Season 5 is at an end and here we are with the last review across the kingdoms for this year.
Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 9: The Dance of Dragons: GRADE: C
Aw man, its the PENULTIMATE(!) episode. Shit goes down, lives lost, unbelievable moments, racing heartbeats! There was all that and more…in Hardhome the previous week. Yeah I wasn’t quite feeling season 5’s almost last chapter.
We start off with Arya who is continuing her mission to poison kill the Thin Man before she notices Mace Tyrell and Meryn Trant arriving to negotiate with the Iron Bank and says fuck all to that then goes to to tracking Trant into the city where she discovers he is a pedophile at the brothel. That kinda upset me to see Thrones get shocking for shock again here. Not as bad as having rape happen to women then never addressing it again, but goddamn. Its dealt with in the next episode and I know there are terrible things like this in the world and in fiction, but it felt unnecessary here. We know he’s a bad guy, we didn’t need you to show us further proof than he likes the company of pubescent girls in beat and that he likes to beat on them. It was poorly brought up and something I didn’t particularly enjoy.
We get nothing much here, just Sam backing Jon up and telling him he did do a good thing by saving those he was able to as the survivors go past the wall. Wall Bros for Life!
Stannis’ camp is attacked at night by Ramsay and his group of 20 men, so yeah turns out he’s not as dumb as thought when asking for that last episode and thus Stannis is fucked. He sends Davos go back to Castle Black in order to get more supplies so Stannis can stay behind and fully command the troops on the way to Winterfell.
Stannis then talks to Melisandre and to please the red god to change their luck, allows for his daughter Shireen to be burned alive. Now that is shocking and also bullshit. Yeah Stannis isn’t a good buy, but man this felt so fucking out of nowhere and out of character from a few episodes ago with the talk he had with Shireen about loving her and protecting her when born with greyscale. The reaction to Selyse’s change of heart represented mine as I saw the episode since this sudden change just really didn’t sit quite well. It fits the character of Stannis is who was blind to fulfilling his proposed destiny and of course Melisandre pulling the strings behind him, but I didn’t feel like this scene was necessary to get that across. Really the better sacrifice would have been Selyse. I feel like this was kinda a last minute decision. It has impact, but I much didn’t care for it myself. The only hope I have of this is how pissed Davos will be when he finds out.
And here we are with the mixed bag of Dorne. Where I was first optimistic and hopeful of this storyline, the more I’ve thought about it and as it has gone on, its faltered. Last week its faults were certainly noticeable and they still are here. A deal is worked out to have Myrcella and Trystane return to King’s Landing together so that Trystane will also take Doran’s replacement on the Small Council. First up, I’ve been so disappointed in what a lack that Doran has been this season. Seeing Alexander Siddig was playing him made me excited as I do find him an exceptional actor, but this is the most he’s given to do here and its used well. Ellaria pledges loyalty to him and then does a 180 and says, “Yeah, Oberyn got himself killed. I dunno what I was thinking, but we cool.” Ellaria hasn’t exactly had the best development this season as it were and that really showed it. Just some terrible choices there.
Now for what is the highlight of this episode. The fighting season begins and much to Daenerys’ surprise, Jorah returns and fight in combat which is a nicely done fight sequence. Afterwards, Jorah spears an assassin sneaking up on Daenerys which then leads to the Sons of the Harpy hidden among the audience to attack the stadium and seal the exits. Massive fights going on as Daenerys and her court go to the center of the stadium and are seemingly surrounded until the one great moment of this episode happens when Drogon flies right in and kills off many of the assassins before Daenerys takes off on the back of Drogon.
Now that really was the most memorable thing of the episode and the most interesting since Daenerys has been consistently the most engaging character next to Jon Snow all season long. Reopening the pits gets her admiration, but for how long? Also where could she possibly be? It all raises the right questions and well how about we just get right to it?
Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 10: Mother’s Mercy: GRADE: A-
Stannis seems to have things going well, aside from Selyse hanging herself out of grieve from last week, until he discovers that Melisandre has fled before Ramsay and a much bigger army start to come and Stannis says fuck it and go right into battle. This goes as well as you’d honestly expect it too. Stannis survives, but is so badly wounded and its not any better than Brienne has come across his beaten and battered body and announces how she intends to exact revenge for the death of Renly. I loved this scene not just for the speech Brienne gave which got be stirred up a bit, but also how Stannis gets a look across his face that shows he accepts his inevitable fate. Its a nice piece of subtle acting on the part of Stephen Dillane that shows how damn good he is. The pacing in the scene also really helps it before the moment Brienne holds up the sword then brings it down and we cut to black.
Back at Winterfell, Sansa lights her candle, but is intercepted by Reek and Myranda who really is a woman of Ramsay’s heart as she wants to mutilate Sansa, but then she’s thrown over to the ground by Reek which kills her in a nice shocker of a moment and a fuck yeah one for Reek, but the Bolton army comes back and that leads Reek and Sansa to hold hands as they leap off the castle walls.
Now that was a shocker, but I’m kinda mixed. Still no mentioning or fallout of the rape, but I think at this point its excepted to be disappointed by Game of Thrones now in that regard, but it was a cliffhanger to the story that made me more interested to see what will happen and how the story of Sansa, Reek, and Ramsay will play out when the show returns next spring. The North had nothing but great highlights for the finale, even if it felt a wee bit rushed given the time constraints of the finale.
