TL;DR – As a show, it continues to balance all the competing stories while being a thrilling ride.
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review –
When you have a large ensemble cast, it is easy to lose people and whole stories in the cut, where you end up seeing someone on screen and wondering where they came from before. Three episodes in, The Rings of Power might have one of the biggest ensemble casts I have seen for a while, but they always make sure you know the context of every person.
So to set the scene, in Adrift, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) decided to jump off her boat and swim back to Middle Earth, through the Sundering Seas, than leave her quest unfulfilled. Luckily for her, she spots a raft and is helped by Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), but after a storm leaves them asunder, they are rescued by Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and taken to the island kingdom of Númenór. In the Southlands, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) has been captured by Orcs, but instead of being killed, he is led through covered tunnels full of captured human workers. They dig a tunnel to keep the orcs protected from the bright Sun. Things are bad, but they are worse when Arondir gets to the pit and discovers that all his Elvish companions were also captured before they could return home. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
We are three episodes into his show, and you would think that I would have gotten used to just how beautiful everything is in this series. However, this show took my breath away as we made our way into Númenor. The way the ship weaved through the river revealing the carved heads before exposing the city proper. Even then, the show holds back its hand for a more fabulous reveal as we see the scope of the greatest mortal kingdom ever created. I also think this is the first time I have been truly captivated by the musical score. It is hard not to compare Bear McCreary’s work with Howard Shore directly, but his voice shines here on the island. From the large to the small, we also see that same detail in how the Harfoots dress up for their festival or how the orcs cover themselves to avoid contact with the Sun.
I think there might be a big divide this week regarding the storyline in Númenor based on how familiar people are with the texts it is based on. The very name Númenor has considerable weight in the series, and I liked how they put in little architectural nods between the city and Minas Tirith. However, while the name Isildur (Maxim Baldry) might twig in people’s minds if they have just watched the movie, I doubt Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) would rate a mention, so a lot of the back and forth here would probably fall flat for a lot of people. But without that prior knowledge, many of the discussions here would have probably lost their foreboding nature and possibly fallen into dullness.
The storyline that interested me the most this week was of Arondir and his compatriots trying to escape their capture. We got scenes full of tension, as Arondir was led through the tunnels, and when everyone knew the water was a trap, they were all waiting for the snare to close shut. The entire escape sequence was both thrilling and heartbreaking, and I don’t think that whole sequence would have worked if you did not care for the Elves and if the show didn’t explore the elves’ strengths, like using their chains as weapons. There was also a flow to the combat that made every moment stylised but also clear to follow. It also does not hurt when you end the show with an ‘ooooh’ moment.
In the end, do we recommend The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar? Yes, yes, we do. I have been charmed with this series since the start, and each episode still brings the goods.
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 – Wayne Che Yip
Written by – Jason Cahill & Justin Doble
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 – Ismael Cruz Córdova, Simon Merrells, Morfydd Clark, Charlie Vickers, Lloyd Owen, Cynthia Addia-Robinson, Trystan Gravelle, Maxim Baldry, Ema Tarrant, Sir Lenny Henry, Markella Kavenagh, Megan Richards, Sara Zwangobani, Dylan Smith, Daniel Weyman & Joseph Mawle with Augustus Prew, Anthony Crum, Alex Tarrant, Beau Cassidy, Thusitha Jayasundera, Maxine Cunliffe, Jed Brophy, Antonio te Maioha, Edward Clendon, Luke Hawker, Phil Grieve & Jason Hood