This will be our full spoiler review and episode breakdown for The Wheel of Time, season 2, episode 6. 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.
Choo choo! All aboard the trauma train! Buckle up, because this ride is just getting started. Read on for our summary or skip ahead to our review, book to screen analysis, and individual ratings.
Summary of Episode 206 – Eyes Without Pity (written by Rammy Park)
Lan (Daniel Henney), Alanna (Priyanka Bose), Ihvon (Emmanuel Imani), and Maksim (Taylor Napier) pause for the night from their travels. Lan lies that he can’t enter Tar Valon unless the Amyrlin Seat revokes Moiraine’s banishment. Later, Alanna and her warders confront Lan, suspecting he might be working for the Shadow. He admits that he needs to talk to Siuan Sanche (Sophie Okonedo) to tell her that he and Moiraine found the Dragon Reborn. He later catches up to Siuan’s caravan and tells her he has news of Moiraine.
Lanfear (Natasha O’Keeffe) meets with Rand (Josha Stradowski) in the World of Dreams. He demands that she tell him what Ishamael is planning, and she tells him that if he wants that information, he has to separate himself from Moiraine (Rosamund Pike). Rand wakes and tells Moiraine that he’s leaving. Rand later has a nightmare in which he kills all his friends. Ishamael briefly appears to taunt him, but Lanfear intervenes to banish Ishamael. She tells Rand that he can see anyone he wants in the Dream World, and offers to take him to whoever he wants. He sees Egwene briefly in her cell. Lanfear explains that Ishamael has taken Egwene and Rand vows to do anything to save her. Rand visits Logain (Álvaro Morte) and once again begs him to teach him to channel. Rand is able to seize saidin, but he grabs too much and has difficulty letting go until he suddenly stops, vomiting. Awestruck, Logain tells him that with that much power, he can do anything. Afterward, Rand is walking through the Foregate and hears a familiar voice: Mat (Dónal Finn).
Mat has been enjoying the party-like atmosphere of the Foregate in Cairhien. Min (Kae Alexander) tries to convince him to leave, but he ignores her. Later that night, Ishamael (Fares Fares) reappears in Min’s dreams and tells her to reunite Mat and Rand. Worried about her vision coming to pass, she insists that the deal is off and that she won’t do it. After an unexpected reunion with Rand in the Foregate, the two embrace and catch up. Rand tells Mat he’s going to Falme to save Egwene and invites Mat to go with him. Mat agrees to help without hesitation and tells Rand he’ll meet him at the city gate in an hour. When he goes to tell Min his plan, she warns him not to go to Falme. She reveals that she saw a vision of him killing Rand. Terrified of the possibility of hurting his friend, Mat breaks his promise to meet up with Rand. A disappointed Rand starts to depart, but he’s intercepted by Lan, Alanna, and her warders.
Liandrin is with her son, Aludran. Lanfear arrives, revealing that she knows all about Liandrin’s past. She kills Aludran and tells Liandrin that she works for her now.
Moiraine struggles to write a letter to Siuan, informing the Amyrlin that she has been stilled. Barthanes (Will Tudor) offers Moiraine a sandwich and small talk, but his efforts are rebuffed. An angry Anvaere (Lindsay Duncan) barges in and tells Moiraine she’s overstayed her welcome. Moiraine asks their butler to mail her completed letter, and apologizes to Barthanes. Anvaere interrupts with news that the Amyrlin Seat has arrived in Cairhien with fourteen Aes Sedai, and demands an audience with Moiraine.
High Lady Suroth (Karima McAdams) entertains other Seanchan nobles. She shows off Loial (Hammed Animashaun) and makes him perform in front of her guests, as a mockery. After they are dismissed, Ingtar (Gregg Chilingirian) and Loial quietly discuss the whereabouts of the Horn of Valere, as well as where Egwene is being held captive.
Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) and Elayne (Ceara Coveney) are hiding in Falme, arguing over what to do next. Their bickering is interrupted by their hosts Basan (Bentley Kalu) and Ryma (Nyokabi Gethaiga). The girls reveal to Ryma that Liandrin (Kate Fleetwood) is a member of the Black Ajah. Ryma wants to get them out of the city safely, to take word to the Amyrlin, but the two stubbornly insist they’re not leaving without Egwene. Ryma shows them an a’dam that she was able to obtain at great cost: two fellow Aes Sedai were killed and another captured. Ryma and the girls try to work out how to open it. In the process, Nynaeve uses too much of the One Power, which attracts Miri (Valerie Vachkova) and her sul’dam. Ryma gives Nynaeve her ring, asking her to take it back to the White Tower, and prepares to sacrifice herself to save Nynaeve and Elayne. Though Basan and Ryma fight bravely, Basan is killed and Ryma is collared.
