‘Game of Thrones’ S6E3: “Oathbreaker”
Let’s be honest: what on earth can you put in an episode after Jon Snow comes back to life? How do you top it? The answer is: you can’t. You shouldn’t even try to. You need to let the reanimated corpse breathe a bit and save some punch for the episode to follow in two weeks time. “Oathbreaker” wasn’t a disappointing episode, by any means. There weren’t a lot of moments that left your jaw on the floor, but it was still a solid episode.
SPOILERS are coming. SPOILERS are on the horizon. SPOILERS are the annoying bit of dust in your eye.
If you watched this episode and didn’t watch Episode 2, “Home” (first of all, why would you do that?), you need to know something. Jon Snow’s alive, all thanks to some sponge-bathing, hair-cutting voodoo from Melisandre. The first scene of Episode 3 finds us back at The Wall, with a freshly re-animated Jon and the freshly crapped pants of Sir Davos.
As can be expected, Jon freaks out. We’re talking mild hyperventilation, bug eyes, and naked butt shots (#datass). Davos ruins all of our fun by cloaking the naked Lord Commander, asking him “What do you remember?” Jon recalls the details of his death (“They stabbed me”), and Davos continues his interrogation. “What did you see?” Jon replies: “Nothing.”
Jon struggles with the details of his rebirth, as Melisandre looks on, slack jawed, from the background (I think she honestly was just admiring his body, ’cause DAMN). Sir Davos attempts to console Jon, offering that he’s been brought back “for a reason.” Jon’s not having it, though. “I did what I thought was right, and I failed.” Davos, like any good after-school special should, gets him some cookies, a cold glass of milk, and says “Go fail again.”
We cut to the courtyard. The Wildlings and remaining Night’s Watch are awaiting Jon, who is now sadly cloaked and very much not nude. He greets his men, who are dumbfounded and in awe. “They think you’re some kind of god,” Tormund tells him. He also tells him that he “saw his pecker,” and that definitely WASN’T god-like.
Edd is somewhat emotional upon seeing Jon ambling about, and they embrace as Jon tells him “hold off on burning my body.” Later on in the episode, Sir Alliser and his men are held accountable for their treason, and they are strung up on the scaffold. Jon solicits for any last requests, but the men are all quiet…save for Alliser. He has no regrets, and would do it all again if given the chance. He also offers a solemn warning to Jon about what it takes to be a leader. We are left with a final look to Olly, who, besides looking terribly young and innocent, also looks like he’s smelling a fart during the entire scene. Jon slices the rope, the men fall, and the horrible/wonderful/awful/terrible production team of GOT treats us to one last look at Olly’s gruesome face.
With the traitors dead, Jon removes his cloak (are we going back to Naked Lord Commander?!) and hands it off to Edd, proclaiming that Castle Black is his now. He walks dramatically out of the keep, creating one of the most epic mic drops (cloak drops?) in history.
In the Narrow Sea (Gilly-gan’s Island)
Not much happening here, except for some puke takes and seasickness. Gilly-gan wants to know where they are headed, expecting to travel to the Citadel. Sam explains that he is taking them to his home, Horn Hill, while he trains to be a maester. He also reaffirms that all he cares about in life are Little Sam and Gilly, and them promptly
Beyond the Wall (Bran’s Flashback)
We get into some great backstory here with the long awaited Tower of Joy sequence. It begins with several riders congregating below a huge stone tower. Bran, as narrator of our flashback, explains that the party includes a young Ned Stark, Howland Reed, father to Meera, and several other Northern soldiers. Their opposing party includes Oswell Whent and the “best swordsmen his father (Ned) had ever seen,” Arthur Dayne.
We are caught up to the circumstances surrounding their meeting: Prince Rhaegar and the Mad King have been killed, and Ned is searching for his sister, Lyanna. A battle ensues, and Dayne effectively goes all General Grievous on Ned’s fighters, cutting them down like tree branches.
Bran is confused: didn’t his father victoriously defeat Dayne in all of the lore? Ned is struggling to keep up, and he is disarmed by Dayne. All seems lost, until an injured Howland Reed surprises Dayne with a knife to the neck. Ned delivers the final blow, decapitating Dayne, and we hear a sharp, painful cry from the tower.
Ned rushes off to investigate, and the Three-Eyed Raven wants Bran to take a break. Bran is stubborn and wishes to learn more about what happened at the Tower of Joy. He proceeds to follow his father, even shouting out his name, and we’re taken aback when Ned actually turns around, as if he heard Bran’s cry. Bran notes this, but is taken out of the flashback and brought back to reality.
