[Review] - Game Of Thrones, Season 3 Finale Episode 10, "Mhysa"

I was talking with someone the other day, and they said that the first and last episodes of each season of Game of Thrones are the worst of each year. I wouldn't say worst, but certainly the least effective. Because the premiers and finales are about positioning. They are fragmented, tend to check in on every plot thread, and rarely have time to dig into actual character conflict. The finales have it so much worse, because they have to follow the Event Episodes, and Mhysa may have gotten the worst of it, having to come down off the high that was the Red Wedding. That being said, it wasn't a bad episode. It just had to be a lot of things, and it did those lot of those things well.

Hit the jump for the year's final review, which contains spoilers that also don't know why there is a 'g' in 'night.'

Wisely, the episode picked up right where the last one left off, with Roose Bolton climbing the steps of the Twins and looking out on the field of fire, as the last of the Stark men are butchered. It was an important moment, because last week was so focused on making certain we understood what was happening inside the castle, the fact that it wasn't just Robb and Cat that died, but in fact every single Northerner too might have been missed. It also allowed Arya the opportunity to wake up just in time to see her brother's decapitated body, with Greywind's head sewn on, paraded through the gates. Cause what Arya needed was more emotional trauma.

News of the Young Wolf's death spread quickly throughout the land, and if there was a direction to the episode it was following the wake of the news as it passed. First to King's Landing, and eventually to Dragonstone, where news of the Starks converged with news of the Wall. And it was a happy discovery that, if any one character was the focus of this final episode, it was Davos. Liam Cunningham is a prize the producers don't use often enough, and here he was not wasted. Every one of his scenes, from his surrogate bonding with Gendry (which sadly did not last), to his continued reading lessons, to his continued willingness to stand up against Stannis (and be one of the few characters to demonstrate a consistent sense of humour), was fantastic. And proof that he's no fool. He knows what the Red Woman's intentions are, and is able to stay a step ahead of her the entire time. And despite only understanding every third word, recognising both the danger and the potential in the Brother's message.

For most of the characters, it was a collection of little, defining moments. Jamie returned to King's Landing, having fallen so far from his golden perch, but that only gets him in place for the start of next year. Arya carried out a bit of casual justice, delivering the death blow to the last fragment of good, pure innocence to her blackened soul. And proved herself a capable liar in the process (seriously, I'd rather face down the axe crazy Joffry then Puppy Eyes Stark). Sansa proved, yet again, that she is perhaps the dumbest person on the show through no fault of her own. Shea refused to listen to reason, and Dany was lifted aloft, a scene that would have carried far more weight if it hadn't appeared at the very end of the episode without any momentum behind it (should have shifted her final scene from last week into the opening of this, making bookends, but that's just bad editing).

The complete absences of Magaery or Bronn, who felt very not there in Tyrion's drinking scene, were counter balanced by the presence of Walder Frey, the Boltons, and the brief return of the Greyjoys, who received the worlds worst gift care of the Bolton Bastard, thus confirming what I suspected (and actually knew thanks to an early HBO press release last summer) from his first appearance. Of any of the characters (even the dead ones), Theon has the least to look forward to. Hopefully next season, he won't be tortured on quite such a per episode basis. As much as we might like to slap characters with labels, very few figures on this show are out-and-out evil. The Bolton Bastard to be sure, and Joffery. But not Roose Bolton, he just knew when to change sides. And not Frey, he's just a bitter old man. And certainly not any of the Lannisters, who work out of blind self interest, but at least they are loyal to each other. So, if season three accomplished anything, it was the removal of the last vestiges of the heroes of the series, the heritage of Ned through Robb, and left us with a simmering mass of ambiguity. From here on out, there are no more absolutes. Until the ice zombies show up again.

The most pointless scene of the episode went to Ygritte's sudden appearance and arrowing of Jon, something that could have been accomplished in his daring escape last week. Her popping up while he washed immediately made me ask "where are the rest of the Wildlings. Surely they would have followed her?" The show hand waved it away for the sake of another emotional moment, and she did deliver the only "you know nothing" that made any sense. But it was a scene that didn't belong here (and considering that the episode ran five minutes longer then normal, it and Shea's scene were the obvious bloat). Jon did make it back to Castle Black, shortly after Sam, who once he helped Bran and the Gang under the Wall (nicely mirroring the Brother's march at the end of season one), had some explaining to do when he showed up with Gilly. His time beyond the Wall has done Sam well, and he not only stood up for himself, but came out on top. His transformation was slow, or maybe it was just because no one more assertive then him was around while it was happening, but next year we're sure to see a different character in Sam, and that's for the best.

This was a big season. It saw weddings and murders and the practical end of the War of Five Kings (despite there still being three kings left). Storm of Swords is a heavy book (figuratively and literally), and this season did the first half of the novel proud. There is plenty to look forward to in season four, though. We just have to wait 9 months to get it.

Valar Morghulis.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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