Surprisingly, I actually did find myself enjoying this episode – well, the filmmaking anyway. It has been a longstanding complaint of mine that the show just isn’t anywhere near good when it comes to the filmmaking. The directing, editing, cinematography, etc. tends to be decent at best, but nothing more than that. Well, I wouldn’t say it was particularly great here either, but it was actually pretty decent, so after the piece of shit that was that last episode, I’ll settle for anything. The opening scenes setting up the wildfyre thing were very well done. Well directed, the pacing was good, maybe it went on a little too long, but overall, well done. For once, I was glad they actually shut the characters up and relied on the visuals to tell the story. The music in this scene was very good, the first time it’s been good this season. Although the episode plodded along later on, moving from one perfunctory scene to the next, wrapping up the season’s storylines, the filmmaking at least was still decent.
But decent only gets you so far. A great director can make a good film out of a bad script. A decent director, well.. he can create an object that’s a bit shiny on the outside, but the moment you look inside, you start seeing it’s full of shit. I don’t really have many complaints about what took place in King’s Landing, except the whole bit with Cersei torturing Septa Unella. This is either just more audience pandering or a feeble attempt at evoking a complex response from their audience (something that Cersei’s Walk of Shame actually accomplished remarkably well in the book, in the show much less so, far less). Considering just how much they love Cersei, I’m going to go with the former. She also doesn’t show much emotion when Tommen dies (such a strong woman!) and ultimately is crowned Queen (seemingly nobody protests – well, I guess she’s the only royalty left now since she’s killed everyone). I want to say that they’re finally going to have Jaime go his separate way from Cersei after all this, but who knows.
Arya meanwhile has somehow stolen some faces, found her way into the Twins, killed a couple of Freys, killed Walder Frey, and nobody seems to notice. This was stupid, but it wasn’t the only instance of magical teleportation in this episode. Varys is seen in Dorne as expected helping the Sand Snakes form an alliance with the Tyrells. Then, by the end of the episode, he’s… back with Dany on her ship. What? And how did the Sand Snakes get back to Dorne in the first place after having killed Trystane on a ship in King’s Landing?
And if you still doubted the fact that Benioff and Weiss love Tyrion, well… now we know that St. Tyrion is basically going to be ruling by proxy. Dany tells Daario to fuck off… or rather stay in Meereen and keep the peace while she fucks off to Westeros at the suggestion of Tyrion (“Nobody tells me to do anything,” says she, with a steely determination – such a strong woman!) and then names Tyrion Hand of the Queen. This scene was just weird and awkwardly done.
Sansa meanwhile apologizes for not telling Jon about the army (so she’s not completely stupid, just mostly stupid), tells Jon he’s a Stark to her (I laughed out loud at this line), but by the end of the episode, when the North declares for Jon as King in the North at the behest of a 10-year-old girl (such a strong wo.. er, girl!), according to Benioff and Weiss, Sansa’s not happy about it and she doesn’t trust him now. Well, actually, amazingly, this makes sense because it doesn’t make sense why they would declare for a bastard in the first place, but then again, most of the houses and their culture and whatnot, it’s all been completely inconsistent, all dependent on when it’s convenient for the plot, so hey, Jon Snow is King in the North! Yay, fan service. Speaking of which, Bran is dropped off at the Wall by Uncle Benjen and immediately goes into Three-Eyed Raven mode and returns to the Tower of Joy, which we rather arbitrarily left the last time around and this return is just as arbitrary. We get confirmation that Jon Snow is in fact a true Stark, and that’s about it. Now, everyone on the forums can go crazy about how their theories were true, thank Benioff and Weiss, and rate this episode a 10 on IMDb!
You know, the last episode was so bad I honestly thought of quitting this show altogether. After this episode, well.. I’m still thinking about it, but I’m not as certain. At the same time, sitting through nine episodes of dreck to get to one halfway decent/not quite as nonsensical by comparison episode doesn’t really seem like a good use of my time, which I can use to watch or read something that’s actually good, so yeah, I will most likely not watch the next seasons. Then again, the next two seasons are supposedly going to be much shorter than usual, so if that turns out to be true, I may still watch it, just for completeness’ sake. We’ll see, but for now, season 6 is finally done.
Episode Grade: C+
Filmmaking Grade: B-
Overall Season Grade: C