The Eye of the World
Episode 8 of The Wheel of Time begins in the past with Latra and Lews talking in the old tongue about the future of the Aes Sedai. Latra throws shade at the men, worried that their mission to imprison the Dark One is too dangerous. As the camera pans out, we also learn that Lews is actually the Dragon Reborn.
Back in the present, Rand and Moiraine walk through the thick brambles known as The Great Blight. These gnarly, twisting forests stretch on for miles, growing ever-larger every year as the Dark One’s power grows.
While they walk, Egwene begins packing up her things, desperate to follow them. It’s Nyn who has the trump card though, admitting to Lan she’s able to follow Moiraine given she has a Tell. Eh? When did this come into play? When did Nyn manage to learn how to track her? Am I missing something? And how has Lan not noticed this same Tell?
Anyway, Lan holds her hands, calling her a remarkable woman and setting out to track the pair of them down.
However, they don’t have to wait for long before things escalate in a big way. As horns blow in town, 60 Fades and numerous more Trollocs are in-bound to their location. The Gap is unlikely to hold and they’re bound to be overwhelmed but that doesn’t stop those at the Fortress from working hard to prepare for what they’ve colloquially called the Last Battle.
Lady Amalisa and Lord Agelmar prepare for battle, determined to hold The Gap. If that should fall, then it’s up to the women to hold the city. This confidence is but a façade though, as Agelmar knows that the Dark One’s power is too great, too immeasurable to stop. Still, he’ll head into battle nonetheless and face the armies, in the hopes of at least slowing down the growing plague that’s sweeping this world.
Meanwhile, Rand is confronted all alone by a being known as “The Man”. He steps out of the shadows, stabbing Moiraine through the mouth, leaving her a bloody mess on the floor. He also calls Rand by the name of Lews and chuckles when Rand brandishes his father’s blade.
The Man taunts him about his true ancestry and promises to tell him about the Dragon. Only, all of this is one big dream, as Rand stabs himself and awakens.
Moiraine and Rand press on, eventually making it to a gaping hole, complete with stairs leading down. With the area completely unguarded, Rand makes it to the Eye, a Ying-Yang symbol on the floor; an island surrounded by a pool of water. As he touches it, Rand descends into a vision. With him stuck in this dream world, the Dark One materializes before Moiraine and taunts her with his power.
He also seduces Rand too, freezing the vision of him and Egwene together and trying to convince him to use this power he has to remake the world as he sees fit.
Back at the city, as the Trollocs fast approach, Nyn and Egwene join the fight and decide to use their powers to help the other Channellers. Rounding out the rest of the troupe are Perrin and Loial, who join some of the soldiers in the great chamber. Underneath the throne happens to be the Horn of Valere, which is foretold to be found just before the Last Battle. No one really knows what it does but we’ll have to wait and see for now.
Outside the walls, The Wheel of Time goes full-on Game of Thrones. Trollocs fast approach but you’ll be hard pressed to see as the flickering flames illuminate a couple nearby and that’s about it. Anyway, they’re soon defeated by 5 untrained channellers teaming up together and combine their powers. They blast the entire army and kill them all.
Anyway, the power is too much for the women to bear and as all them burn up and die, Nyn and Egwene survive, with the latter using the power of love (I’m guessing anyway, it’s not really explained) to heal Nyn and bring her back from certain death.
Meanwhile, Rand channels the One Power and gives a big speech about the woman he loves, that being Egwene. In doing so, he manages to use the power and blasts the Dark One back. He fades from view as Rand breathes heavily “I did it!” He says incredulously.
Rand decides to leave, walking away from Moiraine and not telling her where he’s going. When he disappears, Lan catches up to Moiraine, who has been left powerless after her brief skirmish with the Dark One. She realizes this isn’t the last battle and in fact, just the first of many.
Back at the fortress, Perrin has had barely anything to do all episode long and here he witnesses Padan Fain stealing the horn and seemingly killing Loial too. Perrin can only stand and watch as he leaves.
Meanwhile over on the Western shores, a whole bunch of ships fast approach, fronted by a bunch of Chanellers. They conjure forth a huge wave that looks set to consume the girl completely.
The Episode Review
So the battle for the Fortress, or what’s known as the “Last Battle”, ends without much aplomb, singlehandedly showing everything wrong with the writing in this series.
Wouldn’t it have been nice for these untrained channellers to actually use their powers 10 minutes earlier and prevent needless deaths from the army? If the army knew that they’d be sending Channellers out, wouldn’t they be the first line of defence? They could have covered them with a volley of arrows from their fortress, keeping the Trollocs at bay while they used their powers.
What’s worse though is that this move completely shatters any threat that the Trollocs and the Dark One poses.
So you’re telling me that one Trolloc in that weird bridge realm is enough to send Moiraine and the others fleeing for their lives but an entire army of 10,000 strong can be taken out with no fanfare by an untrained bunch of magic-wielders? If that’s what untrained women can do, what sort of power do the Aes Sedai have? There’s absolutely no need to worry because based on this episode alone, one of the Aes Sedai should be able to take out 100,000 easy. And therein shatters all tension or threat that our bad guys have.
Furthermore, Nyn’s healing powers also eliminate any need to worry about deaths in this show. If she can heal Egwene while she’s nearly dead (or actually dead) then why should we care when any of our characters are in mortal danger? She can just heal them, right? It’s soul-crushingly bad worldbuilding. And this is a show that’s had 90 million dollars put behind it.
I’ve been on the fence with this one all the way through, pointing out little flaws here and there, but still enjoying the storyline despite no emotional connection with any of these characters.
But this finale, whether you’re familiar with the book material or not, was horrible. A horrible finale that destroys any threat going forward, undoes some of the light character work done to this point, establishes massive plot armour and shatters any threat the Dark One holds over this land. What a real shame.