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A Brilliant The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 5 Recap & Review

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  • 25 min read

The Wheel of Time Season 2, Episode 5 tells stories of good, evil, and influential people in a harsh fantasy world. There’s little to hope for if you lack a title or magical ability. Sleep isn’t a safety net, and even the most basic freedoms – like intact fingernails – are not guaranteed. No wonder people turn to the Dark and question the merits of the Wheel’s turning. Ishy may have a point!

Injustice and unfairness reign in Damane, but heroes are born from the shadows of adversity, and ours must shed their innocence to unleash their raw potential. This all makes for fantastic television, and this episode has lots for book series fans to drool over. I’m therefore delighted to bring you my thorough recap of the episode, including a review, rating, and Best Actor award. Enjoy!

A wide-angle view of Rand strapped to a wheel. Lanfear sits opposite, on a throne. They are in a desolate wasteland with rolling hills.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) at the mercy of Lanfear (Natasha O’Keeffe).
The face of a golden-eyed wolf on a brown background. Brown and white text reads “The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 5 Review, Damane.”

The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 5

Spoilers ahead for The Wheel of Time Season 2, Episode 5! While Moiraine and Rand desperately run for their lives, Egwene and Nynaeve confront a terrifying new foe. But even among the Seanchan, rebellion stirs. Watch High Lord Turak’s ruthless response to Lady Suroth’s insolence:

Damane Cold Open

A menacing Seanchan ship, its prow adorned with a three-eyed beast, carries a muzzled woman – a damane – and Seanchan soldiers. A fleet of these ships are on Falme’s coastline.

Inside Falme, Lady Suroth (Karima McAdams) parades her captives: the Ogier, Loial (Hammed Animashaun), and Shienar’s Lord Ingtar Shinowa (Gregg Chilingirian). Ishamael (Fares Fares) and Suroth’s Voice, Alwhin (Jessica Boone) walk with her.

High Lord Turak (Daniel Francis) sits on a gaudy throne surrounded by servants and guards. Suroth’s taking of a village the Seanchan army can’t hold has earned his displeasure, and she receives a stinging rebuke. The crowd murmurs at Suroth’s insolence, which moves Turak to speak for himself, revealing a leader guided by “the Light” and driven by the Seanchan’s mission to dominate the world under the command of their empress.

High Lord Turak (Daniel Francis) wears imperial robes as he observes from a throne. Seanchan servants and guards attend to him.
High Lord Turak (Daniel Francis) with attendants in Falme.

Suroth realizes she’s stepped too far and begs forgiveness, but it’s too late. A swift command strips her of power, literally and symbolically, as her precious fingernails are brutally severed.

Ishamael remains calm and calculating and offers Turak an ancient prize – the Horn of Valere – delivered by the treacherous Padan Fain (Johann Myers). Turak, careful not to damage his nails, unlocks the protective mechanism on the chest. Eyes alight, he declares, “With this, the whole world will be ours.”

My Opinion

The show has a knack for creating scenes not from the source material that resonate deeply with The Wheel of Time’s book fans and this is one of them. Daniel Francis perfectly captures High Lord Turak’s stone-faced diplomacy and almost childish glee over his new toy. The Horn of Valere could tip the scales in the Seanchan’s favor, and we know they’re willing to use it.

Wearing imperial robes, High Lord Turak (Daniel Francis) considers the golden box placed before him. It contains the fabled Horn of Valere.
High Lord Turak (Daniel Francis)

Of course, the delicious irony – the Dark One’s lieutenant and a despicable Darkfriend bestowing a powerful weapon upon a supposed ‘champion of the Light’ – isn’t lost on us. Turak, for all his self-proclaimed purity, is as fallible as anyone.

The Seanchan empire’s absurd beliefs are both horrifying and strangely amusing. It’s ridiculous that long, lacquered fingernails are a mark of nobility, and seeing Suroth’s decapitated is darkly satisfying. That’s because the Seanchan take themselves far too seriously.

But make no mistake, I stand firmly in the Light. These misguided slavers must be stopped. With the Horn of Valere in their grasp, their brutality will only escalate. I fear our amusement at the Seanchan will be short-lived. For now, though, let’s savor the moment.

Seanchan nobility seated in a courtyard. Servants hold parasols above each noble.
Seanchan nobility.

