This will be our full spoiler review and episode breakdown for The Wheel of Time, season 2, episode 4. When we say “full spoilers,” we’re including the entire book series, as we will be discussing changes from the books and potential ramifications for the future. If you don’t want plot points from the books that may show up in future episodes and seasons of The Wheel of Time spoiled for you, please avoid this review.
We’re still not recovered from the emotional trauma that episode 3 inflicted upon us, but episode 4 is here and there’s quite a big reveal! Read on for our summary, or skip ahead to our review, book to screen analysis, and individual ratings.
Summary of Episode 204 – Daughter of the Night (written by Dave Hill)
Ishamael (Fares Fares) approaches a moon dial in the Cairhien countryside. He shatters it with channeling and a woman materializes, covered in blood.
Rand (Josha Stradowski) is cleaning up the charred remains of Selene’s inn. Selene (Natasha O’Keeffe) invites him to stay with her in a cabin by Kinslayer’s Dagger. Upon arrival at the cabin, Selene reveals that she used to stay there with a man she loved. That night Rand and Selene are attacked by a Fade. Rand channels to save Selene, who’s initially horrified that Rand can channel, but then softens and tells him that she’s willing to spend as much time with him as she can. The two comfort each other passionately.
Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) spends time with Elyas (Gary Beadle) and the wolves. Elyas explains that he and Perrin are both wolfbrothers, and reveals it was Elyas and the wolves who helped Perrin and Egwene escape the Whitecloaks (season 1, episode 5). One of the wolves takes a liking to Perrin and shares his name via a wolf vision: Hopper.
Mat (Dónal Finn) and Min (Kae Alexander) are gambling and drinking at an inn. While she’s sleeping, Min is faced with a dream of her aunts making her work as a fortune teller in a circus. The dream is interrupted by Ishamael, who promises to take away her “curse” if she takes Mat to Cairhien.
Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood) informs the Keeper of the Chronicles, Leane (Jennifer Cheon Garcia), that the western shore is under attack and asks why she hasn’t sent any Aes Sedai to investigate. Leane seems nonplussed about the whole situation, telling Liandrin that they’ve already sent sisters to investigate, but she doesn’t answer when asked when she last heard from those sisters. Liandrin warns Leane that if the still-absent Siuan ends up falling, that Leane will fall with her.
Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) is an Accepted now, and things are distant between her and Egwene (Madeleine Madden). Egwene shares her concerns with Elayne (Ceara Coveney); the distance with Nynaeve bothers Egwene because she wishes she could return the favor that Nynaeve showed by helping her through the loss of a loved one (Rand). Nynaeve discovers news of her channeling in the Arches has reached the warders, and also finds that Maksim (Taylor Napier) and Ihvon (Emmanuel Imani) have left with Alanna. Liandrin tells Nynaeve that Perrin and Loial have been captured by Seanchan. Nynaeve reveals this news to Egwene, who insists on coming with Nynaeve to help their friends. The two girls try to sneak out of the Tower but are followed by Elayne, who reveals herself just in time for the trio to be interrupted by Liandrin, who is clearly surprised to find Elayne present. Liandrin knocks all three girls out with a blast of air.
Maksim and Ihvon are with Alanna and Lan in Arafel, visiting Alanna’s family. They all keep an eye on him while also giving him advice about how to handle the rift between him and Moiraine. Maksim and Alanna (Priyanka Bose) discover the poem that Lan took from Moiraine and learn that another Forsaken, Lanfear, is free.
Selene and Rand are in bed. Selene tells Rand that she’s a monster just like him, and begins to ripple strangely before a sword runs through her chest. It’s Moiraine, who then slits Selene’s throat. Rand reacts in rage, grabbing Moiraine by the throat and throwing her against the wall by channeling, but she explains that Selene is no mere innkeeper. She is Lanfear, the most dangerous Forsaken. Rand knows Moiraine cannot lie, and chooses to escape with her into the night. Lanfear blinks and draws a breath.
Review of of Episode 204 – Daughter of the Night
Likes: We’re thrilled to finally spend some time with Hopper, whose name was finally said onscreen. He’s adorable and we loved seeing the bond that he and Perrin are quickly building.
While Anvaere is not a character we spend any time with in the books, we will always welcome amazing acting, and Lindsay Duncan playing daes dae’mar opposite Rosamund Pike was a very satisfying scene. It was also very touching to see a glimpse into Moiraine’s past, a reminder of the life she left behind. These moments of humanity are something the show continually excels at, providing even more depth to our beloved characters.
