Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Great Wave

Episode 4 of The Rings of Power starts with us at Minas Tirith. Sorry, the palace at Numenor. Queen Regent Miriel dreams of a massive flood washing over and destroying everything before awakening with a start.

Out in the streets, Tamar gives a big speech to the people about the dangers of Elves taking their jobs. Is this an allegory? You betcha! The same sort of allegory that Tolkien despised, which he wrote about in several letters.

As the Numenorians disdain at the idea of their Queen being in collusion with elves, Pharazon shows up and reassures them, reminding the group that this will remain a Kingdom of Men, not of Elves. He also offers them a whole bunch of drinks to quell the mood.

Galadriel returns to Miriel and points out that Halbrand (aka. evil Aragorn) is the lost heir in exile to the throne of the Southlands. Of course Miriel doesn’t believe her, but Galadriel is persistent, pointing out they should fight together to save the people of the Southlands before Sauron strikes.

Miriel rejects this again, until Galadriel decides to steamroll over the Queen Regent, pointing out she has a “tempest in her” and it brought her to Numenor. After threatening the queen, Galadriel is predictably put behind bars. What wonderful negotiation skills this wise elf has!

Arondir is put into chains and meets Adar, who seems to be an elf with scars up his face. He points out Arondir has been told many lies and that he wants the world to be changed – but only Gods can do that. Adar doesn’t answer Arondir when he asks what Adar actually is, but instead tells him to go “to the Men who have taken refuge in the old watchtower.” He’s to deliver a message and with that, he’s let go.

Over in the Southlands, a whole bunch of people hold up in the Guardtower. Bronwyn tries to ration the food but while Theo believes they should go back to town and grab some supplies, Bronwynn thinks they should just hunt. So naturally, Theo doesn’t listen and heads into town anyway, grabbing a cart and lots of supplies.

Theo’s friend, Rowan, gets spooked over the growing shadow of the clouds and decides to high-tail it out of town. Unfortunately, he leaves Theo behind who happens to be inside one of the houses. An orc shows up, prompting Theo to grab that strange sword hilt. It turns into a sword and after fighting his way out, he hides in a well.

Elrond returns to Celebrimbor, who reflects on how Elrond’s father once said that his future would be in Elrond’s hands. The next scene, Elrond is back at the mines. Just like that. How quickly did he make it to the mines? There’s no establishing shot this time to show him moving there, nor is there an Indiana Jones-esque map. Instead, we get one little shot of the outside of the mine before heading in with Elrond.

Durin claims he’s mining quartz but in reality, he’s digging in the old mine. Elrond happens to be listening from afar, realizing they’re referencing the old mine below Mirrormere.

Elrond wanders off alone without a dwarven escort and finds a hidden door in the rock. Heading through, he runs into Durin, who makes him promise not to tell anyone what he’s up to.

It turns out Prince Durin has found a new ore, explaining what was in the mystery box several episodes back. It’s mithril. Durin believes this could be a new era for the dwarves but he’s acting in secrecy because his father has strict rules about mining too deeply.

Now, Elrond mentions here that “20 years is far too long to stay away,” referencing the same time that passed in episode 2, not another 20 years (thank you to Nexus in the comments for clearing up my confusion!)

Anyway, there’s a cave-in but thankfully all the dwarves are safe. As a consequence though, the mine is shut down and Durin is prevented from mining anymore. However, Durin has a really touching chat with his father, as King Durin III patches up his issues with his son. Prince Durin eventually decides to go with Elrond to Lindon.

Meanwhile, Galadriel paces in her cage as she reflects on her negotiation skills, or lack thereof. Halbrand points out that Miriel’s real anger stemmed from mention of her father, the king in the tower whom no one has seen in years.

That night, the Queen Regent makes her decision and chooses to ship her back to the Elves under armed escort. This is good news, given this is exactly what Galadriel wanted when she decided to swim hundreds of miles in the open sea back to land.

When the cell is opened, an unarmed, armourless Galadriel single-handedly bests 5 armoured men, pushing them ll into the cell and locking them up. She looks over at Pharazon and smirks before walking away.

The army rallies to try and find Miriel’s father, wo happens to be in bed and badly ill. Galadriel apologizes, believing there should be truth between them. Miriel decides to trust Galadriel after all and leads her to a lost palantir. She touches it and experiences that same flood scene that Miriel dreamed of. Miriel wants to send Galadriel away to prevent this future from coming to fruition.

Theo’s friend, Rowan, returns to the tower but unfortunately Theo is still in the well. During the night, Theo tries to escape but he runs right into the orcs. However, he’s saved by Arondir who was let go earlier in the episode by Adar. Despite it being the middle of the night, they head through the forest and the sun begins to rise, prompting the orcs to stop their pursuit.

Back in Numenor, Galadriel leaves without Halbrand, wo’s now freed and no longer locked up. Miriel has second thoughts about sending Galadriel away when she notices the petals of the White Tree fall. While Galadriel’s boat is sailing away, Miriel speaks to the council and decides to personally escort Galadriel back to Middle-Earth.

The Episode Review

The flippant comment from Elrond, claiming that it’s been 20 years since he last saw Durin who perfectly exemplifies some of the lackadaisical worldbuilding at work here. Are Elrond and Durin in a different timeline to everyone else?

We get no Harfoots this time around which may actually be a small mercy given their story hasn’t really added anything.

I’ve said before that the biggest problem with this show is Galadriel and that still rings true in this episode. In fact, it seems Amazon even know this given there have been articles recently asking people to have faith as Galadriel is on a “journey of humility”. But we see none of that here. Instead, we get an eyerolling scene of Galadriel single-handedly stopping 5 fully armoured and strong Numenorian guards without a weapon or armour herself, pushing them all effortlessly into a jail cell without breaking a sweat.

We’re now halfway through this season, with 4 hours of content having passed us by. So far, we’ve advanced very little of the plot and this is moving at a glacial pace. Will the second half of this pick up the pace? Will we see some advancement of the story?

We’ll have to wait and see but given this is the most expensive TV project of all time, with the exception of the visuals, the writing in this show is still really bad.

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You can read our full season review for Rings of Power here!

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3 thoughts on “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review”

  1. I have read your synopsis. It is very one sided doom and gloom. “For even 20 years is too long to stay away, even for an elf” – with a half smile. It’s a token line of friendship, as he had stayed away too long. Now he insists to keep the relationship and stay consistent with knowing how his friend is doing, in person. As a reviewer I would expect better thought process.

  2. With the 20 years comment, Elrond is referring to the same 20 years that passed between his last encounter with Durin and what we saw in episode 2. It’s not another 20 years more.

    I think this episode was the stronger of the 4 (no Hartfoots did some good, it seems) and, actually, Galadriel acknowledges for the first time that she was mistaken when she enters the tower, and she also takes advice from Halbrand. Maybe she is becoming a bit less dislikeable.

    Anyway, writing is still so-so and none of the four plots are really engaging. Agree with the 5/10.

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