Episode 2 of Rings of Power starts with Galadriel in the middle of the sea, all alone and swimming back to shore. How many miles is that? Who knows, she’s going to keep on swimming all the same!
Meanwhile, Poppy catches up with Nori, who tumbles into the flaming ruins of the comet. Anyway, Nori and Poppy decide to take this stranger back to their village, despite warnings not to. Nori believes that this person is important and sees this as fate to be the one to look after him.
Meanwhile, Bronwyn and Arondir search through the ruins of Hordern. Arondir finds a big hole in the ground and decides to go down and search deeper. “I must follow the passage.” Arondir says. “You don’t know what’s down there.” Bronwyn replies. “That is the reason I must go.” Arondir says, and with that he dives down into the tunnels and presses on, determined to find out what’s inside.
Meanwhile, over in Eregion, the realm of the elven-smiths, Elrond looks over Feanor’s hammer, a tool that’s both beautiful and painful. Celebrimbor wants to build a forge more powerful than any ever built but Gil-Galad isn’t offering a great workforce and has sent Elrond instead.
Well, Elrond suggests bringing in dwarves from Khazad-Dum to help out. Their prince, Durin, is an old friend for Elrond and he believes an alliance would be the diplomatic achievement of the age.
The pair walk together to the front door but despite a promise of rams horns and a warm greeting, Durin is told to leave with a swift “no”. However, Elrond invokes the Rite of Sigin-tarag, which allows him entry. He’s led inside alone, promising Celebrimbor that he’ll be back in a few days after working his magic.
It turns out the Signi-Tarag is actually a rite of endurance. He and Durin need to bash a rock constantly until one of them gives up. Durin breaks his rock with ease. As does Elrond. And this repeats for quite some time until Elrond fails. Durin escorts him to he exit though, heading up the elevator on the way up to talk. Durin is not happy given Elrond has missed his wedding and his kids growing up.
Off the back of this though, Durin changes his mind, especially when Elrond congratulates him. He’s not banished after all and heads in to meet Disa, his wife. There’s also Gerda and Gamli, their two kids. It’s all jovial jokes and slapstick again here, complete with belching for good measure.
When we last saw Galadriel, she was off swimming. Well, it turns out she’s been swimming with her knife all this time and thankfully manages to find a makeshift raft that take her onboard. Anyway, it turns out there’s a worm out there in the water. Galadriel manages to survive the attack, alongside Halbrand. On the makeshift remains of the raft, they sail to the mainland.
She keeps her distance from Halbrand tough, eventually saying “I am wondering what manner of man would so readily abandon his companions to death.” The irony here, of course, is that Galadriel was willing to do exactly the same thing at the start of episode 1, deciding to press on with her company and leave one of her own behind and let them die for her cause. Anyway, I digress.
The pair butt heads over their ideologies, with Harland eventually telling her that evil is growing in the East – and the South Lands to be more precise.
Back in the South Lands, Bronwyn finds herself in the presence of evil, in the form of a tribal masked orc that begins rummaging around. Theo and Bronwyn both attack it, with the latter throwing some sort of red mist at the orc. It’s a brutal fight, and Bronwyn is the one who hits the killing blow, decapitating its head and showing the men.
As they prepare to head out, Theo happens to be holding what looks to be one of Sauron’s trinkets. As he holds it, the item begins burning and a fire sparks up. Placing it in his bag, he heads out with Bronwyn and the others, who are on their way to the elf watchtower.
As the episode closes out, Galadriel and Halbrand are saved by someone who looks like Celebrimbor in the shadows.
The Episode Review
The second episode of Rings of Power takes the foundations built in episode 1 and, much like Elrond and Durin smashing rocks, destroys it. The tone in this show is so wildly inconsistent that it’s a wonder you won’t get whiplash from this.
The first episode was essentially dark and serious, with Galadriel determined to see her mission through no mater what, no matter who dies along the way. Which makes her remark at the end to Halbrand, unhappy that he’d let his companions die, all the more deliciously ironic. And of course, Galadriel is still very unlikable in this chapter with zero flaws, which is an alarming trend in modern entertainment.
But again ,that tone I mentioned is the biggest deterrent to episode 2. We get a lot of slapstick here, including Durin and Disa’s banter and Nori’s slapstick with the makeshift carriage flying backwards down a hill. But then this is juxtaposed against an absolutely brutal fight involving Bronwyn and that orc, which is hung, beaten and then eventually decapitated. I do appreciate the original LOTR trilogy mixed humour with action too but here it just doesn’t gel very well.
Hopefully things do improve but given how much money has been poured into this one, pretty visuals and production design can only get you so far. However the ending hints that we’ve got lots more drama to come going forward so we’ll have to wait and see what episode 3 has in store for us.