I had this noble plan, to abstain from the TV show until the next book came out, alas it was a noble but ultimately futile, when you work in a large department that starts putting up Hodor pictures in elevators you end up relenting to survive, so relent I did and here you go my TL;DR reviews of the first 5 episodes of Season 6, oh and of course Spoilers ahead, a lot of people die.
Episode 1 – The Red Women
And so we enter a new phase, we are past the books for many characters, so spoilers abound, and for the first time, the book readers are just as likely to be surprised about what is coming up. The opener has a lot to do it has to remind us of where everyone is and then it need to propel us forward, and for a most Part The Red Women does all of that. Jon Snow is dead, but alas that is but just the first coup of the episode. Look at this point we have to accept that they have really messed up Dorne, and we will just have to accept it, for most of the deviations like Talisa there were good reasons and there was a payoff, here I just can’t see how they can recover it. But besides Dorne and that weird English graffiti in Meereen, what a strong way to end the episode with the reveal that Melisandre is much older than we thought. A good opener, a good moment to catch our breath before the next onslaught.
Episode 2 – Home
Well episode 2 of the season wastes no time in continuing the killing off of some supporting characters, if you include Jon Snow from episode 10 last season we have now had 4 coups in 3 episodes (Castle Black, Dorne, Winterfell, & Pyke). But amongst all the carnage we also have the return of some old friends, Hello Bran, Hello Hodor, Hello Greyjoys, it’s been a while. We learn just how narcissistic Ramsey is, and wow if that scene wasn’t full of tension, and we finally have the offing of Balon, he been dead for ages. Also, this is how you use giants. The episode does end on the most unsurprising surprise in TV, but you have got to respect that framing, right out of a renaissance painting.
Episode 3 – Oathbreaker
This is one of those episodes where a lot happens but no much of consequence, as it is just about moving people into place for the episodes to come. But within that we get some great moments, we get Sansa finally taking charge after a false start last season, we get a lovely awkward Small Council session, it seems like Davos might be the only sane person left in the north, and Sam dropping truth bombs in the middle of the ocean, as well as all his lunch. The stand out moment has to be the flashback sword fight at the Tower of Joy, I think this might be some of the best sword choreography that we have seen in the series so far, and indeed the nod to the popular but still not completely confirmed theory was a nice touch. To finish it off we are down another direwolf, only three more to go.
Episode 4 – Book of the Stranger
Ok we are now up to 5 coups so far this season, and only 4 episodes, wow, and it is also the season to bring back characters only to kill them off quickly, it’s going to be a brutal run to the end. So after a lot of running around Daenerys finally ends up back in Vaes Dothrak and shows that she is not afraid of exterminating an entire ruling class to move forward, playing on that notion of if she will or won’t become another mad Targaryen queen. Much like Dorne, The Eyrie seems lacking, it was Sansa that really forwarded that along and without here, it is almost why bother. Also yes Jorah we all saw you use pocket sand with no effect. “we should not have gone south” well if that was not the understatement of the season, also I see you Tyrion laying down some sick Realist rhymes, be careful you don’t get everyone burnt with your beats.
Episode 5 – The Door
This episode is titled ‘The Door’, it could be also titled ‘the episode Bran stuffed everything up’ or ‘the episode George RR Martin was crueler than the Red Wedding’. Before we go to that, the other strength of this episode was the Kingmoot in the Iron Islands, this shows that you can adapt and condense story lines without Dorneing it up, and it is good we get to see more of those elements. Ok let’s talk about it, the reason Hodor is Hodor is because Bran messed up his powers, and messed with Hodor’s head, ‘hold the door’, we had warning it was coming but wow, and also another Direwolf bites the dust 2 more to go.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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