TV Review: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Episode 2: ‘Home’


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Synopsis:  Beyond the Wall Bran Stark trains with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max Von Sydow) to master his craft as a warg.  At Castle Black the split between factions is resolved, while Davos entreats the Red Woman in a last-ditch effort regarding Jon Snow.  In King’s Landing Jamie confronts the High Sparrow as his daughter is laid to rest.  King Tommen seeks peace between himself and his mother.  In Meereen, Tyrion makes a bold move regarding Dany’s dragons. Arya continues her quest for redemption among the Faceless Men in Bravos.  Ramsay proposes a daring new plan to his  father Roose as Roose’s second son is born.  Sansa, Brienne, and Pod decide to head to Castle Black but Theon intends to head home to the Iron Islands.  On Pyke King Balon is surprised by the return of a brother presumed dead.

 

Review:  Well if you thought that the Game of Thrones producers and writers were going to be in over their heads this season, “Home,”  should set you straight.  This episode was phenomenal on multiple levels.

After being cut from season five altogether, Bran Stark returns spectacularly.  Under the tutelage of the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran is only just beginning to tap into his own power as a warg.  Make no mistake, the powers that Bran possesses are nothing short of magic. He now has the ability to travel in time, if only as an observer.  With the coming war I can see this becoming an invaluable asset to whomever he chooses to lend aid to.  While the vision of the past he sees may seem minor (a past where Ned helps his younger brother fight, we see Lyanna for the first time, and find out Hodor could actually talk at one point), don’t underestimate its significance.  If I’m right, this may be the way we finally discover who Jon Snow’s real parents are.  Also I wonder if we’ll find out how Hodor became the way he is and if “hodor” actually means anything.

At Castle Black, Alliser Thorne and his cronies finally get their comeuppance as the Wildlings and the giant WunWun pop in to save the day.  While I’m glad Davos, Ed, and the like were saved, the timing seemed more than a little convenient.  I mean I know they talked about having the Wildlings join their fight, but how did they get word to them?  Or how did the Wildlings get wind of it?  Seems oddly fortuitous.  Then again we got to see WunWun smash a dude against the castle wall like a melon and I couldn’t help but feeling an immense amount of Schadenfreude to see Alliser Thorne in chains.

Apparently mimicking WunWun, Zombie Gregor Clegane–err—Ser Robert Strong, also crushes a guy against a wall who told a bawdy story about Cersei.  It begs the question-is this creature somehow psychic?  What has Qyburn really done to him and what will the ultimate consequences be?  And what of the ultimate consequences of King Tommen’s decisions?  He freely admits to Jamie that he kept Queen Cersei from her daughter’s funeral because the High Sparrow stated she’d be killed otherwise.  It’s clear that he’s being controlled by the High Sparrow and thus The Faith.  If that’s the case, The Faith is now the real power in the Seven Kingdoms,  making it a de facto theocracy.  How about that for political intrigue.

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Aside from the closing moments of “Home,” the scene in the High Sept between Jamie and the High Sparrow was the best of the episode.  There was so much tension in that scene that the Crone could have taken a bath in it.  Jamie’s rage was prevalent as he sees the High Sparrow as his new enemy.  I mentioned last week how Jamie is probably going to go off the reservation this year and this scene proves it.  We are beginning to see flashes of season one and two Jamie.  My man threatened to kill the High Sparrow IN THE HIGH SEPT.  This is the equivalent of threatening the Pope in the Sistine Chapel.  Yet the High Sparrow is not intimidated, flexing  his own power with the Faith Militant.  I loved that knowing smile he gave Jamie.  They are not afraid of names, and do not doubt, there is a reckoning coming between the Lannisters and the Faith Militant.

If any character needed a shot of confidence it was Cersei, and she sure as Hell got it from Tommen.  Tommen’s started to question every decision he makes.  He feels that he’s being treated like a puppet and he’s 100% correct.  And what do we as children do when we need help, when we need advice?  We go to our parents.  Tommen is no different.  He implores his mother to help him regain his power.  King Tommen says “I should have pulled down the sept around them.”   That’s straight Joffrey talk right there and was like a hit to the solar plexus.  He’s literally begging his mother to make him a lion again.  You could see the look in Cersei’s eyes that this is something she’s desperately wanted.  Not only is Tommen doing what she’d always hoped Joffrey would (seeking her counsel) but this is a way for her to once again exert power and to help rule the Seven Kingdoms.   This mother/son dynamic just got very interesting.

