The Rings of Power – Episode V: Morgoth Smiles at His Children’s FingerpaintingThe Dark Herald
“I shan’t call it the end, till we’ve cleared up the mess.” – Samwise Gamgee
I have to watch this thing before anyone else in my house gets up. My family refuses to join me in my suffering. There are times to remind your children that you are the absolute head of the household, and your word is law but when you can’t blame them in the least for avoiding something this horrible, then it sure as hell isn’t one of them.
When I watch it on my laptop with earbuds in, there are polite but frequent requests for me to stop groaning so much, it’s worrying the children dear.
Christ commanded men to lead their families as he led his church…which he did by getting nailed to a cross.
It’s a lousy way to start a Friday but it would be a worse way to end one.
Seventy minutes again! If this was a Disney production twenty of those minutes would be credits but they are nowhere near that long for this abortion. Congratulations Amazon, you’re worse than Disney!
Oh, this is going to be a really good one, buckle up kids. It STARTS with the Filthy Gully Dwarves. Nori is talking to her pet hobo, Not-Yet-Gandalf. She is telling him how the Filthy Gully Dwarves live. It’s disgusting naturally, they travel the land like a swarm of locusts, devouring everything that isn’t fast enough to get away from them. Which means they live on berries, slugs, and fungus. What else would you expect from these diseased plague rats?
They start pulling their tiny carts because Chihuahuas haven’t been bred yet and even if they had been they probably wouldn’t make great draft dogs, also the Filthy Gully Dwarves would forget they aren’t supposed to eat them. The family cajoles Nori’s friend into singing. She sings about how completely miserable it is to be a Filthy Gully Dwarf (I’d already guessed from the shit in their hair). Does the song go on too long? You bet! Montage time, maps, and p-r-o-l-o-n-g-l-e-d drone shots of New Zealand landscapes. I was glad I hadn’t had breakfast yet because I didn’t have to risk vomiting when she sang, “Not all who are lost wander, and not all who are wondering are lost.” Yes, brilliant Amazon. So shockingly original I’ve already been brought to tears.
Time to say hi to Adar the scarred Elf whom the Orcs call Lord-Father and he refers to his orcs as Uruks. I know what that means. Shudder. He makes one of them get a third-degree sunburn and then makes it clear that he plans to get rid of the sun. So, he’s the one who creates Mordor. Fine, I now have something to look forward to. Galadriel failing at something.
We are back at the Elfs’ old watchtower. The one with the villagers who ‘left their village at first light’ but didn’t think to bring any food with them. Apparently, I’m supposed to feel bad for them and don’t.
Bronwyn gives an uninspiring speech to fight the Orcs to the last man.
Tredwill (named for a Star Wars robot that was cut from the first movie) the former innkeeper gives a more inspiring speech to surrender.
Half the villagers including Theo’s friend Incelnor go with Tredwill the Innkeeper (I’m just calling him Scruffigon from now on) to surrender to the Orcs.
Sidenote: I would rather take my chances sleeping under a tree in -30 weather, in a blizzard than risk a night in a tavern with an innkeeper like Scruffigon. Who shall, unquestionably, cut my throat the moment I fall asleep so he can steal my belongings.
Not-Gandalf’s landing pit is found by weird cultists dressed in white, they come with creepy music attached. I think these are the rest of the Istari.
It is implied that the Valar, the gods of Middle Earth were restricted from directly taking the field against Sauron. Whether due to constraints laid down by Ilúvatar or personal inclination due to the destruction wreaked upon Middle Earth during their last visit. Bottomline they were sitting this one out, but they weren’t willing to abandon the Elves and Men, so they sent some of the Maia to Middle Earth to oppose Sauron.
The Maia have been described as angelic in nature. This is both right and wrong but the debate is too extensive, to sum up in a paragraph. Each of the Maia was linked to one of the Valar and they helped with the creation of Middle Earth. Sauron was one of the Maia, although interestingly, he was connected to Aulë and not Morgoth.
The Istari were technically Ainu since they were Maiar that had entered Middle Earth. But everyone else called them; The Wizards.
Oh, and Saruman is a woman now… I think. It has a Skrillex haircut and breasts so who can say for sure what its sex is supposed to be? Assuming this is the rest of the Istari they don’t appear to have crash landed.
Elendil and Son are still having a tiff because Ilsildur managed to sandbag both himself and two best friends out of the Navy. Dad won’t let him serve in the Army because he doesn’t think Isildur has what it takes. If only he knew what the future held he would have drowned him at birth. Yeah, he cut off the ring but it was a known weak spot. Somebody else would have managed it eventually, and that is assuming that Isildur didn’t steal the credit from someone else.
