The Wheel of Time 2×08 Review: “What Was Meant to Be”

"What Was Meant to Be"
Rand (Josha Stradowski) in “What Was Meant to Be.”

The heroes converge for an epic showdown against Ishamael in The Wheel of Time second season finale “What Was Meant to Be.”

After spending most of the season in separate storylines, the main characters finally reunite in “What Was Meant to Be.” The potential plot threads teased in “Daes Dae’Mar” successfully come to fruition, and the finale ends with a bang as a massive battle breaks out in the city occupied by the Seanchan.

Though Lanfear (Natasha O’Keeffe) worked with Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and Lan (Daniel Henney) in her quest to save Rand (Josha Stradowski), she quickly dispatches the former two through a door as they make their way to the city where Egwene (Madeleine Madden) is being held captive. The betrayal of Moiraine and Lan is not surprising, but Lanfear doing more to assist Rand rather than hinder him is.

Once Ishamael (Fares Fares) learns about Lanfear helping Rand, he begins to plan his resistance to the impending threat. He has Padan (Johann Myers) tempt Mat (Donal Finn) with the cursed dagger. Though Mat nearly gives in, he cleverly avoids picking the dagger up as he attaches it to a stick to create a makeshift spear and uses it to escape. Though Mat hasn’t had as much to do this season, his triumph over the dagger is one of the two awesome moments he gets in this finale.

As the Whitecloaks begin their siege on the city, Nynaeve (Zoe Robins) and Elayne (Ceara Coveney) begin their plan to infiltrate the Seanchan to rescue Egwene. The plan goes awry as the Seanchan that they captured is killed and Elayne is shot in the leg with an arrow. However, Nynaeve is unable to heal her due to her resistance to channeling. While it’s easy to understand Nynaeve’s continued trauma around her channeling, it’s disappointing that she doesn’t get as big of a triumphant moment as the other characters in the finale.

Perrin (Marcus Rutherford) arrives to the city with Aviendha (Ayoola Smart) and they quickly jump into battle. Unfortunately, Perrin’s wolf friend is a casualty of the battle as he jumps in to protect him. On a happier note, Perrin reunites with Mat and Loial (Hammed Aminashaun), who has stolen the Horn of Velere back from Padan. Loial tasks Mat to deliver the horn to Rand, who makes quick work of the Seanchan with his channeling as he makes his way to Egwene.

Egwene (Madeleine Madden) in “What Was Meant to Be.”

The Seanchan task their slaves to fight off the invasion. Eventually, Egwene begins to resist Renna’s (Xelia Mendes-Jones) control, and ultimately gets the upper hand by using the Seanchan’s methods of enslavement against her. Though Egwene’s method of dispatching Renna is dark, it’s still a satisfying moment after watching the ordeal that she’s been through at her hands.

On his way to the tower, Mat finds himself surrounded by warriors. Unable to take them on himself, he blows the horn and summons the warriors of the past. Like his resistance of the dagger’s influence, Mat’s decision to blow the horn and fight alongside the past warriors allows him to finally shine this season as he takes control of his own destiny.

In another highlight of the episode, Moiraine and Lan reconcile and renew their bond to each other. After realizing that the beach Lanfear banished them to is not far from the battle, Moiraine pledges to assist Rand at all costs and starts to use her regained power to attack the Seanchan from afar.

Rand arrives at the top of the tower shortly after Egwene’s triumph. The two barely have time to reunite before Ishamael arrives and attacks both of them. Though Rand struggles against his bindings, things get worse when Mat arrives and tries to attack Ishamael with his spear. Ishamael turns out to be an optical illusion and the spear pierces Rand. Though Min’s earlier vision is confirmed by the action, it’s hard to fault Mat for attempting to save his friend.

Thankfully, Rand is able to overcome and kill Ishamael with the help of his friends. Elayne heals Rand’s wound as she introduces herself to him, while Moiraine’s attack of the Seanchan releases Rand from his binding. Perrin, Mat, and Egwene jump into the fray with Rand as they overcome and kill Ishamael. The satisfying battle ends with the reunited heroes standing on top of the tower as Moiraine’s projection of a dragon onto the tower confirms the reveal of the Dragon Reborn to the applauding citizens below.

Though Ishamael is defeated, the heroes’ battle against the Dark One is far from over. In the final scene of “What Was Meant to Be,” Lanfear discovers that Ishamael released more of the Dark One’s associates before his death, including Moghedien (Laia Costa). Moghedien attacks Lanfear for assisting Rand against Ishamael, reminding her that the other associates don’t have any attachment to the Dragon Reborn. With the heroes finally reunited and more threats released into the world, the already announced season three has the potential to be as thrilling and emotionally satisfying as the previous seasons.

You can watch Farid’s recap of The Wheel of Time season 2 finale below!

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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