Bran, naturally, is irritated and is beginning to wonder why the Three-Eyed Raven is taking his grand old time. He insists that his father heard him during the flashback, but the Raven responds: “The past is already written. The ink is dry.” Okay, but what if you have White-Out? That could fix a lot of errors.
Bran gets feistier. He demands to know what happened in the Tower, but the Raven does not bend. He does tell him that he’s spent 1000 years waiting for Bran, and now Bran must “learn everything.” If that’s true, we’re never getting out of this cave.
We finally get to see the Dothraki Rest Home for Widowed Khalessis. Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of angsty estrogen.
Daenerys continues to impress absolutely no one with her long list of titles, and that gets her stripped bare in front off all the other Khaleesis. The head ex-Khaleesi/Keith Richards seems somewhat understanding of Dany’s plight, empathizing that she, too, once had dreams of grandeur by the side of her Khal. However, she makes it perfectly clear that the camp is not happy with Dany for venturing out into the world after Drogo’s death, and her fate is left up in the air.
Varys has brought a mysterious woman to the palace, and I spent much of this scene über-confused, as I completely forgot who this she was. I was reminded that this was the prostitute who aligned with the Sons of the Harpy in Season 4. Her name is Vala, and she’s got some information that Varys wants. The duo is at an impasse, though: Vala is certain the Sons of the Harpy will kill her if she tells Varys anything. Varys, the cunning negotiator, offers her safe passage and a bag of silver for her and her son, Dom (I swear it sounded like they were saying “Dong”). Her answer is left vague, because that’s good television.
Meanwhile, Tyrion awaits Varys’ arrival with Missandei and Grey Worm. This was a very awkward scene, even for Thrones’ standards. Tyrion attempts to kill time while entertaining his companions with games, but no one really wants to play. The entire exchange was very peculiar…it was filler, and nothing more. It was the weakest moment of the episode for me.
When Varys does arrive, he announces that slave masters of Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis have been paying for the Sons of the Harpy. They come to the conclusion that they cannot attack these cities: it would leave Meereen defenseless. So, they decide to track down the Sons of the Harpy, one by one.
Maester Qyburn is holding court with his new “birds,” who he inherited from Varys’ absence. He is almost immediately joined by Cersei, Jaime, and the Mountain (who will never be able to make a stealthy entrance). Cersei wants eyes and ears across the region, and Qyburn is happy to oblige.
Later on, a meeting of the High Counsel is held between Lord Kevan Lannister, Lady Olenna Tyrell, Lord Mace Tyrell, and Grand Maester Pycelle. Cersei, Jaime, and the Mountain try to interrupt, but the counsel throws down some serious shade by packing up and leaving the room. Another awkward moment for me, but did anyone else hear a fart noise coming from the High Counsel when they were interrupted?
Across town to the High Sept, Tommen has appeared before the High Sparrow to appeal on behalf of Cersei. She wants to see Myrcella, but the Sparrow ain’t backing down. Throughout the entire exchange, I kept thinking “Damn, Jonathan Pryce is SO good,” and I’m very intrigued by this storyline. He’s gotta have a tie-in to some other character on the show. He just has to.
The Sparrow and Tommen have a heart to heart. Tommen takes a cue from Olly’s earlier performance and also dons the face of “Someone just crop dusted all over this Sept.” What is it with farts and this episode?
Arya’s back at the House of Black & White, but–shock surprise!–she’s still getting the crap beat out of her by The Waif. She’s also being interrogated: The Waif puts her through a Stark Family Q&A to ascertain whether or not she has fully subscribed to being No One. We watch her progressively get better at Daredevil blind fighting, until she finally bests the Waif and impresses Jaqen.
He brings her to the main fountain, once again offering her sight back should she tell him her name. When Arya once again says that she is No One, he offers her a cup of water. She hesitantly takes it, but Jaqen says that if she is “truly no one, she has nothing to fear.” She drinks from the cup, closes her eyes, and her sight is restored. When Jaqen asks her who she is, Arya replies that she is “no one.” (Thank God, because I couldn’t take another episode of her taking sticks to the mouth).
Ramsay has begun to take over his father’s duties as Lord of Winterfell, sitting court and hearing from Smalljon Umber, a former Stark ally. Umber is concerned: Jon Snow has been letting Wildlings through the Wall, and he fears they will head south. Ramsay says he will help Umber if he pledges allegiance, but Umber is quick to criticize Ramsay, even highlighting his feeble attempt to cover up the murder of his father, Roose.
However, Umber has a gift for Ramsay, and that gift is Rickon and Osha, seemingly plucked from thin air. Ramsay is suspicious: how can he know if this is really Rickon Stark before him? To allay all doubts, Umber brings forward the severed head of Shaggydog and places it on the table. Ramsay, appeased, smiles and welcomes Rickon home.