No One Plot Summary
Arya (Maisie Williams) seeks out Lady Crane (Essie Davis) to help tend the wounds inflicted upon her by The Waif (Faye Marsay). Cersei (Lena Headey) stands up to The Sparrows thanks to help from The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), but then learns her plans have been foiled by a decree from Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). The Hound (Rory McCann) runs into his old pals, The Brotherhood without Banners (Richard Dormer, Paul Kaye). Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) attempts to convince Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to let her go talk to The Blackfish (Clive Russell) and convince him to surrender Riverrun in order to go help Sansa (Sophie Turner) in her battle against The Boltons. In Mereen, troubling is knocking at the door.
There was so much potential with the eighth episode of Game of Throne’s sixth season. There were questions to be answered — Would Brienne fight (and kill) Jaime or vice versa? Would The Blackfish head North to help Sansa? Was there more than meets the eye with the Arya situation?
So much hope, so much hype, and yet when the episode ended, everything was tied up in a nice, neat, uneventful, dispassionate, and awfully convenient bow.
Simply put, this was by far the most disappointing episode of the current season of Game of Thrones.
The Arya situation is probably the most frustrating. Last week, she uncharacteristically strolled through Braavos unarmed, and allowed a strange old woman to approach her. Obviously, this woman was The Waif, who unmercifully stabbed Arya in the stomach until Arya was able to escape her clutches. Everything that happened in the scene was so out of character for the always vigilant Arya. Why would she be so bold in public when The Waif is coming for her? Why would she allow a strange woman to get so close to her, especially when The Waif is coming to kill her?
The answer was a convoluted, and mostly unbelievable “she had the whole thing planned.” It seems that Arya allowed herself to be found in public, be nearly killed, then found refuge with Lady Crane (who healed her and was killed by The Waif), got in a foot chase with The Waif, lured her into her hiding place where she fought, and killed The Waif in the dark, and off-screen. She goes to the Faceless’ temple, puts Waif’s face in the gallery, and then claims she’s Arya Stark, and she’s going home to her family.
That’s what I call a stretch. Everything had to play out perfectly for Arya.
- She had to make sure The Waif didn’t kill her.
- The Waif would find her at Lady Crane’s.
- She’d be able to beat The Waif in a foot race (despite a gaping, open wound).
- She could kill The Waif, in the dark, with a gaping wound.
And after all this, she’s going to remain Arya. Did we ever doubt was not going to be Arya? So, her training is complete then? Is she really that good of an assassin? Why is Jaqen cool with all this? This whole Waif-killing had too many zany caper antics to be taken seriously. It really solidifies that, outside of the Dorne plot, that this was one of the weakest stories of Season 6.
Then there’s Riverrun.
So many people were amped to see Jaime and Brienne, with many hoping the two would engage in swordplay, or maybe even have a romantic interlude. Instead, we got a very well-written, and well-acted scene between the two. Their chemistry is undeniable, and there’s something about Brienne that brings a gentle, human, and even likable aspect to The Kingslayer. Yet, that’s all we got. That, and Jaime allowing Brienne and Pod to escape Riverrun, with a simple wave goodbye. This should’ve been a tender moment, but it felt blasé, mostly due to the reasons Brienne had to flee.
That would be Lannister “takeover” of Riverrun. It was extremely abrupt, and overly convenient. After a tet-a-tet with Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), Jamie allows the “rightful lord of Riverrun” to return to his castle. Edmure demands to be let into his castle. Blackfish tells the men that it’s a trap, but the men “have to” obey their lord. Once he enters, Edmure immediately tells the men they’re surrendering. This leads to The Blackfish’s demise as he’s killed offscreen.
Wait a minute. So the men who fought, and bled for The Blackfish to retake Riverrun are just going to turn their back on him without hesitation? The same men who were going to hold out two years against The Freys and Lannisters, who were prepared to die protecting the castle, just fold the second Edmure comes back? The obedience to the master is understandable, but the fact they gave up instantaneously is just so convenient and frankly, boring. No one had a problem with this? No one had Blackfish’s back? Also, not showing Blackfish die onscreen was a pretty weak way for a character we’ve had to invest so much time into for the past few weeks to go.
Then there’s Mereen. The masters decide that Tyrion’s agreement isn’t worth so they lay siege to the city. Out of nowhere Dany (Emilia Clarke) returns, just in time to have her dragon torch the boats. It could’ve been a great moment, but it felt too rushed, making it highly anti-climactic and all too convenient.
There were a handful of good moments in the episode. The reunion of The Brothers without Banners and The Hound was fun, and it sets up The Hound allying himself (hopefully) with the good guys. At Riverrun, the scene between Podrick (Daniel Portman) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) were fantastic. These two were the high point of the episode, and kudos to the “magic cock” reference. Also, the twist of “no trial by combat” really puts a wrench in Cersei’s plans. She’s going to do something desperate, and it’s going to be interesting to see what she does.
In the end “No One” had a lot of potential, but took a convenient, “just get it done” way of finishing up a number of major storylines. Everything felt flat. There was no drama, no suspense. The Arya chase sequence evoked emotions of “get it over already” than “will she make it?” Yes, there were some interesting developments, but they were overshadowed by wasted potential.
Next week is the vaunted ninth episode of the season where typically all hell breaks loose. This is the episode where we saw Blackwater, Hardhome, the siege at The Wall, the beheading of Ned Stark, and of course, The Red Wedding. The Battle of the Bastards is coming, and it has the potential to be amazing.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10