TV Check-In: Game of Thrones Season 6 (Episodes 1 and 2)

by Matthew Thompson

Game of Thrones got off to a tepid start with last week’s premiere episode, “The Red Woman,” but its second outing “Home” was very good and has me excited for what comes next. I thought after this more eventful episode I would check in with the season so far.

Game of Thrones The Red Woman 3

We’ll start with where the latest episode ends: Jon’s resurrection. I never doubted for a moment that Jon would come back. That fact along with how long I’ve been waiting for this moment having finished A Dance with Dragons years ago (that book left off with the same cliffhanger as last season) made his resurrection feel a bit perfunctory to me. That doesn’t mean I was any less happy to see it happen. I wasn’t sure how long the show would wait before bringing him back and I’m glad to see they did it so quickly. For the Northern plotlines to really get going, Jon needs to be back in the mix. Hell, maybe for the whole story to start moving towards its endgame, Jon needs to be back in the mix. So that is a big plus. I do think getting here felt a little sloppy. I’m not exactly sure why it makes sense for Davos to push so hard to bring him back. It feels like a convenient way to get us here that, but not one they properly set up for his character.

Now that Jon is back, it makes me more excited than ever to see where things go next. Will Jon be changed in some way because of the resurrection? If others brought back from the dead in this series are any indication, the answer is yes, but how? I would guess his death – however brief – would end his commitment to the Night’s Watch too. That is how the vows go. Plus… you know… his brothers stabbed him, so he might not be itching to stick around. Perhaps he will ride South to take Winterfell with a wildling army and the few brothers that had his back. How will the other pieces in the North fit into this puzzle? Will Ramsay – now in power at Winterfell – be coming for him first? He briefly suggested that plan before offing his dear old dad. How will Sansa figure in? Perhaps her arrival at the Wall, will spur Jon South. Maybe she helps in uniting the Northern houses for their cause against Ramsay and company. And of course, Jon won’t be forgetting the more ominous presence that lies to their North though I assume that confrontation will be left for the final season or so. There are a lot of questions now that he is back and I am dying to find out the answers.

Game of Thrones Home 2

Elsewhere in Westeros, sudden deaths abound. The Sand Snakes killed off Doran, Trystane and Areo Hotah, purging a sizable portion of the characters involved in last season’s much maligned Dornish plots. It was done in haphazard fashion – which feels right at home in that storyline – and seemed to signal the writers taking a mulligan on the whole thing. As I alluded to above, Ramsay took out Roose as well as Walda and her newborn son. Roose’s exit deserved a bit more time dedicated to it in my opinion. I’m not a huge fan of Ramsay as the show’s main villain at the moment either. He’s kind of like Joffrey without the fun. I loved to hate Joffrey. I just hate Ramsay. And then there is old Balon Greyjoy finally kicking the bucket after Melisandre’s magic leeches hinted at it so long ago. This represents one of the few storylines this season where I know where things are headed, but it also seems readily apparent that they had originally intended to cut this bit out from the show altogether, so I’m curious how they will work it back in.

With hasty resurrections and deaths moving things along in the west, I can’t help but wonder what Daenerys’ part in all this will be. Her move towards Westeros has been anything but swift. In the premiere, she talked her way out of being a slave into being sent to Vaes Dothrak to hang out with the crones. A positive step for her after being taken prisoner, but still a lateral one for her overall trajectory. Somehow I see her coming out of this situation in control of a Khalasar and dragons headed for Westeros by season’s end. Or maybe I just desperately want that. It is becoming increasing difficult to get her there the more this storyline dawdles about.

Game of Thrones The Red Woman 2

A few more things:

  • Bran’s flashback vision thing was really neat. The Hodor sighting was unexpected. I’m really excited to see more flashbacks especially since it seems we’ll be seeing the ones I’ve always hoped they’d do on the show.
  • I love Arya and her storyline in Braavos has been well done for the most part, but I can’t say I enjoy it as much as her material in the first four seasons.
  • A couple of smaller scenes I really liked from this past episode: the Theon/Sansa goodbye scene (surprised how good that was) and the Jaime/Sparrow scene (I’m hoping they can get Jaime’s character back on track after the last couple of seasons).
  • I figured the Dothraki would know who Dany was or at least figure it out a bit quicker.
  • Had to decide not to do weekly reviews for the show this year. I’ve loved doing them the past few years, but I usually only have time for one post a week these days and want to be able to cover more than just Game of Thrones over the next couple months. I hope to check in with the show in some fashion with some of the bigger moments though.

