Another jam-packed episode of Game of Thrones has come our way. I am impressed by how relentless their pacing is. This episode felt slightly slower than the first episode, but that’s only because the first episode answered most of the lingering question from Season 5 in rapid-fire succession. This episode, on the other hand, focused on setting up the new storylines and introducing new people and new magic. Before I go into the detailed review, I must say that its amazing how many characters they have left given how murderous the show is. I think its great because a leaner cast helps speed up the pacing, but still.
The name of this episode is ‘Home’ and we definitely see a lot of characters at home, going home, and choosing their home. Let’s start off with some more minor developments:
- Sansa + Brienne – Finally, we get to see Sansa have a proper conversation with Brienne and they discuss Arya and their destination. It is unbelievably satisfying to see the Stark kids getting any sort of update about each other. With Bran and Rickon holed up in separate places, Arya becoming a badass in Braavos and Jon Snow occupied with the wildlings, White Walkers and his death, there has been no opportunity to connect. This was as close as they’ve gotten and I’m pretty satistfied. Of course, it seems they’re planning on going to Castle Black, so a Sansa-Jon Snow reunion is totally possible now. I hope they stick to that plan!
- Theon – Why oh why can he not just stay firmly on the path of redemption? Instead, he leaves Sansa to go “home”. Only time will tell what he considers home: Winterfell or Pyke?
- Arya – Although Arya’s plot is building extremely slowly, at the very least they didn’t leave her on the streets this time. I still don’t want her to lose her identity, but I’m glad she passed the test and gets to return to the House of Black and White. We’ll just need to wait and see if this house becomes a home.
- Tommen + Cersei + Franken Mountain – While nothing crazily significant happens, we do see that Franken Mountain is damn strong. Although Tommen tries to get strength from his mother, I have no doubt that his clock is ticking. I like that Cersei reaction to everything is so subdued. Between being barred from her daughter’s funeral and having her son apologize, she contains her emotions well. That will only make it more spectacular when she blows up the world around her.
- Jaime vs High Sparrow – This matchup was quite amusing to watch. Finally, Jaime is caught up to the news of the power balance shift. He now realizes that the High Sparrow is a force to be reckoned with.
Along with familiar characters, Episode 2 brought up to new characters and to a group we haven’t seen since Season 4.
- Bran + Flashback – When used properly, flashbacks can be the most incredible tools for storytelling. This episode gave us an awesome nostalgic flashback to the precious generation of Starks at their youth. We finally put a face to the almost mythical Lyanna Stark and Bran realizes there’s more to Hodor than he realized. Or should I say Wyllis. I’m excited to learn more about his magic and to see Meera settle into her role as Bran’s protector.
- Ironborn – Finally, the last king from the War of the Five Kings is dead. I’m pretty sure I spoiled his death to several people because, in the books, he died so much earlier and I just forgot he was still alive. I’m glad they gave him a proper dramatic death and we finally meet one of the most egotistical and dramatic Game of Thrones characters, Euron Greyjoy. Admittedly, his lines were a bit cheesy, but whatever. Let him be the damn storm. I really hope his character is not scaled down like the Dornish were because I can’t wait to see his crazy.
Now, onto the MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS:
- Ramsey +
Roose Bolton and family– While I totally saw this coming, I did NOT see this coming. Ramsey murders Roose Bolton, Walda Frey, and the baby. Not only did he inherit an unruly North, he steps on the toes of the Freys, also. I really can’t see his plan going anywhere, but I think this was an appropriate development for Ramsey. I just hope they don’t make he take on that clueless villain role, like they did with Joffrey. Ramsey is not an idiot, so I don’t want him to go out too easily.
- Tyrion + Daenerys’ Council – I think it has been a while since I’ve seen a scene as nuanced and brilliant as his dragon interaction. Somehow, it manages to be suspenseful, comical, and emotional all at the same time. It made up for how much it sucks that everything Daenerys worked for all these seasons is unraveling. Let’s just hope the dragons finally start eating again.
- Wildling vs Sir Alliser Thorne’s Night’s Watch – This has got to be the fastest “battle” in Game of Thrones. Granted, the Night’s Watch should’ve given up immediately. I mean, what could have possessed that crow to think he could take on a giant? I like how quickly the show put down the traiterous Night’s Watch. Let’s be honest, they just need to focus on attending to Jon Snow, which brings us to…
- JON SNOW IS ALIVE! Although I would’ve loved a dramatic comebac for our fallen leader, I liked how distinct his revival was. We’ve seen the super casual ressurection of Beric Dondarrion, the Franken-revival of the Mountain, and the reanimation of the dead into wights by the White Walkers. Unlike all the others, this ressurection was ritualistic, methodical and subtle. It is a great contrast to the insanity of Jon Snow speculation. I am so excited that he’s back and the next episode is going to be awesome. R+L=J anyone?