Game of Thrones S01E09 Recap & Review: Baelor (Spoilers)
Game of Thrones S01E09 Review: 'Baelor'
Okay, dire wolf fans, it's on: Game of Thrones S01E09. Watching the intro, it occurs to me that Vaes Dothrak is not that far from King's Landing at all. Joffrey Baratheon-Lannister better hope that Ryanair never picks up that route. Let's get on with the Game of Thrones S01E09 recap and review, wherein you will find spoilers.
Free Ned Stark! Free Ned Stark!
The Spider swings down into the dungeon to visit Ned Stark, who's looking like shit. Being stuck in a dungeon will do that to you. Apparently Sansa is pleading for Ned's life. The only initiative she's taken all season and it happens offscreen. The Spider recounts his days as an actor and ties it into his role as a courtier. It's quite Shakespearean. He won't free Ned Stark. He tells Ned that his son, Robb Stark, is leading an army south. Stannis Baratheon, though, is Cersei's biggest threat. That guy doesn't give a fuck.
The Spider wants Ned to bitch out and serve
Cersei Joffrey. Ned's response: "Fook that!" He'd rather die than kneel before the Bitch King, but what about Sansa and Arya?
At The Crossing
Tyra Mail! Someone's sending a raven… no, wait, it just got shot down! Robb Stark is shooting down the ravens sent by Walder Frey, which may alert the Lannisters to the Starks' movements. (Have we met Walder yet? I don't think so.) TCP over raven isn't very secure.
Team Stark needs to cross this wide-ass river, and The Crossing, aptly named, is the place to do it. They need to get past the Freys, one way or the other. Catelyn is going to bargain with Walder for a crossing.
Walder Frey is a total dick. Was that his daughter's ass he just slapped? No, it's his wife's. His 15-year-old wife's. Walder, by the way, looks around 67. Apparently he's been married many, many times. I think he wanted to marry into the Tully family at some point, so he's got some Catelyn hatelyn going on. Walder Frey is intent on being an asshole. He wants to give the finger to both the Starks and the Lannisters, but doesn't quite seem to realize that his castle will end up between both armies if he doesn't make a decision quickly.
Jon Snow: Kill a Zombie, Get a Sword
Up at The Wall, Jon Snow is getting a brand-new sword, called Longclaw. It has a custom wolf-head pommel on it. Cool. This was supposed to be Jorah Mormont's sword, but he joined the festival circuit with Daenerys Targaryen. Now Jon gets that cool sword. Kicking zombie ass is its own reward, but a cool sword is icing on the ice-cake.
Oh, and Jeor Mormont is sending that disembodied arm down to Joffrey as a tribute. I wonder if they can get its middle finger to extend. The rest of the Night's Watch are really into the new sword, like kids with Bakugans. Sam tells Jon that Robb is heading south. Jon wants in on the action, which is what Sam was afraid of.
Catelyn Stark: Good News & Bad News
Catelyn returns to Team Stark, and tells Robb that he and his crew can cross, but they have to take Oliver Frey, Walder's son as a squire, and, oh, one other thing: Arya has to marry his other son, Waldren, when they both get older. Arya won't be pleased. Is Walder aware that Arya is a ninja? I don't think he is. Wait, there's more?! Shit, there's more: when the war is over (and provided that Robb survives, obis), Robb must marry the Frey daughter of his choice. Theon Greyjoy wonders if any of 'em are hot. Catelyn says, "Er… not so much." Is the term "minger" used in Westeros? If not, why not? Maybe Theon could pass himself off as Robb Stark- they look vaguely similar.
Robb consents. He's probably wondering if there's a Westeros word for "seppuku".
Walk the Walk
Jon Snow is talking to that old guy (I call him Alfred) up at The Wall. He's saying that love is the opposite of duty, and that Ned Stark would always choose duty. This is Alfred's way of saying, "Jon, don't go south". He's putting Jon on the spot, which isn't such a good idea. Jon Snow is known for… impetuosity. Impetuousness. Whatever. Turns out that Alfred is Daenerys' grand-uncle, and his name is Aemon Targaryen.
Aemon's proving a point: he chose duty over family. He may be blind, but he walks the walk.
Khal Drogo: A Little Help Here
Over in Essos, Team Drogo is on the move. Oh, shit, what's wrong with Khal Drogo? Was he poisoned during his fight with that dude whose tongue he ripped out Mortal Kombat-style? Or is it an infection? Maybe the Dothraki have as casual a relationship to disinfectant as they do to wearing shirts. Drogo's slumped over on his horse like Viggo Mortensen in the second Lord of the Rings movie. That's never a good sign. Dude, he stacks it. He's worried more about his horse than his own damn self.