Not-Sauron is living a happy plebian exitance as a sword maker now that he is a member of the Forger’s Guild, with guild badge and how the hell did that happen? He was a prisoner in the last episode and the Forger’s Guild was all-mighty pissed at him for beating them up. There is no continuity whatsoever in this show. Things just happen. It’s a fact. And you can’t question it.
He finds out that Karen-Galadriel had nominated him for king and hadn’t actually told him about it. Queen Míriel isn’t too cool about that when she finds out and I can’t blame her. If there is one thing a Recruiting commander loves to hear it’s that a recruit whom he was told was absolutely in the bag, isn’t exactly in the bag, and never really was.
The Filthy Gully Dwarves can’t find any food and blame Not-Gandalf. Rather than order Nori’s family to give up their pet hobo, the leadership just wants to kill the whole family by taking their wheels and letting them die of exposure. Seriously, the Orcs in this show are more loyal to their own. A *busyness of sick ferrets has more pack loyalty than the **Filthy Gully Dwarves, the appalling little…
Wargs are chasing the Filthy Gully Dwarves.
Go Wargs! Go! Git Sum! GIT SUM! HOO-RAH!!! Y-E-A-H…
yeah, he saves them.
I admit I like the design work on the Wargs. The wolf-rhinoceros-pig thing actually works here. If there is one thing that Bad Reboot can get right, it is something that looks cool. Where they fall down completely is in justifying the cool thing’s existence within the story.
Now we have reached our weekly worst scene in the show segment. In a way, it’s like deciding which Hollywood studio you are most comfortable with your daughter working at. All of them are terrible, yet one of them is clearly the worst.
This week it is the worst scene is…drum roll please…the military training(?) scene.
Mars Field this ain’t. If you are simulating a training drill then it should look vaguely like this:
They are not on a training ground, they are in the middle of a damn alley, and it’s not a very wide one. The recruits are in a disorganized mob just looking on while two of them spar. And the sparring consists of bellowing like a bull moose while pounding away on each other with steel blades. Apparently, the Númenoreans strongly believe in acceptable losses because these rank beginners are practicing with live blades instead of wood practice swords. They obviously didn’t want to bother with sets, extras, or a location shoot. This is just lazy. Lazy and cheap. Amazon got ripped off by Bad Reboot and they absolutely deserved it.
Elendil is cheering on his not exactly grandson Valandil while he swings away at another recruit with, again, a live blade. Karen-Galadriel walks up to the future king and takes what feels like a half hour to tell him their swordsmanship sucks. Which it does, I have to grant that, but I have an inkling of what’s coming next, and it will be so much worse.
Yes, I was right. Elendil invites Galadriel to beat up the recruits for a few minutes. This will improve the training(?).
Yeah, here’s a surprise, Galadriel knows nothing about swordsmanship either. Nothing. Apparently how you kill an Orc is you drastically overextend with a thrust, twist the blade so it gets caught on bone and then wait for the Orc’s many friends to kill you.
Regardless, Karan-Galadriel invites these rank beginners to try and cut her. Given how terrible her swordsmanship is, I like their chances.
No, she humiliates them through acrobatics and sneering. It is so horrible; I can’t describe it and it’s my job to describe horrible things.
Like Morfydd Clark’s terrifying smile. For the love of Ilúvatar go back to your resting bitch face, please!!! It’s such an unnatural and ghastly expression on her. It’s like Christina Ricci doing Wednesday Adams’ smile.
Another reason I try to watch this thing as early as I can is to avoid falling asleep but it isn’t easy. I don’t want to have to watch this thing more than once. I could barely keep my eyes open during the dinner between Prince Duren and King Gil-Gilead.
We have now reached the completely expected… Oh. What. The. Fuck? Portion of our program
They are trying to improve Tolkien.
They are not succeeding.
Mithril now has an origin story. According to Celebrimbor, there is a legend of an Elf warrior fighting a Balrog for a tree in which one of the Silmarils is lodged. The fight was so titanic (and cliché) that it forced the power of the Silmaril through the tree’s roots, into the ground and created the Mithril.
No. It didn’t. Mithril’s origin story is that the Dwarves found it and dug it up.
Here is a brutally quick history of the Silmarils.
Feanor created three jewels of literally unsurpassed beauty, within them was the light of the two trees of Valinor. Manwë’s wife made the jewels sacred so that no one evil or mortal could touch them without withering and dying. Morgoth coveted them so much, that he killed the Trees in order to steal them. Then he took them to his fortress of Angband. Their light burned him but he couldn’t part with them, so Morgoth put the Silmarils in a crown that he wore upon his head.
