‘The Rings of Power’ Season 1, Episode 8 Recap/Review
This is a spoiler review for Episode 8 of The Rings of Power. Check out our review of Episode 7 here.
In the season finale of The Rings of Power, we learn a lot of things, while also progressing some of the characters to their best moments. Strong visuals, and camera movements allow for all of your focus to be on the right spots to feel everything that’s happening. Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand/ (well we’ll get to that) give some of their very best performances of the season that make the reveals all the more inspiring.
The Harfoots’ story starts off with Sadoc, Nori, Marigold, and Poppy tracking down the stranger after the three women revealed themselves in the last episode. The women seem to be of the wizarding sort and find the Stranger first. In fact, they declare him to be Sauron! But the stranger will not be held to such dark attractions. When the sorcerers attack Nori, and mortally wound Sadoc, the Stranger steps up, using his magic to fight back. Despite being new to the world, he manages to banish the three sorcerers, declaring “I am good.” As the three women disappear, they realize he is not in fact Sauron, he is of the Istari.
Not only is the Stranger a member of the Istari, but from the lines given after he and Nori decide to find Rhûn, it seems he is our one and only Gandalf. With how much the Harfoots have helped him, it’s no wonder he has such a great fondness for the hobbits.
The rest of the episode for The Rings of Power is dedicated to the elves and Halbrand in Eregion. Gil-galad tells them to shut everything down, with the episode aptly titled “Alloyed,” Halbrand suggests the idea of trying to make an alloy with the mithril the elves have. It will allow them to amplify mithril’s power, and subsequently, forge a crown. Celembrimbor reiterates a phrase he heard from Halbrand, revealing to us the Southlander is overly intrigued by the entire ordeal. This causes Galadriel to question his identity, and she pulls a scroll dictating the royal line of the Southlands.
Spoiler alert, it ended a thousand years ago. Granted, Halbrand had told her he pulled the crest off a dead man. But Galadriel wanted so badly to believe in Halbrand, their love was never meant to be. She confronts Halbrand, only to end up in several dream sequences that seem inspired by her talk with Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring. Halbrand really wants her to join him in saving Middle Earth, but Galadriel refuses.
She wakes up in the river, to find Halbrand has gone. He’s left to go to Mordor, while Elrond pulls her from the water. She refuses to say what happened, though Elrond finds the scroll, and it appears like he draws his own conclusion. Galadriel doesn’t want to reveal she’s figured it out, because it would call all of her actions into question. She asks that they change to forge three rings, for balance purposes. They are forged in a beautiful sequence, with Galadriel donating her brother’s dagger for the alloy. The three rings include one red, one blue, and one clear. We know the clear one will eventually end up in Galadriel’s custody.
Personally “Alloyed” as an episode embodies the ideals of what Tolkien strived for in story telling. It flows so well together, and Wayne Che Yip does such a great job getting the shots needed to tell the best story possible. This isn’t a finale of epic proportions, but it does in fact give us the emotional resonance to show the uneasiness of the future for The Rings of Power. That spirited performances are driven between Clark and Vickers and all the Harfoots.
Clark and Vickers do some great work as Galadriel and Halbrand/Sauron together. The visionary sequence where Galadriel confronts who she thinks is her brother, back to the raft with Halbrand. Galadriel has experienced grief all season. In these visions, we see her thinking of the connection she’s shared with Halbrand. It opens her up to where we can experience all the different sides of her as a character. She drifts on the edges of giving up, but she knows she can’t. Galadriel overcomes and makes the best of what she can.
The Harfoots and the Stranger are my favorite parts of the show, no matter how much I love Clark as Galadriel. They’re so full of heart, and while being the littlest people in all of Middle Earth, they’re the strongest among all. They have no training in fighting or anything, yet go to defend the Stranger from three powerful cultists. I love their bravery, and hope for Season 2 they’re not left in the dust because Nori leaves with the Stranger.
Overall, The Rings of Power has surpassed my expectations. In comparison, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is incredibly long and can detract from my enjoyment. But The Rings of Power has done a phenomenal job of adapting the way Tolkien writes brilliantly to the small screen. The cast has done an incredible job, as have the directors and screenwriters. The sets have all been phenomenal, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to be used in the upcoming seasons. –Katie Rentschler
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season one is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
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