Monday, April 9, 2012

'Game of Thrones' recap: 'The Night Lands'

Tom Wlaschiha, courtesy HBO

Loyal viewers have been treated, once again, to an amazing episode of HBO's Game of Thrones. Even though it lacked the screen time of the loathsome King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), baby dragons and the noble Robb Stark (Richard Madden), the episode delivered what Thronies ache most for - awesome quotes from Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and raunchy sex. Oh yes, there were some other plot developments too.

The episode opens on the King's Road and the arrival of some goldcloaks from King's Landing. They're looking for Arya (Maisie Williams) right? Wrong. They want Gendry (Joseph Dempsie), King Robert's bastard son who escaped the bastard slaughter commanded by Joffrey. Yoren (Francis Magee), who is a protective Night's Watchman, delicately threatens the one soldier's femoral artery with his freshly-sharpened knife that could shave a spider's ass (if he wanted to). Best threat ever, right? Needless to say, that made them turn around but they promised to return with more men. Later in the episode, Gendry and Arya have an informative exchange and Gendry discovers Arya's true identity. I'm loving their chemistry. Also, methinks we should keep an eye out on the new introduction to the Night's Watch, the polite, third-person-speaking caged prisoner Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha, shown here).

Ample Tyrion screen time made this episode extra enjoyable. When Varys the eunuch (Conleth Hill) points out that Tyrion's dad forbade him from bringing his whore du jour Shae to King's Landing, Tyrion makes it quite clear that he's not a fan of being threatened. When Cersei (Lena Headey) receives Robb Stark's proposal from cousin Alton Lannister (Karl Davies), her refusal prompts my favorite line of the night from Tyrion, "You've perfected the art of tearing up paper." Hand of the King AND Court Jester? Love him! Later in the episode, he protects himself by replacing current Commander of the City Watch, Lord Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter). Slynt's betrayal of former Hand, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), booked him a trip to the dreaded Wall and gave the I'm-not-afraid-to-kill-babies-for-a-price Bronn (Jerome Flynn), a new career opportunity.

Meanwhile on "Keeping Up With the Crasters", the boys are drooling over the heavily clad daughter/wives when a direwolf (Ghost) starts bullying wildling, Gilly (Hannah Murray). Sam (John Bradley-West) rescues her and discovers that she is preggers. He asks Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) if they could take her along and that he could deliver her baby (he read how in a book! HA!). Jon says no but Gilly provides some foreshadowing. If she is pregnant with a boy, well...

A brief scene on the Red Waste shows the still weary Daenerys (the always gorgeous, Emilia Clarke), spying a riderless horse with a dripping bag of goo on its side. Apparently the other khals out there don't like a woman leading the khalasar? How do we know this? The head of one of her riders, that's how. We see more evidence of her compassion when she promises the rider's widow a funeral pyre. Will the dragons provide the fire?

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) shows us that he's not too picky nor into foreplay, especially when he's on a ship to his homeland of Pyke to see his daddy, Lord of the Iron Islands, Balon (Patrick Malahide) - whose failed rebellion against dead King Robert nine years ago led to Theon being sent as a ward to the Starks. Theon is heading to his seaside home to ask pop (who has a kick-ass octopus/kraken fireplace that would make Lovecraft shiver his timbers), to join the Starks in their fight against the Lannisters. Balon refuses and seems to think that his daughter would make a better leader than his horny, bejeweled son. Yes Theon, that was your sister you felt up on the ride to see daddy. Poor Theon doesn't know where he belongs anymore.

In our favorite neighborhood brothel, we find Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is peeking through at one of his girls orally servicing a client - who is then spying through a hole at another client and prostitute doing the nasty. When A-lister hooker Ros breaks down crying during the act because she is sad about her bestie's infant getting slaughtered at Joffrey's decree, her miffed customer gets another client's sloppy seconds (that wasn't hairgel on that girl's mouth). How considerate of Littlefinger to wipe man porridge off her lips before she deeply kisses that paying customer, right? Littlefinger then "comforts" Ros with the quote of the night "Sometimes those with the most power, have the least grace" and conveys a cautionary tale of a less-than-profitable former whore. She does get the night off to mourn, though. Nice boss! We get a more detailed glimpse into Littlefinger's complex and harsh character.

We get to meet another cool character tonight. His name is Salladhor Saan (Lucian Msamati) and he's a booty-loving pirate who has pledged his allegiance to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). When I say booty, I mean he wants to collect Cersei's booty when he helps attack King's Landing. He also utters one of the best quotes of all time, "The one true god is what's between a woman's legs." Speaking of a woman's legs, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) informs Stannis that he must have faith that he could defeat his brother for the crown, but that he has to give ALL of himself to the Lord of Light. Apparently, this means pounding her on a less-than-comfortable looking strategy table despite Stannis proclaiming loyalty to his sick wife. Melisandre promised Stannis a son in return. She's quite a giver.

In the super-creepy closing scene, Jon Snow spies Craster (Robert Pugh) carrying a baby boy into the snowy woods and leaving him out there for god's know what. Oh THAT'S what Gilly was alluding to? Whatever it is - looks like one of those zombified White Walkers a grumpkin - I hope we see more of them. The episode ends with the discovered Jon Snow getting cold-cocked by Craster. Another great episode! Until next week, Thronies...

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9pm ET/PT on HBO.