While there were a number of changes to the specifics of Selene met Rand and was eventually revealed to be Lanfear, the show’s route was believable, dark, and compelling. We particularly loved seeing Ishamael freeing her from her 3000-year imprisonment, although this wasn’t something ever shown in the books, and the method itself was invented for television. As far as we’re concerned, Natasha O’Keeffe is Lanfear, with an incredible range of vocal and facial acting that’s simply a treat to watch. Lorne Balfe’s score was also a standout in these sequences, with a noticeable tone and style shift to one that’s almost reminiscent of a more modern superhero or thriller film score. We’re also glad the show didn’t needlessly drag out the drama of Lanfear’s secret identity, nor did it over-extend the mystery of Moiraine’s mysterious poem.
Liandrin in the show has been a standout character from her first moment onscreen, and we were finally rewarded with her betrayal of Nynaeve. After the rapport they’ve built in the show, and Nynaeve’s increased vulnerability after the Accepted test, Nynaeve has a more fleshed out reason to trust Liandrin beyond simple obedience. Kate Fleetwood, we love to hate you.
Dislikes: The scenes with Lan and the warders felt a little prolonged, especially at the expense of other central characters like Mat who’ve had relatively little screen time. This may be partially due to our book reader confusion about what’s going on with Lan. Was his bond taken? Is his bond in a permanent state of being masked? Is there even still a bond to forcibly hand off to Alanna? The characters seem to be forming their own conclusions without communicating (which, admittedly, is very on-brand for The Wheel of Time). As we’re still convinced that Moiraine’s shielded by saidin, not stilled, it does make sense that no one’s realized that in the show; she’s never been around another male channeler that could sense it, and the other Aes Sedai would have no reason to suspect that to be the reason she’s cut off. Her interactions with Rand could be very interesting now, considering. Perhaps this provides additional motivation to learn to control and shape his use of saidin, so he can free Moiraine from her shield. He didn’t seem to notice that shield when he and Moiraine interacted after the events at the Eye at the end of season 1, but we can chalk that up to his exhaustion after confronting Ishamael and his general lack of knowledge about channeling.
Another quibble is something that we noticed a bit previously, but became more pronounced in this episode: the timelines are somewhat unclear. One example of this is Siuan. She’s been absent so far, and while her whereabouts haven’t been mentioned yet onscreen, we know from the trailer that she will eventually meet Rand in Cairhien. If she’s spent the entire season traveling there, how did Moiraine get there so quickly from Arafel, which is even farther away? This type of timeline mismatch happens in the books to an extent, an understandable result of juggling so many different characters across a continent. On the flip side, even if the character timelines aren’t totally in sync, the story is still overall playing out in a manner that makes sense. All that being said, we may be getting ahead of ourselves here, since we haven’t had a chance to see how all these plotlines will resolve yet onscreen.
A final minor nitpick is the inconsistent usage of onscreen titles to show a new location. For instance, we got one for Cairhien, but not Arafel. While we appreciate being able to access location information from the X-Ray feature, it would be nice for non-readers to have that on screen the first time in a new location.
Changes From Book to Screen
Moiraine: One notable change is Moiraine’s age. With her being older than Anvaere, Moiraine must be at least 70 instead of the 40-something in the books. This is an interesting and effective creative choice by the writers to emphasize the consequences of Aes Sedai longevity. Our initial book-reader reaction is to pause and wonder if this affects anything important, and at this time, we’ll reserve judgement before making a decision. The show has stated she heard Gitara’s Foretelling around twenty years ago, which we presume was the “sudden change” that Alanna refers to. This change could also have been caused by Moiraine losing her closeness with Siuan as a result of their mission. Was Moiraine already Aes Sedai in the show when she heard the Foretelling? Did she go to the Tower at a much later age, or spend longer as a Novice and Accepted? While this isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of the entire series plot, it is something we hope will be addressed at some point, if only to satisfy our own curiosity.
Perrin: By this time in the book series, Perrin was well underway on his wolf journey; here, it’s just beginning. We’ve seen bits of wolf communication so far in previous episodes, but Perrin finally gets an explanation as to what he’s been seeing. We like how the wolf “sendings” were brought to life on screen and we’re looking forward to seeing more. We’ve mentioned numerous times that Perrin’s wolf arc is being stretched out further in the show, an understandable change for a visual medium.