Feanor and his sons made a terrible vow to recover them. Their clan committed untold crimes against the rest of the Elves to fulfill this vow. Great wars, Kinslayings, and misery were the result.
Beren stole a Silmaril, and gave it to his wife Luthien, when she died again (don’t ask) it passed to their son Dior. When the sons of Feanor killed him it fell into Dior’s daughter, Elwing’s hands. She flew with it to her husband and they sailed with it to Valinor to beg the aid of the Valar.
When Morgoth fell after the War of Wrath, the remaining two Silmarils were taken by Eanwë, the herald of Manwë. The last two sons of Feanor snuck into the Valar camp and stole them. Eanwë caught them but apparently decided to let the holy jewels pass judgment on them and gave one to each of the brothers.
They were so tainted by the crimes they had committed in the pursuit of these jewels that they were horribly burned and withered by the Silmarils. Maedhros threw himself and his Silmaril into a fiery pit. Maglor cast his into the sea and apparently spent the rest of his immortal life singing songs of lamentation. (On a sullen note; if Maglor is Adar I’ll have to give points to the show, I won’t like doing it, but I’ll have to.)
So, of the three Silmarils, one of them is now the North Star, one of them got chucked into a volcano and the third was pitched into the sea. None of them was ever, at any time in a god damned tree, ever. Their locations were always accounted for in the legendarium.
As for Mithril, this is blatant idiocy. The Silmarils never worked that way.
Mithril is just a precious metal. Now it is super rare and worth ten times its weight in gold, but it ends there. It’s not magical and never was. Only the Dwarves of Moria have ever had a vein. And when they accidentally woke the Balrog, Moria was destroyed. The Orcs gave all of it to Sauron and never tried to mine it themselves.
Gil-Gilad wants Elrond to break his sacred oath of silence because a magic tree has magic tree disease and that means the elves are all going to die. The utterly moronic part is that Gil-Gilad wants Elrond to break his oath so he can tell him about something that he clearly already knows all about.
And even if Elrond does break the oath what good does it do? It’s up to the Dwarves to mine the stuff.
Back to Númenor. Isildur is frantic to get on the expedition for some reason that no one can explain, including himself. He tries to get his friends to find him a place on the expedition. They sensibly opt for beating the shit out of him instead.
Ar-Pharazôn’s (non-conical) hippy son has gone total peacenik now that he has hooked up Elendil’s (non-conical) daughter, get used to her keeping your balls in her purse kid, she’s that type. She doesn’t know why she’s against the war other than some pseudo-drama, (although, in fairness, Númenor doesn’t know why it’s going to war either, so maybe she has the right of it). She makes her henpecked boyfriend try to talk his Dad into convincing the queen to call off the war. Ar-Pharazôn has Bismarck-type plans for the newly created Southlands kingdom. So, that is a pretty solid no-go.
The hippy son decides to burn one of the ships. But Isildur who is stowing away on said ship to try and join the war effort catches him. Naturally, the ship burns anyway and Isildur ends up having to rescue the stupid hippy.
Actually, it doesn’t so much burn as explode like the HMS Hood. What the hell did that? Númenorean Rum? No iron-age cargo is anywhere near that volatile. The blast was gigantic.
Back to Elf Land. Celebrimbor, who isn’t bothering to hide his case of the gays for Elrond at this point, is talking to the Half-Elven about the problems involved with Mithril.
Wait, Celebrimbor knows all about it? Okay, I’m more confused than usual when watching this show. I know my memory isn’t that bad. How the hell did Celebrimbor find out all about the Mithril without Elrond telling him? Is the power of Elf gay that strong?
Turns out the Elves need Mithril because it makes Elves super strong because of the Silmarils.
Celebrimbor starts waxing poetically about Elrond’s father and …. What?!?!? Eärendil was a mortal man? Uh, no. He wasn’t. Eärendil’s father was a Man, and his mother Idris was an Elf, making him a Half-Elven. And his wife was not pleading for him to stay. She was being attacked by the sons of Feanor. She escaped by turning into a bird and joined him on his journey to Valinor. Now Eärendil did have it bad coming and going. Elves couldn’t go to Valinor because of the Doom of the Noldar and men just plain weren’t allowed on Valinor. And Eärendil was both.
Regardless, how does breaking the sacred oath change anything? Only the Dwarves can mine the stuff. And they won’t.
Galadriel is trying to talk Not-Sauron into coming along. He doesn’t want to. I am wondering if they ripped off Diablo. It would be just like Bad Reboot to steal the plot of a computer game. Halbrand is going on about vaguely hinted at but terrible, awful, you wouldn’t believe how bad, things he did to survive, and I’m wondering if he imprisoned Sauron within himself.
