The Rings of Power continues its meandering and mysterious journey, but is it enough to keep the audience invested?
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, while not as successful as the recent Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, has still managed to make a splash with audiences.
So far we have been enjoying the series here at Dexerto despite its flaws, and you can read our review of the first two episodes here.
Episode 4 continues building on the world in which it takes place, and does so by focusing mainly on a specific location this time. But first, WARNING: while we will attempt to keep things vague, there may still be RINGS OF POWER SPOILERS AHEAD…
To the episodes’ credit, it does begin with a fake out scene that genuinely catches you for a loop on first viewing, especially as it isn’t just used for shock value, it is actually infused into the plot – especially if you’ve read the source material – and it creates a sense of foreboding which will likely carry through the rest of the season.
Though as we stated in last week’s review, there is still the lack of a central driving force for most of the characters. There’s plenty of subplots, and the threat of Sauron is always felt, especially with Adar (Joseph Mawle) as an interesting new villain, but in comparison The Lord of the Rings was clear in it’s mission – destroy the ring and Sauron.
But it still feels like we are learning about what the conflict actually is. And by episode 4, we’re now at the halfway point, so this holding of information is starting to feel old.
As those who have read the Silmarillion will know, the island of Númenor has a turbulent past, and will have an even more turbulent future. This episode makes sure to focus on the location more thoroughly, as well as the people within it.
The island’s politics involving elf relations are definitely explored, though some instances are better than others. While the humans having a discirmatory protest about “elves taking our jobs!” can be seen as a relevant theme for today’s audience, perhaps having the one jerk we’ve seen before being the one to yell this speech makes the discussion a little too dumbed down.
Other moral discussions are brought up, which allows us to get to know some new characters rather effectively. We are given more insight into Miriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), Eärien (Ema Horvath), Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle), Kemen (Leon Wadham), and their relationships with each other are interesting, but require further viewing to make a proper judgment on.
The recurring characters that we sped the most time with, Galadiral (Morfydd Clark), Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) are certainly compelling, but they lack the charm that the dwarves and the hobbits – who don’t appear this episode – have, so one may find their scenes less entertaining, even if they do significantly advance the plot.
While we do get to see the dwarves for a time, one big scene with them involving a collapse feels very rushed, which undercuts any potential tension.
There is also another action set piece where we see Theo and Arondir running through the woods. The scene could be epic, the slow motion certainly wants you to think of it that way, but the choice of sad music feels oddly placed, and you may be stuck wondering why we’re essentially watching a skim through of what could have been a great escape scene.
The orcs are delightfully evil though in every scene that they’re in, so they are a lot of fun to watch.
It’s just a shame that after so much slow build up, the actually exciting moments feel so rushed. It would be very disappointing if this is how the show tells its story for the upcoming second half, especially considering how great the action of the original trilogy is.
The show has great potential, so we can only hope that they won’t drop the ball during it’s home run.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 5 will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on September 23.