House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 5 Review: We Light the WayPaul Dailly at .
Since House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 1, it's been inevitable that a significant shift is in the cards, and when that happens, the series will get going.
We reached that big shift on House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 5, an hour that changed the dynamics between every character, setting us up for the bloodshed.
In many respects, some of the episodes leading up to this point have been too exposition-heavy, but now that things are moving, we should probably prepare for a much faster pace from here on out.
It was important to really hone in on the relationships and wants of the characters to drive home their machinations.
Alicent has been so devoted to Rhaenyra that she never thought about the bigger picture.
Alicent's bond with Rhaenyra has allowed them to withstand many bumps in the road, but it looks like Alicent is done with being told things about her best friend on a need-to-know basis.
Ser Criston accidentally dropping the bombshell about his behind-the-scenes trysts with Rhaenyra is one of the most shocking TV moments in recent memory.
Alicent wanted confirmation about whether Rhaenyra and Daemon did indeed sleep together, and she got so much more information than she expected.
We can assume that her wearing a green dress, showing up to the festivities, and interrupting the King's speech was her way of showing she's ready to fight back.
Her family understood as much and offered their help wherever necessary, which should send things in a clear direction in the back half of the season.
The tricky aspect here is that Alicent would have probably sided with Rhaenyra had her one-time friend been open and honest about everything.
Ser Criston was undoubtedly blinded by his love for Rhaenyra to understand the bigger picture at play, but hey, he wanted to run away with Rhaenyra to Essos.
It sounds almost dream-like, but it shows how much he thought of Rhaenyra.
We also need to remember here that Rhaenyra struck up this secret relationship with Ser Criston, so she has to take some of the responsibility for what's about to happen.
Deep down, Ser Criston felt betrayed by the way everything transpired, and Ser Joffrey Loudmouth trying to get in his ear didn't help, either.
It was inevitable Ser Criston would lash out in some manner, but I didn't expect him to bask Joffrey's head. That came out of the left field, but it was an effective way to show his rage.
Ser Criston was embarrassed that Rhaenyra had played him, and he couldn't stand the thought of anyone else playing him.
He knew there would be questions about his violent outburst, so he didn't see any way out of this scenario other than killing himself.
Alicent showing up in the nick of time shows that these two have more in common than we first thought, and they might turn out to be one of the most formidable duos in Westeros' history.
It will be fun to see this other side of Alicent now that she knows exactly what she wants and has to do to get it.
Viserys collapsing as Ser Laenor and Rhaenyra were getting married was another wild development that could have severe ramifications depending on how it's handled on House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 6.
Rhaenyra recognizing that her cousin wasn't interested in her sexually, highlighted that she's thinking about what she has to do in the short term to live life by her rules down the line.
Corlys and Rhaenys should have been more apprehensive about this union because Viserys spent so much time trying to outmaneuver Corlys that the Sea Snake went to the King's enemies.
Uniting the houses does sound like a good plan in theory, but do we really think Corlys and Rhaenys will allow Rhaenyra and Laenor's children to ascend the Iron Throne with Targaryen as a surname?
There was a warmth from Rhaenys when Viserys was in a coughing fit earlier in the episode, which took me by surprise.
It made me wonder whether she was worried about Viserys or getting the nuptials completed before he died. Anyone can tell his health is declining and that it's only a matter of time before he passes away.
it's sad to think about, but his death will upend everything in Westeros, especially if Alicent is now thinking about preparing Aegon for the Throne.
Say what you will about House of the Dragon, but it's more like Game of Thrones than Game of Thrones was.
The level of scheming all in the name of getting on a throne is off the charts.
It wouldn't be House of the Dragon without Daemon setting fires and watching things burn down.
In this instance, his wife felt his frustration, and honestly, he may not look the smartest, but he's thinking about the long game here.
His verbal beatdown with Gerald showed that to perfection. He stands to earn some power on the back of this murder.
Power is influence, and this dude wants as much influence as possible.
His chat with Rhaenyra at the wedding was telling, too. His decision to leave Rhaenyra after their tryst has many meanings, but he knows they will work better together as rulers.
Rhaenyra's comments about him taking her to Dragonstone to be his wife certainly hinted that she would be open to that prospect.
Rhaenyra wants to be a free spirit like her uncle, conquering lands people wouldn't even consider.
As things stand, her life is pretty much planned out, and that's what scares her the most.
"We Light the Way" was a stellar episode of House of the Dragon. The groundwork has been set for the rest of the season, and I can't wait to see how it plays out.
I can say that I've already watched House of the Dragon Season 1 Episode 6, and it's the best episode of the season.
Make of that what you will.
What did you think of the wedding drama?
Were you surprised about Alicent being ready to fight for power?
What do you think will happen to Viserys?
Hit the comments below.
House of the Dragon continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.