Damane Recap and Review

I recommend you watch Damane before reading this recap as it’s a solid episode worthy of your time.

We open with Moiraine Damodred (Rosamund Pike) and Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) fleeing for their lives. Rand wonders why they’re fleeing, as Moiraine murdered Lanfear in the previous episode. Moiraine explains that Lanfear can’t be killed, and wounds merely hinder her.

Cut to the cabin, where Lanfear (Natasha O’Keeffe) lies in a pool of blood. She twitches back to life, her gruesome throat wound Healing with terrifying speed. Blood draws back into her body until she’s whole again. Lanfear grabs her coat and begins the hunt.

Moiraine and Rand find a stable, where Moiraine uses the Amyrlin Seat’s authority to commandeer horses. The protective stablemaster is frightened into saddling three mounts and accompanying them. Moiraine coldly kills a spare horse to prevent the Forsaken from following. I may have balked at this ruthless act had I not recently made peace with Moiraine’s intensity. She has an unwavering determination to protect the Dragon Reborn at all costs.

Lanfear is fortunate. Another rider happens upon her, telling Lanfear that the road leads to Tar Valon before his head explodes. Lanfear’s doing, of course. Her use of magic is quick and small, setting her apart from the Aes Sedai, who generally use elaborate hand and arm movements to channel. It suggests mightier strength and knowledge but may also denote an alternative way to wield the One Power that only Forsaken can use.

Taking reins, Lanfear derides traveling the “slow” way and continues her pursuit.

A Pack Divided

Elyas Machera (Gary Beadle) and Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) discuss their golden eyes – the mark of a wolfbrother. This change will permanently enhance Perrin’s senses, setting him apart from ordinary humans.

Elyas harbors deep resentment toward humankind. He misses beer but finds solace in the wolves. Perrin follows Hopper to a riverbank, discovering they’ve returned to Atuan’s Mill. Perrin lashes out, furious they chose this path over finding his friends. Elyas coldly reminds him those lost weren’t his true pack, and his wife wasn’t either. Perrin, stung by the betrayal, gears up to leave.

The wolves gather in the clearing, growling at Perrin’s rejection. Even Hopper looks disappointed, whimpering as Perrin departs to find his human friends.

Catching Up With Moiraine

Lanfear thunders past Moiraine and Rand’s hiding place, falling for their clever trap to misdirect her. It’s finally a moment to breathe – and for a crucial info dump!

Moiraine reveals the harsh truths Rand missed:

  • He didn’t defeat the Dark One at the Eye of the World – he freed Ishamael.
  • He trapped the Forsaken in his last life, but Ishamael has released Lanfear.
  • If all are freed, the Light will lose the Last Battle.

Thankfully, Season 2 strikes a better balance between showing and telling. The last list I did in my reviews was much longer! Moiraine is also careful not to share that she’s lost her magical ability, making the scene intriguing and concise. Well done!

Atuan’s Mill Revisited

Hopper won’t let Perrin travel alone, catching up to him on the riverbank. The wolf barks to draw attention to Atuan’s Mill and shares a vision of Uno’s body in a cage. Perrin inspects the town and finds Uno’s corpse. As he prepares to strike the bars with a small axe, a voice tells him the noise will be loud. A dreadlocked Aiel woman is locked in another cage.

A man appears—Dain Bornhald (Jay Duffy), a new heartthrob for the show. He warns Perrin about the Aiel’s strength and dubs him “Two Rivers,” curious about his presence here. Dain leaves the woman some water and tells Perrin he must stay the night because they have a curfew.

A shaggy dog interrupts Perrin’s conversation with Dain at the town inn. The dog fusses over Perrin, drawing his attention to a Whitecloak walking through the fog. Sensing danger and noticing the white cloth underneath Dain’s coat, Perrin makes excuses to retire.

Dain Bornhald (Jay Duffy) wears a dark cloak and coat and sits at an outdoor table with Perrin Aybara, lit by candles.
Dain Bornhald (Jay Duffy) with “Two Rivers.”

