The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episode 6 “Udun”, Recap & Ending Explained: Prime Video’s flagship original series might have just gotten its best episode yet. Having said that, the praise is relative to the other episodes. While the quality of production remains pristine, the actual use of the resources is worryingly woeful. It is almost as if the makers want to give netizens and inspiring comics a gold mine to fee off with their show. Viewers have been waiting for the story to pick up the pace and “Udun” is probably the episode that gives the show a lifeline. There is minimal exposition and maximum action and fighting between the Men and the Orcs. “Udun” feels streamlined and can better present the show’s most compelling narratives. Far away from Harfoots and the Elf-Dwarves bittersweetness, the “Men vs. Orcs” and, at times, “Men vs. Men” tangent seems the best one.
There is also the making of a place we are all so familiar with, having dreaded it in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy movies. It is also the episode where we get some of our burning questions answered cryptically. But do not worry, for we are here to decipher them all. There is also a reasonably well-versed theory in the given context and Tolkien’s books. Certainly, it is grounded in facts that will probably unfurl by the finale of season 1. Read our recap and ending explainer of episode 6 of The Rings of Power, “Udun,” below.
The Rings of Power (Season 1), Episode 6 “Udun” Recap
Adar and his orcs prepare for the final assault to take the tower. Waldreg, too is among them, indicating he did the murder, Tom. Adar gives a rousing speech, marching his army toward the tower. The tower is abandoned, yet Adar is sure that Arondir remains — “I can smell him,” he tells one of his officers. He’s right, of course, but he failed to anticipate the trap he’s just walked into. Unbeknownst to them, Bronwyn and Arondir have a plan in place. They evacuated the tower and took steady on the plain ground behind it. Arondir is the only one in the tower’s vicinity and has set a trap to ensnare the orcs and then destroy the tower. He does that with precision and grace, mostly killing them all. The plan is successful as Arondir rides back to the people to give them the good news. From there, he and Bronwyn lead the people back to the village to prepare for any enemies that might have escaped.
Isildur and Galadriel meet for the first time. The ships in the expedition are about to hit land and make their way toward the enemy. She instantly recognizes him as Elendil’s son. Galadriel’s keen Elvish senses make the land visible to her way before anyone else. As the first of the sun rays make their way, the land becomes visible to the naked eye. Elendil informs the queen that they’re about to reach the shores. Regent orders him to signal the other ships to make haste. It will take another two days to reach the Vale. Arondir tries to break the key, but it is beyond him. He instead hides it from everyone’s sight, but Theo keeps a close watch. Some orcs have escaped and have been sighted making their way to the village.
Arondir orders the people to draw the enemy close and not attack until the last of the orcs has crossed the bridge. Both he and Bronwyn try to encourage the people and make them believe in the cause. The night arrives, and the men wait for the orcs to attack. Arondir spots them coming towards them and readies the men. Bronwyn needs to light a fire to start it, but she is unable to. She fights off an Orc and uses his fire stick to light a fire. It rolls off into their path. The archers stationed on the rooftops attack them as they hear toward the tavern. They are surprised by a raging party of villagers fighting for the Southlands. In the unlikeliest conclusions, the men come out on top.
(Fun Fact: One of Bronwyn’s speeches to Theo in the episode just before this attack starts is taken from “The Two Towers.” “This shadow is but a small and passing thing,” she tells him, echoing Sam’s words to Frodo at the end of “The Two Towers.” “There is light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. Find the light, and the shadow will not find you.”)
Men being victorious against all odds is not something unfamiliar to the show and the movies’ shared universe. It usually happens with a triumphant hoo-rah of energy. But Arondir notices something unusual on one of the bodies. A large part of the enemy bands they fought and killed were men disguised as orcs. They had been masked to preclude the men from seeing their faces. And now the orcs begin their real attack. This time, they have outdone the men. They all fall back to the Keep. In the sea of inflowing arrows, Bronwyn is injured, and Arondir carries her to safety. Using the Alfirin seeds, Arondir burns the wounds on Bronwyn to close them down. She is saved. But the men are surrounded in the tavern, and Adar leads the orcs toward them.
