Game of Thrones Season 6 Blu-ray Review

Note: This far into Game of Thrones, it’s nearly impossible to write a season review without spoilers.  So if you haven’t seen this season or any of the previous seasons, I wouldn’t read this or any review.

Normally, when I write a review of a TV set, I just write a brief overview of the season.  But with the sixth season of Game of Thrones, I thought it would be fun to do a recap of each episode as I watched them for the first time.  That way you can follow along with my excitement, frustration and bad predictions.

Episode 1: The Red Woman – This premiere was different than previous premieres in the sense that it picked up the second the last episode of season 5 ended and managed to touch on every single character.  I’m not sure I liked that part of it.  I would have rather focused on a couple of storylines than just briefly touching on everything.  Not that the episode wasn’t great, because it was, but we only saw Tyrion (for example) for 5 minutes and nothing really happened; I think that time would have been better somewhere else.

But let’s get to the Wall.

Like everyone else in the world, I was really hoping they’d bring Jon Snow back in the first episode.  I knew it wasn’t going to happen, but I was still hoping for it.  The big takeaway from the first episode is that Mellisandre is a fraud.  We all know Jon is coming back, but now there’s doubt that Mellisandre can do it.

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The drama at Dorn seems to be interesting, but again, not much time was given to it so we don’t know where anything is going.  Dorn has been criminally underutilized in the show, so maybe coming to them in the first episode is a sign the showrunners are going to focus more on Dorn this season.

I also like Sansa and Breinne teaming up.  There’s hope that maybe Sansa can make it through a season without getting abused and/or raped.

Episode 2 – Home – What an amazing episode!!! And not just because Snow came back, but let’s start with that.  When they first got to Castle Black and then cut away when the Wildlings arrived, I figured we’d have to wait another episode to get our beloved Lord Commander back.  There’s a part of me that’s surprised they went with the obvious outcome.  Everyone predicted Melisandre would bring him back, so I almost expected them to drag it out and find another way.  But when he awoke, I literally screamed out loud.  And when Ghost woke up first, I was so excited.  What a great moment, even if we saw it coming.

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But even if that hadn’t happened, this would have been a great episode.  How about Tyrion freeing the dragons?  That was a cool moment and I think it’s going to have a huge impact later on (like the dragon will choose Tyrion like the other one chose Danearys).  Then Ramsay killed his dad, which wasn’t shocking, but was still a bit of a surprise.  Ramsay killing the baby was a set up to a very gratifying death and since he has his sights set on Jon Snow, that should be pretty awesome.  And in the same episode they killed the king Greyjoy.  That should be interesting since I think he was the last king that Melisandre predicted would die.  Everything moved so fast up to the return to Castle Black and that felt like it lasted forever.

Jon Snow is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 3 – Oathbreaker – This actually wasn’t a very good episode.  If you take the fanboy-ishness out of it, the showrunners are starting to drag everything out a bit too much.  For example, we all know that Ned was going to go up the steps and find his sister giving birth, thus confirming Snow’s status.  There was no reason to cut away right before he did it.  The only reason is to drag out the “mystery” of Snow’s lineage a couple more episodes.  They could have easily resolved that mystery right there.  Same kind of thing with Jamie and Cersai; we all know they’re going to attack the Sparrow, but everything is being dragged out.  Normally this doesn’t bother me, but for some reason it felt a little clunky and intentional with this episode.

I liked that Snow killed those four right before he quit.  I also like that he’s basically the same person, just a little more pissed off now.  They’re building a great Bolton-Snow showdown that should pay off well on episode 9 (I’m presuming, since that’s usually the best episode of every season).

Episode 4 – Book of the Stranger – Good episode.  It basically confirms some of my suspicions, most notably that they’re barreling towards a giant battle and they’re going start combining some of the separate storylines that we’ve seen.  I like how they kind of pushed Jon to the side and made Sansa the “leader”.  Good for her.  I think she and Jon will make a good team.  I feel like it has been forever since she’s been abused (either physically or mentally), which is a nice change for her.

