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‘The Wheel of Time’ Season 2 Is Saved by Moiraine and a Thrilling Cliffhanger

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The second season of The Wheel of Time is a fantastic watch that is held back by slow pacing, especially in the first few episodes. The story took some time to pick up and even when it did, still lacked the suspense and thrill of the first season. While the first season has you hooked into the story in the very first episode, the showrunners seemingly took their time with the second season as it picked up roughly midway through the series in terms of time. 

I enjoyed seeing familiar characters once again, but it’s also worth adding that fans will miss the character bonding amongst the protagonists from the first season, which was one of the biggest highlights from the show. The adventure in The Wheel of Time feels almost like a reminiscent of Legends of the Seeker, except with a more expansive cast and what is seemingly a bigger threat. 

Much like the first season, each of the characters are strong this time as well, which has always been one of the strengths of the series, except for Mat Cauthon who was first played by Barney Harris and has now been replaced with Dónal Finn. Quite frankly, Harris owned the role of Cauthon better than Finn did in the second season. They’ve altered the character a bit from what he was like in the first season. And although most viewers would likely have no problems with it (or even notice), it felt like a part of the story was incomplete, considering Mat’s integral role and relevance throughout the first season. This time, Mat Cauthon was more of a joker who was miserable until the very end as opposed to the more promising version of him we got in the first season. 

Once again, Moiraine (Rosamond Pike) had an integral role in the second season and fans will most certainly miss her without her powers. For many, Moiraine carries the show and this is evident after the events of the first series and in many parts of the second season as well. Moiraine appears more hellbent on saving the world more than just about everybody else in the series and she’s not letting anything hold her back. Despite losing her powers at the end of the first season, Moiraine’s dedication and grit throughout the second season simply put her up there as the MVP once again. But an Aes Sidai is incomplete without her Warder. So due credit to Lan (Daniel Henney) for performing his duty and not leaving her side against all odds. 

After Moiraine, Egwene (Madeleine Madden) is a close second as MVP thanks to her relentless pursuit and unwillingness to break. Egwene proved that she is not only a powerful Aes Sidai, but is ready to embrace the One Power and protect the people she loves against the Dark One. 

Nynaeve (Zoë Robins) is the biggest letdown this time. As the most powerful Aes Sedai to appear in over a thousand years, she is unable to use her powers to fight the evil that has taken everything from her, which is disappointing. We’ve seen Nynaeve use the One Power to heal patients as a Wisdom and even fight off enemies, but this time they made her this reluctant servant of The Tower who’s afraid to put her powers to use and it was frustrating to see that she was of no help all through the final battle despite having all that power. 

As for the rest of the cast, Rand (Josha Stradowski) didn’t have much of an integral role this time but still got enough screen time to take all of the credit and become the hero at the end of the series, despite doing little to nothing most of the time. Hopefully, the third season will see the “Dragon” actually show us what he can do. Natasha O’Keeffe did a fine job as Lanfear and I can’t think of anyone better for the role (except maybe Cate Blanchett). Lanfear is a fearsome presence in the series, striking terror into the hearts of her enemies throughout and proved to be even more dangerous than Ishamael (Fares Fares) who was also a letdown for the most part. 

The Wheel of Time Season 2 is a fine watch, but for some viewers, the narrative might seem a little foggy considering it’s been a while since the first season came out in 2021. There are new antagonists, some of which end up being likable, but there wasn’t much of an adventure this time amongst the group as they were all spread across different parts of the world. This season lacks heart and the little of which we got came from Moiraine and Egwene, the two best characters for now. 

Despite the show’s 1 hour runtime for each episode, the pacing wasn’t brisk. Some of the best parts of the series were saved towards the end to pave the way for a third season. We still don’t have the much-anticipated Last Battle or anything close to it. The biggest takeaway from the second season is that new threats have emerged. Threats that are older, more powerful, and are seemingly far more dangerous than what Moiraine and the group have faced.

It’s clear that the show has its strengths, but it also has its weaknesses. Despite a riveting cliffhanger and Rosamond Pike’s steady presence as Moiraine, the overall execution leaves something to be desired. There are some interesting new characters and some shocking twists that’ll keep you engrossed, but also it didn’t have a clear-cut antagonist. And for the most part it just seemed like very few of the characters actually wanted to save the world, others just wanted to save themselves. There’s a lot to take away from the second season but it doesn’t quite have the thrill and excitement of the first season. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. But if not for the cliffhanger, and Moiraine’s unflinching commitment, The Wheel of Time season 2 is easily forgettable.  3/5

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