In an ideal world, this show would be used in film schools and media studies to teach students how not to write a show, how not to write character arcs and story arcs… unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.
The episode picks up where we last left off… and continues the trend of random stuff being thrown at the screen with no buildup that Bran’s story has succumbed to. This time, Bran has now apparently “become” the Three-Eyed Raven and sent for his Uncle Benjen to help, yet when Bran comes out of his trance he doesn’t even seem to know who he is? Eh, whatever. We have a kind of okay action scene (okay from Game of Thrones standards, of course) although, as is typical of the show, the Wights now seem to have difficulty moving whereas last episode they were moving about as quickly as ants.
Sam and Gilly arrive at the Tarly’s place and you know what, I actually liked this scene. Also, it’s nice to see Gilly’s baby has finally grown up (in the matter of a few episodes). It was nice to see the Tarly family I thought, but ultimately most of this ended up being rather circular and confusing. It’s just a haphazard scene meant to give Sam a Valyrian sword.
King’s Landing… oh, King’s Landing. Man, I’m glad I didn’t pay attention to the High Sparrow’s speeches (well, I tried but they were so dull…) because it seems that was enough to brainwash Margaery and Tommen. Well, not really, I’m sure Margaery’s playing a game and has just seduced Tommen into it because he’s stupid and in love. Unfortunately, we’re then treated to another “us against the world” scene between Jaime and Cersei. How many times will they make us watch this scene? I thought we were moving past this a couple of seasons ago but apparently not.
Amazingly, Benioff and Weiss actually manage to find a way to make their love for Cersei even more insufferable, as Arya (who even knows what’s going on with her character now?) becomes sympathetic towards the actress playing Cersei after watching her act out a scene where she cries and grieves over the dead body of her “son.” Holy fuck. There’s a heavy-handed and calculated setup for Arya to reveal she’s called “Mercy” and now we’ve got Arya vs the Waif to look forward to. Luckily for us, Benioff and Weiss have done the thinking for us so that we needn’t worry our pretty little heads with stuff like characters that have shades of grey and all that sort of stuff (wasn’t Dakota Johnson in that one?) and the Waif has been portrayed as Evil™ so that people know whom to cheer for.
Walder Frey makes his first appearance since season 3, which leads me to a rather important question: Does he just perpetually remain in that great hall where the Red Wedding happened? Does he live there? Can’t Game of Thrones afford another set? David Bradley is great, but I have a feeling he’s going to be wasted this season much like Max von Sydow was.
Finally, we get an epic scene where Dany rides in on Drogon, tells the Dothraki about how the Sky People have sent them a message that they can take whatever they want… oh, wait, sorry, no, I just erased every word she was shouting (and honestly, Emilia Clarke just doesn’t convince me as a commanding leader) and replaced it in my head with a much better scene. I know what you’re thinking – you’re praising that piece of crap Avatar?? I’m sure you’re just itching to quote General Zod to me, but honestly, though I wouldn’t say Avatar had great writing (some of it is just barely passable), compared to Game of Thrones? It’s almost a masterpiece. It’s certainly more entertaining.
Not to mention, James Cameron is a far more talented director than all of the Game of Thrones directors combined, but… er… ahem, that’s besides the point. I digress.
Back to the point, I guess at this point the writers have decided that Dany’s storyline is going nowhere fast, so they’re just going to throw Dany fans a bone every now and again by giving her a big “epic” and “badass” scene (that makes no sense). Like, she suddenly has control over Drogon now? How? I’ve already suggested how it would have been better if Dany managed to tame Drogon somehow while living with the Dothraki and managed to get him under control there, but not on this fucking show. Instead, we completely skip over what would might have been considered a character arc or character development (of a sort) and rush headlong into more nonsense.