The innkeeper warns Perrin that the Whitecloaks drove out the Seanchan, but their presence is much worse. A familiar voice can be heard from the next room: Eamon Valda (Abdul Salis). The vile Questioner, notoriously remembered from Season 1 for capturing Perrin and Egwene, scolds Dain for giving the Aiel water. The young Whitecloak isn’t overawed, though. He mocks that it took sixteen of Valda’s men to suppress the woman and that it would take twice as many to get any information from the Aiel warrior.

Valda suspects a connection between the Aiel and Seanchan, both anomalies this far west. He becomes anxious when the shaggy dog starts barking again. Dain smiles, mockingly reassuring Valda that there are no wolves here (a reference to Perrin’s aided escape in Season 1, Episode 5).

Valda scoffs at the young man, saying he won’t be able to rely on his father’s name forever. You’ll have to go back to Episode 2 of the first season to recall Geoffram Bornhald, who also didn’t see eye to eye with the Questioners.

Consequences

Near Tar Valon, Lanfear catches the stablemaster, who confesses Moiraine ordered her to ride to the city with the three horses. Lanfear is surprised by Moiraine’s ruthlessness and needs to remind herself that Rand is still young and naive. The Forsaken thinking aloud alerts the stablemaster to her mortal danger. Though she begs to guard her tongue, Lanfear casually silences the woman by weaving her mouth shut so she resembles Eugene from Preacher.

I love how this deft use of magic magnifies Lanfear’s evil. She’s a cruel nemesis, and this scene is another reminder of the horrible consequences for common folk when the ones they revere and fear are moved to drastic action. Directly or not, these people always seem to suffer the most. It’s a lesson continually taught in this world but never learned.

The Brown Sisters

A black-cloaked rider enters Tar Valon, the White Tower in shadow while the streets bustle beneath. But this isn’t a prelude to doom. It’s Verin Mathwin (Meera Syal) returning to the city after a long absence.

Fellow Browns, Yassica (Katie Leung) and Nyomi (Rachel Denning), greet her warmly, their joy mirroring ours. It seems a while since Verin last appeared in Strangers and Friends, promising to discover what she can about the Dragon Reborn prophecies.

Adeleas has supplied celebratory libations, no doubt to loosen the tongues of Verin’s excitable colleagues. First, she wants to know about the Tower’s powerful new Novices, Nynaeve and Egwene…

Dark Secrets

Thunder illuminates the Ways as Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins), Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden), and Elayne Trakand (Ceara Coveney) lie bound and unconscious, Liandrin Guirale (Kate Fleetwood) watching over them. The briefly glimpsed portal pathways are more detailed than those seen in Season 1’s The Dark Along the Ways. It’s another sign of the show’s visual growth.

Nynaeve awakens, shielded and bound. She demands to know how Liandrin attacked them in the White Tower, a clear breach of the Aes Sedai oaths. Liandrin confesses to breaking far more than that. She reveals how the Oaths were merely a ploy, a facade of predictability created centuries ago to shield the Tower from the threats of male rulers.

Disgusted, Nynaeve cuts through the lies. “You weren’t recruiting me for the Red Ajah, were you?” Suddenly, their past confrontations fall into perspective. Liandrin believes Nynaeve’s path would be easier in the Dark, but Nynaeve rejects the offer, preferring death. Cynical and disillusioned, Liandrin insists every woman has a price.

Nynaeve refuses to indulge Liandrin’s justifications. “Was the price worth it?” she asks, and for once, the corrupt Aes Sedai’s face doesn’t have an answer.

The Chosen

Lady Suroth has a face like a thundercloud as she storms into her chambers. She confronts Ishamael about their detour to Atuan’s Mill. Did he go for the Ogier or his pet wolf? Ishamael, as always, keeps her guessing, relishing his secrets.

Suroth seems unable to comprehend how the Dark’s hierarchy works because being unable to hold her temper is incredibly foolish. She lets rip that it is her army Ishamael needs, her ships, and her leashes. He may be Chosen, but he is not of the Blood. Way to lose your life, girl!

Karima McAdams’ performance, though melodramatic, effectively portrays the brattish foot-stomping villain that privilege can breed. She even advocates for Turak’s death, a move Ishamael reminds her would ignite a civil war.

Lady Suroth (Karima McAdams) is in her ornate chamber with Ishamael (Fares Fares) and Alwhin (Jessica Boone). Two guards stand in the foreground.
Lady Suroth (Karima McAdams) with Ishamael (Fares Fares) and Alwhin (Jessica Boone).