Renna (Xelia Mendes-Jones) imprisons a collared Egwene (Madeleine Madden) in the dark cell that will be her new home. Egwene quickly learns that any harm done to the sul’dam leashing her will be felt by the damane twice over. As long as she wears the a’dam collar, she’s trapped. Later, Egwene imagines using a water pitcher to attack Renna, but when she tries to actually reach for the pitcher, she convulses in pain. Renna explains that as long as Egwene thinks about using the pitcher as a weapon, she won’t be able to touch it without pain. Renna continues to ask Egwene to pour her a drink of water, but Egwene fails again and again. She descends further into despair, briefly seeing Rand in her dreams and trying to talk to the damane in the adjacent cell. Renna continues to visit Egwene. During one session, she guides Egwene how to channel a tree outside on fire, but Egwene is still unable to pour the water without pain. In anger, Renna hangs Egwene on a hook by her collar, letting her dangle until she nearly passes out. Finally, Renna takes Egwene down and commands her to pour the water again. Egwene is able to touch the pitcher and pour Renna a cup of water. After Renna leaves, Egwene screams in defeat. From the cell next door, Maigan (Sandy McDade), once a Sitter for the Blue Ajah, commends Egwene on lasting longer than she did.
Review of of Episode 206 – Eyes Without Pity
Likes: Egwene’s trauma at the hands of the Seanchan in The Great Hunt is foundational to her entire character arc, yet we are shown almost none of it in the books and was relatively glossed over compared to other characters’ traumatic experiences. While difficult to watch, we appreciated that the adaptation is giving proper weight to this part of Egwene’s story. The show has emphasized Egwene’s insecurities, namely being invisible and overlooked in the White Tower, and Renna expertly manipulates these to great effect. Using the water jug as a symbol for Egwene’s mental breaking was an excellent piece of visual storytelling (and straight from the books). Fleshing out Egwene’s experience and showing us Ryma’s capture expertly conveyed the true horror of the Seanchan. Though their presence was brief, Ryma and Basan’s chemistry made their fate even more heartbreaking. In both the book series and the show, The Wheel of Time consistently takes minor characters and makes us care deeply about them despite minimal screen time.
Speaking of Ryma, those few scenes did a huge amount of heavy lifting for the story. Ryma potentially provided the rings Nynaeve, Elayne, and Egwene will later need to pose as Aes Sedai (since Accepted rings in the show do not have a colored gem). Ryma and Basan took in the girls, kept them safe, and treated them with respect. They believed the report of the Black Ajah and immediately sprang into action to ensure the information got to the Amyrlin. Perhaps most importantly, however, Ryma was the first Aes Sedai to truly treat Nynaeve as an equal, to help her channel without being angry or afraid. Through her words, actions, and eventual sacrifice, Ryma fully embodied what an Aes Sedai should be — a Servant of All. In the show, Ryma provides a perfect setup and motivation for Nynaeve’s eventual choice to join the Yellow Ajah.
Character relationships continue to shine. It was lovely to see Dónal Finn’s Mat finally interacting with another member of the Two Rivers gang, and the chemistry between him and Rand is everything we hoped for. His assurance to Rand that they were not better off without him was one of our favorite lines from the entire episode. The deep friendship and love between these characters was beautiful to see. Nynaeve and Elayne also have a wonderful dynamic; this episode perfectly encapsulated how underneath their prickly exterior is a foundation of real support and respect for one another. Even Moiraine and Anvaere, although not exactly fun to watch, have a heartbreakingly believable relationship that makes complete sense considering their circumstances. (All the more heartbreaking if Anvaere is eventually revealed to be a Darkfriend, as we’ve speculated.)
