“Rings” remains in power

The latest Amazon Prime blockbuster continues to impress avid Tolkien fans as well as newcomers to the story.

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Ethan Barker, Staff

In the newest episode of The Rings of Power, the Númenóreans and the Southlanders take center stage in my favorite episode of the series so far. The action also ramps up as the Southlander villagers collide with the forces of the orcs, providing a nice break from the previously story-driven episodes. 

The show has been receiving positive reviews since the first episode was released Sept. 2, due to the large cast of well-drawn characters, beautiful visuals and interweaving storylines. The era of Tolkien’s world that the series takes place in has been previously underexplored, which will please (most of) this universe’s huge fanbase. However, the showrunners have worked to keep the series interesting for people who don’t know anything about that world too.  

This episode finally leans into the epic full-scale battles you expect from a high fantasy series, first with the orc’s assault on the tower and then the fight in the village. These give Arondir and then Galadriel the first real chance to show off the renowned fighting skills of elves, showing off his strength and skill with the bow and her agility and masterful swordplay. The resourcefulness of the Southlanders is also shown by the fight against the orcs at the tower and the first wave at the village. When the Númenóreans arrive to help fight the second wave (in daylight this time), we get to see a full army versus army battle for the first time this season also. The opening of this episode provides one of my favorite scenes so far when Adar rallies the orcs to battle. The torchlight illuminating his face in the darkness provides a sense of power and danger, and the masses of orcs only enhance this. Speaking of the orcs, many are practical makeup effects, providing a sense of reality to this fantasy world. Adar is perfectly fleshed out by Joseph Mawle in this episode and is turned into an almost sympathetic character rather than being a simple pawn of Sauron.  

The main misstep of this episode was skipping out on the elves, dwarves, and Harfoots. Elrond and Durin are my favorite characters in the series, especially after last episode’s funny and heartwarming moments. I was excited to see more of that, especially Durin’s culture clashing with that of the elves. Of course, that plotline is also very important to the show, as they are most likely forging the titular Rings of Power. The story of The Stranger was also something that needed to be expanded on. Non-stop fighting, especially when most scenes are in the darkness and hard to see, can also be exhausting. However, it could have turned out worse had they split this episode apart, especially with the twist at the very end. 

For theories, easter eggs and more information on Middle-Earth, many resources are available online and through YouTube. The next episode will be released Oct. 7 on Prime Video.