In last week’s premiere, we caught up with a majority of the running storylines and now with episode 2 we shift focus to catch up with everything else, most notably the Starks. A great deal of the episode is spent with Catelyn, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and even (gasp!) a brief appearance by Rickon.
Bran has another 3 eyed crow dream and we meet Jojen Reed (why yes, you’re right, that is the kid from Love Actually!) who shares this same type of dream. When Bran awakes, we are reminded of his time with Osha, Rickon and Hodor and that they are on the run from the overrun Winterfell, and making their way towards the Wall. As they journey, they meet Jojen in the real, waking world along with his sister Meera. Jojen knows a great deal about Bran’s dreams, and serves as kind of a Yoda for Bran and his questions. It’s all pretty compelling stuff as the subject of magic is constantly skirted and addressed in both the books and the show and they do a good job here of feeding you enough tidbits to keep you interested and guessing without giving too much of it away.
Robb and Talisa continue their romance but it seems the rest of Robb’s northmen don’t have the same affection for the healer as they continuously interrupt the two in private moments, and Rickard Karstark even declaring the war over since he married her. Catelyn learns that her father has passed away, and that Winterfell has fallen. Clearly she’s not having a good day, but she shares a moment with Talisa that is fascinating as we learn about her depth of hatred for Jon Snow while at the same time learning about the extraordinary things she did to keep him alive. It’s a riveting scene between the two and one of the best of the episode.
Speaking of the fall of Winterfell, we check in with Theon Greyjoy, who is probably having a worse day than Catelyn as we see him being tortured by some anonymous baddies. There are some screws through extremities, and the show even takes a page from Walking Dead, and gives us an “almost too difficult to watch” approach in showing one of his fingernails getting pried off. It’s not all bad news for Theon, it seems there may be a rescue in the works, so he’s not completely without hope.
In King’s Landing we spend a little time with one of the most hated characters on television as we see Joffrey continuing be a little bastard to his mother and anyone else in the room or within 10 miles for that matter. Margaery is forewarned by Sansa what an insufferable little monster he is and clearly toys with him as he teaches her about hunting and his infamous crossbow. Funny how we the audience get who the real hunter is and who is the clueless prey.
Arya, Hot Pie and Gendry are still are on the run from Harrenhal when they run afoul of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Arya’s plucky spirit is still intact as she challenges Thoros and Anguy, earning their respectful amusement. All in all, they don’t do much, just a little travelling and have a meal at an inn. The truly interesting moment comes as the Hound allows himself to captured by the Brotherhood for the purpose of drinking himself unconscious. He very nearly immediately recognizes Arya, and calls her out for being a Stark. Uh oh. Now that’s going to be trouble.
And I’ve saved what I think was the best for last. Jaime and Brienne. These two are just unbelievable. He’s just one of those obnoxious, arrogant people and she’s just one of those stick up her butt kind of people and they clash and fight over almost anything and everything which of course is just flat out fun to watch. You want her to punch him, but you also want her to hold back just a little because he’s just charismatic enough where you want him to learn a lesson and get knocked down a peg or three, and not actually be hurt. Their verbal sparring turns into a deadly earnest duel when he tricks her and gets one of her swords away, but they are interrupted by bannerman to the Starks Roose Bolton. Uh oh, that’s going to be trouble too.
To sum it all up, I think this was a better episode than last week, and really set the pace of what’s to come for these particular characters and their storylines. This is must see TV at its finest. Great cast, great characters, amazing sets and costumes and a few other random tidbits that make a series great like incest, backstabbing, sex, drugs and Rock and Roll. Ok, I put in the Rock and Roll, but the rest is true I swear!
Sundays on HBO