Monday, June 10, 2013

Game of Thrones 3x10 Mhysa

By Sati. Monday, June 10, 2013 ,
They've made a huge mistake. That is the first thought I had after seeing the finale to season 3 of Game of Thrones. I usually defend the writers but I don't know what they were thinking - Mhysa contains some of the worst decisions they have made in the show so far. To illustrate how much of a wasted opportunity that finale was - before seeing it, I'd say season 3 is the best season of the show so far. After seeing it, season 1 still holds that honor.

This has been the worst season finale of the show so far. Last year's finale was quite disappointing, mostly because of the weak House of Undying scene but the amount of time wasting, filler scenes in Mhysa is just astounding. Had I not read the books I'd be merely disappointed. Since I did read them I'm actually angry because they could have made this episode into the best finale yet and they screwed up pretty much every scene.
In the opening of the episode Roose Bolton appears as if he was dramatic chipmunk and looks at the slaughter in front of the Twins. There is a number of problems with the opening sequence. In the books the most gruesome aspect of Red Wedding was what happened to Robb and Catelyn's bodies. Robb's head was cut off and the Freys sewed Grey Wind's head on its place. They seated the corpse on the throne, nailed wooden crown to the wolf's head (in the books Robb wore the crown) and chanted "King in the North!" mockingly.

As for Catelyn - you saw her father's funeral this season - Tullys have fish in their sigil and after they die they are rested in the boat which is set on the river. The Freys threw naked Catelyn into the river as a mockery of that ritual. And what do we have in the show?

We did get to see what was done to Robb. Unfortunately, Arya saw it too. Robb's body was tied to a horse and Grey Wind's head was on a pole that was rooted in Robb's headless corpse. It looked horrific and terrible and we still got the Freys chanting "King in the North". That said, that scene felt incredibly rushed - the whole massacre, the whole mockery - it was so quick they didn't give it a chance to properly sink in. I usually defend show again exploitation claims but to do all of that and use it in such botched, terribly paced scene is inexcusable. The photo of the monstrosity is actually much more horrifying than the actual scene because while looking at it you have the time to properly understand what was done here. I cannot believe they went to the trouble of actually doing that only to feature it in such a brief scene. Having the opening show that on the throne with camera zooming in would have been far more effective and haunting and it would have made an unforgettable scene.

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I hoped they would give some explanation to what happened to Robb's head. It wasn't mentioned in the books and I find it so saddening that the Young Wolf's remains are rotting somewhere instead of being in the crypts of Winterfell, where they belong.

As for Catelyn? We didn't see anything. Nothing. They completely skipped what was done to her. I'm not going to explain why it's one of the dumbest decisions show runners made because I don't want to spoil anything but at that point of the episode I thought to myself, oh boy this is not off to a good start. Also let's not forget they have been ignoring Catelyn this whole season which is one of the other reasons I'm placing season 1 above this one.

To give you a point of reference of how rushed the scene was - people don't seem to be shocked or enraged, even though what was done to Robb's body is a nightmarish and gruesome thing, the worst thing done so far. Instead people are complaining about how anti climatic the finale was, and rightfully so.
The scene however was actually one of the highlights of the episode and this is only thanks to Maisie Williams and Rory McCann. The direction and writing were fucking terrible here but the looks on their faces...amazing. We saw Arya, our brave strong Arya, completely crushed. The Hound was horrified when he saw what was done to Arya's brother. You could really see the shock on his face and I loved how he protectively and sympathetically took Arya away from there as fast as he could.

Another thing that I cannot wrap my mind around is that Ramin Djawadi gave them a perfect opportunity to create incredible opening and ending - tracks  "Dark Wings, Dark Words" and "Mhysa" have the same choir - the first one could have been used in opening and the latter in the ending and they should have focused on a certain event that happened after Red Wedding. Showing the full tragedy of what was done to the Starks and ending the episode with a ray of hope is such a great idea, supported by Djawadi's work, I cannot help but think that they actually wanted to do it this way but for some dumb reason they didn't.
Another popular complain about show is how it's all talking, no action. Well there you have it - the haters finally have a perfect evidence for their claim in this episode. Sam and Gilly, Davos and Gendry, Cersei and Tyrion and worst of all Shae and Varys. Out of all the fantastic scenes they could have used not one of them made it into the finale for the sake of those invented scenes that really didn't add anything to the show.

