Game of Thrones drudges on with another dour, mechanical, and perfunctory episode – I thought last week’s episode had a lot of problems, but being boring wasn’t one of them. Here, it’s just indifferently filmed scene after scene after scene of people standing about and pontificating and delivering endless exposition. Character motivations continue to not make sense whatsoever.
The opening was actually decent, I thought, and probably one of only two scenes I actually liked and found semi-interesting. The flashback to young Ned and everything is something new and Bran’s newfound powers have the potential to turn out some interesting scenes in the future episodes (given they’re written well, of course). Over at The Wall though, I still don’t understand why anyone gives a shit about Jon’s body. Seriously. Why are Davos and the rest trying to protect it so much? Why do Thorne and the rest want it? Why doesn’t Davos give a shit about Stannis and/or Shireen? Did he not ask Melisandre about them? Why is he suddenly such a big fan of Jon? Why does he think Melisandre can resurrect Jon when he’s never actually seen anyone perform such a “miracle”? What, so just because she’s a sorceress, he thinks she can do stuff like that? Why are the Wildlings not at Castle Black? Where the hell did Dolorous Edd go to find them? And as I was saying last week, Thorne’s plane made no sense whatsoever – and this episode proves why. They’re all easily outnumbered and overtaken by the Wildlings. So Thorne, one of the most experienced members of the Night’s Watch, is apparently a dolt. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering they turned Stannis into such a complete fucking doofus in the last two episodes of the last season. And that final scene was so terribly underwhelming. I think by now pretty much everyone who follows the show and/or the books has guessed what might happen with Jon and how he might be resurrected, but the show goes out of its way to make it as disappointing as possible. For a show that prides itself over killing as many characters as it possibly can, this was a huge miscalculation. Now, maybe something will change and we’ll find out that Melisandre herself didn’t really do much or anything at all, but if not, it seems all you need to do is clean a dead body, cut the hair and trim the beard, throw it into the fire, and voila, that’s all that’s required to resurrect someone. Huh.
Meanwhile at King’s Landing we still have Jaime and Cersei being all sympathetic. It seems they can’t find the people who killed Trystane so my guess is that the Sand Snakes have found Littlefinger’s teleporter. Meanwhile, Ser Robert Strong kills a man in the street for making fun of Cersei. What, is he policing the streets now? Making sure no one insults the queen? They just have to find a way to squeeze in that extra death, don’t they? Speaking of which, Balon Greyjoy finally shows up and we get two long dialogue scenes before he’s mechanically offed – something that really should have happened a couple of seasons ago. I have multiple problems with this and I’m going to tell you all about them.
First off, here’s what doesn’t make sense to me: Over in Braavos, Arya is once again beaten up with a stick and asked what her name is, to which she responds “no one” as usual. OK, one, we’ve already seen this happen in the last episode, was it really necessary to repeat the same scene here again? They could have just as easily eliminated that scene from last week’s episode and simply done this scene and gotten the point across and saved screen time. Not to mention, we’ve already been here before! Last season – we’ve already been through the whole “no one” stuff with Arya, and now they’re just repeating the same thing over again. So they make room for pointless stuff like this, but somehow they don’t have time in a season (in two seasons!) to include an actually important plot point like Balon’s death? It’s not just another random death – Stannis burns three leeches (that have king’s blood in them) for three kings. That’s Melisandre’s magic/promise. Three kings should have died (at least they did in the book). The problem here is that they for some reason decided not to include Balon’s death, or maybe they just forgot, because of which they wrote themselves into a corner – so when it came time for Melisandre to convince Stannis that he should burn Shireen (in season 5), whatever other problems I may have had with that whole storyline, at the very least if she had said “remember, three leeches, three kings,” I would have said, OK, yeah, that’s evidence of her magic/powers – but no, not Benioff and Weiss (or B&W as I like to call them to reflect their simplistic writing). They wrote themselves into a corner, then instead of finding a way out of that corner, they proceeded to simply pretend the corner didn’t exist! Melisandre says “two leeches, two kings” and Stannis, being the doofus that he is, seemingly forgets there was ever a third leech, and at a point of seeming desperation actually goes through with the plan to burn Shireen! So they have time to waste on pointless scenes that don’t tell us anything new that hasn’t been told to us before, but they don’t have a way to include actual, crucial plot points that have long-lasting, far-reaching thematic and plot-related impact. This is ridiculous writing.
I did like the Theon/Sansa scene, although before that, I didn’t quite understand why Brienne would not tell Sansa that Arya was with The Hound. I guess it’s just not to worry her or something? Anyway, so Theon asks for a horse and says he’s going back home – so, what, he’s just gonna go all the way to the harbor alone on one horse? Hey, maybe he may even meet Gendry there, who could row him back to Pyke. Speaking of Pyke, the stuff at the Iron Islands was just tedious. I did like that bit where they do the big “reveal” shot of Euron removing his cloak – as if we’re meant to know him or something? Who is this guy? Looks like another generic dude. I don’t even have much to say about the Ramsay scene. Just more death scenes – the show has gotten to the point that feeding a woman and a baby to Ramsay’s hounds is a scene that leaves me indifferent. Oh and finally, one thing I almost forgot to mention, Tyrion. St. Tyrion continues to be elevated on a pedestal. He goes and meets the dragons and they’re quite receptive to him. I don’t know why they try to force that joke afterwards where Tyrion asks Varys to punch him the next time he tries something like that – it seemed to go just fine. I mean, I get it, it’s been a theory for a long time now that Tyrion may be a Targaryen or something of that sort but, one, his character has been so simplified and dumbed down over the years that every new thing like this just adds to his one dimensionality, and two, what does it say when the show has a male character come around and seem to just jive with the dragons while the “mother” of the dragons hasn’t managed to properly tame them or control them in the many years she’s had them? Oh well, at least we didn’t have any Missandei/Grey Worm romance thing, or more Sand Snakes this week, so I guess there’s always a silver lining at the end!