Game of Thrones – A Man Without Honor (Filthsposition)
Deer’s fantastic summary of the themes of the episode were terrific. Unfortunately I enjoyed his write-up much more than the actual episode itself. While the themes of the episode were more cohesive and well-handled than any other installment of the season, somewhat paradoxically this was also my least favourite episode of the season. It just wasn’t cinematic enough nor vital enough, considering how late in the season we are. Last week’s installment seemed to be a major step in the right direction, but this week has taken two steps backward.
Since Day 1 this TV series has had a tendency to tell, not show. Normally I can ignore that because there are enough good elements that distract me, but it really stuck out this week.
Jaime’s long-winded conversation with his cousin was actually brilliant, in the way that it may have seemed pointless on the surface to some but was really anything but. That, plus the way that it ultimately erupted in sudden violence, which worked to both underline the thematic points being discussed and to violently drag us out of the entrancing monologue. This great scene reminded me of the extended flashback to Gus’ origin story in Breaking Bad, or to some of Quentin Tarantino’s scenes in Inglorious Basterds. It was very well-done.
But it is the sort of scene that should be surrounded by more eventful scenes involving other characters. To a certain extent it loses its impact as a standout monologue when it is placed in an episode that is essentially nothing BUT monologues. It should’ve taken place directly after the riot in King’s Landing last week, for example, and/or before one of Jaqen H’Gar’s murders or something. It stands out in terms of quality, but not of content, which I feel is a mistake. It should’ve been more distinct than it was, rather than being mixed in with so many other monologues which weren’t nearly as good. Also, the fact that Jaime is immediately re-captured to me deflates the whole thing a bit for me, though I know it is both necessary and furthering the theme of the episode.
The rest of the hour was pretty poor. I felt that everything to do with Theon this week was majorly mishandled, particularly the twist at the end. Seeing evil wizard Dean Pelton kick some ass was cool, but the Daenerys storyline has major issues. She’s coming off as a pain in the ass, and I’m just not caring about any of that stuff. To the point where I can’t even pay full attention to those scenes. Sure, it’s cool seeing an evil wizard massacre some guys, but I don’t want ”cool”- “cool” is why I watch Spartacus- I watch Thrones to give me something I can really care about, and Dany’s arc isn’t doing that. I know I was just complaining that there is too much talking in this episode, but a bit of action without anything to really make me care about it isn’t much better.
I love the partnership of Arya and Tywin, but their boring conversation about historical figures reminded me of the first 3-4 episodes of Season 1, and not in a good way. They’ve already done enough to establish the relationship between these two characters, now they need to kick it up a notch and take it somewhere dramatic.
The vast majority of this stuff struck me as material which should have either- A) Happened in a much earlier episode, B) Been reworked, C) Been condensed (Jon, Robb, Arya/Tywin), D) Been executed very differently (Theon), or E) Been removed completely.
As it stands, the episode is an interesting meditation on honor. But aside from one fantastic scene, it wasn’t really a compelling hour of television at all for me. And the show should be getting REALLY compelling at this point. Last week’s episode seemed to understand that. I really hope the remaining three installments of the season do too.
(My Review can be found HERE)