Game of Thrones 6×8: No One
First I want to apologize for having my review of “No One” be so very very late.
After the violent events in the real world on Sunday in Orlando I wasn’t in the mood to subject myself to fictional violence. In fact, I wasn’t in the mood to do much of anything, but that long-winded story is more for a personal blog than an episode review. Time has passed, however. I woke up today finally feeling like I was ready to get back into my routine and this episode was just sitting there waiting for me with open arms. And wow, “No One” was… certainly an episode. There were many plot changing moments, but none were presented in a way that made them feel very powerful on their own. It wasn’t boring, but it felt like a lot of needed plot moments thrown in with as little fanfare as possible. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
Of course an episode called “No One” is primarily Arya focused, and I’m extremely pleased with how her plot is playing out. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated with her story. She’s one of my favorite characters, but her plot has been stuck in a rut for well over a season. But this week she’s broken free from the Faceless Men (while managing to do some more parkour with a gut wound, because of course), and should be heading back home to Westeros to join the rest of the rapidly unraveling story. Thank the Gods. Old Gods and New. And let’s thank the Lord of Light and the Drowned God too, while we’re at it. But not the Many Faced God because, damn, his followers have been jerks lately.
I’m glad that the long and boring blind subplot came in handy, though. She probably wouldn’t have been able to beat the Waif if she wasn’t skilled in the art of fighting without being able to see her opponent. I suppose all that time shuffling around Braavos being boring paid off. But now I’m ready for her to get her ass back to Westeros and help her sister take back their home. She may have implied that she wanted to travel further west than Westeros to explore, but her final words to Jaqen H’ghar were pretty firm. Arya is going home.
A large portion of “No One” also focused on Sandor Clegane and his life after his happy little village got slaughtered. Being the murderous badass that he is, he went about hunting each of them down and slaughtering them all in the most brutal ways imaginable. And what do you know, he stumbled across the Brotherhood without Banners again. This time, however, it’s under very different circumstances. I’m not sure how I feel about Clegane teaming up with them, but it’s too early to judge that really. Either way, they seem to have an interesting camaraderie. They barter who gets to kill their prisoners like it’s nothing. I really don’t know how this newly formed posse is going to evolve, though. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, shit is getting rough in King’s Landing. Did Gregor Clegane just behead a guy with his bare hands? Oh my, yes. Yes, he did. Despite the brutality of that scene, it looks like Cersei may still have to face a regular trial. King Tommen has outlawed Trial by Combat, which was basically her best chance. What’s the purpose of having the Mountain around now? I suppose he can go on beheading people that bug her or something. He’s rather good at that. The Mountain and Qyburn seem to be her only allies, though. Even her own son isn’t standing beside her anymore. On the one hand, it hurts because she loves her children more than anything. On the other hand, she definitely put herself in this position.
And again, I don’t want to talk about Jaime.
Shit, I have to talk about Jaime don’t I? He was kind of prominent in “No One.” I’ve been avoiding it for so long because I’m so upset with his plot right now.
When he was with Brienne, I really enjoyed who he was as a person. He seemed honorable and willing to save the Stark children even though his family basically wanted to wipe their entire family out. Then they parted ways and he went back to Cersei and it became hard to justify how much I enjoyed him for that short amount of time. Then Jaime and Brienne were reunited and I’m like, “oh hey, there’s the guy I loved again. I’ve missed him.” This is all too much. Do I like Jaime or not? Is he a heartless Lannister or does he really care about people? Honestly I could go on for thousands of words just on Jaime alone.
There’s a good guy in there somewhere, but there’s very clearly an incredibly powerful pull that allows him to make bad decisions on behalf of his family name (and, probably more strongly, his love of Cersei). You can see the good man underneath when he talks about
his children his nieces and nephews or when he’s with Brienne, but the rest of the time he’s pretty unlikable. Perhaps that’s the key to things. Maybe children are his weakness. Maybe that’s the only thing that makes him not quite so terrible.
Okay, I’ve talked about Jaime. No more please. Good god, no more. What’s next?
Let’s talk about Meereen. Oh man, that’s a disaster. Tyrion was wrong about the Masters, which was pretty damn difficult for him to admit to. The Masters came to claim their slaves once more and when it appears all hope is lost our wonderful Dragon Queen swoops in on Drogon and saves the day. Or at least she swoops in. But the day saving thing is imminent, of course.
Will we get an over the top day saving scene or will we be accelerated so fast at that point that it’ll only last a good 30 seconds before we move on to the next thing? Also, hopefully Yara will show up with her boats and marry Daenerys and they’ll take Westeros together. Hey, don’t judge me. I ship it. Yes, they haven’t met. I still ship it. Stop judging me. These women need to meet sooner rather than later. Come on, HBO. Throw me a bone.
Arya defeated the Waif and planning her return to Westeros. The Lannisters took Riverrun. Blackfish died, you guys. And Daenerys returned. All of these aspects of “No One” were huge things, but none of them were really presented in a way that made them a defining moment of the episode. We went from a slowly moving plot to one rushing forward so fast it doesn’t have time to savor the big moments. Is there no middle ground? Is it either a snail’s pace or top cheetah sprinting speed? This is exhausting.
Stephanie “Angel” Wilson is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and has essays published in Fandom Frontlines.
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