Title: Game of Thrones – “The Red Woman”
Air Date: April 24, 2016
Before we begin – Yes, there are TV spoilers ahead. I will not celebrate every twist and turn, but if we are going to talk about what we like, we have to discuss the great scenes. Stop reading if you do not like spoilers. You have been warned!
As Game of Thrones moves into its first season without written material to draw from, the shocks and surprises are going to hit that much harder. Not just in the “big reveals” (although the reveal at the end of “The Red Woman” was a pretty great moment), but in the smaller victories and defeats as well. “The Red Woman” had lots of them, even in a short runtime, and we got to touch base with almost every major character. Except Bran. We still don’t have Bran back.
The episode picked up right where we left off, with the dead body of the Lord Commander, Jon Snow. Davos, Melisandre, and Jon’s few friends holed up and debated what to do. Alliser had his moment addressing the men, and it seemed that he won them over for the most part. However, Davos had the bright ideas of recruiting Ghost and the group that owes Jon Snow their lives. Hopefully, the Wildlings will come to aid Davos and overthrow Ser Alliser. They’ll need their help when the Bolton’s come to visit.
Speaking of, it’s good to see that Ramsay and Roose are just as psychotic and dysfunctional as ever. Ramsay mourning his poor Myranda (who looked remarkably intact, considering her splat moment at the end of season five), vowing revenge many times over, and wishing that she would be there to see him do it, almost made Ramsay seem a little more human. However, he pulled that curtain back by telling the maester that she was still good meat to feed to his hounds. Good ol’ Ramsay. Roose was not to be held back, either. His hardly veiled threats toward Ramsay reminded us who one of the scariest customers in Westeros is. Every scene with Roose and Ramsay always works well on Game of Thrones. They are both such terrifying, psychotic individuals, but in completely different ways. Ramsay is so overtly sadistic, he seems like the frightening one. But Roose, with his unwavering calm and intense, emotionless stare; he’s the scary one. Ruthless and pragmatic. It will be very interesting to see what his ultimate plan winds up being.
Running away from the Bolton’s seems to be the smartest thing to do right now, so it was good to see Theon and Sansa actually wind up on the positive side of things. I would have liked to see Sansa strike a blow or two in fighting off the Bolton hunting party, but it was good to see Brienne kicking ass as usual. Podrick showed a bit of ability as well and having Theon assert himself and take another step towards reclaiming his humanity was a good beat. Where to now with this bizarre foursome? It sounds like they are headed to Castle Black, but unfortunately, that might not be the best place for them to go at the moment. And is Sansa finally ready to step up and play the “Game of Thrones?”
Things turned out well for Theon and Sansa, but currently, nothing is going Cersei’s way. We had more hyperbolic promises of revenge from Jaime, and Cersei may be on the verge of breaking completely. The obsession over the prophecy from her childhood is getting to the point where she may force it to happen because she is so convinced that it will. It’s probably going to be harder to get that revenge because some insanity happened over in Dorne this week.
Dorne has always been a bit of a pitfall for Game of Thrones. Oberyn Martell’s paramour and her deadly assassin children made a serious power play, eliminating Doran Martell, the captain of his guard, and his son Trystane, all in one fell swoop. I expected a lot more from Doran Martell on the show, as he seems to be playing the ultimate long con in the novels, so it was pretty shocking to see him eliminated so easily. I was also curious as to what would happen to Trystane in retaliation to Myrcella’s death, so watching the Sandsnakes kill him so ruthlessly and, just like his father, easily was another surprising turn in the episode. Is Dorne going to mobilize and move against the Lannisters?
Across the Narrow Sea, we quickly touched base with everyone of import. Tyrion and Varys are still fun to listen to as they plot how to stop the Sons of the Harpy. Jorah and Daario made some headway in their search for Daenerys. Arya gets knocked around with a stick every day as she begs in Braavos (and of course this scene reeked of Daredevil). And finally, Daenerys endured constant Dothraki harassment before delivering her winning hand to the Khal: here’s who I am, here’s who I was married to, take me back to Meereen. Luckily, she will be treated with honor and respect due to being the widow of Khal Drogo. Unluckily, she will have to live the rest of her life with the other widows in Vaes Dothrak.
Bookending the episode, we returned to Castle Black for a bit more between Alliser Thorne and Ser Davos. A fight is coming, and it was interesting to hear Davos say that he would be willing to use Melisandre’s powers. Davos has such a deep dislike and distrust for her, but he knows what she’s capable of. At least, somewhat what she is capable of. Because I doubt anyone saw that last scene coming. Seeing Melisandre in her true form, a withered, elderly crone stripped of her sexuality and intensity, was a shocking moment. Especially for what it means to the rest of the people at Castle Black. Davos needs Melisandre to be at her strongest right now. We, the Game of Thrones audience, need Melisandre to be able to resurrect Jon Snow and, most likely, to fight against the army of the dead moving on Westeros. Seeing her as a defeated old woman raised a lot of questions about where her character is headed.
Overall, a solid return back for Game of Thrones. “The Red Woman” touched base with most every character, even if some moments felt a bit too rushed. There were some powerful and emotional moments, and the big reveal at the end was a great cliffhanger to lead into next week’s episode, “Home.”
- Characters: Davos, Melisandre, and the rest of the characters at Castle Black were the focus this week. The Boltons, Sansa, Theon, Brienne, Cersei, and Jaime all got pretty good moments to shine as well.
- Cinematography: Beautiful, as usual. In particular, the escape/fight scene outside of Winterfell and the scenes of the Dothraki horde stood out.
- Story: Almost too much jumping around to develop too much. Dorne is under new leadership, Brienne has found Sansa, and the drama over Jon Snow were the main elements.
- Acting: The Boltons always steal the show for me. Tyrion + Varys, Jorah + Daario make for good combinations as well.
- Almost every character was in play
- Sansa and Theon finally had something good happen to them
- Ramsay and Roose
- Melisandre's big reveal
- Dorne coup was completely out of nowhere
- Seemed short
- So many jumps made time spent with some characters miniscule