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LOTR: The Rings Of Power Episode 4 Recap - Visions, Intuition, And A Broken Blade

Contains spoilers for "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" Season 1, Episode 4 — "The Great Wave"

After nearly half a decade of waiting, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" launched in the first few days of September — and just a few short weeks later, it's already reached the mid-point of its 1st season. The show has been a novel, exciting, and dramatic return to J. R. R. Tolkien's world. Viewers, both of the diehard and fairweather variety, have been introduced to a smorgasbord of new people, places, and characters that span Arda, from the frozen Forodwaith in the north to the rural ticking time bomb of the Southlands.

While the sprawling story is fun to follow, it's also a lot to keep track of. "The Rings of Power" isn't afraid to keep a lot of irons in the fire. There's little doubt that juggling this many narratives will eventually pay off with some world-shaking climactic moments in the future. Before we get there, though, it's on the audience to keep track of everything. Fortunately, we're here to help. We've combed over the newest episode, "The Great Wave" — which, portentous title alert! — and pulled together all of the important things to keep in mind as we enter the second half of the season.

Incoming threats and lies of Middle-earth

The threat of evil has steadily been approaching from the moment "The Rings of Power" started. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) has been fixated on finding Sauron, and something's been going on in the Southlands. But it's in Episode 4 that we really get to see the evil that is stirring in a starker light.

The first of these threats comes in the form of a vision in the first moments of the episode. Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) sees her kingdom collapse from an earthquake before it's swept away by a massive tidal wave (the episode is called "The Great Wave"). Galadriel sees a similar vision when she looks through the palantir later on, too. What is the harbinger of doom? Well, Númenor is awesome, and it's very important to all of Middle-earth history. But it's also known as Tolkien's Atlantis. The danger of a watery grave has been a threat from day one, and now we know that it's a threat that is very much so in the picture if the island nation doesn't play its cards right.

Episode 4 also finally reveals the Orcish leader Adar (Joseph Mawle) — after naming the previous episode after him only to end with a blurry shot of the villain. Adar means "Father," and the character quickly establishes himself as a brutal caretaker for the Orcish rough-and-tumble way of life. After mercy killing a sick Orc, Adar gives us some exposition about his mysterious past. He also gives Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) a message that sets the stage for a serious showdown in the not-too-distant future. The question is: Who is this guy? He must be Elvish, or at least immortal (he references witnessing very distant past events). There's no doubt that there are some shady surprises ahead.

Khazad-dûm begins a new era

We didn't see either Elvish Eregion or Dwarvish Khazad-dûm in Episode 3. After a brief hiatus, though, we revisit both regions in the fourth installment. Our time in Eregion is brief, but long enough to see that Celebrimbor's forge tower is well underway and both Elves and Dwarves are working together on the project.

From there, we scuttle over to Khazad-dûm, where Elrond (Robert Aramayo) gets nosy as he tries to see what his bestie, Durin IV (Owain Arthur), is hiding from him. After an unproductive talk with Disa (Sophia Nomvete), Elrond does some super-sighted eavesdropping, finds the secret mine where Durin is working, and ends up getting the entire spiel about the recent discovery of the miracle ore mithril.

Things get rocky again for a minute there with the two friends, but Elrond and Durin end up as close as ever, with the Elf even being given a kingly gift of some of the first mithril ever mined. The scene is disrupted by a mine collapse, and Disa and Durin both do their part to save a quartet of trapped Dwarven miners.

The subterranean part of the story ends with some much-needed reconciliation between Durin IV and his father, Durin III (Peter Mullan). This is important, as it likely opens the door to more mining of mithril in spite of the dangers that it presents. It also means Durin IV will be headed to Lindon soon, which could open the door to a lot of other Elf/Dwarf friendships and collaborations.

The Southlands prepare for war

Most of the action in the episode takes place in the Southlands. With Orcs slowly undermining the stability of the region (literally), the people of the Southlands retreat to the abandoned Elvish watch tower, where Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) takes up an active role in leading the defenses. The one person she can't seem to get to listen to her, though, is her trouble-making teenager, Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin), who sneaks off with a friend to a nearby village to forage for some food.

