Game of Thrones: “Kill the Boy” Season 5 Episode 5 Review

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At this point in the season, several stories have been set up and even reached miniature climaxes. In “Kill the Boy,” most of the essential groundwork is laid, its just a matter of getting to where the season is trying to go now.

The show had to come down a little after the outstanding “Sons of the Harpy.” The show’s clashing of plotlines has had four episodes and we’re used to it, now it’s time to tell a story with these slightly larger character collections.

Most of “Kill the Boy” took place in the North. Bookended by the happenings in Essos, the biggest chunk of the episode weaved between Sansa and Jon Snow’s stories.

In Winterfell, Sansa stumbles upon her former family friend Theon, now “Reek.” She of course still thinks he killed her brothers, but his broken nature is still enough to shake her. Having Theon suddenly interact with a Stark was very rewarding to watch, especially since these two haven’t shared a scene together since season one.

That said, there are easy parallels to draw with Sansa in Winterfell to Sansa in King’s Landing. She’s being forced to marry a murderous psychopath who seems very interested in causing her emotional pain. Sansa’a growth will come out of how she handles it differently than she did before, but this episode didn’t allow for much of that, making it feel like little more than a retread of plotlines.

Meanwhile, Jon has made his decision to collect the wildlings and join Stannis’ conquest for the North. This battle is getting built to better than last year’s clash at the wall. The build-up feels more like “Blackwater,” still the show’s best hour. So while it’s temporarily frustrating to have Jon and Stannis separating so soon after converging, it doesn’t feel like they will part for very long and Jon will join him at the battle for Winterfell.

But that’s not the only war Stannis has on his mind. “Kill the Boy” managed to sneak in a “winter is coming” at least four times. Stannis inquires Samwell about how he killed the White Walker. Soon after Stannis intends to win the Iron Thrones, he’ll have to fight an army of ice zombies. It’s been a slow build, but that fight is starting to feel nearer.

Across the world, Daenerys has to figure out what kind of leader she is going to be. Her opening scene using the dragons to threaten Meereen’s highest families was awesome, but her choice to free and marry one of them also made a lot of sense. It seems like the Mother of Dragons is pulling from a grab bag of leader building moves. Considering she’s the only ruler on the show actively trying to make her society better, her arc continues to be a highlight of the series.

It’ll be very interesting to see what happens when Tyrion and Jorah eventually arrive in Meereen. Their scenes this week showcased how rewarding it can be for two major characters such as them to intersect.

Of course, they then get attacked by infected people. Jorah manages to save Tyrion, but he gets infected in the process, which may be the death of him or someone around him. Either way, this journey just got another layer of tension added to it.

So while “Kill the Boy” was a little more disjointed than the rest of season five thus far, it still pushed characters forward in interesting ways. The building conflict in the North is just as exciting as the inevitable meeting of Tyrion and Daenerys. If all continues well, this could be a landmark season for the fantasy series. Grade: B+


Some Other Notes:

– The episode started with Grey Worm being taken care of, immediately followed by Barristan lying dead in Daenerys’ hall. At least one of them made it out alive.

– What role will Brienne play when every at the Wall fights everyone in Winterfell? Her position in all of this is unclear, but I can’t wait to see how they all clash.

– Sansa still has friends in the North, whom I’m sure she will welcome to aid her when she’s married to Ramsay at any given moment.

– A lovely moment of Tyrion truly crossing worlds was the site of Drogon flying overhead above the fog.


By Matt Dougherty

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