Moral resolves are tested in the fifth episode of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” premiering this week on Amazon Prime. Since the evil forces have continued to march and those beating the war drums have rallied many to their righteous cause, there’s a moment of decision that all seem to face before the inevitable final battle.
The common phrase today says, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But first King David wrote in Psalm 66: “. . . you have refined us as silver is refined . . . We went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.” Those who lean into hardship and face it head on find that a true, stronger character is waiting on the other side. They emerge from the furnace of fear and opposition into the person they are called to be.
Nowhere is this internal struggle more present than in the Southlands, as rising fear of fighting the enemy is propagated by an old villager, Waldreg, with tragic results. Arondir, having saved the day last week, remains steadfast in his resolve to meet the rising challenge, even as others grapple with fear and apathy. At the same time, Galadriel continues to navigate the intricate relationships and politics of Númenor. The deeply conflicted Elrond continues to stand out, this week faced with the impossible choice of betraying his rekindled friendship with Prince Durin IV.
On their journey to safer ground, Nori and Poppy are aided by The Stranger, who Nori attempts to instruct and teach. Still a mystery, he repeats pieces of her conversation, pondering along if “I’m peril?” before she reassures him, “I’m good?” With three episodes of this season left, there’s not been a lot of development with one of the series’ biggest questions; “Who is The Stranger?” The other question, of course, “Who is Sauron?,” is only slightly chipped away at this week, with one character removing themselves from the lineup.
The sequence most worthy of remembrance in this episode is Galadriel showcasing her remarkable training against a group of Númenor’s finest soldiers. Under the watchful eye of Halbrand, it’s a well-choreographed masterpiece that proves this warrior is one they’d want to run into battle with.
Between last week’s episode and viewing this one, I caught part of my wife’s marathon rewatching of the Peter Jackson trilogy and was reminded once again how epic and beloved this entire universe is. “The Rings of Power” is delivering a worthy series adaptation, but in comparison to the films, I’m holding out hope that the action will ignite further as it goes. I’m also crossing my fingers that the final episode does not simply tease the larger battle that would be relegated to a second season. That would be a massive letdown that I’m afraid would turn many of the faithful away. But, like the characters in the show, I remain steadfast in my hope. There’s something out there; I know. And I’m hopeful we’ll find it before the season ends.
“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” episode five is now available on Prime Video.