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Monday, June 15, 2015
Game of Thrones 5x10 Mother's Mercy + thoughts on season 5
I'm declining to rate this episode.
Let's just get the bitterness out of the way:
I watched the show for two reasons - Stannis and the chance of Lady Stoneheart. Stannis is now dead in the woods and Stoneheart isn't even on the show.
This....is not great.
Stannis? They have assassinated his character last week when he made the decision to burn his daughter alive. Then his wife committed suicide. Then it turned out that burning Shireen only bought him a bit of sun to melt the snow because Stannis lost in the battle of Winterfell. Then Brienne finds him and swings her sword intending to kill him. Because of Renly. Off screen.
One of two things is happening here - either Stannis is dead and they couldn't even give him a badass on screen death or in a shitty cliffhanger move we are supposed to be wondering what happened. What else will you do to him if he is alive? Turn him into wight? Flay him? Fuck you, you repulsive bastards.
You have broken the unbreakable man. You had honorable man kill his daughter. You turned the one lord who recognizes the threat of White Walkers into someone who lost against fucking Boltons. You had him killed without putting up a fight. Neither of the above happened in Martin's books.
I have seen you get the character wrong for years. Then you finally get it right and then do a full turn and wreck the character. Then in finale you have him lose, you have him wounded and you have him beaten. And worst of all you underused the incredible talent of Stephen Dillane. I hope Stannis is dead because you don't deserve Stephen on this show.
And as for Stoneheart? Mother's Mercy, which is ridiculously close to one of her nicknames in the books turned out to be the 3rd year in the row the showrunners are cynically generating the hype without giving us a pay off with episode's title .And worst yet- with the blood bath of the finale and the show moving to Riverlands next year there is still hope she shows up.
A clusterfuck. Stannis is grieving over Shireen, then he finds out half of men rode off, then he finds Selyse - who couldn't bear the guilt and hanged herself (which I actually kinda liked, the idea to burn Shireen was unforgivable of the writers to make but this was a good exit for Selyse). And then Melisandre, the idiot, rides off, because apparently it is a surprising and shocking information for her that half the men rode off after they saw their King BURN HIS OWN DAUGHTER ALIVE.
Stannis is pissed off and orders the men to march onto Winterfell. When they arrive it turns out that somehow Boltons knew and the massive army surrounds them. Meanwhile Sansa finally does something and lights that god damn candle. Brienne is standing around waiting for the signal and just as Sansa finally gives it Brienne abandons her post because Podrick alerts her that Stannis is coming.
Can those of you who defend the show no matter what please explain to me what the fuck? Brienne, who obviously as a woman of honor should value her oath to Catelyn to save that poor girl chooses her own dumbass oath above it. The only silver lining here is that this is something that would get her into massive trouble with Stoneheart so as usually, let's give me enough leads to think she is in and torture me for another year.
Sansa is waiting and sees the massive army surround Stannis' troops. That is it. That is the massive Battle of Winterfell the book have a huge build up too. But it gets worse, because Stannis actually loses it. I'd rage and rant but I'm so damn tired.
Stannis is wounded which was painful for me to see. Two Bolton soldiers follow him and Stannis kills them - thank you for the small mercy of giving me something to drool over. Stannis falls down and sits next to the tree. Brienne arrives, tells him who she is and informs him of her oath to kill him for murdering Renly. Stannis doesn't deny it and tells her to do her duty. We see the shot from below of Brienne swinging Oathkeeper. They couldn't even give him a proper death scene.
Back to Sansa she is taking the matter into her own hands because Brienne is too busy killing the hottest man in the world. Sansa runs into Myranda, already armed with bow and arrow and Reek, looking like he is dying inside. Myranda threatens Sansa and Reek finally snaps and pushes that no good psycho of the walls.
In what was probably my favorite moment of the episode Reek takes Sansa's hand and just as Ramsay (oh yeah we got a scene of him killing one of the Baratheon soldiers) is about to ride into castle Theon and Sansa share a look, hold hands and jump off the walls of Winterfell.