Scruffigon, the evil innkeeper leads his people into the Orc encampment. They drop to their knees before Adar and Scruffigon goes into a full kowtow praising Sauron’s name. Evil Elf Adar is pissed as hell that the evil innkeeper thought he was Sauron so he demands that Incelnor be sacrificed. Yeah, he’ll be missed.
Elfagorn is trying to teach Theo archery but isn’t doing a good job of it. He should try humiliation like Galadriel does. All though that may only work for women. I’m sure Theo will have it mastered in five minutes if he vaguely applies himself or tries doing backflips while shooting arrows. Having bonded slightly, Theo shows Elfagorn the sword hilt. This thing is clearly a stand-in for the One Ring in a show that is built around the making of the One Ring. Elfagorn declares he has seen this before and pulls some convenient vines aside revealing a carving of Sauron’s armored face from the movies holding the sword hilt. Like we didn’t know it was Sauron’s. It’s as good as any of their other big reveals.
Question: Why are the villagers in this tower? Why? If you have a barbarian invasion on your hands, then you only have a few commonsense choices available to you if you are the average peasant on the street.
One: Call for help. If you do have a lord then it is his job to kill the Orcs because they are taking money out of his pocket by killing the people who grow the crops that make up the bulk of his annual income. Apparently the good, loving and kind elves have not permitted any sort of human government to crop up in the Southlands, so the humans are completely incapable of any kind of organized military resistance. So that’s out.
Two: Hire help. Always a little risky from the villagers’ standpoint. If the mercenaries you hire decide to renegotiate their contract once they’ve arrived, there isn’t much you can do but pay. Although, I admit the concept of a Seven Samurai scenario in Middle Earth is kind of intriguing. Regardless the showrunners were too dim to think of it and by extension, so were the villagers.
Three: Split up and run. They can’t kill all of us if they stop to eat the slowest of us. The math is brutal, but it works.
Fourth: Hold up someplace safe and wait for help to arrive. They’ve only done the first half of that and have not sent for help.
But heading to a castle without any soldiers, weapons, supplies, or help on the way is just plain retarded. There is no good reason to do this other than to make a blatant callback to Helm’s Deep.
The audience knows the Númenoreans are about to sortie, but the peasants don’t.
Cut to Elrond and Duren walking in the woods, headed back to Dwarf Town. Duren tells Elrond to come clean as to what bothering him. Elrond tells the Dwarf that the Elves need the Mithril to…hoo boy…to keep their souls from withering away.
What do I even say to this? What can I say? This is so far from Tolkien’s world I literally have no place to start except the beginning. Ilúvatar created the Elves. And their souls. When Elves or Men die, they are eventually reincarnated in the Halls of Mandos, who pronounces their Doom and they move on to the next life, whatever that will be. Morgoth could twist and corrupt the souls of the Elves. But he couldn’t destroy them. That was completely beyond his power. J.R.R Tolkien would never have permitted Morgoth to have that kind of power. So how is Sauron managing it? He simply cannot. Tolkien’s world never worked that way. Not even a little bit.
Anyway, Duren agrees to try to talk his father into mining the Mithril again, so the rest of the series can happen. Pity.
Home stretch, and it’s back to Númenor for the last time this week. Not-Sauron has been summoned to join the expedition. He spends a few seconds attempting to create last-minute tension for dramtic effect by acting like he isn’t going to accept the crown. And then does because the next episode wouldn’t happen if he didn’t. L-o-o-o-n-g drawn-out scene with bombastic music. Not-Sauron is wearing armor now, and so are Galadriel and Queen Míriel. Everything is in slow motion and is too shiny. They really want to do lens flairs here but know it would be too humiliating.
The fleet leaves port and…
THREE SHIPS?!?! This army is being transported on three ships?!?! No wonder they were so freaked out about losing one. ***Three whole ships to transport an expeditionary force. Best will in the world this “army” is maybe at regimental strength at most. More likely it’s a battalion. Up until now, the CG visuals weren’t all that disappointing. In truth, it was the only thing this show had going for it.
$500 million dollars blown and for what? This fleet should have been the thousand ships of Agamemnon. Or the thousand ships of William the Conqueror. Or the probably more accurate claim of three hundred of Harold Hardrada’s invasion fleet. Regardless I had a right to expect more than THREE ships.
Again, the only reason to do that was to go cheap on the size of the army that Bad Reboot’s acolytes would have to show.
Like I said, Amazon got ripped off.
*That is the correct collective noun for Ferrets.
**Harfoots, collective noun: a shitpile.