The Rings of Power Episode 5 review. I didn’t love Episode 5 as much as I did Episode 4, though I’m still happy. This review will cover Episode 5 of The Rings of Power, called ‘Partings’. 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. This week I do have a small predictions and theories section which may have some mild spoilers, but you can bail out before then if really concerned.
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?
I found this weeks episode a little harder to review. Largely things moved on from last week in the way I had anticipated. There were however a few details which gave me pause to doubt once again. I know the lore is very loosely being adapted here. Perhaps last week was so well crafted it allowed me to forget that for a moment or two. However the seeds of doubt that were sewn long before this show aired crept back into the corners of my mind.
However on the most part, there is nothing major to gripe about in Episode 5. The Numenorean plot is fast becoming one of my favorites. The Harfoots are back this week and Nori like me has some doubts about her instincts towards the Stranger. Much criticism has landed on the hairy toes of the Harfoots. Frankly I’ve enjoyed them so far, and a walking whilst singing scene had some of the best landscape cinematography we’eve seen yet and that’s saying something.
Despite again, a few concerns I’ll get to later, my favorite plot we follow in Episode 5 is that of Lindon. Gil-gilad is back, Durin is there, Elrond, and Celebrimbor are all there. There was a lot of to be impressed about in this section of the story. Elrond and Durin continue to be the best paring in this show and it was good to see more of Gil-galad and what’s really concerning him about their future. Which, is totally in keeping with the lore of the Elves light fading and the seeking to somehow preserve it in this Age.
As for the Southlands, well it all felt a little slow for me. I guess to quote Gandalf, this is the ‘deep breath before the plunge’. However Bronwyn’s despair felt a little out of place for where it fit into the story. Perhaps if this had come before she tried to convince her people to stay and fight?
I guess Episode 5 felt like the one where everyone needs to head off towards each other. The conclusion to this Season’s story seems to be a battle in the Southlands, Numenor is coming, albeit with only a handful of force. However it also seems like the Harfoots are headed South for their migration. Meanwhile Adar and his followers are coming for that sword hilt, which appears in a statue and we still don’t know what its significance truly is?
Some Slight Worries
So I have to tread lightly here around some of my doubts. I guess we should start with Sauron. You see, there is at least one character we know now is not Sauron and really we should have known that from last week if we were paying attention. However two of the most enduring theories from fans revolve around either Halbrand or the Stranger being Sauron. Up until this episode I could have given you many good arguments for why it was neither and this pleased me. In my opinion, Sauron being either of these makes absolutely no sense to Sauron’s character, aims, or goals.
Yet for some reason the showrunners really want us to think Sauron could be either of them and my worry is that one of them actually will be. I’ll get into a few more details about that below, because I still hope that is not the case. Either being Sauron would hurt the show for me at this point.
There is an admittedly great scene between Gil-galad and Elrond where a story is told with some cool visuals. The way it was presented was excellent. However, it really does not to my mind fit with any of the lore. Yes, I know that has happened already and will happen again. However I’m not sure the myth about Mithril is particularly needed here. Tolkien never had what we call in fantasy a ‘hard magic system’. In other words Tolkien uses magic briefly, sparingly, and never explains its limits and techniques.
In my head, I can see they are possibly trying a little too hard to explain the magic that will eventually permeate the Three, the Elven Rings of Power. The reason the Elves are looking for something like the Rings is absolutely fine. However the show appears to be intrinsically linking the creation of Mithril to one of the Silmaril. It makes some sense thematically do do this as the Silmarils themselves contain the light of the Trees. Yet the legend told here is completely made up for this show and I have never read anything in Tolkien’s own hand that suggested any kind of connection.
Are the Rings magical just because they have Mithril in them now? We know at least one of the Elven Three was made from Mithril, Nenya. Are they now going to suggest Mithril is a key component of all the Rings of Power, or just the Elven Three?
This all might be fine in the end, but here is where doubt and worry comes in. The more you create from scratch, the more worried I’m going to be.
Predictions and Theories (Beware Mild SPOILERS)
Ok, I still don’t think the Stranger is anything other than a Blue Wizard. Let’s just pretend it is Sauron for a moment. Where was he that he had to come down as a meteor? Why would he give himself a body that resembles an older mortal man. What would be the purpose of having no memories and not understanding his power?
No, I think what we are seeing is a being that is used to being able to do what a Maia can, now trapped in a much more frail and limited mortal body. Sauron would never place upon himself such limitations. Instead I think this Stranger is learning his limitations and weariness. Simple things like the need for food, water, rest are all largely alien to any of the Maiar, or Valar as they’re not physical beings. If for some reason I’m wrong, and this is Sauron, then I’ll question everything about this show. That’s a bad idea from where I am standing.
If instead it’s not Sauron, but a Blue Wizard as I predicted previously, then all is good. However why the need to keep teasing things like dark music whenever he appears? I’m kinda ready for the Stranger to start waking up a little and taking in the world they are in.
I will also predict now that Halbrand is also not Sauron as that would also leave countless questions of why I cannot answer. I could see Halbrand ultimately following a darker path in the end. I’m almost certain at some point he’ll be gifted on of the Nine and you know where things go from there. For now though, I think he’s genuinely just scared and would rather stay in Numenor where it’s safe from any Orcs. However I do think that sword hilt is an heirloom of his family and shows you that he comes from ancestors who followed Morgoth. I think there’s more story around that sword to come out before the end of Season 1.
Only three episodes left now in Season 1, it feels quick so far. Yet, it also feels like we have hardly scratched the surface of the real story being told here.
Please leave your own The Rings of Power Episode 5 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?