Game of Thrones S01E04 Recap: Blood, Intrigue & Ass-Kicking
Game of Thrones S01E04: 'Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things'- Spoiler Alert
Before we get started on the S01E04 recap, how cool is the Game of Thrones credit sequence? All those little cities with moving parts. Don't you just want to collect them all? Anyway, let's get into it: we open with Bran having a dream in which he sees a raven with a third eye. Whoah. Then Theon Greyjoy and Hagrid take him to see Robb Stark, who's running the show in Winterfell while Ned Stark is way down in King's Landing.
Tyrion Lannister is back from The Wall, and he's like, "Here's a design for a saddle so that Bran can some day ride a horse. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to get laid. Peace out!" He can't help but wind up Theon Greyjoy, who was actually taken prisoner by the the Starks and is now part of the household staff. What's Tyrion up to? Isn't he the one who tried to have Bran killed after he survived the fall from the tower after seeing Cersei and Jaime Lannister doing it? (By "doing it", I mean, "Jaime and Cersei are shagging each other even though they're brother and sister- ew!")
Meanwhile, up at The Wall, Jon Snow is kicking people's asses when a new recruit shows up. This guy is so wimpy it's a miracle he lived to young adulthood, since Winterfell is full of tough guys and the wolves who eat them. The Night's Watch recruits start picking on Wimpy Guy, so Jon Snow whips their asses. That's pretty much all he does all day: kick ass and sulk.
Dave Navarro Khal Drogo and his crew arrive at the city of the Horse Lords, which I presumed was Rohan, but whatever. Fake Julian Assange Viserys is slagging off the city, but Daenerys, who's really getting into this warrior-queen scene, is all, "STFU, asshole".
At this point,
Dr. House Jorah Mormont drops the little factoid that the Dothraki are afraid of seawater. This little morsel of info is pretty freakin' pertinent, since they have to cross an ocean to reach the Seven Kingdoms in order to put Mr. Assange on the throne. I'm no general, but I'd call that a deal-breaker in terms of selecting the warlike tribe to serve as my usurpation force. Just saying.
Viserys Targaryen is in the bath with a hot slave chick. This guy is using the Seven Kingdoms equivalent of "let me show you my fish tank", and the chick is totally into it. He's on about dragons and dragon's blood, but somehow manages to cockblock himself. That's right: Viserys screws up his chances at HBO sex when he's with a girl who is his property. There's a black hole where this guy's game should be.
At King's Landing, Sansa is learning just how primogeniture works: basically, it's all about having sons. If her offspring with that little shithead Joffrey Lannister is a girl, then Joffrey's brother would become king in the event of Joffrey's death, which, if the dire wolves had their way, would be in about seven and a half seconds.
Ned Stark is trying to run a staff meeting, and the city's going nuts: fires, fights at brothels, maybe even a guy catching on fire at a porn shop. Ned Stark gets Grandmeister Flash to hang back, so he can talk about how Jon Arryn, the previous Hand of the King, died. Suddenly, it turns out. Really quick illness. No way was it poison, though. What was he up to before he died? Oh, nothing. Just looking at a big old book and repeating "the seed is strong". Grandmeister Flash is kind of an idiot. Anyway, the book is
Lord of the Rings a history of the lineages of the Seven Kingdoms: who begat whom with whom. Grandmeister Flash casually mentions that poison is a weapon used by cowards, women and eunuchs. Hmm, which of the Lannisters is missing his junk? Literally, that is: figuratively, pretty much all of them are. Except for Tyrion. Dude's definitely packing.
Ned Stark borrows the book and runs into Arya, who's doing her ninja training. He tries to tell her that one day all she'll be good for is having kids who will be knights, but she wants to be the most badass knight of all. Ned should just let her get on with it.
Up at The Wall, Jon Snow is freezing his ass off when the Wimpy Guy joins him. Turns Wimpy Guy was run out of his house by his dad, who said, "either go to The Wall to become a man, or I'll kill you myself." That's pretty... cold.
Petyr Baelish is showing Ned Stark the lay of the land, and how just about every extra in King's Landing is a spy. They're doing CSI: King's Landing and trying to figure out why Jon Arryn died. Well, Baelish probably already knows, but he's being a dick about it. Being a dick is the official King's Landing sport.
Ned's page tries to talk to Ser Hugh, a total jerk who won't even talk to him. Their little exchange sounds really contemporary. Ned then visits an armorer whose apprentice is totally King Robert Baratheon's bastard child. Is this a big deal? I'd think that Robert would have about a hundred illegitimate kids by now. He lays more pipe than PG&E. Anyway, turns out Jon Arryn was asking the armorer's apprentice about his lineage…
The page then goes to deliver a message to King Robert, who's busy laying the aforementioned pipe like nobody's business. Who knows how many concubines he's shagging- there's a whole crowd in there. You can hear them cheering. Robert's banging every chick except the Queen… that's her brother's job. Snap! Anyway, Jaime
ShagsHisSister Lannister is guarding the door, and talks to the page about old times. The Greyjoys are mentioned again, and Jaime reiterates how untrustworthy they are. I dunno, Theon seems okay.
