This is my first Game of Thrones review, and I have a small confession to make. I've only read the first book so I have absolutely no idea what's coming in the next three episodes. Although I thought this was a good episode, I'll reiterate my fellow reviewer's sentiment about Ser Pounce. Every scene would've been better with Ser Pounce in it.
Tyrion's plotline is one of the more frustrating stories for me, not because I dislike it, but because I'm fairly sure Tyrion isn't going to die. So I'm constantly trying to figure out how the plot is going to get him out of this situation. His first would be champion was Jamie, of course. That scene was bittersweet, as the brothers worked through the aftermath of Tyrion's speech at his trial. Tywin had gotten everything he wanted, and both Tyrion and Jamie were willing to go along with his choices for them. Then came Shae's betrayal, and Tyrion couldn't handle it.
Unfortunately Tyrion's first choice to champion for him can barely sword fight anymore. Jamie really is no longer a match for The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is now the third actor to play this part), and his acceptance would mean they would probably both die. I did love Tyrion's reaction to Jamie's refusal because his singular wit was infused with several layers of emotions; disappointment, understanding, and ultimately sadness that his brother could no longer defend him all hidden behind a smile and a quip.
Bronn's entrance, though, was kind of amazing. Within a second it was obvious not only to Tyrion, but also the audience, that Bronn was no longer in the running to be Tyrion's champion. The betrayal wasn't unexpected, but at least it was never malicious. Tyrion has always known who and what Bronn is, and he has always known that one day someone would offer the sell-sword more money than Tyrion was capable of countering. I liked that there was no bad blood in this scene, although it was a bit more bitter than Jamie's refusal. And that last moment was tragic in a way, because Bronn has always liked Tyrion. Unfortunately it all boiled down to one inescapable fact -- when has Tyrion ever risked his life to save Bronn?
Then we had Oberyn show up. He's an interesting character, in that his motivations are guarded but at the same time he's been very forthright with Tyrion. The story Oberyn told Tyrion about the monster Lannister baby was so descriptive of Tyrion's life that it was clear Oberyn understood Tyrion better than almost anyone else in King's Landing. That even as an infant Tyrion was hated. That Cersei has spent Tyrion's entire life waiting for this moment, as revenge for being born and taking her mother away. It's unfair of course, but when has Cersei ever been fair? She's about as heartless as her father, who is seated next to Cersei on the Tyrion hate wagon.
What sold that scene for me, besides Oberyn's delivery of the dialogue, was Tyrion's face. Throughout that entire conversation he thought he was being mocked, perhaps even in preparation for an assassination. Oberyn's motivations in that scene were so ambiguous at first, that I wasn't sure exactly what was about to happen. It does make perfect sense though. Fighting for Tyrion would also accomplish two things: it would humiliate the Lannisters by having an honored guest and prince stand for their disgraced brother, and it is a chance for Oberyn to finally avenge his sister by killing the Mountain.
He confessed to loving Catelyn, and lamented the fact that Sansa could've been his daughter. Talk about creepy, it was shuddery and wrong how he compared Sansa's beauty to her mother's. Then he kissed her, which finally cemented his intentions towards Sansa which he has been dancing around since season one. Of course Lysa was watching, and of course she flew into a jealous rage.
Threatening Sansa with the Moondoor was probably the final straw for Petyr, but I've hoped that someone would toss Lysa through it before, so to me it was a very satisfying end to her character. Unfortunately that means Robin is now the Lord of the Eyrie. That's unsettling, because he's one evil act away from becoming a dark haired clone of Joffrey. Still, I imagine Littlefinger won't be quite so willing to bend to Robin's demands.
On the Road
I really like the way Brienne and Pod are bonding. That scene in the pub was a good example of their growing relationship. Then Hot Pie showed up. It might've been a bit of a coincidence that one of Arya's friends just happens to be the one serving Brienne, but it didn't bother me too much. Hot Pie's rambling about food fit the scene perfectly though, so I'm willing to forgive a bit of hand of fate here. So after a bit of logical conjecture Brienne and Pod are now heading towards the Eryie, because Tyrion forced Pod to learn the houses. I guess Tyrion is always right.
Arya and the Hound had two small scenes of bonding, where they put some poor man out of his misery after he was left for dead. Arya killed again, and I loved her asking for her victim's name before stabbing him through the heart. Lastly we learned why the Hound hates fire. Not necessarily because of the fire itself, but because his brother was the one who burned him over a fight with a toy. How young was he? That small confession explained so much about his character, and Arya tending to him was a nice subtle way to express the fact that she no longer actively wants to kill him.
Across the Narrow Sea
I have to mention how wonderful Peter Dinklage is. If he isn't nominated for some award for this season I'd be surprised and mildly disappointed.
Pedro Pascal (Oberyn) has really stood out for me this season. He just had a long arc on The Mentalist, and although I recognized him immediately, he looked, sounded, and behaved in such an opposite way from Oberyn that it would've been easy to think he was a different actor altogether.
Bronn's bride to be is named Lollys Stokeworth. What a name.
Melisandre and Selyse had a small scene that seemed to be centered around Shireen, but I think it was also about faith. The red woman admitted openly to using tricks to get people to believe, basically saying the ends justify the means. It speaks to a lot of her behavior throughout the series, basically she's just a zealot and a con-artist (even if her god is real). Unfortunately she's sold her con to a king.
Jon's continued attempts to protect the wall are still falling on deaf ears. It's not surprising, but very disappointing. I have to say I'm really liking what they are doing with Jon this season. He feels stronger and more deserving of being Commander of the Night's Watch (which I've always assumed is where his character is headed).
Bronn: "Aye, I'm your friend, but when have you ever risked your life for me."
Dying Man: "Could I have a drink? Dying is thirsty work."
I think this was a good episode, but the plots didn't really coalesce into a single driving narrative. In a show this serialized, that's not a bad thing, but it does make it very hard to rate an episode that was basically a bridge between plots.
So tentatively I give this one;
3 out of 4 Bodies broken on the rocks below the Eryie
Reminder: The comments on these episode reviews are appropriate for newbies. If you haven't read the books, you're safe! If you have read the books and would like to talk about upcoming events, please do so here, in our Season Four spoiler thread.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related. He reviews Arrow and Farscape and cool new movies that strike his fancy.
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