The Wheel of Time Season 2 has finally come to an end, and it is a much better finale than that of season 1. A fitting ending to the chaotic season where we finally get to see everyone come together. It was high time Rand faced Ishamael, and we saw the five come together. There are some tearjerkers and surprises in this episode that made the wait worth it. Some might even say the episode was too short. We did feel some things were a little bit rushed, but the payoff is decent, so we’re not going to complain. We would like to say that this all comes from the perspective of a non-reader, so take it with a grain of salt if you are a reader. Interestingly, we don’t get to see Siuan or any of the Aes Sedai except for Moiraine in this episode. At the end of episode 7, Moiraine and Lan went with Lanfear for Rand’s sake. Let’s have a look at what follows.
Blast From The Past
3000 years ago, we saw that Ishamael’s great dream was for his life to end. He’s tired of suffering from the inevitable rebirth that is his fate as the wheel keeps turning. What he wants is for the wheel to be stopped, but if Lews is unwilling to do that, he looks for death for himself. That’s when his old friend Lews chose to trap him instead, probably as punishment for his choices, taking the side of the dark.
It is the Whitecloaks that hear the call for help from Falme and make their way there to fight the Seanchans. In many ways, it is their pride that brings them there and nothing else. Of course, they’re outnumbered and outmaneuvered by their enemy. Dain Bornhald is a part of this group, and he comes across Perrin in the fight against the Seanchans. But, amidst this chaos, Valda decides to use his blade on Perrin to find out who he truly is. This leads to Hopper coming to his aid and attacking Valda. Seeing this, Dain’s father kills the poor wolf, unleashing the power and anger in Perrin. Dain Bornhald watches as his father is slain by Perrin for killing his wolf.
Moiraine and Lan
As expected, Lanfear always has her own agendas in mind, and she throws Lan and Moiraine out of the Waygate into Falme. The Waygate is too far from the tower where Egwene is and where the action is taking place, so Lanfear has another way to travel there with Lan. This isn’t explained very clearly, but it almost comes across as teleportation, and Lanfear could only do it with one person, which is Rand. Moiraine and Lan finally reconcile after all that they’ve been through this entire season. In a wonderful moment, Lan tells Moiraine that he knows now why she said they were not equals. Moiraine admits that it’s because she always thought Lan was better. Lan reminds Moiraine that there’s nothing she can do that won’t hurt him anymore, so she should just bring their bond back. It’s a beautiful, intimate moment on the beach where Moiraine and Lan rebond in front of the ocean, marking their strength together. As they make their way towards the city, soldiers come to attack them. Moiraine also notices that Rand needs help, and she decides to do whatever she can from where she is. She notices that someone is being shielded from the power and believes it’s Rand. It is rather sudden, the burst of power Moiraine has now, almost as if being shielded for so long made her much stronger. She’s able to destroy the ships that contain the Damane shielding Rand.
Ishamael and Lanfear
Lanfear tells Ishamael that she has brought Rand to Falme. He thinks it’s too soon, and there’s no way that Rand will take the side of the dark. It seems there was a special bond between Lews, Lanfear, and Ishamael. They were close friends, and Ishamael feels in his gut that Lanfear is going to betray him. That’s why he chooses to shield Rand from the power and does one other thing that we’ll come to at the end. Interestingly, Lanfear wears white and black, with a prominence of white, and Ishamael wears the opposite, hinting at what’s to come (Lanfear’s betrayal).
It seems Lanfear has been playing games the whole time as the puppet master. She was the one who gave the sailor the seal and the poem that Moiraine took as a hint back in the first half of the show.
Egwene might as well be the star of episode 8. All the Sul’dams and Damane are called for battle, and she refuses her Sul’dam. Nynaeve and Elayne are desperate to help Egwene without realizing that she is strong enough to make it out on her own. Renna cuts Egwene’s hair, the thing she knows will truly hurt her before they head out to battle. Egwene sees that it is the Whitecloaks they are fighting and shows off her strength at first. When she sees the children and families of Falme being hurt, she stops, spitting out her golden gag and refuting her Sul’dam. At that time, the tower they’re in is attacked, and everyone dies except Egwene and her Sul’dam. Renna tries to hurt Egwene because she blames her for what has happened. Egwene manages to collar Renna, proving that the Sul’dam are also channelers, but they’re too weak for the power to manifest around them. This is the reason they can bond with Damane. Egwene tortures Renna the way the latter has done with her. Egwene is still collared, but in this clash of resolves, Egwene emerges victorious and watches Renna die.
Rand finds Egwene at this time and says he came to help her, but he sees now that she doesn’t need his help. He apologizes for not telling her he was alive, and Ishamael shows up. He tells Rand that it’s good to see him in the flesh at last. Ishamael gets the Seanchans to shield Rand, and Egwene tries to interfere. It doesn’t work, and Ishamael throws her off with just a flick.
