Show: Game of Thrones
Watched: Episode 52 – May 1, 2016
Summary: Jon Snow is mostly dead
NOTE: SERIOUS SPOILER WARNING. This review/discussion contains tons of spoilers about the episode and even ones crossing over from the books. It’s really my free-for-all musing given all the information at my disposal.
Plot threads are unraveled and discussed one by one.
Bran – sleeps under the Green Man / 3 eyed raven’s tree, both white eyed. We then flashback / raven dream to the Winterfell courtyard and the much anticipated “young Ned” sequences. Seems Bran and the raven can ghost in on these memory visions. Ned and Brandon and Benjen are sparring, and Lyanna Stark rides in. I always thought of her as a younger sister, but here she is a few years older than Ned. Hard to tell which one Ned is too, I had always assumed Benjen was the youngest, and Brandon was obviously older. Hodor is there too, as a giant boy named Willas who actually talks, and Old Nan isn’t quite so old. Wonder how he got “Hodorized”?
Bran is then yanked out of his vision by the crow, and like a drug addict is kinda pissed. A child of the forest is hanging out but Hodor carries Bran outside to find Meera taking in the icy scenery. She’s clearly bored with this whole vision quest, but Bran tells her war is coming (not winter, that’s already here in Iceland?) and the child of the forest warns her that he will need her when he leaves this place. Clearly from the dialog Bran has been spending beaucoup time holed up in the cave.
But did we mention how much older he looks? Season 4 Bran was already rocking the pubs but now he’s barely recognizable. Plus he got a haircut at the the raven tree salon. Meera looks older too, and so do a number of cast members.
Cersei Jaime – Some tavern in King’s Landing where some idiot is talking shit about Cersei. Did this guy just arrive from across the Narrow Sea yesterday? Miss out on what happens to people who mock the Lannisters? Like that tongueless bard! Sure enough, later he’s taking a leak in a deserted alley when Franken-Gregor, alerted by his anti-Cersei evil magic senses, bashes his head in. Almost comic relief in the casual way he uses his physical power.
Cersei is in her room, which seems like her full time job lately, when Franken-Gregor returns, bloody gauntlet and all (nice touch). They head out to Myrcella’s funeral only to be stopped by Tommen’s guards who insist she can’t leave the keep. She backs down but Franken-Gregor is probably upset he didn’t get to mash in their brains too.
Then Jaime and Tommen are in the sept with Myrcella’s body, funny glass eyes and all. Jaime supports Cersei in their discussion, urging Tommen to visit his mother. Tommen is feeling impotent and doesn’t even want to face her. The High Septon strolls in and Tommen in a rare fit of assertion asks to see his wife. He’s refused, but kudos for trying. After he leaves, Jaime and the Sparrow face off. Jaime contemplates just killing him, but a goon squad of sparrows show up, possibly including even his lame cousin. Jaime also looks much older, and while this segment is slightly stilted, he still has a trademark line in “the gods won’t mind, they’ve spilled more blood than all of us combined.”
Next, Cersei is taking in the gorgeous view of Dubrovnik when Tommen finally shows up. He apologizes and of course she forgives him — he is, after all, her only remaining child and we all know the Queen-mother loves her kids.
Tyrion – is doing what he does best, drinking and knowing things (and making excellent quips). This is in the company of Misandei, and the 2 men, no balls team of Grey Worm and Varys. There are, of course, eunuch jokes, but for whatever reason Varys has nothing amusing to say this week. We learn offhand that the other Slaver’s Bay cities (taken in season 3) have fallen (again) to the Masters. Boy, GRRM (and D&B) have done their best to stall Dany’s plot line. Tyrion, however, going into new territory is all up on his dragon research and knows that dragons don’t do well chained up in the basement, they aren’t even eating.
So our favorite little person (with an abnormally taciturn Varys in tow), heads down into the cellar of Diocletian’s — I mean Dany’s, Palace. We already saw last year how fond this duo is of roasted human, so it is only the confidence that they didn’t intend to write Tyrion (yet) that we can stomach his tip toe out into the dark. Despite a few snarls, the dragons are remarkable receptive to his jokes. But how he is tall enough to pull off their collars is a bit of a mystery. In any case, the fact that the second dragon leans down to be freed does show that reptilian brains don’t have to be all about the base functions. He kids with Varys about the danger on the way out and I’m not even sure why, as the whole escapade went rather swimmingly considered.
In summary, a short but good segment because Tyrion delivers in classic form. We aren’t really this far with him in the books, but he is far less broody about his “role” in the deaths of Tywin and Shae in the show than in the novels. In fact, so far this season he seems to be enjoying himself.
Arya – is still begging in the alley when the Waif shows up again to give her a beating. It hardly goes any better than last time but at least she gives it the good Stark try. Speaking of, the Waif keeps asking her the now slightly tiresome question of who she is. Then so does a Jaqen H’ghar when he pops into view (or not if you’re Arya). He tempts her with this same question too, three times in fact, but her answers earn her a trip back to (presumably) the House of Black and White.
