Episode 2 ofexpands the already wide world of Middle Earth. This time: Elrond sees you in all the old familiar places, as they say, and Galadriel wishes she’d packed her pool noodles. If you missed the episode 1 recap, you can find it here.
Otherwise, let’s dive into the full episode 2 recap.
SUNDERING SEA – When we left off, Galadriel had just jumped off a ship bound for Valinor. In episode 2, he is still in the Sundering Sea. Personally, I would drown, but good for her. They come across a makeshift boat with some people in the clear he went through it. They argue about whether to let her on board and are subsequently horrified to see that she is an elf.
Then he thinks he sees another ship in the distance. Surprise! It’s actually the wreckage of their ship stuck to the giant sea worm that smashed it in the first place, and it’s heading straight for them. One naval brawl later, Galadriel is back in the water, and the only other survivor is a guy who managed to break away from the others on an even smaller, less confident raft. His name is Halbrand and, like Arondir, he is a new character not from Tolkein’s works. It’s okay, okay?
Both are suspicious of each other, but eventually it is revealed that Halbrand was driven from his homeland by orcs. Vindicated Dashboard Confessional roars loudly, but only in my brain. He wants to know everything. He wants to go there and do something about it, God forbid, and even this recently homeless man joins the chorus: “Can you please let it go?”
That night there is a terrible storm and Galadriel returns to the water. This time she is tied to a board and some other crap and is sinking fast. What’s wrong, Halbrand is sitting on the raft debating whether or not to help her as he rushes down to Davy Jones’ locker. He saves her though, and the next day on the raft, Galadriel wakes up momentarily to see the silhouette of a guy on a ship against the sun looking at them.
Of orcs and humans
SOUTHLANDS – Further exploring what used to be Bronwyn’s hometown, she and Arondir discover something disturbing in the ruins of one of the houses: Orcs have been digging tunnels. He runs back to Tirharad to warn the others, and Arondir decides to go underground alone, being the stern, patient elf that he is.
In the pub, an old man with an unsanitary philosophy of the butcher trade wants to downplay what is clearly bad to make it worse.
“I’m not including elves because of the slump,” he says.
Back at Bronwyn’s house, her son Theo still thinks he hears mice under the floorboards. My sweet summer baby. They are not mice. He cuts a hole in the boards and finds a ghostly, milky eye staring at him.
Meanwhile, Bronwyn races back to her house. When they arrive, it’s destroyed and the hole in the floor is even bigger. Theo hides in a compartment in the wall and she dives into the closet when the orc emerges. Inevitably if he finds her. They have a drop down. Bronwyn slams the severed head of an orc on the pub counter and that’s it sink my foot. I AM CONVINCED… sorry. Anyway.
The city plans to go to the watchtower in the morning. Before leaving, Theo re-handles that scrappy sigil sword from the previous episode. Some blood from the cut on his hand begins to travel to the sword as if magnetically drawn, and the sword begins to smoke and reforge, which is not comforting.
Elsewhere underground, Arondir crawls around the tunnels in a way that makes my palms wet. They’re narrow, dusty, and my dude isn’t alone down there. He falls into some kind of subterranean body of water (why is there so much swimming in this show?) and drags himself ashore, where he leans against a wall while looking at the most menacing set of bubbles since the tentacle thing. he almost turned Frodo into sushi in Moria.
Turns out bubbles aren’t a problem. Something grabs him from behind and we don’t see him again for the rest of the episode.
Don’t be a stranger
RHOVANION – Meanwhile, at the crater, Nori is still going over the old guy when her friend Poppy shows up with some bad vibes. Nori and Poppy start arguing about what to do with him. In doing so, Poppy accidentally knocks Nori down into the crater. Fortunately, Nori doesn’t seem like the type of person to sue a friend, and it turns out the fire isn’t hot. He takes a polite approach and pokes the Stranger in the face.
The stranger wakes up and starts screaming. Whatever his powers are, he can summon a windstorm and levitate rocks. Imagine what this guy could do after a cold drink. The flames go out, he collapses and flares up again. In his defense, he doesn’t like waking me up either.
Back at camp, Sadoc walks around and doesn’t kick any sky scumbags.
“It doesn’t bode well,” he says in what is definitely a Star Wars-to-LOTR translation “I have a bad feeling about it.”
Nori and Poppy load the stranger into a wheelbarrow/cart and start talking about what it is. He’s not a man and he’s not an elf. That doesn’t leave many other options.
