By Daniel Konstantinovic, E23 Entertainment Manager and Director

Strap on your armor and sharpen your sword – “Game of Thrones” is back for its sixth season. The hit series which attempts to balance intrigue, character and fantasy spectacle has returned to HBO for its next 10-episode run, this time advancing the story beyond author George R. R. Martin’s released source material.

After last season ended on the heavy note of fan-favorite Jon Snow’s unexpected death, fans have impatiently waited for the new season to arrive and tie up loose ends. However, if the first episode of the season could be described in one word, it would be “uneventful.”

It’s strange that “uneventful” is the most correct description for an episode of a show that juggles a dozen plot lines involving dragons, armies and romance, but the first episode of season six feels more like an hour of recapping season five than any meaningful step forward with the stories at play.

Throughout the episode we get glimpses at what several characters are doing – or will be doing – throughout the season. We see how Davos begins to handle the mutiny at the wall. Brienne meets up with Sansa. Arya is blind and wandering the streets of Davos. Jaime reunites with Cersei after the loss of their daughter.

This might sound like a lot, but in reality it’s close to nothing at all. This is the first episode where you can really see the show’s multiple plot lines weighing down on it. How are you supposed to juggle 12 different, independent storylines and give them equal depth when you only have 10 episodes in a season?

No progress was made in any story this season – except for the Dorne storyline, which only becomes more baffling in this episode with a cheesy, rushed coup d’état – and the show simply cannot afford to meander around with so much ground to cover.

Much of what we see in these brief scenes with each character covers ground we already have. Tyrion and Varys find their queen’s fleet burning in the shipyard, meaning we’ll get another season of Dany rebuilding her fleet before heading west, something it feels like we’ve seen too many times since season one.

In his scene, Tyrion serves as a microphone for showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, saying, “Well, we won’t be sailing to Westeros anytime soon,” with the cadence of a punch line.

As Sansa got a glimpse of hope from meeting Brienne, I found myself thinking, “Maybe this will be Sansa’s season to shred things up,” which is something I’ve said to myself every season since Ned Stark’s death in season one.

Arya too is left covering familiar ground, begging in the streets of Braavos and forced to fight a many-faced woman despite her blindness. It begs the question of whether or not this season will be another one full of brutal training and cult ritual for Arya. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if she became Matt Murdock and starred in Daredevil season three.

The episode attempts to end on a twist by revealing that Melisandre – a character so incessantly sexualized that everyone except 14-year-old boys will roll their eyes when she begins to undress – is actually several hundred years old and becomes a decrepit, deeply unattractive body once she takes her magical necklace off. Though interesting, this “twist” ultimately reveals nothing new and does nothing to advance the story.

Melisandre is hundreds of years old and secretly a bloated old woman. So what? We’ve known she’s strange and magical for some time now, and her youthful appearance tells us nothing of whether or not she will be able to resurrect Jon Snow or Stannis Baratheon, something fans have been expecting since Snow’s death last season. The only real ‘twist’ here is that men who watch “Game of Thrones” have been fantasizing about a 500-year-old lady every time Melisandre undresses on screen and they’re only now realizing it.

When all is said and done, this season premiere of “Game of Thrones” does not bode well for the remaining nine episodes of the show. To be fair, there is much ground for the writers to cover and establish, but they cover it too lightly and too little. I worry that the show will not be able to explore new plots going forward until it frees up time by clearing up lose ends.

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