The battle for good and evil continues to dominate the story this week in The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, as the show’s writers start toying with us for the fun of it. We know Sauron is (probably) lurking in plain sight in the cast list, but we still don’t know who it is for sure.
The Stranger (Daniel Weyman) has finally started talking, trained by Nori (Markella Kavenagh) to say “snails” like a big hairy infant. When the migrating Harfoot party gets attacked by a pack of giant rat dogs, he steps in and thumps the ground, releasing a magic wave that saves the day. The scene might be giving off strong “you shall not pass” vibes, but The Stranger also shows a dark side that ends up knocking Nori off her feet too. Either this is Gandalf struggling with his own early morality, or this is someone else entirely…
If The Stranger isn’t Sauron, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) probably is instead. Now seemingly quite happy to live life as a Númenorian blacksmith, the former king of the Southlands takes a lot of convincing from Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) to join the expedition back to Middle Earth and reclaim his throne. Or does he? Vickers plays things completely straight this week but the flicker of an ulterior motive seems to cross his face whenever he’s left alone in a room, keeping the rumour mill churning away nicely.
Whoever the real big bad might be, things are getting tense at the watchtower – where Adar’s (Joseph Mawle) orc army is gearing up to attack. Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) are trying their best to rally the locals, but half of them still decide to cross the barricade and worship the dark lord anyway.
Questionable motives are starting to sour the pact between Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Durin (Owain Arthur) in Khazad-dûm now, too, as mithril emerges as the show’s new “one ring” metaphor for greed and power. It turns out High King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker) knew what was hidden under the dwarf mountain all along, and he sent Elrond in to get it. The elves can see exactly what’s coming for them and they want the mithril to help save their own skins.
Back in Númenor, Kemen (Leon Wadham) tries to convince his dad, Chancellor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle), to stop the expedition – mostly because he’s got a crush on Eärien (Ema Horvath), whose dad Elendil (Lloyd Owen) is sailing off to certain death. When Pharazôn refuses on sticky/racist political grounds, Kemen blows up a ship instead and almost drowns himself in the process, saved at the last minute by Isildur (Maxim Baldry), who wins a place back in his dad’s crew as a stable boy.
If only Elendil knew how much of a complex he was giving his son by constantly knocking his pride – a trait that will one day result in the weakness that starts the whole Lord Of The Rings trilogy…
“Don’t go to Middle Earth. All that awaits you there is darkness!” wheezes the old Númenorian king from his death bed. But will anyone listen?
- Sauron contender number three is the creepy albino elf woman who turns up at the crater left by The Stranger. Listed as “The Dweller” on the cast list (played by Bridie Sisson), it seems like she’s tracking the man who fell from the sky.
- Theo comes clean about his stolen sword hilt and a hidden statue seems to suggest he’s holding Sauron’s own sword – the key to unlocking his return, if the orcs can get their hands on it.
- The Balrog makes its small screen debut here in flashback (looking a lot like the one from the movies). With the elf myth now written into the backstory for the mountain that holds the mithril, expect to see Middle Earth’s biggest monster making an appearance very soon.
‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power’ releases a new episode every Friday on Prime Video
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