Episode 8 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power offers some of the show’s most exciting and shocking moments yet in its explosive conclusion.
Going into Episode 8 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was a somewhat daunting experience – although the show has been consistently increasing in quality since entering the season’s second half, there was still so much that needed to be explained and concluded in this final hour. Plenty of questions were still totally up in the air, and the fates of so many characters remained uncertain. And with only an hour left, it seemed implausible that The Rings of Power would be able to wrap up all of its loose ends in a fulfilling way. But after watching the show’s explosive finale, one thing became immediately clear: that was never the intention. There’s still so much more planned for this universe – and the show’s finale confidently leaves much of the narrative unanswered, keeping audiences invested and raising even more questions to look forward to in Season 2.
So as long as you’re not expecting a grand finale that neatly closes the curtain on this expansive story, The Rings of Power ’s latest episode is a great time. It might not have the dynamic action and thrilling battles of the last two episodes, but this week’s story focuses instead on paying off the intricate character work that the show has been plotting since the beginning. Relationships are tested, betrayals surface and shocking revelations come to light as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) finally reunites with her kind in Lindon following Adar’s (Joseph Mawle) deadly conquest of the Southlands. This week’s episode (aptly titled ‘Alloyed’) also spends much of its runtime with The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) and The Harfoots, finally taking their storyline in an interesting direction and proving their importance to the story. It’s a fairly self-contained episode, with the dark forces of the Southlands pretty much being forgotten about, but that allows the story to truly find its focus without constantly worrying about the big picture.
In terms of its storytelling structure, ‘Alloyed’ is exactly what audiences have been wanting from The Rings of Power since the very beginning. Instead of constantly jumping between subplots, the episode actually gives the scenes time to breathe. This simple change makes every single moment infinitely more compelling and engaging than the show’s previous installments, and whilst it makes sense that such a large story requires so many different characters, this is the structure that The Rings of Power should be sticking to in its upcoming seasons. When it comes to this story, less is definitely more.
Long-time Tolkien fans are definitely going to have contrasting opinions on The Rings of Power’s finale, because not only does it make several drastic changes from the existing source material (don’t worry, no spoilers here), but it also adds several plots and ideas that are completely new. Those who value the show’s book-to-screen authenticity might take issue with these decisions, but most of it admittedly works in the context of the show. In this regard, Episode 8 might just be the show’s biggest episode to date. Not in terms of the visual spectacle or the action showcases, but regarding the narrative progression and the way it effortlessly raises the stakes for Season 2.
Overall, The Rings of Power has been a pretty mixed bag. Whilst the second half of the series was filled with spectacular action, unpredictable twists, and some genuinely touching character work, there’s no avoiding the grueling pacing that plagued the first few episodes. For a long time, it felt like nothing was really happening in the story, and that will have undoubtedly cost the show a sizeable chunk of its audience. After all, there’s no point in spending three or four hours of television merely setting up a season’s second half if most of the audience isn’t going to stick around to watch it. But those who did stick around were treated to some genuinely thrilling, often emotional storytelling that stayed true to the spirit of Tolkien’s fictional world whilst confidently crafting an original story of its own – and now that the show’s slow start is firmly in the past, we’ve got nothing but optimism for The Rings of Power’s future.
Episode 8 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is now available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.