The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, episode 1×04 analysis

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The Rings of Power continues on Amazon Prime Video and this week it seems to have dodged the bulk of the controversy, all focused on the mulatto Ariel of the new Disney live-action The Little Mermaid. On the other hand, the new episode of the multimillion-dollar TV series inspired by the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings has raised some doubts about the change of direction, which we had already noticed last week, and which we will explain in our analysis of The Rings of Power 1×04, “The Great Wave”. Remember that there may be spoilers in the next few lines.

Númenór

The Rings of Power 1×04, Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Míriel

Also this week we can divide the episode in two, between what happens in Númenór and what happens in Middle-earth: the narrative jumps from one story to another over the course of almost an hour and a quarter, but to our analysis it will be better to schematize everything, starting directly from Númenórwhere the series is struggling a bit.

The episode resumes in the finale with a really exciting moment, but not really earned: the script, in fact, marks too much the hand, trying to create fractures, the so-called “drama”, without however delineating well the characters involved. It sketches the character of Kemen, the son of Pharazôn, and a possible sentimental bond with Eärien, and we should feel sad or angry for Isildur’s friends, dismissed because of him, but the truth is that the writers have not yet built any empathy. between the viewer and these supporting actors.

Above them, Galadriel verbally duels with Míriel, the queen regent, and in return ends up under arrest. Morfydd Clark continues to play a haughty and feisty Galadriel that so many have criticized, arguing that she doesn’t look anything like the ethereal and regal Elf played by Cate Blanchett in the Peter Jackson trilogy, perhaps forgetting the scene in which she imagined wearing the One Ring, showing Frodo his dark side. But “The Great Wave” is an episode dragged by dialogues and conversations, also thanks to the two actresses, Clark and Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who somewhat forgive the ridiculous scene in which Galadriel throws not one, not two , but four armed guards under the eyes of a fearful Pharazôn, and a little bit no.

The reason is simple: the narrative, in Númenór, has become wrapped up in a … political intrigue, so to speak, which at this point should have confused anyone who knows little about Tolkien’s Legendarium. Between decisions, exiles and second thoughts, in the end theWhite Tree convinces the queen regent and all her subjects, that up to five minutes earlier they would have kicked Galadriel in the ass, that it is good and right to go to the Southern Lands to fight evil. What about Halbrand? We’ll find out next week.

Middle-earth

The Rings of Power 1×04, Elendil under the petals of the White Tree

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Across the sea, the series is sacrificing the Pelipiedi this week to turn the spotlight back on Elrod and Durin, establish a thematic contact with history in Númenór – the absent fathers – and show us some dwarven culture between Disa singing to the stones, the customs of Khazad-dûm and the discovery of Mithril in the mines, which was a moment of fanservice a little cheeky, but effective. The relationship between Elrond and Durin works, and also well, thanks above all to the intervention of Disa: the three performers do very well and stand out in our ranking of the characters we prefer in the series. This branch of the narrative, above all, has served to move Elrond and Durin south, a sign that the various stories are slowly beginning to intertwine.

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Finally we have Arondir, who finally meets Adar, a character played by Joseph Mawle is getting used to the ashen roles: he was Benjen Stark in Game of Thrones. The showrunners are clearly playing with the identity of Adar – and with that of the Stranger who stands with the Pelipedes, to be honest – who may or may not be Maglor, one of Fëanor’s sons. And who in any case lets Arondir go just in time to save Theo from the Orcs in a spectacular, but perhaps excessively prolonged, slow-motion action scene that repeatedly recalls the directorial choices of Peter Jackson in his first trilogy.

The Rings of Power 1x04, the Palantir scene

The Rings of Power 1×04, the Palantir scene

And it is precisely this that, at the end of the fair, convinced us least in the episode 04 of The Rings of Power: the direction. We started framing the problem last week and “La grande onda” basically confirmed it. The first two episodes of the series were masterful, but there was still behind the camera JA Bayona, a director who can boast the likes of The Impossible and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on his resume, which is a mediocre film in every respect except solid and creative directing. We give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

The last two episodes lacked creativity. Wayne Che Yip he shot a few episodes of Doctor Who and The Wheel of Time, but his stiff and thrifty TV series approach debases the solemnity and ambition of some shots. Most of the dialogues are held in the same and restricted scenarios, the photography is much less daring, the escape of Arondir and Theo ends without serious consequences despite the musical montage – the song by Disa, moreover sung by the actress Sophia Nomvete – seemed to prelude to a more tragic outcome. The British director will accompany us for another two weeks, then he will take a break and return to the helm for the season finale: will he be able to surprise us?

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