Game of Thrones: “No One” Season 6 Episode 8 Review

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Well, it’s the end of the season, which means Game of Thrones is executing some of its climaxes already, and of course some of its characters. With war coming swiftly and suddenly to Meereen and the conclusion to Arya’s journey in the House of Black and White, “No One” accomplished a lot while still effectively setting up several of the other climaxes of the season.

So let’s start then with the most badass of the Starks. Director Mark Mylod effectively turned this storyline into a short horror movie. With Lady Crane’s long opening monologue, “No One” immediately had tension. The early scenes of the actress helping Arya were just plane nice. Between being a servant for Tywin, traveling with the Hound, and training under the Many Faced God, no one has treated Arya well in literally years. It can’t last, of course, and it’s not long before the Waif brutally murders Lady Crane and starts chasing Arya around the city. This beautifully shot foot chase has the Waif at her creepiest, slowly moving toward Arya like the villain of a slasher movie. Thrones getting to play in the horror genre was fun, but Arya is the hero and it was time for the Waif to go down. I loved how Arya used the skills and strength she gained while blind to do it. Luckily, Jaqen is prepared to accept the Waif’s face to the collection in the halls. Then we get the incredibly satisfying moment where he declares Arya as No One and she refuses, retitling herself Arya Stark of Winterfell. Arya’s arc for the season is complete. She passed all the training while still keeping her name. Now let’s see her rejoin her family next season.

But while one story concluded, another finally showed us where it was all going. Of course the other city’s of Slaver’s Bay would come back to fight. Tyrion was never going to get away with his arrogant musings earlier this year that reinstated slavery for another seven years. As Meereen is fired upon from their ships, Drogon lands on the tower and Daenerys enters the room. Nothing is said, leaving all the fallout for the finale (as next week’s episode is all about the battle for Winterfell). This storyline needed a bit of a jumpstart, and what better way to do that than for Daenery to put the Dothraki to work retaking her city?

Meanwhile, the events at Riverrun play out in a much different way than expected. Neither Jaime nor the Blackfish will play a role in next week’s battle it seems. Perhaps that was all too much to hope for, but the scenes here shared between Brienne and Jaime were really solid. Them spending two or so seasons together, their reunion here was obviously not what Brienne had hoped for. Trying to act as the middle man between the two sides of the siege, Brienne ends up failing to recruit the Blackfish. Jaime uses Edmure to take the city and the Blackfish dies defending himself, refusing to be taken captive. The offscreen death was well-executed for what it was. I do wonder, however, just how the Lannisters controlling Riverrun will play into where Thrones is going overall. Are we being positioned for another big battle next season that finally pits the Starks against the Lannisters? It’s too far away to tell and we likely won’t know until next season.

Hell, the Lannisters’ position in Westeros will likely completely change before that can even happen. Cersei had a trial by combat to look forward to, but Tommen and the High Sparrow rewrote the laws of King’s Landing and now she has to go on a more traditional trial. I was looking forward to the Mountain in combat, but at least we got a little bit of that this week when he brutally yanked the head off one of the faith militant.

His brother delivered a lot of the episode’s more comical brutality. The Hound got to fully be himself in his second episode back, getting revenge on those that killed his small village. Along the way, he comes across the Brotherhood Without Banners and reluctantly join them as they prepare to take on the White Walkers. Like the Lannisters running Riverrun, how this fits into the bigger picture is unclear as of yet. Perhaps the Brotherhood will come across Bran? But it’s still fun to see the Hound take a lot of people out, yielding a more proper return for the character than what we got last week.

All together, “No One” did solid work ending Arya’s excellent arc for the season while advancing everyone else’s in meaningful ways. The war in Meereen bodes well for the finale, while some of the other new positions intrigue. Thrones is back on tracks after two of the season’s slower episodes. Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • I loved the scene with Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei. Tyrion is always a great catalyst for more serious characters to loose up.
  • On top of that, so is Bronn, who got to have a lot of fun picking on Podrick this week.
  • Will the men Theon and Yara left the Iron Islands turn the tide in the battle for Meereen in the finale?
  • So how does the whole Brotherhood Without Banners play into the Lady Stoneheart theories now? Is she a definite “no” now?
  • Who’s excited for the Battle of the Bastards next week?! That teaser is certainly going to make this week crawl.

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to Game of Thrones: “No One” Season 6 Episode 8 Review

  1. SherryAva says:

    This episode really cranked up the tension. It will be fun to see just where the backlash uncoils. My bet is on Daenery and Meereen. However, I can’t help but wonder what is happening with the threat of the White Walkers? After all they have been alluded to in every single episode this season.

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