Second installment in bi-weekly look at the fifth season continues!
Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 3: High Sparrow: GRADE: A
We begin again in the centerpiece of so many stories where the bitchiness between Margaery nd Cersei never fails to disappoint. Its of course time for the wedding of Margaery and Tommen, which we can safely report had no murders of any kind occur, and Cersei tries to make sure she keeps her influence on her son. It was great to see this since Tommen is ripe for either Margaery and Cersei to play with. Cersei wants to keep a stronghold control in King’s Landing aside from being Cersei and Margery recognizes this and tries to convince Tommen to persuade Cersei to return to Casterly Rock. That of course happening over some of the most awkward pillow talk imaginable. I also really liked that as it brought some light levity to Game of Thrones which is always welcomed among the heavy shit going on in the show. Also hilarious, Margaery mockingly gossips of Tommen’s performance in bed. This power play is fascinating.
We also get to discover more about the High Sparrow, who debuts this week played by Jonathan Pryce who in usual Pryce fashion kills it. We get to this after Lancel attacks the High Septon in a whorehouse. After he and several other Sparrows walk naked through the streets and being called sinners, High Septon requests that the High Sparrow be executed which leads to Pryce killing it in the scene where he meets with Cersei to be told he won’t be executed, but instead has imprisoned the High Septon and that High Sparrow will replace him as head of the Faith. I loved getting to know the High Sparrow and his interaction with Cersei was fascinating to see as much you share said fascination with her as she talks to this eccentric philosopher. That’s High Sparrow’s dialogue and its wonderful to see him just talk like that and Pryce seems to be the right actor to pull it off. I’m so interested in what’s to come of him this season.
Our time in King’s Landing ends by seeing the body of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane start shaking on Qyburn’s operating table. COVER YOUR EYES, PEOPLE!
Well up North, The Bolton’s fully take Winterfell where Reek happens to hear that the Boltons don’t have enough men to hold the North and that to keep up a stronghold might be to marry off Ramsay. So Baelish has agreed to marry Sansa to Ramsay. Oh what a horrifying thought that is. So of course she’s horrified at this thought given how she holds him responsible for the death of her brother and mother, but quickly sees is as a chance for revenge when Baelish brings it up and seeing that sudden turn in Sansa’s outlook on this was great development. It shows how Baelish has been such a factor in her way of thinking in their time together that usually, she’d just ignore this and wish death upon Ramsay Bolton rather than exacting the revenge herself. Sansa and Baelish are quickly becoming the most compelling duo on screen this season next to Brienne and Podrick who are still on their trail this week. Podrick explains how he came to serve to Tyrion and she to Renly. Great little moment of bonding with between the two as they continue on their journey with the hops of succeeding. She still swears to kill Stannis in revenge of Renly. I’m curious as to how their quests for revenge will go.
Once again we get the absolute meat of the show with Jon Snow over at the wall. Now as the new Lord Commander, Jon refuses the offer made by Stannis last week because of his oath. He must stay with his men and is told that by Stannis that Jon and his army shall march onto Winterfell in a fortnight and leaves which leads Davos to ask Jon to take back Winterfell from the Boltons.
Jon doesn’t have time for that right when he was to deal with decisions such as make Ser Alliser the new first Ragner and what to do about insubordinate Janos Slynt. Janos still isn’t too happy about Jon being Lord Commander and speaks his mind about which leads to his head getting cut off. Well he did some shit such as defying all order by Jon, but yeah Jon Snow just isn’t fucking around. This was great to see as the progression of Jon Snow this season with how he’s fully coming into his own and showing his own worth as to being able to lead the Night’s Watch. His hesitation plays nicely before its fully overcome by showing he will be made a joke of as Lord Commander, especially with Stannis looking over. Jon took great charge and shows you will respect him. Kit Harrington is truly playing it amazingly well and I am looking forward to his scenes every single week now.
Arya continue on her path in Braavos to become a Faceless Man but is told, valar dohaeris which means that all men must serve. Arya is told she only wants to serve herself. We see Arya getting further into this and its interesting to see the ways of how this places works, but more so Maisie Williams’ performance as Arya which was so particularly heartbreaking in this episode. She’s confronted with who she is after being asked by the Waif who asks her and promptly beats Arya up after not being happy with the answer. Arya is noticed to have Arya’s things and must give them up in order to survive, which she does, but can’t get rid of her sword, Needle. She just can’t and I’m heartbroken over a sword. I’m getting emotional over someone’s sword. Damn you Game of Thrones for how good you are. Arya’s story this season shall be a fascinating one given she must now disregard who she is in a way in order to survive. I can’t wait for what’s next with her.
We conclude our journey with Tyrion and Varys’ journey towards meeting Daenerys. Tyrion convinces Varys to let him roam about Volantis and it all goes well until Tryrion feels the need to Rifftrax a red priestess’ conversation to slaves. They hide out in a brothel where Tyrion can’t seem to find himself being able to have sex with a prostitute and while taking a leak, SUPRISE KIDNAPPING BY JORAH MORMONT! Yes Jorah is back after traveling among the friendzone. This took me by huge surprise in what was at first the weakest part of the episode until Tyrion went into the brothel. The way Dinklage painfully played the moment he can’t seem to want the prostitute is heartbreaking in how he suddenly remembers Shea. Tyrion is still gonna be feeling that shit for a while and I can’t blame him. It feels natural even for the progression of his character.
But Jorah, yeah holy shit Jorah is back and well I don’t know what to say. I’m a bit shocked and surprised. Let’s go on ahead to episode 4 and see what comes of it.
Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy: GRADE: A
So after one stellar episode, we continue with another stellar episode that starts us off in King’s Landing where Cersei and Margaery’s powerplay over Tommen continues and it seems as if the first point goes to Cersei. After sending Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank to negotiate a deal with hem about their debts, Cersei goes and meets once again with the High Sparrow and authorizes the revival of the Faith Militant who attack one of Baelish’s brothels and arrest Loras Tyrell for his homosexuality. I will say the sequence in which the Faith Militant do their deed is excellently well done and shot expertly. Paced just right to let the horrifying actions they perform play out and amp up then calm down as they arrest Loras. Episode director Mark Mylod does an excellent job here, even when Tommen is ordered by Margaery to go do something about Loras and speak with the High Sparrow but can’t since he is praying. The shot composition, look, and angles needed to give the situation between the Faith Militant and Tommen’s guards that uneasy feeling and tension is just so good. Its a seamlessly well done scene that gets across what it needs to and I think its an episode highlight.
As is the tension that further builds between Margaery and Cersei that sets the stage for a full implosion of this situation that I can’t wait to see!
Margaery goes off to get grandmother Olenna which means the return of Diana Rigg and I am so very happy about that.
Meanwhile Stannis Baratheon has a heart. The most compelling thing this week was a father’s love for his daughter. When Shireen is bored and goes into the office of her father they strike up a talk which leads to an honest heart to heart about how when she was born and afflicted with greyscale, Stannis did everything, everything in his absolute power to try and cure her and it was fantastic. We’ve seen Stephen Dillane do this role well but this was a whole new side to Stannis and one I was pleased to surprisingly see. He cares deeply about what goes on around him and just isn’t a man greedy for the throne. Well he still is, but he’s a man under that and one that cares. It was just offputting to see but very welcomed.
Jon Snow this week deals with Lord Commander responsibilities such as signing aids for help, which he reluctantly signs one for the Boltons, but he knows the Night’s Watch needs all the help they need and the facial expressions Kit Harrington plays with this are really solid and convey so much without saying it. Of course the wisdom of Sam helps too. He’s then seduced by Melisandre to get him to join Stannis in taking Winterfell but goddamn even with Ygritte dead, Jon swears only loyalty to her and that was a nice character moment, which was then upstirred by Melisandre telling Jon that he knows nothing. Well that’s one hell of a kick to his balls and one that’s played very well.
Sansa however gets some bad news in that Baelish must return to King’s Landing at the request of Cersei in order to keep up some appearances and well I’m not too sure about how that is going to go for Baelish if Cersei knows, but I think she might not. All this done as Sansa lights candles for her deceased family, so yeah that place was lit the fuck up. But alas there is a silver lining as Sansa is told by Baelish that Stannis and his army are at Castle Black and suggests they will soon take Winterfell from the Boltons due to how they outnumber them and that since he believes all her relatives are dead, Sansa will be appointed Wardeness of the North and well I kinda hope that happens. Sansa coming to power would make for some excellent storytelling avenues and give Sophie Turner some meaty dialogue to play with.
Dorne gets a spotlight this week as Jaime and Bronn make their way there and are an episode highlight with their conversation aboard the where Jaime admits his guilt over letting Tyrion loose which lead to the death of Tywin and how he seeks redemption. To see Jaime say that made sense for his character given how much he stood up for his brother, how he risked so much to save him and wanted the best for him, only to feel like he got his other hand cut off. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jerome Flynn’s back and fourth during this and really the whole episode is just excellent. I even love their wit after they take care of some Brone guards about how they need to bury them. Said fight has a highlight where Jaime kills the last one when the guard’s sword is caught in Jaime’s gold hand and uses the distraction to kill him. Excellently done.
Also in Dorne, Ellaria gathers Oberyn’s three eldest bastard daughters to get them all in about revenge against Cersei by killing Myrcella and the point is even brought up that doing this might upset peace between them and once again, it was a bound by law trail by combat, but she don’t give a flying fuck. She learns about Jaimie’s arrive thank to the ship captain and she gets them all in on the plan. I’m curious as to how this goes.
We end across the Narrow Sea where Jorah steals a boat and starts his quest to Daenerys and we get a great scene where Tyrion deduces who Jorah is and just outwardly fucks with him about his motives and tries to get in his head, play with his emotions and its one of the most Tyrion moments that’s possibly been. It plays so well and is nicely directed and you can just the frustration in Jorah build and build before h knocks out Tyrion. I’m incredibly way too curious as to how Jorah is gonna factor into all of this.
Well Jorah has bad timing as Daenerys is dealing with once again refuses to open the fighting pits and also now that the Sons of the Harpy have attacked several citizens where a good portion of the Unsullied are slaughtered, but Grey Worm once again shows off his badassness before falling in battle with Ser Barristan. That sequence is also excellently shot to show the chaos and mayhem of the moment across the town when its suddenly upended like this. Direction is tight, solid, and actually shows all that goes on. It was really well done and add more tension and build up to Daenerys’ conflict with the Sons of the Harpy.
Though Daenerys does get one last great moment with Barristan in which she learns a bit more about her brother, Rhaegar Targaryen. It was a sweet little moment and a happy one for Daenerys. Last one I think she’ll have a for a while.
Games of Thrones keeps going strong with a couple of excellently well done and well shot installments in its fifth year. The tension, character build up, and action are all in top form and makes for some excellent things to come and blood to be spilled.