"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - Episode 7 Review: Hell on Earth (Media) (2023)

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The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power

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Let's start with the honest truth: calling this episodethe power rings"The Eye" is a decoy and switch. Oh sure, it starts out as an eye opener, but it iseeye, nothe eye, as in "of Sauron", as in "the crook who creates the title rings", as in "the character whose secret presence has teased the show all season". It is only Galadriel who wakes up after being crushed and buried in ash by the exploding volcano that will soon be known as Mount Doom. If it's Sauron you're looking for, look elsewhere folks.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - Episode 7 Review: Hell on Earth (Media) (2)

Well, maybe getting ripped off here is because of us, not the show. That certainly seems to be the plot of the show! While wandering the desert with his only companion, a young human named Theo, Galadriel scolds the boy for not thinking of the unknown. "What you can't know confuses the mind," she says. "Don't fill it with assumptions."

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Did you hear that, viewers? Stop trying to figure out which character is Sauron, or who is Halbrand, or who is Adar, orWasAdar, or who the stranger is, or who those three evil people in white are, or what this magical Sauronic artifact does, or what's in Durin's secret box, or one of the many, many, many "secrets" of the series... Instead it provided us with a consistently compelling, character-driven storyline. Live in the present!

I will givethe power ringsthis: writing the show the way it's written, and including that line that punishes people for trying to figure out its many unknowns, takes a bit of guts.

Anyway, this hour-plus episode is big and dark too, easily the darkest episode ever. It begins, no pun intended, with this telltale scene of Galadriel being covered in ash to discover an orange-red inferno of smoke and flame created by the volcanic eruption that ended the previous episode. A horse with a burning back rushes by to take the horror home.

It takes a while, but we eventually realize that all of the main characters survived, even the non-canon ones that the show could kill to raise the stakes. Theo dates Galadriel as mentioned. Trapped in a collapsing building, Isildur helps rescue some of the townsfolk. (The show treats his fate as uncertain for some reason, as if we don't see him defeat Sauron and take the One RingThe Fellowship of the Ringfirst five minutes.)

The very collapse of the building blinds Tar-Míriel, the Númenórean queen. Elendil, upset that his son is missing and presumed dead, helps her carry them to the camp where the survivors are gathering. Everyone ends up there, including Bronwyn and Arondir, who also survived, and Halbrand, who lives but is badly injured, but Isildur ends up landing.

Tar-Míriel sails back to Númenor to stage a full-scale invasion of Middle-earth to defeat the Orcs, with Elendil, regretting his affair with Galadriel, in tow. Galadriel rides with Halbrand in search of the elven medicine that can save him. Bronwyn plans to move her people to an old Númenórean colony. Theo, gifted with the sword of Galadriel, collects the spirits of men.

But elves and humans aren't the only ones affected by the volcano's explosion. In the distance, Harfoot's caravan discovers that the apple tree they were heading for has been burned by a stray "flint". Harfoot leader Sadoc Burrows recruits the Stranger, who seems devastated upon discovering the devastation, to use his magic to revive a tree, but a branch falls and nearly wipes a boy's watch. Afterwards, Burrows essentially banishes the stranger, though he gives him the star map he needs and directs him to the nearest human settlement.

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"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - Episode 7 Review: Hell on Earth (Media) (3)

Of course, if they had just waited a few hours, they would have seen the stranger's magic work on everything, and then some, reviving the entire forest. But the celebration is interrupted by this strange white trio. Twice confronted by the brave Harfoot Nori Brandyfoot, their leader uses magic to set fire to the grove and all of Harfoot's wagons before disappearing. Afterwards, Nori, her mother, her friend Poppy and old Zadok decide to track down the stranger, regretting his expulsion and needing his help.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - Episode 7 Review: Hell on Earth (Media) (4)

Meanwhile, Elrond and Prince Durin IV unsuccessfully attempt to convince King Durin III to grant the elves their request for mithril, the seemingly magical metal the show decided the elves must now remain alive as a species. Even after the prince and his wife Disa defy the king's orders on behalf of their friend and discover a large quantity of mithril that could likely be safely mined, the king refuses, imprisoning Elrond and disowning Durin Jr.

However, a fiery speech by Disa, who insists that the kingdom will one day be theirs to rule as they please, suggests that the king may not have the final say in this case. On the other hand, when King Durin throws the leaf of the magic tree that Elrond brought into the mithril pit, it falls (presumably) thousands upon thousands of feet and quickly catches fire, thanks to the close presence of the Balrog ofbrotherhood. ¡Uh oh!

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" - Episode 7 Review: Hell on Earth (Media) (5)

Finally we reach Adar triumphantly crossing the moor. Not in the Southlands, he insists, not anymore. "What shall we call you, Mr. Father?" he asks his faithful henchman Waldreg. In an unintentional comedy, in case nobody knows what the land around the evil giant volcano in Middle-earth is called, an overlapping title morphs from "THE SOUTHLANDS" to "MORDOR". what notdunnn!

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This episode is not without its strengths. The sight of the destruction caused by Orodruin's explosion is awe-inspiring and depressing; it must be dreadful to have lived there happily and then to look back and see that you are now a denizen of hell on earth, or, if you are like Galadriel or Tar-Míriel, to look back and see that you are are not for.

