Rings of Power Episode 3: We Hateses the Filthy HarfootsesThe Dark Herald
There is almost some good news, episode 3 is slightly better. There was no Elrond, no Celeborn, no Elfagorn’s Single White Mother girlfriend in episode 3.
Sadly, it did have Galadriel.
Karen-Galadriel finally wakes up on the ship and demands to speak to the manager and sure enough, the ship’s captain is Elendil. They sail into Númenor, and credit, where it’s due the CG guys, made a lot of pretty, pretty stuff. If you are easily entertained by fidget spinners and jingling car keys you will probably like the scene. I admit I enjoyed not listening to Galadriel for a bit.
So, we arrive at Númenor. For those of you who aren’t familiar with legendarium, Númenor is Atlantis. That’s it in a nutshell. After its fall, the Elves started calling it Atalantë. Just in case there was any doubt in your mind.
I’m actually going to have to give a quick history of Númenor, so skip the next couple of paragraphs if you are easily bored by history.
The Men who sided with the Valar during the War of Wrath got a nice off-the-cuffo from the gods. An island kingdom flowing with bounty and whatnot. And the Men were happy. For a while. However, a division rose up; there were those who remained loyal to the Valar and accepted Iluvater’s gift of death, they thought Elves were super cool too. But the vast majority of the Númenorians resented the Elves’ immortality and wanted to be immortal themselves.
Sauron was captured by the Númenororians and was imprisoned but then like an evil Joseph worked his way up to becoming the high advisor to the king. A cult of Morgoth was established complete with human sacrifice of the Elf Faithful humans with the goal of achieving immortality. Finally, the last king of Númenor launched an invasion of Valinor to steal immortality. Iluvatar Himself intervened and destroyed the entire fleet of Men by opening a chasm in the sea. Then Númenor itself was sunk beneath the waves during a night of fire and whatever that will cost a lot to CG. The Elf Faithful escaped under the leadership of Elendil, who became their king and founded Gondor.
Making Elendil, Aragorn’s remote but direct ancestor. And yes, Elendil is the same king Sauron kills on the battlefield at the start of Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring.
Galadriel and Sauron are brought before Queen-Regent(?) Míriel.
Hold on. Bad Reboot liberties are being taken again. Míriel was the daughter of the last king that tried to unite the people of Númenor. He died without male issue, so his daughter was going to succeed him. But she was forced into a marriage with Ar-Pharazôn, the Golden. He was the aforementioned final king, who got Númenor nuked.
Bottomline, the king was supposed to be dead and Míriel in an unhappy and borderline incestuous *marriage, before Sauron sets foot on freaking Númenor. We haven’t seen Ar-Pharazôn yet but I’m willing to lay money that he’s the Golden and the white.
So, Galadriel and not-Sauron are brought before the queen. They make their case for being sent to the mainland, but her highness is unmoved by Galadriel’s resting bitch-face and snarky comments. She decides to keep them both on the island. This gets active-bitch face from Galadriel, but again the Queen-Regent is unmoved.
A mystery box is set up with vague talk about portents and ‘the coming of that which we have long feared has come to pass,’ dialog. This mostly serves to give Elendil an introduction as we the audience get to find out about his reduced status from the Legendarium. He used to be the last Lord of Andúnië, now he’s a navy Captain. A navy Captain with his son Isildur (yes that Isildur) and his daughter Eärien?!?! New and hopefully expendable character coming in. Anyway that is all of Elendil’s kids, despite that in legendarium his sons (plural) founded Minas Anor and Minas Ithil.
The garbage is thick enough to wade through.
Anyway, Elendil speaks Elf to Karen-Galadriel and she almost convincingly smiles, it would have been terrifying on a human face. They ride to Andúnië, there Karen-Galadriel finds a map, and are you fucking kidding me?!?!?
Do you remember the retarded Sith dagger in The Rise of Skywalker that was really a secret map? Yeah, that is what the mark of Sauron is. It’s a mystery box map. Bad Reboot went there and back again.
I’m hearing African drums, that means it’s time for the Filthy Gully Dwarves to make an appearance. Let’s get this part out of the way fast. These diseased dung-beetle maggots are even worse than I thought. They are the living embodiment of every ethnic slur against the mid-19th century Irish all in one package. The Filthy Gully Dwarves don’t try to help when another FGD gets hurt. They just leave them behind, then get drunk off their asses and feel a little sorry about it… Exactly once a year. Occasionally the vomitous little sewer goblins will laugh raucously if they are reminded of how one of their dirty little friends died in a way they found particularly hilarious. They call it the Roll of the Left Behind, after each name is called they all shout out, “we wait for you!” But they obviously DIDN’T!
So, Bilbo’s 32ndx great-grandmother is the one who made a pet of Hobo-Gandalf. The Filthy Gully Dwarves are Big Mad about it when they find out but rather than banish her as their “law(?)” requires. Instead, they simply opt to have her family’s handcart be the last one in the caravan. Guaranteeing that Bilbo’s 33rdx great grandfather, whose leg is broken won’t be able to push their wagon fast enough to keep up. Basically assuring that her entire family gets to die together. Disgusting, feculent, hairy-footed roaches.
Minimal problem is solved when Hobo-Gandalf pushes the cart for them.
