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‘The Rings of Power’ Episode 4 is When the Show Hits its Stride

7 Minute Read
Sep 19 2022
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This week’s ‘Rings of Power’ gives us a look at the Doom of Númenor, and what will come to pass if our characters can’t stop Sauron.

After last week’s episode was a bit of a step down from the premier, Rings of Power delivers a strong middle episode. We get some major developments and a check-in with our underground friends. New alliances are forged and the shape of the future takes form.

The shadow of spoilers lies over all that follows – BEWARE.

 

The Rings Of Power Episode 4 Foretells Doom

 

The main plot of the episode again focuses on Galadriel in Númenor. We start out with Miriel having a vision of what will be known as the Doom of Númenor: it starts with a petal falling from the White Tree, and then the water rises up to swallow the city. This turns out to be a dream, but one that has a hold on Galadriel. We also see there is a lot of discontent in the city. The people are worried about Elves coming to take their jobs. Pharazon does some politicly and his son and Eärien have a meet-cute.

Galadriel pitches an alliance with Miriel to take on Sauron in the Southlands. The Queen-regent isn’t having it, however, and when Galadriel asks to see the manager the “real” king, she gets tossed in jail. The men decide to send her home to get rid of the issue. However, Galadriel still isn’t having it and takes down a bunch of guards before running off. She sneaks into the King’s Tower to see him. Surprise! He’s bedridden and clearly dying.

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Miriel and Galadriel have a heart-to-heart and the Queen shows off a Palantír. This seeing stone gives visions of the Doom of Númenor from the start of the episode. Miriel tells the Elf that her arrival kicks off the visions and that’s why she’s against her.

Putting Things in Place

While this is going down, Isildur is having his own issues. He keeps hearing voices coming from the West of Númenor, and they’re somehow tied to his brother. He manages to get himself kicked out of the Seaguard – something he wanted. But his friends also get kicked out – something he did not want. Back in the city, he mopes a bit, but he soon finds a new path.

Miriel continues with her plan to send Galadriel away. But once the elf boards her boat, the petals of the White Tree start to fall. The Queen takes this as a sign that the Valar are unhappy with her actions. She reverses course and decides to ally with the Elf and go to Middle Earth to fight the coming darkness. A fleet is prepared and troops are recruited from across the island. Isildur and his friends sign up and the stage is set for the Númenorians to bring war to the Southlands.

The Rings Of Power Episode 4 Brings the Horror

Speaking of the Southlands, things aren’t going so great there. We first check in this episode with Arondir, who is still a prisoner of the Orcs. He is taken to meet their leader Adar (father). Adar turns out to be a disfigured Elf who is leading the Orcs. Given that he seems to cry over the killing of an injured one, he also seems to care for them. Indeed we get more of Orc “culture” here than really ever before. The Elves talk a bit about the First Age and then Adar lets Arondir go, sending him to the Watch Tower with a message.

Things in the Watch Tower are looking pretty bad. They don’t have enough food to feed all the refugees flooding in. Theo and his friend sneak back into town to get food but they get separated. Theo is attacked by an Orc and uses his magic sword to fight it off.

But it turns out the hilt is what the Orcs have been looking for the whole time. It’s important to both them and Adar. After hiding down a well, he’s captured again, but Arondir shows up in time to save him.

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Meeting up with Bronwyn, they have an action scene and Arondir shows off why Elves are so deadly, he can catch arrows out of midair (too bad his friend from the last episode didn’t know that trick). They make it back to the Watch Tower and prepare to be attacked. Meanwhile, it’s revealed that some of the men there secretly support Sauron.

A Deep Friendship

The Rings Of Power Episode 4’s final plotline takes us back to Elrond. Work is coming along on the forge now, but there is something up with Durin. Elrond goes back to Moria to try to figure it out but is given the runaround. Eventually, his snooping leads him to a secret mine. Durin reveals that the Dwarves have discovered a new metal, Mithril.

They think Elrond has been sent there to steal it, but he seems to genuinely not know what’s going on. The two patch up their friendship (again?) and Elrond is given some of the metal. He also swears on the mountain not to tell anyone about this. What could go wrong? Anyway, a cave-in almost kills four workers, and as a result, the King closes down the mine. Which I mean… might be a good call actually.

Durin is pretty peeved, but he and Elrond have a nice conversation. Elrond tells his friend he totally understands his struggles with his dad and what it means to live up to a big-deal dad. After all, his dad saved the world and became a star. But having a living dad is also a lot cooler than having a star for a dad. Anyway, thanks to Elrond’s advice, Durin IV and Durin III reconcile and Durin III is sent off to Lindon with Elrond.

Overall Thoughts on The Rings of Power Episode 4

The conversation in the tower with Galadriel and Miriel seems to be a major change from the lore. Miriel says there were Seven Palantir and six were lost or destroyed. In the books, eight were made and seven were given to men. All seven survive the Doom of Númenor and are taken to Middle Earth by the faithful.

This isn’t a minor point either, the Seven stones play a major role in the history of Middle Earth. 3 of them make it to the War of the Rings and are pretty important to the story there. Now maybe Miriel is wrong or she’s lying – or maybe the Faithful have the other six hidden – but if what she’s saying is true, it’s a bit of an issue.

Also, was that Narsil we see in the background of this scene?

The conversations between the Durins addressed an issue many people had coming into the show. In the books, the Durins are all some kind of reincarnation of each other. This was changed in the show. The show addresses it in episode 4, saying that when you become king you can hear the voices of past kings. Since the reincarnation aspect is never clearly explained in the books, this works for me. It does at least show that the showrunners know about the lore and handled it thoughtfully.

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Theo is gonna be a ring wraith, right? We’re all pretty sure of this?

Lastly, I enjoyed Elrond talking about his father. It makes sense that he feels a bit inadequate. His parents saved the whole world and became a star. His brother was the first King of Númenor. Elrond… writes some speeches? It’s a lot to live up to and that adds some depth to his character.

Wrapping Up

via Amazon

Overall I think The Rings of Power Episode 4 was the strongest episode yet. We’ve mostly gotten past the info-dumping introduction of the first few episodes. We can start to see the shape of what’s to come. Many of the major conflicts of the season at least are now clear. Overall I don’t really have any complaints.

8/9 Rings for mortal men, doomed to die.

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