The showrunners are obviously saving all the great stuff for season 4. The problem is that after Red Wedding they really should have given people more to hold on to. 10 months of waiting and they gave the people completely anticlimatic finale without 2 scenes that could have injected hope and sense of justice into the fans' hearts. The truth is that the second part of Storm of Swords has more than enough of great events to provide a terrific season so what they've done here by giving us scraps and saving the meat for next year is just ridiculous.
Oh and Sansa and Tyrion. What the FUCK. We have silly scene with Tyrion and Sansa joking around. Then Tyrion walks into their room and sees Sansa crying, obviously having found out about Red Wedding. That's it. Did they really think that this is better than having book scene where Tyrion tell Sansa himself, Sansa courteously excusing herself and going to the room where she cried while Tyrion stood by the door, helpless, knowing he can't do anything for her? Wow. What a terrific idea that was.

That said, there was one good King's Landing scene which is (wink wink) the closest to the book scene in the episode - Joffrey being happy about Robb being dead and suggesting that he should serve his head on a plate to Sansa during his wedding. Everyone is outraged and Tywin provokes Joffrey who in response tells him that he "hid under the Rock when his father was fighting the war". The looks on every one's faces when Joff said that were priceless.
Another scene I liked was the added scene with Walder Frey and Roose Bolton gloating after they "won". The story was preceded by Bran's tale of a cook who made the king eat his own son in a pie and was cursed because he slaughtered a guest beneath his roof. The scene cut to Walder which suggests the gods will take vengeance, but then again, without a certain moment as a final shot of the season it rings hallow.

The scene with Bolton led to the reveal of who Theon's torturer was. Well it gives me great pleasure that I can finally stop calling him "boy". The boy is in fact Roose's bastard son - Ramsey. He has a scene with Theon in the finale where he gives Theon a new name - "Reek". The origins of the name are infinitely better in the book, but comparing to the amount of other screw ups in the finale I'm not even mad about that one.
We got pretty good scene with Balon Greyjoy and Theon's sister Yara. Ramsey sent them Theon's cut off penis in the box and a message that if Greyjoys won't retreat their forces he will send them more boxes with more of Theon. Balon isn't inclined to give a fuck to Yara's dismay who tells him she will assembly 50 greatest killers and sail to retake Dreadfort and bring her brother home. Her speech about it was great and I really like her character now though  that plan is only a tad less moronic than Robb wanting to take Casterly Rock.

What else happened - Sam met with Bran and recognized him as Jon's brother. Unfortunately, Bran has a brilliant idea to go North while Sam heads to Castle Black. Come to think of it, have the Starks not been so stupid they probably would have crossed paths a bunch of times at that point in the story. Sam takes Gilly to Castle Black and he sends a letter describing how he saw White Walkers and asks for help.
That letter is read by Davos, good thing too, as Stannis is pissed off since Davos released Gendry before Stannis and Melisandre had a chance to sacrifice him. For the first time in the series, at least for me, the writers' ridiculous bias towards Dany and dislike towards Stannis was not only evident but ruined the episode even more. Stannis is acting like a little bitch - Davos you are going to jail! Davos I sentence you to die! Davos you can live since Melisandre says so! Jesus Christ. Anyways Stannis, Melisandre and Davos will now try to create the army and aid the Night's Watch.

