‘Rings of Power’ Episode 3 TV Review: More Lord of the Rings Remembering

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

This article contains spoilers for “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” Episode 3, “Adar.”]

“Nobody goes off trail and nobody walks alone” might as well be a rallying cry for modern franchise storytelling. It comes, sing-song and chanted, out of the mouths of young Harfoots and community elders about halfway through Episode 3 of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” For a show invested right now in positioning viewers for the present and future of a series’ health, this third hour of eight in the opening season almost works as a second pilot, even moreso than either of the chapters that came in the show’s first week.

You can feel it in the welcome into Númenor, the island kingdom of men in between Valinor and Middle-Earth. The camera rising up over the horizon, the lingering looks at massive sculpted faces, swelling themes playing under grand seaside vistas: “Rings of Power” is never shy about using beacons and bombast to announce the arrival of a major location within this world. It’s all done with the kind of majesty you reserve for new beginnings, using a proven template that still works.

What follows at Númenor is an episode’s worth of table-setting, situating Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) in the overall relationship between the worlds of men and elves. When faced with the possibility that a growing evil storm might be building on the mainland, Númenor’s Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) asserts her people’s sovereignty. If “The Rings of Power” is moving toward a battle against Sauron and the forces of the Southlands, this episode is the biggest acknowledgment yet that this world has its own strain of isolationism standing in the way of a unified front.

Introducing familiar names and establishing visual connections to Tolkien adaptations past: Enter the world of “Adar.”

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Lee Clarke
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