Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
Game of Thrones gave us quite a bit of emotional payoff this week, as several of our characters got the revenge they so rightfully deserved. Or did they?
Since revenge is a dish best served cold, let’s start our discussion at Castle Black. Davos and Melissandre welcome Jon Snow back into the world. We learn that he experienced nothing in death and that the Lord of Light had, apparently, chosen him for some divine reason. After catching up with those who remained loyal, Jon delivers justice as the Lord Commander by executing Thorne, Olly, and the two extras. We should be happy about this, right? Those guys suck, right?
Well, here’s where things get interesting. Jon Snow hesitated to kill the men who killed him. Before cutting the rope, he deliberated. Perhaps he was thinking that the Watch needed every able bodied man it could get to fight the walkers? Perhaps justice could wait and the war to come was more important? A nice thought, but apparently not a strong enough one. Jon killing the traitors was rewarding to those in the audience who don’t have the honor and duty that Jon has…but I can’t help but think this was (intentionally) out of character. This gets dicey, as we needed to try to keep out the “behind the scenes” drama out of the way when we review things, but George R.R. Martin’s comments can’t be ignored here. GRRM has stated that when people are resurrected in his stories, they come back different. Perhaps this is the beginning of a darker, more vengeful Jon Snow? After all, he killed four guys who (rightfully) were sentenced to death, then hung up his cloak as Lord Commander. We’ll have to wait to see.
Speaking of waiting to see, Arya Stark can see again! After completing some Daredevil training, Arya was made to drink from the maybe-poison pool and, rather than die, her sight was restored! All is right with the world again!
Well, not really. Arya’s lost eyesight was a huge shift in the status quo and it led to us needing to reconsider her future. With things back to normal, it feels like a step backwards. We were really seeing Arya’s dedication and adaptability to new circumstances, and just as we started to speculate on her path as a nameless girl, things have gone back to where they were at the end of last season. It’s hard not to feel like we lost out on a real treat in this storyline.
Speaking of treats, Varys’s birds are just kids that he gives candy. Didn’t see that one coming. I’m not sure what to make of this, exactly, other than it makes Varys seem hella inventive. Just in the other room, Tyrion is speaking with Dany’s two highest hands…Greyworm and Missandei. We get a glimpse at how fun Greyworm isn’t and how many languages Missandei speaks. Tyrion and Missandei have a brief discussion on tongues, although the subtext here is kind of lost. Tyrion and Missandei both think they made strong points, but neither seems to think the other did, and I can’t really weigh in on the exchange. It was a hackneyed metaphor that makes it look the writers didn’t save any wine for Tyrion. I’m not even sure this story went anywhere, really. It feels like it was missing a payoff at the end.
Speaking of missing payoffs at the end, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven took a stroll down memory lane. We witnessed a young, horribly miscast Ned Stark on a quest to rescue his sister. Two Targaryen soldiers stood in the way (and put up a heck of a fight), although old Ned pulled through in the end. What followed was Ned climbing the stairs to his sister, only to have the flashback cut short when The Three-Eyed Raven forced Bran out his warg state. I’m not sure how well-known the theory is that Jon Snow was born to Ned’s sister as the bastard child of Rhaegar Targaryen. I personally subscribe to this theory, and this flashback clearly hinted at it. It could be misdirection, but either way it’s apparent that some kind of reveal is forthcoming in some capacity.
Speaking about being forthcoming, Maester Pycelle farted in meeting of the small council. If I’m the only one who thinks that was a lazy, juvenile attempt at a joke, I’ll shut up. But I’m willing to bet I’m not. Farts notwithstanding, we did get a glimpse at how hesitant anyone is to let Cersei or Jamie back into the loop. Maybe they know just how many jobs the two have botched, or maybe everyone just hates them, but the two aren’t really welcome anywhere. Likewise, the High Sparrow seems to think that Cersei hasn’t atoned for her sins yet and, of course, Tommen just rolls with the punches. It remains to be seen whether the faith militant is either SUPER radical or they just like twisting the knife.
Speaking of twisting the knife, Shaggydog got stabbed in the head. This was another of the “OMG” moments of the night, as we were simultaneously reminded that Rickon is a character on this show and that he alive and well, save for the whole “now a hostage of Ramsay Bolton” thing. Ramsay has an AMAZING track record when it comes to having important characters fall into his clutches. Though Smalljon Umber refused to honor the age-old tradition of boot-licking, the alliance between the houses is likely going to be a strong one if both sides will it. This was a serious act of northern treason, considering how many Stark loyalists we were led to believe existed.
There was a lot of apparent payoff throughout this episode, but it was almost equal parts payoff and setup (which is how a story should function). Oaths were broken, alliances forged, cheese cut…a lot of keep track of. This, of course, is good news given how little things progressed last episode. The show marches onward, now everyone should speculate on who will march against who.
Odds and Ends
- Dany went to the Dothraki HQ. It was underwhelming. This whole storyline feels like back-pedaling and it’s weakened one of the shows previously strong characters.
- Sansa Watch: she makes no appearance in the episode.
- This episode was written by the showrunners, Weiss and Benioff, which is interesting because it makes me wonder what moment they found SO IMPORTANT that they needed to write it themselves. They usually reserve themselves for bigger episodes.
- Don’t worry Tyrion, I’ll play drinking games with you.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.