Game of Thrones Season 6 Review

  • Series Title: Game of Thrones
  • Season: 6
  • Episodes: 10
  • Discs: 4
  • Network:  HBO
  • Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Nikolaj Caster-Waldau, John Bradley, Aidan Gillen, Gwendoline Christie, Jerome Flynn, Julian Glover, Jonathan Pryce, Diana Rigg
  • Format: Widescreen, Color, Blu-Ray, NTSC

Season 5 of Game of Thrones really was The Season Terrible Things happen to all the women. Season 6? The women get their revenge. Revenge has always been a strong theme and a strong motivator in Game of Thrones, but in Season 6 watching many of our favorite women get their sweet revenge is fun. Very fun.

Arya Stark is now a blind beggar on the streets of Bravos. The unnamed girl from the Facemen Men Assassins shows up to attack her, day after day, even through she is blind. She bests the girl once, and returns to the House of Black and White where her sight is restored. But still she cannot kill the actress, and thus she is in trouble. She makes plans to leave Bravos and is stabbed by the Nameless girl. With no one to help her, she turns to the actress who she refused to kill on orders. The actress takes her in and heals her, but the Nameless Girl arrives and kills the actress. Arya runs, but also leads the girl into a cave. She recovers her sword, Needle, and then cuts the only candle that brings light to the cave. We do not see or hear the fight, but we do see that Arya has placed the girl’s face in the hall of faces. She tells her Nameless Assasin friend that she is in no uncertain terms not No One but Arya Stark of Winterfell and she is going home. Arya also kills Walder Frey’s boys, feeds them to Walder Frey in a pie, and then kills him. This after Frey had shown himself to be quite nasty to the Blackfish of the Tullys and to Jaime Lannister.

The season opens with Sansa and Theon alive and running through the woods around Winterfell. They are set upon by Bolton men and rescued by Brienne of Tarth and Podrick. Brienne offers Sansa her service, and this time Sansa accepts. With oaths sworn, Theon decides to leave for the Iron Islands and Sansa, Podrick and Brienne head north. They reach Castle Black and Sansa convinces Jon Snow they need to take back Winterfell. Jon raises an army of Wildlings and men loyal to House Stark – but it doesn’t seem to be enough. The army arrives at a plain before Winterfell, near where Stannis was defeated. Despite Jon’s discussion of strategy with Ser Davos Seaworth, the Red Lady priestess, Sansa, and the new leader of the Wildings – the next day on the battlefield, Jon is provoked in to a massive mistake by the psychopath, Ramsay Snow Bolton. However, just as all seems lost, the Knights of the Vale, led by Petyr Littlefinger Baelish, arrive and the battle is won for House Stark. The Bolton banners fall at Winterfell, the Stark banners are raised, and Sansa and Jon seem to be co-ruling as the lead family of the North. All the Northern families pledge loyalty to the Starks (except some, like the Freys who have already pledged to House Lannister – we have seen what that got them eventually).

It should be noted that not only did Ramsay treat Sansa truly horribly, but he murdered his father, in front of an witness, and ordered that it be said he was, “poisoned by our enemies”. Ramsay also feds his step-mother and baby brother to his dogs. Not only is Ramsay’s army defeated by the Stark troops and the Army of the Vale, and not only is Ramsay humiliated by Jon Snow in single combat, but Sansa – in just about the most just and fitting way possible, destroys Ramsay by feeding him to his own dogs.

Cersei, humilated in the previous season by the High Sparrow, is sent to house arrest in the Red Keep. Margaery, after nearly a year (or more) in the cells of the Sept of Baylor, confesses her sins, but protects her brother. The Lannisters and Tyrells unite an army to attack the Sept and prevent Margery from undergoing the same humiliation as Cersei. But Tommen arrives at the Sept, having made a deal with the High Sparrow. Margaery is released, having simply given lip service to her repentance. She precedes to have the King’s ear, and has him banish trial by combat, which means Cersei will suffer an actual trial by seven septons. Margaery has Loras confess his crimes, being assured he’ll get a deal (he will lose his title and lands, but gain his life, albeit in exile. No doubt Margaery had plans to rescue him from his exile eventually.) But after Loras confesses, and the High Sparrow assures him he will have his deal – everyone notices that Cersei isn’t there. Margaery realises something is horribly wrong. But the Faith Militant and the High Sparrow refuse to let her or anyone else out. Cersai has her “Little Birds” blow up the Sept with wildfire. Tommen commits suicide in sorrow for Margaery. Cersai in the last scene of the season – takes the Iron Throne, becoming Queen Cersai, First of Her Name.

