The Wheel of Time turns in an excellent season 1 finale

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

Just in time for Christmas, The Wheel of Time wraps up its first season with an epic finale, “The Eye of the World.” Building off what has been a largely incredible first seven episodes, “The Eye of the World” delivers everything you’d want from a season finale. From wrapping up many of the plot threads established throughout the season, setting up things to come and leaving viewers with a whole new set of questions, “The Eye of the World” is an epic sendoff for book and show-only fans alike.

Read on for our full review, but beware, SPOILERS follow below.

The Wheel of Time
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon Studios /

Meet Lews Therin

As the show seems to enjoy doing nearly every week, “The Eye of the World” once again uses a cold opening to establish some of the world’s extensive backstory. This time around, we’re introduced to Lews Therin Telamon, the previous incarnation of the Dragon Reborn and who lived 3,000 years before Rand. Lews is intent on attacking the Dark One, but the Amyrlin Seat of this era is against it. We see flashes of the city where Lews rules, one filled with advanced technology.

Back in the present, things are slowly inching towards a climax. If initially it seems the episode is off to a slow start, fear not, as it builds at a steady pace. Before it gets started though, we have a tender moment between Lan and Nynaeve, who are easily my favorite two characters from the first season. Lan expresses his love for Nynaeve in a speech taken right from Robert Jordan’s books. But they cannot be together, for he is still bound to Moiraine. Nynaeve reveals that she knows how to track the Aes Sedai, and Lan is off to the rescue.

Moiraine and Rand meet the “Dark One”

We jump over to Moiraine and Rand’s trek through the Blight, an oppressive jungle that has sprung up as a result of the Dark One’s encroachment on the world. It’s here that we finally meet Ishamael (Fares Fares), who we think is the Dark One himself. The initial encounter is anything but menacing, as the Dark One almost appears happy to meet Rand (again). It’s a nice swerve.

Meanwhile, things are getting out of hand back in Fal Dara. The Dark One has unleashed an army of Trollocs bigger than anything the fortress city has seen before, and the situation looks dire for our heroes. After several rallying speeches, Lord Agelmar leads the charge to Tarwin’s Gap and is quickly overrun and killed by a spear through the chest.

Next in the line of defense is Lady Amalisa, who can channel. She uses Nynaeve, Egwene and several other women from Fal Dara a conduits, drawing on a massive amount of the One Power to summon a lightning storm and lay waste to the Trolloc army rampaging towards them. Unfortunately, Amalisa draws too much power and incinerates herself and the other women, excluding Egwene. Nynaeve’s death is shocking, but given her large presence in the books, I knew it wouldn’t last. Egwene manages to bring her back with the One Power, but the other women aren’t so lucky.

All of this action is interspersed with Rand’s confrontation with the Dark One after he and Moiraine reach the Eye. In an extended sequence that flashes back and forth, Rand is tempted by an imaginary life with Egwene, complete with their first child. Rand has spent the season lost over Egwene’s choice to become a Wisdom, and later an Aes Sedai, so this is a tantalizing possibility for him, but he ultimately rejects it. He declares that Egwene chose not to be with him and he will not force her to be, seemingly annihilates the Dark One using a sa’angreal (a powerful artifact) given to him by Moiraine.

Padan Fain steps out of the shadows

It might seem as if the good guys have won, but we learn that amidst the battle, Padan Fain  — the seemingly unassuming peddler from the Two Rivers — launched his own sneak attack in Fal Dara. Fain kills several Shienaran soldiers and also appears to kill Loial, the Ogier builder who is a fan favorite book character. Although the death looks fairly definitive, there is at least a crack of hope that he might live, although Fain does stab him several times.

Fain is there to both find the mythical Horn of Valere, which can summon long-dead heroes to fight for whoever blows it, and to continue keeping tabs on our five heroes from the Two Rivers. As Moiraine mentioned early on in the season, the five are all Ta’veren, souls of special significance that bend fate to their will whether they will it or not. And if this revelation isn’t enough, after forcing Moiraine to tell his friends that he perished, Rand sets out for parts unknown. Moiraine is left behind, cut off from the One Power by the Dark One, cryptically remarking that this was not the Last Battle, but the first.

But wait! There’s more! Before the credits roll, we flash to a deserted beach where a little girl is gathering sea shells. As the camera pans out to the ocean, we see a large fleet of ships, impossibly foreign in design and crewed by bizarre looking warriors and their slaves. Book readers will know what we are looking at, and show-only fans will at least know this is a formidable new threat, as the soldiers summon a massive tidal wave using the One Power and send it hurtling towards the beach.

All and all, a very solid finale. We finally got our first look at the true dangers Rand and friends will face of their journey. And although the body count is high, it’s only Loial who fans might riot over, if the Builder is in fact dead.

Where our heroes head next is up in the air, although for now at least Perrin, Egwene and Nynaeve will be together. Of Mat we only have a brief glimpse as he returns to Tar Valon. Rand’s journey will be of utmost importance.

Considering the amount of world-building the first season had to do, the plot unfurled pretty smoothly. I liked many characters I cannot stand in the books, and very few of the changes made by producers harmed the experience. It’s hard to see how one could have wanted much more from this finale. The show’s future looks bright.

Episode Grade: A+

Next. Exclusive: Lucinda Wright dives into the costumes of The Witcher season 2. dark

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels