them holding pikes upright.
A ship carrying women who can channel teases Season 2 of The Wheel of Time.

Best Actor

Thomas Chaanhing as Lord Agelmar

Thomas Chaanhing plays Lord Agelmar with grit and resolve. He portrays Agelmar’s position as a Lord and General with unwavering gravitas. Despite his outward show of strength for his people, we can see Lord Agelmar knows the cause is all but lost.

Thomas Chaanhing gets this across in his performance, and the relationship between Agelmar and his sister is captivating. Thomas Chaanhing and Sandra Yi Sencindiver clearly have on-screen chemistry (since writing this, I’ve learned they are close friends in real life).

Without them, the battle at Tarwin’s Gap and in Fal Dara would have been painful viewing.

Lord Agelmar chooses to wear his armor into battle, and I’m hoping the Trolloc spear hasn’t penetrated it. So, if Thomas Chaanhing returns for season 2, I hope it’s not for Lord Agelmar’s funeral.

Thank you for your contribution to the last two episodes, Thomas!

Face shot of Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing) riding into battle.
Lord Agelmar Jagad (Thomas Chaanhing)

Watch “The Eye of the World” Today!

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Start Reading The Wheel of Time

After watching the first season, many viewers want to start reading The Wheel of Time book series. If that’s you, I highly recommend picking up The Eye of the World to see how Season 1 compares to its source material.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts, but please don’t spoil anything in the comments if you find something from the first book that isn’t revealed in the TV show. I’ve left some links below so you can buy the book now and get started on this fabulous adventure.

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Before you buy, you can read my The Eye of the World book content, which includes a review.

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Well, with The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episode 8 watched and reviewed, we’ve ended the first season. Season 2 is well and truly underway, and the image link below will take you to my hub page for the new episodes.

What are your thoughts on the first season? Let me know in the comments section. I always respond, and I’ll answer any questions you have, too.

Until next time, though, may the Light shine on you, my friends!

Russell

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Fire dragons biting at each other’s tails. Season 1: The Wheel of Time Episode 7 Review back link.
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