SPOILERS BELOW: There is nothing to be Cle-gained by Mountain a complaint about it, you can Hound me all you want, I’ve already written them.
So last week, I didn’t take time to discuss who the epnoymous ‘Broken Man’ of the episode was. You could infer it was The Hound as the episode was predominantly about him but was he truly broken? He was certainly put back together by Septon McShane but I think he was far from broken, even to begin with. If we were to proclaim anyone a broken man, it would be Theon Greyjoy but even he seems to be on a slow road to recovery. My take on it, is the ‘Broken Man’ of the title refers to the ‘man’ as a symbol of steadfast, old fashioned nobility. That idea is broken, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen any nobility act, well, noble. The old gods’ time is done and the new gods crave violence. Violence and flesh. The gods in a Cabin in the Woods twist are of course the bosses at HBO. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the internet loves doing that with Game of Thrones. Anyway that was last week, what happened this week:
Lady Crane took Arya’s advice and added some anger to her performance, she finds Arya in a bloody state, she gets her patched up and offers for Arya to come to Pentos, sadly she declines a life of thespianism for a desire to find out what there is where the maps stop, The Hound enters the fourth stage of grief – murder rage, Varys is heading back to Westeros , Lancel and the lesser sparrows try to order Cersei out of the red keep, The Mountain responds much like Wayne Brady by choking a bitch, Brienne has come to visit Jamie, Podrick and Bron have a scene, Brienne hopes to convince the Blackfish to leave Riverrun so he can help fight the Boltons, she doesn’t, Cersei with her friends Zombie Mountain and Necrobastard find out that there won’t be a trial by combat but presumably a trial by actual trial, plus Necrobastard has heard some rumours, Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm get drunk, the Slave Masters ruin the fun, Edmure points out what we’ve all been saying – Jamie’s a dickhead, then Edmure turns dickhead, has the gates open and lets in the LanniFreys, the Blackfish dies fighting, Brienne sails away on the boat of forbidden love, slavers start launching fire at Mereen and boom, Dany’s back, The Hound finds Thoros of Myr and Lord Beric, he gets revenge on the people that killed Septon McShane last week, Sandor is joining the Brotherhood without Banners because fuck it, Lady Crane watches a sleeping Arya, she pulls a vial off the wall only for a creepy blonde boy to be watching her, it’s the waif, she chases Arya through Mereen, Arya kills the Waif and now she’s going home. So if you were to ask what happened this week, the answer is, not much. We’ll round up the lesser storylines first. Mereen continues to become the new Dorne as in Dany’s absence Peter Dinklage tries through sheer force of will to make his lack of meaningful material mean anything. The entire story is only notable for Missandei’s rather adorable drunken laugh and the potential of a Dany and Greyjoy vs the Slavers confrontation next week. As much as I enjoyed the scenes internally, the Hound and the Brotherhood is also worth mentioning because Beric and Thoros are back. I’m happier about this than any other return this season (suck it, Jon Snow). Also the Mountain choked a sparrow. That’s about the sum total of the happenings in Kings Landing.
Well the Blackfish plotline was a frustrating waste of time, wasn’t it? The siege that ended with one offscreen death and a few nicely observed scenes was really used to try and once again insert Brienne back into the non-incestuous third of the Lannister Love Triangle. I was so excited when Brienne said that should battle occur, she would fight against Jamie but no, he continues to live. The situation was resolved without any tension whatsoever. I get why they did it in a character sense but as a TV viewer to build up to a battle only to just decide not to have it was just frustrating. For some reason, the series has spent an inordinate amount of time building up the position and brilliance of the Blackfish only to then have him be a side character is his own plotline. Also, why bring in Bron only to have him then appear in two scenes and have no effect on the outcome of anything? The story did have some positive notes, Bron and Podrick had an easy chemistry, Clive Russell masterfully controlled the screen as the much discussed Blackfish, especially in his final scene with Brienne and it continues to raise the stakes for the oncoming Snow-Bolton clash by having another potential ally taken out of contention but if the outcome of it all was to have Jamie and Brienne moon-facing each other across a moat, that’s just bullshit, it’s build-up with no payoff. The one positive of the story, it’s done for now.
Luckily this week we had Arya and the Waif go full parkour through the streets of Braavos. Yes, I know there will be people that will argue that it is unrealistic for Arya to be running full pelt after all the stabbing last week but if we take the whole thing as an almost undeservedly thrilling climax to Two Seasons of time in Braavos that did not need to take this long to get there, this was a beautiful kiss off. Though I do wish Arya had managed to go off with Lady Crane and friends for more Thespventures, the entire endeavour might have been worth it for Arya’s excited look when discussing trying to sail to potentially the literal edge of the earth. If she does make it there, I look forward to seeing what Thrones does with uncharted waters. Mostly I hope they don’t drag it out past it’s natural end point but some dreams are unachievable. Still, if undeserved, I appreciated the flair with which the direction of the street chase was deployed and there were some lovely framing devices used to constantly keep the Waif threateningly close. Still with Arya signing off (presumably finishing it by saying Love, Nina. Little BBC teatime sitcom joke there*) this portion of her storyline, let’s hope that if she is going home, she gets there quickly this time. This week was a tad disappointing, not Episode II: Attack of the Snow-nes, disappointing but still a little bit filler. As if they spent a bit of effort on the Arya plot but wanted to save all the other exciting bits for the next two episodes. I wanted to like this episode a lot more than I did but for all it’s work, I’m left feeling neither excited or not. Still, at least Beric, Thoros and Sandor are together. That is basically my ultimate team. If anyone from Chikara Pro Wrestling is reading this and you have a spot in your 2016 King of Trios tournament, you know who to put it in.
Silicon Valley Update: I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet because NowTV was being real weird this morning but then no one commented last week to say they were reading these bits so seriously, if you are, get caught up already, you are missing out.
*If you didn’t get the gag, BBC are currently airing a TV series written by Nick Hornby called Love, Nina. The eponymous Nina is played by Faye Marsay who also plays the Waif. Joke explained.