Monday, May 25, 2015

Game of Thrones: Season 5, Episode 7

Game of Thrones
Episode Title: “The Gift”
Channel: HBO
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy
Runtime: 55 min
Rated: TV-MA
Original Air Date: May 24, 2015

This season of Game of Thrones is still moving more slowly than I would like. There are just too many story lines for every one of them to get a large amount of time. The plot is inching forward in incremental steps because of it. With that said things are finally coming to a head in most of the arcs, and the situations don't look good for anyone.

Jon headed out with the wildlings to find the rest of the free folk and bring them to safety south of the wall. Maester Aemon shuffled loose his mortal coil and now Sam has found himself short on friends and surrounded by people that don't like him much, due to his loyalty to Jon. Aside from veiled threats for First Ranger Thorne his first bit of trouble comes in the form of two brothers of the Night's Watch trying to force themselves on Gilly. The physical confrontation goes as poorly as you'd expect and the surprise reappearance of Ghost is the only thing that saves Sam and Gilly. When they're alone later on, with Gilly tending to his injuries, they have a moment. Now Sam is an oath breaker as well and we'll be left to find out if he's guilt ridden due to his honor or if his affection for Gilly will push him to do things he was previously incapable of.

Sansa tried to enlist Theon's aid in summoning help from her remaining friends in the North. Theon is still too afraid of Ramsay to act against him overtly and reported the request to Ramsay. Ramsay tracked down the old woman with whom Sansa had spoken before and flayed her. With the prospect of outside help seeming rather unlikely we might finally see Sansa take control of the situation herself. She did manage to sneak some sort of weapon while Ramsay was gloating. I'm really hoping that she'll take matters into her own hands before Stannis' army arrives. Speaking of Stannis, the weather has made his march on Winterfell nearly impossible at this point. Davos reported the loses they're suffering due to the inclement weather, causing Stannis to look to Melisandre for help. After some beating around the bush her solution was to sacrifice his daughter to fuel another killing spell. This was the first time we've really seen Stannis angry at Melinsandre, as this was a line he seems unwilling to cross. Over the last few weeks a fair amount of effort has gone into making Stannis a more likable character, but I fear that the moment we saw between he and his daughter was there to establish how major a sacrifice she would be to his cause. When push comes to shove what will be more important to him?

In Meereen, Jorah and Tyrion have finally reached their destination. Jorah saw Dany partaking of the 'entertainment' in the fighting pit and read her disdain for the killing on her face. He proceeded to take several men out of the fight without killing them and revealed himself to her. I feared that with loses she's been suffering she'd forgive and forget, but she immediately wanted him dragged away. Only Tyrion's quick appearance kept that from happening. How she reacts to having such a powerful captive from the Seven Kingdoms is anyone's guess, but at least now she's willing to hear them out.

Through most of the episode it seems like Ceresi's plans in King's Landing are going smoothly. Olenna is doing all she can to get her grandchildren out of their current predicament, but her conversation with the High Sparrow yielded no reason to be optimistic. Her meeting with Littlefinger was much more successful, as he promised her some information that would help her cause. Ceresi paid a visit to Margaery to gloat for a moment and then went to speak to the leader of the Faith. Her meeting with the High Sparrow started off promising, for her, with the holy man describing the next steps of the Faith's justice system. It took a turn though when he started talking about some of her own crimes. Lancel appeared to let us know exactly what was being discussed and then Ceresi was dragged away to a cell of her own. It's good to see the plan she was so proud of starting to blow up in her face.

The scenes in Dorne are still the weakest of the season so far. Aside from filling this episodes nudity quotient there's just not enough going on their to make me care. Myrcella doesn't want to leave and Jaime is powerless to make her. Bronn did have a bit of a bonding moment with the Sand Snakes, which could be interesting, but something really needs to happen in Dorne soon. For a setting that could have provided a real change of pace from the locales we've become accustomed to it's been lackluster so far.

Conclusion: “The Gift” represented another tiny step forward in this season's arc. There seems to be too many things going on for their to by much development from week to week. With that said the big positives coming out of the episode were Ceresi finally reaping what's she sowed and Tyrion coming face to face with Danaerys.

Rating: 8.25/10

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