Daenerys, is captured by the Dothraki, and taken to the compound that is home to the widows of Khals. She rallies the women, and when the Khals convene to decide her fate, insulting and sexually humiliating her in the process, she grabs the burning braziers in the hut of the khal leaders. Grabbing the burning hot metal in her bare hands, she thrusts them down – and the hut burns. Daenerys emerges unburnt and unharmed from the hut. After this display, the Dothraki follow her. As the trek back to Meereen is long, Daenerys goes ahead, alone, and returns astride her dragon, Drogon. She gives the pep talk of her life, and gets a huge khalasar of fighting troops who agree to cross the Great Salt Sea on Wooden Horses and fight for her. Later, just as the slavers return to attack Meereen, Daenerys defeats the slavers in a display of Dragon Power.

Yara of the Ironborn discovers her uncle killed her father. Theon returns, but declares himself loyal to Yara and supports her claim. Yara makes a claim for the Salt Throne with Theon’s support. She has support but Euron, her uncle, blocks her claim. She, Theon, and as many loyal men they can gather leave and make their way to Essos. In a brilliant piece of diplomacy, Yara and Daenerys make an alliance – Yara will provide the ships and sailors, Daenerys will provide the army. Daenerys will place Yara on the Salt Throne and guarantee the Iron Islands independence. Yara will stop the pirating, raiding, and looting of mainland Westros.

Daenerys names Tyrion Lannister her Hand of the Queen. Tyrion had become a trusted advisor over the last year and a half. Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys – who had gone on a secret mission but returns, Missandei (her translator and aide), and Grey Worm stand on a ship, under the Fire and Blood dragon banner and head for Westros. Yara and Theon join them, under the banner of the Drowned God for the Iron Born.

Varys’ mission was to meet with Ellaria Sand of Dorne and Olenna of House Tyrell to arrange an alliance. We don’t hear the results of his arrangement, but he survived to return to Daenerys and get on a ship that is part of the invasion fleet.

Even Princess Shireen sees some justice, as Ser Davos finds the stag toy he made for her in the remains of a pyre, challenges the Red Woman priestess, and has her banished from Winterfell.

And young Lady Mormont of Bear Island, who committed 62 men to Jon and Sansa’s forces, is the first to declare loyalty to House Stark and is a bit of a badass as well.

So the women, at this point are winning – and an alliance between Daenerys, Yara, Dorne, Tyrell and House Stark would be awesome (and would soundly defeat the Lannisters). Cersei has, at long last, obtained the Iron Throne for herself, but she has possibly made a few enemies along the way (the sept was quite full when it was blown-up).

But the families are losing out and disappearing. House Baratheon is gone: Robert, Renly, Stannis are all dead – as is Stannis’ wife and child. The three “Baratheon’ children (actually the product of the Cersei/Jaime relationship) – Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen are all dead. As far as we know, only Jaime and Cersei are left. The Starks aren’t doing that much better. Only Jon, Sansa, and Arya remain. Bran is alive, but the Three-Eyed Raven. Rickon is dead, killed by Ramsay. The Boltons are all dead as well. Arya kills Walder Frey and his boys.

The Land of Westros may well be experiencing the Year of the Woman – if all goes well.

My Review of Season 5 of Game of Thrones.

My Review of Season 4 of Game of Thrones.

I was unable to watch season 7 when it aired on HBO, but I have the Blu-Ray box set so a review will be coming soon.

 

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Ripper Street Season 4 Review

  • Title:  Ripper Street
  • Season: 4
  • Episodes: 7
  • Discs: 2
  • Cast: Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Charlene McKenna
  • Network:  BBC (Co-Produced by BBC, BBC Worldwide, Amazon Prime, BBC America)
  • DVD Format:  Widescreen, Color, DVD, R1, NTSC

Season 4 of Ripper Street opens with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. It’s been three years since the end of the previous season. See Season Three of Ripper Street review. Edmund Reid had left Whitechapel at the end of the previous season to raise his newly re-discovered daughter, Mathilda in a seaside town. Mathilda is now a young woman, brilliant and curious about the world, especially Whitechapel. Reid’s determined to protect her and keep her away from the old neighborhood – but he’s drawn back in. Deborah Goren visits Reid and asks him to return to Whitechapel to help her clear the name of Isaac Bloom, found guilty of a terrible murder and due to hang. Susan Hart (aka Caitlin Swift, Jackson’s wife) is also due to hang. She was allowed to give birth to her son in prison, and to nurse him, but as he’s now weaned, she can no longer escape her sentence.

Reid returns to Whitechapel, and although he finds some irregularities in the case against Bloom, he is unable to prevent the man’s death. It appears Susan is also hanged, but Jackson has rigged equipment for her which saves her life. He hides her with an old shipping captain at the Whitechapel docks. Jackson agrees that their son will be cared for and raised by Rose and Bennet Drake.

Each episode of Ripper Street is self-contained, however, they also weave together, brilliantly, to lead to the conclusion of the season. A conclusion that leaves all the main characters in awful straights, and ends with a “To Be Continued” title card. It has already been announced that Season 5 will be the last season, however, I still cannot wait to see it. This has been a brilliant show – with excellent writing and acting, and stories that do not shy away from the horrors of Victorian life. Season 4 for example, includes a story about a Workhouse. And the season opens with Susan raising her child in prison. But it’s the characters and the conflicts between them that draw you in – although I must admit, I like seeing Drake, Reid, and Jackson working together rather than at odds. I highly, highly recommend Ripper Street – it really is a brilliant show.

