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TV Reviews

Monday, April 21, 2014 - 19:02 by Spindles

This week's episode dispenses with a Previously... in favour of picking up where the last episode left us: staring at the bloodied corpse of the winner of this year's "Much More Likeable Now He's Dead" award, King Joffrey the Purple. Tyrion is arrested as Sansa is led off by Joffrey's fool, narrowly avoiding being arrested herself. She is whisked away on a boat where she falls into the awaiting arms of... Littlefinger! So that's where he's been hiding so far this season. Dontos recieves his payment in crossbow bolts and we are left wondering what Little Finger's motivation is as he basically tells Sansa that she's been framed, by him. It's worth noting that Littlefinger has obviously been spending far too much time at sea as his accent has become inexplicably piratey. Yarrrr.

Margaery Tyrell/Lannister decides she must be cursed, we can't help but agree.

Tommen attends his first Regal 101 lecture with Tywin over the still cooling corpse of his brother. This feels slightly less appropriate that what Jaime and Cersei get up to a couple of minutes later after Cersei tries to persuade Jaime to murder poor old Tyrion through the medium of shagging him over Joffrey's body. Seriously guys, the dry humping comments last week were just a joke okay.

We're back with The Hound and Arya next and we start to see a slightly softer side to The Hound as they are taken in by a father and daughter and given shelter and food. We're reminded how much of a cad Walder Frey was when as he broke the hospitality clause by killing his guests at the Red Wedding and The Hound agrees to help the farmer deal with some bandits for a fair wage. Aww... That's so sweet... No wait... He's still an absolute bastard as he robs them blind and wanders off into the sunrise.

Castle Black gets a new intake of thieves, murderers and rapists for the Night's Watch and we can't help but root for the Wildlings at this point. Our only hope is that Sam and his girlfriend get out before the killing starts.

Stannis and Davos catch up with the King's Landing current events and Davos hatches a cunning plan. Something to do with The Iron Bank which seems to be getting mentioned a lot of late, perhaps they are planning to take down the empire through the small claims court?

Prince Oberyn and Tywin get together over a glass of wine and some naked bodies to discuss Joffrey's murder and Oberyn is offered a position as third judge on the murder trial.

We finally get to catch up with Tyrion as Podrick gets visitation rights. It appears that pretty much anyone who could have spoken up for Tyrion has either been offered a bribe, gone missing or been denied due to being cut-throats so things are not looking particularly good for Tyrion at this point. I really don't think that they'll have the same trial by combat clause in King's Landing so, barring a miracle, I doubt this is going to end well.

Ygritte and The Wildlings (a punk band if ever there was one) partake in a bit of recreational slaughter on their way to Castle Black as Jon Snow and The Night's Watch (80's New Romantic covers band?) realise that they are about to be trampled by the horde from the north.

We end on this week's Daenerys update which consists of a literal pissing contest and a promise that she will free the slaves of the city.

All in all, a predictably downbeat episode after last week's offering. Again, we can see the cogs grinding towards a lot of unpleasantness occurring in the back half of the season as the pieces on the board re-shuffle in the wake of Joffrey's demise.

Quote of the Week:
The Hound
How many Starks they got to behead before you figure things out?

Rating:
6
Topics:
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 00:09 by Spindles

Judging by this week's Previously... it would appear that all the things I thought were notable by their absence last week are due to be addressed this episode.

From the off, we get to catch up on what's happening with poor old Theon Greyjoy, or Reek as he now appears to be called. Obviously we, the audience, need to be reminded how much of a bastard Iwan Rheon's character is (pun most definitely intended) so we're treated a scene of him hunting some girl through the woods and watch on as he releases the hounds to chew upon this poor unfortunate's face. Then we get an inkling that the director of this particular episode obviously has a wicked sense of humour as we cut from a shot of a rather forlorn looking Theon to a plate full of massive sausages. Nice.

We then get to see a rare scene with Tyrion and Jaime, both characters have come quite a long way since we last saw them drinking together way back in Season 1 so it's nice to see the two of them relaxing for a change with Tyrion even offering to help Jaime get back his fighting mojo. Now, I'm reliably informed that Bronn should not be the one training Jaime, but I'm glad he is, more screen time for Bronn = more chuckling from me.

There then follows a scene with many Boltons, the culmination of which I believe is that if The Bastard of Bolton can kick the shit out of Moat Cailin then he'll be elevated to Lord High Bastard or some such title.

And we're back in King's Landing as the preparations for Joffrey's wedding continue we find that Varys is unwilling to cover up Tyrion's relationship with Shae and it's starting to look fairly likely that she's not going to survive the episode as Cersei rats her out to Tywin. Joffrey partakes in a little of what appears to be his favourite passtime in this episode, that of Tyrion baiting by chopping his present up into little bits with one of them there re-forged Valyrian Steel swords. We, the audience wish it was Joffrey being minced.

