TV Review: This Week on Game of Thrones (S4 Episode 5/ May 4, 2014)

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EPISODE 5: First of His Name

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). I can’t believe tonight marks the halfway point of the season, but the good news is, it didn’t disappoint. I’m also very intrigued by the show’s departures—like last week’s White Walker council, but we’ll come back to that another night. Tommen’s the king, and over and above the crowd’s cheering, you could almost hear everyone breathe a sigh of relief. At first it looks like Cersei’s not feeling the whole Margaery/Tommen vibe—it was totally shaping for catfight central—but things take a surprising turn. Cersei opens up. To be honest, this is Cersei night, and although it’s ‘cool’ to hate her, I’ve been waiting for this type of night for a long time. In the books, Cersei is a much stronger, and more relevant character. The show sometimes forgets this. Actually, most of the time. She’s terribly smart, maybe not as smart as Tyrion, but she’s equally cunning, something we see a glimpse of tonight. To hear her go on about being shocked by Joeffry, to the heartfelt speech with Oberyn about missing her daughter, and then finally the brooding conversation with her father, it was by far a Cersei night. Oh, and the look on her face when Margaery was trying to be all nonchalant about still wanting to be queen = priceless.

Daenerys has an open moment with Jorah about leadership and consequences. Conquering Slaver’s Bay isn’t as straight forward as she’s hoped. She’s getting more aggressive about crossing the narrow sea, but that pure heart of hers is why people are rooting for her, and she’s determined to make things right before she leaves. On a side note, I guess the dragons are on vacation (they’ve been absent the past three episodes), or maybe they’ve begun to realize this war can’t be won without them so they’re renegotiating their contracts. I’d be pissed too if I was working for random animals and fish. We get a small scene with Brienne and Podrick, but as much as I like the pairing, it felt forced and useless.

One of the most interesting chain of events (much to everyone’s surprise I’m sure) is taking place in the Eyrie. First, let me say that the landscape shots were breathtaking, what a gem of a fortress. The only problem is having to deal with that oober nutbag Lysa and her gimp son—I wouldn’t normally make fun of kids, but that one is purely f*cked. I’ll never forget the breast feeding scene. It’s burned into my memory. It’s one thing to read about it, but another to see it. I couldn’t imagine being cooped up in that mental ward. Littlefinger is obviously not amused by the notion either, and then BOOM, Lysa starts spilling the beans about her husband and the letter to Cat as part of her and Littlefinger’s elaborate plan. That dude really is the most dangerous man in Westeros. Knowing Littlefinger, I can’t see her sticking around with that kind of information much longer—she’ll be on a boat right next to Dontos. Poor Sansa. She just can’t seem to get off the crazy train. Lysa’s ‘motherly chat’ sent chills down my spine. Sansa’s going to need a rich husband because her shrink bills are going to be monstrous.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON fifth episode is just as relentless as the four that came before it, and that’s to say things are heating up fast. I wish we’d seen more of Arya tonight, but much like many of the other characters, the show’s exhausted their material and has been forced to make them hover. That said, I loved watching her Bravosi water dancing, and what a shocking moment when she names The Hound of as one of those she intends to kill. The real fun tonight comes from the north, when Jon and his crew come down on Craster’s Keep. Much like many of the battle we’ve seen in the show, it’s over far too quickly, but there were a good many highlights to enjoy—the fight between Jon and Karl was great fun, with an epic kill to boot. Locke’s attempt to take Bran was foolhardy, and gave Hodor a turn in the spotlight. Hodor! I was wondering how this would turn out, considering Bran and Jon don’t cross paths in the book—obviously this was done for added dramatic value, and I’m cool with that as I don’t mind surprises. The best kill of the night however, goes to Ghost, and his and Jon’s reunion was one I’ve been anxious to see. Another solid episode, but is it me, or is this season going by way too fast?

SEX/NUDITY: There’s some sexual thematic elements still going on at Craster’s, but the boys put the kybosh on that shit real quick.

VIOLENCE: No shortage of that tonight, even if it all takes place in the north. The battle royale is quite a sight, with stabbings, facial impaling, and mofos being chewed to bits. It’s a solid night for the good guys.

SHARPEST QUIP: : Arya’s “One name left. The Hound,” was quite epic, even if there wasn’t much to the quote itself. I also liked Daario’s “I heard you like ships,” line when asked by Dany why he decided to acquire a fleet on his own.

MOST EPIC SCENE: Like I said, it’s a Cersei night. I loved her scene with Margaery, but I also enjoyed her scene with Tywin as they discuss financial burdens and the choices that come with them.



And, here's a preview of next week's episode "The Laws of Gods and Men"


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