TV Review: This Week on Game of Thrones (S4 Episode 1/ April 6, 2014)

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EPISODE 1: Two Swords

THE PLOT : The long summer is at an end, winter truly is coming and with it the cold winds of war as five self proclaimed Kings claim dominance over Westeros, but there can be only one winner when you play the game of thrones.

THE LOWDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don’t recommend reading this if you haven’t watched this episode). The long winter is finally over and GAME OF THRONES is back! For diehard fans like myself, the opening moments of this episode (before the theme song) are hard to watch. It nearly brought tears to my eyes as Tywin Lannister has Ice (the Valyrian steel greatsword of Eddard Stark) melted down by one of his armorers to forge two new blades—one for Joffrey (Widow’s Wail) and one for Jaime (Oathkeeper). To add insult to injury, he then throws the wolf pelt in the fire and watches it burn—a final FU to the Stark family. This scene not only defines the episode, but it’s my feeling that it will define the season as well. Tywin’s reaction to Jaime’s seemingly unambitious decision to remain in the capital is equally cold—I think disowning him was a little much. I mean, sure, Tywin thinks the only reason he wants to stay is because of Cercei, but what makes this as equally awesome as it is tragic, is the fact that, at long last, honor is guiding his path.

Jaime isn’t long realizing why good guys finish last though, as on top of getting shunned by his father, Cercei is being a world class bitch—and that’s to say, more-so than usual. Telling him he “took too long” to get home. Are you kidding me? Dude was captured, tortured, had his hand lopped off, fought a bear, and killed just about anyone in his way to get back to King’s Landing, and it wasn’t because he was itching to fight a war. He wanted to get back to her. And boohoo, Cercei, you had to be alone for a while (and by “alone” I mean sleeping with that bony little twerp, Lancel), you suffered through a brief siege, which I’ll give you, would’ve been very stressful had Stannis won, but he didn’t, and you did have your daughter shipped up to Dorne, but hey, that’s not Jaime’s fault. All in all, I think it’s pretty cold the way she’s acting, and if I were Jaime, I’d have licked the back of my golden hand and pimp-slapped her in the teeth.

Poor Tyrion is stressed to the max, and I don’t blame him, but as much as I love the guy, seeing his uneasiness in the wake of Prince Oberyn’s appearance is a delightful change of pace. Oberyn, also known as The Red Viper, is nothing short of impressive. I love the guy’s storyline, his fearlessness and overall “all Lannisters must die” attitude—the brothel scene that Tyrion walks into is priceless. And if that were not enough, it appears as though his ruse with Shae is about to be up, which won’t end well. Two more scenes that stood out in King’s Landing tonight are Sansa’s meeting with Ser Dontos, and Margery and Granny Tyrell’s surprise visit from Brienne. The Ser Dontos scene might easily be overlooked if not for the fact that Sansa hasn’t had many breaks or reasons to smile of late. It’s heartwarming seeing him seek her out to thank her for saving his life. I sincerely loved this scene. Ironic however, that as Jaime and Brienne are above discussing how best to protect her, a drunken slob is able to slip past everyone unnoticed and present her with a gift. Good thing he didn’t want to slip a dagger between her ribcage.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON 4’s first episode didn’t have that “everything got shoehorned in” feel to it, which is nice, because at the same time, we visited just about everyone and get a lot of ground covered. Jon Snow’s unveiling of the truth to the Night’s Watch (Maester Aemon is the man), Tormund’s Wildling band meeting up with a new group of badass looking mofo’s whose favorite meat is Crow (and I don’t mean the bird), and our Mother of Dragons roaming the desert, yet again, looking to make more slave traders pay the iron price. These scene weren’t too short, but were only long enough to progress the story. The only complaint I have in this regard is the painfully obvious actor swap of Daario Naharis. The previous actor, Ed Skrein—who was awesome I thought, dropped out to star in the upcoming TRANSPORTER reboot/prequel (who gives a rat’s ass because it probably won’t be any good). The good news is, aside from looking nothing alike, the new guy’s fine. The same can’t be said for his boring gambling oriented scenes tonight, a bit of a waste of Danny’s limited screen time if you ask me. The real treat comes in the form of Arya and The Hound. The story’s most unlikely duo are an electrifying spectacle to behold. Both characters realize they have nothing but each other at this point (although I’m waiting for Arya to seek out Jon Snow, now THAT is a reunion I want to see), but you can tell they’ve grown fond of one another. Neither of them would ever admit it, but it’s never been clearer than it is tonight. Every word of dialogue that comes out of the Hound’s mouth is pure gold, and as for Arya, nothing made me happier than seeing Needle back in her hand, that is, aside from burying it in that fool’s throat. I’m so pumped this show’s back! Is it Sunday yet?

SEX/NUDITY: We get some brothel action in the beginning when Oberyn and his woman get to town, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Jaime wants sex, but Cercei’s being a biatch, and I think the Arya and The Hound indirectly save a chick from getting raped.

VIOLENCE: Oberyn sets this ball in motion with an awesome confrontation in the brothel, but Arya and The Hound are the true death dealers tonight and it’s pretty damn sweet.

SHARPEST QUIP: Everything The Hound says, and nearly everything Oberyn says, but I have to narrow it down to Oberyn stealing the Lannister’s credo after pretty much telling Tyrion he’s there to avenge his sister; “Tell your father I’m here. And tell him, the Lannisters’s aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”

MOST EPIC SCENE: There are more than a few to choose from tonight, but I have to go with the obscure but meaningful scene with Daenerys and her black dragon. It opens with her coddling him like a kitten, but once the other two come back with meat, he gets all alpha male on them and tries to take it. Danny tries to mildly scold him and he snaps at her. The look on her face is what makes this scene epic as hell.



And, here’s a preview of next week’s episode “The Lion and The Rose”


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