‘The Rings of Power’ Season 1, Episode 4 Recap/Review
This is a spoiler review for Episode 4 of The Rings of Power. Check out our review of Episode 3 here.
This week for The Rings of Power, we explore the situations in Númenor, the Southlands, and Eregion/Khazad-dûm, missing out on the Harfoots in Rhovanion. While the Harfoots are missed, the episode fleshes out a lot of our other characters’ stories, with some really good moments, particularly for Disa (Sofia Nomvete), Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), and Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). This episode is a couple of weeks after the start of the second episode. With that! Let’s dive into the stories for each region.
In Númenor, the queen, on her own, wakes up from what is apparently a common dream for her. Of Númenor being swept away by the sea. In an audience with Míriel and Elendil, Galadriel asks them to back Halbrand as the newfound king of the Southlands, fulfilling the promise they originally made to defeat Sauron. Míriel refuses, and Galadriel threatens her, demanding an audience with the King as he is technically the true ruler of Númenor. This scene is top tier between the two women. She is promptly thrown in the jail cell across from Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). Halbrand helps Galadriel understand she hasn’t figured out the queen’s deepest secret. He helps her slow down enough to think it through, only for guards to come in. The queen is sending her back to the Elves (it is unclear if she means to the West or back to Middle Earth).
Galadriel overwhelms the guards and makes her way to the tower where the king is. She finds Míriel with the king, and the king has lost his mind. Míriel walks her through what has driven Númenor away from their relationship with the elves. She reveals a Palantir, a seeing stone similar (or the same?) to the one Pippin uses in The Two Towers. Galadriel uses it and sees the vision of Númenor’s fall. Míriel says it started with an elf’s return to Númenor and that her father wanted to rebuild relations with the elves, almost ruining the realm. Galadriel tries to state it is regarding their disloyalty to the elves, but Míriel is not convinced until Galadriel leaves and the white petals from the great tree fall. Númenor will take troops to aid the Southlands!
Picking up where episode three left off, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) meets Adar (Joseph Mawle). Adar looks like a scarred elf who doesn’t look like one of the fair people before the scarring. That is unconfirmed, but Adar also conveniently means “father” in Quenya. Adar explains to Arondir that he’s been told several lies. That the world needs to be made anew, and [Adar] can’t do it because he’s not a god. Yet. Adar then sends Arondir to tell the men of the Southlands gathered at the watchtower a message.
Meanwhile, those men are, in fact, running out of rations. Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) and Rowan return to their village to scavenge from the cellars, and Theo is caught in the process by one of the orcs. He defends himself with the hilt he found, stabbing it into his arm to create the sword (that, later on, disappears, hmm). This move does confirm the orcs are looking for the hilt specifically. Theo is rescued by Arondir, who has his full set of weaponry back, and they make their way back to the tower. Arondir passes along the message from Adar, ‘You can live if you forsake all claim to the Southlands. Otherwise, we will come for you.’ Theo also learns about Sauron from the man he stole the hilt from and is warned to be ready; because the comet falling was indicative of Sauron’s return.
In Eregion, the forge/tower is making good progress with help from the dwarves. But Lord Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) voices his concern to Elrond (Robert Aramayo) that Durin IV (Owain Arthur) is avoiding him. Elrond visits Durin and Disa in Khazad-dûm, and Disa manages to blow him off pretty well with no hesitation. Elrond doesn’t buy it, sticks around after he was supposed to be gone, and finds Durin walking out to speak with Disa. It is revealed that the old mine in Mirrormere houses veins of the ever elusive mithril. Elrond has to swear to keep the metal a secret because it’s a new ore where it’s stronger than anything previously revealed. Durin’s father (Peter Mullan) has forbidden the dwarves from mining it because the ore is hard to pull from the mountain, but Durin sticks with it secretly.
That secret comes back to bite him, however. The dwarves currently mining the vein end up trapped, and Durin tries to go in after them, prevented by Elrond. In a beautiful but mournful scene, we find Disa leading a group of dwarves, singing to the mountain to try and convince it to let the miners live. The miners do, in fact, live, and Disa thanks Elrond for saving Durin. Durin IV apologizes to his father for breaking the rules after he laments the vein will be sealed up to prevent future mining. Durin III has a really good parenting moment with Durin IV, it was sweet while also teaching. It is revealed that Elrond has invited him to Lindon to meet with other elves. Based on Durin IV’s intuition, Durin III approves, so we will see the two long-time friends travel together or already be in Lindon next episode.
Overall, this The Rings of Power episode is jam-packed with information about how the story will proceed while also taking the appropriate time to sit with our characters. The Harfoots are cut out of this episode just because of how much is going on, and I imagine we’ll continue to see it, getting more focus on one set of characters or another. This benefits the show because the quality of this episode would have been harmed had they gone longer with the episode’s time. Likewise, if they had had to manage all four regions of Middle Earth. Really well planned all around by the behind-the-scenes crew.
The best thing about this episode, though, is the performances by the leading ladies, Nomvete, Clark, and Addai-Robinson. Nomvete is as playful as Disa, but she also provides the strength you want for the wife to the future ruler of the dwarves. The song to the mountain scene was absolutely great. You can feel the emotion and care they’re requesting. Also, Nomvete plays really well with Aramayo. Together they look like two best friends of Durin, and it looks like they had fun recording their scenes together.
Clark and Addai-Robinson shocked me with how much emotion and power they put in. In the meeting where Galadriel requests Númenor’s assistance for help to defeat Sauron, there was a lot of shock at how demanding Galadriel was, as well as how staunch Míriel was at defending her choice. Clark is just playing Galadriel as the cold-hearted elf on a mission so well, complementing Cate Blanchett in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The story of The Rings of Power is just going so well and feels like a better Tolkien story. Not too cluttered while still having the artful scenery and flowery language. – Katie Rentschler
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episodes 1-4 are now streaming on Amazon Prime. New episodes air every Friday.