This little side adventure ends with Theo nearly gutted by an Orc ... only to discover that his broken sword blade is precisely the item that the invaders are ravaging the Southlands to find. Theo ends up rescued by the released Arondir, and the pair unite with Bronwyn in the woods. They're being chased by Orcs, but they manage to make it back to the watchtower. So, all ends well for the moment.

The real question here is what will happen next. When you boil it down, what's unfolded in the Southlands in the first half of Season 1 is pretty simple (even if they've set it up in a very roundabout way). Adar and his Orcs are sneakily invading the area looking for Theo's sword hilt. At the same time, we know from the reveal of Sauron's sigil in Episode 3 that this is the area that will eventually become Sauron's new realm of Mordor. These two elements could be related. Then again, maybe Adar is trying to find a weapon to allow him to usurp the Dark Lord's power. All of this is assuming the fact that the Elvish-looking baddie isn't already Sauron. There are a lot of intriguing factors at play here ... hopefully some of them resolve before the end of the season.

Númenor turns over a new leaf

Arguably the busiest part of Episode 4 centers on Númenor. The island nation sees a lot of action from several key players in the "Rings of Power" story. Isildur (Maxim Baldry) gets himself and his two friends kicked off of the sea guard ... only for the trio to volunteer to sail off to Middle-earth and fight side by side with an Elf in the Southlands anyway. Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) and Elendil (Lloyd Owen), while not in the spotlight this time, continue, nonetheless, to be pulled along by the tides of fate.

Eärien (Ema Horvath) goes in the opposite direction of her brother by lending her ear to the political machinations of Chancellor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle). She also goes out on a date with his son, Kemen (Leon Wadham), which begs the question: What does dating in Númenor look like? Speaking of Pharazôn, the counselor to the queen regent shows his hand a bit earlier in the episode when he riles up a crowd with anti-Elvish sentiment. However, he's apparently flipped his opinion by episode's end and is helping Míriel stage her relief expedition to Middle-earth. We'll need to keep an eye on this slippery fish as the season proceeds.

And then there's Galadriel and Míriel. The daughter of Finarfin and the queen regent of Númenor start off on the wrong foot in Episode 3, and the hostility carries into Episode 4 (to the point where the latter has Galadriel put in jail for her seditious behavior). And yet, in the end, the pair finally connect on their mutual understanding of the looming dangers that threaten Middle-earth. They join forces and prepare to sail off to help the Southlands — but how are they aware of things from so far off? Anyway, the stage is set. The game is about to begin.

When does The Rings of Power Season 1, Episode 5 air?

Episodes for "The Rings of Power" have dropped weekly on Fridays at 12 a.m. ever since the series premiered. That means we don't have to worry about a mid-season hiatus or some kind of strange scheduling break. The second half of the season will pick right back up on September 23.

The question is: Will we see the story continue to heat up at a steady pace, or will things finally boil over? There are still four full hours of content left in the inaugural season, so we aren't looking at a final climactic moment yet. Even so, the way things were left in the Southlands, in particular, it wouldn't be surprising if some kind of endgame action kicked off in Episode 5. Remember, in "The Lord of the Rings," we get the entire Battle of the Pelennor Fields early in the third movie, well before the real climax of the story. Will there be some Pelennor Field-esque event in Episode 5? Things seem to be looking that way based on the state of the Southlands and the fact that Númenor is raising an armada to sail to their aid.

And then there's the pending trip to Lindon. What Dwarvish/Elvish drama can we expect to see when Durin IV and Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) come face to face — and Elrond tries to diplomatically maneuver between them? It's an interesting situation that could go in a lot of different directions. The one thing we can safely assume at this point is that Sauron is coming back ... Oh, and we can also pretty much assume that Galadriel is going to be trying to get in his way at every step. Yeah, that's pretty set in stone at this point, too.