TV Recap: Game of Thrones, ‘Blood of My Blood’

Spoilers Abound

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Poster-1-630x933

Blood of my Blood Plot Summary:

Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) try to avoid the White Walkers, and are aided by a mysterious hooded man. Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) arrive at Horn Hill where Sam hopes to find Gilly a place to stay while he studies to be a Maester. However, he must get through his father’s hatred from to achieve this. Arya (Maisie Williams) is conflicted by her mission to kill an actress, which could lead to her own death. Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jamie’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) plan to have the Martell army free Margery (Natalie Dormer) backfires.

Walder Frey. Edmure Tully. Blackfish. The Mad King. Uncle Benjen. It was a veritable “Throwback Thursday” edition of Games of Thrones last night.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Yet, this wasn’t one of those nostalgia-for-nostalgia’s-sake episodes that many series find themselves producing. One of the brilliant aspects of Game of Thrones is that it can drop a character from storylines for seasons on end, and then bring them back, often unexpectedly. The best part of it all is that the return makes complete and utter sense in the world of the story, and from a series standpoint as well.

The biggest return (and the most hoped for) was that of Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) aka Uncle Benjen aka Cold Hands. We haven’t seen Benjen since 2011 during this three-episode run, but tonight he made his return in grand fashion. Benjen was at the center of the only real action sequence of the episode, and it was a fantastic one. The element of the White Walkers allows the series to eschew from the typical sword fighting and castle sieging, and allows for all out mayhem. There are no rules, only survival. Benjen’s employment of sickles, a fire-fueled mace and even his horse made for a frenetic good time.

The reveal of Benjen was equally as awesome, as we see the effects of the White Walkers stabbing him with an ice blade. He’s been scarred heavily, and exists as almost half-man, half-walker in appearance. Outside of gaining an excellent character, the show adds a tremendous actor in Joseph Mawle. He dominated the excellent second season of BBC’s Ripper Street as a scene-chewing villain. The range Mawle brings, and the sheer imposing intensity he carries with him, will definitely bolster the Bran “journey” scenes, which were definitely the weaker scenes of Season 4.

Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

The return of Walder Fray (David Bradley), Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), and the mention of Blackfish (Clive Russell) — means one thing — it’s about to go down at Riverrun. And why is Riverrun so important? It’s because we may finally be getting that showdown between Jamie and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) after all.

But, why is Jamie going to Riverrun you may ask? Well let’s get into one of the biggest “mic drop” moments of last night.

Remember how Jamie and Cersei convinced the small counsel, particularly The Martells, that they should send the Martell army in to free Margery from the High Sparrow’s (Jonathan Pryce) “Walk of Atonement?” Sounded like a good idea at the time, but as with all of Cersei’s plans, they fail…miserably.  Yes, there is now a new alliance between religion and the crown as the always gullible Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) has allied with the Sparrow, and in the process reunited with his queen. Cersei’s plans are now ruined.

The reveal of Tommen’s alliance with The Sparrow is absolutely jaw-dropping. With spears drawn, and Jamie lusting for blood, The Sparrow announces there will be no walk because not only has Margery atoned, but she has brought someone else into the fold. Obviously, this is a newly reformed Loras (Finn Jones), right? You could just imagine Loras walking down the steps with his head shaved, and something burnt into his forehead. But no, it’s Tommen. Stupid, gullible, weak-chinned, and lip quivering Tommen.

Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

The question does arise however, who has actually won here? Is it The Sparrow who has finally gained control over the royal couple? Or, has Margery manipulated both The Sparrow and Tommen (which isn’t saying much), into being freed from prison, and finally getting her place at the throne back?

This can only mean terrible, awful, and justifiably bad things happening to Cersei — the woman who unleashed The Sparrows in the first place. And as for Jamie, he is no longer in the Kings Guard, but is now leading an army to take back Riverrun.

And herein lies something that is unsettling. Cersei gives this entire speech about how Jamie should lead by example, and have the army get behind him. She will be put on trial — by combat — but will have The Mountain defend her. Once all this happens, Jamie will lead the army back to King’s Landing, and they will take the throne away from The Sparrows. This speech didn’t feel convincing at all, not because of the performance. It sounded so desperate and far-fetched that even the usually cunning and conviction-filled Cersei didn’t seem to have her heart in it. Could this spell the end of everyone’s least favorite mother? For some reason, I can see her dead before season’s end.

The episode also touched upon Daenerys reclaiming her dragon, and reasserting her goal of taking the Seven Kingdoms back. There was also some excellent scenes involving Sam and his family. With Hodor gone, Sam is now the most lovable character on the show, and to see him take action after sustaining massive humiliation was an excellent. Also, he and Gilly are the second best couple on this show next to Brienne and the Wyndham Wizard.

Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

We also delved into the Arya defying the orders of her assassin clan, and not poisoning the actress she was sent to kill. Obviously, this means a showdown with her assassin (Faye Marsay) rival will happen, which should be awesome. That fight needs to happen, and Arya needs to kill her. Also, one also has to wonder how this actress will play into Arya’s future — she’s not here by accident.

‘Blood of my Blood’ was an absolutely intriguing episode. It’s a game changer, and a table setter. The fever pitch that this season is building towards is almost unbearable to wait at this point. With only four episodes remaining one has to wonder what the climax of the season will be — will be it the War of the North, or the battle for Riverrun?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites