“Rings” gears up for finale

Ethan Barker, Staff

In Season One, Episode Seven of The Rings of Power, new mysteries are revealed and old ones are deepened amidst the chaos. However, character development is slowed in place of the plot, and much of this episode feels like a stepping stone to the finale.
So far, the series as a whole has received positive reviews from critics, and while it was criticized for being overly long with an overabundance of exposition, the recent episodes have ramped up in pace with far more action. When the show was released Sept. 1, it was the most-watched premiere in Prime Video’s history.
While it takes a step back from the nonstop action of the last episode, this allows for a return to the storylines of the Harfoots, elves and dwarves. The Harfoots provide warmth to the series that would have otherwise been missing, especially Nori and The Stranger. The mysterious white-cloaked figures are chilling villains, and their powers and motives remain unknown. Elrond and Durin IV stay the most complex characters of the series and are brilliantly portrayed by Robert Aramayo and Owain Arthur respectively. Sophia Nomvete reveals a fire to Disa that was only hinted at before and fully comes into her own in a dramatic scene. Durin III, by refusing to supply the elves with mithril, provides a dramatic antagonist to this storyline. The aftermath of the massive battle last episode is shown through a scene set in a hospital tent with a hearty dose of gory, bloody wounds. The extras provide a sense of the true cost of war, and the battles will only get worse from here on. However, Galadriel is given extra character development during her conversation with Theo and is made into a more sympathetic character.
While the series has been excellent overall, this episode stumbles at points. The episode seems to exist solely to set up the finale and feels overly long. The nonstop red ash at the start of the episode was slightly draining on the eyes, and none of the Southlanders or Númenóreans get much character development. Aside from this, some subplots feel useless, especially Isildur’s “death.” He is central to the original Lord of the Rings story, and the showrunners are unlikely to break with canon that dramatically. The Stranger also has a notable lack of development and it appears he will remain a mystery for a while.
The season finale will premiere Oct. 14 on Prime Video, and the trailer is out now on YouTube. Multiple dedicated wikis and fan sites for Tolkien’s world exist and are easily found online for deep dives and background information on the vast and complex world of Middle-Earth.