Ishamael, more patient than Suroth deserves, reminds her of her oaths. Those Darkfriends around his table in the season premiere are becoming apparent in this episode. Liandrin and Suroth, so far, but will there be more?

He knows the reason for Suroth’s loyalty, which makes her demure and tearful… again, like a child. Ishamael then reveals a chilling prophecy… that Tarmon Gai’don, the Last Battle, will be won in Falme. Victory will be written in the sky, and the Dragon will join the Dark. He also has a gift for Suroth, and “they should be arriving soon.” Liandrin with the Power Girls, if I’m following the plot correctly.

Time to Dance

Choosing not to stay the night in Atuan’s Mill, Perrin returns to the town square, having decided he can’t forget the caged Aiel woman. He unties the rope holding her cell in the air and breaks the lock with the small axe he found earlier. The Aiel woman responds regretfully, “One wetlander puts me in a cage. Another cuts me out.”

“People shouldn’t be in cages,” Perrin replies, probably the best line he’s had in the entire series. Finally, the hero we know is released from the shackles of moping and doing something worthwhile!

Rising from the cage, Aviendha (Ayoola Smart) introduces herself as a Maiden of the Spear (Far Dareis Mai) of the Nine Valleys sept of the Taardad Aiel. As Whitecloaks, including Dain Bornhald with a giant battle axe, surround them, Aviendha smiles: “Perrin Aybara… do you like to dance?”

Dain Bornhald (Jay Duffy) stands with his giant axe. There is a large sunburst on his white cloak.
Dain Bornhald (Jay Duffy)

Then, the fight! Aviendha dazzles with acrobatic combat, while Perrin, eyes blazing yellow, joins the fray. Dain watches and then charges, but Aviendha disarms him and prepares for the kill. Perrin stops her, reminding her of Dain’s kindness with the water.

“What are you?” Dain gasps. These Whitecloaks really haven’t figured Perrin out yet!

Perrin and Aviendha flee Atuan’s Mill before more Children of the Light can find them.

While the darkness obscured some of the action, this was a thrilling introduction to Aviendha. Ayoola Smart embodies her fierce pride with aplomb. Though not the book’s rescue of Gaul, this scene still thrills with its intensity. Epic indeed!

Meeting the Family

Rand and Moiraine are in Cairhien, anxious that Lanfear will soon be on their trail. They desperately need supplies. Rand suggests sleeping, but Moiraine warns him it’s the most dangerous thing they could do. Besides her casual cruelty, Lanfear is known for her mastery of Tel’aran’rhiod. She can inflict just as much pain in the World of Dreams. Rand proposes Moiraine use the Power to keep them both awake. She hesitates, admitting she can’t, though maintaining the secrecy of her condition.

At the Damodred manor, Moiraine finds Anvaere (Lindsay Duncan) with her son, Barthanes Damodred (Will Tudor). Thrilled to see her, Moiraine’s nephew insists she attend his upcoming wedding. Barthanes comically mistakes Rand for Moiraine’s Warder, which he nervously confirms isn’t the case. Moiraine announces him as “Rand” and no more. It’s a delightfully awkward introduction to Moiraine’s family and the last thing Rand expected.

Barthanes is a toff and a buffoon by all clues and appearance but will soon be King of Cairhien. Moiraine hopes his marriage is a happy one. Anvaere dryly assures her that the Damodred name in high esteem is “happiness enough.” Moiraine requests a change of clothes and food for Rand. Barthanes promises to find something suitable from his wardrobe. Poor Rand!

The Mistress of Novices

Sheriam Bayanar (Rima Te Wiata) works at her desk as a Novice dusts. Verin enters casually, recalling having her bottom switched by Sereille Sedai, a more heavy-handed Mistress of Novices. It’s a nod to the book series’ spanking punishments, as mentioned in my Strangers and Friends review. I don’t think anyone is missing that particular treatment, least of all the Novices.

Sheriam Bayanar (Rima Te Wiata) wears a deep blue shawl and dress. She smiles while her fingers rest on the pages of an open book.
Sheriam Bayanar (Rima Te Wiata)

While Sheriam welcomes Verin with strained courtesy, the retired Aes Sedai stops rambling nostalgically and asks after Egwene and Nynaeve, supposedly under Sheriam’s care. The Mistress of Novices is flustered when Verin reveals their absence from Tar Valon – even the Daughter-Heir is missing!