If Stannis is dead Gendry better stops rowing because the show has now annihilated one of the four most important houses in the game. Ladies and Gentlemen! The Battle of Five Kings is over! And the winner is Balon Greyjoy as the only one alive! Because the show runners forgot about him and Melisandre conveniently omits the mention of that one leech that didn't work but who cares I mean 2 out of 3 was still enough to kill Stannis' only heir, right?!
Daario, Jorah and Tyrion are sitting in the throne room. We get a humorous scene where Grey Worm - who is apparently gonna outlive Barristan, Stannis, Shireen and what? Jon? - is introduced to Tyrion. After a witty banter Jorah and Daario decide to go looking for Deenerys while Tyrion, Missandai and Grey Worm are to stay behind and rule the city. Are we forgetting there are two more dragons or did the CGI budget run out?
Somewhere Daenerys is trying to train her dragon but Drogon wants to nap or something and ignores her. Daenerys, still in her pretty dress decides to - get this - find dinner. So she walks around and then bam! suddenly thousands of Dothraki arrive and surround her. That was a very well made scene. In the book Dany had diarrhea and kept hallucinating. I'm not shitting you, this is what happened. At least once the show managed to make something better.
And then! Varys, who is in the books showing up in King's Lading and killing whole bunch of people including Kevan who was apparently brought back for 3 scenes this season - ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING AND YOU CANNOT SHOW ME TWO WITH STONEHEART YOU CLOWNS? - shows up in Meereen and well at least it's more of our favorite Varys/Tyrion banter. Not an awful change but I wish Varys had his ninja moment and then went to Meereen. But clearly I'm unable to grasp the ideas of brilliant minds of D&D.
We see more of Trant being a creep and beating up 3 little girls. One of them can really take a punch, so he sends the others away. The girl is creepily crunching on the floor and as she lifts up her face it turns out it is Arya. Arya throws herself on Merryn an in impressively brutal, even for Thrones, scene stabs out Trant's eyes and keeps stabbing him and then she cuts his throat.
After Arya comes back to the House of Black and White some more bizarre shit follows which ultimately ends with Arya going blind as a punishment for her killing someone she wanted dead.
Oh, God. Jaime, Bronn, Myrcella and the Dornish but more feminine looking Jon Snow are finally leaving this shithole. Ellaria kisses Myrcella on the lips and the horny for Bronn one drops this golden line into Bronn's ear "you want to marry the good girl but you need a bad pussy". Emmy nominated writing, boys and girls.
On the ship Jaime clumsily tries to tell Myrcella he is her father but Myrcella already knows and tells him she is glad. Oh good, so she is cool with being the child of incest. Because it's not bad enough the show turned Stannis into Tinder Meine Kinder King, no, now let's make it look like Robert Baratheon was a shit dad and Myrcella prefers to be a child of siblings than his.
Jaime and Myrcella share a hug and the scene works because of Waldau's acting (that show would be in the gutter if it wasn't for the actors and the music) and then all the bonding ends because Myrcella's nose starts to bleed. Then she falls into Jaime's arms and dies. On the docks in Dorne we see the Sand Snakes and Ellaria, whose nose also starts bleeding. The horny for Bronn one gives her a tissue, Ellaria wipes her nose and drinks the antidote from her necklace.
Because apparently neither her nor the dumbass Snakes care their cousin is now in the hands of Lannisters.
Cersei finally confesses but not to everything - she denies that her kids are hers and Jaime's not Robert's - but she says she did sleep with Lancel. The High Sparrow allows her to return to Red Keep and wait for her trial but only after she atoned. She is to be shaved, scrubbed and then walk naked, through the streets of King's Landing to the Red Keep.
Cersei's hair are cut short by the septas and then she is presented to the crowd and disrobed. In a very long sequence, around 6 minutes long, naked Cersei walks through the enraged crowd. After a while the people start throwing food and what I assume was feces at her, call her horrible names. Cersei starts breaking down and the closer to end the more filthy and crying she is.
She finally gets to Red Keep and Qyburn clothes her as Kevan and Pycelle are shocked at her appearance. Cersei doesn't say a word and is shaking while Qyburn tells her how good it is to have her back. He introduces her to the new member of Kingsguard - freakishly tall knight who apparently took a vow of silence. He takes her in his arms and carries her.
A person who would watch the show passed out drunk would be able to guess who that silent fucker is.
