Review of Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale: Mother’s Mercy

cersei

Season 5 of Game of Thrones just came to an end with “Mother’s Mercy,” an inconsistent episode with some truly great sequences in some areas but some frustrating moments in others. Unlike last year, when major climaxes were spread over the last three episodes of the season, every storyline reaches its climax in this hour. Obviously there is always more story to tell in the future, and finales have often serve not only to end season-long threads but tease future ones. However, “Mother’s Mercy” leaves many of the conflicts that had been built up to throughout this last season without their resolutions. Even some of the best sequences of this episode leave dangling threads to be explored in the future. The direction of many of the stories we’ve spent roughly ten hours following this year is uncertain – even for one of the seemingly more final fates of the episode! Despite a handful of truly wonderful and well-executed scenes, I found much of this episode frustrating and ultimately unsatisfying. Continue reading

Review of Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 8: Hardhome

jon snow boat

“Hardhome” had the responsibility to deliver on two huge developments that the audience had been waiting for since its earliest episodes. One was the first real interaction between Daenerys and Tyrion, and the other (of course) was seeing just how much of a threat the White Walkers are. And boy, did the episode deliver. The episode provided strong transitional moments for its characters, and shined brightest in a one-on-one between Daenerys and Tyrion that was somehow better than my ridiculous expectations. And while I tend to prefer the human conflicts in the series more than the fantastical ones, the last third of the episode at Hardhome provided strong character moments, thrilling action, and made the White Walker threat that had been looming since the first episode so much more real. Continue reading

Review of Game of Thrones: Season 5 Episode 7 “The Gift”

tyrion jorah fighting

When Game of Thrones visits almost all of its storylines, it can sometimes feel a little cluttered. Sure, we see everyone, but they aren’t given enough time for their character moments or their plot to really move forward. The seventh episode of this season, “The Gift,” was a major exception to that rule. Even as we visited every storyline, the characters were still given enough time to shine, and the plot moved forward in major ways, especially in King’s Landing.

We got a very brief glimpse of Jon Snow, on his way to a dangerous mission Beyond the Wall. His exit, though, gave us enough time for Sam to really breathe in his own storyline. His staying with Maester Aemon as he died was incredibly sweet, and also served to provide a powerful and poignant sendoff for a great, minor character who still managed to have a lot of presence for every second he spent on the show. Continue reading

Review of Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

arya and jaqen

Okay, I am going to get to that scene. In fact, it’ll be the main focus of this review. But other things happened in this episode outside of Winterfell, and I think it’s worth noting for evaluating the episode.

Let’s start out with the highlights. I’ve enjoyed the King’s Landing storyline in Season 5 so far, but I think it was at its best in this episode. Olenna Tyrell’s presence was much appreciated, especially in her scene with Cersei (a one-on-one battle of intrigue that ranks up there with some of the best in the series). The inquest of Loras was tense and sickening (in a good way), raising the stakes dramatically by the end of the episode when Margaery is arrested by the High Sparrow.

I also felt this was the best episode for the Tyrion storyline, but quite a margin. The conversations with Jorah about Lord Commander Mormont and Daenerys were the kind of dialogue-rich scenes I had missed in previous episodes. I love Tyrion and he has never been a bore, but really all we’ve been doing is visiting him briefly while he has repetive conversations with Varys, or almot nothing to talk about with Jorah. I actually enjoyed the character interactions here, and Jorah’s face when he finds out his father is dead was pretty emotional for me. Great acting my Iain Glen in that scene. Continue reading