TV Review | House Of The Dragon (1×05: We Light The Way)
“The pieces are ready for the time jump next week, and the dramatic tension is ramped up ten-fold in a haunting episode.” We review episode five of House Of The Dragon.
It is time to say goodbye to Milly Alcock and Emily Carey. This week’s episode of ‘House Of The Dragon’ marks their departure from the show as next week sees a time jump ahead. But for one last time, we marvel at their acting prowess as they firmly plant the seeds of what is to come for their characters. This week, the episode is not about violence, death, and dragons. But what happens is enough to keep us invested in the show. The dramatic tension is raised even higher as the pieces are finally lined up. And ready for the real game to begin.
HOUSE OF THE DRAGON (1×05: WE LIGHT THE WAY)
Upon returning to Runestone, Prince Daemon murders his wife, Lady Rhea Royce in a brutally unemotional way. In the Driftmark, King Viserys arranges a marriage between Rhaenyra and Ser Laenor, which satisfies Lord Corlys Velaryon. Rhaenyra understands Laenor’s sexual orientation and makes a proposal. Both will perform their royal duties while having lovers of their own choosing. For Laenor, it will be Ser Joffrey Lonmouth (Solly McLeod) while for Rhaenyra, it will be Ser Criston Cole (Fabien Frankel).
Just before leaving King’s Landing, Ser Otto Hightower warns his daughter, Queen Alicent that if Rhaenyra becomes queen, her children will be considered a threat to the throne. Ser Otto informs Alicent that Rhaenyra will put her children to the sword to protect her succession. Alicent discretely questions Ser Criston about Rhaenyra and Daemon, only to be shocked to learn that it was Criston who was the princess’s lover.
At a celebratory feast, Alicent enters the hall during the king’s speech, purposefully wearing a green gown, House Hightower’s signal color for a call to arms. While there, Daemon makes his reappearance, much to the King’s annoyance and discomfort. The King is suffering from really bad health and this doesn’t help matters. However, a sarcastic remark from one person to another will have fatal consequences for one guest at the feast. And will lead to some serious repercussions going forward.
The pieces are ready for the time jump next week, and the dramatic tension is ramped up ten-fold in a haunting episode. From the start, we can see there’s a huge storm brewing. One that will define the realm but also the characters we follow every week. And some are in for the shock of their lives when the storm finally breaks. Some characters will be brought crashing down to earth in a nasty way. And some characters will start on the path toward their long-overdue comeuppance. And that is what hooks us in again this week.
Once again, the cast is excellent in their roles. Matt Smith as Daemon really needs to appear more than he does. But when he’s on screen, we grip the sides of our seats. We can’t help loving and hating him in equal measure. We simply don’t know what version of Daemon will turn up or when. But when he does, our attention is diverted to him instantly. Paddy Considine as Viserys once again puts himself through the wringer in another wonderful and understated performance. Viserys is ill but he keeps on going about his kingly business, despite the toll it’s taking on him. When Smith and Considine appear together, we expect fireworks. This time, we don’t get them. But the fuse is firmly lit.
STEVE TOUSSAINT AND FABIEN FRANKEL
Both Steve Toussaint and Fabien Frankel give terrific performances this week. Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon is both sinister and friendly in equal measure. Looking friendly and welcoming to Viserys, we feel the tension and anger bubbling underneath the surface. None more so in the conversation he holds with his wife, Rhaenys (Eve Best) regarding the future of the Iron Throne and the trouble that is to come between Rhaenyra and Alicent. With his son engaged to Rhaenyra, Corlys has his hopes and dreams for the future of his house. But he can also see the trouble that lies directly in his son’s path. Toussaint gives an understated winning performance once again.
Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole goes through it all this week. And comes out with our sympathies. After being seduced by Rhaenyra last week, Criston wants to be with the young queen-to-be. But we feel his dejection when his plan for them both is dismissed out of hand. We fear for his life when he admits that he slept with Rhaenyra to Queen Alicent, an action punishable by gelding or death. But by the end of the episode, we see all of his pent-up emotions explode in shocking violence. Frankel excels as the young member of the Kingsguard and delivers an emotional performance.
MILLY ALCOCK AND EMILY CAREY
But once again, in their farewell performances, it is Milly Alcock and Emily Carey who steals the episode. Both turn in farewell appearances that leave an indelible mark on the series. We can see that the once strong bond between the pairing of Rhaenyra and Alicent has been completely broken beyond repair. We can see that the scheming Rhaenyra has been found out by her former best friend. And we can see that Alicent is getting ready to put Rhaenyra in her place. The sweet, innocent young Queen has been replaced with a woman who feels betrayed. Someone who is preparing herself for a war she knows is coming her way. We’ve witnessed this change start to take place over the past few weeks. And it is nearly complete. Emily Carey is superb as Alicent. And signs off with great aplomb.
Milly Alcock signs off as Rhaenyra in style. Over the past five weeks, we’ve followed her journey from a wide-eyed innocent into a scheming, manipulative, lying queen-to-be. And we can believe that she will do as Otto Hightower suggests. We can believe that she will murder her half-siblings to keep her claim to the Iron Throne safe. And that is all down to Milly Alcock’s amazing performance as the character. We still hope that she will be a good queen, someone who won’t turn out to be like Cersei or even like her future relative Daenerys Targaryen. Those of us who have read the book know the outcome and who she will turn out to be. But despite knowing her qualities, Milly Alcock still makes her likable. And we will miss both her and Emily Carey going forward.
As always, the trailer for next week’s episode has been released. And we present it below:
Things are going to change in a significant way from here. We are heading towards the real meat of the story, the dramatic changes that are coming our way. And it isn’t going to be pretty. As for this fifth episode, however, it does have some violence but once again, is concerned with the drama, the story, and moving us to a place where the game will explode into vicious and violent life. While we will miss the contributions of Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, we can rest assured that the story will be heading into some dark and nasty places. And that some characters won’t see the final credits at the end of this first season. But the build-up stops here. And with that, this fifth episode of House Of The Dragon is highly enjoyable.
‘Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon‘ is available to watch on HBO Max and other streaming services around the globe now.
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Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!