Mat and Min: This dynamic duo are still on a unique path for the show. Mat is seemingly still without his signature luck when it comes to gambling (as last seen in season 1, episode 1). Why Ishamael wants Mat in Cairhien remains to be seen, but we’re excited to see a possible reunion between Mat and Rand — which could also be rather tense, considering how they parted. From promo material, we know Mat eventually makes it to Falme, so it seems he’ll still be geographically aligned with his book counterpart from the end of The Great Hunt. Speaking of Ishamael, him manipulating Min is another show addition, but it does seem on-brand for our favorite sower of chaos. While this backstory is not in the books, it doesn’t contradict them either, as book-Min does frequently mention how this ability is hardly a gift. This is yet another instance where the show has chosen to explore the ramifications of a particular ability or concept, and we’re intrigued to see where it goes.
Lan’s Bond: We touched on this earlier, but it’s not entirely clear what direction the show is going with Lan’s bond. We’ve long suspected that Alanna will take the place of Myrelle, who in the books is the one Moiraine arranges to pass Lan’s bond to after her death, and Lan’s season 2 plotline (and season 1 plotline, for that matter) seems to be heavily setting up that eventuality.
The Number Thirteen, Seals, and Forsaken: Last season hinted the show might be reducing the number of Forsaken from thirteen to eight, with Stepin’s eight Forsaken statues. In the books, thirteen Aes Sedai are needed to shield or gentle a male channeler, but we witnessed eight Aes Sedai gentling Logain, and received direct confirmation through Lan in episode 2 that this number has been changed to eight in the show. The seal that Ishamael broke in the cold open had a design with an eight pointed star, as did the seal that was holding him at the Eye of the World at the end of season 1. Speaking of seals, we’ve so far seen the breaking of two cuendillar seals leading to the release of two Forsaken. In the books, there are seven seals to the Dark One’s prison, in the form of small palm-sized discs rather than large elaborate structures. We don’t know for certain how the show will handle the concept of seals on the Dark One’s prison, but it’s possible the seals have been combined to include the Forsaken as well, which streamlines and dramatizes the concept for a visual medium. This is just speculation at this point, so we shall have to WAFO (watch and find out) until we learn more. We do also have to point out that if eight is indeed the new significant number for the adaptation, how perfect would it be for the show to ultimately have eight seasons of eight episodes each…
On the topic of Forsaken, the show seems to have somewhat modified the mechanics of Forsaken immortality. It hardly comes as a surprise that the show would want to avoid the reborn-into-a-new-body resurrections from the books; swapping actors is logistically complicated, not to mention confusing for a television audience. Making it more difficult to outright kill the Forsaken also raises the stakes and drama for television. It’s also a very clever setup for Moiraine’s determination to finish off Lanfear once and for all, eventually choosing to sacrifice herself in the process. When Lanfear revived, her eyes briefly filled with a black substance–could this be saa from the True Power? Perhaps this is the Dark One’s method of resurrection in the show, instead of reincarnating their soul into new bodies. In the books, using balefire is essentially the only way to kill a Forsaken while preventing their reincarnation; the show may condense this into balefire being the only way to kill a Forsaken in the first place. Or perhaps they find some other mechanism to remove the Dark One’s gift of immortality. We do hope there will ultimately be some workaround, as one fan favorite book scene involves a Forsaken being defeated in an epic swordfight. If you know, you know.
This episode continues the trend of higher production quality over season 1, but the writing in this episode didn’t feel quite as tight as the previous three. Until the very end, this was a slower episode, allowing characters time to breathe and recover after the action and emotional intensity of of “What Might Be.” In that way, it feels similar to season 1’s episode 5 (which, coincidentally, was titled “Blood Calls Blood”). Also similarly to that episode, “Daughter of the Night” was filled with poignant character moments and plot development. This episode continued to focus on the theme of identity that was heavily established already: Lan searching for his purpose and wondering what Moiraine’s is, Nynaeve in her new role as Accepted, Moiraine facing the life and family she left behind to become Aes Sedai, Perrin learning that he is a wolfbrother…the list goes on. This episode contained heavy setup for the second half of the season, particularly the journey to Falme and the Seanchan. We find ourselves very interested in what will happen in the episodes to come.
Episode 4 – Daughter of the Night (Overall: 3.75/5)Lane: 4/5, Sara: 4/5, Eri: 3.5/5, Omar: 3.5/5
Episode 4 of season 2 was released on September 8, 2023. The season will contain eight episodes in total written by Rafe Judkins, Amanda Kate Shuman, Justine Juel Gillmer, Dave Hill, Katherine B McKenna, Rammy Park, John McCutcheon, Rohit Kumar, and Timothy Earle. WoTSeries.com is a news site by fans, for fans, and is not affiliated with any paid sponsors or brands. We stand in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA and encourage donations to the Entertainment Community Fund to support those affected during the work stoppage.