A note in the Novice’s book reveals the girls went to Caemlyn. Sheriam, relieved they were at least accompanied by Queen Morgase’s guard, agrees this is worth remembering.

Verin also inquires about a missing library book, which Sheriam is happy to retrieve from her room.

Verin the Sleuth

Verin’s distraction cleverly buys time for Yassica, who examines the Novice’s book. A tremor in the handwriting—unusual for Sheriam—raises alarm. The book cites Gawyn Trakand’s name day as the reason for the girls’ departure.

Yassica (Katie Leung) and Verin Mathwin (Meera Syal) consider a transcript, Verin using a magnifying glass.
Yassica (Katie Leung) and Verin Mathwin (Meera Syal) investigate.

Later, Verin’s face darkens as she studies the text with her looking glass. Could this have been written under the insidious weave of Compulsion? Yassica recoils at the implication—broken Oaths and a real Black Ajah!

Verin resolves to seek the names of Aes Sedai who recently left Tar Valon. Is she closing in on Liandrin? Perhaps, but it may be too late.

Damane

A Waygate opens in an oasis, and Liandrin emerges with her unconscious captives. An impatient Suroth awaits, her entourage including two gagged, collared channelers.

A large palanquin is carried into a tropical forest by servants. Seanchan guards and two damane with their sul’dam are present. Lady Suroth sits on the palanquin’s throne, unmasked.
Damane and sul’dam lead Lady Suroth’s guard.

Liandrin, unimpressed by Ishamael’s absence, derides Suroth’s treatment of damane as disrespecting the One Power. However, Suroth believes preventing people from using it by accident of birth is suitable respect. Sul’dam earn the right to wield their damane’s Power through rigorous training. She dubs Aes Sedai marath’damane, meaning “those who must be leashed.”

The mutual contempt burns hot. Suroth hopes to be the one to place the collar around Liandrin’s throat, and Liandrin wants to see Suroth kneel to her when their master’s needs change. Liandrin subtly loosens Nynaeve’s bonds before departing. Nynaeve and Egwene regain consciousness and notice this unexpected kindness. Elayne begins to murmur, too.

But time is short. Suroth’s damane approach. Nynaeve’s block prevents her from channeling, but Elayne calls down lightning, buying them time to flee as the damane retaliate with fireballs. Egwene weaves a shield, allowing them to escape… but another fireball separates her from the others.

Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden) runs from a blast in a tropical forest.
Egwene al’Vere (Madeleine Madden)

Emerging from the trees, Nynaeve and Elayne discover Egwene isn’t with them. Miri (Valerie Vachkova) has a struggling Egwene restrained by weaves of Air.

Aviendha

Perrin and Aviendha cook meat over a fire. She praises Perrin’s fighting skills, calling him by his full name and saying he doesn’t dance the spears badly. An introduction to the Aiel follows.

Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) sits in rough grassland wearing a red shirt and leather waistcoat. The wedding ring is visible on his left hand.
Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford) still wears his wedding band.

Surprised that Aiel would venture so far from the Waste, Perrin learns it’s known as the Three-Fold Land—a shaping ground, a testing ground, and a punishment for a forgotten sin. Their search for the legendary Car’a’carn—the chief of chiefs—has brought them this far west. Aviendha is bound to Perrin by toh, the Aiel concept of obligation, due to his life-saving act.

Hilariously misinterpreting her offer of water (“my water is yours”) as flirtatious, Aviendha assures Perrin she’s not about to attack in a fit of lust, then asks for their destination. Falme, of course, to rescue even more of Perrin’s friends than he thinks.

The Streets of Falme

Nynaeve and Elayne follow a camel-led caravan into Falme. Elayne’s worldliness helps them understand their location, while Nynaeve focuses on finding Perrin and Loial, who are likely held captive. A pipe-smoking man notices them, and Elayne has to pull Nynaeve into a deserted alley to maintain their cover. The broad-shouldered man follows, though, knocking them unconscious.

Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) and Elayne Trakand (Ceara Coveney) wear shawls over their Novice gowns as they wander the streets of Falme.
Nynaeve al’Meara (Zoë Robins) and Elayne Trakand (Ceara Coveney) in Falme.

