The Rings of Power Season 1 Episode 7 Recap, Theories, and Thoughts

After last week’s action-packed episode of The Rings of Power, I’m excited to see where our motley Middle-earth crew heads next. It’s weird that we’re already on Episode 7, which means there’s just one more week to go — a quick quest indeed, especially considering She-Hulk and House of the Dragon have yet to wrap up their premiere seasons and Andor will be with us for at least two more months.

Anyways, the reaction to last week’s explosive Rings of Power episode received quite a mixed reaction from fans. Many cried foul on the whole using the river to ignite Mount Doom plot point, while others praised the chapter for its slick Elf-on-Orc action. As typical, I fall somewhere in the middle. Visually, this show is mostly aces, though it deserves flack for its cheap-looking costumes and the occasional cheesy set. While it may be asking too much for an eight-hour TV show to consistently deliver proper cinema, when a series like House of the Dragon delivers photorealistic dragons set amidst exotic locales on a weekly basis, other shows must step up their game; particularly if your main selling point is the immense amount of money that went into making your product.

That said, this is still an interesting show, assuming you don’t care too much about lore. As stated before, I don’t know enough about J. R. R. Tolkien to deduce whether or not Rings of Power is veering wildly off course, but I have listened to quite a few podcasts discussing the deviations and do agree that the story established in The Silmarillion was pretty great as written. Amazon’s decision to mostly discard Tolkien’s works remains as big a mystery as the whole Sauron reveal.

Anyways, onto Episode 7, titled “The Eye.”

What Happens in The Rings of Power Season 1 Episode 7

Galadriel awakens covered in ash and red lighting. The world around her burns. That flaming horse from Avatar runs by. Judgment Day has arrived. Our hero searches for survivors and bumps into Theo. Nearby a dude burns like Anakin Skywalker but nobody pays him much attention.

Isildur sifts through the wreckage and finds his friends Valandil and Ontamo trapped under a burning log. After Bruce Wayne-ing the debris, the former slides out while the other decides he’s seen enough fire in his lifetime and dies.

Elsewhere, Queen Regent saves one of those token movie mothers who inexplicably cowers inside a burning home with her children so that such a scene can happen before the structure collapses, trapping Isildur inside. I think.

We cut to the Harfoots, the most despicable characters on this show, who leave behind their wounded those plucky band of misfits, as they continue on their migration. Nori and Poppy are having a blast doing manual labor, while the Stranger looks mildly annoyed.

The group catches up with Sadoc, who stands above volcanic debris that has laid waste to this part of the forest. “This shit always happens when evil appears,” he says. Everyone eyeballs the Stranger. Sadoc asks if the big fella could possibly fix this mess … Nori and Poppy try to sway his attempt, but to no avail. The Stranger utters some little words (so the trees can understand) that appears to be fixing the problem, but instead makes a tree branch fall on top of a kid. Stranger is having a really hard time.

Elsewhere, Elrond barters with Durin’s father in Khazad-dûm. He needs the dwarves’ help to save his people and gets down on one knee to demonstrate his humility. Durin Sr. asks to speak with Durin Jr. alone. His decision? “F— dem Elves.” He doesn’t want to risk Dwarf lives to save Elves.

Later, Disa angrily objects to Durin Sr.’s decision. She calls him an old fool and claims he has lice in his beard, but then calms down and apologizes. “I don’t like it when you make fun of my mom,” she tells Durin.

“Well, in her case, she does have lice in her beard,” he quips. The Dwarves and Harfoots continue to be the best thing about this show, mainly because they act like actual … people?

Elrond appears, notes Durin’s sad expression, and gets the gist.

“I guess this is goodbye,” Durin says, tears in his eyes.

The Elf boy assures him they will meet again, “Unless we’re all dead, that is.” He then hands back the small bit of mithril Durin gave him a while back. For all his cunning, Elrond is amazing at guilting people into following his will. He leaves, head down, casting a sorrowful glance over his shoulder for good measure. Durin tosses the mithril aside and the rock lands next to Elrond’s rotted leaf, and instantly the black goo subsides.

“Aw, shit,” he says. “Mithril is indeed the key. ELROND!”

We cut back to Galadriel and Co. continuing their search for survivors. I can’t tell how big this group is. Last week’s battle was a small skirmish, but we saw a good number of people die. You’d think the volcano would have wiped out more of them, but there are quite a few moving about in the forest.

Queen Regent and Valandil are also alive and deliver some bad news to Elendil — Isildur is dead! I mean, not really.

Galadriel and Theo have separated from the group in search of other survivors. How did everyone get so separated? They were partying together moments before the big explosion … but somehow, this massive group of Southlanders has splintered into various factions and spread out all over the land.

Theo wants to be a soldier, and Galadriel gives him her sword. “Whoa,” he says, hoping this weapon doesn’t require blood to activate.

Back with Queen Regent, she pesters Elendil with unending questions. “Are we there yet? How long are we going to travel in darkness? How much further until we’re out of this smoke?”

That last question causes Elendil to pause. “Uh, there is no smoke. You’re either high or blind.”

She takes the news in stride. “Don’t tell anyone.”

Back with the Harfoots, Sadoc gives the Stranger his papers and tells him to f*** off. They don’t want his kind here. As he leaves, we see a flower emerge from the tree he tried to heal/was healing. Nori holds an apple out towards him and I half expect her to chuck it because Harfoots are awful beings. Instead, he takes the fruit and wanders off into the wilderness.

Nori speaks with her mum. “I wish the Stranger had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”

“So do all who live to see such times,” her mum says. “But that is not for them to — ah, shit. It’s late. Go to bed.”

