Cast: Morfydd Clark, Charlie Vickers, Lloyd Owen, Maxim Baldry, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Markella Kavenagh
Director: Wayne Che Yip
There's plenty of conflict in Episode 5 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and the lead players appear to be grappling with individual moral dilemmas. LOTR Episode 5, "Partings", picks-up where Episode 4 left off, but is heavier and deeper and we get to experience a sense of what is to come.
The murkiness helps us get an inkling about some of the answers we were expecting from the show by now - the Orcs pursuit of Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin), the Meteor Man/Stranger's uncanny powers, Waldreg's choice of serving Sauron, Míriel's (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) wavering on the merits of a war to save the southlands, Elrond's (Robert Aramayo) conflict regarding duty to his friend versus his obligation to save his people, Bronwyn's (Nazanin Boniadi) resolve to stand and fight when genocide is imminent, and Nori's (Markella Kavenagh) continued faith in the Stranger (Daniel Weyman).
This episode is particularly high on drama, and the uncertainty that the characters experience is quite palpable. It's a hook that the writers know the audience will thrive on.
Director Wayne Che Yip and writer Justin Doble amp up the intensity while putting all the lead players' life at risk.
We also get to see Galadriel's skills at length as the Numenoreans prepare to engage in war. Halbrand also shows himself to be much more than a Brigand - is he the man who could possibly be king?
The overall characterisation and tone appears to have shifted from that of JRR Tolkien's tomes. The evil festering in this other world is slowly exposing itself. The rot is now from within. The immortal Elves are now fighting for survival. Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) and Durin IV (Owain Arthur) are yet to crest the wave of friendship. It's clear also that Yip and Doble are purposefully diverging from Tolkien's established norm. The Mithril story is key to that. The manner in which it is presented though, is well in keeping with Tolkien's value system.
The Southlanders defecting to a questionable savior has real world undertones - an allegory that Tolkien's works may not have figured. The Stranger's presence with the Hobbits is the most intriguing part here. His powers are coming to light and the reveal on how he is going to use them is certainly looked forward to.
War is imminent and we are also looking forward to some great action.
The cinematography continues to be beautiful all through the darkness, implied and visualised.
The helming seems much more assured and the performances continue to be gravitating. Episode 5 of LOTR is certainly more satisfactory than the previous one.