I’m not sure Game of Thrones has ever had a comedown episode to the extent we just saw with “No One”. The hour wasted no time in debunking common fan theories that arose during the week and putting a stop to a few momentous storylines.
Starting with Arya, the prevailing theory was that Arya and the Waif were actually the same person all along, and that the Waif killing Arya was Aryan simply becoming “no one”. Book-readers know this was never the likely case, as the Waif is a character with her own tragic backstory in print that the show never got into due to time constraints. Now we all know that the two are very much different due to a spectacular chase through the slums of Braavos. I thought director Mark Mylod (a GOT veteran) and DoP P.J. Dillon did a great job with that sequence. I’d point out the birds-eye shot of a bloodied Arya rolling down the steps, knocking over baskets of fruit and the image of Arya running with the Waif on the level above her making some miraculous Ethan Hunt-esque leap to continue pursuit. This was a very intense sequence despite the fact that it was never going to end with anything other than a face-off.
It’s also nice to know that the whole blinding thing wasn’t just a waste. This subplot came to a conclusion the second Arya grabbed Needle and cut out the lights. When she confronts Jaqen and says she is not, in fact, no one, but rather still a vengeful Arya Stark, she consciously elects not to stick him with Needle. This is important. Jaqen and the Faceless Men will be back. Bet on it.
Note: at the end of this recap, I’m going to discuss something I believe will happen this season that could be considered a spoiler (to non-readers). It will be in RED. So when you see a red paragraph down at the bottom please skip if you wish to view the upcoming two episodes with completely virgin eyes.
The Hound is also out for vengeance. After killing some of the members of the Brotherhood without Banners who hung poor old Ian McShane, he discovers the leaders of the Brotherhood with the remaining three. It was important for the show to get to this right away, because it seemed very unlike the Brotherhood to slaughter innocents. If the Hound aligns with the Brotherhood, it won’t be for long. He has his own personal retributions to seek out.
Checking in with Bronn of the Blackwater, week 8
Bronn and Podrick. What a glorious reunion. I’m thrilled the writers took a few minutes to show the two embrace one another. There’s a mutual respect between the two. Podrick respects Bronn’s skills as a fighter; while Bronn respects, in his words, Podrick’s “magic cock”. They’re two of the most loyal second-fiddles on the show. Bronn is loyal to the highest bidder and Podrick is loyal to whomever his squire duties tell him to be. If HBO was to do a Better Call Saul style spinoff with these two, I wouldn’t complain.
The other long-awaited reunion we got this week was Jaime and Brienne. They both want the Blackfish to surrender the castle, albeit for very different reasons. These two traveling together a few seasons back made for some of the shows finest moments and despite them fighting for opposite sides their relationship allows for collaboration. The Blackfish was having none of that collaboration, but still, the effort was nice. It took Jaime channeling his inner Tywin and convincing Edmure Tully to surrender. Edmure is still the guy technically in charge despite his all-around incompetence, leaving the Tully men no choice but to follow his orders. The Blackfish gave us one last gift but helping Brienne and Podrick escape via rowboat. Jaime waved her farewell, but something tells me the two will meet again. I beg the showrunners to keep this loving relationship a platonic one. Despite the clear tension, having Jaime and Brienne go anywhere romantically would be against the grain of both characters. Jaime still does everything he does for Cersei, and Brienne’s loyalties would seem less significant if she was to kiss Jaime or something.
Never has Cersei been so naked and helpless, which is crazy considering she once walked naked through the streets with feces being flung at her. Tommen’s decision to eradicate the trial by combat method immediately moves Cersei to the top of the chopping block (more on this later). She relies so much on the Mountain’s protection at this point. It’d be interesting to go back through this season and see if there’s even one scene where Cersei isn’t directly being protected by the Mountain. She no longer has the Crown or her family (save for Jaime) by her side. She has the Mountain, and Qyburn. That’s it. Speaking of Qyburn, I wonder what that little rumor he “investigated” was. Probably something that paints the Sparrows in a negative light, right?
