Simply put, if you’re not watching this show you need to pony up for some HBO, or buy some DVDs and have yourself a marathon to get caught up because this show is kicking proverbial butt and taking proverbial names.
The show’s most popular character was on full display as Tyrion goes verbally toe to toe with his family, the rest of the King’s small council, his hired bodyguard and his own manservant. In the scene’s opening moments, done largely without dialogue and saying more than most shows do with endless, empty scenes, there is some jockeying for position as the invitees all take a chair at the table. Cersei takes a chair to other side of the table as a symbolic gesture of distance, and Tyrion places his chair noisily at the other end opposite his father and the others. It’s clear he’s used to carving out his own space, and it’s a trait that’s on full display here. From there Tyrion launches into some fantastically snarky comments about the quality of tables and meeting space, and after being named new Master of Coin, he goes on a spending spree of sorts, and hires a bunch of prostitutes for his manservant Pod. Tyrion definitely has his “mojo” back after getting verbally crushed by his father in the season opener, and Peter Dinklage is in full command of the character just like always.
We check with Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie in some largely throwaway minutes at Hot Pie stays at the Inn after being offered a job by the owner. Hot Pie’s fate was sealed long ago in the books, and there’s little drama here.
In my favorite scene of the episode, Catelyn and her uncle, the Blackfish, share a moment reminiscing about Cat’s childhood. Clive Russell is just awesome as he shows the tough, gruff fighter during his brother’s funeral, and vulnerability and fondness towards Cat; both subtle and mesmerizing at the same time.
Up north we see the Lord Commander and the Night’s watch limp back to Craster’s Keep where Sam watches Gilly give birth. Unfortunately it’s a boy, and we know from last year that baby boys get sacrificed to the white walkers. Sam seems more freaked out about watching the baby being delivered than the fact that’s it’s a boy, but it’s clear he gets it. Mance and Jon make a plan for an attack on Castle Black, and Jon looks way more uncomfortable and uneasy about attacking the Night’s Watch than ever before. No doubt he’s still not quite used to acting like a spy quite yet.
And there’s set up for one of my favorite scenes from the books as Daenerys buys her 8000 Unsullied, and her army to conquer Westeros. If you’ve read the books, you know what happens next and it’s a doozy. I won’t spoil it here, but keep your eyes peeled to the next couple of episodes, because Dany is about to earn her Targaryen stripes and show everyone what she’s all about.
And last but not least, I left Brienne and Jaime for last again. Why do I always save them for last? They’re simply a couple of the most fascinating characters on TV. Jaime is arrogant, ruthless and cunning, yet still shows signs of humanity and loyalty, even when horribly misplaced. Brienne is stoic, aloof and rigid, and yet we’re seeing signs of both her tenderness and warmth. Jaime does a great job saving her from a horrendous night using only words, and it costs him big at the end. Hats off to the creators for sticking to this storyline, because it was really interesting in the books, and now seeing played out live on TV, it’s as equally compelling.
Oh, and Theon gets rescued from his own awful encounter. Whatever…
Sunday’s on HBO