Season 5, Episode 10.
The season finale of Game of Thrones was a brutal example of just what a season finale should be. An hour of resolving plotlines, creating new ones, birthing all new reasons to watch next year, and doing one last shocking thing just to screw with the audience.
I read on Reddit last night that the reason the end credits of Game of Thrones are on a black background is so the audience can see their own horrified faces reflected back at them. I’m beginning to think that’s true.
Before we begin, ample warning…
Continuing the relentless pace from the last two weeks, six – goddamn six – characters bit the big one in this episode. That’s just brutal even for Game of Thrones and one of them – and I don’t use this word a lot – was a complete shocker.
All right, so…
Stannis’ story came to an abrupt and ignoble end. Half of his men deserted following his potluck barbeque and, despite what appeared to be a blessing from the Lord of Light, Stannis fell victim to his own ambition, got his entire army killed, and found himself on the pointy end of Brienne’s sword which is nice since she’s been itching for retribution for a couple of years now. I never thought I would be happy to see Ramsay get the upper hand on anyone before and to see Stannis fail so embarrassingly, all of his dark machinations being for nothing, was oh so satisfying.
Sansa found herself about to be arrowed to a significant handicap by Myranda following her escape from her locked room, but Theon finally grew a pair (too soon?) and saved her by Disney villain deathing Myranda off the side of the castle. Now uneasy allies, the two make their escape from Winterfell by jumping off the castle wall into a snowbank… Hey, they winter fell! LOL!
This would be what I was talking about how the finale resolved plots and teased new ones. After all, think of how amusing Sansa and Reek will be when they are on the run together… it will be like Arya and the Hound all over again except not at all.
Over in Braavos, Arya finally brought swift and sweet justice to Ser Meryn but with a price. Now she’s angered Jaqen who apparently takes his own life because the Many-Faced God demands a life for a life… only he doesn’t. It’s complicated and ridiculous and terrifying. All we know for sure is that, once it’s all done, Arya has lost her eyesight.
For once, the Dorne storyline was somewhat interesting if for nothing more than it is apparently ending happily and you know that’s Game of Thrones cue to do something unexpected and horrible. Myrcella falls victim to Dornish poison delivered by Ellaria in a literal kiss of death.
Having Neverending Storied herself out of trouble last week, Dany and her beloved and injured dragon, Drogon, are somewhere else. Dany wanders off and finds herself surrounded by Dotharaki riders. These guys again? At least Ser Jorah and Daario are on the trail which I’m sure will give them plenty of time to discuss calmly and rationally who loves Dany the most.
I’m personally thrilled that Tyrion is in charge of Meereen and that Varys is back. Now it feels like shit will actually get done!
Cerise breaks down and confesses (a few of) her sins to the High Sparrow, but that’s not enough for him. He demands that she be punished and had her hair cut off and forces her to parade naked down the streets of King’s Landing while the population spews insults and spits on her. Despite the fact that Cerise is an evil bitch, this scene was brutal and heartbreaking and I have to really hand it to Lena Headey for her performance and her courage in pulling it off. I imagine few actors would have the nerve to do what she did and to not only do it, but do it and act a wordless performance so magnificently is a testament to her skills.
Once she reaches the palace, it’s all up in the air. The Mountain is back as some sort of P.E.E.K.A. zombie thing and it completely at her command. Will she seek sweet vengeance or will she be permanently humbled? We’ll have to wait till next season.
That wait is going to take a long time because at The Wall, Jon Snow falls victim to a Knight’s Watch coup and is stabbed to death. Seriously, what the actual fuck?
I could conjecture for days about what is to come on this show thanks to this finale and, to be brutally honest, that’s what a good finale should do. Unlike large stretches of the season that mewed and hawed and did nothing, Game of Thrones’ finale was a satisfying, shocking, and tempting hour of television where every character had a chance to shine – however briefly – and every one of its sixty-three thousand storylines were interesting and intriguing which was nice considering that there’s usually one or two that drag the whole episode down.
After a lackluster middle to the season, it’s good to see Game of Thrones cross the finish line with a gigantic smile and its tits flopping out while simultaneously stabbing a kitten with a spoon.
May the Many-Faced God bless this evil evil show.