This segment, like last week, was too short to gain proper Arya momentum. They are probably fine in the context of watching the episodes back to back in a marathon, or even 2-3 a night, but once a week, serve as more of a tease than anything.
Ramsay – reports to Roose about the failure of his “best men.” (Where is Locke when you need him? That guy knew how to get some wet work done the “right” way.) Ramsay proposes an all out attack on castle black. Roose is more cautious, and cognizant of the political ramifications. But then we learn that Lady Walder has given birth to a son — uh oh. Ramsay gives his dad a congratulatory hug that has a real point to it — point of his dagger (conveniently tucked across the small of his back). Didn’t see that coming! Although it’s plenty Ramsay and symbolic payback for the very similar stab in the gut that Roose delivered to Robb Stark long ago. Nicely played too as Ramsay doesn’t look him in the eye.
Next up, a messy cleanup to some loose ends. Ramsay brings Lady Walder and her baby to the kennels and lets the dogs out. First off, Lady Walder is pretty spry for having given birth 5 minutes ago, and she displays a well composed mixture of terror and bravery. Shocking as it was, I wasn’t in love with the way Ramsay was written this week. Sure he’s a monster, but the tense relationship with his father has always added a great deal of depth to his monstrosity. His genuine surprise/pride when he is naturalized was really a great scene. Pulling Roose out of the equation just leaves him a loose canon. And he has no regard for Roose’s complex wave of alliances.
Sansa – is (winter) camping in the woods with Brienne, Pod, and Theon. But this is mostly a talk scene where Brienne tells Sansa what she knows of Arya (from their brief visit on the way to the Eerie) and when Brienne asks her about Winterfell the silence says more than the words. Then she thanks Theon, and he is very emotional about his (many) bad choices and his lackluster character. Seems though, with the protecting duties handed over to Brienne he’s off “home” to Pyke. Speaking of…
Greyjoys – Yarra and Balon are talking in the Kraken room. Yarra is looking A LOT older too. She’s gone cold on the war but Dad is still ready to die. Which is funny given that the Red Lady cursed him to expire way back in season 3 and he’s the only leech left standing. He storms out to the suitably storm rope bridge between buildings. We know that won’t end well. Sure enough, a hooded figure, presumably his brother Euron, meets him there. He’s the younger brother, and seemingly a much younger one at that. Euron makes a bunch of grand proclamations about being the Drowned God and/or the Storm and throws Balon off the bridge. I guess the leech worked after all, we just had to wait awhile on it. Really the whole Greyjoy story is delayed. In the books it’s in parallel to the Dorne story, but they have been sequenced here. So far this one looks better as the Sand Snakes were awful.
At Balon’s funeral, clearly Yarra and others don’t know who did it, although she swears vengeance. The priest is Aeron Damphair, another of her uncles, but clearly his role here is much diminished from the books (where I hated him). We learn that there is a Kingsmoot and that the next king must be elected.
Castle Black – Thorne still wants in. The guys inside draw their swords. Thorne’s dude uses a big hammer to smash at the door — then deus ex machina style, the giant Wun Wun smashes the main gate letting in Edd, Tormund, and the whole Wildling crew. They make short work of the surprised traitors (and what about the neutral Night’s Watch guys?). Anyway the giant does a nice smash on one trigger happy fellow, and unfortunately leaves Thorne and the even more despicable Olly alive to be dragged off to the dungeons. After, Edd and Giantsbane visit the corpse of Jon Snow.
Then Davos goes to see the Red Lady, who is still moping about in self pity, but has at least put her glamour back on. Uncharacteristically, Davos pitches Mel on using her magic to bring back Jon. This is a bit out of character, as he’s 1) a magic hater 2) not a Red Lady fan 3) doesn’t have too much obvious reason to be SO extreme for Jon, despite having liked him. Still, he sells it hard and well and makes some good jokes about his change of heart.
Mel gives it a good try, washing the body, cleaning the nasty stabs, the hair. She burns some hair, but seemingly that isn’t as good as leeches. Ghost spends the time chilling below Jon’s table. He is too cute. I want a white wolf. Next Mel lays on hands, tries some Valaryan, and even a simple “please.” None of this seems to work so Tormund, then Edd, then Davos all leave and, surprise…
Ghost notices something strange and Jon Snow opens his eyes.
I have to say I saw that coming. I predicted it would be the Red Lady’s magic too from way back when because it was setup so heavily and the only thing that made sense. And despite all the “protestations” from the cast and crew they just had to bring Jon back for all the work they spent (scriptwise) last season setting up R+L=J to make any sense. They only have so many minutes and they kept shoving in hints. If he was really dead, instead of “mostly dead” it wouldn’t have been worth the time.
So Overall, a great episode, with some really big turns and good moments: Jon’s return, giant slapping, head bashing, Bolton stabbing, Greyjoy tossing, and dragon baiting. I still want to see what is up with the show’s only current romantic couple, Sam and Gilly.
Again, I can’t believe we have to wait another week!