Rings of Power episode 3 Review: This week’s episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power features more leisurely worldbuilding, but the exposition never drags thanks to the show’s live performances and great visual spectacle. Even though we don’t get to see much more of Elrond (aside from a portrait of him in the Numenor library), we meet his future comrade-in-arms Isildur and the rest of the Gondor patriarch’s family.
This post is full of spoilers if you haven’t watched the episode then watch it first.
Rings of Power episode 3 Review What happened in this episode:
The third episode begins almost immediately after the second ended, with Galadriel waking up on a boat and wondering if she has been saved or thrown into an even worse situation than being shipwrecked. It’s a complicated answer. Elendil, Isildur’s father, has rescued her and Halbrand and taken them to his home in Numenor, despite the island nation’s ban on elves.
Elrond’s simple forgetfulness caused the drama in Episode 2 that 20 years is a long time for non-elves; Episode 3 emphasizes how immortality alters your perspective in the same way. Galadriel is the one who is taken aback by how much Numenor has evolved in the centuries since the Valar resurrected it from the sea as a reward for the humans who fought against Morgoth. There’s something profoundly surreal about her entering a historic structure and proudly proclaiming that she knows the guys who built it.
In the hostile court of Queen-regent Tar-Mriel, Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel continues to shine despite her ferocity and arrogance. Halbrand helps calm things down by demonstrating his talents as a diplomat in addition to his thieving prowess and vicious temper in a fight. Galadriel may have discovered a forerunner to Aragorn in a human king running away from the weight of leadership and whom she must encourage to step up to the challenge.
But Halbrand may be more rogue than ranger; like Aragon, he’s trying to escape the mistakes of his ancestors, who, in this case, served Morgoth. A fitting and tragic end for Halbrand would be for him to be pushed to achieve enough greatness to earn one of the nine rings given to the human lords who would become the Nazgûl; this is the fatal flaw of Tolkien’s humans, that they are corruptible.
We meet Isildur as a precocious adolescent who is easily sidetracked from his disciplined naval training by strange whispers he hears on the wind and who, like the humans we’ve already discussed, face dark fates involving rings in the future. Played by the engaging Maxim Baldry, he is endearing despite the pressures he faces from Elendil, who is too quick to point out his son’s flaws while overlooking the good he is doing by encouraging his sister. However, his father has valid concerns about Isildur’s desire to sail west. While it hasn’t been revealed on the show, the elves forbade the Nmenoreans from venturing too far into the direction of the Undying Lands. The fact that Galadriel ended up in waters patrolled by Numenor after she abandoned her journey demonstrates how close the two realms are.
This ban helped sow the seeds of discord between those in Numenor who wanted nothing to do with the elves and those who continued to honor them, who came to be known as the Faithful. We are witnessing the beginnings of Sauron’s corruption of the Nmenoreans, who he intends to exploit by appealing to their desire for immortality. There is some confusion in the show’s message regarding the elves. On the one hand, it paints them as haughty colonizers who drag humans into their wars, lavishly reward those who support them, and keep those who don’t work under constant surveillance for generations. Although the elves are correct that evil still exists, this is a double-edged sword. Those who opt to go it alone are inviting in corruption or even death.
But it’s not like the elves can fight off all of that gloom. In this episode, the orcs have captured Arondir and his team and forced them to work in exchange for their freedom. We don’t see Theo or Bronwyn this week, so we don’t know if the kid’s blood will affect the blade, but we can be sure that they’re searching for the very ominous artifact that he discovered.
Meanwhile, the Harfoot family scenes continue to be some of the best in the series as a whole. They serve the same purpose as the Shire did in Lord of the Rings, highlighting the importance of the upcoming war and the people who will be caught up in it regardless of how much they would prefer to go about their daily lives without getting involved. The antics that Nori and Poppy engage in never fail to make me smile. In a dramatic and exposition-heavy episode, the comedic relief provided by Poppy and Nori’s robbery of Sadoc Burrows stands out.
The book of the departed ritual, which is reminiscent of the Jewish Yizkor service, is a lovely way to learn more about the Harfoots as a family and Poppy as a person and to see the stakes that Largo Brandyfoot faces. It’s great to see The Stranger actually helping out the Harfoots with some of the household chores instead of just being a messy nuisance all the time. The identity of this shadowy figure has yet to be revealed, but I have a strong suspicion that he is actually an extremely delirious Gandalf sent to aid Middle-earth in the impending crisis; his ties to the Harfoot family will explain his lifelong affection for the Hobbits.
My Thoughts on Episode 3
Like the previous two episodes, the third is a visual feast from start to finish. Both Gondor and Tar Valon from The Wheel of Time are evoked in Numenor, but Numenor manages to outdo them in terms of grandeur and attention to detail. From the orcs’ sun veils to the Harfoot ritual garb, every piece of clothing is meticulously crafted. The use of scrolls in the Nmenórean library instead of books is an indication of its age, but the library’s construction must have been more difficult due to the wide range of styles seen in the scrolls.
The cinematographers did a great job balancing majestic wide shots of the landscape with dramatic closeups. Galadriel and Elendil’s ride is reminiscent of the long journeys made on horseback throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and visually, it does a great job of selling Galadriel’s joy of being in the saddle with the image of her beautiful white horse’s hooves lightly touching the sand.
Additionally, the elven escape plan in Episode 3 features the most spectacular fight of the series thus far. As the group artfully stacks their chains in a perfect star to try to break free and seizes the advantage of daylight by breaking down the orc canopy, the stakes in this game of tug of war become increasingly high, creating a brilliant work of creative choreography and escalating stakes. The warg’s wild eyes are suitably terrifying, and the tragic conclusion to such a noble effort is a masterstroke of emotional misdirection.
Who is ADAR?
The last moment of episode 3 The first glimpse of Adar seems imminent, with next week being a reasonable time. He is probably not Sauron himself, but rather a powerful lieutenant sent on a mission to retrieve an item his master values highly. The name Adar means “father” in Elven so that he may have fathered these orcs. Hopefully, the dwarves’ secret plan to keep it from Elrond will be revealed next week when we revisit them.
Tv Series: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 3 Review
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy.
Released on: Sep 9, 2022
Stream on: Prime Video