Tyrion pulls out his complete bastard card in an attempt to get rid of Shae before she gets strung up and her odds of survival increase slightly as she is escorted off camera by Bronn.

We're then given an opportunity to catch up with a bunch of characters that I'd almost forgotten about: Stannis, Mother of Smoke Baby and the Onion Knight amongst others. To be perfectly honest I really have no idea what these characters are up to, but I'm sure I'll have recieved a potted history on them by next week's show.

All of a sudden we're chewing on a deer. This can only mean we're back with Bran and (YAY) Hodor. A brief bit of warging and tree hugging later, Bran now apparently knows where he has to go and what he has to do. I, on the other hand, still have no bogging clue.

So to the main event. The Purple Wedding. Surely after the Red Wedding this one will go swimmingly well.

The wedding itself seems to go off with only the intended hitch and then there's the after party. We're treated to a marvellous spectacle of musicians, fools, a dwarven re-enactment society and more. It seems at this stage that Shae has managed to escape a grisly fate at Tywin's hands and has been packed off on a boat by Bronn, but I'm not convinced. There are so many wonderful exchanges during this scene that they are impossible to list but mainly consist of people being overly sarcastic and threatening to each other. If the tensions continue to rise like this it's entirely likely that we're going to be several characters lighter by the end of this episode.

As Joffrey's Tyrion baiting approaches epic proportions I begin to wonder if any other child character has ever been so universally hated as Joffrey. It occurs to me that even if Draco Malfoy had skinned Dobby the House Elf and wore his flesh as a meat suit onesie whilst dry humping the cooling corpses of our favourite fallen Gryffindors he would still come in a distant second behind this insufferable little prick. Just as I think Tyrion is about to start tearing Joffrey a new arsehole it appears our beloved king has a bit of a frog in his throat. A few seconds escalation later and I suddenly understand why this is called the Purple Wedding as we are treated to a spectacular scene of Joffrey failing his saving throw versus poison.

Sansa is whisked off by the fool and Tyrion is carried off accused of poisoning the king. Seriously, this guy really never gets a break.

All in all, a wonderful episode and a fitting end to Joffrey's reign. The one thing I take from this week's episode is: Never invite George R.R. Martin to a wedding.

Quote of the week:
Joffrey:
(Gargles on his own blood)

Rating:
9
Topics:
Monday, April 7, 2014 - 23:34 by Spindles

And with a 'Dun Dun, Da Da Dun Dun, Da Da Dun Dun, Da Da Dun Dun' we're back.

A rather long 'Previously...' this time round, going all the way back to poor old Ned Stark's rather extreme migraine treatment back at the tail end of season 1. The reason for taking us back this far seems to be so we can make sense of why Charles Dance is melting down a big sword in order to make two new ones. A brief bit of dialogue between the now clean-shaven Jamie Lanister and his dear old dad reveals it's some kind of awesome steel, the name of which escapes me, but will probably prove to be a plot point later. It seems this season we're going to be seeing a bit more of Jamie's character now he's back home in King's Landing, but not as much of him as was exposed in season 1 since his sister seems to have lost interest in him now he's lost his more dextrous hand.

Daenerys seems to have forgotten that she's supposed to be coming for the Iron Throne and is content sitting playing with her dragons in the desert and flirting with Daario Naharis who seems to have not so subtly morphed from a blonde elf into a bearded brunette ranger bloke without anyone batting an eyelid.

We see the Wildlings hanging out waiting for re-enforcements while Jon Snow attempts to persuade the NIght's Watch that they are about to get their ass handed to them by the army from beyond the wall.

There's still a lot of fallout from the Red Wedding in this episode as we variously see Sansa, Jon, Arya and others dealing with the loss of their loved ones. Tyrion once again shows his gentler side in dealing with Sansa and her grief, which unfortunately leads to him getting a bollocking from his girlfriend. Arya begins to come out of her shell somewhat in this episode, which is good to see, I can't wait to see how she develops as a character over this season.

So, a lot of the requisite elements are present and correct for a season opener of GoT: beheadings, boobs, people choking to death on their own blood, Bron being hilarious, Joffrey being an insufferable prick, The Hound being awesome and more. Things that seem notable by their absence were Bran and the other remaining Stark child, Hodor, seeing what bits are left of Theon and the dastardly double act of Lord Varys and Little Finger. 

The episode felt a bit thin as we attempt to catch up with a whole slew of characters in a very short space of time. I can see the groundwork they are laying for this season, but I think I would have preferred a double episode with a bit more substance to get me back into it properly. However, that said, I'm hooked for the next nine episodes and can't wait to see what epic unpleasantness they pull on us in episode nine this year.

Quote of the week: 
The Hound: Of course you named your sword.
Arya: Lots of people name their swords.
The Hound: Lots of cunts.

Rating:
7
Topics:

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