Broken and defeated, Cersei finally confesses she was playing kissing cousins with Lancel and is granted the Mother’s Mercy by the High Sparrow in which she returns to the Red Keep in an atonement i.e., being stripped of her clothes, her hair cut, and her face somewhat successfully digitalized onto a naked body double as she walks back. Now the body double being obvious took me out of the moment for a brief second before the scene continued and it hooked me backing seeing as this was the comeuppance that many, including me, have been waiting for Cersei to get. Lena Headly plays it well and the emotions she place among her face is fantastic as the crowd get their chance to let Cersei know how they really feel about her. It was even given its own cliffhanger by showing that Qyburn reveals the newest Kingsguard member, Gregor Clegane, back from the dead! Yeah it seems that tease from earlier in the season wasn’t a tease and something that pays off. This reveal took me a bit by surprise as I remembered that tease, but its still perfectly effective for the finale and wrapping up stories for King’s landing this year.
Meanwhile Myrcella is cool with being an incest baby. I didn’t quite like this as they made their way back to King’s Landing. They try to play it really sweet that she’s happy if Jaime is in love with Cersei and while I applaud the attempt by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Nell Tiger Free in how to play this, I’m sorry, the incest factor doesn’t make this any better at all for me. Maybe its me being creeped out by it and hearing about it throughout the whole time I’ve lived my life here in the south, I just can’t move past it in this context. Well turns out Ellaria’s 180 turn wasn’t a 180 turn as she poisoned Myrcella with a kiss before she left and Jaime is too late to stop it. I really felt nothing from this to be honest. I just lost all kinds of interest.
Arya goes and straight up murders Meryn Trant in the brothel he frequents. Its a brutally violent and very effective scene that shows how badass Arya has become and that her arc is still endlessly fascinating. However, she wasn’t suppose to take his life and that to appease the Many Faced God, another life must be taken for balance which thus leads Jaqen to supposedly poisoning himself. Arya goes over to Jaqen’s body, but sees its not his. Turns out that Jaqen never existed. There was no one there the whole time. Which then leads to Arya being struck blind as she is told by the Waif that putting a new face if one is not no one is like poison.
Its a very effective scene that’s disturbing in the setting, lighting, and the music that really gets things very interesting as it goes. I was affected by this thanks to my attachment to Arya, but felt interested in what might happen next with her when the show returns.
Across the Narrow Sea
As Darrio, and Jorah contemplate their search for Daenerys, Tyrion announces he’ll stay behind and govern in her absence which feels like a natural progression of a role for Tyrion to do in this storyline and also very fitting of the character. tyrion is in power you guys and this is gonna rock! Then Varys appears to tell Tyrion that King’s Landing’s is much like the one in Meereen which gives him a sense of how to run things as well as give him endless delight.
Meanwhile we do get answers as to where Daenerys is after leaving with Drogon in a hail of badassery. They are north of Meereen where Drogon lies wounded as she sees a Dothraki coming along the way and surrounds her. That certainly as a surprise as the Dothraki haven’t been on this show in a long goddamn time. I’m finding myself quite interested in how they will play into the vents of next season. It really gets you curious.
Now for what broke the internet again. Jon sends Sam to Oldtown so that he may become a Maester and to go with Gilly and her son. Its much more than we get between them from the previous episode. Jon and Sam acknowledge life is changing for them both, especally for Sam recently with Gilly and all, even getting props from Jon on losing his v-card. It was a really nice and sweet moment between best friends that made what happens later so much more heartbreaking.
Davos arrives for the supplies, but Jon reminds him that the Wildlings never fight for Stannis just as Melisandre arrives and the way she presents herself leads to know of Stannis’ defeat and Shireen’s death. While not getting Davos’ mad reaction as I expected, its a nicely played moment.
So then Jon meets with some Night’s Watch members outside Castle Black but is too late to see its a trap and is stabbed to death by them all as they utter “For the Watch” as they leave him to die.
While not only the shocking ending to the season that Thrones usually promises, it also shows I shouldn’t get too attached after all. My feelings. ALL OF MY FEELINGS! Jon Snow turned into such a compelling and fascinating character this season there had to be something else waiting around the corner for his character and it seem this was it. The moment was truly shocking and unexpected and the facial expressions of Kit Harrington’s is great that really sells the moment perfectly. Harrington is the season MVP to me for bringing more life to Jon Snow.
While Game of Thrones continued being itself, it kinda didn’t at points. Dorne and the sexual violence really hinder the season a bit with their poor execution in promise of what could happen with the story, but was thankfully off balanced by the rise of Jon Snow, continued interest in Arya, Tyrion, Baelish, and Daenerys, and the exceptional action. Hardhom being the standout episode of course.
Season five just really lacked compared to four and seems to try hard to go for the shocking moments. Granted that’s kinda why we come to Game of Thrones for, but also the characters and deeply involved story. I think something might have gotten lost along the way since the show is catching up on the books and will have to start going on their own path and while I am curious to see how that goes, I am worried about how they will try to live up to all the expectations the show has built up as a mega sensation. I am hopeful for season six with all that was left in the air in the finale and that we get right back on to top notch form.
SEASON GRADE: B