The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power established the world and the warriors of the small screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, but the third episode further expanded the challenges thrust upon each group.
To recap where we left off after Episode 1 and 2, The Stranger's (Daniel Weyman) actions put the Brandyfoot family's migration in jeopardy after Largo Brandyfoot (Dylan Smith) twisted his ankle, a manifestation of The Stranger's anxiety. Elf soldier Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) was captured by something in the tunnels under the village of Tirharad, and his fate remained unclear. And shipwrecked Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) were seemingly rescued at sea, but whether that was good news remained to be seen.
Read on for the five biggest revelations of Episode 3, titled "Adar."
We picked up the third episode with an introduction to Galadriel and Halbrand's saviors, who hail from the island kingdom of Númenor. Númenor was established by Tolkien as an Atlantis of sorts, and a gift to the Fathers of Men who had stood with the Elves against Morgoth.
After being rescued at sea, Galadriel and Halbrand are delivered to Númenor's Queen-Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). As Galadriel expected, it is not the warmest of welcomes. Galadriel explains to Halbrand that despite building the kingdom together, the humans have since rejected the Elves. In fact, no Elf has entered the gates of Númenor in three generations, and Míriel would rather it stayed that way — but now seems reluctant to let Galadriel leave. This puts Galadriel in an awkward position, leaving the feisty Elf commander to plot her escape.
Within the gates of Númenor, Galadriel discovers that she has a surprising ally. The captain of the ship that brought her and Halbrand to the kingdom is the aptly named Elendil (Lloyd Owen), which stands for "Friend of Elves." Though he is asked by Míriel to off the Elf in support of her and the kingdom, he none the less makes his alliance to the Elves known to Galadriel, and the two ride to the hall of law in his hometown, where they uncover a plan for Morgoth's successor to build a realm in the Southlands where evil will thrive. It would seem like Elendil can be trusted, but with 47 hours still to go on the series, it may be too early to tell if this is a lasting alliance.
After the unfortunate accident that leaves Largo Brandyfoot unable to walk, the Brandyfoot family is now worried that their destiny is about to recorded in the Book of the Left Behind. Despite lectures from both her friend Poppy (Megan Richards) and mother Marigold (Sara Zwangobani) about how keeping to themselves and sticking to their plan is what has kept the Harfoots alive, Nori (Markella Kavenagh) remains convinced that The Stranger arriving is no coincidence. After her plan to hide him inside the Brandyfoot cart falls apart, The Stranger finally comes in handy by helping the family keep up with the other Harfoots, allowing for Largo to rest his feet.
While presenting himself as something of a brute, it would appear that Halbrand is not exactly who he appears to be. While digging through the Elf library with Elendil, Galadriel comes across a drawing of a tattoo that adorns her new partner in crime. She confronts Halbrand about her findings, as he sits behind bars after displaying his impressive physical strength against a group of Númenor tavern dwellers.
Galadriel tells Halbrand that he carries the tattoo of the man that united the tribes of the Southlands under one banner, against the evil that sought to claim their lands. She believes Halbrand is the king of the people of the Southlands.
"I am not the hero you see, for it was my family who lost the war," says Halbrand, while Galadriel retorts: "And mine was the one that started it."
Believing their meeting was no coincidence, Galadriel thinks something bigger has brought them together so that the two can redeem their bloodlines. But neither Galadriel nor Halbrand have a clear understanding of the enemy they are about to face.
After being captured by the Orcs, Arondir finds himself in a labor camp with his two fellow elf soldiers. There they are forced to build the tunnels that allow the Orcs to go undetected by their enemy and stay away from the sun that these creatures cannot tolerate. Arondir and his friends hatch an escape plan, which goes horribly wrong. Just before Arondir is about to get executed for his disobedience the Orcs decide to take him to their leader. Enter Adar, the supervillain custom created for the series. While all we see is an outline of Morgoth's presumed successor, his presence is enough to evoke fear. Information that has leaked online about the character predicts that Adar is a fallen and tortured Elf, which would go against Tolkien's rule that Elves cannot be corrupted. He could also be a version of Annatar, the shape taken by Sauron before he convinces the Elves to craft the rings of power. We don't know yet, but we are certainly about to find out.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power streams new episodes Friday at midnight ET / Thursday at 9 p.m. PT