There are only three episodes left, and the plotlines are starting to come together.
Even in Middle-earth, it’s not always easy to reconcile one’s desires with one’s obligations. Just ask Elrond, the ever-honorable Elrond, who in “Partings,” the most recent episode of “The Rings of Power,” finds himself between a fabled ore and a rock.
Mithril, which the dwarves, commanded by Elrond’s close friend Prince Durin IV, had been mining in secret, may be the only thing keeping the elves from fading away into nothingness, proving that High King Gil-galad had an ulterior motive for sending him to Khazad-dûm.
Elrond, when asked by Gil-galad if the dwarves had found the valuable metal, refuses to tell, saying that he swore a pledge to Durin not to reveal what he witnessed in those mines. And what if honoring your pledge to his people meant ensuring the doom of your own?
is a far more loaded issue that refers to a lot of intersecting conflicts on “The Rings of Power” right now.
A lot of Galadriel and Halbrand’s problems are the same. If you thought Aragorn was the only reluctant heir in Tolkien’s legendarium, think again: Halbrand isn’t thrilled about Galadriel’s plan to return to the Southlands with the help of five Nmenórean ships because he’s too focused on his own predicament to care about the fate of the people he’s supposed to lead.
For the time being, he is going on the trip grudgingly, but he is going. It remains to be seen how he is treated upon his arrival, though one gets the feeling it won’t be as warm as Haldir’s reception from Aragorn in “The Two Towers.”
The sailors who are traveling with Galadriel over the Sundering Seas are challenged by Galadriel to “best her in a swordfight,” which in this context means merely making touch with her flesh.
Elendil, the head of this maritime army, has promised a promotion to lieutenant to anyone who does this. Valandil (Alex Tarrant), a friend of a person whose name should ring a bell, is the only one who manages to defeat Galadriel, but it isn’t in a one-on-one contest and only after Galadriel has dispatched at least a dozen others with ease.
If you remember the prologue to “The Fellowship of the Ring,” you’ll recognize Isildur (Maxim Baldry) as the one who refuses Elrond’s pleadings to destroy the One Ring and is ultimately betrayed by it.
Present-day Isildur seems like a fine person, albeit showing hints of that same impulsiveness that will lead to a catastrophic mistake in the future. Although he was just expelled from the Seaguard, he is eager to participate in the mission to bring Galadriel back to Middle-earth. You don’t think that’s a great plan, do you? His father, Elendil, is growing increasingly frustrated by his son’s tendency to avoid responsibility in favor of playing the lead role in his own narrative. (Youth, these days!) Eventually, Isildur does board one of the ships, which is fantastic news so long as there are no rings of power on board.
With Adar’s threat to swear fealty or die still fresh in her mind, Bronwyn gives a stirring speech to her people in this week’s episode, challenging them to choose whether they would stand and fight with her or run and hide .
In the end, there is dissent among the ranks, and Waldreg (Geoff Morell), the same old man who creeped out young Theo last week by informing him whose sword he is in possession of, manages to persuade half of them to risk bending the knee to Adar in the hopes that he will honor his promise. He doesn’t, by the way.
The apparent elf-orc hybrid informs the wise old man that “only blood can bind” before instructing him to kill a kid who followed him on this foolish quest, suggesting that Waldreg may have mistaken Adar for Sauron. Perhaps it would have been better to stay and fight.
Only three episodes remain in the first season of “The Rings of Power,” and while Wayne Che Yip has helmed the last two, Charlotte Brändström (“The Witcher,” “Outlander”) will direct the last episode. Nonetheless, with Galadriel and Halbrand’s presence in the Southlands, perhaps some much-needed connective tissue can be established.
It’s probably not a coincidence that Arondir, a Sauron Truther in the same vein as Galadriel, is standing by to protect Halbrand’s people from an oncoming orc army.
In a similar fashion, “The Two Towers” jumped around from one group of characters to another throughout, but in that film, the various heroes didn’t finally meet until after they’d all joined the same fellowship.
This hasn’t happened in this film, so it’s possible that they won’t get along when they finally do.
In related news, The Stranger has returned to “The Rings of Power” after a one-episode absence, signifying the return of the hobbits.
He’s been living up to his moniker ever since he landed in Middle-earth wrapped in a comet, with disheveledness being his greatest strength. With Nori’s help, however, the mysterious person is learning English swiftly, and has already learned the terms “migration” and “kill.” There is no hint of ominousness in the second.
The crater where Nori crashed has been discovered by three extraterrestrial entities whose motives aren’t quite clear after a gorgeous caravan montage set to a song sung by Nori’s buddy Poppy Proudfellow Megan Richards.
Despite the apparent ease with which Nori and her new pal have been getting along, danger seems to be brewing. Nori, bewildered by the Stranger’s behavior, tries to wake him by resting her palm on his arm after he enters a sort of trance while healing his arm by burying it in water and freezing it after utilizing his talents to fend off a trio of wargs.
She tries to get rid of it as her own hand starts to freeze. Still oblivious to her existence, the Stranger eventually pulls away and throws her back several steps. Once she realizes her new acquaintance could be dangerous, she bolts into the woods.
In addition to being unaware of his own strength, he is also unfamiliar with who he is. We don’t know either, and his identity is still the most intriguing mystery in “The Rings of Power,” with high expectations for its eventual unveiling.