And that scene wasn't even the worst part of the episode. I'm truly torn between the scene where Ygritte keeps shooting Jon after he leaves her - I was really expecting for her to shoot him in the ass and the horse to throw him in that puddle, since that would be the only thing more ridiculous than that sequence - and the scene with Jaime.
I'm usually fine with the writers altering what happens in the book, but to have Jaime come back to King's Landing now instead after Joff's wedding is just unbelievable. It poses huge problems in the future but I would have been fine with it if him coming back would pay off with a great scene. Oh my God, are you ready? Get this - Jaime comes back, goes to Cersei's room. She is seating on a bed. He is standing few feet behind her, says "Cersei" and she turns around and looks at him. END OF SCENE.

I'd comment but I just can't find the words.
Thank God for Arya. We got truly terrific scene where her and Hound are passing next to Frey soldiers talking about decapitating Robb and sewing the wolf's head on his body. Wordlessly Hound allows Arya to jump off the horse. Arya approaches the soldiers, she is acting all innocent and telling them that she is hungry and she has money. She shows them the Braavos coin she got from Jaqen and she drops it.

When the soldier who claimed was the one who sewed the head to Robb's body, tries to pick up the coin, Arya starts stabbing him repeatedly. The other soldiers move towards her, but Hound jumps in to protect her and kills them all. That was such a terrific scene and Hound is at his best when he is helping the Starks. I hope he will be their ally in the future.
The very ending is where things still could have been saved. Considering Mhysa tack, the very title of the episode- Mhysa (Mother) - and all the little tidbits thrown in this season I was sitting in utter disbelief when right after Dany's scene the end credits rolled. I just couldn't believe that happened. The show has this tradition, well not anymore it doesn't, where the last episode ends with something magical and shocking. They had the opportunity for the biggest, most shocking cliffhanger yet and they fucked up so bad I cannot even find the words to describe just how disappointed I am.

So instead of a great final scene that would get people to anticipate 4th season with passion and eagerness, Dany's Mhysa scene was the conclusion to the finale. It is a  nice scene and I don't think it was as awful and cheesy as many people think but come on, this is the scene that ends the season? The season should end with a punch not this. The writers don't seem to grasp the idea that not everyone is rooting for Daenerys. Hyping her up, year after year, is just setting non-book readers up for major let down because her storyline in book 5 is as bad as this finale episode was.
Dany and her entourage are standing in front of he gates waiting for the slaves to emerge. When they do, Missandai tells them that Daenerys is the one who they owe their freedom to. Dany says some sappy stuff about their freedom being their own and the slaves start changing "Mhysa", calling her their mother who brought them freedom. Dany walks into the crowd and the people carry her on their shoulders.

Then we got a truly awful zoom out moment when we saw the crowd with Dany in the centre and dragons flying around. I cannot imagine worse thing as the ending shot of the season. With finale that was that lackluster and boring I can safely say that season four  premiere will be incredible in comparison. On the other hand since they did not use the proper ending scene* here, who knows?
* I'm referring to the event that happened 3 days after Red Wedding we are told about in the epilogue of Storm of Swords . It didn't take book readers 10 months to get there and it shouldn't be required of TV audience to wait 10 months for the big reveal.

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34 comments:

  1. Gah that was a dumb finale, even moreso now that I know the book stuff. The Robb-Wind thing was terribly rushed. I wish they had taken some of the visuals from the v. meh last scene and added it there instead to make it striking.

    And yes, toooo much talking. The Shae thing would have been acceptable if she did leave, but nooo.

    Theon and Ramsay out-acted everyone in this episode. How did he get the name Reek in the book?

    I also really liked Arya's scene and the small council part.

    10 months- gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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    1. That finale scene was just such a waste of time, money and great music.

      Shae will actually be less useless next season :)

      In the book Ramsay had this companion that was called Reek because for some strange reason he always stank even if he was clean. It was said it is unknown if Ramsay corrupted Reek or Reek corrupted Ramsay - they were both sick and Reek was rumored to enjoy necrophilia.

      At one point Reek was killed when he pretended to be Ramsay for something Ramsay did and Ramsay then pretended to be Reek and went to Winterfell. This is when as 'Reek' he started to help Theon etc. until he revealed that he was really Ramsay. So Theon is now kinda new "Reek" for Ramsay to do sick things with.

