Ricky Church reviews the fourth episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power…
With the latest episode of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power marking the halfway point in the first season, the season’s bigger picture is becoming clearer with Sauron’s return and intentions. ‘The Great Wave’ was a well paced installment of the series that progressed both the plot and character development very nicely.
The events on Númenor continued to be some of the most interesting in the show as we got a closer look into the inner court’s politics as well as learning the reason why Queen Regent Miriel was so against aiding Galadriel and the people of Middle-earth. Cynthia Addai-Robinson gave a good performance as Miriel, showing more sides to her as she balanced Miriel’s cold authority, reasoning and genuine concern for the future of her people. She and Morfyyd Clark shared nice chemistry as they verbally sparred even more.
While Miriel’s tone often remains emotionally detached from whoever she’s speaking with, Addai-Robinson uses her body language and expressions to make Miriel an emotive character without relying on dialogue. This can be seen at the episode’s beginning with the newly born Númenorians or the way she looks at the falling petals of Númenor’s tree.
Morfydd Clark continues to impress as Galadriel and her chemistry with Charlie Vickers’ Halbrand is evolving nicely as Halbrand offered a point of view Galadriel needs for dealing with Miriel and the rest of Númenor. Trystan Gravelle was able to showcase Pharazôn’s skill quite a bit as he effortlessly turned a hostile crowd into a positive one with a rousing speech.
Maxim Baldry is also intriguing as the young Isildur, fated to doom all of Middle-earth by not destroying the Ring when he has the perfect chance decades from now. Isildur is reckless and impulsive, but there is a youthful earnestness to him Baldry displays well as Isildur strives to do the right thing while carving out his own future. It is a nice step in teasing Isildur choosing to take the One Ring for himself than just the Ring’s ability to manipulate.
Aside from the events on Númenor, ‘The Great Wave’s biggest development was in the Southlands as the Orcs continued their invasion and we potentially met Sauron in the flesh. The episode’s climax with Tyroe Muhafidin’s Theo running and hiding through the village in a one-take tracking shot was very well choreographed and rose the tension through several close calls, even when Ismael Cruz Córdova’s Arondir arrived and help him escape.
There was also the character driven nature of Elrond and Durin’s storyline as Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur and Sophia Nomvete had great scenes together which dove deeper into their friendship as well as the growing bond between Elrond and Disa.
Two issues, though, that are recurring so far this season is that of pacing and content. For the most part the episode was well structured, focusing on significant storylines and developments just as long as they needed to be. However, even with an episode where the Harfoots made no appearance, it feels like a lot of content is being crammed in between everything in Númenor, Bronwyn leading her people to safety, Elrond and the Dwarves mining in Moria and more. That is a lot going on even for one episode that ‘The Great Wave’ tries to address, especially with all the individual stories.
The one positive in this, though, is that many of the storylines are starting to come together, from Miriel’s decision to aid the Southlands to the true purpose of the blade Theo discovered. Since we’re now at the halfway point it is very good for the big picture to emerge, but it still could have happened slightly sooner and without trying to tackle so many storylines at once.
‘The Great Wave’ was a nice episode of The Rings of Power that continued the character driven nature while delivering tense fight sequences and letting the overall plot become clearer. The cast is very strong and the visuals and make-up, particularly on the Orcs, stand out as some of the best work currently on TV. Now that we’re past the halfway point, hopefully the pacing will be better as the characters converge and the true threat is explored.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.