TV Shows

Game of Thrones – “The Red Woman” (Season 6, Episode 1)


Game of Thrones is back… and it’s as painfully average as ever.

Let’s break this down scene by scene, shall we?

So we begin with a very nice shot – probably the best and only interesting shot of the episode – that eases us into the end of the last episode (a pretty terrible Mother’s Mercy) and we see… Jon’s body lying there in the snow. What? OK, this makes no sense in so many ways, I’m going to tell you about all of them. First off, it made no sense for Alliser Thorne and Bowen Marsh and Olly, etc., to kill Jon – because their reasoning seemed to be that Jon let the Wildlings in, which makes no sense because if they didn’t like the idea of Jon bringing in the Wildlings, they shouldn’t have allowed him. Remember, Thorne was the one who raised the gate and allowed them in. Now, after the Wildlings are already there, what exactly are they going to do? Fight them? Don’t the Wildlings outnumber them? In the book it made sense because, one, Thorne’s not involved, and two, the reason Bowen Marsh and the rest attack Jon is because of the fact that he wants to go to war on Winterfell and the Boltons. For them (Bowen Marsh and co.) it’s just another perceived offense in a series of perceived offenses and it proves to be the last straw. But, OK, fine, so they kill him and then they… leave his body there? Thorne goes off to give some long, dreary speech to the Night’s Watch, and then they come back for the body? They could have easily burned his body, killed Ghost (who by the way seems to show up whenever the showrunners want him to and then just disappears forever – so I guess his name has proven prophetic in this show), and they’d have no problems whatsoever. Obviously, it’s a plot convenience (and not even the worst one in this episode), but come on.

So next we’re reminded for the 456th time that Ramsay is a psychopath (I can almost picture Benioff and Weiss chuckling to themselves as they wrote that scene: “I’ll bet they won’t see that coming huehuehuehue!”). He says he’s sent some men after Sansa and Theon and that some of his best hounds are after them… Sansa and Theon are fleeing and Sansa’s afraid of the cold water and Theon has to convince her to wade through it because he knows what Ramsay’s dogs are capable of (so that’s the second time they’ve been mentioned), yet later when the men actually find them and Brienne fends them off, the dogs seem to just… vanish. They don’t even show us like a shot of them being killed or running away or something – anything. Nothing. And don’t think I’m being nitpicky here because it’s not like one of those minor continuity errors involving shirt buttons or something, they very clearly mention the hounds a couple of times to stress upon the viewer how dangerous they are. And how is it that Batman and Robin Brienne and Pod just keep popping up everywhere the script requires them to? I mean, Brienne somehow manages to find Stannis in the middle of a battle/massacre, kill him, and then leave without anyone noticing her. She then shows up here out of nowhere (yes, I know she was following Sansa but again that doesn’t excuse the plot convenience here) again. This battle, by the way, much like a lot of the battles on the show, is pretty poorly directed and edited. It’s just an incomprehensible mess.

The Jaime and Cersei scene was okay, as was the scene with Margaery, but then we get Dorne. Ugh, Dorne. So Ellaria and the Sand Snakes are now kinslayers and it seems everyone in Dorne hates Doran (something that was never properly set up before this scene) so they’re okay with him being murdered. Then, two of the Sand Snakes kill Trystane on a ship that’s in King’s Landing. Hang on, what? We pretty clearly saw all the Sand Snakes on the harbor when Jaime’s ship left at the end of Mother’s Mercy. So which ship is Trystane on? Is it Jaime’s? If that’s the case, then how did those two Sand Snakes get there? This is way beyond mere plot contrivance. This just shows to me that Benioff and Weiss probably don’t think things through – certainly not beyond the season they’re doing, but sometimes I wonder if they even think things through on a scene by scene basis.

Tyrion and Varys take a walk through Meereen and Tyrion basically recaps last season for Varys and for the viewers. OK, are the people of Meereen okay with a dwarf ruling them? What was their reaction to this bit of news? Why do we spend so much time on inconsequential shit like this exposition-based scene and never see stuff that actually matters? And now Varys has little birds here as well? And he’s so smart that he’s out speaking about them in the open? I mean, heck, there’s even a shot that makes it seem like someone’s snooping on their conversation. Oh, and Dany’s fleet is now burned. What fleet, you might ask? That one that Daario randomly “won” a couple of seasons ago but that everyone seemingly forgot about. Also, if the Sons of the Harpy are behind this… well, why would they burn the ships? Do they want Dany to remain in Meereen? Meanwhile, Aragorn and Legolas Jorah and Daario stumble upon the scene from where Dany was taken by the Dothraki. Daario calls Jorah a romantic because, well, you know, he’s an old guy who constantly creeps on a much younger woman and is considered by many on the internet to be “friendzoned.” Oh and let’s not forget, he’s infected with Greyscale but seems to have had no problem bringing that in to Meereen and he even seemed fine with touching Dany like that. Oh and look, another plot convenience: Jorah just so happens to be standing right over that clue that Dany left for them! Dany meanwhile has been enslaved by the Dothraki – and this scene makes no sense because nobody seems to recognize her – even after she calls herself “Khaleesi.” I mean, forget the whole mother of dragons thing, forget the fact that she’s so unique looking you won’t find anyone who looks like her on that continent, but when Khal Drogo married her, he actually introduced her to all of the other Khals, so they should know her – ideally. But of course, it’s just another nonsensical scene in an episode chock full of them, so hey, points for consistency I guess!

Arya meanwhile is still blind and being beaten up by the Waif. Am I supposed to care about any of this?  Because I don’t.

Finally, we get the big Melisandre scene, which I thought was really just a stupid scene to end on, honestly. I mean, I guess this scene was supposed to be shocking or something, but again it doesn’t make sense because it’s implied here (as it was in the book) that the necklace she wears has some sort of power, so when she removes it, she looks her true age – except we’ve already seen her, without the necklace, naked, back in season 4 I think, so of course they’re just going to pretend as if that never happened. They did the same thing back last season with the whole “two leeches, two kings” thing and they’re doing it here again. Honestly, with every new episode that they write, I get the feeling that Benioff and Weiss have absolutely no clue what they’re doing.

Grade: C+


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