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  2. It felt more like a season premiere rather than a finale; just warming things up but without anything significant actually happening. If the Red Wedding was the finale, I would have been brokenhearted all summer; now I'm just disappointed.

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    1. Yeah, comparing to that making RW episode a finale ep would have been much better decision.

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  3. Saw that you already read my thoughts. Can't say I disagree with just about anything you said. Sad. Was such a weak episode.

    As I mentioned before though, I am ok with them leaving out that big reveal you hint at. I'd rather that got more time, and the earlier it happens, the more useless the situation becomes (I'm trying to word this without spoiling anything...). The revealed doesn't do much, so the earlier it's revealed, the less that will happen with it over the next season. Maybe that made a little sense?

    But really, I'd have taken a bit of sacrifice next season for SOMETHING to save this episode.

    Will you be watching/reviewing Dexter as well?

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    1. I cannot believe that it was directed by the same guy who did RW episode. It's like he said "Fuck it, don't care" with this one.

      I think that given how much dark stuff happened and since they already had Beric that was the only logical way to end the season. They could have invented some scenes for that person in season 4, God knows they keep doing that for bunch of characters in the show.

      Oh, I haven't seen the last season of Dexter yet. Gave up in season 6 but I heard season 7 is an improvement.

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  4. I agree that this was the weakest of the three season finales, and that the final scene wasn't that overwhelming, but I didn't have some of the issues with it that you had. And I would have still had Season 1 as the best so far even if this episode had been spectacular.

    My actual, favorite shot of the entire episode was during the walk that Tyrion and Sansa shared. They put the camera down about at Dinklage's knees and shot up at him, giving him a "hero shot", making him look huge, but behind him you can see Sansa just towering over him from this angle. She looks about 20 feet tall. Above her all you can see is sky.

    I also didn't mind the various conversations among characters that we don't normally see together. In fact, after the Shae/Varis scene I even made a mental note that this episode had apparently been going out of its way to do that. I liked that they were changing it up sometimes, instead of giving us the same pairings every time.

    I'm pretty sure I know what scene you wanted to see, but I was expecting them to keep that for next season, so I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I would not even be surprised if they hang onto it and only show it in flashback when a certain character explains her appearance, probably in season 5 - otherwise they've got to pay a performer their episodic salary for a cameo appearance, which would cause a hit to the budget.

    Enough on where we might have minor quibbles, Arya is one of my favorite characters, so I completely agree that her scenes were probably the best in the episode. I'm actually looking forward to her and the Hound next season, even though her wanderings felt like a huge waste of time when I was reading books 2 and 3. I want to see her get Needle back, too.

    This season is over. Now our long night begins....

    Oh, on a related note, I ran across this joke: Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? Because he's already killed off all 140 characters.

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    1. Season 1 was just wonderful. I think one of the many reasons for it is that it was the closest to the book.

      Wow I'm gonna have to go back and see this shot, I missed that. Sophie Turner is incredibly tall indeed.

      I normally enjoy that kind of scenes but for finale it just felt like a filler episode.

      The problem here is that they don't do flashback and I don't think they will - if they did exception for that scene than people would be mad for all the other flashbacks we didn't get.

      Yeah same here, can't wait for more of Arya and the Hound and that scene where she gets Needle back. Arya scenes never disappoint so I'm sure they will handle it well in season 4.

      Haha that is so true :D

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    2. You're right about no flashbacks. I hadn't noticed that before.

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    3. I think they even shot a flashback with Brandon Stark strangling himself in front of Mad King, but they never used it :(

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  5. Yeeeah, that was pretty disappointing. It left me really fine with being away from the show for months, because there really isn't anything to hold my breath for. Also, you are so right, that still picture of Robb is much more shocking than the actual scene. I didn't even *get* it was Robb's body with the wolf's head till the scene with Arya! I thought it was some kind of puppet. Stupid.

