Chekhov's Gunman


GAME OF THRONES Season 5 Episode 5 Review, “Kill the Boy”

Game of Thrones Kill the Boy Brienne

This review is from the point of view of someone who hasn’t read the books. Books are for nerds. I’m take in my dense fantasy stories on television. Like a cool kid.

Get ready, people. We are rounding the bend past the stone man bridge that comes around this point in a Game of Thrones season and are about to plow headlong into the spreading Gravel Leprosy of the back half of a season. This is where the plot threads that we become so frustrated with start to tighten and we ride into the sections where political conspiracies come to the forefront, people we love start dying, and something big happens in Episode Nine.

The table-setting in this episode is dense and unavoidable like stone men falling off a bridge, but soon we will kick them off the boat and float on into the really good bits. And look at all the good bits we’re being given. How can you not be excited for Winterfell? It’s almost impossible. I just want to see the sword fights. I just want to see them so bad.

And now on to the core review. As has become the standard, we’ll break this down character by character, and I’ll crown this week’s winner at the end.

Bran’d This Week (Those Whose Names Didn’t Make the Call Sheet)

–Arya. Boy, Arya is really getting the short end of the stick this season. Haven’t we only seen her twice? What will become of her and her landscaping duties? How am I expected to wait around to see what she sweeps next?

–Jamie and Bronn. Every episode that does not feature Jamie and/or Bronn is automatically docked points.

–The Sand Snakes. That is what the Internet has told me they are called. Either way, I want more vengeful Dorne ladies and I want them now.

–King’s Landing. The show’s principle location takes a break this week, as does season protagonist Cersei, the kidnapped Ser Loras, the vengeful Margaery, Qyburn’s waking corpse, the High Sparrow… There’s a lot going on at King’s Landing…

–Varys. “My mama always used to say, ‘I love you more than air.’” That Holes quote is the only way to describe Varys’ absence.

–I am told Bran Stark was once a character on this show.

Brienne Waits Around Some More

I give Game of Thrones a lot of crap (the title of his section is “Brienne Waits Around Some More”), but I will hand it to them by saying that even though Brienne has done fundamentally nothing these past few episodes, I am far from losing interest in her. It wouldn’t be wrong of one to get a little frustrated when one of their favorite characters gets sidelined for a while, but the biding time with Brienne this season hasn’t felt like a waste of time. Each time we have briefly checked in on her this season has either advanced her character or taken her one step closer to defending the Stark girl she has sworn to protect. If the structure of your show necessitates waiting around like this, this should be the blueprint for how you do it.

Dany Makes Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Is Daenerys Targaryan Michael Corleone? Hear me out here:

Originally a peaceful member of a dangerous family (Targaryans/Corleones). Forced into action by the casualty of a loved one (Khal Drogo/Don Vito). Sent into exile after heavy loss (Qarth/Sicily). Violent rise to power (Dany’s Harriet Tubman phase/Michael’s ascention). Removes restraint after the death of most sensible advisor (Barristan Selmy/Don Vito). Gathers up enemies to “settle the score” (Dany gathering up the family heads/Michael settling the “family debts”). The comparisons are there. And as Dany moves closer and closer to becoming the vile recluse that we came to know as Michael Corleone, the comparisons will only become more prevalent.

That being said, I don’t really know what Dany’s end game is here. But, then again, I rarely do. At least Grey Worm is alive.

I’m Scared About the Wall Again

Just when I got used to things up North being good…

As the people who have made the Wall into an interesting place to be this season ride away from Castle Black to go do some Very Cool Stuff in Winterfell, Jon Snow, being Jon Snow, stays behind to be Jon Snow. And now it’s up to him to prove me wrong.

Prove me wrong, Jon Snow. Prove to me that you can hold your own. Prove to me that you can make the Wildlings interesting as you must band together to fight off the ever-vague threat of the White Walkers. The ball is in your court, Jon. You won the season opener this year. Don’t let me down now, big guy.

Game of Thrones Kill the Boy Ramsay Roose

“Rock Monster,” by Ser Jorah and the T-52’s

As you may be able to tell by the opening of this review, I am kind of obsessed with this sequence from the episode. Not in a “Wow, that was really good” kind of way. More in an “I do not fully comprehend or really enjoy what just happened, but I am mystified by it” kind of way.

What on Earth was this? What is going on here? Did the Tyrion and Friends Meet Danaerys plot really need more elements to it? Daenerys’ plot is already really convoluted, and Tyrion has himself and Jorah and Varys (one day, eventually, if there be a God in Heaven)… Is Gravel Leprosy being layered on top of all of this really the right move? Well, let’s hope so. Once you do the “zombie forearm bite shot” and show that Jorah really has Rolling Rock,* there’s not really any coming back from that. We are committed to this Stone Man plot whether we like it or not.

*I can’t have been the only one who laughed at that reveal. Game of Thrones has had its share of twists, sure, but this is the first time one of them would have been improved by being punctuated with a “Dun Dun DUN!”

TONIGHT’S WINNER: Winterfell’s Expecting

As Winterfell is about to become pregnant with fearsome Baratheon soldiers, it is also about to become pregnant with a new Bolton baby!*

*Kill me

In a strange and unpredictable Daniel Farraday of a season, Winterfell has proven to be our Desmond Hume of a Constant. Each week, the story of Ramsay and Sansa’s impending nuptials, Brienne’s quest of honor, and Stannis Baratheon’s campaign of carnage only gets increasingly interesting. Just when you think Sansa might have things figured out, a new element comes into play. When it seems like Ramsay and his people have her cornered, things turn out to be not quite what they seem. The epicenter of political intrigue on Game of Thrones has moved from the sunny shores of King’s Landing to the barren winter landscape of Winterfell. It has become a much more dangerous and unpredictable place than it ever could have been with Neddard Stark or any of his brood in charge. It is a winding maze of allegiances and dangerous liaisons. Did you ever think it possible that you could feel sympathy for Ramsay Bolton? This is just good damn television.

Final Grade: B+

Check out the reservoir of Game of Thrones reviews here, as well as my podcast Talking Back to the Movies here, and my Twitter feed right here.


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