‘Game of Thrones’ Review: Another Dark Wedding on ‘Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken’
Wedding nights on Game of Thrones aren’t usually much of a happy occasion and “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” was no exception. This week’s episode ended with the long-dreaded nuptials between Lord Ramsay Bolton and Lady Sansa Stark and if you think it was all throwing rice and doing the Chicken Dance, you might want to go back and revisit the Red Wedding or Purple Wedding before it.
While this wedding — The White Wedding? — was not as lethal as some of the ones that preceded it, it was no less grim.
[Ed. note: Kevin, your normal Game of Thrones critic, is busy with all things Mad Men tonight, so I’m filling in. If I’m the editor, why am I writing an Editor’s Note? You’re asking too many questions. Let’s get back to talking about that nasty feeling in our stomach after watching this episode.]
It started as Myranda, Ramsay’s still-jealous girlfriend, arrived at Sansa’s room ostensibly to give her a bath, which was a horrible cover for, “I want to scare the s--- out of Sansa on her wedding night.” She told tales of the previous girls who’ve bored Ramsey and the terrible fates that became them. The old Sansa would’ve cowed in the tub, but the new Sansa chased her out of the room. “This is my home. You can’t frighten me.” Ahh, it’s nice to actually enjoy rooting for Sansa again! Unfortunately, that was the best Sansa was going to get in this episode.
Just shortly after she swore herself to the Boltons, Theon/Reek escorted her upstairs where Ramsay promptly ripped her clothes off and proceeded to rape her, while making Theon watch. The good news is, if you were looking for someone to hate with a fiery passion after Joffrey died, Ramsay’s back! The bad news is, if you were looking for Reek to fully snap out of his brainwashing and make a valiant return as Theon, killing Ramsay and saving Sansa, well you’re left disappointed. Theon/Reek just trembled and cried in a corner while Sansa’s screams echoed throughout the room. C’mon Theon, grow a set (pun intended?) and go save your sorta sister! But no, satisfaction never comes that easily, if at all, in Westeros.
It was a dark, evil, nasty way to end the episode, but that doesn’t mean “Unbowed” was without its charm.
This week saw the return of the Lady Olenna, the Queen of Thorns, who returned to King’s Landing to protest the incarceration of Ser Loras. This episode was worth it if for nothing else than seeing Olenna go head-to-head with Cersei in an all out bitch-off. Two women who are quite good at manipulating to get what they want without mincing words going at it with each other. In previous weeks, Cersei has seemed as if her power was waning or at least that she was grasping at straws to hold on to what power she had left, but in “Unbowed” she proved, as the Queen Mother, she’s still a force to be reckoned with.
After a carefully crafted “inquisition” where both Loras and his sister, Queen Margaery, were interrogated by the High Sparrow for his alleged homosexual relations, they were both escorted away, set to hold trial for their crimes (Loras for his sexual past, and Margaery for covering for him under oath). It was a power play that worked almost exactly as Cersei had it drawn up (she even playfully “defended” Margaery during the trail, barely hiding her trademark smirk).
Elsewhere, Jorah Mormont and Tyrion continued their two-man roadshow (Game of Thrones really loves their mismatched couples) before being captured by a group of slave traders with plans to kill Jorah and, ahem, cut off Tyrion’s manhood to sell money. Tyrion begs for his life, saying they need him alive to prove that it’s truly the manhood of a dwarf, because otherwise how would they know?
Oh, Tyrion. It all led to this classic, only-on-Game-of-Thrones line: “The dwarf lives until we find a c--- merchant.”
Over on Dorne, Jaime and Bronn found Myrcella (smooching with her soon-to-be husband) and quickly tried to whisk her off. Not fast enough though, as the Sand Snakes arrived and Bronn, as he so often does, spoke for the audience when he said, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.” The Snakes and the Boys fought briefly (we legitimately worried about the fate of Bronn, easily one of the more entertaining characters on a show, which very much likes to kill off the characters you are enjoying), before Doran Martell’s guard captured them all (and later even Ellaria, who sent the Snakes to kill Myrcella).
We spent some time with Arya who was finally taken by Jaqen in the room where the Faceless Men keep all their faces and Littlefinger, who quickly turned his back on Sansa by alerting Cersei to her existence in Winterfell. Jon Snow, Stannis, Daenerys and Brienne were all nowhere to be found.
We’re just over halfway through Season 5 with only four episodes left. There still seem to be a lot of loose ends to wrap up and, as a whole, this season doesn’t seem to have the same spark and tension of last year’s Tyrion Trial, but there’s still plenty of time. Will Theon avenge the Stark name? Will Arya leave the House of Black and White to start her tour of revenge? Will ever start caring about the Sand Snakes? Stay tuned for next week’s episode “The Gift” for (hopefully) more answers!