Every week throughout season six, a handful of Vox's writers will discuss the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Before you dig in, check out our recap of Sunday's episode, as well the archive of our entire discussion to date. First up this week is culture writer Alex Abad-Santos.
Alex Abad-Santos: In "No One," Game of Thrones robbed us of a very satisfying death.
We didn’t get to see the demise of the Waif, one of the show’s most hated characters this side of Ramsay Bolton. That anthropomorphized satchel of unwashed twigs was so openly unpleasant.
We spent weeks watching her beat blind Arya with a stick in some off-brand Daredevil fight scenes, like a theater kid with broken dreams trying to outperform everyone at karaoke night. We watched her chase Arya around Braavos’s open-air markets like a T-1000. We were accosted by that same stern facial expression week after week. Faye Marsay gave a great performance, making the character so annoying that I wanted to see her ended in the worst way.
And we didn’t even get to see her die.
It’s sort of comical that we didn’t get to see Game of Thrones’ brattiest character since King Joffrey get served, considering how much criticism the show receives for being sexist and gratuitous in its violence. I thought for sure that we’d see assassin Tracy Flick get what’s coming to her. But then we were given a monumental cop out — the lights went out, and Arya delivered her death offscreen.
It’s unclear exactly why. The episode was structured in a fashion that felt like other scenes (e.g., Dany arriving on her dragon while her people are under siege) seemed to be getting out of the way of this Arya-Waif showdown. Perhaps there was a rush for time, or the showrunners never figured out a way to make Arya-Waif fight scenes more compelling.
But I’m interested in whether the Waif will turn out to be just an amuse bouche at the start of a 17-course tasting menu of Arya’s Revenge. Maybe we didn’t get to see the full fight because it might’ve taken away from a more satisfying Arya kill that’s still to come. She does have a list, after all, and Cersei is probably at the top of it, though we probably won’t see an Arya-Cersei confrontation until both their schedules are cleared (Cersei’s is a bit full at the moment).
Could there be one great Arya assassination in these last couple of episodes of season six? I hope so. The show has been dragging her through the mud for what seems like eternity that a payoff is the only way to make sense of it. Or at least give me a director’s cut of "No One" where we get to see Arya exact some sweet revenge on the Waif.