I personally think he’s a wizard. Sure, they wouldn’t be like that in another age, but this is Hollywood, baby.
While Poppy and Nori struggle, the carts roll down the hill in what isn’t the most original, but still kind of funny. No one escapes, and Nori and Poppy make a little fort out of the Stranger so he can get the sleep he needs. Big surprise: They kept holding each other and Nori has to explain that she feels like this all happened for a reason and she needs to make sure this guy is safe. Poppy is finally freezing. Nori, like Galadriel, needs to get some more friends to support her.
The next day, the Stranger crawled out of the fort, probably wondering what type of crappy Airbnb he’d booked. When he saw Nori, he cried out and the windstorm started again, but she calmed him down. The vibes are Natasha Romanoff and the Hulk. HELLO BIG. THE SUN IS REALLY GOING DOWN.
You know what really calms the wild beast? Uncomfortably large snails. She has tons of them and he has everything yes, protein how he shoves fistfuls in his mouth, seashells and all. They also start trying to communicate with each other, but they don’t have much success.
While Nori is away, the camp is preparing for the festival, and her father breaks his ankle – or something like that – while trying to erect a pole.
That night, Nori and Poppy are visited by strangers. Nori tells him that the Harfoots are packing and leaving in a few days. He focuses on their lanterns, which are powered by fireflies, and in a moment reminiscent of Gandalf whispering to the moth on Orthank in Isengard, he causes the little critters to form what looks like a constellation of stars. Nori interprets this to mean that she needs help finding those stars. But it crashes again. And the alarming thing is that the fireflies fall to the ground and die. Minus 10 points for killing fireflies, Amazon.
EREGION – Elrond is in the fine and elegant chambers of Celebrimbor, the elven smith. He takes a moment to admire Fëanor’s hammer on display. If you don’t know who it is, that’s okay. There is a lot to explain and you can get all the details in The Silmarillion. In short, he was an elven king who was a bit of a rebel and a malcontent, but he also made these jewels called the Silmarils that captured the light of those two super important trees in Valinor that we saw last episode. The Silmarils are certified Big deal. The first dark lord Morgoth had stolen them, which was unseemly.
Celebrimbor tells the story of how Morgoth stared at the stones and saw his own ugly reflection in them and honestly, I’m going to need a source for that bro. He was there? Check your sources, friends.
In any case, Celebrimbor wants to build a huge tower that could house a forge to build cool important things, which is definitely not a bad idea by any means. He wants it done by spring, a tight deadline to say the least, and Elrond suggests outsourcing the work.
And so they move to Khazad-dûm, the dwarven kingdom we saw in The Fellowship of the Ring. Here’s a bit of a callback to the movie. Elrond talks about Khazad-dûm and how his friend Prince Durin IV will do it when he arrives. Tables full of salt pork! says Elrond.
Mmm Salt pork.
Of course they arrive at the door and the dwarf at the entrance tells them to scream. After some shifting, Elrond invokes the right of Sigin-tarâg, which basically means that instead of being direct and talking about their feelings, Durin and Elrond are going to chip away at boulders until one of them calls out “uncle”.
But before we get to all that. A minute for Khazad-dûm, which is alive as hell, full of green and light and no balrogs.
Anyway, Elrond ends up losing the stone-breaking contest, and on the way out, he finally gets Durin to tell him why he’s angry. And BOY is he angry.
“YOU MISSED MY WEDDING! THE BIRTH OF MY CHILDREN!” Trust me, caps are guaranteed here. Elrond has been gone for 20 years and now he’s back with an amazing business opportunity.
Hear me out: Elrond is your high school friend who messages you out of nowhere and wants you to #GirlBoss your way into a monogrammed bag empire.
Durin has to explain that 20 years may not be much for an elf, but it’s a long time for a dwarf to let his friend read.
Elrond is apologetic, but he is also sly and asks for an apology from Durin’s wife, Princess Disa.
Another part is like a domestic comedy where Disa and Durin argue about whether Elrond stays for dinner and she chastises them for being petty to each other. We get the adorable exclamation, “Aulë’s beard!” (Aulë is the Vala who created the dwarves cute.)
Disa is adorable and eventually wears Durin down to hear Elrond’s proposal through sheer sentimentality.
Later, Durin goes to speak with his father, King Durin III, about why Elrond has appeared. Durin’s dad raises the idea of whether Elrond is hip to what they’re hiding down in Khazad-dûm. He opens the box. We can’t see what’s inside – it’s very brief Pulp-Fiction vibes – but whatever it is, it glows.