UK TV review: Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 8 (No-One)
Paul Greenwood | On 14, Jun 2016Reading time: 3 mins
Warning: This contains spoilers.
The time for talking is nearly over and the time for hitting and stabbing is as good as upon us. No-One was an episode steeped in the promise of violence, the notion of violence, and actual bloody violence.
The key phrase was Cersei’s “I choose violence”, as the understandably nervous Sparrows lost one of their number in a Red Keep scuffle. Vitally though, one not choosing violence was the King, which was bad news for his mother and her plan to get the Mountain to rip the face off whomever in trial by combat.
Everyone was choosing violence, including the Blackfish, and it looked like there was going to be a lot of hitting at Riverrun, and that Jaime and Brienne might be pitted against each other. As predicted on these pages, though, it all passed off without the need for a special effects budget.
Instead, we’re getting to the bones of what these people really want. Jaime wants (to help) his sister, but we’ve known that from the start. Tyrion wants to make his own wine, which only his close friends would be able to drink, leading to a momentary flash of recognition on his face that he doesn’t have any. It’s these tiny little moments that can make all the difference; the endgame for this world of misery and misanthropy has to count for something. Otherwise, what’s been the point of it all?
This is a programme with no room for pleasantries, but we got some nice helpings this episode of people who like each other spending time together. Tyrion and Varys shared a touching but unsentimental goodbye, Pod and Bronn had some lads’ banter and Brienne and Jaime gave Brienne and Tormund a run for their money in the unlikeliest couple stakes. There was even joking and laughter in Meereen – who saw that coming? There’s more chance of the dead rising fro… oh, hang on.
Perhaps the show has been lacking in proper blood and guts for a bit, but there was no holding back tonight. Both Clegane brothers got their hands bloody, and whoever was given the task of writing the Hound’s dialogue deserves an Emmy. It was packed with pearls – “You’re shit at dying, you know that?” being just one of his many zingers – each of them delivered with untapped comic zest by Rory McCann, slipping pleasingly back into a Scottish accent from time to time. Give this man a Sean Connery biopic now.
Yet it was a refusal of violence that redeemed Arya, with her saving of a life coming back to aid her in her greatest moment of need, as one long-running thread came to an end with some slightly unsatisfactory off-screen killing. After a stunning, pulse-pounding build-up that was part Bourne and part Terminator, as Waif chased Arya through the streets and alleys, a girl despatched her with the lights off. A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and she’s going home – one can only imagine what she’ll encounter if and when she gets there. Also raised during a conversation she had with Lady Crane was the tantalising question… what’s west of Westeros?
Will we find out? Can we even handle it? Episode 9 of a season is often where the most jaw-dropping events go down, so here’s hoping we can. With a prayer to the old gods and the new, let’s hope that next week’s Battle of the Bastards will provide us with the greatest hour of viewing in the history of television.
Game of Thrones Season 1 to 6 are available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription. The show is also available on DVD, Blu-ray and pay-per-view VOD. For more, click here.
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