Rings of Power episode 5 review: The Lord of the Rings Gray Area

One big draw of the fantasy genre is the way it often presents the world in binary: There are good guys, there’s bad guys, and there’s not much else in between. However, it is this area in the middle The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 5, “Farewell”, which is largely related to itself, continues where episode 4 left off, with our heroes continuing to serve as their worst enemy. “Farewell” takes this theme a step further, with some characters now forced to grapple with make-or-break choices that aren’t easily labeled “good” or “bad.” The result of this is an additional layer of ethical ambiguity to proceedings that are considered a welcome addition – not only to Rings of Power episode 5, but with the show’s broader view of Middle-earth itself.

If all of this sounds a bit too abstract for a show taken from the JRR Tolkien playbook, rest assured that episode 5’s murder also manifests in other, more tangible, even permeable ways. story. We get partial answers to many Rings of PowerGreat mysteries are at play – like why the orcs seem so fixed on Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) – but we also have plenty of questions left. It’s so accurate Are Adar and Sauron connected?? What deal with Stranger (aka “Meteor Man”) and is he friend or foe? How does Sauron’s hilt “unlock” the return of the Dark Lord? “Farewell” isn’t explicitly stated, and the appearance of some sinister Sauron suitably acrobatic mid-episode only adds to the confusion.

This confusion is by design; JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who before landing their dream gig worked for JJ Abrams’ company Bad Robot, know that guessing games are a surefire way to keep us going. However, while speculating about things like Sauron’s true identity is undeniably fun, what really interesting about Rings of Power episode 5, and what ultimately makes it work so well, is the uncertainty so far around its characters. Hobbits and Lord of the Rings suspicious men, elves and dwarves – and The Ring Was Made To Test McGuffin’s Perfect Moral – but the best, most ethical course of action is always clear (to the audience, if not the characters themselves). This does not apply to “Farewell”.

Throughout the episode, director Wayne Che Yip and screenwriter Justin Doble have dramatic encounters that can’t be easily played out to “side with good and defeat evil.” Whether we’re talking about Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) weighing in on the merits of a bloody war on a foreign land, Elrond (Robert Aramayo) is weighing his duty to his friend versus Due to his duty to his people, Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) has faltered in his resolve to face the impending genocide, and Nori (Markella Kavenagh) continues to believe in Unstable stranger (Daniel Weyman), it’s hard to say who will be on the right side of history once the dust settles. It’s a stark change from Tolkien’s novels and Peter Jackson’s big-screen adaptations that, if anything, motivates Rings of Power closer Silmarillion in terms of its overall character and tone.

Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn) talking to people on the wooden deck

Image: Prime Video

To be sure, tension is also high in “Farewell” than we are used to seeing in Middle-earth. Forget the voices raised in The fellowship of the ringScenes of the Council of Elrond or even the tense exchanges between Gandalf and Denethor in The return of the King – people are frank annoyed in this volume. From the passive aggression between Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) and Durin IV (Owain Arthur) to Waldreg’s (Geoff Morrell) open hostility between the Southlands plantations, Rings of Power episode 5 really hammer home contain almost no festering resentment in different communities around the world.

It all feels very messy – in a good way. It also feels so true to Rings of PowerTolkien’s source material, even if “Farewell” differs further from Tolkien’s established canon. The way the Mithril subplot develops in volume 5 is a perfect example; Yip, Doble, and (probably) Payne and McKay invented wild origin story for Mithril, then follow this up by revealing the legendary metal’s apparent ability to Energize the elves’ immortality. It’s enough to make one the purest, but by using this plot point as a way of discovering (and examining) the connection between Elrond and Durin IV, Yip and Doble tap into a central theme. of the Lord of the Rings: Friendship.

The same goes for how events unfold in the Southlands in “Partings”. A lot is going on here regarding Rings of Powercreative people embellishing Tolkien’s legendary station – you won’t find many of these characters or events in the “official” history of Mordor or its southern allies. But Tolkien do speak of men willing to join Sauron; he just didn’t unpack all of its “whys” in any realistic detail or nuance, and Jackson later followed suit. “Farewell” thwarts this trend by expanding on existing lore and (in keeping with the rest of the episode) what we learn is not as clear-cut as those in the south have a natural tendency to evil. born.

Rings of Power: Galadriel and Halbrand stare down at Numenmor

Image: Prime Video

Instead of, Rings of Power Episode 5 offers a tougher explanation for why Waldreg and his followers decided to give Sauron a try: social mobility. They truly believed that their quality of life would improve under the Dark Lord’s rule. Tolkien famously loathed the allegory with a passion hotter than the flames of Mount Doom, but he also acknowledged the potential to “apply” his fiction to real life (and vice versa), and that’s certainly true. That’s definitely what Yip and Doble are aiming for. here. After all, it doesn’t take long to draw a comparison between our socio-political environment and those of the Southlanders, who flock to a questionable savior after years of under the control of the elite. fairy class.

Then there are The Númenórean side of everythingand this also reflects the gritty ethics of playing Rings of Power episode 5. In addition to Míriel cultivating the future of the island kingdom with her own hands, we are also manipulated by Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) for most of the episode, albeit without the show. any real malice. Eärien (Ema Horvath) and Kemen (Leon Wadham) are also forced to take drastic measures for the greater good, even if what we already know about Middle-earth history doesn’t exactly support an anti-war stance. their. Indeed, the only person in Númenor who is completely wise is Pharaoh (Trystan Gravelle). The queen regent’s advisor finally outlines his plan to seize power in this episode, and if it doesn’t completely what Tolkien described in SilmarillionIts Machiavellian spirit remains almost in the same ballpark.

Ultimately, though, the best thing about the moral ambiguity in “Farewell” isn’t that it leads to richer features or that it even expands on Middle-earth lore. That’s how the shadows created by this ambiguity make some glimmer of hope present in the episode shines above all. With each new episode, Rings of Power increasingly clear that this world still has a chance – as long as Galadriel, Elrond, Nori and the rest continue to get better and do the right thing with those around them. This affection is pure Tolkien, and its continued presence bodes well for Rings of Powerthe rest of the episodes, no matter how bleak things get.

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