60. “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” Season 5, Episode 6
The reasons “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” lands as the worst episode of Game of Thrones come from all over the map, but let’s start with the good stuff. For the first time in the series, we are shown the Hall of Faces, when Arya’s mentor Jaqen H’ghar takes Arya deep below the House of Black and White for what has to be one of the strangest tours of all time.
Other highlights of the episode include Tyrion’s fantastic dialogue with a slaver regarding whether or not Tyrion is anatomically proportional, along with Olenna Tyrell’s arrival back in Kings Landing after Loras is arrested for buggery. As always, Olenna and Tyrion continue to have some of the best dialogue on the show, and any scene they are in instantly raises the bar for the rest of the cast.
Littlefinger, freshly returned from dropping off Sansa at Winterfell, promises to smash Roose Bolton for trying to marry Sansa to Ramsay. Sure, that’s a marriage Littlefinger arranged, but as always he’s playing every side against the other. Loras and Queen Margery are both eventually arrested at Loras’ inquiry and taken into custody, much to the delight of Cersei and the horror of poor little Tommen.
And now for the bad stuff. First up, we have the most poorly choreographed fight scene in the series, pitting a one-handed Jamie Lannister and Bronn against the Sand Snakes of Dorne. Continuing the widely panned Dornish road trip story line, Jaime and Bronn try and “rescue” Myrcella from an attempted kidnapping attempt by Oberyn Martell’s bastard daughters. Almost nothing about the scene works, and we should all just try and move on.
And then there’s perhaps the most controversial moment yet aired on Game of Thrones, as newly married Ramsay Bolton and Sansa Stark retire to a bridal suite following their wedding, with Theon Greyjoy in tow, before Ramsay rapes his new wife offscreen as Theon looks on. The act served no purpose for either character’s story arc—viewers were already familiar with the sadistic nature of Roose Bolton’s bastard son. Sansa, meanwhile, had started to grow into someone who actually controlled her fate, as opposed to simply reacting to events. Fans were infuriated by the regression, along with the sexual violence inflicted upon her.