We leap back to Galadriel. This is one of those filler episodes where characters just kind of talk for an hour, and the show doesn’t much progress plot-wise. This is weird considering the amount of time we’ve already spent watching people just kind of talk throughout the first six episodes. I thought we had finally turned a corner.

Some Orcs arrive to provide some tension. But since they lack the ability to look down, Galadriel and Theo are spared.

Deep in the bowels of Khazad-dûm, Durin and Elrond secretly mine the tunnels for mithril. At one point, Durin realizes Elrond allowed his Dwarf pal to win the rock-crushing contest. “I was a little winded,” the Elf admits. This makes Durin laugh. There’s some emotional weight in the scenes between these two. I wish we’d spent more time with them.

The pair get back to work, but every swing of Durin’s hammer causes the cave to shake. Eventually, he cuts through a wall and discovers an entire chamber of mithril. Before they can excavate, King Durin arrives and is like, “WTF?!” He hastily tosses Elrond out of the mountain. The gig is up, however. Mithril is definitely a thing that does a thing.

King Durin tries his hand at the guilt game. “Your mom thought you were a good Dwarf,” he says. “You were supposed to move mountains!”

Father and son fight, exchange angry words about wife/mother, and then the King basically says, “You are no longer my son.”

Elsewhere, Nori awakens after a nap and finds the world around her no longer burned, but rather bursting with fruit, vegetation, and life. “Er, I guess the Stranger was cool after all.”

Later, Poppy wanders down a river and spots a massive footprint. Eminem and his followers are nearby, presumably tracking the Stranger. They touch the Stranger’s regrown tree and catch his scent. Nori tries to steer them in another direction, but they instead burn the holy shit out of the Harfoot’s wagons and belongings. So, I guess they all get left behind now, right?

Back with Elendil, the orange filter has been removed, which means we’re out of the fire. Elendil tries to steady Isildur’s horse, but he won’t listen to anyone. So, they set the animal free. “I never should have pulled the Elf on board,” Elendil says with a straight face.

Speaking of which, Galadriel and Theo arrive at the new camp. We get some Game of Thrones-ish post-war surgical scenes for reasons — this is a family show, right? Theo searches the corpses for his mum and eventually finds her still adorned in her trusty blue apron. Arondir is there too. Theo hugs the well-groomed Elf warrior. All is well.

Well, not really. Queen Regent dresses like a Ninja Turtle and sits atop a cliff. Galadriel appears, causing Elendil to smirk. The cowardly man wants to go home, but Queen Regent and Galadriel are more determined than ever to win this battle. “Captain, we sail with the tide,” the Queen says, but Elendil is (no joke) too busy crying to reply.

In the next scene, Nori’s pop gives a rousing speech to his downtrodden clan. “We need to stay true to each other,” he reads from the Fellowship of the Ring script. This inspires Nori to head out to find the Stranger. “I will find my friend, though I do not know the way.”

“You have my loyalty,” Poppy says.

“And my, uh, company,” Nori’s mom says.

“And my stick,” Sadoc says.

The new group heads off to find the Stranger … is this just set up for Season 2? Are we not going to get any answers regarding the Stranger this season? Is this just one enormous mystery box the writers expect us to follow until they figure out the answer? Tune in next week.

We cut back to Queen Regent standing nobly at the bow of the ship. I keep wondering if she actually knows where she’s at, or if the Númenóreans are just dicking around with her. I guess they’re leaving?

Galadriel watches from atop a mountain. “Oh shit,” she says, “where’s Halbrand?”

They rush to a tent and find the king, who is injured.

“This wound requires Elvish medicine,” she says. “So, uh, let’s slowly walk through camp, mount our horses, bid everyone goodbye, and leisurely head to Lindon.”

In Khazad-dûm, Disa does her best Lady Macbeth impersonation by ensuring Durin that he’s right and his father is wrong. “Mithril belongs to us and we will dig, dammit!”

Elsewhere, King Durin tells his boys to seal up the mine and tosses the no longer infected leaf into the pit. It lands in darkness but suddenly bursts into flame. Then we see … the Balrog of Khazad-dûm. And he hasn’t aged a day.

Finally, Adar and his boys wander through the Southlands. They cheer him on: “Lord of the Southlands.”

“No,” he says. “We need a new name for this place …”

A title card informs us that they’ve decided to change the name from Southlands to Mordor. Aw, snap.

So, that was Season 1 — oh, wait. There’s still one more episode.

Final Thoughts on The Rings of Power Season 1 Episode 7

For some reason, it felt like the finale, though I’m glad we’re getting more because that was … pretty underwhelming. Last week finally gave us our first taste of ROP action, and then settled back into more leisurely-paced character drama. The Mordor and the Balrog action was cool, but the reveal felt more like desperate fan-wanking than a mind-blowing twist — a sort of fail-safe to fall back on in case the fans grow restless at the constant changes to Tolkien’s work.

Also, if you’re going to lean on Peter Jackson’s films, why not hire the Academy Award-winning director as a consultant to ensure ROP’s vision matches his own?

Episode 7 wasn’t bad, just unnecessary. Last week felt like we had finally arrived at the climax — the board was set and the pieces were moving — but the show has inexplicably reset and cast its glowing red eye towards Season 2. Looking back, I’m not really sure what the point of this show is supposed to be. Is this just an origin story for Sauron? Where are the titular Rings of Power? What are our characters fighting for? Why did the Númenóreans leave after a brief 15-minute skirmish — did they expect the war to end so quickly? What the hell does Galadriel want?

This is the problem with television. Writers are tasked with stretching a story to multiple seasons, which constitutes hours of airtime. Ironically, there’s a wealth of material to mine from Tolkien, but those behind ROP are content designing mystery boxes rather than diving deep into the well-established lore. It’s very strange.

Anyway, maybe next week will turn up the heat and give us a reason to tune into Season 2.

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