They wake in the home of a Yellow Aes Sedai, Ryma (Nyokabi Gethaiga), and her Warder, Basan (Bentley Kalu), and learn that they are being hunted. Ryma addresses the girls like the lowly Accepted and Novice they are. Nynaeve and Elayne share a look, not knowing if they’ve found a new friend or another foe.

White Asparagus

Verin continues sleuthing as Liandrin returns to the White Tower. The Brown Sister wonders how Liandrin could return so soon since she’s reportedly seeking a male channeler in Jurene. Liandrin, prepared for deception, produces a Jurenean delicacy – white asparagus – to support her lie.

Not to be foxed, Verin casually inquires about Egwene and Nynaeve, whose absence from the Tower is unexpected. Feigning surprise, Liandrin raises concern about a reported ambush on a Caemlyn convoy. Verin watches her rush off to speak with the Keeper, looking more satisfied than anxious.

Verin Mathwin (Meera Syal) wears a brown dress and belt, her hands cupped upwards, in the White Tower. She looks inquisitive.
Verin Mathwin (Meera Syal)

Sisterly Advice

Exhausted, Moiraine quietly cleans Lanfear’s blood from her chest. Anvaere enters, touchingly offering to wipe her sister’s back. She understands Moiraine’s life of purpose has given way to uncertainty. Moiraine confesses her fear of failing to protect Rand and the potential danger to Anvaere and the city if she misjudges the situation.

Anvaere recalls advice given to her by her “much older sister,” meaning Moiraine. “If something is upsetting you or making you afraid, you ask yourself one simple question. Is it true?”

This prompts Moiraine to realize—is it undeniably true that Rand needs her protection? “…excellent advice, wasn’t it?” she reflects.

Rosamund Pike and Lindsay Duncan are captivating together, making this Damodred subplot unexpectedly engaging. I want a miniseries!

The Forsaken

Ishamael caresses Rand’s sleeping face in Tel’aran’rhiod but isn’t fooled. He asks Lanfear if she’s meddling with his dreams again. Giggling, Lanfear reveals herself. A gameful twist that amuses me.

Ishamael laments that the Forsaken are blamed for the Breaking of the World, but no one has bothered to pick up the pieces. 3,000 years later, the world is still “bashing about with swords and queens.”

Lanfear is surprised that Moiraine still lives. A desperate enemy, Ishamael thinks, makes far more interesting choices, preferring this to a dead and useless Aes Sedai.

The complexity of these villains is a crucial ingredient of Season 2’s success. Fares Fares and Natasha O’Keeffe follow Rosamund Pike and Lindsay Duncan’s acting masterclass with one of their own. What’s more, Lanfear teases more Forsaken, naming Moghedien and Graendal. They’re not nearly as useless as Lanfear depicts and are evil treats we can expect to enjoy in future seasons. Hurrah!

On turning the ta’veran to the Dark, Lanfear paints Rand as vulnerable – softer than Lews Therin. Ishamael claims he has the girls, predicts Perrin’s feral transformation, and suggests Mat was always his. We must remember this is the Father of Lies! He asks Lanfear what Rand will do when his friends are all lost. “He will break,” Lanfear declares, ending the dream.

A Gift for High Lord Turak

High Lord Turak seeks an audience with the mysterious Ishamael, curious about the outsider who rose swiftly in Seanchan ranks. Ishamael deflects, claiming to hail from a long-forgotten land. He feigns humility, insisting only the Empress can perceive grand omens.

Turak, won over by Ishamael’s discovery of the Horn of Valere, offers him a boon. The Forsaken only asks for Turak to accept a gift from Lady Suroth.

Suroth and two sul’dam approach. They present Egwene as Turak’s ‘gift’. Renna (Xelia Mendez-Jones), a sul’dam, brutally collars Egwene. Tendrils of Power connect the collar to her bracelet. A screaming Egwene collapses, leashed. She is a damane now.

A World of Dreams

Rand plays cards with Barthanes when Moiraine interrupts. She unveils a risky plan in her room: Lanfear, masquerading as Selene, has courted him for months. Rand must feign affection in their dream-world encounters so they can learn what the Forsaken want. History suggests Lanfear loved Lews Therin but turned to the Dark when he broke her heart. Moiraine believes she wants him back. Though wary, Rand also senses genuine affection beneath Selene’s lies.

