Spoiler Alert Thursday
Basically there was just two shows with new episodes this week (at least that are worth mentioning): “The Killing” and “Game of Thrones.”
With respect to “The Killing,” it was more of the same: what we thought was a major clue at the end of the previous episode turned out to be absolutely nothing. But, don’t worry, by the end of the episode there is another major clue and it too will likely result in nothing. This strikes me as particularly excellent writing: need a new episode? Invent a new clue or a new character. Strangely, Metacritic says that the series has received “universal acclaim” by professional television writers and has a normalized score of 84 out of 100. I find this highly improbable: the show is poorly written and poorly conceived, its plot is preposterous, and, frankly, I can’t see how anyone could possibly care who Rosie’s killer is except in the minimal sense of, “Well, I’ve watched ten hours of this piece of shit, so it better be worthwhile.” At least the new homicide/former narc cop is occasionally funny.
As for “Game of Thrones,” I was rather disappointed: not in the episode, but with my cable company–the audio kept cutting out. Fortunately the scenes among the Dothraki are in subtitles, so I didn’t miss much there, but I missed the majority of Tywin and Jaime’s scene and the majority of Ned’s arrest. This was an especially good Drogo episode. Not because of his acting or anything (although his speech was fantastically manic and psychotic), but because of the limitations of the Dothraki language: apparently there is no word for “throne” or “boat” in Dothraki. As a result, they come up with the neologism “iron chair” to refer to the Iron Throne of Westeros and “wooden horse” to refer to boats. I also liked how he called the ocean “the black salty water” and promised to “tear down their stone houses.”
The episode opens rather ominously: having fled King’s Landing after his fight with Ned who has been restored as King’s Hand, Jaime arrives at some Lannister camp. Evidently, rather than hanging out in the castles all day long, Tywin Lannister maintains a uniformed standing army that is always ready to mobilize and he has a special tent in this camp where he symbolically skins a stag (the sigil of the Baratheon family–none of the major episode recaps seemed to have noticed this). For once Jaime isn’t the most arrogant person in the room as his father ceaselessly berates him for not living up to his potential. (Heard that, Jaime.) It would seem killing the previous king is not something particularly remarkable, at least insofar as the Lannisters are concerned. Although in Tywin’s scheme of things, stabbing a king in the back is more notable than not killing your enemy because it isn’t the honorable thing to do. (Tywin isn’t persuaded by Jaime’s argument that killing Ned after he had been impaled in the leg with a spear wasn’t “clean.”) In order to help Jaime make something of himself in this world, Tywin has given him half of the Lannister forces and it is up to Jaime to get his brother, Tyrion, back from those nasty Starks.
Robert is finally dead under shady circumstances involving a failed boar hunt, a bunch of booze, and suspicions about his Lannister squire getting him hammered. This means that the “game of thrones” (or iron chairs) has begun. Quickly we see Renly suggesting to Ned that the Lannister children must be seized so as to prevent them from taking over. And, just as quickly, Ned refuses to take part in such a plot. With this, Renly flees King’s Landing. Ned then decides to proclaim the other Baratheon brother, Stannis, the rightful heir to the throne. This goes predictably well with all of Ned’s soldiers getting killed–again–when Carcetti betrays him. Apparently Carcetti is still bitter that Ned’s brother didn’t kill him in a duel for Catelyn’s hand in marriage many years ago and Carcetti is willing to extend that bitterness to Ned, largely by ensuring that Ned will be executed as a traitor or some-such. Meanwhile, Joffrey demonstrates that he is as completely batshit crazy as we expected him to be.
Given Carcetti’s apparent betrayal, it is worth considering if it was him who was behind the plot to kill John Arryn. After all, Carcetti presented Ned with most of the clues. Another thing to consider is that there are potentially multiple plots afoot: Varys is clearly up to no good and it is his job to be up to no good, but it isn’t clear where his sympathies lie. We should note that Jorah just received a message from Varys when he ran to Danerys’s rescue at the wine merchant’s. Carcetti’s seem pretty evident: he hates the Starks and will join with the Lannisters if it means that the Starks will suffer.
In other news, hipster Jon Snow is kind of an idiot (he didn’t notice that he had been assigned as the personal assistant of the Lord Commander of the Black Watch; i.e., given an apprenticeship to prepare him to take over the Black Watch) and angry Theon Greyjoy is a giant penis-head (as he lectures the Wildling prisoner on the finer details of social hierarchy in Westeros: “You will call me Lord” “Why?” “Because I’m a Lord” “Why?” “I have lands and a castle” “Are these your lands and castle?” “No” “Where are they?” “Far away” “Who has those lands and castle?” “My father” “So he’s Lord”–on the other hand, the barbarian girl is apparently as smart as a six year old.)
One thing an episode recap noticed that I did not was that two different Mormonts–Jorah the disgraced knight in the service of Danerys and Jeor, father of Jorah and Lord Commander of the Black Watch–have put their fates in two different young rulers-to-be: Danerys and Jon Snow respectively. Getting back to my theory that Jon Snow is a Stark-Targaryen, we are confronted with the possibility of two different semi-legitimate Targaryen claimants to the throne.
Oh, and Ghost finds a severed hand in the woods beyond The Wall, thus ruining Jon and Sam’s oath ceremony.
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