After a bumpy Season 5, I didn’t find my anticipation levels for this new season of Game of Thrones quite as high as usual. But now that I’m watching, I find myself caught up in it once again. And with the books stalled out, I’m really happy to finally start seeing where some of these story threads go next. While the first episode left me wanting, the second was strong and perhaps more importantly has me excited for where the show heads next.

What have you thought of Season 6 of Game of Thrones thus far? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


6 thoughts on “TV Check-In: Game of Thrones Season 6 (Episodes 1 and 2)

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  1. Haha you’re so right about Ramsay when you say you loved to hate Joffrey, but somehow Ramsay just isn’t as fun.

    Anyway, the whole Jon Snow thing… didn’t feel as exciting as I thought it would be — his coming back to life — partly because it has been talked about sooooo much, and so many people want it… it almost felt too easy. However, like you say, it’s all about how his death affects him, which could be really interesting since people haven’t really theorized about that yet!

    I also love your idea for Dany leading a Khalasar by the end of the season. Hearing what’s happening with her going to this temple of widows, I thought, OK, Dany can win over anybody and do amazing things with pretty much anyone, so she’s going to come out of this with a whole new band of followers!

    The Bran storyline is kind of dull to me. It’s my least favorite part of the show right now, but hoping it picks up here. Visions and stuff just doesn’t interest me much I guess!

    1. It seems maybe having Jon’s death span the offseason may have been a mistake. As you say, so much time to speculate plus the show generally not being able to hide the fact he would be back. It felt like it was just expected by everyone at this point, even people who I talked to who thought he’d stay dead when they first saw it happen. Hoping the aftermath will give the whole thing more… not sure the word… value or worth or something.

      I hear you on Bran. He has always been one of my least favorite storylines too. I am probably projecting a bit that his visions/flashbacks will go somewhere interesting. I do like when the show gets to dive into the world’s history, so I’m hoping that Bran gives them a way to do this. I don’t know. We will have to wait and see.

      Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it.

  2. Great to see you do a check-in on GOT and on a big moment in the series. I like that they are devoting two segments at Castle Black/Jon Snow each episode so far, I’m most interested in what happens next here. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting Jon’s return to happen in ep 2 and it felt a tad easy. Maybe next episode will explain things further, and we’ll see if him coming back changes him.

    Like you, I’m thinking about where all these characters and story lines will head next. I like your idea about Sansa uniting the Northern houses against the Boltons. I also have to agree about Dany picking up a Dothraki horde before making her way to Westeros. I mean there needs to be some greater purpose for Dany to get sidetracked like this.

    Yeah, with Dorne I imagine the writers are not wanting to waste more time on this area, on characters who fans don’t care about, and just cutting to the chase. These scenes were most problematic for me in the premiere.

    I’m also not getting the same impact from Arya’s scenes. One, I don’t like seeing my Arya getting smacked around by a waif. Also, they could have edited the scenes in ep 1 and ep 2 into one consolidated segment.

    I’m glad that the overall fan reaction to Season 6 seems to be pretty good so far. Despite my nitpicks here and there, I like the general direction. 😀

    1. Yeah, I was kind of torn between feelings of the whole Jon Snow revival feeling rushed or a bit easy as you put it and just wanting him to be alive so we can see where he heads next. But I am really excited to see how things pan out tonight. Even just seeing everyone else’s reaction to him being alive should be fun.

      Good point about the Arya scenes. They could have certainly been consolidated. Despite not being as into her scenes of late, I am itching to see where her storyline is heading.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I agree that I wasn’t as wowed by the premiere episode. It felt kind of lacking in my opinion. I did enjoy the second episode and I wasn’t all that surprised that Jon Snow wasn’t really dead at all, especially after months of speculation on him definitely not being gone for good. I haven’t read the books, but I did feel like Jon was still very important to the series to have him go out like that. There’s still the mystery behind his parents that hasn’t been answered yet. I’m excited to see where the season goes.

    1. Yeah, that was always what made me think Jon would be back. For all the shocking deaths this show does, they usually make some narrative sense and Jon seems too important to get rid of especially at this juncture in time. It feels like there is a lot left for him to do yet.

      Thanks for commenting! I love hearing other people’s thoughts on the show!

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