Greetings, and welcome back to my ongoing review of The Rings of Power series. I sacrificed my sleep schedule last night so I could hop on this morning and deliver an article for your reading enjoyment. So grab a cookie or something, lean back in your chair, and enjoy the article.
As usual, incredibly dense spoilers follow. Even though I won’t be recapping the entire series thus far (or even the episode), I’ve mentioned that this article is best read by those who have already watched the episode or don’t are too much about spoilers. Read on at your own peril.
So while the show hasn’t nosedived yet, the bigger it gets, the more manifest are its flaws. While I am glad to have some honest critique to give the show after all the senseless hatred it’s been getting, I am held back by the notion that there are some things in the show that could have been better.
First of all, I’ll start with the flaw that has dogged the show from the beginning: the pacing. Up until now, the pacing has been merely “off” but just turned into the show’s biggest detriment. Especially when traveling over the sea between Numenor and Middle-earth. But keep in mind that, while pacing is a problem in the narrative, it’s easily fixed and less of a detriment to the story than bigger plot holes.
The story needs a stricter adherence to the original traveling times that were earlier established in the series. If it takes three-quarters of an episode to travel from Middle-Earth to the uttermost lands of the West, it should take 45 minutes for them to get back. Instead, in episode six, they make it there in like twenty minutes with only six or so on-screen. Again, a problem in the story, but honestly an easy fix. You just need to either shorten or lengthen the amount of time it takes to travel between places. That’s literally all.
Keep in mind, the quality of a TV show, movie, book, or other piece of writing is not determined by what I like/dislike about the show. It’s determined by the objective quality of the writing. And while there are inconsistencies in the narrative, I can’t write it off as “terrible” just because I dislike the show and it has a few narrative problems, like so many “reviewers” of the show are doing.
The other problem with this episode is that the villagers should have taken more of a beating than they actually did. Logically, they were vastly outnumbered. And while the show did a good job of showing that they took a good bit of damage, there was no real sense of loss (or if it was, it was very little). I was actually hoping that Bronwyn would die (despite an obvious non-fatal wound, another problem in communication but also an easy fix) but was disappointed when she came back to life. The characters are where this show is strong, and I was actually hoping that they’d twist my guts and have Arondir’s eye get stabbed out. It would have been way more emotionally compelling.
Then there are a million tiny things that could have been better explained but have no real impact on the story. Like how Isildur the stable-sweep was allowed to fight in the battle, what exactly Mithril has to do with the light of the Valar, among other things. But these things are obviously in the show for less easily discernable reasons, and writing them off as “plot holes” just shows how little you’ve analyzed the show.
But that’s literally all the bad we’ve seen in the show thus far. You may not like Elrond’s forehead or Theo’s character, but that has nothing to do with the objective quality of the show. So before you denounce this show as a woke cash grab, actually look at the quality of the writing from an objective, honest standpoint.
This episode was focused way less on character and far more on plot/action, something they did actually very well. All of the plot twists made logical sense and were fairly unexpected. Ignoring, for a moment, the poor pacing and the fact that the villagers should have taken heavier losses than they did, there was literally nothing wrong with the narrative of today’s episode.
Another common complaint is that the sword wasn’t properly explained before it was slotted into a keyhole and Mount Doom went kablooie. The appropriate foreshadowing was present, but again, this was an error in communication: the watchers were never told what the hilt did nor its significance to Adar and his cronies.
But other than that, there was nothing wrong or mentionable importance with the writing or characters. While I’ll be the last to say that the show doesn’t have its flaws, I’ll wager I’d be the first to say that the show is not as bad as everyone is saying it is.
Good luck, and happy writing!
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