Ricky Church reviews the penultimate episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s first season…
It was the calm before the storm in the penultimate episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season one as everyone took stock of their defeat and the changed lands. While a slower-paced episode that didn’t match the tension of ‘Udûn’, ‘The Eye’ told a character-driven story that examined the effects the volcano’s eruption had on the company which set up the finale fairly well.
The devastation dealt to the Southlands was handled nicely. The visuals in the opening sequence were fantastic with the red and orange colours popping off the screen and some rather graphic images of charred bodies, people and horses on fire, not to mention later in the episode where we saw more wounded Southlanders. The detail on how much Galadriel and others were covered in soot and ash was also designed well, further selling the devastation of the eruption. It certainly looked very hellish.
Much of the time examined the character’s feelings, specifically how Galadriel and Theo traded the blame with each other. Morfyyd Clark and Tyroe Muhafidin shared some good chemistry together in some interesting parallels with how Galadriel has been buried by guilt and blame for centuries while Theo is just starting down that path. Galadriel’s attempt to push him away from the burden of guilt once again showed how much she recognizes how consumed she is by her own, but she also took the time to both console him and build his resolve up against the orcs.
Galadriel and Theo weren’t the only ones suffering from their own guilt, though, as Elendil believes Isildur has died and Queen Muriel has gone blind. Throughout his time on the show Elendil has been so composed most of the time, but Lloyd Owen gave a vulnerable performance as Elendil despaired over his family tragedy as well as pushing for the travel to Middle-earth in the first place after saving Galadriel from the sea. Hopefully we can explore more of this side to Elendil with Owen’s layered performance.
While the transformation of the Southlands was the main development of ‘The Eye’, Elrond’s business with Durin was also significant as the pair attempted to convince Durin’s father to let them mine mithril. Robert Aramayo and Owain Arthur continue to share a connection that feels earned and emotional as Elrond and Durin bond more. Sophie Nomvete also had a couple good scenes with Arthur, namely at the end, which showed how much range puts into her performance as Disa, shifting between comforting Durin and anger at her father-in-law.
Meanwhile, the Harfoots completed their journey and met the three mysterious beings tracking The Stranger. The transition to most of the Harfoots trusting The Stranger after a couple episodes of mistrust seemed a little rushed, especially coming from Lenny Henry’s Sadoc Burrows, but the performances from Henry, Markella Kavenagh and Dylan Smith all stood out among the Harfoots.
With one episode left and the origin of Mordor completed as well as the creature awakening in the depths of Khazad-dûm, the stage is set for an exciting finale. Hopefully the character-driven nature of the story and the series’ pacing can remain as good as it has been these last couple episodes to deliver us across the finish line in an intriguing way.
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