This is a spoiler review for episode 3 of The Rings of Power. Check out our review of Episodes 1 & 2 here.
With new characters to meet and new realms to explore, episode three of the new Lord of the Rings series on Amazon Prime, The Rings of Power, is a fast-paced adventure filled with tense moments and heartfelt connections. Following the layout of the first two installments of the series, the last episode, titled “Adar,” bounces back and forth between realms as the litany of new characters faces ongoing challenges that will ultimately lead to the return of dark, evil forces in Middle-Earth. Most notable, however, is perhaps the quest Galadriel, played by the remarkable Morfydd Clark, finds herself on.
After making the bold decision to leap from the ship leading her towards Valinor, Galadriel is suddenly at the mercy of the world of Men. The world, albeit beautiful, is still filled with prejudices towards the Elves and ill-will towards her simply because she is one. As she longs to get back to her internal mission of hunting down and killing a young Sauron, her run-in with Halbrand means their fates will likely be intertwined going forward. While he seems to have ulterior motives and dark secrets (more on that later), the chemistry between the two characters is a bright spot in a series filled with charming characters and astonishing performances all around.
This week viewers meet the father of Isildur, Elendil (Lloyd Owen), who brings the mismatched duo to the queen of Númenor, a large and imposing island, Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). What has been great about the prequel series is the fleshing out of the different creatures’ issues with one another. The new characters mixing with the familiar ones flesh out the ups and the downs of the realms coexisting in Middle-Earth and how they get to where they are in the classic LOTR trilogy.
Elsewhere, it is slowly revealed that the life of the Harfoots is not all it seems. While the first few episodes try to depict the halflings as carefree and fun-loving, episode three shows a bit of a darker, more stressed-out side of the culture. When Nori Brandyfoot’s father, Largo, suffers an injury to his foot, it appears his family will be left behind when the Harfoots migrate, a vital survival tactic to keep the colony alive. This is troubling for a number of reasons, the most glaring being that Nori is still providing care and shelter for the magical, mysterious being that fell from the sky.
Viewers are also treated to a bit of the more wholesome characteristics of Nori as she stands her ground when Elder Sadoc rules the hulking stranger must be left behind. “Without friends, what are we surviving for?” is a quote that will likely stand the test of time when it is all said and done. Nori appears to have the courage and bravery of a Samwise Gamgee with the same sense of duty and responsibility as Frodo Baggins.
However, it remains to be seen the sheer extent of the trauma Nori, along with her best friend Poppy Proudfellow, will endure over the course of the story. What is known, however, is that the camaraderie between the two is enough to carry the narrative for as long as the showrunners intend for it to go. Young actresses Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh portray the young innocence mixed with a yearning for adventure that will enlist legions of young fans to the Tolkien fandom for decades to come.
At the end of the day, every character is forced to deal with Dark Lord’s intentions to establish a full-on evil realm. Perhaps, none more so than Arondir, the Elf caught in the direct crosshairs of Sauron’s orcs. After being captured, Arondir is forced into slavery and servitude, turning the doomed Southlands realm into what will likely become the cursed land of Mordor. In the performance of Ismael Cruz Córdova as he pulls off both an aggressive nature when attempting to escape the wrath of the Orcs, impressively using his chains as weapons, as well as a tender, comforting nature as he saves his Celebrimbor‘s life and destroys a tree, which obviously brings him much pain. The strength of the Orcs is on full display, and it seems like the walls of darkness are slowly closing in on the good guys across the realms. – Christian Hubbard
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1 and 2 are now streaming on Amazon Prime. New episodes every Friday.
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