Unsteadiness, in the form of both broadband background disturbances and discrete coherent wakes, can have a strong effect on the performance of turbomachinery blades. The influence of the incoming flow has received much interest as it inevitably affects the blade boundary layers and develops as it passes through the machine. In the present work, we investigate the effect of unsteady flow on high-pressure turbines (HPTs), using high-fidelity datasets produced by wall resolved large-eddy simulation of an HPT stage. The effects of incident wakes from an upstream stator, compounded by the presence of freestream turbulence, on the downstream rotor are investigated. Based on analyzing cases with different turbulence intensities and length scales prescribed at the inlet, we show that changing the freestream turbulence characteristics has a direct effect on the unsteady behavior of the stator wakes. As a result, the performance of the rotor is also significantly affected. By detailing the influence of the wake–turbulence interaction, we aim to distinguish driving forces on rotor performance, be it changes in the incident wakes or direct influence from the freestream turbulence. Furthermore, the aerothermal behaviors of the rotor blades have been extensively investigated, showing that the blade boundary layers on the suction and pressure sides respond differently to external disturbances. The insights gained can provide designers with guidelines in understanding the unsteady flow effects of a given flow state, and how the unsteadiness present, either broadband or deterministic, will affect the performance of downstream blades.