Back up at The Wall, the lads are paying out on Wimpy Guy, but Jon Snow forbids them to fuck with him. He drives the point home by siccing a wolf on some guy! Yes! Finally! What? The wolf doesn't bite the guy? Lame. Wait, where has Jon been hiding his wolf? Does he have more? I hope he has more.
Back in don't-call-it-Rohan, Viserys shows up at Daenerys' tent, raging at how she's trying to control him and dress him up, which is funny, since he's currently dressed like Link from Legend of Zelda. He's talking about himself in the third person again, and smacks his sister. Remember how Daenerys is really getting into the warrior-queen scene? Yeah. She smacks the crap out of Viserys and warns him: "If you ever even think about touching me again, you'll get an ass-kicking so huge, it'll take up two paragraphs in next week's recap!"
Jon Snow and Wimpy guy are cleaning the dining room and shootin' the shit. Jon reveals that he's a virgin, since he doesn't want his son to grow up a bastard. I'd think he'd be avoiding whores since there's the odd chance he'd end up piecing his mom (who he's never met) or his sister. That's more of a Lannister thing. Snap! Anyway,
Jeor Mormont Ser Alliser Thorn comes in with a hard-man story about how cold it is north of The Wall, and I'm kind of tuning out… wait, what? Cannibalism? Holy crap, dude. This whole Night's Watch thing is really intense, what with the celibacy, and the constant ass-kickings, and the freezing your ass off, and the table-scrubbing, and the Wildings, and the cannibalism. Pass.
Daenerys Targaryen and Jorah Mormont are discussing the realpolitik of the coming rush for the throne, and (the Dothraki's fear of seawater notwithstanding) how shite a prospect Viserys is as king. These two have written Viserys off already, since he couldn't lead Todd Bridges to a robbery.
Let the tournament begin! So says King Robert, who's pants-wettingly drunk, and it's only, what, 10am or something. Seriously, how can a guy that overweight keep it up while drinking so much? He should be in a medical journal. Anyway, Petyr Baelish is explaining to Sanda and Arya that his nickname, "Littlefinger" has nothing whatsoever to do with the size of his rig, so fuhgeddaboudit.
Tournament scenes are usually pretty lame, and one can't help but think of A Knight's Tale. (Actually, Mark Addy was in that flick, and is playing Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones. Huh.) Anyway, it's all blaring horns and waving flags and -- what the fuck?! Ser Hugh just got done up by Ser Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. A lance through the throat: bubbles of blood and everything. This is a rated-R joust now.
Ned's a no-show at his own tournament. He's reading up on the results of Family Tree Maker: Seven Kingdoms Edition (PC only). Cersei Lannister shows up to rub it in about Sansa and her poor, poor wolf. Do not eff with this guy's wolves, hon. They end the encounter by openly threatening each other. Not smiling, just showing their teeth. Awesome.
Meanwhile, somewhere between King's Landing and Winterfell, Catelyn Stark ends up at the same pub as Tyrion Lannister. He totally outs her, which turns out to be his first major misstep of the series: she calls on her friends (i.e. every single person in the pub) to arrest Tyrion and bring him back to Winterfell to stand trial for the attempted murder of Bran Stark. I suspect that this will be more like a military tribunal than a real trial.
So there you go. Look, I'm going to have to come up with a new ratings system for these episodes, since there are not nearly enough wolf attacks.
This episode gets a 3 out of possible 5 ass-whippings at The Wall;
1/5 snarling dire wolves;
5/5 mean-as-f*ck political intrigues;
2/5 holy-crap-that-was violent killings. Only one killing, but holy crap, it was violent. Gurgling bubbles of blood. Dang.
While the episode could use more dire wolf action (as could any episode of any TV show, really), the power-balance shifts were interesting enough to keep me engaged. What's Tyrion's game? I'm pretty sure it's not as simple as it seems. I don't believe that, when the chips are down, he'd be willing to kill for his siblings.
I'm waiting for Ned Stark to just snap and chop somebody's head off at King's Landing, then say, "That's whut 'appens when you fook with the Starks!" Hey, it's early days in Game of Thrones. Anything can happen. Also, I look forward to the development of Arya and Sansa, into a bloodthirsty ninja and a young woman whose head is not up her backside, respectively.
I also want someone, anyone to slap Joffrey Lannister. I freakin' hate that kid.