REVIEW: The Rings of Power- Episode Eight

Last Updated on October 17, 2022

The Rings of Power E8 had to finish the season in a satisfying way. The expectations placed on the Lord of the Rings spin off may have weighed it down like the One Ring around the neck of a hobbit, but the show finally answered some of the many questions that have been asked over the eight episodes and left fans eager for more.

The Rings of Power E8 will not be for everyone. With such a huge audience, it was always going to be impossible to make everyone happy. Especially when the series is based off the history created by Tolkien and with certain characters and even names not being permitted for use from The Silmarillion. The first season of The Rings of Power has been about introducing its audience to a world that is familiar and yet different. There are characters that we have never met before and some who seem to be wearing a different face. It was a difficult task for the showrunners to make its audience care for this time in history but, looking back on the season as a whole, I feel that they have done a good job. The Rings of Power E8 tried a bit too hard with misdirection that was not needed, trying to be a little bit too clever with the reveal of everyone’s favourite villain, Sauron.

When the true reveal comes to light, it all makes sense and requires a rewatch of earlier episodes. The acting is some of the best in the season so far with Sauron acting as Tolkien always described him in this period of time, as the ‘Lord of Gifts’ who flattered and deceived the elves, dwarves, and men to convince them in creating the titular Rings of Power. The show plays a bit fast and loose with some elements of the history of Middle-earth but the decisions make sense. There are more hints at who The Stranger really is, and the episode really sets things up for what could be a very strong season two now that all the pieces are in place and major characters revealed to the audience.

The Harfoots show that halfling strength and bravery we all love when defending their tall and increasingly verbose friend, acting as the heart of the show in a way that would make Tolkien proud. Bravery in the face of seemingly unsurmountable odds is a core element of Lord of the Rings and it is clearly on display in The Rings of Power E8. Galadriel and Elrond grow closer as the future Lady of Lothlorien grows suspicious of her ally Halbrand (a highlight in this episode) and a final shot of Mordor will leave fans eager for the start of season two. The episode focuses on trust. The trust between Galadriel and Elrond as she watches with suspicion as Halbrand grows closer to Celebrimbor. There is also the trust between Nori and The Stranger, as she is adamant that he is a good man, even when he is not so sure himself. Such themes lead to a stronger episode and one that feels very Tolkien and will please most fans of Lord of the Rings.

The Rings of Power E8 is one of the strongest episodes of the season so far. Excellent acting and satisfying answers to the biggest questions mean that the road is clearer than ever for The Rings of Power. This unexpected journey has been a beautiful but bumpy one in comparison to the fantasy behemoth that is House of the Dragon, but there really is something comforting about this return to Middle-earth that no other fantasy series can compare with. It is a show full of heart that seemed to get lost part way through before dragging itself back on track. Finally, the series must have remembered to follow its nose. Imperfect, but beautiful and wholesome; I can’t wait for season two.

Watch The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.