Every week, for the sixth season of Game of Thrones, Christopher Orr, Spencer Kornhaber, and Lenika Cruz will be discussing new episodes of the HBO drama. Because no screeners are being made available to critics in advance this year, we’ll be posting our thoughts in installments.
Kornhaber: Melisandre always seemed to harbor a secret, and now we know it’s that she, like someone in a Catfish episode or like many witches of centuries-old folklore, is secretly saggy. It’s the kind of fun, meta twist that only Game of Thrones could pull off. After the show has spent so long jamming spears through handsome young prince heads in order to prove that it’s not reliant on fairy-tale tropes, it can occasionally shock simply by serving up some of the oldest magic tricks in the storybooks. What are we watching, after all, if not what the thoroughly demented Brothers’ Grimm might create on an HBO budget?
Though the hype for this episode ran even higher than usual due to Jon Snow’s stabbing and the fact that it opens the first season whose story has not yet revealed by George R.R. Martin’s books, a Game of Thrones season premiere is, in the end, a Game of Thrones season premiere. Which means this hour was always unlikely to rank among the show’s best episodes; there’s so much work to be done getting viewers up to speed and setting up future conflicts that the big plotlines don’t have time to move forward all that much. That said, “The Red Woman” managed to deliver a fair amount of action and intrigue as it conducted a tour of the grave sites created by last season’s bloody finale.