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And now Dany has the Dathroki on her side, which kind of makes her unstoppable as well.  If she crosses with the Unsullied and the Dathroki, I’m not sure who’s going to be able to beat her, which means she should take Kings Landing pretty easy.  Of course, she needs some ships.

Lost in all this are the Lannisters, who seem like they’re almost out of the “game of thrones” at this point, despite still technically holding the throne.  I think the Sparrow will be more of a foe to them than they’re letting on, which will again open the door for Dany to do her thing.

Episode 5 – The Door – Poor Hodor.  That was an interesting scene and it was nice to get some closure on Hodor, but that was a rough way to get it.  It’s surprising how powerful that scene was given how minor a character Hodor was.  Bran’s new “power” is a little confusing, but it will hopefully make more sense when he presumably meets up with Sansa and Jon.

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It’s nice to see Sansa stand up and take charge.  Her ascension has basically put Jon on the backburner, which I’m not crazy about but I understand.  Her encounter with Little Finger was interesting but not fulfilling.  She needed the Vale and should have taken them on her side, but she sacrificed her overall goal in order to say “f-you” to Little Finger.  I feel like GoT is very clear about punishing people that do that (see Rob Stark for example).  But as long as Sansa is with Jon Snow, I think she’ll be alright.

I’m sick of the Dany – Jorah storyline.  We get it, he loves her and he’s sick.  Let’s move on.  Interesting move by Tyrion to align with the red priestess.  He’s right; that’s exactly what Dany needs, but I’m not sure entrusting the red priestess is the way to get it.

Episode 6 – Blood of My Blood – This was a weaker episode.  It’s clear the season wants to get to the big battle as much as the fans do and we’re just trying to bring everyone up to that point. The highlights were Bran’s flashbacks.  We actually got to see the Mad King, which was kind of cool.  It also looks like once Bran gains control of his power, he can go back to any time he wants, which should come in handy.  I assume that’s the power the three eyed raven was talking about.  It was also nice to see Uncle Benjen again.

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I’m sick of Dany.  Her scene was a waste of time.  How many times have we seen her do something exactly like that?

Episode 7 – The Broken Man – The Hound!  I had mixed emotions about seeing him alive.  On one hand, I thought it was cool to see him again, but on the other hand I was disappointed because he’s yet another storyline we now have to catch up with and yet another character we have to follow.  But hopefully they brought him back for a reason and hopefully he’ll make an impact.

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I assume Sansa’s letter was for Little Finger, begging him for help.  I don’t like that Jon was so intent on attacking, even though he knows he only has 2k men.  That’s exactly the same thing that brought down Stannis and we know Jon is infinitely smarter.  I feel like they’re making Jon look a little weak/dumb in favor of making Sansa look smarter and it’s inconsistent with the show so far.  Jon was always the one that made the good, smart decisions when everyone else was hot headed.  I know he’s intent on protecting Rikkon, but still, he has to know he can’t beat the Boltons with his current army.

Poor Arya.  Everyone knew that old lady was actually the girl out to kill her.  Arya should have been smarter.  I assume she’ll meet up with the actress, who will help her get better.  But that’s yet another delay (there’s a theme of frustration here) where we have to follow her getting help and then exacting her revenge.  But I predict that when she’s better, she’s actually going to go to the hall of faces and kill the girl and the guy and take whatever face/faces she wants.

Episode 8 – No One – So was this the worst episode in the entire Game of Thrones series?   First, the gaping stomach wound she received last week was seemingly severe enough that she shouldn’t have been able to do parkour through the streets of Bravos like that.  It looks like her plan was to lure the waif into her hiding place and killer her with needle.  But still, that doesn’t explain the wounds.  It’s either a giant mistake or gloss-over, or she’s developed some sort of healing power since being a part of the assassins.  That’s possible, but if true, the show has to explain that away because right now it looks like a mistake.

So if The Hound isn’t going to King’s Landing, then the complaint stands; he’s another character we have to check in with and we have no idea how he’s going to fit into everything.  Also, it looks like Lady Stoneheart isn’t going to appear because that would have been her moment.  I might be in the minority, but I think her inclusion would be a terrible decision.