The “Daenerys Sucks Diaries”, week 8
Dany was in this episode for about three seconds. The slavers have attacked Meereen and just when it seemed hopeless, she appears (by dragon, presumably). What will come of this? Will the dragons destroy the Slavers’ fleet? Will Theon and Yara show up with the Iron fleet at the perfect time? Probably a combination of the two. But it is clear Dany still has one more battle to fight to fight before waging her ultimate war. Ugh. Double Ugh.
I do like how the Slavers’ attack proved Tyrion wrong in this case. He doesn’t understand how people outside the realm think, as much as he likes to believe he’s all-knowing. For this alliance to work it’ll take a combination of Tyrion’s cunning, Grey Worm’s sobering views, and Dany’s guidance.
Tweet of the week
While “No One” wasn’t jam-packed with the social media busting moments we’ve come to expect, it was a very important episode for the progression of the season. It wrapped up Arya’s story with the Faceless Men and the siege of Riverrun, albeit anticlimactically. This will allow the next two episodes to focus on other things; most notably the impending battle at Winterfell, Cersei’s trial in King’s Landing, and the Iron Fleet’s arrival at Meereen. You also figure we’ll get something with Jorah/Greyscale and Samwell’s journey. Bran is too closely attached to the larger story to expect much more this season, I think.
Arbitrary Ranking of the Week
Notable characters most likely to die in the next two episodes, ranked
- Ramsay (if Jon Snow takes Winterfell, there is no possible way Ramsay makes it out alive. His fate is tied directly to whether or not that battle is shown this season or early in season seven).
- Cersei (no more trial by combat. Is she found guilty or does she possibly make a run for it?)
- Davos (victories are usually bittersweet. I could easily see the Battle of Winterfell being won by the “good” guys but with the extremely likable Davos meeting his demise in the process)
- The High Sparrow (could Cersei go in her bag of tricks to find a way to get this guy?)
- Tommen (same as above, only this would be a monumental shift for Cersei’s character)
- Jorah (because, greyscale)
Five random notes
- We SHOULD live in a country that can discuss radical Islamic terrorism, assault rifle ownership, and hatred towards the LGBT community. These things can be issues simultaneously, and the massacre this weekend in Orlando proves such. But what do I know? I’m just a logical human being who prefers nuance to drawing an imaginary line the sand and calling everyone on the other side stupid.
- The final two episodes this season are directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who did “Hardhome” last season, so you’d assume they called on him after seeing how well he handled a big battle.
- I’m fucking tired of hearing how “important” it is that every American sees the Tony-sweeping show Hamilton. I’m sure it’s great, but 90% of Americans can’t afford it (at least during its initial Broadway run), so stop it. A weekend in Manhattan to see Hamilton for a family of four would cost roughly $5,000.
- I’ve become obsessesed with USA’s show Mr. Robot, which starts its second season in July. I binge-watched the whole damn thing. It’s fucking incredible. Best thing to come on TV since Breaking Bad. It’ll also make you rethink posting your goddamn birthday on Facebook.
- I’ve noticed a theme this season of “can people really change?” Arya is still Arya. We saw Jaime channel his inner Jaime. Cersei will always be Cersei. The Hound is still a very angry man. Podrick still has a magic cock.
POSSIBLE SPOILER DISCUSSION BELOW
So………there was an awful lot of talk about Catelyn Stark this week, huh? In the books, Catelyn is resurrected by Beric of the Brotherhood, but her body has decayed and she’s full of Red Wedding induced rage. She goes by “Lady Stoneheart” and becomes the leader of the Brotherhood. After season four passed without Lady Stoneheart, bookies assumed the showrunners simply chose to exclude that storyline. All-of-a-sudden, due to talk of Catelyn and presence of the Brotherhood, it would appear she’s likely to show up sometime over these next two episodes. Just something to look out for.