    I liked the little conversation between Sansa and Tyrion -- it just makes no sense to have it in the season finale, since it's almost inconsequential. It's interesting to know what someone who has read the books thinks are bad decisions from the writers. I have a great friend who has read them as well, but doesn't watch the show, so she's absolutely shocked with what I tell her. And what bugs her the most are tiny details that are changed with no clear purpose. I can get that.

    I've thoroughly enjoyed these little recaps of yours, great job Sati. :)

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    1. They really should have put more emphasis on what Freys have done there. The scene went so fast I don't think I would understand what happened if I didn't know the books. Shame they went to the trouble of actually doing it and they botched the scene so bad.

      I agree, most of those moments would have been fine otherwise but it's a finale - it should have essential things that will set up season 4 and leave people waiting for it. I'm mostly annoyed because they are skipping some important things or rushing through story lines for the sake of invented stuff that adds nothing to the plot.

      Thank you so much! :)

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  6. Wow you really hated it, didn't you? I was certainly underwhelmed by it but I usually am when they make nonsense changes from the book.

    Personally, I thought Varys/Shae conversation worked well. I would have been OK with Tyrion/Sansa scene as well but they butchered RW reveal to Sansa. That was much better in book. And so was Robb+Greywind. Only about 10 times better.

    I do agree with some of the other completely unnecessary scenes though. We really didn't need Ygritte/Jon scene, I could not believe they brought Jamie back BEFORE you know what and I swear I was laughing at Yara.

    However I do understand why they would not bring certain someone so early. If I am right, she has like 3-4 scenes in what would probably be more than two seasons. I understand if they want to distribute them around.

    It's going to be a long wait but I can not wait for 'Lannister does not shit gold'!!

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    1. I really did. It was as if the writers and director gave up and just vomited some random stuff. As a season premiere it would be a weak episode but as a finale? Oh my God.

      Absolutely, not only we didn't see Tyrion tell Sansa that they have to get married, now they screwed up RW news as well.

      Jon and Ygritte scene really should have happened last episode. As for Jaime I really have no idea where the hell they are going with this.

      I think they will invent some scenes there. They do that for everyone I imagine it would be the case here, especially that a lot of people are very excited about that character.

      Oh God I cannot wait for that scene! Also "Only Cat" is going to be amazing.

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  7. Yeah, what a weak weak finale.

    I think I remember last couple seasons too, after the amazing 9th episode, the finale just tanks!

    We really don't need to see many episodes ending with Dany, when really its the most boring storyline on-screen. Didn't we already get a fire-breathing episode already this season? The ending scene was just way too much and rubbed me the wrong way.

    Ramsay/Greyjoys, Arya/the Hound, Bran/Reeds/Sam and the Small Council scenes were the best.

    Sigh, here's to another long 10 months.

    Thanks for your reviews this season, I enjoyed them :(

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    1. The writers really love Dany and I think they assume everyone does :/ Her Dracarys scene was much better than that ending :/

      That 10 months wait is really horrible. The only other show I'm excited about is American Horror Story and that's not premiering until October :/

      Thank you so much! :)

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  8. Love your recaps. I re-watched the finale again today, and I like it far less. It really was anticlimatic. Jaime already being in King's Landing bothers me so much. The only way I can see them fixing it is if they send him off somewhere, THEN he goes back again. Even though that makes no fucking sense.

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    1. Thank you! :) I really don't understand what was the point of bringing him in finale. It would have been far better if they showed a scene in inn or something where he would comfort Brienne about RW.

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  9. This is the first time I can't comment on anything because I haven't seen the episode yet.. looking at the rating, I'm not even sure if I want to. Arya looks so sad in the image and I kind of spoiled the whole Robb and wolf head thing for myself now but I have no regrets.. I still have the book to read and since it looks like to be a not so good episode, I'm not disappointed of the fact that I haven't seen it yet. They should've left the red wedding as the finale - it would have crushed people and left them hanging..
    I'll come back to read this when I've seen the episode! ;)

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    1. The point of having RW in ep 9 was to leave hopeful stuff for the finale, I think, well they really failed here :) The only feel good moment was Arya killing that Frey asshole.

