The Rings of Power Episode 4 review. This was the episode that won me over on this show, it’s powerful, beautiful, and frankly emotional at times. This review will cover Episode 4 of The Rings of Power, called ‘The Great Wave’. As for SPOILER policy? For now I’m keep as SPOILER FREE as I possibly can. That could change as the season progresses but for now that’s my plan.
Bit of background. I’m a fairly big Tolkienite, and have read pretty much everything he wrote many times. Yet, there are still some out there who far outstrip my own knowledge. I came at this show with trepidation because ultimately this is a fan fiction project. Okay, it’s licensed by the Tolkien Estate and there are some rules as we understand. However this is still largely fan fiction. So was it any good?
Yep, this was the week I think i fell in love with Amazon’s The Rings of Power. I can hardly think of a negative thing to say about Episode 4. The opening was astounding, the visuals and musical score this week all mesh together like one long designed tapestry and inside that tapestry is a story, a story of the history of Middle-earth. The pain of what has come before mixed with the beauty, the potential in these races held back by the foreshadowing of events we know must take place.
After all, there must be a Mordor, must be and end to Zhazad-dum, and Numenor, and Lindon, and Eregion. The story of Tokien’s Second Age is as always tinged with moments of horror, sorrow and yet always with hope and a faith that good can win, in the end. That ultimate victory over Sauron though will not come in this Age, as we have all seen his end in The Lord of the Rings.
There are Easter eggs for Tolkien book fans in spades this week as well. Elrond recounting the story of his father Earandil was a powerful moment for a Tolkienite such as myself. However there is much here invented for the show which has its own beauty. The scene of the Dwarven women singing to the mountain was I thought staggering along with the score, and yes, the actors are singing here, check the official score. I could go into details all day, but some of then would spoil events to come more than I should at this point.
I’ve not even touched on the performances this week, but I’m really getting to know these characters now I feel and each actor is doing so well. Miriel came alive for me this week. I finally understood the arc of Galadriel in this show. Halbrand continues to intrigue me more than I thought he would. Durin, Disa, Arondir, Theo, and Adar were all exceptional. Special praise this week goes to Robert Aramayo as Elrond. The second half of this week is centered on Khazad-dum and Aramayo actually moved me at times playing Elrond.
The Khazad-dum scenes throughout the series have been fantastic to be fair. However I feel like the rest of the party stepped up their game as well this week.
Foreshadowing and Hidden Backstories
I’ll be careful what I refer to here, however there is a ton of foreshadowing happening in this episode. The visions of Miriel seem an obvious clue, but I won’t get into all that for now. However there are far more subtle nods in play, both to the overall Tolkien lore to come and also where I think I can see this show is going in certain aspects of it’s ‘invented’ plot.
However just as important as the nods forwards are the nods backwards. I already mentioned Elrond discussing his Father, but references made by Pharazon about the first King of Numenor, Elrond’s brother were there too. However perhaps most intriguing to me, is a potential mystery for he true Tolkien nerds. Who is Adar supposed to be? Is he an Elf from the First Age we know, or just a made up Elf? More on that below.
My Maglor Head Canon
My guess is that the showrunners are deliberately hinting that this Adar was once known by the name of Maglor. I don’t think that will ever be officially confirmed or denied by Amazon, because it adds in an end to the character of Maglor that Tolkien never actually wrote. However the clues are there for me, and if never conformed I will choose to have in my head canon that this is what became of Maglor, one of the sons of Feanor. The fact he has one of his hands covered makes me think that hand was once burned badly by holding one of the Silmaril’s his father crafted. The Silmaril were hallowed by the Valar, and Maglor had fallen so low that by the time he held one it burned him as it did Morgoth when he first touched them.
Tolkien never finalized Maglor’s fate, he was last seen wandering aimlessly around after throwing the Silmaril into the depths of the Ocean. Tolkien never said he died, and since he is an immortal Elf, what happened to him? By the way, he was hardly one of the good guys. Though, like most souls Maglor did not start as evil. He did however honor an oath he made to his father and that oath was the cause of so much evil done in its name.
Oh, there was an oath taken in this week’s episode. If you know Tolkien, he was always wary of making oaths and the power they had to be turned to peril. Just saying…. Watch this space.
My Criticisms (this won’t take long)
This will be short. Erm….. Yeah I have nothing. Honestly can’t think of a single moment that annoyed me, wasn’t well presented and didn’t feel absolutely integral to the development of the plot and the arcs of these characters. Actually, I was slightly taken aback by a statement Miriel made about the Palantiri. However, I’m willing to see where it goes. In the lore Numenor should have had all of stones as they were a gift to Numenor from the elves.
I am a fan of The Rings of Power. These guys (showrunners) get it and they’ve put their passion into this project so much it shows. Not every episode may be this good, but that’s fine by me. If the show steps off a cliff into the depths of mediocrity, I’ll call it when it happens. However after Episode 4, The Rings of Power became my favorite show of the year,(for now). I do not throw out that label wildly, let me assure you. However no TV show this year, even the final season of Better Call Saul has moved me as much as Episode 4 of The Rings of Power did. Season 1 has a long way to go to remove Better Call Saul as my number 1 of 2022 (as a finished product). However if things stay this good Rings of Power is on the right path.
Please leave your own The Rings of Power Episode 4 review below if you can. Or, let me know what you think of what I had to say? Do you agree with me, or disagree after watching the show?