TV Review: This Week on Game of Thrones (S5 Episode 1/ April 12, 2015)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

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EPISODE 1: The Wars to Come

THE PLOT : The long summer is at an end, winter truly is coming and with it the cold winds of war as five self proclaimed Kings claim dominance over Westeros, but there can be only one winner when you play the game of thrones.

THE LOWDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don’t recommend reading this if you haven’t watched this episode). Ah, Westeros, how I’ve missed you. This season has a lot of things going for it, but the boys are also rolling the dice more than ever before—as we prepare for the end game, showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had to sit down with the man (Martin) to discuss how it all pans out seeing as how the show is passing the books. Good? Bad? We’ll see, but one thing’s for sure, they’re mixing it up (deaths that don’t happen in the books) so book and show fans alike are in for some major surprises. One of the new tactics comes via flashbacks, and tonight we open with a glimpse of Cersei as a little girl slinking through the forest with a friend. I had no idea where this was going (I’m sure no one did), and although it doesn’t really reveal anything, it’s still entertaining. That said, I hope to see a bit more relevance to these flashbacks in the future, otherwise I’m inclined to ask “why bother?”

The mood is bleak in King’s Landing. The shared moment between Jaime and Cersei standing over Tywin spoke volumes for the shit storm to come. Tywin was the glue holding that place together. I think Cersei knows this deep down, but she’s still way too obsessed with killing Tyrion to see the bigger picture. Jaime sees it clear as day. He knows their enemies are literally lined up outside the door, and ironically enough (a growing theme with the Lannisters), we have Lancel and the Sparrows suddenly setting up shop, poised to strike. Lancel may be a snivelling little weasel, but he pretty much tells Cersei flat out that he’s there to punish ALL sinners. But Cersei’s Cersei, and doesn’t give it a second thought.

Tyrion’s story is handled far better here than it is in the books—Ugh, I hated the book version. He came off as dramatically pathetic as he made his way to Pentos, and thank Christ they opted to use Varys instead of the “Cheesemonger” for this stage of the game. That character may yet turn up on the show, but I like it better the way it’s playing out without him. Poor Tyrion. He’s had just as many ups and downs as any of the Starks, if not more, and it hurts to see him in the dumps like this. That said, who wouldn’t want to see him hook up with Daenerys as a means of helping her take King’s Landing? I know I would.

We get a brief look at Brienne and Podrick, nothing to brag about, and a raven’s message puts Littlefinger and Sansa on the move. We don’t know where yet (I do), but without saying much, her storyline will quickly become one of the ones to look forward to. I promise. Stannis wants Jon Snow to convince Mance to swear allegiance in hopes of gaining the Wildlings as soldiers for his army. I love Stannis’ cut and dry attitude, and the pairing of him and Jon Snow is great. Melisandre is ever plotting, but poor Davos doesn’t seem to have much to do. It’s a shame things go the way they do with Mance, he’s a cool character and I would have loved to see all them band together. What becomes of the rest of the Wildings is still to come, but judging by Jon’s act of mercy, I’m thinking he may have scored some points with Tormund.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 5’s first episode has a tone much befitting its title, as it plays out like the first couple moves of a chess match. The wheels are definitely turning, just a bit slower than you’d expect for a premiere. I’m not complaining (much), it’s still GAME OF THRONES and I’m happy as hell to have it back. In all honesty, I was one of the lucky ones to get screeners of the first four episodes and watched all four back to back so I didn’t really feel the slow burn until I re-watched the first one on its own for this review. I found Daenery’s struggle in Meereen the most interesting, but I still feel she has a lot to learn about ruling. A rebellious group (The Sons of the Harpy) are starting and uprising? Grind their asses into dust. The people want you to re-open the fighting pits? Give them the distraction. So you don’t agree with it, per say, that’s fine, you don’t have to watch. I love Danny, but she gets a little “high horsed” at times, and it never ends well. Besides, if you can’t keep the rabble of that city in check, how in the hell are you going to rule the Seven Kingdoms? Hopefully Tyrion can talk some sense into her, not that Dario isn’t trying.

SEX/NUDITY: There’s some brothel boobage as per usual, and some dude on dude stuff with Loras and his new boy toy. Oh yeah, and Dario’s buttocks.

VIOLENCE: The Sons of the Harpy mean business, and make a mean statement to prove it. And then there’s Mance, who has a bad night.

MOST EPIC SCENE: This is another example of a brutally epic scene, but not in the usual sense. Daenerys goes to the crypt where she locked up two of her dragons—we have no idea how long it’s been, but they’re getting big. She’s met with hostility and runs out in absolute fear. I honestly have no idea what becomes of Dany and her dragons, but it’s hauntingly painful to see the Mother of Dragons without her dragons.




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