We’ve touched on this previously, but one less-discussed strength of the show is its sound design. From the echoing screams in the damane kennels to the eerie muffled reverberation in Tel’aran’rhiod, the sound design crew outdid itself once again. And, of course, Lorne Balfe’s score provided the perfect emotional backdrop to every scene. Egwene’s theme was particularly heart wrenching considering the content of this episode. If you haven’t read the lyrics, a translation was released just prior to season 2’s premier. “Remember who you are…”
Dislikes: Lan’s story thread continues to be the weak link for us, but now that a reunion with Moiraine appears to be just around the bend, we hope that the two of them can get back on the same page and the same mission. Additionally, the timeline continues to feel muddy, especially surrounding the travel logistics for the Amyrlin and fourteen Aes Sedai to end up in Cairhien. We’re anxious for Traveling to be introduced in the show, which will mostly remove this issue. And, in our normal fashion of finding something nitpicky, we found it odd that Siuan was traveling with only a few guards when Lan found her, instead of a full convoy.
Changes From Book to Screen
Egwene: The only real change to this story is the choice to show it directly onscreen. In the books, almost none of this is shown firsthand through Egwene’s point of view, only told to Min after the fact. As we stated earlier, this is a foundational part of Egwene’s character. The trauma has ripple effects that drive many of her later actions and decisions, up through the very end of the series. For a television medium, this had to be shown onscreen.
Moiraine: While Moiraine thinks she’s been stilled, it remains to be seen whether she’s correct. A common theme of the books is that of the unreliable narrator, and that theme extends to the show. Aes Sedai do not know everything, and Moiraine has been wrong before. With the tension brewing between her, Anvaere, and Barthanes, the stage is set for a very interesting royal wedding. In the books, the Waygate is located on the grounds of Barthanes’ manor, but perhaps this has been moved to near the Cairhien palace in the show, and Moiraine will use the royal wedding as a cover to get to the Waygate. Of course, this assumes Rand can channel to open it.
Rand: Most of Rand’s plot is not verbatim from the books, but the broad strokes are the same. He is struggling with his identity, tangling with the Forsaken, and learning how to control and manage saidin. Now that he’s met up with Lan, it seems likely he, along with Lan and Moiraine, will go through the Waygate to Falme together. Although brief, his reunion with Mat felt very similar to their interactions in the books. This episode was also our first hint at the sickness Rand experiences later in the books when he attempts to channel.
Mat: Mat continues to receive relatively little screen time, although he particularly shone in this episode while reunited with Rand. Min’s revelation of her vision gives Mat similar motivation to prove to Rand and himself that he’d never actually betray Rand, something that Mat was very adamant about after the well-known flicker sequence from The Great Hunt. From promotional materials, we know he’ll eventually end up in Falme, where all signs point to him finally having his chance to be a hero and do the right thing to save his friends.
Nynaeve and Elayne: The pair’s storyline is also very similar to the books, although the meeting with Ryma is new for the television show. In the books, only Egwene meets Ryma once she’s already collared as a damane. While we originally expected Maigan to serve the dramatic role of Aes-Sedai-turned-damane, using a Yellow Ajah for this purpose was an inspired choice as we discussed above. No other Ajah could have had quite the same level of impact to Nynaeve’s story.
Lan, Alanna, and the Cairhien Aes Sedai: We’re not entirely sure what’s going to transpire with the Amyrlin and her retinue in Cairhien. Some of it, namely Siuan meeting with Rand, is likely to be adapted from the pair’s meeting in Fal Dara at the beginning of The Great Hunt. Why Siuan brought fourteen Aes Sedai with her is anyone’s guess, especially since she didn’t seem to travel with that large of a retinue on her previous trip to Caemlyn. With Lan and Rand finally reunited, we hope we’ll be seeing some of Lan’s mentorship and potential swordsmanship training.
This was another excellent episode of television, albeit very difficult to watch at times. We were particularly glad to see the show’s expert handling of Egwene’s traumatic captivity, which bodes very well for similarly difficult future plotlines. The tension growing throughout the season continues to mount, and at this point none of our characters are in a very comfortable spot. With only two episodes left, the season still has a lot of ground to cover, but the foundation has been laid for an immensely satisfying conclusion. We can’t wait to see what the final two episodes bring.
Episode 6 – Eyes Without Pity (Overall: 4.5/5)Lane: 4.5/5, Sara: 4.5/5, Eri: 4.5/5, Omar: 4.5/5
Episode 6 of season 2 was released on September 22, 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.