Season Six, Episode Two — “Home”
By Jarrod Jones. We all knew that Tyrion Lannister was endowed with a rather impressive vocabulary, but who knew his smooth, dulcet tones could tame two dragons? Certainly not he: “If I ever have another idea like that, punch me in the face,” The Lion instructed Varys this week, after a successful attempt at freeing poor Dany’s long-isolated, fire-breathing children. They are meant to fly after her perhaps, but then it was The Mother of Dragons who put those chains around their pained necks. So yes, Rhaegal and Viserion have some much-needed exercise ahead of them, but there’s certainly time for it — still no word from Ser Jorah and Daario (they’re on the hunt for the Dothraki horde that stole their precious Khaleesi, though they sat this episode out).
While the Dany subplot was very nearly broomed last night, Game of Thrones assures us that it has no intentions of idling this season. All the ancillary B-grade stuff got filed away last year (adios, Stannis, we hardly knew ye), so now it’s all business, right? Absolutely. It certainly doesn’t have time for any navel gazing, as Melisandre discovered almost immediately this week. Her gaze into the abyss turned out to be a short one, with Ser Davos arriving to gallantly provide her counsel without once rubbing any of this irony in her face. (Because Ser Davos is a classy guy.) Davos seems to be hellbent on moving this particular subplot along, and so it was that the inevitable came to pass — I can only imagine that, for those Hair-ington truthers out there, relief came in a series of revitalizing gasps.
“Home” was an all-business episode, but what made it exceptionally great was that it reminded us that Game of Thrones can be pretty damned funny when it wants to be. Though that gallows humor doesn’t come without a sense of grim irony: Roose Bolton had to have known that his increasingly antagonistic behavior towards his sadistic bastard son would only end in his death. When you take pleasure in constantly provoking a hardened killer, your death can only be assured. Maybe someone should tell that to the High Sparrow, who we watched playing his hand a bit too early to an absolutely seething Jaime Lannister. After all, death comes to all men — even the pious ones.
WHAT WORKED: The Wildlings showed a remarkable sense of timing with their last-minute rescue of a stashed-away Ser Davos, an idle Jon-sicle and the few remaining Snow loyalists from within the Wall. Their save finally stashed away Alliser Thorne and that murdering dipshit Ollie for what can only be a later, probably ugly, fate. It came with a sense of fist-pumping righteousness, but it was not without its levity: the Wildling giant Wun Wun was allowed a moment of brutal slapstick that easily recalled the funnier bits of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was yet another pleasant reminder that Game of Thrones is finally getting back around to being gleeful, naughty fun again. (Also we got to watch the Mountain’s first kill since his, um… reanimation? Is that what we’re calling it? Anyway, it was pretty damn funny.)
WHAT DIDN’T: “Home” was a solid episode despite its hasty displays of inevitability. It was only inevitable that Ramsay Bolton would kill his father (Roose practically put a “slaughter me” sign on his back with all those taunts), and literally the entire internet was predicting Jon’s resurrection by the end of the first half of the season. Both things came to pass this week, almost alarmingly so — but there’s not much to complain about if that means freeing up air time for more pressing matters.
“It is beautiful beneath the sea… but if you stay long enough you’ll drown.” – The Three-Eyed Raven.
“I’ve never been much of a fighter. Apologies for what you’re about to see.” – Ser Davos.
“I’m here to help. Don’t eat the help.” – Tyrion.
BEST MOMENT: There was only one moment for me this week, and guess what — it had nothing to do with Jon Snow. We all knew that Bran’s time wit the Three Eyed Raven would peel back the veil of Westerosi history, and it came out of the gates with a fury. Lyanna Stark made her first appearance this week, riding into Winterfell as poised and proud as the stories suggest. Methinks Bran will be finding out more about his family’s dark history sooner rather than later.
EPISODE’S MVP: I’m giving it to Tyrion this week. No amount of drink would ever put me in a dark-ass dungeon filled with those vicious things. I wasn’t even in the room, and I wet myself.
– Hey! We’re talking about Benjen again! Even though he’s a bit shorter than the last time we saw him, this marked Benjen’s first appearance on Game of Thrones since Season One.
– Speaking of height, the wee Bran Stark certainly shot up over the last two years, didn’t he?
– There was a certain satisfaction that came with seeing that treacherous Ollie — who was only too eager to run a blade through Ser Davos this week — getting tossed into the catacombs with Alliser Thorne. Maybe they’ll be cellmates? (Spinoff idea: A Dungeon of Chumps.)
– Melisandre’s leech-sucking romp with Gendry back in Season Three foretold that three kings would die: Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon and now Balon Greyjoy. Who is Euron gonna kill next in his bid to rule the Ironborne? Maybe it’ll be Theon, who’s heading home to the Iron Islands, or perhaps Yara, who is using her father’s death as momentum to claim rule herself.
– Lyanna Stark’s presence is a strong indicator of things to come. As to whether or not we’ll be seeing a certain silver-haired prince kickstarting a certain rebellion in the episodes to come, who can say — but I wouldn’t rule it out.
– Not present for this week’s skirmish: Littlefinger, Sam, Ginny. Wherefore art thou, Petyr?
8.5 out of 10
Next: “Oathbreaker”, soon.
Before: “The Red Woman”, here.