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A solid season premiere, "The Wars to Come" ratchets up the anticipation for inevitable bloodshed while deepening focus on characters and locales.
Much like other complicated series, it's helpful to have a recap episode at the beginning to remember where everyone's at. With that said, we hope that the action and intrigue pick up quickly going forward.
This hour, briskly directed by Breaking Bad vet Michael Slovis (making his Westerosi debut), was all about resetting the lines.
Now that Sansa is learning to play the Game of Thrones, she's become so much more of an interesting character.
This wasn't the most dramatic episode so far, but the acting and writing were sharper than ever.
Through the action at Castle Black, "The Wars to Come" demonstrates the value the show is getting by letting different worlds collide.
This episode shows something very different - war is coming, in many different places and taking many different shapes.
As far as Game of Thrones episodes go, "The Wars to Come" wasn't anything special, but rather a perfunctory reminder of where we left off last season, and where things stand at the outset of season five.
The sets feel larger, the costumes more ornate, the CGI more detailed and definitely more prevalent. It seems Game Of Thrones grows bigger and better with every passing year.
Wisely, "The Wars to Come" narrows its sprawling focus to several central storylines as opposed to trying to hit every last character thread still dangling.
Aside from these character insights, season five began not so much with a bang but with a whimper.
The fifth season of Game of Thrones begins like a fairy tale.
While it contemplates the kind of leadership it will next put onscreen, the leadership behind the scenes at Game Of Thrones looks refreshingly willing to roll with the punches.