Game of Thrones: “The Gift” Season 5 Episode 7 Review

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Things moved very quickly for some characters this week, while others stayed in Filler Land before we march on to the end of the season.

Just as Cersei seems to be reveling in her power, it comes crashing down again. For most of the episode, she enjoys the deadlock she’s created. The king can’t save his queen. Tommen has no strength. It seems Cersei has won. But the High Sparrow proves himself a new kind of foe in Westeros, one unbiased by politics and house loyalty. Cersei locked up moments after seeing Margaery in chains is just, and now the High Sparrow has this storyline’s two biggest players locked up. I do have concerns for how long this will be the status quo, considering that now the only free person really worth watching in King’s Landing is the underused Olenna Tyrell. But Jonathan Pryce continues to his exceptional work as the High Sparrow, creating a villain very different from the psychotic bastards of Joffrey and Ramsay.

Speaking of the latter, his entire purpose this season seems to be just to torture Sansa. But at least after that controversial, and all around unnecessary, rape scene last week, she at least gets to instill fear in her latest captor, something she never really got to do with Joffrey. Other than that though, Sansa’s plotline in Winterfell is mostly more of the same as we got with her in seasons two and three. But with Theon unable to help her, Brienne still stands waiting for the signal to go in and get her out. At least the weakening of one female character has only made a strong one feel even more important.

Also in the North, Jon Snow leaves Castle Black to recruit what wildlings he can to assist Stannis in the upcoming battle for Winterfell. Stannis also begins to face Melisandre’s prophecies that see his daughter being sacrificed. There’s a lot of effective set-up going on here for the climax of the season.

Less effective was Sam’s little storyline. Game of Thrones really needs to stop using him when they aren’t sure what to do. He’s a weak character that is only ever used well when sharing scenes with Jon Snow.

Moving all the way to Essos, “The Gift” finally delivered the big meeting that’s been advertised all season. Tyrion and Jorah’s journey to Meereen was very quick in this episode. Pirates sell them to slavers who intend to throw them in the fighting pits. By chance, Daenerys is in attendance, promoting Jorah to make his move. But she’s still none too pleased with him for writing to King’s Landing about their travels. Jorah, luckily, has a wildcard. Two of the show’s most popular characters have never met. So Tyrion introducing himself to Daenerys after all this time is a huge moment thanks to the show’s history and the power these two have in terms of commanding the screen. This scene resembled everything season five has been about, as familiar faces continue to come together in exciting ways, this being the most electric meeting to date.

So while “The Gift” struggled in some areas, it featured some big moments that pushed the season’s storylines forward. The plots in King’s Landing, Meereen, and the North are all charged right now. There’s just three episodes left for the season, and a climax feels right on the horizon. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Notes:

– Arya was really the only major character that didn’t show up this episode, which is just another sign of how interconnected everything is now.

– The storyline in Dorne continues to be unimpressive, even though the Sand Snakes got a little more personality this time around.

– Rest in peace Aemon Targaryen, Castle Black just lost a ton of wisdom.

– Ghost came and saved Sam from his other brothers. Part of me wishes it was Bran in control.

 

By Matt Dougherty

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