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  10. This was pretty typical end of season stuff in that it just felt like it was jumping from one storyline to the next, either wrapping up or setting something up. It didn't flow at all, it just felt like it was going through the motions after having done all the hard work at the red wedding.

    I am intrigued by the potential cliffhanger you mentioned. I couldn't believe it ended with Dany like that, it needed to give us something to hang on to. Almost every storyline reached some sort of conclusion. You could almost leave the entire thing where it is now. None of the storylines have me itching to see what happens next, although I still do want more, naturally! Still, it was a brilliant season apart from this episode and I am a bit sad to have to wait 10 whole months!

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    1. It was such a lazy finale. They didn't even set up season 4 properly, which is kinda odd because they could have at least mention some stuff in 100 conversations that took place in that episode.

      They really should have mentioned the Royal Wedding - this has some ties to it that will become the main arc of season 4. As for Dany she is pretty much useless now and the high point of her story arc was Dracarys moment :/

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  11. Totally agree it was so anticlimactic. Honestly, episode 9 made me get into a serious GOT kick where I was more interested in this show than ever. Episode 10 really leveled that excitement out a bit. Ended scene with Dany was just not good. Maybe if she hadn't already given similar speeches to similar reactions earlier in the season it could have been more impacting, but it was more of the same. Best scene was definitely Arya killing that guy.

    I think I'm going to get into the books during the break though. I have a long commute so I am going to listen on audio books. I still can't decide if I want to read ahead by the time I get to book 3 though. I'm sure it will take awhile to get to that point in the story anyway but do you think it's more entertaining having read the books or do surprises lose their punch?

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    1. Yeah, Arya was the best moment of this episode. The writers are hyping Dany way too much for the show and story's future - she really doesn't have much to do in next books.

      I think the show is more frustrating if you read the books. You can see all this invented crap instead of them following the books. The only scene that was completely fateful to the book in finale was small council scene and it was one of the best scenes in the episode. The surprises don't lose much of an impact because the important events are beautifully adapted here but all the additional stuff can get on one's nerves if you read the books.

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  12. HBO is playing "Games...". How else can they show a pregnant women butchered but not Theon's severed dick? Too controversial? They hint at it with sausage waving but chickened out in the end. Just like this whole episode. It felt like the feel-good payback for the mind fuck that was the Red Wedding!

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    1. I think nobody actually wanted to see Theon's dick severed or not :) I was certainly grateful they didn't show it.

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  13. All I could do was nod my head in agreement throughout your entire summary here. I was disappointed and now even more so in learning that there was so much more material that they could've pulled from the book.

    as you stated: "Thank God for Arya."

    this was a weak finale. and...wow, I had no idea about Catelyn's body being treated like that in the book...wow.

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    1. I cannot believe how little of the book was in that finale. 3/4 were invented scenes and only Arya killing the Frey was a good one.

      Yeah I hope House Frey is brutally annihilated by the time the book series is over.

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  14. Ooo, such a big drop from the previous episode eh? I suppose it's hard to top Red Wedding. Too bad though that they didn't live up to your expectations, especially considering it's a finale!

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    1. Yeah, it really blew. Still missing the show a lot, though, even at its worst it's my favorite thing <3

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  15. I echo your thoughts. That ending was just so lame. HBO is known for some of the best season finales ever, but this one is probably the worst one I've seen.

    At least there was Arya and Sandor. Can't wait for the Needle scene next season.

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    1. It was so bad :/ I think they just chickened out after the explosion that was RW and just vomited this feel good cliche in the ending.

      Oh, I cannot wait for the inn scene!

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  16. I think this review is very harsh.

    Depends on what you look for I a season finale.

    I enjoyed: Arya. Grey wind/Robb and Walder Frey.

    Not the best episode but not unwatchable either

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    1. I didn't say it was unwatchable but I sure as hell won't praise the writers for substituting Martin's judgment for their lousy invented filler scenes.

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