We’re close to the end of the season now, and it is beginning to tell. The show has now begun closing down storylines, at least three arcs (or say sub-arcs) have been brought to an end, and we will talk about each of them in turn. The episode was overall not really an impressive one, decent but slightly underwhelming. I’ll have to give it 7 points out of 10. Most problems the episode had were related to lack of time, it all felt rushed and I’m sure that if the episode had been 5-10 minutes longer they could have really done each scene justice.
Going on then, the first of the arcs that reached an end was the tale of Brienne and Jaime in the riverlands. I liked this part of the episode a lot, it wasn’t particularly action-packed but it did contain a lot of really good dialog. They did it more or less by the book, which is a plus too. But here too it felt like we could have done with a couple more minutes, to handle the death or the escape of the Blackfish. I am still not entirely certain, of course, that he is dead. He could have sent an infiltrator to give Jaime the wrongs news after having killed the dudes who came after him, I mean who was that trooper who reported to Jamie anyway? Really? Have we seen him before?
Assuming that the writers didn’t want to make a mystery out of this they should have spent some more time giving the Blackfish a worthy end. And if they did want it to remain a mystery they should have had a more drawn-out battle take place, and then ended it in an ambiguous way. But alas, you cannot get it all, and I’m fine with what happened. The high-quality acting we got in the interactions between Jaime, Brienne, Blackfish and Edmure is the kind of stuff that can make a show not just watchable but re-watchable. As a final note here before going on to the next arc let’s just say that if the Blackfish had been more important he would have been alive after going out like this, but now the show is crammed full of characters and he is one we can throw away.
Daenerys’ adventures in the Dothraki wastes are over, as well. It may seem that Daenerys was at the start of things here, and not an end, but if you think about it this makes sense. There had been developments in Mereen, involving Tyrion, Varys etc, and then Daenerys had her own story in the wilderness. It began with her being captured and culminated with her acquiring a Khalasar. That part of the story has been going on all season and now it ended. The main reason why this is good is because without Daenerys to talk with, Tyrion’s brain apparently malfunctions.
What I mean here is the way in which he now for several episodes has been acting quasi-retarded when talking with Grey Worm and Missandei. I get it that his jokes are supposed to be so bad that they go full circle and become slightly funny for meta reasons, but it’s not working. He hasn’t said anything either genuinely funny or meta-funny since the “that’s what I do, I drink and I know things”-line. Today it got so bad that I started having flashback to episode 8 of season 4, when Tyrion talked for almost 10% of the episode about his cousin Orson Lannister crushing beetles.Never again, for fuck sake, whoever is writing this needs to stop. Make Tyrion great again!
The return of Daenerys lays up a rather interesting future timeline, that I would like to speculate a bit about. There is a fleet outside of Mereen, that will soon be handled by the dragons. But there is a second fleet on its way and then a third fleet scheduled to arrive as well. Recall how Yara said, an episode ago, that she and Theon were to shack up with Daenerys. Euron is also going that way. Yara will obviously arrive sooner, she was last seen in Volantis (not Braavos as I mistakenly claimed in last weeks review). Either the dragon won’t be enough to finish off the Harpy fleet and then we will, in the tenth episode, see Yara try to make a good impression on Daenerys by saving the day. Or she arrives later and there will be a need for some more complicated diplomacy. But in that second case, there will be a repeat of it all when and if Euron arrives. Most likely Yara will arrive in time to engage in battle outside of Mereen and get off to a good start with Daenerys. Euron will be delayed until next season and turn out to not be that important in the end.
Finally, Arya settled business in Braavos. This ended in exactly the same way that we expected it too, with the exception of Arya’s rival killing the actress. That I did not foresee, and it messes up the math. The many-faced god is supposed to trade in lives on a one-to-one basis, which is why we knew Jaquen would let Arya get off with killing her rival and why he ordered Arya’s death in the first place for not killing the actress. What now happened somehow simply isn’t as neat as things involving Jaquen are supposed to be. And also, I would have liked for Arya to fence some more with the other girl, this is where the couple of extra minutes per scene comes in. She could have tried to fight straight up with her first, realized that she would lose if she did that and then ran off into the dark room. It would perhaps have been a bit cliche but left room for some cool scenes.
The next episode, it seems, will be all about the battle of the bastards. I can imagine this being similar to episode nine of season two our four, focusing on some build-up and then one big battle. To me it doesn’t really feel like the show has time to spend one whole episode on that but that is what the preview indicates. We shall have to wait and see, and in the meantime you can follow me on twitter at @PromethiumWings.