REVIEW: The Rings of Power – Episode Five

Last Updated on July 11, 2024

The Rings of Power E5 is an improvement on last week but keeps with the slow pace of the series. The Harfoots and The Stranger return this week and all of the major characters have something to do as their paths get ready to merge. More questions emerge instead of the answers that are needed for this series to spark into life and be the must-see TV that a show based on Tolkien’s work should be. Still, there are many positives and the show is heading in the right direction.

It’s good to see the Harfoots return this week – frustrating accents aside – and there is a lovely sequence detailing their journey with an original song that feels as close to the essence of Tolkien’s work as we have seen in The Rings of Power so far. The lyrics of the song remind us that not all those who wander are lost is a throwback to the letter Gandalf writes to Frodo regarding Aragorn and gives me more confidence that the showrunners know what they are doing. There are still a lot of questions around The Stranger as we see more of his power and are left wondering, like him, whether he is a force for good or evil. The lack of control of his power certainly raises some questions in a show that is full of them. A new cult tracking The Stranger adds a further level of interest in the storyline but hopefully the show will start to answer the many questions it has set up over the past 5 episodes.

The Numenor storyline crawls forward as Galadriel attempts to push Halbrand to head to the Southlands and lead his people. She shows her skill with a blade by taking on numerous soldiers before one of them finally manages to get the smallest of touches on her. Isildur continues to be confusing in The Rings of Power E5 as he seems to annoy everyone around him but saves the scheming Kemen but for some reason doesn’t tell his father about Kemen setting fire to the ships. It’s an unusual move but we’ll see how it plays out. The ships finally head to the Southlands where the humans have been divided by those wishing to stand and fight and those who have decided to bend the knee to Adar who takes offence at being called Sauron. Next week should be a turning point for these two big threads as the series can finally pick up the pace with a battle to show off all the money that has been thrown at it.

Yet again, the relationship between Durin and Elrond is a highlight of the show. The Rings of Power E5 has Elrond prove how much his honour and the friendship means to him by keeping his oath even when interrogated by the High King of the Elves. Durin brings laughter and joy to the show with a lie about a table and its importance to his people. The friendship between the two is wholesome and again, is a reminder that the showrunners know what makes Tolkien’s work so special – its heart. A mention of the Silmarils, a Balrog of Morgoth, and the light of the Elves all go to show that the history of the world is important and perhaps the show is starting to find its footing.

Another slow episode but one that feels more assured than last week. The Rings of Power E5 works best when delving into the relationships between the various characters in the show and the way in which they react to fear and darkness. Difficult choices are made, choices that will set these characters on a path to be a part of some of the defining moments in the history of Middle-earth. There are more questions in The Rings of Power E5 but at least I still want to find out the answers.

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.

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