War looms in the Southlands in this week's episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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The Amazon Prime Video fantasy series follows on from last week's fourth episode, as Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) chose to answer the request from Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) to aid the citizens of the Southlands as they come under attack from dark forces.

This came after Míriel revealed her fears for the kingdom that had come from dark visions in a seeing stone, a Palantír.

However, the question remained whether the apparent heir to the throne of the Southlands, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), would journey with them to Middle-Earth.

Meanwhile, in the Southlands, we were introduced to the villainous leader of the Orcs, a dark elf named Adar (Joseph Mawle), but is he truly the returned Sauron?

Here is what happened in the latest episode of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

**Spoiler warning for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 5**

Rings of Power episode 5 recap: Partings

The Harfoot caravan on the move in The Rings of Power
The Harfoot caravan on the move in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

Overlooking the landscape near Rhovanion, Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) sits and teaches words and terms linked to Harfoot culture to The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), including the various "perils" they face. The Stranger fears that he himself is a "peril". Soon the pair rejoin the Harfoot caravan with the Brandyfoots and Poppy Proudfellow (Megan Richards) at the back. They sing as they continue their long journey. Poppy sings "This Wandering Day" as they walk through the Gray Marshes to Trout Bend and then to The Braids, a mountainous range. One night, Nori watches as The Stranger looks up at the stars.

Back where The Stranger first crashed in Rhovanion, a pale figure credited as The Dweller (Bridie Sisson) – with notable blue eyes and wearing a white robe and hood – inspects the crater, flanked by two other enigmatic figures, The Nomad (Edith Poor) and The Ascetic (Kali Kopae).

Why are they seeking The Stranger and who are they?

In the Southlands, the dark elf Adar (Joseph Mawle) tells an Orc that the part of him that feels the sun will soon be gone and to summon the legions. Is he turning into an Orc?

At the Watchtower, Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) speak to those gathered there and offer Adar’s ultimatum to them. Bronwyn calls upon those present to stand with her and fight the evil forces coming. Soon many of them volunteer to resist the Orcs.

However, Waldreg (Geoff Morrell) argues that they will not survive this and should follow him to swear fealty to Adar. Eventually, many leave with Waldreg and despite his attempts to persuade him, Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) chooses not to go. A nice surprise.

The Dweller, played by Bridie Sisson, in The Rings of Power
The Dweller, played by Bridie Sisson, in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

In Númenor, Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Isildur (Maxim Baldry) prepare the ships to leave for Middle-Earth. Isildur asks to be chosen from the volunteers to go as he has been rejected but Elendil notes that he is not of the Sea Guard, the Queensguard or other groups and he has not committed himself enough to be chosen to go.

In the palace, Elendil's daughter Eärien (Ema Horvath) tries to speak with chancellor Pharazôn (Trystan Gravelle) as she opposes the expedition, as do others. Pharazôn's son Kemen (Leon Wadham) is encouraged by Eärien to speak louder when it comes to his views against the mission.

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At the blacksmith's shop, Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) is retrieved by guards and taken to Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) where he advises on where the enemy will progress. Halbrand is less keen to return to Middle-Earth than Galadriel suggested but the elf comments he will want to fight. Galadriel reveals that five ships and 500 people will go to the Southlands to help his people and place a crown upon his head but Halbrand refuses to go. The guy does not want to face his responsibilities.

In a sinister bare forest in Middle-Earth, Malva (Thusitha Jayasundera) notes to Sadoc Burrows (Sir Lenny Henry) that some in the Harfoot caravan are concerned that the Brandyfoots are holding them up. The group soon comes under attack from large wolves after Nori first notices their tracks. However, before one can attack Nori, The Stranger throws one away before he uses magic strike on the floor to repel them and drive them away. The action leaves marks on The Stranger’s arm.

Trystan Gravelle plays Pharazôn in The Rings of Power.
Trystan Gravelle plays Pharazôn in The Rings of Power. Matt Grace/Prime Video

In Númenor, Galadriel and Elendil watch outside as the volunteers train, with Elendil suggesting that Galadriel tutor them. Galadriel asks them to try and strike her flesh and Elendil notes that whoever is successful will be promoted to lieutenant. Both of Isildur’s friends attempt it as Halbrand watches, amused. Soon a whole group attempts to take on Galadriel in combat as Isildur approaches to watch. However, Isildur's friend Valandil (Alex Tarrant) is successful and is promoted to lieutenant.