Done with the FGDs, until next week. The Peanut butter whiskey from Basedcon is actually tempting me now. But no, I shall labor on sober. Some things need to hurt.
Back to CG Island.
Halabrand (AKA Sauron) is meant to remind you of Vigo Mortensen’s portrayal of Aragorn. It is a deliberate call out. And a red herring. Especially as they are shipping Galadriel and Sauron extra hard. I think we are going to be getting an “I just want some peace” Sauron. He keeps moaning about how that is all he wants. Morgoth is gone and all he desires is to live a quiet life. But just when he thinks he’s out they drag him back in.
He’s having a drink in a tavern on Númenor when some of the locals come up to him and start hassling him for bringing an obnoxious Elf to Númenor (who can blame them?). He does a very Sauron-like thing and offers to buy a round for the house. After a few drinks, everybody is laughing and having a good time, which gives him a chance to pickpocket a Forger’s Guild badge. The Forgers catch up to him and he begs them not to do this in a “don’t make angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry kind of way.” He takes a couple of punches then loses his shit and beats the hell out of them. This lands him in jail and rightfully so.
Speaking of jail.
Elfagorn is enslaved by Orcs, and nothing really happens. There are a few moments where something might. But it doesn’t. They are digging tunnels because these Orcs get burned by sunlight.
Okay, Orcs that get burned in daylight are kind of new to me. I couldn’t find any record of Orcs needing copious amounts of FPS 500 to appear in daylight. Now Orcs don’t like sunlight, they are subterranean and nocturnal by breeding. They do better at night but off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of Orcs that died in daylight. I dug into the legendarium, and I couldn’t really find anything. Eastern Orcs, Orcs of Mordor, Orcs of the Misty Mountains, and the Orcs of Isengard didn’t have this problem. Nor did the Snagas and Snufflers, none of them sizzled like bacon in a frying pan when the sunlight hits them.
Goblins, yes. Goblins can’t take the sunlight, but they are a different problem. The problem, in this case, is named J.R.R. Tolkien. He wasn’t terribly consistent about the difference between Orcs and Goblins and changed his mind as to whether they were separate races or not from time to time. In The Hobbit, he claimed the two were different races. Post Return of the King, he was saying Orks (he changed the spelling) and Goblins were the same thing. Much as I resent doing so, I’ll have to give this show the benefit of the doubt on this point.
But they were digging a fucking trench not a tunnel!
Kind of defeats the point of digging a tunnel if there is no tunnel.
The silliest part of it was when they reached a tree and the Orcs were being mean to the Elf slaves by demanding they cut it down.
Elves: We must not cut down a tree.
Orcs: But you must!!! Bwahahaha!
Okay, not quite that bad but just about. Also, the Elves make stuff out of wood too.
The tree thing is retarded because just as the leader of the Elf slaves said earlier, ‘it would be a lot easier to just go around it.’ Finally, Elfagorn cuts down the tree after apologizing to it. Of course, the real problem remains digging a trench through the tree’s roots.
There is a failed escape attempt, which I will happily grant was a decent enough action sequence, (I’ve never claimed Bad Reboot can’t do action scenes). But it didn’t accomplish anything except to kill the leader of the Elf slaves. There was no narrative progression at all. It did nothing for the story.
Last question: Is Giladriel’s dagger going to be Sting? They’ve made such a ludicrously big deal about it and for so little reason, I’m afraid that’s got to be the case.
Okay, back to Bad Human Island, (I’m surprised there are any black people on it at all it’s such a bad anti-Elf place). Galadriel visits Not-Sauron in jail and gently chides him for being such a bad, bad, sexy boy.
You know it’s coming.
She then chides him more for being just exactly like Aragorn, you know, being a hot Secret King that refuses his crown. He’s been wearing the royal sigil of the Southlands this whole time. Not sure why she thinks that makes him a Secret King instead of a Secret Beefeater but whatever. Not-Sauron makes references to “this body” instead of saying, “me.” Did Sauron possess the Secret King? I’d honestly care but I don’t.
Back to Elfagorn. He’s dragged before Adar, the leader of this band of Orcs. But he never comes into focus because he’s next week’s mystery box. He’ll be an elf.
Again, I’m struck by how much money was spent in some places but not others. The elf ears for instance are nowhere near as good as the ones in Jackson’s movie. Those were almost iridescent; you could see light through them. Just like you would with a human ear. Each was specifically built for individual actors and had to be stored in a refrigerator. The ears in this show are hard plastic and they are having to shoot around them, so you won’t notice how dense they are.
The arrival scene at Númenor was some very expensive CG but it didn’t really build to anything. It was just a lot of pretty pictures. Ideally, you would have used that scene to make Númenor its own character. Especially if you are going to be spending a lot of time there. They almost but, didn’t quite manage that. I think the reason they didn’t was that they weren’t trying.
The only thing this production was ever really concerned with is any scene that was going to be used in one of the trailers.
Okay, I’m done here.
* Ar-Pharazôn was her first cousin. Assuming the elves had taught them something about genetics before things went south, it would explain why an island population would want to avoid the practice.
UPDATE: Ar-Pharazôn was in this as it turned out. He just resembled Tolkien’s character so little I couldn’t recognize him.