I thought the sequence of the Walk was very well made. It wasn't given the rich context from the books and the character of Cersei was ridiculously whitewashed in the show - in the books she actually sends innocent women to Qyburn to experiment with - but still Cersei has been one of the worst people in the series so far.
Still the show took this chance to hammer in that she is doing this 'for her children' (a reminder only one of them alive at that point) - we had several shots of Red Keep, where Tommen is, and Cersei looking there in the moment of weakness.
Nonetheless it was a difficult and well done scene - almost uncomfortably long. Headey and the body double did the walk and in the shots where we see her completely naked, apparently her face was CGIed onto the double, but I didn't really notice that.
I would have preferred if they kept the thing from the books were Cersei hallucinates she is seeing the people she wronged - including Sansa and Ned Stark (what a wasted opportunity, considering Sean Bean apparently would love to have a cameo). But still, considering how the show usually butchers scenes from the book, this was very well done.
And you gotta give credit to Lena Headey. She was excellent. The cinematography was wonderful too - it was refreshing how the camera didn't shy away and really showed us the nudity and vulnerability of Cersei, especially in this day and age when they censor everything. The walk scene was mostly silent but then near the end Djawadi's Atonement blasts in with its sad version of iconic Rains of Castamere.
It's definitely one of the best and most unapologetic scenes the show has had so far.
We see a scene where Jon tells Sam of White Walkers and then Sam tells Jon he got laid. Jon sends Sam, Gilly and the baby away to Oldtown so that Sam can study in the Citadel.
Melisandre arrives just s Jon refuses Davos' request to send the King some aid. Melisandre, that fucking bitch dares to look apologetic and wordlessly communicates to Davos and Jon the fates of Stannis and Shireen. They are both incredibly shocked.
Then Olly comes in telling Jon that his uncle Benjen (who was featured in 'previously on' segment making a lot of people think that Benjen will actually show up in the episode, how does it feel to be trolled by D&D, huh? And you laugh at as LS fans, here, how did you like it?) was found. Him and Alliser tell Jon they are taking him to the wildling who has seen him.
It turns out there is no wildling, just a cross with the word "TRAITOR" written on it. Alliser Thorne stabs Jon and says "For the Watch" and the other watchers follow stabbing Jon one by one. Jon falls to his knees and Olly comes forward. Jon says his name but Olly stabs him too.
The last shot of the episode is the camera closing in on Jon's lifeless body as blood trails on the snow finally giving us the finale with the proper cliffhanger.
The problem is though, that they are being too cruel when it comes to non book readers. BOOK SPOILERS Jon Snow may have died but he will be back. He is the son of Rhaegar Trargaryen and Lyanna Stark, in unconfirmed but almost completely certain book theory. He is the Azor Ahai reborn, not Stannis. There is a popular theory that Melisandre brings him back - not sure how she is supposed to do that but all right. And now we have her on the Wall. END OF BOOK SPOILERS
This has been a decent finale....for the last 40 minutes of it. I liked that it was tidy - we moved from location to location, rarely moving back and forth. But the first 20 minutes of it, apart from Sansa's scenes was basically just D&D spreading their asses and shitting all over Stannis and his fanbase. It was the most anticlimatic thing ever. Again, you people do not deserve Stephen Dillane on your show.
There are so many people who are dead - Team Dragonstone is now probably gonna be Team Jon. Baratheons - don't fucking remind me. Cersei is down to one kid. Arya is now blind so I bet this is gonna be riveting television, considering what her arc was like when she could actually see.
Season six - Riverlands? Freys? Stoneheart? This season other than Hardhome and few other bits feels like a filler. What exactly was the point of Sansa's arc except for getting raped and being a device that allows Theon to redeem himself? And what is the overall point of Stannis? No, seriously. Because you couldn't even give him the victory and be the guy who saves Sansa. No, you killed him in the woods. Off screen. I'm never forgiving the writers for that one.
Seeing good actors trapped with that material, knowing what was in the books and how great it could have been and seeing what we are given instead is just too much to handle. It pisses me off and it doesn't bring me joy. At least before I had Stephen to marvel that and that is gone.
So I'm just gonna patiently wait for The Tunnel season 2 instead. You know where the writers actually respect Stephen Dillane.