The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 1 Finale Review: Season 1 Wandered, But It Was Not Lost

The Rings of Power's Season 1 finale delivers an epic, emotional, and powerful conclusion.

By Michileen Martin | Published

4.5 robots

The Rings Of Power Season 1 Finale Review Score:

Critics and fans–myself included–complained of the slow start to Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but those of us holding out hope the disparate threads would come together have been rewarded with a magnificent Season 1 finale. Episode 8 delivers exactly what you would expect and crave from any Tolkien adaptation. There are suspenseful mystic battles, tearful goodbyes to some of our heroes, and two of the biggest questions we’ve all been asking are finally answered.

Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) is finally reunited with Elrond in Lindon, where Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) loses his cool finding a solution to the Elves’ lack of Mithril. Nori and the Harfoots find The Stranger in the wilderness, only to learn the deadly witches in white found him first. Dwarf fans may be disappointed however, as Durin (Owain Arthur) and Disa (Sophia Nomvete) aren’t to be found in the Rings of Power season finale.

Of course there is the biggest question of all: who is Sauron? The Rings of Power season finale does give fans the answer and while I want to keep light on the spoilers, I will say it is one of the big two most have been guessing: Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) or The Stranger (Daniel Heyman). Considering all of the fan theories, it’s doubtful most viewers will be shocked about who turns out to be who, but regardless the reveals are handled wonderfully.

Lenny Henry, Maxine Cunliff, and Morkelli Kavenagh in the Rings of Power Season 1 finale

One of the heroes sadly doesn’t survive to the credits, and the awkward sentimentality with which their passing is handled might be the weakest part of the Rings of Power season finale. The sequence leading up to their death–a battle that would find as much of a welcome home in a horror flick as an action one–is one of the most entertaining of the season, and the way magic is used on the screen shows the creators know how such powers should manifest in a Tolkien adaptation.

Just as we never saw Ian McKellen’s Gandalf shooting lightning out of wands or punching out fireballs like a Street Fighter hero, the magic-users in the Rings of Power finale don’t feel like Marvel villains or Death-Eaters, and that’s a good thing. The visual manifestation of magic in The Rings of Power comes off more as a manipulation of nature–using what’s already there rather than inexplicably manifesting colorful energy bolts from your hands or eyes.

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Bridie Sisson as The Dweller in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Speaking of magic users in the Rings of Power season finale, I would feel remiss if I didn’t mention what seems to be an awfully quiet fan-base of so-called Tolkien purists who cried bloody murder when the character they assumed was Sauron appeared in a Rings of Power teaser. Now that the character in question–The Dweller, played by Bridie Sisson (Cowboy Bebop)–is not only not Sauron in the Lord of the Rings series, but she is not even playing a man, those enraged fans don’t seem to be acknowledging their mistake. I am sure all of their apologies are in the mail.

The Rings of Power season finale doesn’t answer all of our questions of course, but instead leaves them as promising threads for the following season. Of course there is the issue of the future Ring-bearer Isildur (Maxim Baldry), who is presumed dead by his father and friends, but of course we know that can’t be true. With the true Sauron revealed and on his way to Mordor, is there a reckoning on the way for Adar (Joseph Mawle), or will he become one of the Dark Lord’s servants?

While The Rings of Power season finale is unquestionably a victory for Amazon, what I desperately hope is that they learn some lessons from the reception to Season 1. Whenever Season 2 drops on the streamer, a quicker pace is going to be needed to keep this Tolkien adaptation afloat. Sure, we’ll no doubt meet some new bad and good guys in the next season, but for the most part we know all the major players now and it’s time to move like a Hobbit who just found a patch of mushrooms unguarded.