Monday, May 2, 2016

Game of Thrones: Season Six, Episode 2 - “Home”

by Dan Moore

And like that, our long national nightmare is over. The biggest cliffhanger/non-cliffhanger in television history. The dead guy you knew wasn’t actually dead. Jon Snow is back amongst the living. We all saw that coming. He couldn’t remain dead. It’s like Princess Leia once said “Help me, SNOW-bi Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”. Who knew that just giving the guy a haircut and speaking like Yogurt could bring you back from the dead?

As it turns out, he didn’t need Billy Crystal, he needed Mel Brooks

I’m glad they didn’t drag it out for half the season. We needed this plot moving along, because I didn’t need three more episodes of them looking at Jon Snow’s corpse on a table. Everyone knew he was coming back. If you could bet on him being dead or alive, Vegas would’ve taken this off the board. So I thank the producers and creative staff for making Jon breathe again quickly.

He's up & running again, free to look emo and brood all over Castle Black

It was also great to see the Wildling giant come back and completely mash some poor sucker into a wall. This dude was crushed by a giant and I couldn’t have been happier. A great scene that showed the power of the Wildling army as they chucked the men who betrayed our beloved Jon Snow into the jails of Castle Black.

A lot happened in Westeros this week and the episode was much more fluid than last week’s piecemeal edition. The show’s many escapades moved along more naturally this week. Places people were talking about would pop up in the next scene and it worked perfectly.

We got ourselves a dead king over in the Iron Islands. Balon Greyjoy, who we haven’t seen in about 34 years, was bumped off by his never-before-seen brother. This seems to lead to a power struggle on the Islands between the king’s bro and his daughter, Yara. Also, Theon took his leave of Sansa and said he’s heading home as well. Will he insert himself into the power struggle there? I’m not too sure but it’ll be a good thing for Theon to shed himself completely of his “Reek” persona and possibly become a confident man again (albeit missing his twig & berries).

Ramsay continued to show off his despicable ways, bumping off his father, his stepmother and his brand new baby brother. That’s a new one for Thrones deaths there, killing a minutes-old child. Kudos for them for keeping the savagery coming. I’m gonna miss ol’ Roose Bolton. I loved what a scumbag he was to Ramsay, keeping him dangling on a string as he kept saying “Oh yeah, you’re totally my heir unless I get a legit son from my wife there”. Keeping Ramsay nervous and on his toes was a pleasure to see. Now, Ramsay is the sole Bolton and in line to take all of his father’s lands and titles. He’s a real player in Winterfell.

Farewell Roose, you conniving, murdering,
uncaring prick.  I'll miss you.

Speaking of Winterfell (transition, nailed it), Bran Stark showed up finally, after a year’s absence. He’s a man now, as the actor playing him went full puberty and barely resembles the little boy we know from the earlier seasons. We catch up with Bran in what seems to be the ending of his Warg training with the Three-Eyed Raven. He’s now able to Warg his way into the past, as he sees his father and his uncle Benji training back when they were kids. He also sees Hodor, who used to be so much more than a (almost) mute giant named Willis. So something happened to our resident gentle giant to that turned him into the obedient slave we know and love. But Bran being able to check out the past opens the narrative up for some flashbacks which could be a lotta fun and possibly lead to us seeing a grownup version of his long dead father, our beloved Ned Stark. We can only hope.

Quick hit thoughts on the rest of the episode:

--Back at King’s Landing, Cersei is back to being in charge of her son after he came to her basically asking “MAKE ME A MAN!!” She could be pulling the strings on the Iron Throne again soon. And Jamie damn near bumps off the High Sparrow at his daughter’s wake, but the Faith Militant show up and squash that move.

--Arya passes what is possibly the easiest test of all time when Jaqen H'ghar keeps asking her questions where the answer is clearly "no" (though I’m happy they sped this along as well, because watching Arya get her ass kicked week in and out when she’s obviously going to be back with Jaqen anyway woulda been quite boring).

--And finally, Tyrion decides he needs to be the friend of dragons, and heads down into the basement where Dhany’s other two dragons are locked up. In a very tense scene, Tyrion placates the two fire lizards with a story from his youth as he unlocks them both from their chains. This could be AWESOME, as I’m all for watching a little person fly over a pretend land as he’s riding a dragon burning people alive.

This episode was a good one, with some unexpected deaths and solid storyline action. I’m looking forward to seeing the developments in the Iron Islands and Winterfell with their leadership voids most likely getting fought over. And not to mention Sansa and Brienne moving along to wherever they hell they’re deciding to go. Things are moving along for the better in Westeros.

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