Rings of Power Episode 8 review: A finale filled with the future

A still from the Rings of Power Episode 8 trailerAmazon Prime Video

Rings of Power Season 1 finishes Episode 8, but does it end with anything as epic as The Lord of the Rings?

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has finally finished its first season, and it’s certainly made an impact. Love or hate the show, there’s clearly a lot going on across Middle-earth, much of which is revealed during this finale.

However, while last episode – you can read our review of it here – and the one prior were arguably the season’s best episodes so far, this finale arguably falls a little short in comparison. That being said, there are still a number of great moments.

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But first, warning: while we will attempt to keep things vague, there may still be Rings of Power Episode 8 spoilers ahead…

Rings of Power is no Fellowship of the Ring

While it’s natural that a TV show would be picked as the format for such a sprawling story, overall Rings of Power shows why another first Middle-earth stint, Fellowship of the Ring, is so revered.

As a film, that epic managed to be so tight-knit while still dealing with a lot of issues. So far, Rings of Power, while holding potential for every character, seems to be shackled by its need to have scenes with characters that, honestly, we don’t really care about, like Eärien (Ema Horvath) and Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker).

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This episode unfortunately has a lot of scenes of just talking, which can certainly drag on. It doesn’t help that many of the characters that shine aren’t present in this finale. The Dwarves are nowhere to be seen, and neither are Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Aronidr (Ismael Cruz Córdova), who led the exciting action for most of this series.

However, there are some moments that call back to the original trilogy, which manage to be be heartfelt without feeling forced. There’s a moment between Hobbits that feels akin to Sam and Frodo’s teary embrace, and there’s a death scene which, while not as violent, feels as bittersweet as Boromir’s death in Fellowship.

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The danger is growing, but is yet to feel like a full threat

Rings of Power shone best during its action-packed episodes, but surprisingly its climax is lacking a lot of it. Sure, action is not necessarily needed for a finale, but this is Lord of the Rings – impactful endings are kind of expected, and the forging of the rings, while obviously a significant thing, doesn’t hold as much shock and awe as the camera wants us to think it does.

The small amount of action there is delves from slapstick to CGI magic, which is fun but feels a little anticlimactic. The threat of this world’s dark forces no longer feels as powerful as it did a few episodes ago, but granted this is just as much a prequel show for Sauron’s forces as it is for our heroes. Plus, this action scene reveals a twist with the true identity of Sauron, which we won’t spoil in this review, but you can read all about it here.

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The scene we do get with Sauron, where they revel in their power and darkness, is easily the best scene of the episode, and it feels very much worth the wait. The actor who plays Sauron gives it their all, and it’ll be great to see them again next season.

What comes next for Rings of Power?

So with the finale all done and dusted, did they successfully build up hype for Season 2? Well, yes and no.

There’s plenty of plans that seem intriguing enough; Nori traveling with the Stranger and Sauron’s rise to power. But as stated before, there’s still plenty of characters that we don’t care enough about to want to see them again.

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Then again, ominous endings may be enough to pull audiences along for a second season. Galadriel’s performance in the final scene – where the titular rings are formed – seemed somewhat off, might this mean something? And where’s the Balrog? Guess that’s going to be the big issue during next season, and rest assured, we’ll be there to see it.

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is currently available to view in its entirety on Amazon Prime Video.