Ripper Street Season 3 Review (Spoilers)

  • Title:  Ripper Street
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3
  • Cast: Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Charlene McKenna
  • Network:  BBC (Co-Produced by BBC, BBC Worldwide, Amazon Prime, BBC America)
  • DVD Format:  Widescreen, Color, DVD, R1, NTSC

The first season of Ripper Street is set a year after the Jack-the-Ripper murders. The residents of the Whitechapel district of London have even less faith in the police. Detective Inspector Fred Abberline has been “kicked upstairs” to metropolitan police headquarters and a new DI appointed, Inspector Edmund Reid. Reid is a dedicated cop, who is suffering himself – having lost his daughter in a steam ferry accident, he is now estranged from his mourning wife. Reid throws himself into his work.

Season 3 of Ripper Street takes place four years after the end of season 2, and the Leman Street station has broken apart. Capt. H. Jackson is now a low-rent doctor, no longer interested in police forensics or medical examiner work. Detective Bennet Drake has moved on to a position with the Manchester police. And Reid organizes the records room and archives of the police station.

But then a train robbery goes wrong, when a Necropolis train is diverted on to a passenger train track. The two trains collide, leaving 55 dead – and bringing our characters back together. Drake was a passenger on the train, returning to London at the bequest of Abberline to be trained as a detective inspector then take Reid’s job when he’s kicked upstairs after six months. Jackson, still a doctor, runs out into the street to care for the wounded. Reid of course is in the middle of the chaos – and determined to know who was at fault. Susan now patron of the Obsidian clinic for women and the poor arrives with nurses and medical supplies. And Fred Best, reporter at large arrives initially to cover the disaster – only to find his lover was one of the victims. This disaster will prove to be the underlying plot for the entire season.

Ripper Street is extremely well written, and the theme of how the train disaster affects everyone and Whitechapel itself makes this particular season of the show move quickly and makes it more intense. The initial five robbers who caused the disaster are caught and hanged in the first episode, however, Reid suspects there was a “Sixth Man” who organized the robbery. He even has a clue as to who that may be, a lawyer named Capshaw, but no way to prove it.

Reid is correct about the lawyer – and he works for “Long Susan” once a madam and Capt. Jackson’s wife – now a respectable businesswoman and patron of the Obsidian clinic and the Obsidian Tenements building project.  Susan knew of the bearer bonds on the train – but she is appalled at the high human cost of the robbery – especially, since it was dishonest money she stole to fund her own good works.

Each episode of the season has it’s own crime which is solved, but the greater mystery of the train robbery gets deeper and deeper. A shopkeeper is unable to pay his debts to his loan shark, because the money went to funeral costs for a relative. When enforcers come calling, the shopkeeper’s wife is killed in the fray. This leads to the enforcer and his boss, Susan’s lawyer, finding a girl kept in the basement. The girl is traumatized. She is taken to Susan, who calls the female doctor from the clinic. They slowly come to realize the girl is actually Reid’s missing (and presumed dead) daughter – Mathilda. Thinking that Reid is partially to blame for her trauma, and not wanting to be connected to the crime at the clinic, when Reid finds proof that his daughter was in fact there, Susan lies and claims the girl was brutalised, beaten, raped, and tortured, and finally died from her injuries. Reid has a temper tantrum and kills the shopkeeper he thinks is responsible for Mathilda’s death.

Mathilda becomes another theme to the season, as Reid does discover she is alive – and she and he are reunited. Yet, he is unable to quickly drop everything and run off with Mathilda. When he confronts Capshaw (the lawyer) at Long Susan’s establishment, Susan shoots him – then makes it look like Cashaw shot the detective and he in turn shot Capshaw (Susan, full of regret for shooting Reid – shoots her lawyer).

Reid recovers, slowly. Jackson, having returned to working for the police as a surgeon also investigates the train robbery in his own way. And the reporter, Best, also investigates – bringing evidence to both Reid and Jackson.

Once all these forces collide the nature of the crime becomes known – and world-wide.

As the crime is finally wrapped up in the last episode, even though one of the investigators of the train robbery and the underlying reasons for it will be dead, happiness actually reigns for our main characters. The episode and the season has a satisfactory ending.

I really enjoy Ripper Street and I highly recommend it. The costumes are rich and detailed. The acting is fantastic. The series never shies away from showing the wretched conditions of London’s poor in the late 1890s/early 1900s. It’s great that in this season, we see older plotlines resolved happily. And I really liked the language used in Ripper Street. Everyone speaks in, not so much a very formal manner, but in this poetry-like manner of talking that’s enjoyable to listen to. One quickly becomes used to it – and it adds to the historical feel of the piece.