Game of Thrones features two much anticipated returns
Seemingly for the first time all season, an episode of Game of Thrones ended without some significant character’s death. I’m as shocked as you. While lacking an emotional heart-wrenching moment like last week’s show, GOT saw steady progression to several storylines that should pay off in a major way shortly.
Sam took Gilly (and baby Sam) to his home. They were warmly greeted by his mother, Melessa, and sister, Talla, but papa Randyll wasn’t nearly as gracious a host. Definitely studying under the Tywin Lannister school of parenting, Randyll ran Sam down without mercy. The dinner managed to get even worse once Randyll learned Gilly was a wildling. While hoping Sam would find a crossbow was probably not going to happen, it was frustrating watching him let Randyll so coldly verbally abuse him and Gilly. Sam’s logic was if he spoke up, Gilly and baby Sam wouldn’t be allowed to stay at the Tarly household.
Clearly as a side effect of having watched this series for too long, I fully expected some of Randyll’s goons to come in and kill Gilly and baby Sam. Perhaps being the smartest person in the show’s history, Sam realizes leaving Gilly and Sam there won’t end well and comes back to take them with him. And maybe more significantly, Sam grabs the house sword — no doubt recognizing a sword made of dragon steel could come in handy against the walkers. The sword really has to prove essential otherwise Sam’s subplot so far this season has been worthless.
Arya’s storyline has been lacking since she arrived in Braavos. Tonight, her subplot appeared to finally be moving along rather than her just learning the ways of the Faceless Men. Preparing to assassinate the lead actress, Arya watched the play’s take on the events of the first four seasons.
It was pretty interesting seeing the Braavos townsfolk treating Joffrey’s death so somberly. In a very nice touch, Arya was cracking up seeing a reenactment of one of the people on her hit squad list getting killed. Yet, in the end the lead actress’ performance even won Arya over. Though clearly reluctant now to kill such a talented performer, Arya prepared to carry out her assassination assignment until a chance encounter with the actress firmly won her over. Arya stopped her from drinking the poison. Fully realizing what she’d done, Arya retrieved Needle from its hiding place. Good thing as The Waif has now been given permission to kill Arya.
Back at King’s Landing, Jaime and the Tyrell army prepare to forcibly spare Margaery the indignity of the walk of
shame atonement. In a powerful show of force, Jaime and the army hit the steps just as the High Sparrow greets the crowd. Relishing the moment, the High Sparrow tells Jaime they’ll be no walk of atonement because a greater event has occurred. King Tommen has aligned with High Sparrow uniting the faith and the crown much to the delight of the crowd.
While it’s easy to appreciate the work the High Sparrow has done in his political maneuvering, the King’s Landing events haven’t amounted to much of anything. That’s largely because in the grand scheme of things with an army of White Walkers on the loose, the pending battle for control of Winterfell and whatever the heck Daenerys is planning, the political drama just isn’t that interesting. And who are we supposed to be supporting anyway?
Jaime is dispatched to help the Lannister’s allies, Walder Frey regain control of Riverrun. The Freys are battling House Tully and its leader the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark’s family.We finally start to see some repercussions of his betrayal of the Starks at the Red Wedding as his allies are faltering. Frey still has an ace up his sleeve though as he still has the Blackfish’s son, Edmure, captive.
The episode’s strongest subplot once again involved Bran. He was still visioning as Meera desperately tried to evade their white walker pursuers. His visioning seemed to link Rhaegar Targearyn’s infamous Burn them all mantra with the White Walkers. Just as all hope seemed lost, a hooded rider arrived in time to save Bran and Meera. A few weeks ago we got one happy Stark reunion and this week we got another.
Bran questioned his rescuer’s identity and he removed his hood to reveal his Uncle Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle). Since Game of Thrones has never been one not to vividly detail a death of any semi-important character, Benjen had to be alive either as a human or a leader of the White Walkers. There was no in between. Or so it seemed. The Children of the Forest saved Benjen from certain death at the hands of the White Walkers, but now he’s in a state of being half man, half White Walker. And he’s now going to help him confront the Night’s King and presumably save the realm.
To close out the episode, Daenerys and her Dothraki army are aimlessly riding. She reunites with her lost dragon and rallies them to take the Seven Kingdoms. Granted, the special effects of the dragon likely mandated Dany’s big moment closing out the show, but this seemed a little redundant. That’s always been her big end game anyway so this wasn’t like she all of a sudden fond her purpose.
Rating: 8 out of 10
With most of the big subplots given a week off, this was a somewhat subdued episode. Still, there were some key building blocks that should result in major moments later on this season.