Episode 9 – Battle of the Bastards – This is the episode that everyone wanted. We had the hero moment, the big showdown, lots of action and the villain everyone hated is now dead.  The action scene was incredibly well filmed and I loved how the camera followed Jon into battle and we had a long shot as he was fighting off soldiers.  It was very cool.  Everything played out like we expected; right when they were about to lose, the Vale came in and saved the day.  Then we got to see Jon beat the crap out of Ramsay (I wanted more of a fight, but we got what we got) and then Sansa had her moment when Ramsay was eaten by the dogs.

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Also, I really liked Dany’s minor part in the episode.  Looks like there’s nothing else for her on that side of the world.

After 6 years of painfully watching our heroes die terrible deaths or get abused, we finally got a feel-good moment.  It was nice, even if that’s not what we’ve come to expect from Game of Thrones.

Episode 10 – The Winds of Winter – Talk about saving the best for last.  They crammed an entire season worth of events into one episode.  Let’s start with King’s Landing.  I liked that they gave us everything without cutting away.  Cersai killed just about everyone in power at King’s Landing and that wasn’t even the best part of the episode.  I also liked when Jamie came in and gave her that look.  He knew that it was basically the end of the Lannisters.

At the wall, I figured Jon would expel Melisandre, so that didn’t mean much.  I assume we’ll catch up with her again, but I don’t think it matters one way or the other.  I really liked how they went from baby Jon to grown Jon and finally revealed his lineage (this kind of makes up for not finishing the flashback in the earlier episode).  Although technically they didn’t confirm the father, we have to assume it’s the Targarean since she said “Robert will kill him” when she whispered to Ned.  Anyway, great scene and great moment for Jon.  I got a little teary eyed when everyone started proclaiming him King of the North.  Our boy is so grown up!

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ARYA!!!!!  I didn’t catch her when Jamie and Bronn saw her, but I did notice that girl looked different.  I should have caught it right away.  But anyway, it was awesome and satisfying.  I actually found her murder of Frey more satisfying than Ramsay’s death, only because of how she did it.  She is so badass, but there are so many questions around her right now; how does she get faces, what abilities does she have, etc.

Once again, time is an issue with GoT.  I’m not sure how Varys got back so fast, but I assume more time passed from the time we saw him at Dorn to the ending than was let on.

Recap

We had two incredible episodes (9 and 10), some good moments (Jon’s return and Hodor’s death), but we also had three very weak episodes (3, 6, 7) and what might have been the worst episode of the series (8).  That makes it very hard to rank the season as a whole, but as I’ve said before about GoT, a bad season of GoT is still infinitely better than the best season of anything else on television.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  Nobody does Blu-ray like HBO and ‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 is no exception.  The show really is breathtaking on Blu-ray.

Audio: The audio is equally impressive.

13 Commentaries on 10 episodes:  All Game of Thrones commentaries are pretty good, but there were two of these that stood out to me.  The first being on episode 5 with Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and others when they talk about how impactful Hodor’s death was.  The second was on episode 9 with Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner.  The ninth episode was the biggest of the season and it was nice to hear the actors talk about it.  Both of those episodes have two commentaries, so you can also listen to a more technical track if you like.

Deleted scenes (11:08): I can’t think of a Game of Thrones deleted scene that meant much, but it’s always fun to see more GoT.

Recreating the Dothraki World (20:15): I forgot that we hadn’t seen the Dothrakis since the first season, so this featurette looks at what went into bringing that world back to life.

Battle of the Bastards (30:00): The biggest episode in the show’s history gets a nice in-depth featurette.

18 Hours at the Paint Hall (28:15): This is a fun, yet simple featurette putting you on the set for a day.

Histories and Lore: There are 18 animated featurettes about four minutes each taking you through various GoT historical situations.  These can be tough to follow along with, especially if you don’t remember when or how they were referenced.  I think fans of the books will enjoy these more than others.

In-episode guides

OVERALL 4.5
    MOVIE REVIEW
    BLU-RAY REVIEW

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