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Game of Thrones: “Home” Review

Game of Thrones - Jon Snow Returns

‘Home’ Puts to Rest Year’s Worth of Speculation

SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES DOWN BELOW

The worst kept secret since Star Trek Into Darkness was finally revealed last night on Game of Thrones. To steal a line from Eminem’s “Without Me,” guess who’s back. That’s right. Jon Snow’s alive and kicking.

Just like the Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan reveal, it was no surprise that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was coming back to life in Season 6. It was more of a matter of when and how rather than if. But what we weren’t expecting was such a brief two episode catnap (sorry, direwolf nap). The reveal in Home is undoubtedly a double-edged sword. Bringing back Snow after two episodes does weaken the impact of the Season 5 finale. But seriously, how much longer can the Red Woman Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Davos (Liam Cunningham) sulk around Castle Black not knowing what to do with Jon Snow’s body?

On the plus side, the creators can start focusing on Bastard Bowl 2016. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) is still hellbent on getting Sansa (Sophie Turner) back, hoping to legitimize the Bolton’s claim to the North. Assuming that Sansa is en-route to Castle Black to team up with her brother, Ramsay daringly prepares to wage war on the Night’s Watch. His father, Roose (Michael McElhatton) actually has some brains, rejecting the idea. Making matters worse, Roose’s wife Fat Walda gives birth to a boy. Ramsay’s spot in the Bolton succession is jeopardized.

Ramsay knifes his father to death, solving part of that problem. How ironic is it that Roose dies the same way he kills Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. That’s not the first time deaths come full-circle in Game of Thrones. Just ask that brat Joffrey a few seasons ago. Ramsay’s not done quite yet. Down go Fat Walda and her newborn too courtesy of a pack of caged dogs. The gruesome death is only audible. Guess tearing a mother and her infant child to shreds is a bit excessive even for HBO. But anyways, R.I.P. pretty much all of House Bolton.

In the other parts of the North, we check in on Sansa, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Theon (Alfie Allen). There’s not much happening here this week on the road to Castle Black. Sansa is given a tidbit of info by Brienne that her sister Arya’s alive and Theon heads home for the Iron Islands. Hopefully Sansa and company reach Castle Black in another episode or two.

Axed from last season, Bran (Issac Hempstead Wright) returns (fully grown) still training with the recast Three-eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). Placing the seeds down for next week’s episode, Bran witnesses a vision of his father Ned, uncle Benjen and aunt Lyanna as children. We even get to see a young Hodor and learn his real name. If this plus next week’s flashback of the Tower of Joy reveal certain popular theories (R+L=J cough), that’ll explain why the Bran storyline was held over until Season 6. And to be honest, it’s finally taken six season for Bran to become interesting.

In King’s Landing, the Lannisters and the Faith Militant continue to butt heads. It’s refreshing to see the Lannisters knocked off their high horse despite being in power. Lena Headey’s Cersei isn’t as smug as she used to be, thanks to last season’s infamous shaming. That certainly hasn’t stopped the gears from turning. Tommen’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) is still an ineffective king with a vanilla personality. Frustrated, he’s finally starting to grow a set. Hurrah! The best to come out of King’s Landing this week is Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) confrontation with the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) in the Great Sept of Baelor. The High Sparrow gloats that even the poor have the power to topple empires. And while that doesn’t set well with Jaime, no blood is shed this episode. Save it down the line.

For the first time in a long time, we return to the Iron Islands. House Greyjoy hasn’t had much to do the past few seasons minus a tormented Theon of course. Balon (Patrick Malahide) and his daughter Yara (Gemma Whelan) continue to argue about ending the war. Seems nothing much of impact has happened on the Greyjoy front lately. That all changes when Balon is murdered by his returning brother Euron (Pilou Asbaek). Book fans will obviously notice the scene straight out of A Storm of Swords. So here’s a bit of backtracking. But it’s no different than Bran’s storyline, where these threads start to serve some sort of purpose again.

On the other side of the world, Arya (Maisie Williams) continues to suffer as a blind beggar. As promised by the Waif (Faye Marsay), she is tested once again by the Faceless Man (Tom Wlaschiha). Resilent to his offers of food, shelter and finally restoring her eyesight, Arya is welcomed back into the House of Black and White for a second chance.

Lastly in Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and the Dany’s Small Council get world that the neighboring cities she conquered are reverting back to the old ways of slavery. Tyrion decides that they’re going to need her dragons, which have been caged up far too long. Tyrion makes nice with Rhaegal and Viserion, freeing them from the captivity. And of course, Dinklage always gets the best lines of yet another episode.

Home is an improvement over last week’s episode, despite disposing of a handful of characters for the second week in a row. While everyone’s probably going to be talking about Jon Snow’s resurrection for the coming weeks, it’s the return of Bran and arrival of Euron Greyjoy that highlight the episode.

Noticeably absent this episode are Dany, who returns in the next week, as well and Jorah, Daario and Littlefinger, whatever scheme he’s up to at the moment. Next week is Oathbreaker and a certain somebody might be treated like a god.

Next Week’s Preview: 

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Written by
Matt Marshall has been reviewing films since 2003, starting with "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." He specializes in home media, including 4K UHD, Blu-ray as well as box office analysis. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.

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