The shadows of darkness are growing in the realms of Middle Earth, but a few are ready to resist them, and Episode Four of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, ‘The Great Wave’, offers audiences a first look at the beginning of the battle which is to come.
Queen Regent Míriel’s faith is tested; Isildur finds himself at a crossroads; Elrond uncovers a secret; Arondir is given an ultimatum; Theo disobeys Bronwyn.
Episode by episode in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power we’re coming into the Second Age of Middle Earth and in Episode Four, ‘The Big Wave’ we are gifted with plenty of new lore and the origins of some of the most treasured concepts from Tolkien’s Legendarium. Director Wayne Che Yip returns following his work on Episode Three, ‘Adar’, and he’s able to explore more of the background to events and plot points that long-time Tolkein fans are familiar with. His focus on the prophetic fate of the island kingdom of Númenor is one of the episode’s most epic moments, and much character development and motivation comes forth from this fated event that he delivers to audiences.
Having ended Episode Three on a shocking cliffhanger, Yip now presents audiences with the mysterious Adar. And this dark spirit is one of the most intriguing characters introduced so far. Brought to life by Joseph Mawle, Adar is a scarred Sindon elf from the Eldar days, and you sense the darkness and malice in this thoughtful and calculating character thanks to Mawle’s performance. There’s a real sense of danger about Mawle’s Adar and he issues an ultimatum to the captured Sindar elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova). Adar’s full appearance is one of the most exciting moments of the episode, and his presence and shadow as an embodiment of evil, along with his true identity, is certain to only grow from this moment.
Much of the focus of ‘The Big Wave’ centres on the grand island kingdom of Númenor, and we see key moments in its history and future which will shape the entire course of The Rings of Power moving forward. Also introduced in this episode is the mystical palantír, a supernatural orb of predestination, and its history and significance take a major place in this episode. Foreseeing the destruction of Númenor in a vision, the Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) continues in her quarrels with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) until a compromise of fate is reached. Addai-Robinson and Clark have considerable back and forth within this episode, and this fated compromise that both of their characters reach provides the set-up for the battle that is to come against the shadows.
We also return to the Dwarven region of Khazad-dûm as Linden elf Elrond (Robert Aramayo) looks into the clandestine activity of his Dwarven friend Durin IV (Owain Arthur) who has busied himself with secretive mining activity beneath the Mirrormere. Swearing Elrond to absolute loyalty he shows the elf his discovery of the new ore ‘Mithril’, a commodity so powerful and rare that all forces of Middle Earth would strive to possess it. This discovery of Mithral by Durin is one of the most important, and stunning moments of ‘The Great Wave’ as it signifies an important moment of Tolkien’s Legendarium and its application to The Rings of Power will have significant importance to the narrative as we move forward into the story.
‘The Great Wave’ has many significant moments included in the episode and fans will pick up on the details of Tolkien’s world throughout its presentation. With a balance of drama and character development, plus some intriguing action beats, it’s an important part of the continuation and growth of The Rings of Power, and a battle between light and the shadows is brewing.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streams on Prime Video.
Image: Prime Video