The fourth episode “The Great Wave” of Amazon Prime’s new series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power opens with a shot of Númenor, where the majority of the episode takes place. Queen Regent Míriel, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson (The Accountant, Star Trek Into Darkness), has a nightmare about the island being destroyed by a colossal wave. She grants Galadriel, played by Morfyrdd Clark (Saint Maud, Crawl), an audience with her, while her people squabble over what this means. The argument proposed by one of the townsmen lacks any form of substance and is easily shut down. Galadriel pleads with Míriel to not only release Halbrand, played by Charlie Vickers (Medici), but also to unite her people with them to take back the Southlands. Galadriel, after being refused, lashes out at Míriel and asks to speak to her father. She is subsequently locked up in a cell near Halbrand. Also on Númenor, Isildur, played by Maxim Baldry (Years and Years, Skins), deliberately gets himself dismissed from a naval program, but accidentally gets his two best friends kicked out too.
Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Cordova (In the Blood, Mary Queen of Scots), meets with the mysterious Adar, portrayed by Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones, Birdsong), who reveals his aim of becoming a god and recreating the world, before instructing him to deliver a message to the people of the Southlands. His motives seem based on rather vague conspiracies and claims of lies without detailing specifically what he is referring to. Adar’s decision to release Arondir certainly felt anti-climactic and unwise considering the clear skill of the elven warrior. The people of the Southlands are struggling to ration food and Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland, How I Met Your Mother), argues with her son Theo, played by Tyroe Muhafidin (Dusk, Caravan), about his desire to go out and find food in orc infested lands. Theo, against his mother’s wishes, slips away with a friend. They find food, but in searching for more, Theo gets trapped and surrounded by orcs as clouds cover the sun. In a fight with an orc, he reveals his possession of the hilt, a dark and magical sword that is powered by blood. He is forced to hide in a well while every nearby orc looks for him.
Continuing with his project, Elrond, played by Robert Aramayo (Game of Thrones, Behind Her Eyes), is back in the dwarven caves with Prince Durin, performed by Owain Arthur (The Palace, The Patrol), and his wife, Princess Disa, played by Sophia Nomvete (Swashbuckle). Elrond rightly suspects that Durin and Disa are hiding something from him and uses his superior hearing to discover the secret – mithril. Mithril, featured in The Lord of The Rings trilogy, is a substance that is extremely light and hard but is supposedly perilous to mine. The danger of the mining process is not given much detail, but shortly after Durin goes to save four dwarves who may have been hurt during the mining process. Elrond must take an oath to find this information, his oath specifically states that he will not tell anyone what Durin has told him, and when he is given a piece of the substance as a symbol of their friendship, it does quite obviously leave the loophole of him being able to show it in a future episode. Perhaps Celebrimbor, played by Charles Edwards (The Crown, Batman Begins), will sense Elrond is hiding a piece of information, and will threaten his job if he does not reveal it. Elrond could pull out the mithril without saying anything and still have his oath hold true.
Galadriel escapes and finds Míriel with her father, who looks like he could pass away at any moment, and agrees to leave Númenor. She is set to do so until the petals of the White Tree fall, which supposedly symbolize the tears of the Valar (God-like beings). Relying on this to change her mind makes all their previous drama and resolutions seem rather pointless. Míriel now unites her people to join Galadriel on her journey to the Southlands and there are many who volunteer, including Isildur and his two friends. Theo also escapes and is helped home by Arondir in a slow-motion action sequence that was truly epic and had by far the best imagery of the episode. Arondir delivers his message to Bronwyn, who showed up at the moment of Theo and Arondir’s escape a little too perfectly. Theo is also warned of Sauron by a creepy old local man who previously owned the hilt, and this moment was both jarring and gripping. It is a shame that it was the only one of “The Great Wave”.
The fourth episode was rather disappointing in truth. Arondir’s release felt easy. Galadriel continued her mission in a singular manner and had to be told to think before acting by Halbrand. The argument in Númenor about elves taking jobs felt forced and nonsensical considering that it was just Galadriel causing trouble and Míriel had not shown her any empathy. Elrond and Durin’s interactions felt similar to previous episodes and very little actually happened between them. The most frustrating part of this episode was watching Míriel change her mind because of falling petals. These petals were always going to fall if Galadriel was sent away, so why did we need all the drama in Númenor? Finally, some of the horror elements of the orcs and Adar were lost. None of them were nearly as intimidating, and this episode lacked a cutting edge. It feels predictable now that all the characters will eventually get out of the situations they find themselves in.