The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power brought together all the major storylines revealed so far in this, the fifth installment of Amazon Prime’s new series. There was a welcomed intertwining in Númenor that helped control the chaos of trying to combine so many different characters and plots.
“Partings” begins with Nori, played by Markella Kavenagh (My First Summer, Picnic at Hanging Rock), and The Stranger, played by Daniel Weyman (Gentle Jack, A Very English Scandal). She teaches him certain words including “peril” and “danger” but also insists that he is good despite his killing of the fireflies. The Stranger is still helping Nori and her family during their migration and proves himself vital as he fends off three wolves from killing Nori and two other Harfoots. He uses a magic shout and bangs his arm into the ground that stuns the wolves and sends them flying backwards. His arm is severely injured in the process. Nori takes some homemade remedies to help The Stranger, who is healing his arm with a magical ice spell in water. She tries to stop him from freezing too far, and in doing so, finds herself attached the spell with her hand being frozen. The Stranger stops this process by shouting and flinging her into the air, similarly to the wolves, and after he tries to console the hurt girl, she flees him. The balance between his friendship and dangerous nature provides a new dynamic between them as Nori is finally now frightened by his power.
In the Southlands, the people are still held in the watchtower. Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland, How I Met Your Mother), attempts to convince the people to stay and fight rather than bending the knee to Adar, portrayed by Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones, Birdsong). She is met with a reply by one of the people who insist that fighting will only lead to certain death, and in doing so, convinces half of their people to go and join Adar. Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova (In the Blood, Mary Queen of Scots), helps Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin (Dusk, Caravan), and teaches him how to use his bow more effectively. Theo reveals his possession of the hilt, which Arondir recognizes as a key that was used by Sauron to somehow control the people in these lands. At the hour of despair, Bronwyn has a rather unsubstantiated change of heart, and prepares to surrender herself. Adar and the orcs prepare to attack the watchtower, hinting at an upcoming battle in the next episode. Being a part of The Lord of the Rings, expectations will be high.
Isildur, played by Maxim Baldry (Years and Years, Skins) fails to convince his father to allow him to join the ships sailing to Middle Earth to fight. One of his friends gets promoted to Lieutenant after successfully drawing flesh from Galadriel, played by Morfyrdd Clark (Saint Maud, Crawl), who is training them to fight the orcs. Isildur successfully makes up with his friends, who he allows to punch him twice to make up for his previous error. The Lieutenant still won’t let him join the ships. Isildur is unsuccessful until he saves a man who blew up one of the few ships ready to sail. They both lie about what happened.
There is still unrest in Númenor because of the decision made by Queen Regent Míriel, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant, Star Trek Into Darkness), to go to Middle Earth. She is also rightly not convinced that Halbrand, played by Charlie Vickers (Medici), even wants to lead them to battle, which Galadriel insisted as truth. Halbrand is resistant to the idea of leading this charge, especially considering Galadriel’s actions in which she used him to get Míriel to agree to help her. However, after they have a fiery conversation where he admits to a dark past and she admits to obsessive tendencies, she convinces him that the only way either of them will find peace is if he agrees to go with them. He does.
Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones, Behind Her Eyes), Prince Durin, played by Owain Arthur (The Palace, The Patrol), and High King Gil Galad, played by Benjamin Walker (The Choice, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), dine. There is tension in the air as Gil Galad questions the recent advances of the dwarves and Elrond must placate both his king and his guest. Gil Galad tells Elrond that mithril is ultimately essential for the survival of the elves. Elrond is stuck between breaking his oath to Durin and revealing this information to the High King. He admits to Durin that he has been forced to break his oath, but the dwarf’s pain is eased by the knowledge that he is in control of the fate of the entire elven race. Gil Galad watches suspiciously as they plan to go try and convince Durin’s father to assist them.
“Partings” had some good moments, but ultimately still lacked a cutting edge. There is no real sense of tangible danger for any one of the main characters and some of the conversations feel drawn out and predictable. It is good to sense that the action is about to pick up in the next episode with the battle in the Southlands looming and Galadriel finally leaving Númenor. So far though, the pace of the show has dropped significantly and the lack of consequences to any of the characters gives the viewer a less satisfactory viewing experience than what is possible with what is a visually stunning world with plausible dilemmas.