Nynaeve And Elayne
Nynaeve tortures the woman who is now her Damane into telling them how to get to Egwene. This scene is interesting because Elayne feels like Nynaeve is going too far, but it’s possible that because she can feel the power through the other woman, Nynaeve feels powerful again. They make it to where Egwene is trapped, but Elayne is shot with an arrow in the knee. Nynaeve can’t channel the power to help her, but as a wise woman, she does what she can to help Elayne. Elayne tells Nynaeve that she’ll just slow her down, so she should stay behind, but Nynaeve is unsure of being able to use her strength, so she needs to take Elayne along.
Mat And The Dagger
Did we say Egwene was the star of this episode? We beg your pardon because Mat is the perfect competition for her. Padan Fain, his good old friend, shows up as per the request of Ishamael with the ruby-hilted dagger. Mat tells him that there’s no way he’ll use it, but in an hour, the man’s using the dagger to get out of the locked room, or so thinks Padan. Actually, he’s made a spear-like structure with the dagger and managed not to touch it at all. He escapes and meets Perrin in the middle of the fight, and it’s the most adorable reunion. Loial and Ingtar find Perrin (who has the Aeil with him) too, and they all team up to find Egwene. Ingtar dies in the battle because the task at hand is to get the horn to Rand without fail. Mat is the one who tells Perrin that Rand is alive, even commenting on his short hair. Mat cuts through the box of the horn with the dagger. Perrin and the rest decide to fight so Mat can reach Rand safely. When he gets there, though, there’s a mini-army waiting for him. Through intuition, Mat blows the horn himself. Suddenly, he remembers that he has led the “Heroes of the Horn” before. Behind him stand tall and strong, many warriors from different parts of the world, ready to fight for Mat. He gives them a command in the old tongue, unleashing their power.
Finally, Mat makes it to where Rand is. He sees an opportunity to throw his spear at Ishamael and kill him from the back, and he does it. It turns out Ishamael was just an illusion, and the spear actually hits Rand as Ishamael disappears into thin air. He finally reveals his true self, making fun of Mat’s intuition. Ultimately, Min’s vision did come true, but she didn’t know that Mat never intended to hit Rand.
Rand makes his way to the Seanchans and is met with Turak on the opposite side. Turak refers to Rand’s heron-hilted blade, a symbol of a true “blademaster” (according to the fandom wiki). What Turak doesn’t realize is that Rand is the Dragon Reborn, and in an instant, he kills them all using the power.
How does Rand defeat Ishamael?
In the end, Ishamael watches a fallen Rand, who is not only shielded from the power but also hit with Mat’s dagger. His old friend is powerless, but Egwene immediately displays her strength. Again, this infinite power that helps her stand up against a chosen one comes out of nowhere. Perrin joins in with the shield given to him by his friend, one of the heroes of the horn (the guy that died at the hands of the Seanchans). Elayne and Nynaeve also show up, and Elayne heals Rand’s dagger wound, while Mat profusely apologizes to Nynaeve. She understands this was not his fault. Rand feels some kind of instant power from Elayne, and with this magical glow around her, he asks who she is. As the ships are destroyed by Moiraine, Rand’s shield from the One Power is broken, and he’s finally free to use his full strength. He uses the One Power to shield himself and then runs his dagger through Ishamael’s heart. A simple end to a baffling villain, really. Rand’s sword burns away, and as Ishamael falls to the floor, he asks his old friend Lews if he can “see it too”. Rand asks what he sees, and Ishamael turns to ashes as he says “Nothing”.
Moiraine remembers the prophecy and creates a “banner of fire” to proclaim Rand the Dragon Reborn. A dragon appears to everyone with its head at the top of the tower that the five friends are on. Rand stands tall in front of everyone as the whole crowd cheers in joy. The five others stand behind him to show their support too. Even the Seanchan man who helped Perrin and Loial escape watches in awe, maybe as a sign that he may be important for next season.
In an epilogue, we see a happy Lanfear head back to her room. She’s met with a shocking revelation there. Before Ishamael died, he knew Lanfear would betray him, so he set free all the other Forsaken. Now, the scarier stuff begins, as these are the people who have no connections with Rand, like Ishamael and Lanfear. Mogedhien is the name of the Forsaken that sits across from her. She weaves what looks like spiderwebs and warns Lanfear to drop the act and remind herself that she has given an oath to the dark side. The real battle seems to just be beginning.
This season finale was actually much better than I expected. I did feel like it was a bit strange that some of the characters suddenly developed tremendous amounts of power that they had never displayed before. I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. There are some interesting details in this episode, one of which is that Ingtar mentions a woman from Cairhien who helped them procure the horn, and this obviously has to be Lanfear. Moiraine and Lan’s bond, which was off this season, was beautifully brought back to life, and it’s so good to see them back in action. What will become of the Aes Sedai now? It’s possible they’re still against Rand harnessing his powers. He will go mad at some point. Hopper’s death was absolutely heartbreaking but a beautiful scene to watch as well. I wonder how Dain will take revenge on Perrin.