The fifth game of thrones episode of the sixth season is upon us. Here it was happened and a few opinions and speculations.
The episode begins with Littlefinger landing his jetpack in Mole’s Town and conversing with Sansa. A reference to a jetpack might here sound surprising, but it is the best theory the fan community has thus far conceived as for how he travels so quickly everywhere. This has been a recurring complaint for a long time, the show has managed to have people travel in ways that defy our understanding of physics quite often, but this last instance is so far beyond what’s reasonable that it isn’t funny. He shouldn’t have gone north at all, he should just have appeared a couple of episodes from now in King’s Landing.
Quite honestly, everything at the Wall felt a bit underwhelming in this episode. I usually like what happens at the Wall and in the greater Wall area, and I have so far liked the quality of the presentation too, but this episode didn’t do it for me. Littlefinger’s dialog with Sansa also felt a bit unconvincing, there is simply no realistic way in which he could save the situation. He should have, I repeat, simply gone to King’s landing and gotten involved in the business with Cersei and the Faith, cutting his loses is after all a Littlefinger move.
All this being said, the scenes at the wall did answer a few questions I’ve had about this season. One of the trailers showed us Walder Frey making a reappearance, and I have at times imagined Arya being sent on some mission for the faceless men to the riverlands and there taking the opportunity to show that she is still a Stark by extracting vengeance. Now it is more likely that Brienne will do for Frey, or perhaps the Blackfish. But that Walder will get done one way or the other is not open for debate, he is going and sooner rather than later. There are only five episodes left and surely the last one or two cannot focus on so minor a character as him, which means that he should die sooner, and in either case the Tully’s need to finish their business swiftly in the riverlands and ride north to help deal with the Boltons. Also, Tormund’s idiot reaction to Brienne is just weird, the authors are doing this for shits and giggles and they should cut it the fuck out.
Now we’re into book six territory in Arya’s storyline. Arya’s preview chapter from The Winds of Winter also features an episode in which she participates in a play about the situation in King’s landing. The showrunners are really making sure that when Arya is in the future a badass fighter, there will be no confusion as to where she learned all of that. While perhaps repetitive, this means that we won’t have to deal with the cliche of a protagonist being shown a few moves and then being able to cut down hordes of nameless redshirt villains. Arya being an expert fighter will now seem convincing.
Furthermore, I like the that they are ramping up the moral dilemma about joining the faceless men, book Arya is beyond such matters but since we don’t have book Arya we need something else and this will do. What will not do, is that there seems to be a nudity quotient in this show, not just figuratively but I honest to god believe that they have a checklist for each season with a certain number of genitalia displays that need to happen. Why the fuck, except for shock value, did we need a dude showing off his junk and complaining about some malady of the dick? Contrast this to for example Daenerys’ last scene in the previous episode. It also featured nudity but it made more sense and was more artful, it wasn’t just a case of “here are some privates, aren’t we edgy? Hihi…”
The Grayjoy situation bothers me for book reasons, but the acting and writing is good, I shall withhold further judgement until I see where this arc progresses. Though it is unfortunate that book Euron is gone, because he was one of the most genuinely menacing villains in fiction, ever. In the books I am convinced that Euron is the spawn of Satan, or whatever the leader of the Others is called, that he is genuinely in cahoots with the Enemy. Show Euron gives no hints of being able to pull that off.
The season ended in a way similar to episode eight of last season, with the viewers nodding to each other and concluding that “yup, this is Winter, Winter is now here”. I have no particular complaints here except that it wasn’t entirely convincing that they would manage to get away from the undead hordes. The White Walkers had horses and Bran et al are in the middle of nowhere, in arctic conditions. This was plot armor. But overall Bran’s escape gets a passing grade, having him flashback inside the tree for the entire season would have been boring and now we were spared from that.
I‘ll leave you with an open question as we now pass into the latter half of the season. Brann is going south, right? It is too early for him to make a stand against the Enemy on his own, and there is nobody left in the North int he show now that Hardhome has been overrun, so unless the writers conjure up a hidden settlement with more of the Children of the Forest (my second option, if it happen I will also say I told you so), the only option left for Brann is to go south, with a jetpack, Littlefinger style, and eventually reach the Wall.