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On the other hand, Galadriel leads the men on horses toward the village. The orcs are finally able to break through, and Adar walks in to take charge. He asks Arondir for the key. When the Elf asks Adar to let the people go, he orders the orcs to start killing them unless he gives up the hilt. When it comes to Bronwyn, Theo suddenly exclaims he knows its location. “Under here,” he says and digs it out. Adar finally had it in his hands but saw the Numenoreans ambush them in hordes. Their onslaught is ruthless and precise. Galadriel goes after Adar, who tries to escape with the hilt. She gains tremendous ground on him despite starting way back. Halbrand attacks from the other side and pins Adar down. As he is about to kill Adar, Galadriel stops him. Adar killed someone close to Halbrand, but it isn’t revealed who.
The Numenoreans save the day. Galadriel assembles a company to seek out the party of the escaped orcs. But before that, she must get answers out of Adar. Adar is one of the Moriondors, the first orc created by Morgoth when he attacked the Valar. But even the Moriondors are servants and serve a master. Galadriel asks him who his master is and seeks Sauron. Adar reveals that after Morgoth’s defeat, Sauron sought to heal Middle Earth. He tried to forge a power over the flesh by using a dark shadow in the north. His tale sounds familiar and reminds us of a person we have seen hidden in plain sight as the biggest enemy.
“Udun” Ending Explained
What place does the Hilt create after it is placed in the hole?
His ambitious aspirations led to Adar killing Sauron. Galadriel calls the orcs slaves, but Adar calls them his children. He says they serve no master and still maintain they will make these lands their home. Galadriel takes a pledge to eradicate Adar’s kind and kill him the last. Halbrand stops Galadriel from killing Adar in her rage. But he still isn’t able to recall who Halbrand is.
Regent calls Bronwyn to meet Halbrand, their promised king. Galadriel hands over the hilt to arondir. Theo confesses to Arondir that he feels a loss of power when stripped of the hilt. Arondir gives it to him, but when Theo unwraps the cloth off the hilt, he is shocked to discover it is just an axe. Adar created a diversion by handing Waldreg the real hilt to unlock the door near the tower. In the best scene, we see Waldreg following Adar’s words and placing the key in the hole. A large stream of water then starts flowing towards the village. Suddenly, water starts bursting from many openings in the ground as the Orcs start chanting, “Udun.”
The water flows through the tunnels that the orcs have dug up. All of it falls into molten lava deep within the ground, causing an explosion in the volcano. Just like rockets, fireballs are shot towards the village from the volcano. The men and Galadriel helplessly run for cover. The black soot from the explosions covers the entire screen as it cuts to black. So, what did this ending mean? The mountain, which was previously believed to be a blessing (remember episode 2?), has suddenly turned into a fire-spitting volcano. For it is the treacherous Mount Doom!
Yes, indeed. Udun is a valley around Mount Doom where volcanic lava flows. The episode’s title referred to this burgeoning creation that will now last the cinematic universe thousands of years. And where there is Mount Doom, there is Sauron. We will see him shortly, too. Maybe not in his lethal form, but at least his true identity will be revealed. Want to know what we think it is? The answer is simple: Halbrand. Recontextualize Adar’s monologue when Galadriel questions him with Halbrand’s backstory. Chief amongst the clues was when Adar mentions he “pierced open” Sauron.
Just recalibrate, and it will all start making sense! This is not the fits time the dark lord has been mortally wounded. But every time, his spirit form has endured and returned to haunt his enemies. There is a reason why Adar could not remember Halbrand, who wanted to kill him for “something he did.” He did not kill a loved one; he killed the man himself, who then took the form and shape of another man.