Well, season five is ruined.
Weiss and Benioff clearly learnt nothing from that episode in season four and they’ve gone and done it again.
Besides the final, unnecessary and awful scene the episode was incredibly average to begin with.
Fight scenes were sloppy and uninteresting and clearly once you set foot in Dorne your brain goes out the window.
The episode’s highlights are Arya’s story being picked up once more and Tyrion making some new ‘friends’.
The episode’s lowlights are… numerous.
Starting with the good.
The episode picks up with Arya who is still washing corpses, now with the reverence of a lover while staring longingly at the third door in the House of Black and White.
A young girl is brought to the House and has possibly the shortest screen life ever and almost immediately Arya is granted access through the third door into a surprisingly large basement.
A basement, which reveals the source of the faceless men’s power.
The other great scene features Jorah and Tyrion who have bonded in the times since they faced the stone men and found themselves… The Seven know where.
Jorah and Tyrion are getting along so well they don’t notice the band of slavers they’ve walked right into.
Seriously, they just walk up to some slavers because they don’t notice them while they are chatting.
Anyway, all is fine because Tyrion persuades the slavers that Jorah will be worth his weight in gold at the fighting pits that Daenerys has reopened.
The slavers are all too keen to dispose of Tyrion and separate his corpse from his second biggest asset.
Tyrion manages to save his ‘lucky’ dwarven asset by saying its size belies its origin.
Prompting the fine line: “The dwarf lives until we find a cock merchant.”
Don’t know there are too many of them lying around Essos but I guess we’ll see.
Way to carry on getting where you’re going Tyrion. He’s really landed on his feet this time. He essentially got him and Jorah a nice boat ride to Meereen.
Also, in and around the Red Keep there’s a hefty amount of sass being traded.
Now for the bad.
Everything that happens in Dorne is quite tragic.
Jaime and Bronn make it to the water gardens and decide the best way to reclaim Myrcella is to walk into, essentially, the royal palace of Dorne in broad daylight, in blood soaked guard uniforms and just grab her?
Terrible plan. This is entirely different to anything that plays out in the books, which is fine, just do it better.
The Sand Snakes who have been eagerly awaited are not done justice in the slightest.
They have the same plan as Jaime. It’s not too clear where Ellaria is going with her plan to capture Myrcella.
The Sand Snakes are presented as the vigilante, hot headed, bastard daughters of Oberyn, skilled in fighting if not exactly wise.
Seeing the Sand Snakes fight should have been one of the highlights of this season but instead Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken offers a clunky disjointed fight scene with very little bloodshed.
Though what is shed could be significant.
Obviously, as the fight takes place in A HEAVILY GUARDED PALACE it is brought to a quick end and no one achieves anything. Except the palace guards who probably get a good tea for a job well done.
And now the ugly.
In what has been dubbed the ‘Black Wedding’ (they’re really running with this colour theme) Sansa is wed to the repulsive Ramsay Bolton.
Now for weeks Sansa has been slowly reclaiming her agency, she has been tentatively dipping her toes into the waters of the game and this episode ruins this in one fell swoop.
It had all been going well, she hands down the law to Myranda and is in the process of reclaiming her home when she is struck down by awful, awful writing.
On their wedding night, Ramsay rapes Sansa while Reek/Theon is forced to watch.
This is an ugly and lazy plot point for the show. There is no need for it in the narrative; we know Ramsay is foul and twisted, two seasons of utter evil have shown us that.
To throw Sansa under the bus in this way is unnecessary and twisted on the part of Weiss and Benioff.
Until now Sansa had been overcoming the abuse she received at the hands of Joffrey and most unforgivably the scene chooses not to focus on Sansa’s pain but on Reek’s!
Oh! Poor Reek being made to watch this act. No! It is Sansa who is injured by it.
How much more powerful would the ending have been if in focusing on Sansa’s face we saw her pain, or even her pain turn into resolve to save herself?
If Sansa is put back to square one by this act the show has done her a great disservice.
Weiss and Benioff have lost followers over the mistreatment of women before in the series and it’s going to happen again.
Image courtesy of HBO via YouTube, with thanks.