However, the acting is the highlight of the rest of the episode. The teary-eyed brotherly closeness with which actors Owain Arthur and Robert Aramayo infuse the relationship between Durin IV and Elrond is surprisingly moving; the quarrel between DurinPaterjKinderWhat follows is convincingly intense. (Speaking from a nerd perspective, I appreciate how Elrond refers to himself as "half-elf" and explains the insights this gives him about the elf race.)

Daniel Weyman is excellent as The Stranger, using body language, facial expressions and garbled words to convey the sadness, loneliness and confusion of being. Joseph Mawle remains seductively menacing as Adar; like a friend of mine said on twitter, there's something like "Brando like Colonel Kurtz inapocalypse nowin his portrayal of a silently insane old soldier. Even Lloyd Owen goes out of his way to convey Elendil's grief over Isildur's "death", despite what much of the audience knows is nonsense.

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Which, to be honest, is the episode's biggest problem. Again and again he presents facts that anyone who J.R.R. seen the Tolkien books or all six of Peter Jackson's blockbuster Tolkien filmshe knowsIt's silly, change thatTerbe changed again if future events we all take for granted.

UssaberIsildur lives; How else could Sauron's ring reach Gollum, Bilbo, or Frodo? Why try to increase the human cost of the blast with this character when you could have mistakenly killed Bronwyn or Theo or Arondir or anyone else who doesn't play a major role in the entire history of Middle-earth?

UssaberGaladriel's husband Celeborn is not dead as she tells Theo (although the show allows a little leeway by simply saying that after he went into battle she never saw him again); The two not only rule Lothlórien together, as seen inbrotherhood, but they also have a daughter who becomes Elrond's wife and Arwen's mother. Why bother pretending he's dead? Should it leave open the possibility of a romantic angle with a semi-rim? After all the work the show has done to make it a difficult standard fantasy, does she also have to have a hapless standard fantasy love interest?

UssaberThe Balrog does not awaken from hibernation and hides for thousands more years, for the dwarf kingdom of Khazad-dûm, also known as Moria, exists well into the Third Age and becomes a pivot in dwarven history, nurturing both.O HobbitjLord of the rings. Why hint?

I like to say that "alteration" is value neutral when it comes to transferring an artwork from one medium to another. The mere fact that something is different in the TV or film version than in the book is not in itself artistically or aesthetically significant; what matters is whether the change improves or weakens the adaptation. In all of the cases described above, I fail to understand how changing these basic facts of Tolkien's agreed upon Middle-earth timeline improves anything. They make the story less coherent, replace the disappearances and deaths of bait-and-trade characters with genuinely meaningful developments, confuse hardcore Tolkien nerds like me while, I suspect, having nothing of particular interest to newcomers and casual gamers add equally.

The fire of Disa, the friendship of Durin and Elrond, the isolation of the stranger, the quiet dignity of Elendil:That's itand wherethe power ringsThe power of lies, not in turning Galadriel into a badass or pretending that Isildur is dead or pretending that we in the audience have no idea what and where Mordor is. (And by the way, ifhave toTreatment of the Revelation of MordorifRevelation why not let Adar announce the new name andThenend the episode instead of using that ridiculous "THE SOUTHLANDS/MORDOR" lyrics?) None of this is a deal breaker, of course; Many shows have bounced back from weak early seasons to reach goodness, even greatness. It's hard to imagine a show behind so much money, these resources, the attention from Ojo de Bezos himself, room to grow, breathe and change. What you see is what you get I'm afraid no matter which eye you look into.

Sean T. Collins(@theseantcollins) writes about television forRolling Stone,Geier,Los New York Times, Ofany place that has, in reality. He and his family live on Long Island.

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  • Summaries


Why do people not like The Rings of Power? ›

Why are people upset about The Rings of Power? Tolkien fans whose imagined version of Middle-earth puts white people front and center have taken issue with the show's casting. They claim The Rings of Power is doing a disservice to the books, which Tolkien based on ancient European civilizations.

Why The Rings of Power will fail? ›

In every way that truly matters, The Rings Of Power fails from the writing to the acting to the presentation. It fails as an adaptation, neither enriching Tolkien's work nor remaining true to it. It fails as a good fantasy, giving us generic tropes and melodrama rather than blazing new ground.

What happened in Rings of Power episode 7? ›

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power recap: A shadow falls over the Southlands. Galadriel and the Númenóreans have to make sense of a changing landscape in the wake of last week's huge battle, while the dwarves of Khazad-dûm have a bitter argument about what to do with mithril.

What did Elrond say to Galadriel episode 8? ›

He only ever told her the truth, he insists — he said he'd done evil, and she told him his future need not be bound by his past. In the water's reflection, he offers her a vision of their future: a powerful pair, Galadriel standing beside the towering, iron-armored Sauron.

How many people dislike on The Rings of Power? ›

And according to Forbes, the ratio of likes to dislikes on the new trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is very stark: 56,000 likes to 159,000 dislikes.

Why are hobbits unaffected by the Ring? ›

The hobbits are perhaps the only creatures in The Lord Of The Rings that can stand against the power of the Ring because of their love of all things good and simple. Not even the elves or wizards are able to fully resist the draw of power or evil.


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