The Rings of Power Episode 7 review. Honestly this Episode wasn’t my favorite, and I had quite a few issues. This review will cover Episode 7 of The Rings of Power, called ‘The Eye’. 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 am going to have a small SPOILER section at the close just to specifically criticize a couple of story beats that are impossible to do without spoiling the episode. So just skip that section if you have not watched 7 yet. There will be a warning and a jump.
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?
There were a lot of filmmaking cliches this week for me, and I wasn’t a fan of the majority of them. It’s difficult to get into specifics without spoiling but I will do my best. I’ll start with fake out deaths. A common trope we see all the time. We think characters are gone and then it turns out they’re not. This device was used a little to much for me in Episode 7 and it started to become a little silly. There are also death’s teased which only the most casual of watchers won’t immediately recognize as fake.
Geography was also an issue this week again. In last week’s dramatic climax we had all our main characters fleeing an ash cloud from Orodruin. However they are clearly all still within earshot of one another. Yet, this week, the writers wanted to split characters up into new pairings and groups. So they just decided to have them separate and not able to find one another, as the plot required it.
Also, for some reasons the Orc’s are all back patrolling after being soundly defeated in the episode previously. The actual direction and cinematography is fine, but not as good as it has been. However I just felt like the script for Episode 7 was a little all over the place. It felt like they wrote Episode 6 and 8 independent of one another and then 7 was how to bridge the gap between them, at all costs.
There are also some lore issues I have this week. Perhaps moments that were written to provide some dramatic effect didn’t work for me and at the same time didn’t fit with the lore. Now I know already this show is not going to be completely lore accurate. I am viewing this as really good fan fiction and judging it accordingly.
However I will be more specific for anyone who has already watched 7 after a spoiler warning below.
Yes, there is some good here in Episode 7 also. The Khazad-dum scenes were great other than one or two problems I had. I also thought the Harfoot side of the story this week was excellent and it felt the most ‘Tolkien’ to me. Equally the performances in both of these sections of the story are excellent. Whereas I thought even some of the performances felt off this week in the Southlands section of the story.
There is an emotional honesty in the Harfoots and Khazad-dum plots. However everything in the Southlands felt very messy.
Score was great as always, and the color palette of the Southlands scenes were really well lit and decorated. Honestly that’s about as much as I can say. The only part I had zero issues with was the Harfoot story this week, which was excellent.
Now, I’m going to get into some specific SPOILERS below, so be warned. Skip this section if you want to read my closing thoughts. However, if you are just looking for my overall score it’s a C+ for me this week.
Specifics (Beware SPOILERS)
Just to be clear, if you didn’t spot the subtitle above, I am talking SPOILERS for The Rings of Power Episode 7 here. Plus I’ll be referring to some lore which carries into the future of this story.
I’ll start at the close. Two shots designed to be dramatic simply felt silly to me and had some lore issues. First up,
This was one of only two moments in the Khazad-dum storyline which disappointed me. Durin drops the leaf into the crack of Mithril and as it floats all the way down, I knew what was coming. We see the leaf burn and then we see Durin’s Bane roar in the darkness. This was a shot we already saw in the trailer, so I knew it was coming and I feared it. I had instead hope that shot was from a flashback to the First Age.
Now, this is where some fans may disagree with me. For me, less is more in this situation. If we saw the sleeping form, or even a more subtle hint, like the opening of a blazing eyelid and some smoke, that would have been awesome. However they wanted the Balrog action shot, and it didn’t work for me. Lore wise the Dwarves don’t wake Durin’s Bane for another few thousand years. If anyone knew a Balrog was in Moria, for certain, then it complicates the timeline greatly. If the Balrog is already awake, would it not attack sooner? There’s no way they have the Balrog cause an issue until at least later seasons, so why the money shot now?
Southlands – Mordor
Simple, but important to me. I thought the changing of the written text n screen form Southlands to Mordor was insulting to the audiences intelligence and also does not make sense, not only within the lore, but within the context of the show. It felt like the director thought audiences would not yet have worked out the Southlands were really Mordor. That might have been true of Episode 1, where only the nerds like me switched on. However I think after last week’s climax, and the rest of Episode 7, people had worked it out.
Honestly, if they hadn’t, let them be ignorant, don’t cater for the lowest common denominator.
Also, whilst the audience knows the name Mordor and what it means. Not one character has mentioned the name in the show. The Orcs and Waldreg ask Adar what they should call their new home and instead he looks to the distant Orodruin and the text reads Southlands and the changes to Mordor. That’s rubbish, just have Adar speak the name and do the same shot without the silly text switch.
Though, whilst it is never explicitly stated who came up with the name Mordor, for me it would have been better if it was Sauron himself.
I’ll make this quick. My hope was that the Mithril story was a deception of Sauron’s to ‘sell’ the idea of the Rings of Power to the Elves. However the Mithril chunk actually healing the leaf makes me think they are going with an explanation for how the Rings of Power will work magically, which I dislike. There is something alluring to hidden unseen knowledge we cannot fathom in our Age. Secret arts of the Elves, or Maiar that even those translating the texts cannot describe fully. That’s how Tolkien wrote his magic system.
I’m also worried again that instead of this being a deception of Sauron, they are saying this story we heard was real, and that a Silmaril is buried somewhere down there also. They won’t be able to use one for anything due to the rights, but I don’t like it. I liked the story of the Mithril as told through the deception of Sauron, not legitimately.
Why did the leaf not heal when Elrond has both on him at the same time, but only when at that very moment. Did Celebrimbor not hold the hunk against the dying tree when in Lindon to test his theory?
Halbrand & Other Annoyances
So Halbrand is so severely injured (off-screen) that he needs Elvish medicine. Yet he’s well enough to walk past all his new adoring people, jump on a horse and head off with Galadriel? Yeah, not for me. Clearly Isildur is alive, seen as he’s the character whose name is most familiar to fans outside of Elrond, Sauron and Galadriel, so why fake his death, it provides no drama?
Overall there was just less this week I like than I disliked. It’s not awful, it’s also not great. Considering how much story they need to get through across the 5 Seasons of this show, I’m now thinking most of Season 1 seems like a waste of time.
Last thing, what are they doing with Celeborn? So, Galadriel is already married and was at some point happier, okay. However, Celeborn went to war and never returned? We know the show is not allowed to change characters overall fates. Therefore Celeborn is alive and well, somewhere, and he just ghosted Galadriel for the last few hundred years. I’ll give the show a chance to show me where this is going, but right now I see no advantage to this plot contrivance.
Sadly, this series got better up till Episode 4 for me and then gradually fell back down as it goes on. Hopefully the trend will bunch next week for the Season finale?
Please leave your own The Rings of Power Episode 7 review below if you can. Or, let me know what you think of my own The Rings of Power Episode 7 review ? Do you agree with me, or disagree after watching the show?
Here is a promo for the Season finale if you want a tease of what is to come.