• ShalkaDoctor

    I always get irked when I see the complaints that “nothing really happened”. It’s the opening episode! You’re not going to get loads of action, big revelations and the like right away in a show like Game of Thrones. It does the same thing every season. It slowly sets the threads in motion, building up to the big events so the pay off is more rewarding. And if you’re not use to that six seasons in I’m baffled. Or is it that people in 2016 just have no patience now? I blame Netflix and bingewatching culture.

    • The Doctor’s Widow

      Excellently put.
      Personally, I revel in the slow-burners.
      Lena is an absolute joy to watch.

    • J_Aich_B

      There’s ‘nothing really happened’ as saying there was no actions, and then there is literally nothing of importance, relevance or sensibility happening, which was this episode.

    • Mark McCullough

      There’s a difference between nothing really happening and a lack of action. We literally learnt nothing new about the characters this week. Obviously we haven’t seen episode two yet, but it almost felt like you could have skipped this one and still end up with the same overall story. My favourite episodes are usually the ones with little action but a heavy character focus. This didn’t really happen here because as stated in the review I feel they spread themselves too thinly. This episode is building to the exact same things the one directly before it was, so therefore adds nothing new.

  • TheCyberDoctor

    I thought it was a great start to the series. It doesn’t give too much away as to the overall direction of the series, and most importantly, leaves me desperate for next week. This episode is basically the calm before the storm.

  • The Fabulous Administrator

    EEESH! What a low score. I loved The Red Woman. It was a fantastic opener to the season because it did what it needed to do, it revisited all the characters reminding us where they are and what’s happening as well as providing answers some of us (like myself) have been waiting five years for. I’ll attempt to address some of your complaints:

    Dany dropped the ring knowing Jorah and Daario would be coming to find her. She didn’t want to reveal who she was (the widow of Khal Drogo) because she knew they’d take her straight to Vaes Dothrak to live out her days there. She only revealed it to save herself from being raped. She then hoped to twist it to her advantage and get a free ride back to Meereen. That didn’t work out. So now she has to rely on Jorah and Daario coming to save her or somehow twisting her situation to her advantage.

    Jon’s return (it’s so obvious it’s happening) and Bran’s return have been pushed to the next episode so they can focus more on them next week. Jon’s return needs time. It won’t happen in the first episode and it won’t happen in the first chapter of the next book. Jon’s death needs time to sink in before he comes back. Likewise Bran will return next week when it’s a bit less crowded. Don’t forget we have to catch up on what he’s been up to since the end of Season 3. Bran’s storyline will be the most lore heavy this season so needs time. Plus Game of Thrones has NEVER blown it’s load in the opening episode. The first episode of every season has always been a fairly slow and quiet one. Big moments never happen until the second episode.

    Arya’s blindness is an interesting thing. It’s clearly a test. It’s why the Waif comes and beats her up. They’re trying to get Arya to stop relying on what she knows and become more aware of her senses, in turn helping her become “no one”. The blindness is partly a punishment for killing Meryn Trant, but it’s actually the next stage in her training.

    As for Dorne, yeah it’s a mess but that’s because they’ve heavily condensed the storyline. They’ve removed several storylines and characters leaving Dorne with next to nothing. So that’s why Doran and Trystane died. Their relevance in the story has ended. Their characters are useless without the other storylines. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes taking control quickly gets Dorne to the point it needs to be.

    Also the writers don’t have creative reign. They are still working to Martin’s notes and Martin still has final say over each script. He’s had tons of conversations along the lines off “In the books this storylines goes here, but there’s a quicker way to do that”. Everything that happens will happen in some form in the books. Doran and Trystane dying and the Sand Snakes taking control probably happens in some form in the books (although it’s probably Arianne, Doran’s daughter and Ellaria’s counterpart in the books, who takes control).

  • The Oncoming Hurricane

    An utter mess of plotholes, nonsensical character motivations and bad dialogue…hey, it’s Game of Thrones.

    Tbh, I did think it plumbed new depths of how bad it could be.

    • ShalkaDoctor

      Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting energy on something you hate. There’s plenty of other shows.

      • The Oncoming Hurricane

        Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting energy on something you hate. There’s plenty of other comments to reply to.

