The sixth episode of The Wheel of Time season 2 delves into the sinister nature of the Seanchan invaders and their control over women who can channel. This faithful adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt showcases some of the best moments the show has offered thus far.
Evoking Pathos and Exploring Antagonistic Power
Handling onscreen torture can be a delicate task, but director Maja Vrvilo and writer Rammy Park strike the perfect balance, taking inspiration from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Chain of Command” rather than the exploitative approach seen in Game of Thrones. Xelia Mendes-Jones delivers a chilling performance as Renna, who methodically breaks down Egwene al’Vere through a combination of physical, psychological, and magical abuse. The false niceness and clear intention to dehumanize Egwene add to the horror of the situation.
Madeleine Madden’s portrayal of Egwene effectively showcases her determination and fierceness. It is the emotional moments, like when Egwene finds solace in channeling the roots of a comforting tree outside her cell before it’s destroyed by Renna, that truly captivate viewers. The revelation that Egwene is not just a woman but a damane, delivered with false sweetness by Renna, accentuates Egwene’s insecurities and shatters her dreams of becoming an Aes Sedai.
Illuminating the Ruthlessness of the Seanchan
In “Eyes Without Pity,” viewers gain insight into the suffering endured by the Yellow Aes Sedai at the hands of the Seanchan. Despite being a minor character in the books, Ryma (played by Nyokabi Gethiaga) forges an immediate connection with Nynaeve. Ryma helps Nynaeve view her role as an Aes Sedai as a way to help others rather than a betrayal of her values. Ryma’s selflessness and unwavering belief that being collared by the Seanchan is worse than death highlights the boundless cruelty of these invaders.
The Influence of Lanfear
Natasha O’Keefe’s portrayal of Lanfear continues to shine as she skillfully manipulates Rand and Liandrin. Her intrusion into the nightmare woven by Ishamael reveals her different approach to wooing the Dragon Reborn and her potential as a powerful ally. The casual cruelty she displays, from taunting Rand with glimpses of Egwene to flirtatiously toying with him, showcases her wickedness.
Rand’s Development and Moiraine’s Secrets
Rand’s character growth is evident as he begins to utilize the tools provided by Lanfear. His encounter with the false Dragon Logain demonstrates the danger he poses until he gains control over his incredible power.
Moiraine, burdened by her numerous secrets, struggles to stay focused. She faces conflict similar to Rand’s, with Lanfear pointing out that abandoning his friends makes them vulnerable. However, Moiraine’s emotional detachment hinders her ability to see things through.
The Threat Within
The truth about the Dragon Reborn is known by only a few, making it dangerous for Moiraine’s Warder a’Lan Mandragoran. The Aes Sedai are beginning to realize that darkfriends have infiltrated their ranks, adding tension to the story.
Integration and the Future
While Perrin is absent in this episode, Mat is finally part of the main plot. His reunion with Rand and his light-heartedness when faced with his friend’s destiny accurately represent his character. With strong visuals and captivating fight scenes, such as the battle on the streets of Falme, the show continues to impress viewers.