Meanwhile, Kemen approaches his father Pharazôn and asks about moving against the expedition, noting the chancellor’s dislike for taking orders from an elf. Pharazôn claims that when this is over it will be Elves who take orders from the men of Númenor. Pharazôn hopes that once Halbrand is installed as King of the Southlands, they will have much trade and land as a result of their plans. Pharazôn is thinking long-term for Númenor but we think he is a danger to watch.

In the palace tower, Queen Regent Míriel speaks with her father Tar-Palantír (Ken Blackburn) about the plans for the expedition and he asks her to not go to Middle-Earth; warning her that darkness awaits her there. Oh, dear.

Back in the forest, Nori noticed that The Stranger has his hand in a pool of water and it is freezing around his arm. Nori touches him but her hand and arm begin to freeze too. As The Stranger chants, his incantation ends with Nori being thrown away by an unseen force. Nori flees terrified when The Stranger goes near her. The trees around him begin to move.

In the elven kingdom of Lindon, Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) dines with Elrond (Robert Aramayo), Lord Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) and High King Gil-galad (Ben Walker). Durin notes that the material that the table is made from is sacred to his people and Gil-galad apologises and offers it to the Prince.

Ben Walker as High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power
Ben Walker as High King Gil-galad in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

Later, Gil-galad is confronted by Elrond about the true purpose of his visit to the dwarf city of Khazad-dûm. The pair recall a song of how the sacred jewels of the Silmaril had been formed when an elf and a Balrog of Morgoth fought over a tree and how this tree was then struck by lightning, and the roots of the tree fed an ore into the roots of the mountain: Mithril. As he realises what the High King now wishes to obtain, Elrond claims that he can’t betray the secrets of the Dwarves but Gil-galad soon confides that the light of the Eldar is failing and the Elves may soon come to destruction in Middle-Earth as their own trees begin to rot, corrupt and die. Elrond does not want to betray his oath but Gil-galad presses that should the Elves on Middle-Earth fall then so shall all peoples to the armies of darkness.

In a tavern on Númenor, Isildur's friend Ontamo (Anthony Crum) speaks with his betrothed when Isildur approaches him and Valandil. Isildur apologises and asks to be taken with them to Middle-Earth. Isildur offers them free hits to his body but Valandil refuses him after a brief beating, commenting he doesn’t have the commitment and ability to make sacrifices.

On one of the ships that are ready to depart, Kemen sneaks on board and attempts to start a fire by leaking alcohol on board. However, Kemen overhears that Isildur has stowed away onboard. Isildur realises what Kemen is doing and struggles with him but Kemen's lantern is dropped and a fire starts. Attempting to escape, Kemen is struck on the head and collapses. Isildur rescues Kemen and lies for him, who in return states to Elendil that Isildur saved his life. Two of the ships are destroyed by the fire.

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Ben Rothstein/Prime Video

Watching the disaster from the palace, Galadriel tries to persuade Queen Regent Míriel that this is an attempt to dissuade her from her mission. Pharazôn then tries to convince Míriel to abandon the mission. Elendil asks for orders on Halbrand who the Queen Regent tells Galadriel to bring to their discussions. The council will convene to discuss the next morning.

In Lindon, Lord Celebrimbor apologises to Elrond for not revealing the true nature of Gil-galad’s objectives. Elrond is asked once again to betray Durin to obtain Mithril to save the Elves and bathe them in the light of the Valar. Celebrimbor recalls Elrond’s father’s departure to complete his own mission and how Elrond's mother tried to stop him but he noted he was the only one to complete the mission. Was this now Elrond's own situation?

In Númenor, Galadriel approaches Halbrand and asks him to attend the meeting with Míriel. Halbrand notes how he once fought with the enemy and reveals that if the truth of his past were revealed then Númenor and she would abandon him. Halbrand says he swore never to return to Middle-Earth and asks why Galadriel keeps fighting. In response, Galadriel reveals that her brother was lost to the forces of Sauron and now she cannot stop. Apologising to Galadriel, Halbrand makes clear his remorse. However, Galadriel calls on him to find his own peace by returning to Middle-Earth and fighting.

