Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 1: The Red Woman
Quick announcement: I'm not thrilled with some of the choices the show has made recently. It isn't just the show; books four and five of the series got bogged down relative to the first three. For much of the television series I've been on board with changes the showrunners have made. Simplifying relationships, minimizing travel time, and consolidating less important characters into proxies are welcome and necessary adjustments. Storylines that weren't important (ahem, Frog) were cut out entirely, and storylines that went on too long (Brienne's fruitless searching...oh wait they kept that) were shortened. Unfortunately this changed around the end of Season 5, when we saw:
- Jon Snow assassinated without cause. In the books, Jon tells the Night's Watch he is marching on Winterfell with an army of Wildlings and willing brothers; in other words, deserting. Only then is he assassinated. In the show, the disapproving brothers let the Wildlings go south of The Wall, then assassinate him because...they never liked him? Blah.
- Stannis (a renowned military leader) unprepared for Ramsay setting fire to enough tents to drastically alter his prospects. He responds by sacrificing his daughter without considering its effect on morale. Urgh.
- Doran Martell allow Ellaria Sand, known for using poison and fresh off an attempt on Myrcella's life, to have physical contact with Myrcella before she sails off. Blurgh.
Okay, with that out of the way let's get to the recap and commentary.
Nearly six minutes of "previously on" and intro before the show. Thanks for the time off, HBO!
Davos notices Jon lying dead in the snow and brings him inside along with the biggest Snow-loyalists...Snowyalists? in the camp. They immediately realize who is responsible, and send Edd to get Tormund and the Wildlings. Melisandre enters and walks away dejectedly.
I promise I'm not trying to be difficult. Melisandre met Thoros in Season 3 and expressed disbelief at his ability to revive Beric Dondarrion six times. She's definitely aware of this power, and it isn't a complicated spell; Thoros just says "Lord cast your light upon this man, your servant. Bring him back from death and darkness. His flame has been extinguished; restore it" over Beric's dead body. Instead of TRYING anything, she goes to bed. Bye, Melisandre.
Aliser Thorne faces the Night's Watch and explains what happened. He confesses to killing Jon, and to treason, but justifies it by saying "Jon Snow was my Lord Commander. I had no love for him. That was no secret. But I never, once, disobeyed an order." He insists Jon was going to destroy the Night's Watch by letting the Wildlings through the gate, and he only did what was necessary.
Aliser himself opened the gates to Jon and the Wildlings BEFORE deciding he needed to kill Jon. Now he's killed the one member of the Night's Watch on good terms with the Wildlings living to their defenseless south. At best, his decision and its timing will create a rift in the Night's Watch and antagonize their only threat.
Aliser asks Davos to let him in, but Davos isn't an idiot. The Snowyalists resolve to hold the door at all costs. Melisandre removes her necklace to reveal an old naked woman.
Ramsay mourns Crazy Miranda, but Roose focuses his attention on the real problem: without Sansa, their claim to Warden of the North is empty. King's Landing no longer supports them, so in order to defend themselves the Boltons have to rally the North to their cause.
Good thing one of you has experience tracking human prey! Oh, he sent other people to take care of it. I bet that will go well. Nevermind that Ramsay has the most to lose from Sansa's escape, and that he personally led a mission to infiltrate Stannis's camp.
Theon and Sansa caught by mounted Bolton troops and their hounds. Before they can secure their quarry, Brienne and Pod ride in and slay the Bolton troops. Brienne pledges herself to Sansa, who gratefully accepts her help.
Cersei gets word of a ship arriving from Dorne and heads to the docks. She sees the gold burial shroud from afar and knows it covers Myrcella. Jaime attempts to console her, and they set themselves on a path of vengeance.
The High Sparrow visits Margaery and urges her to confess.
Doran receives a message detailing Myrcella's death. Before he can react, Tyene stabs his bodyguard in the back and Ellaria stabs Doran in the heart.
The rest of his royal guard are unmoved; evidently they are on Ellaria's side.
Doran knows Ellaria is trying to assassinate Myrcella with the help of the Sand Snakes. He continues to hang out with her and her treacherous daughter. His bodyguard allows Tyene to stand behind him, and isn't alert enough to move before being stabbed in the back despite Tyene and Ellaria exchanging suspicious glances while the message is delivered. I guess the Sand Snakes are in control of Dorne now; based on their strategic planning to this point, I assume they plan to "sneak" into King's Landing in broad daylight and kill the Lannister family and Kingsguard with sexy deception.
Nymeria and Obara confront Trystane, declaring their intent to kill him. Trystane draws his sword and faces Nymeria only to be stabbed through the head by the Obara.
I know you want the Sand Snakes to be impressive, but this is just too cheesy. I don't come away thinking "wow they're cool", I think "Trystane is as dumb as his father". If two armed people threaten to kill you, ATTACK! Don't step between them and offer your back to one!
Tyrion and Varys stroll the streets of Meereen, trying to get a feel for the city. Alerted by a large commotion, they see all the ships in the harbor engulfed in flames.
Jorah Friend Zone and Daario Bone Zone find some scorched bones (courtesy of Drogon) while searching for Dany. Jorah spots Dany's ring in the grass, and based on the trampled grass they know she has been captured by a Khalasar.
Jorah Friend Zone and Daario Bone Zone can go back and forth for ages, as far as I'm concerned. Their dialogue and the exchanges between Tyrion and Varys are amazing.
Dany is presented to the Khal himself, and reveals her identity. As Khal Drogo's widow, she will be taken to Vaes Dothrak to live out her days.
I assume Drogon is still recovering from his injuries, because otherwise I'd expect him to be searching for Dany. They clearly have a bond, and I doubt his timely appearance at the Fighting Pit was coincidence; he can sense when Dany is in trouble. I hope we don't have to watch Dany march across Essos all season before having a chance to return to her followers in Meereen.
Arya, blind, is assaulted by her co-worker at The House of Black and White. She tells her she'll be back; Arya is still in training.
What REALLY happened?
The Wall: People know Jon Snow is dead.
Winterfell: Sansa has Brienne and Pod (and horses!) to aid her escape.
King's Landing: Cersei knows Myrcella is dead.
Dorne: Ellaria has killed Doran and taken his position as leader.
Essos: Dany is bound for Vaes Dothrak. Arya is still in training.