TV Review: "Game of Thrones" 05x06: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"

It's weird that they decided to name the episode "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", when the title evokes what had to be by far the worst scene in the episode, and one of the worst scenes in the show. I was enjoying myself too much to notice, but I need to concede to the anti-Sand Snakes gang: the show's management of the Sand Snakes (characters whom I didn't even know where so popular as they apparently are) hasn't been very good. The dialogue sounds understandably awkward, the actresses look awkward, and the rushing of their action is awkward. It makes an otherwise awesome character (Ellaria) seem like a total idiot.

The scene in which everyone coincidentally arrives at the Water Gardens at the same time for a poorly choreographed fight was some network-grade writing (even if that one last bit with Bronn made me laugh a lot; hey, if the Sand Snakes aren't going to be awesome, might as well have our yucks). I'm also extremely disappointed by Aero Hotah. He looks the part, and is intimidating, but unless I see him skewer someone in half soon he'll just be another goon.

That out of the way, let me address the final scene which made the Internet embarrass itself as it often does. Stop getting #triggered by sexual violence in a dark fantasy show. Jesus, that scene was one of the tame ones. Where was all this outrage when Khal Drogo did the exact same thing to Dany in the first episode? Everyone adores Drogo and cried when he died, but this is the point when the show goes too far? You people suck.

Yes, it was extremely hard to watch, but so have many scenes before it. Frankly I was dreading it because in the book it's way more over the top, but it didn't involve Sansa so it was a bit easier to swallow. This is what I mean when I said that the show's changes work in favor of the story; this scene wouldn't have been as powerful if it had stuck to the books' narrative. It would've been grosser, but not as powerful.

The Winterfell story is my favorite plot in A Dance with Dragons, and there are subplots I wish had carried over from the book, even if it's dense enough as it is. Overall, despite missing the hidden plotlines that have an awesome climax, I'm pretty happy with what's being done here. The tension is there, the promise of retribution and payoff is there, and every day I love Iwan Rheon more and more. He's scary as balls but weirdly charming. I also loved the wedding scene, which is one of my favorites in the book; there's this tragic, ethereal feel to it the show captured reasonably well.

Finally we're getting the much desired banter between Jorah and Tyrion and it's as much fun as I wanted it to be. Both are awesome characters, and something I love about this series is that it effortlessly pairs two characters together in extremely fun ways without compromising either. It's not as easy as it sounds. Also, I think "The dwarf lives, at least until we find a cock merchant" is the greatest line of all time. Sadly there isn't much more to say about these two because their participation in this episode was just one story beat (an important one, though).

I fear that the show will do the same thing the book does where it completely ignores Stannis' trip to Winterfell. They've done an amazing job at endearing Stannis and I would hate it if that's the last we see of him for a while. I'm sure interesting stuff can happen, even if just internally, to that story. Please don't ignore it.

One of the greatest moments of the episode, and maybe the season, once again involved Arya. Maybe the training has been a bit too by-the-numbers inside the House of Black & White, but the moment when Arya finally finds out what lies behind the door, and the big secret behind the assassins, was just too awesome. The set design of the hall of faces was the coolest fucking thing, way cooler than I imagined it from A Feast for Crows (was it Feast, or Dance? Don't remember). There was this strange and beautiful aura in there, and Jaquen's line "She's ready to become someone else." gave me some serious chills. They're handling this story rather well. I can't wait to see how it will end.

And unlike anything I could have ever guessed, the best part of the episode, and maybe the season, is Cersei's story. Her story in A Feast for Crows is the worst, most plodding and boring thing ever, so I'm happy to see how the changes worked so well. The show is taking this story places I never expected it would. I didn't expect to see Loras get figuratively butt-fucked, and I certainly never expected Margy getting cast down from her little untouchable throne.

Where's that smirk and your laughing posse now, Your Grace?

Of course I'm not rooting for Cersei or anything (even if I love her character in the show), but it's great to see her pull some strings intelligently. We all know that it's gonna come back and bite her in the ass in one way or another, but what's going on is way better than Cersei tripping over herself and blaming Tyrion for 400 pages. On that note, I was so f*cking happy to see the amazing Diana Rigg back as Olenna Tyrell, this time without the restraints of diplomacy keeping her silver tongue at bay. She is not fucking around this time and I couldn't be happier.

Had it not been for that awkward Sand Snake scene (who's directing the Spain unit?), this would've been a particularly strong entry this season, in no small part thanks to the exciting political intrigue in King's Landing, and of course its shocking conclusion. Bring on episode seven, but I really don't want the season to end again.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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