Recap: ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ Episode 3 - 'Adar'
Galadriel and Halbrand explore Númenor, while Arondir is enslaved by orcs and Nori’s Stranger causes trouble in this week’s episode of ‘The Rings of Power.’
After a journey to Khazad-dûm in the second episode of Amazon Prime’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,’ this week’s third episode, 'Adar,' offers fans a look at a land they’ve never seen before on screen – Númenor.
Appearing like a cross between Rio, Venice, and the Greek isles – by way of fabled Atlantis – the island kingdom receives Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), after we learn that the man who rescued them from their crippled craft in episode 2 is a Númenórean sea captain named Elendil (Lloyd Owen).
But the welcome they receive from Elendil’s people is hardly a warm one, since the Númenóreans have broken all ties with the elves. It seems there’s a longstanding disagreement over whether the humans fought for their kingdom or it was gifted to them by the elves for helping them stand against Morgoth.
In any case, their queen, Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson), at first refuses to let the duo leave. But Halbrand smooth-talks her into backing down. He then steals Galadriel’s stolen dagger back from Elendil.
Meanwhile, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), after his abduction last week, is dragged into a slave camp where he and his fellow elf soldiers are ordered by their orc captors to clear the land of trees for their Lord Sauron. It goes against their every belief, and sickens them. But Arondir agrees after the orcs kill one of his comrades.
Back in Númenor, we meet Elendil’s son Isildur (Maxim Baldry), whose name longtime ‘Rings’ fans may recall, and his daughter Eärien (Ema Horvath). It turns out Elendil plans for Isildur to follow in his sailing footsteps, but Isildur has his sights set on leaving Numenor for Middle-earth.
“The past is dead,” he father warns him ominously. “We either move forward or die with it.”
Miriel asks her captain to keep an eye on Galadriel (and tells her father that the moment they’ve long feared has arrived). The seaman takes the elf warrior to their Hall of Laws. The two travel there on horseback, which leads to our first glimpse of the elf enjoying herself. But her reverie is soon broken, when she learns that the sigil burned onto her late brother Finrod (Will Fletcher) is actually a map of the Southland mountains targeted by Sauron.
Halbrand runs afoul of some elf-hating Númenórean bullies, but makes quick work of them. His fighting skills reveal he’s been trained by experts. Galadriel finds him in prison, and confronts him with another discovery she’s made. We learn he’s the king of the Southlands, on the run from his past, and the legacy of his Morgoth-worshiping ancestors. She asks Halbrand to join her in returning to Middle-earth and fighting Sauron.
Half a world away, the nomadic Harfoots are preparing once more to migrate when Nori’s (Markella Kavenagh) “Stranger” (Daniel Weyman) accidentally reveals himself to them. As punishment, and due to her father’s recent injury, her family is cast to the back of the caravan. Fortunately, the Stranger redeems himself and earns a place among them when he volunteers to push their broken wagon.
Arondir and his comrades attempt to escape, turning their chains into weapons. But the orcs unleash a warg and, after a valiant effort, all but Arondir are slaughtered.
The episode ends with the recaptured elf confronted by the leader of the orcs, whom they call “Adar.” It’s Elvish for father...
Númenor is the most impressively realized setting we’ve seen thus far in ‘The Rings of Power,’ enveloped by imposing colossal statues yet inviting in its Mediterranean-style docks. The massive interior sets continue to dazzle as well, and invite comparisons to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies. The warg, in fact, looks even better than the version of the creature in director Peter Jackson’s trilogy. This may be the most expensive television show ever produced, but the budget is present in every single shot.
Speaking of the films... It’s probably no accident that so many of the characters in those epics have analogs here. Nori and Poppy recall Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin), the hidden king Halbrand channels Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), and the gravity-defying, warg-fighting Arondir brings Legolas (Orlando Bloom) to mind.
But it’s to the show’s credit that these characters have their own identities, that they don’t feel wholly derivative of their predecessors. It’s a lesson that some of Disney’s recent 'Star Wars' projects could stand to learn.
This week’s most poignant scene comes courtesy of Poppy (Megan Richards). After episode 2’s shenanigans, some fans were left scratching their heads as to why the kindhearted Harfoot puts up with the troublemaking Nori. When the Harfoots recall their fallen kinsmen, we get an answer. Like so many of their friends, Poppy’s entire family was killed, and the Brandyfoots took her in as their own.
In this episode’s final scene, as the orcs’ Adar (Joseph Mawle) approaches Arondir, we see a familiar gauntlet on his hand. It looks like those worn by the elves in the show’s first episode. But it also brings to mind the hand of Sauron himself in the prologue to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films. Could it be...?
Next week: Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and her Sauron-loving son Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) return!