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.
Lenika Cruz: Over the course of five and a half seasons of battles, betrayals, and beheadings, Game of Thrones has racked up plenty of “broken” men and women. While the episode’s title was most directly referring to the traumatized and mutilated Theon, and to the Hound (whose return has been long the subject of speculation), it could also be alluding to the one-handed Jaime, the still-imprisoned Loras, the aging Blackfish, the miserable hostage Edmure, or the good-natured septon Ray (RIP). Each was, in his own way, a casualty of seemingly endless cycles of violence. And yet the wheels of war continued to spin this episode, as characters worked to build alliances for looming fights, or else failed to reason with rivals.
With the show heading into its final three episodes, “The Broken Man” did a lot of crucial set-up in economical fashion and via plenty of elegantly written scenes. We reunited with Sandor Clegane some time after he joined a kind of religious commune run by Ray (Ian McShane), a septon whose lax devotion to scripture seemed directly correlated with his desire to bring goodness into the world. It turns out he rescued a nearly dead Hound some time ago and nursed him back to enough health that he can chop wood and haul logs 24/7.