Episode 7 of The Lord of The Rings:The Rings of Power explores the fallout of last week’s adventure, carefully positioning pieces for the upcoming finale.
Last week’s episode of The Rings of Power was not only the show’s strongest effort to date, but also marked a distinct transition into the series’ much darker, action-packed second half. Every aspect of the show, from its gorgeous visuals to its poetic storytelling, was pushed to its limits to create a relentless 60-minute showcase of action and emotion. And whilst Episode 7 might not grab the audience’s attention in quite the same way, the show manages to maintain its upward momentum thanks to several well-deserved payoffs and intricate set-ups for the upcoming finale.
The aftermath of last week’s unforgettable conclusion was always going to be difficult to navigate, but fans of the show will be pleased to know that Episode 7 deals with the consequences of its own brashness in a consistently engaging way. It doesn’t cut any corners or downplay the scale of Adar’s (Joseph Mawle) shocking victory, but rather accepts that the ball is no longer in the heroes’ court – and that’s infinitely more intriguing to watch. The episode (aptly titled ‘The Eye’) lacks the magic and optimism of the show’s first half, replacing this atmosphere with one of fear, pessimism, and grief. What began as a harmless story of magic and adventure has quickly evolved into something unimaginably darker, and that’s where the show seems to have found its footing.
Although most of Episode 7 is spent dealing with the consequences of last week’s shocking cliffhanger, there’s still plenty of room for the show’s other subplots to shine. Fan favorites Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Durin (Owain Arthur) occupy most of the episode’s quieter moments, but it’s clear that their story is moving towards a position of much higher importance. The Harfoots remain the weakest aspect of the show, with their adventure alongside The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) taking up much more time than it deserves. Unless those characters have something irreplaceable to add to the story next week, it’s hard to justify their inclusion in the show at all.
Ever since the first two episodes of The Rings of Power premiered five weeks ago, there have been several criticisms thrown towards the show – but the most common is that the story simply doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of Middle-Earth. And that’s exactly where ‘The Eye’ proves those critics wrong, firmly placing the story within a scope that fans will be familiar with, and allowing even the most dedicated enthusiasts of Tolkien’s works to learn something new about this fictional universe. But the real trick is that The Rings of Power manages to do this without contradicting the existing lore of Middle-Earth – it simply reframes many of the events that fans thought they knew, prompting the audience to see the world from a new perspective. It’s exactly what a prequel should do, and it’s the perfect counter to those who questioned the necessity of the show’s existence.
The only problem with ‘The Eye’ is that it leaves so much unanswered, pushing the pressure upon next week’s episode to answer all the questions that fans have held since the very first week. Season 1 certainly won’t be the last that audiences see of The Rings of Power, so there are undoubtedly going to be storylines left unresolved after the finale, but leaving too much unspoken probably wouldn’t be the best idea – especially when there are so many audiences who’ve taken issue with the story’s slow pacing and lack of action. But with the right momentum and just enough boldness, The Rings of Power’s finale could easily end up being the show’s most impressive episode.
Episode 7 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now available to watch on Prime Video.