Thursday 21 May 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 6 Review

And we're back! This episode's title is "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken". Fun fact! I will be tattooing that on my body hopefully within the month. This episode was directed and written by the same dream-team Jeremy Podeswa and Bryan Cogman that stole back my heart last week! Unfortunately, if you've read anything about this episode already, you know people aren't super happy with it. ESPECIALLY the last scene with Sansa and Ramsay. But we'll get to that.

Re-cap time:

  • Arya is awoken by Jaqen to finally see what's called the Hall of Faces. 
  • The Sandsnakes clash with Jamie and Bronn in Dorne, Myrcella is ripped from Trystane
  • Jorah and Tyrion are caught by slavers but Tyrion convinces them to let Jorah in the fighting pits instead
  • Petyr goes to King's Landing to strike a deal with Cersei
  • Olenna goes to King's Landing to put Cersei in her place (and fails)
  • Loras is put on trial 
  • Sansa and Ramsay are married and they.. (ahem) consummate. 
After S05E06, some people seem to have quit the show entirely while others are fiercly defending it so I'd chalk this episode up to a misstep overrall. I don't think I'd assert to feel quite that strongly for either favour, but I'd agree that this episode was far from Game of Thrones' best work. The directing was a little unimaginative, but that's forgivable: it's the writing that's the weakpoint.  It seems that this tag team (Podeswa and Cogman) finds their strength in ending strong. 

What We Liked:
  • Areo Hotah is a great addition to the cast. I'm a little disappointed with Game of Thrones' casting directors (Nina Gold and Robert Sterne) at times, because it seems like all of the black people in Westeros are slavers or henchmen. I love Areo Hotah. While stoic, he's redeemingly loyal, and doesn't back down. To Jaime, he says something to the effect of, "it would have been a good fight when you had two hands". This ray of sunshine gets (+5).
  • "Cock merchant". Nice. While I find it hard to believe Jorah and Tyrion didn't see that army of slavers behind them sooner, it was still an entertaining scene. (+5)
  • Arya gets a rude awakening. She's not a little girl anymore. Jaqen isn't protecting her, and he isn't all coy smiles and impressive theatrics anymore. Now that he's teaching her something, you bet that Arya not getting the client service anymore. (+5)
  • Petyr's deal with Cersei is clever and satisfying. I love that wash of realization when all of Petyr's plans come together. It was long enough coming, and now I have something to  actually be excited about in coming episodes. (+5)
  • It's always nice to see Olenna in her sassy IDGAF glory. (+5)
  • Loras' trial. Cersei does have her sly, "you can't arrest the Queen's brother!" moment, and I like the way they convicted Margaery-- for sticking by her brother, she made a big mistake. (+5)
  • Sansa and Ramsay. Here's the plotpoint that everyone and their mothers seemed to hate: especially feminists. Don't get me wrong, I definitely consider myself one. The issue here is that Dan and David seem like they're just inserting gratuitous sexual violence against women for exhibition's sake and not for plot. But I disagree! While I would definitely like to stop seeing our strong female character's trampled on, I would argue that this scene had point. And I saw it before Bryan Cogman had to release a statement about it where he says that he deliberately made those writing choices because he believes that Sansa was making a grown woman’s choice by walking into that room. Petyr says "do anything to save your home" and Sansa, willing but not happy, does anything to save her home. The Bolton's have invaded every inch of what Sansa could call just that, including her body, but she's going to let her anger turn into a ruthless wrath once she gets the chance. Furthermore, a lot of people argued that, since Sansa isn't even there in the books, this sexual assault didn't need to be added in: however (and I don't think the people who asserted that even read the books)-- the girl who is there in Sansa place does have that happen to her-- and worse. I actually liked what this scene did, even if the scene itself made me uncomfortable. (+10)

What We Didn't Like:
  • The Hall of Faces was disappointingly uncreative. Let me clarify: I won't take off points, because it wasn't bad or anything, I just feel like this place could have been either shot or designed so much grander. It was still cool to look at, but it wasn't the "wow" moment that I felt like it should have been. 
  • The Sandsnakes' encounter with Jamie and Bronn is unexciting. Seriously? These are 5 formidable fighters (Ok, maybe 4. Tyene is a poisons master, but not wild with a weapon). This rarely occurs, but I was actually actively bored with the scene. I looked away a few times. I thought it was dull, packaged too neatly and not chaotic enough to be exciting. And that timeline of events was also too smooth. Did it all have to be shot in the same location? The director and the choreographer (do they even have one anymore? Seriously.) really dropped the ball on this scene. (-5)
  • The "birthmark"  plot point. Seriously? They didn't even try to come up with any defense for that? It just seemed sloppy, especially because that's the only conversation we hear Loras and Olyvar having. And why did he sell Loras out in the first place?? Just so many holes in this. It didn't come across as fast paced so much as disorienting. Give us more please! (-5)
Final score: +30. 

Wow, that's half of what it was last week, and not because it made a lot of mistakes. Just because there wasn't a lot in here to work with. Again, it wasn't a terrible episode. Unlike some people it seems, I don't plan to quit Game of Thrones anytime soon. But this episode lost a lot of it's potential. 

Besides, even if a lot of fans hated the last scene, at least Sophie Turner (Sansa) enjoyed it

All images courtesy of Tumblr

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