        (There was a serious answer as to why hatewatching is a valid exercise, but this comment hasn’t earned it.)

        • ShalkaDoctor

          So you’re just yet another hateful internet commenter with nothing constructive to say then? People around here are generally more respectful.

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            Once you’ve read the same thing about 2 dozen times, you do tend to get quite bored of reading it. Nothing I said was hateful, it’s just such a lazy and overused attempt to dismiss all criticism.

            That point is addressed in fairly comprehensive detail here (it doesn’t include having at least some context for moments that are spoilers for the books, but that’s another reason):


          • ShalkaDoctor

            And I’ve heard dozens and dozens of angry internet haters on every topic imaginable, so your initial comment stuck out as nothing new on today’s internet. There was no justifying of your points (pointing to examples of your specific issues).

            You also say “Nothing I said was hateful” yet admitted earlier to
            hatewatching. I don’t get that notion. For me if something has got to the level where I’m never going to like it, I will stop watching. For example I will very likely dump Arrow after this season is done because I am now sick of the direction it has taken/is taking. Unless they can somehow turn it around in the remaining episodes of the season (doubtful). I will then remember the first two seasons as being generally great.

            I’m just curious did you ever like the GOT? Or just been hating from day 1?

          • The Oncoming Hurricane

            I didn’t really go into detail on what my problems with the episode were because I mostly agree with Mark, who has done an excellent job of summarising. In hindsight I should have made that clearer.

            I did like the show. While I now think that there are cracks that get more and more and more obvious as we go along (those in S1 are barely noticeable, it’s just really good), it’s not until The Children that the show finally jumped the shark. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken was where it hit irredeemable. As for still watching it, well, it least fails in such a way that when it’s not being actively offensive, it’s hilarious. I enjoy the drinking games, the bingo board, the memes and the the whole community that has built up around doing likewise. I was frequently laughing at the wrong bits at 2am on Monday morning. It’s something akin to watching a car crash; it’s terrible, but I can’t look away.

            This, and because I don’t want to be spoiled on the fates of my favourite book characters (even if their show counterparts don’t even resemble those characters, it’s still good to know) by just hearing about it.

            By comparison, The 100…yeah, I’m definitely close to dropping that (I’m yet to watch the last…2 episodes, I think?) when I loved it before. Even though I thought it took a huge misstep with a certain character’s death and the context of that death in 3×07 I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt and see out the rest of the season because there were still characters and plots it was possible to enjoy. It has since decided to be Game of Thrones for the YA audience, and undermined pretty much everything I liked about it (it has done this in 4 episodes, wow). Its flaws aren’t interesting, just kind of annoying, and it’s really testing my plan to hold on for the rest of the season.

  • J_Aich_B

    Good review Mark. This episode was a waste — it’s called ‘The Red Woman’ yet she has a couple of lines of dialogue? I don’t so much have a problem with pushing the Bran and Jon resurrection back to next week, but to justify that it needed a far stronger core to build the episode around, which some decent writers could’ve done with Mel and Davos. But they did…very little? The other stories — Sansa/Theon/Brienne, King’s Landing, Dorne, and Dany — were contrived, and nonsensical, and pretty boring in truth.

    And on the specifics: I have serious issues with the reveal that Mel is old. Because what is it for? Is it meant to be shocking? The fact that Mel might be old is, given everything we know about her, is one of the least shocking things I can think of. We saw her give birth to a shadow demon from hell; for me, that’s a peak that trying to top is pointless. It was a cynical, frankly lazy and meaningless attempt to do ‘shocking’ at the end of the episode.

    • Cyruptsaram

      I think that end scene was both to confirm to us how old Melisandre is, and to show how the latest developments in her storyline have taken their toll. After all, she’s beginning to lose faith in the Lord of Light after serving him for so many years. Where she believed Stannis would be the saviour of Westeros, his destiny went up in flames, and now the last person she believed had any chance in winning had been murdered by his own men. This is perhaps to show how weak she truly feels now that her mission has come crashing down around her. It’s good character development, and helps to prove to the viewers that she has been music magic all along (or glamour) to hide her true appearance.