Moiraine watches as Rand sleeps, ready to intervene if danger arises.

In his dream, Rand is shirtless and bound to a seven-spoked wheel in a desolate landscape. Across from him, enthroned and seductive, Lanfear sighs, “Finally.” The episode closes on a literal cliffhanger.

Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski) is shirtless and tied to a 7-spoked wheel by leather straps.
Rand al’Thor (Josha Stradowski)

Damane Rating

Damane presents a feast for book fans and an action-packed triumph, expertly balancing rapid plot development with stunning villain scenes and lore. Fans of the novels will relish the insights into the Seanchan, Wolfbrothers, Aiel, and Forsaken. There’s even a mention of the Black Ajah. This talented cast and crew deliver it all brilliantly—a confident 8.5 out of 10!

A golden-eyed wolf on a brown background. White typography reads "8.5/10," which is The Shining Walls' rating for The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 5, Damane.
“DAMANE” RATING

The adaptation starts to make sense this season. Its nuanced villains have clear motives, while plausible limitations keep our heroes grounded. I love the dark humor that threads through bleak moments, especially during Ishamael and Lanfear’s team talk in Tel’aran’rhiod.

The pacing is perfect, and the acting is extraordinary: Rosamund Pike, Lindsay Duncan, Fares Fares, Natasha O’Keeffe, Daniel Francis… truly, the whole cast deserves praise! A special shoutout to Karima McAdams’ Lady Suroth. Some critics have panned her over-the-top portrayal, but I find her fascinating. This Suroth is intellectually and morally challenged and entirely oblivious—deep insecurities lurk behind that elaborate mask!

Damane earns my highest praise because it takes the books we love and delivers a thrilling on-screen experience that triggers the joy we find in them. We wanted this, and The Wheel of Time adaptation is finally delivering!

Best Actor

Ayoola Smart as Aviendha

Aviendha (Ayoola Smart) sits on a rock. She wears brown leathers and a woolen hood and veil over dreadlocked hair.
Aviendha (Ayoola Smart)

I heralded Ceara Coveney’s introduction in Strangers and Friends, and Ayoola Smart deserves similar praise for her captivating portrayal of the fierce Maiden of the Spear, Aviendha. Like Ceara Coveney’s Elayne, Ayoola Smart brings the beloved character to life, embodying Aviendha’s strength and vulnerability.

Given fewer scenes and substantial exposition, this was a tough ask, but Ayoola Smart jumps from the screen with each appearance. From Aviendha’s watchful alertness as a captive to her transformation into a fearless warrior, Ayoola Smart remains present and engaging. Her infectious laughter reveals the warmth beneath her stern exterior, and there are hints of Aviendha’s deep respect for ji’e’toh, adding extra depth and authenticity.

But two iconic moments solidify my choice of Ayoola Smart for Best Actor. The first is her nuanced delivery of “Do you like to dance?” and the thrilling chuckle that precedes it. The second is her natural, agile physicality – a perfect embodiment of Aviendha’s combat prowess and grace.

It’s a compelling, multi-faceted performance, and Ayoola Smart is now my headcanon for Aviendha. She’s utterly convincing in the role, regardless of hair color!

Watch “Damane” Today!

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Please let me know in the comments what you think about The Wheel of Time Season 2, Episode 5, Damane. Do you agree with my rating and review? What about the Best Actor award? I always respond to your messages, and I’ll answer any questions you have, too.

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

Russell

Link to review post - a golden-eyed wolf staring forward against a green background and an arrow pointing right. Green and white text reads “The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 6 Review, Eyes Without Pity.”
TAP FOR MY “EYES WITHOUT PITY” RECAP & REVIEW
Link to review post – a golden-eyed wolf staring forward against a black background and an arrow pointing left. White text reads “The Wheel of Time Season 2 Episode 4 Review, Daughter of the Night.”
TAP FOR MY “DAUGHTER OF THE NIGHT” RECAP & REVIEW
Link to The Wheel of Time Season 2 hub page. A golden-eyed wolf staring forward on a solid black background.
TAP FOR MY SEASON 2 HUB PAGE

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