All roads are leading to The Southlands, but it's taking a while.

The fourth episode of TLOTR: THE RINGS OF POWER brings our characters closer and closer to what we can only assume will be an epic, bloody battle between the forces of good and evil taking place in The Southlands. It does, however, seem to be taking them a while to get there. Unfortunately, this is a slower episode, but a necessary one that will progress the story to its inevitable standoff.

I must say, I’m truly enjoying this series. While the episode doesn’t offer much action, it does contain plenty of story-building. The theme of parents and their children is front and center here. This all leads to a climactic moment that brings the episode to its point: an age of innocence transitioning into facing the inevitable moment of growing up. Without this common thread, the episode might have just felt like filler. Oh, and the introduction of a new, precious ore will prove vital to the series as well.

I have to give the series credit for world-building. An unexpected moment of mercy (maybe?) amongst the orcs gives them a sense of humanity (orc-manity?) I appreciate seeing them as more than a blindly-evil species—that at least there is some sort of societal bond and structure to them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still super evil…and scary. Kudos for the continued use of practical makeup effects. They look great!

I’m also quite taken with the Dwarven Princess, Disa (Sophia Nomvete). Her performance brings the series some levity, and yes, that is really her otherworldly singing voice when she makes her melodic plea to the mountain—she even helped compose the piece with score-master Bear McCreary! She is beautiful, striking, bold, and good-hearted. A total MVP of the episode. Plus, her back-and-forths with Prince Durin (Owain Arthur) are a delight to watch (We need a sitcom spinoff about their household). The award for “Cutest Couple” definitely goes to them.

Overall, it’s a beautifully shot (and costumed) episode—and a necessary one. It’s merely the inevitable and necessary bridge between exposition and rising action—and I do believe we’re in for a lot of action from here on out as we journey closer and closer to The Southlands.

THE RINGS OF POWER is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

Ricky J Duarte

[He/him/his] Ricky is an actor, singer, and writer in New York City. He gets excited about theme parks, Disney villains, and watching horror movies with his cat, and is in constant search of the best taco truck in NYC.

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