There was lots of water treading going on during this episode. Game of Thrones knew exactly what you wanted and it was going to make you wait for it.

Mother’s Milk(ing It)

Game of Thrones proved last night that it isn’t as smart as it thinks it is and that you shouldn’t leave a cliffhanger/fake-out in your season finale because everyone will figure it out. Am I being too harsh? Maybe. But I doubt it.

So Jon Snow isn’t dead, if you were worried about that. No, after two full episodes of prominently displaying his dead body, we finally saw Lord Commander wake up. Of course it was at the hands of Melissandre, the Red Woman and should-be leader of the Seven Kingdoms (if I had my druthers). Before we arrived at the resurrection, however, we were treated to Alliser Thorne getting a comeuppance of his own. No, he wasn’t the one who had his head smash against a wall, but the wildlings proved grateful to Jon Snow and stood loyal to him. It’s great to see those people we hate getting what’s coming to them. Granted, Thorne was lower on my list than other people, but it was certainly refreshing.

Higher on my list of people who deserve surprise visits from the God of Death, Ramsay Bolton proved that really is Joffrey 2.0. He killed his father, stepmother and INFANT HALF-BROTHER. I’m glad the show took the time to murder a baby (and two adults) because that is the type of teeth that films and TV have been lacking lately. As it should, the move cemented Ramsay as the most hated character on your endless list of Game of Thrones characters. Where his story goes, I don’t know, but he’s positioned exactly where the show needs him to be in order to lock down a big bad for the season.

In not-so-progressy news, Dany does not show up at all in the episode and Tyrion does pretty much nothing the whole time. We get a few back-and-forths between he and Dany’s inner circle and the show spends an overlong time freeing dragons. Probably because Dragon CGI is expensive so they’re going to get their money’s worth. While this didn’t do a heck of a lot for the story this episode, it did establish that dragons…are smart? That they want to be free? That Tyrion is secretly a Targaryen who can calm dragons of his own? Regardless, it was a bit of filler that served more as a reminder than a substantive bit of story.

Arya made a bit more progress this time around. Her role as Daredevil-to-be was reestablished as we watched her get beat to crap on the side of the road with a stick. Jaqen showed up and offered her eyesight, but she refused, standing by her nameless guns. This was, of course, rewarded by his acceptance of her determination to be a faceless girl. She’d rather be blind and faceless than able to see and without a purpose.

In King’s Landing, Tommen continued to be a whiny brat and Cersei a manipulative, yet damaged, woman. Tommen refused to allow his mother to attend her daughter’s funeral. She, of course, wasn’t pleased by this, but her capitulation was swifter than usual. Jamie, on the other hand (lol), threatened the High Sparrow, only to be threatened right back. The High Sparrow has grown on me quite a bit since his introduction last season, and I’m curious what his overall plans are for King’s Landing. Despite his professed morals, he does seem to gravitate towards power more than a man of his should. Whether he’s doing it intentionally or not, that has yet to be seen. He’s one to keep an eye on.

Speaking of eyes, the Three-Eyed Raven gave Bran a map to Luke Skywalker…er…a look at the Winterfell of old. If you ask fans of the show, I’d be willing to bet that most of them would label this as the least interesting of the storylines. Two wargs practicing their warg powers away from everything. It plays fast and loose with the mechanics of it’s story AND is so disconnected from everything else that it’s hard to get invested. Even though Dany was on her own for four seasons, at least her story was engrossing. This is just a bit too remote to be effective, though I’m sure it has a purpose down the line (like everything).

I honestly don’t remember if Sansa does anything or not, but given her track record I’m gonna say nothing happened on that front. That’s how memorable THAT storyline is.

All in all, this episode was a bit too tread-watery for my taste. The showrunners knew exactly what you wanted to see, and they’ll be damned if they weren’t going to keep you waiting to the last minute. Jon Snow is back and you can breathe easy.

Odds and Ends

  • Those rocks they put on dead people’s eyes are creepy.
  • Creepy rock eyes notwithstanding, I do need to give extra points to the series for the religions and customs it crafts. They’re always super fascinating.
  • Two people got their heads smashed against walls today, which is an odd little coincidence.
  • I stand by my belief that Melissandre should be in charge of everything. She always has the best interest of the realm in her heart and you know it’s true because, well, look how saddened she was about getting something wrong. She’s got a pretty high batting average in my book, so give that woman a throne.

    Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.

Alex Russo

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