TL;DR – We continue to explore this world full of wonders and dangers.
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review –
In the realm of binging tv on streaming services, you can drop them all at once, creating an event weekend, or you can do a weekly realise that feels old-fashioned, but then you can build it up week to week. Or you can follow the Amazon model and employ a hybrid approach where you drop a couple of episodes up-front and create that event feeling while doing the rest week-by-week. This has been a successful model for the streaming service, and it is what we are doing this week with the next episode of The Rings of Power.
So to set the scene, at the end of Shadow of the Past, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) comes face-to-face with the undying lands, a reward for all her hard work. It is a great honour that no one has ever turned down before, but just as the boat approaches the threshold, she dives off because she can not enter with an unfulfilled oath. Meanwhile, across Middle Earth, there are rumblings of things being out of place and evil returning when a meteorite strikes through the air, crashing down near the home of Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh). But when she arrives, she does not find a rock in the ground, but a man, ‘The Stranger’ (Daniel Weyman). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
What this episode did that we have not seen so far in the world of Lord of the Rings is visiting a Dwarven City at the height of its power. While we all know what will eventually happen to Khazad-dûm and the Mines of Moria, but right now, it is stunning. Instead of a dark, barren realm, we see a city of stone and a city full of life. It is where we also get to meet Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and his wife, Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete), who are both a delight. The whole dinner sequence gives us an insight into Dwarven culture, but it is also a glorious example of married banter.
The following thread the show unravels has to do with the destroyed town we saw at the end of the last episode. A village full of fire, fissures in the ground, no survivors, and strangely no bodies. I liked that Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) leapt into action once they realised there were tunnels carved under the town and what that meant. This sequence also led to two of my big fears coalescing at once: having to squeeze through a narrow-confined space and having rodents crawl over me unexpectedly. We also got our first direct confrontation with an Orc (Nathan Mennis) and the show’s first big action set piece. There was a lot of give and take in the fight, with the Orc being clearly stronger than Bronwyn and Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) and more dangerous with his claws. But also that he was one to their two, and they had the advantage of knowing where all the spiky stuff was in the house.
In the end, do we recommend The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adrift? Absolutely. Both episodes have been solid introductions while still being interesting in their own right, and I look forward to seeing where we go from here.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Directed by – J. A. Bayona
Written by – Gennifer Hutchison
Created by – J. D. Payne & Patrick McKay
Based On – The Lord of the Rings and appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien
Production/Distribution Companies – Amazon Studios, Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Trust, HarperCollins, New Line Cinema & Amazon Prime
Starring – Morfydd Clark, Markella Kavenagh, Daniel Weyman, Sir Lenny Henry, Sara Zwangobani, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Nazanin Boniadi, Robert Aramayo, Charles Edwards, Owain Arthur, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Sophia Nomvete, Tyroe Muhafidin & Peter Mullan with Megan Richards, Thusitha Jayasundera, Maxine Cunliffe, Bertnn Schwerdt, Virginie Laverdure, Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Geoff Morrell, Peter Tait & Nathan Mennis