In Meereen Tyrion learns that Yunkai and Astapor have both been regained by the slavers.  I wouldn’t doubt for one second that eventually those two cities are going to unite to take down Meereen.  They’ve been wronged by Dany and Meereen is a beautiful jewel ripe for plucking. While I applaud Tyrion’s brass balls for going down to the dragon keep and freeing Rhaegal and Viserion, the scene was marred by one bad line.  That, “I’m friends with your mother” line was cringe worthy.  Although I must admit that story about how Tyrion wanted a dragon as a child was quite moving.  The emotions warring on Tyrion’s face were prevalent as he touched the dragon’s side.  It was almost as if he realized that sometimes the impossible can happen.  If he can touch a dragon, perhaps he can find a way to go home.  Don’t underestimate the significance of Tyrion gaining the dragons’ trust either.  For a stranger to come in and be able to beguile the dragons without being turned into a french fry HAS to mean something.

For you fans of Arya, you are unfortunately going to have to wait another week for anything of more substance.  Maisie Williams’ screen time was about the same as last week with basically the same scene playing out.  However, in this case Jaqen H’ghar gives her the chance to return to the House of Black and White after Arya admits to being No One.  I think she finally gets the point of what happened to her.  This was a test, a complete breakdown of Arya Stark, so that she can rise anew as  someone else.

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Oh hi Ramsay!  We  all missed your psychopathic tendencies.  Just when you thought Ramsay Snow couldn’t do anything more fucked up he stabs his own father Roose in the heart to become Lord Bolton.  (Ironic that it was the exact same way Roose killed Robb Stark.)  Then just for shits and giggles he sics his dogs on his stepmother and baby brother so they can rip them apart.  His line, “I prefer being an only child” is as chilling as the coldest day in Winterfell. What was great about that scene was how slow and methodical it was.  It built the tension and really dragged out Walda and the baby’s deaths in an amazing way.  Ramsay’s bold plan to attack Castle Black and kill Jon Snow is asinine however.  The North will unite against him just as Roose said they would.  Maybe this was the actual victorious battle the Red Woman saw in the flames?

Sansa’s plot line doesn’t develop much here other than she, Brienne, and Pod making a definitive choice to go to Castle Black.  Theon however chooses instead to go back to the Iron Islands.  It’s amazing what a pitiful creature Theon has become, so much more human than he once was.  He doesn’t want forgiveness he only wants to make amends.  The fact that Sansa is able to embrace him when they part after all the terrible things he’s done to her family says a lot.

Although Theon’s choice to travel home is a bold one, he may not like what he finds there.  After a brief meeting with his daughter Yara about how they have been unable to hold any mainland areas, King Balon Greyjoy meets his brother on a bridge between towers. Euron Greyjoy (known as the Crow’s Eye) who was banished by Balon several years ago.  He’s actually a character  that was introduced in book four of George R.R. Martin’s epic and one of the few remaining pieces of source material that the producers are using.  However the reunion is about as far removed from brotherly love as you can get.  Euron is there for one thing:  to be King. That line, “I am the storm brother and you’re in my way,” may be one of the best of the series. Apparently, Euron’s solution for things that are in his way is to toss them over a bridge.  Bye bye Balon and adios to the last of the kings from The War of the Five Kings.  I have a feeling viewers are in for a treat when it comes to Euron.  He’s a new kind of crazy you haven’t seen before. Trust me on this.

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But who are we kidding here?  Everything I’ve written before now is foreplay.  Let’s get to the dessert.  JON SNOW IS BACK BITCHES! We all knew it was inevitable (or at least hoped we did) but the way it came about was interesting.  The Red Woman has clearly lost her confidence and it took Davos to get her to even try to bring Jon back from the dead.  It’s fascinating how far Davos and Melisandre have come in their relationship.  When they first met I’m positive he wanted her dead.  Now I think  he sees her as an ally, maybe his closest.  In any event it was great to see the Lord Commander breathe again with that final shot.  It was kind of a mirror of the final shot of the end of season five.

Next week’s episode “Oathbreaker” looks to be just as great, as the Night’s Watch will deal with the ramifications of Jon Snow’s return and it looks like the great reveal of Jon Snow’s parents may finally come to pass.  Stay tuned!

 

“Home” rates 9/10 Severed Ned Heads

 

You can follow me on Twitter at @DarthGandalf1

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