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Game of Thrones: “No One” Review

"Game of Thrones" - No One - Review

‘No One’ Denies Several Hot Theories, Bloody Deaths

SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES DOWN BELOW

After a week of endless speculation, many viewers of Game of Thrones were expecting plot twists left and right in this week’s episode titled No One. Sad to say, but several debated theories were shot down one after another. Show creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss moved for a more straightforward episode, brushing signature complexity and shock value to the wayside.

After the brutal massacre last week in The Broken Man, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) is hellbent on finding those responsible. Coming across a foul-mouthed band in the Riverlands, The Hound still thristy for blood kills the entire lot, reverting back to his old ways. For all The Hound has been through the past six seasons, being a member of the Sept village was starting to do him a bit of good.

A little while later, The Hound crosses path with the Brotherhood Without Banners, including Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) and the resurrected Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), who we haven’t seen since Season 3. Turns out the murderers, who we figured were in league with Brotherhood Without Banners went rogue. The Hound demands to kill all three. After some debate, he’s allowed to hang two, while Beric gets the third. The hangings pay homage to the Lady Stoneheart storyline in George R.R. Martin’s novel. Still, Lady Stoneheart is nowhere in sight. If you’ve been holding out for the past two seasons, give it to the Season Finale. If it doesn’t happen by then, it’s time to put it to rest. Seems to be the ongoing trend in this episode.

After the hangings, Thoros and Beric attempt to recruit The Hound for a mission up north in eventual battle against the White Walkers. The decision is left ambiguous, but if The Hound does decide to venture up north, it’ll put a damper on Cleganebowl. Well, that’s a potential strike one against Cleganebowl this episode.

And for the second week in a row, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his house’s forces continue to occupy Riverrun. Jaime’s old travelling companion, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and her squire Podrick (Daniel Portman) attempt to soften the situation, not wanting bloodshed for House Tully or House Lannister. Jaime allows Brienne to speak to the Blackfish (Clive Russell) in hopes that he will surrender Riverrun. The Blackfish is stubborn as ever, even after being persuaded to help his relative Starks claim the north. While always putting on a tough face, Brienne is visably crushed that she failed her task.

Jaime tries another option, by convincing his captive Edmure (Tobias Menzies) to surrender the castle. He humanizes the situation, stating that’s he’s only even doing this, because he loves his sister Cersei. After all the Queen Mother has done, twincest is still at its full potency. Like so many other arcs in Game of Thrones, this isn’t as cut and dry as good and evil characters. Jaime has his agenda and in turn, offers Edmure a way to nip the battle. In return for his cooperation, Jaime is willing to let Edmure return to his newborn son.

The Siege of Riverrrun isn’t exactly one of the most interesting aspects of Season 6. It does however, provide concrete examples of what sacrifices are needed for one’s personal desires. At nightfall, Edmure returns to castle and orders a surrender despite the Blackfish’s stubborness. He even order the Blackfish be brought in irons, who goes out fighting to his death – well offscreen.

We know the Blackfish is a capable fighter, yet when it comes to his death it’s only spoken of and not shown. It’s shocking to see No One take so many shortcuts with deaths his episode. Returning to the Sept village last week after the massacre made sense. This unfortunately does not. It shouldn’t be a time constraint issue either as some of the overall editing this episode could have been tweaked.

A similar situation happens in King’s Landing as Cersei (Lena Headey) and Zombie Mountain confront the Faith Militant at the castle. Her brainwashed cousin Lancel (Eugene Simon) orders her to stand down, but Cersei prefers violence. She knows Zombie Mountain is her ace in the hole, no matter what situation the Faith Militant throws her way. Ever since the Walk of Atonement at the end of last season, this oversized guard has had her back.

In the same scene, Zombie Mountain rips the jaw off one of the Faith Militants. Suprisingly enough with the editing, the violence is danced around and we see a jaw go flying for a brief second. It’s a moment that could been loaded with shock value, but ultimately watered down due to camerawork and editing.

The real kicker in King’s Landing is King Tommen’s (Dean-Charles Chapman) proclamation that his mother and Loras (Finn Jones) will be undergoing traditional trials. That’s right. Trial by combat is outlawed, which is second slap in the face to Cleganebowl. Cleganebowl can still happen at some point, but right now it’s not playing into Cersei’s trial. Who knows. There’s still too little on the surface to say that anything is a guarantee, but Cersei still has something up her sleeve with new information from Qyburn (Anton Lesser). There’s plenty of speculation what it could be, but the earliest we’ll have an answer is the Season Finale.

There’s plenty going down on the other side of the world in this episode. At first, Meereen continues to tread the same waters it has all season. As promised by the Red Priestess, the Red Priests are spreading their Dany propaganda like wildfire. Varys (Conleth Hill) sets his sights back on Westeros with a plan. In the books, Varys does have some unfinished business across the Narrow Sea, but for show watchers, it’s not spelled out entirely.

Back at the Great Pyramid, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) attempts to loosen up Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), who are always the life of the party. Not even close. Wine works to some degree as do a few jokes from both Grey Worm and Missandei. Like previous episodes, this conversation between these three is simply awkward. Tyrion’s had better things to do with his time than try and make small talk with these two stick in the muds.

It’s not until Meereen is under siege by the slave masters that things start to escalate and pose some sort of interest. It’s just a small taste of the battle as Dany (Emilia Clarke) returns out of nowhere. She doesn’t even have to say one word, but she is clearly upset with how things are going down in Meereen.

As the episode title No One suggests, we’ve finally reached the major showdown between Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and the Waif (Faye Marsay). Last time we saw Arya, she was stumbling around the streets of Braavos with her guts stabbed. Since then, Lady Crane (Essie Davis) has been taking care of her at the stage play, paying her back for saving her life.

Unfortunately for Lady Crane, her death is still demanded by the Many-Faced God and is murdered by the Waif. Arya has no one to protect and is forced to flee through the streets. The Waif summons her inner Terminator, refusing to stop before cornering Arya in her hideout. Arya whips out her sword Needle and the room goes dark.

If No One ended on that note, it would have been a WTF. Then we would have to wait until the Season Finale for answers. But that’s not the case. The episode ends in the bowels of the House of Black and White. Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) walks through the Hall of Faces, following a blood trail that leads to the Waif’s face along with all the others. Jaqen finally deems Arya “No One,” but she says that she’ll always be Arya Stark and that she’s going home.

Just like the Blackfish’s death, we don’t see the Waif’s death onscreen. It’s a double-edged sword, because the cut to black does add to the tension of what actually happened and who’s going to appear at the House of Black and White. What No One also manages to answer is that the Arya Fight Club theory circulating around was completely wrong. Arya was not developing a split personality with the Waif taking on her “no one” persona. Additionally, Arya’s weird mannerisms in last week’s episode were a red herring just to stir up debate. Straightforward yes, but this side adventure in Braavos has finally come to close.

No One has its moments, relying heavily on the Arya and Waif showdown, but also gets bogged down in less interesting plotlines like the Siege of Riverrun. There’s no doubt many theories were shot down this episode, but that shouldn’t stop viewers from speculating what is to come.

With the Battle of the Bastards next week, the Stark and Bolton battle is expected to reach its climax and be non-stop action to rival Blackwater and The Watchers on the Wall. Mark your calendars for Bastard Bowl 2016. It’s here.

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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