In a more dense episode, as we reach the middle part of season 1, the momentum is building as all the key players are now in motion.
This recap of the Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1, episode 4, “The Great Wave,” contains spoilers.
In the fourth installment in the series, the overall story arc is taking shape with the bulk of our key characters in place and events beginning to ramp up. This episode continues to blend exposition and narrative-led storytelling with enough character development to keep us fully engaged.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 1, episode 4 recap
Queen Regent is blessing newborn babies in a ceremony welcoming them to the Kingdom. Festivities are interrupted by a rumbling, followed by water rushing over the kingdom walls, destroying everything in sight. The Queen wakes with a start — it was a bad dream.
The people of Numenor are restless, they disagree with the Queen’s decision to keep Galadriel on the island. A young man seeks out the chancellor of Numenor to report the rumblings in the capital. The route of their dissent is a fear of the Elves, that they might come and take away what is theirs. The chancellor steps in and dishes out a few home truths to the baying mob, restoring their confidence and simultaneously taking a strong anti-Elf political position. As if to drive home his new populist political stance, all in the crowd are offered a glass of wine.
Galadriel has an audience with the Queen regent. Galadriel fills her in on Halbrand’s true heritage and the threat that Sauron poses to the Southlands. She requests that Numenor join the fight. The Queen refuses, much to Galadriel’s horror. Galadriel ups the ante and requests an audience with the King, tempers flare and Galadriel uses her trademark diplomacy to find herself thrown in jail for sedition.
Isildur is aboard, once again his concentration is poor, distracted again. He drops his rope and the sail runs out of control. The sail master correctly spots that Isildur did it on purpose and dismisses him and his friends from the trails. His attempts to sabotage his career have backfired on his friends and they round on him.
Arondir is still captive and is presented to the mysterious Adar, who makes his way through the crowd of assembled Orcs. Adar appears to be an Elf. He stoops to look upon the mortally wounded Orc that Arondir hurt in the last episode before putting him out of his mystery, plunging a dagger into his side.
Adar addresses Arondir, and he asks him about his home. Arondir asks Adar who he is. Adar tells him that he has learned much of the deceit of the elves and that to rewrite the many lies that they have been told, would require the power of God, a power he intends to acquire. Adar gives Arondir an assignment, a message to convey.
The people of the Southlands are streaming into the walls of a tower, led by Bronwyn. There is not enough food to go around. Young Theo volunteers to lead a party into town to raid the cellars of the abandoned towns, his Mother refuses to let him but he ignores her and makes his way with his friend. They push a cart and load up on food before Theo decides to raid the tavern. Once inside, he stoops to pick up a bag of grain, it’s clear he’s not alone. An Orc appears and attacks him. Theo brandishes the broken hilt of the Orc sword he has been carrying, it glows red and forms into a long blade and he swipes at the Orc. The rest of the Orcs are alerted and hunt for Theo, who hides in a nearby well.
Elrond is back at Eregion with Celebrimbor, they are discussing Elrond’s striking resemblance to his Father. Celebrimbor appears preoccupied, Durin is being evasive about something. Elrond heads off to investigate and shares his concerns with Disa. Disa appears to be in on the lie, she too is hiding something from Elrond.
Durin and Disa are discussing the matter, Elrond watches from afar and with his conveniently well-honed lip reading skills gathers that Durin is mining the ‘Old Mine’. He makes his way down there and investigates, finding a hidden passage behind a wall, and he ventures further into the mine. Elrond confronts Durin about what he is up to. We finally get to see what was in the box in episode 2. It is a new mineral, light and strong which could secure the future of the Dwarves: Mithril. Durin is finally reassured that Elrond’s intentions are pure and allows him to keep the Mithril as a token of friendship. Just then the mine collapses.
Galadriel is pacing furiously around her cell. Halbrand offers her some advice, he has pretty well-developed political instincts and helps her to see that the Queen most fears her request to speak to her Father. She is escorted from her cell and neatly disarms her guards; she is, after all, a total badass.
Galadriel makes her way into the King’s chambers and finds the Queen and a very unwell old man resting in his bed. Humbled, Galadriel offers her apologies and entreats the Queen to tell her why she is so suspicious about the Elves. We learn that in his middle years, the King had plans to renew relations with the Elves, which provoked a revolt among the people. The Queen was chosen to rule in his place. She pulls the cover back on a Palantir, one of the seven seeing stones. Galadriel places her hand on it and witnesses the destruction of Numenor. Galadriel once again begs the Queen to join her in defending Middle Earth against Sauron, but the Queen once again refuses.
Theo’s friend has returned with his cart full of food, whilst Theo remains hidden in the well. He climbs out under the cover of darkness and attempts to escape just as he thinks he’s in the clear, an Orc apprehends him. Just in the nick of time, Arondir rescues him, plunging a sword into the back of his captor. Arondir leads Theo through the woods with the Orcs in pursuit protecting him with his bow and arrow. Bronwyn meets them and they all make their escape to dramatic slow-mo.
Durin has successfully rescued the miners from the collapsed mine, he is furious at his father, who wants to close the mine because it is too dangerous. Elrond very eloquently persuades Durin that his relationship with his father must be protected. Durin heads to visit his father to apologize for their earlier argument and they make up. Durin asks his father’s council whether they can trust Elrond, and they agree that Durin will go with Elrond to investigate further.
Brownyn approaches Arondir to thank him for coming to Theo’s rescue. Arondir passes on the Adar’s message, give up your lands and swear fealty to him, or else. The old Innkeeper speaks to Theo, he knows all about the hilt that he has stolen, they share the same mark. The old man informs him that they are both now servants of Sauron and that he will soon return.
One of the orcs reports to Adar that the hilt has been found and where it can be located.
Galadriel is stood on the dock and boards a skiff to leave Numenor. She shares a look with the Queen and is rowed away. The Queen departs to make her announcement to her people and as she walks away the leaves begin to fall from the trees, much as they did in her dream. The banishment of Galadriel has caused the ire of the Gods. Strengthened, the Queen makes an impassioned speech to her people informing them that she intends to accompany Galadriel to Middle Earth and join the fight. Many brave people from Numenor volunteer to join the fight and the wheels are in motion for an epic battle between good and evil.
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