Game of Thrones: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” Season 5 Episode 6 Review

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Do you think HBO scheduled what was destined to be another controversial rape scene the same night as the Mad Men series finale so damage control would be minimal?

“Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” featured Ramsay Bolton forcibly taking Sansa’s virginity and making Theon watch. The two had wed earlier in the episode and Ramsay was ready to get things moving, no matter what Sansa had to say about it.

With both Joffrey and Tywin dead going into this season, the show was in need of some new villains. But after Ramsay’s role last season, was raping Sansa, a character who in light of her family’s death has become a symbol of strength, really necessary? We already understand that Ramsay is psychotic and evil, and raping Sansa undermines her potential return to power.

This means that the purpose of the scene falls on Theon. If being forced to witness Ned’s daughter being raped is a vehicle for him to finally come back to reality, the scene may be worth it. But if not, this is another example of how Game of Thrones is very confused about how it treats its female characters.

Because look at Arya, who’s showing true strength by going off on her own to become “faceless.” Her surroundings are legitimately terrifying, yet she remains steadfast and powers through to become a lethal weapon to her enemies.

After some of the stunts Cersei pulled this week, I’m pretty happy Arya is getting stronger. It appears that the king’s mother still has a lot of power in King’s Landing. Without her father holder her back, Cersei done a lot of work to reclaim what she believes is rightfully hers. When it comes out in Loras’ trial that Margaery knew he was gay, the High Sparrow’s men arrest the queen, which likely means that Cersei is once again the highest woman in power in all of Westeros. Her plot, having begun right at the start of season five, has been a joy to watch, despite how devious it is. Seeing how Margaery got taken down by a few simple alliances was really exciting.

But the entire episode wasn’t so exciting. Jaime and Bronn try to convince Myrcella to leave Dorne, but end up getting captured. The Sand Snakes have a very cool look, but the show hasn’t found much for them to do yet. So this story inches forward this week.

Meanwhile, Tyrion and Jorah hit an annoying snag on their journey to Meereen. Getting captured by pirates, I’m starting to wonder if Tyrion and Daenerys will even share a scene together this season. What started out as an exciting shift in character movements at the beginning of the season has suddenly hit the breaks mid-season. Game of Thrones has done this before, but not with such a highly anticipated meeting.

So as a whole, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” definitely suffered a tad from these stories not being ready to head toward whatever conclusion is coming at the end of the season. But this was an episode of controversy as well. The events of the near future will dictate how that controversy is resolved. Still, this show always has a plan, and it’s not entirely uncommon for shows to slow down mid-season. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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