Monday, May 09, 2016

Oathbreaker

This week's episode of Game of Thrones picked up where the last left off, with the long expected "unexpected return" of Jon Snow. I'd hoped for a bit more insight into what Melisandre makes of his resurrection, though actress Carice van Houten did make the character's shock plainly clear on her face. The episode circled back around to end at the Wall too, with the execution of Jon Snow's executioners, and his apparent resignation from the Night's Watch. He's served until his death, as his oath required, so seems legit to me.

But the Night's Watch plot doesn't stop at the Wall anymore, as we checked in on Sam and Gilly in their voyage to Oldtown. Sam's plan to set Gilly up with his family seems fraught with potential disaster. This is the family that sent him to the Wall in the first place, after all. We'll see what drama develops in the weeks to come.

We're also in "wait and see" mode with Daenerys. I continue to hope she can somehow affect her own rescue -- not that I can see what good Jorah and Daario would be against all those Dothraki. (A dragon, on the other hand...) Yet it's certainly unclear how Dany could help herself at this point.

Things stayed mostly as is in Meereen as well. (I'm just not sure the revelation of who is funding the Harpies is that... well, revelatory.) Still, we got a series of nice character moments. It's been a while since we've seen Varys doing what he does best -- gathering information. (And nice that he makes a point of how torture isn't the best means of doing that.) And while I could grouse that Tyrion did absolutely nothing to advance the plot this week, his attempt at conversation was a nice lighter moment in an otherwise serious episode. 

There were a couple of bones thrown toward book readers this week. Or, in the first case, a bit of a cruel tease. Bran's sequence this week jumped back to a pivotal past moment long talked about in the books (and the show). Bran wanted to see what happens next at that tower as much as the audience did, but was denied by the Three-Eyed Raven (and the writers). Seriously, dammit, we were right there! But no, confirmation of the longest running theory in this whole epic tale will have to come another week. Way to get the audience re-engaged in what happens to Bran, though.

Then there were the events in King's Landing, as Jaime and Cersei found themselves on the outside of a disgruntled council. There's still a rather dramatic development from the books yet to transpire in said council, a development involving a character nowhere near the city in the show. This episode might have sown seeds suggesting we could get to the same destination by a very different road... depending on just what you think Jaime and Cersei might be willing to do. And how will Tommen play into their plans? The young king seems clearly influenced by whoever is in front of him at any given moment, as the High Sparrow demonstrated this week. But Tommen's going to get a lot more face time with Cersei than him, I would think.

Over in Braavos, a girl now has her sight back. And all it cost her was her own sense of identity. The way this sequence played out, it seems impossible that Arya could have deceived the Faceless Men in any way. So is this the end of her list, her family, the things she formerly cared about? And did you notice how cleverly this sequence reminded everyone about Arya's youngest brother Rickon...

...just in time to have him reappear on the scene! Ramsay Bolton has lost one Stark but gained another. Poor Rickon (and his Wildling guardian Osha) have landed themselves in serious hot water. But there's reason to believe a rescue could be coming (from a few possible people). George R.R. Martin has laid a bit of track in this direction in the books, but here again, it seems like we're heading to the same destination by a different route. (Which preserves some fun for readers if Martin ever manages to finish the next book.)

Peaks and valleys are expected in the telling of a good story, but it does seem to me overall, the writers may have pumped the brakes a bit too much this week. But I'd give this week a B+.

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