Meanwhile, Waldreg and his followers arrive at the camp of Adar and his Orcs to swear fealty. Swearing undying service and loyalty to Sauron who he believes Adar is – although the dark elf does not confirm this – Waldreg is then approached by Adar who throws him to the floor. Waldreg is then ordered by Adar to kill Theo's friend Rowan (Ian Blackburn) to make a blood oath and bind him to Adar. It's not looking good for Rowan.

Bronwyn, Arondir and Theo in The Rings of Power
Bronwyn, Arondir and Theo in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

At the Watchtower, Arondir tutors Theo on how to shoot an arrow but Theo questions Arondir’s decision to stay with the mortals and the elf responds it's because some of the humans chose to stay. Theo then decides to show Arondir the Hilt. Arondir reveals he has seen it before and finds a statue in the Watchtower wall that depicts it opening a person. Arondir later tells Bronwyn that it is a key to controlling the people of the Southlands. Bronwyn responds that they have days or hours until the enemy arrives. Arondir is resolved to survive the fight to come but Bronwyn considers surrendering to Adar. Despite Arondir trying to convince her otherwise, Bronwyn is convinced that this is how her people once survived and will in future. Arondir hopes to stop Adar from obtaining the weapon but Bronwyn is convinced that the Watchtower will fall to the enemy. Where has the fighting spirit gone from earlier, Bronwyn?

Meanwhile, Adar’s army marches in its masses and approaches the Watchtower. It is not looking good for the humans there and we doubt backup will arrive quickly.

In Lindon, the Elves carry the table to be taken to Khazad-dûm. An amused Elrond realises that Durin lied about the table and the pair chuckle. Elrond then admits what weighs on his heart and reveals that he was asked to visit Durin for the Elves’ need of Mithril. Elrond admits that they need the ore or else they will need to depart Middle-Earth or stay and perish. Durin recognises that the fate of the entire Elven race is in his hands. Amused by the power trip, Durin asks Elrond to keep repeating this fact. In response, Durin agrees to help but notes that he first needs to persuade his father, King Durin III. High King Gil-galad is seen observing the pair.

Three ships set sail from Numenor in The Rings of Power
Three ships set sail from Numenor in The Rings of Power Amazon Studios

On Númenor, in the blacksmith's shop, Halbrand is summoned but he leaves his ancestral necklace behind on the table before then returning and seizing it again. Nice bluff there, Amazon.

Joining the expedition, Halbrand dons armour and marches with Queen Regent Míriel and Elendil. A distressed Eärien watches as Isildur and his friends march out of Númenor and to the ships.

On one of the ships, Elendil commands Isildur to report to the horse master to sweep the stables, to the amusement of his son's friends. The soldiers stand to attention as an armoured Galadriel boards the deck and approaches Halbrand and the pair lock arms in unity. Elendil then orders the ship to set sail for Middle-Earth and they depart Númenor for their destination.

Verdict

Trystan Gravelle (Pharazôn), Leon Wadham (Kemen)
Trystan Gravelle as Pharazôn and Leon Wadham as Kemen in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Ben Rothstein/Amazon Studios

Overall, this episode felt like it was moving pieces into place for more notable plot advancements (don't say filler). We now know who is heading to Middle-Earth from Númenor and Halbrand appears to be claiming his heritage in the Southlands, just in time as Adar looks set to slaughter those who do not swear fealty there.

The episode also makes clear that there is a political divide under the surface in Númenor and that maybe the Queen Regent should not trust her cousin, Pharazôn.

Elsewhere, we see more and more evidence of The Stranger's magical abilities and now see that he is being pursued by a trio of enigmatic figures (this series has no shortage of those).

Finally, we have some revision of Tolkien lore regarding the Silmarils and Mithril but will make for an intriguing dynamic between the Elves and Dwarves going ahead.

Hopefully, next week will give some of the answers and developments we seek.

Read more on The Rings of Power:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video – try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days. If you’re looking for something else to watch in the meantime, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Fantasy hub.

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