The Dothraki are nervous now: a Khal who can't ride is no Khal. Who's in charge now? The Dothraki who looks like Hal Sparks tells Daenerys that his tribe won't take orders from a chick. They're 1950's like that. Oh, shit. Uh, Jorah Mormont, we may need you for a sec.
Tyrion Lannister: It's Hard Out Here for an Imp
Red tents: the colors of
Gryffindor House Lannister. How plummy are their accents? Tyrion shows up for a bloody mary, and Tywin and company lay into him about his new Facebook friends, the viking dudes. Turns out they're high-maintenance: multiple axes, high threadcount sheets, jelly beans with the blue ones picked out.
Tywin orders Tyrion and the vikings to the front line. Tyrion clearly read my preview: he calls this a blatant attempt by Tywin to kill him. The viking dudes may be tough, but, when it comes to discipline, they're a total gong show. Tyrion can't even bring himself to finish his drink. Bronn's organized a rather hot young lady with a vaguely foreign accent. Tyrion wants to pretty much own this woman, and he's promising her both protection and a helluva good time. She strips immediately and they get on with the HBO sex. Have I mentioned what a pimp Tyrion is? More game than the Dallas Mavericks.
'The Dead Will Dance Here Tonight'
Khal Drogo is delirious in his tent. He's wondering why he ever joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Jorah Mormont removes the birds nest from Drogo's wound and is like, "He's gonna die, like, tonight", and begins to spitball an escape plan.
Daenerys is having none of it: she wants to stay and raise a king. Jorah says nope: it doesn't work like that over here. It's all about who's the ass-kickingest. An infant does not kick much ass, and therefore will not become king without a father to usher him in.
The witch, who has a stunning command of the obvious, says that the wound has festered. Hal Sparks blames her for the whole thing. He wants to kill her, like, right now. Daenerys takes issue with being called "nothing", saying that she has the blood of the dragon. Hon, best avoid that line. Didn't work too well for your brother. If I remember correctly, Fake Julian Assange got the ultimate golden shower.
Daenerys and Jorah know which way the wind is blowing, which is in a kill-all-foreigners direction. Daenerys urges the witch to use some actual… magic. The witch (who's wearing eyeliner) demands a price: in this case, a horse has gotta die. This will not go down well with the Dothraki. The witch promises, "De dead fill dance here tonight." The spell involves a horse-blood shower. Well, what did you expect. Jorah doesn't believe in magic. Hal Sparks shoves Daenerys to the ground, invoking Jorah's wrath. Looks like I was wrong in the preview: that's not Daenerys' own blood, but that of the poor, poor sacrificial horse. She landed pregnant belly first on the ground, though, which is not advised by most doctors.
Jorah kills hall Sparks. Turns out that putting on that armor was a smart move. Shit, the baby is coming now! Get her to a tent! Gogogo! Wait, not the tent with the magic and the screaming… okay, fine, the tent with the magic and the screaming.
Tyrion Lannister: Truth or Dare
Tyrion, Bronn and the foreign chick are playing a sadomasochistic drinking game. They switch to a truth-or-dare thing. Turns out Bronn is even harder than we thought. Tyrion isn't doing too well in divining the secrets of the foreign chick, though. He's getting pwned.
Turns out Tyrion was married. Huh. Really? Yeah- he hooked up with a rape victim; this was when he was 16, before he was into booze, and before he had game. He married her after she shagged him. Turns out that the girl was a whore, and the whole thing was arranged by Jaime. The whore was then given to the Lannister guards, and Tyrion had to watch. That's one fucked-up family.
Llllllet's Get Rrrrrrready to Rrrrrrumble!
It's on! Tyrion, in his custom armor, is rallying the viking dudes, who have tribe names like in Gangs of New York. So intent are they in winning the war and claiming their new land, they trample Tyrion into the dirt as they surge toward the enemy.
Total bullshit. We don't even see the battle. Just lots of dead bodies as Tyrion wakes up on a wagon, being dragged across the battlefield. He's extremely lucky. Looks like the Lannisters won. That's because only 2,000 from Team Stark showed up. They were just a diversion. A suicidal, suicidal diversion.
Where are the other 18,000? They were with Robb Stark… capturing Jaime Fuckin' Lannister! Jaime challenges Robb to a duel to settle the whole thing, but Robb isn't stupid. Robb's victory speech is a real downer: "This shit ain't over, guys."
It's Not Stark Day
Arya Stark is eating pigeons. She's all dirty, living in the streets. She's well under the Lannister radar here. Ned's not. In fact, it looks like something really, really bad is about to happen to him. Is he gonna be executed? No, worse: he's eating crow and confessing to a fake assassination plot. Oh, this is painful to watch. He's invoking the name of "Baelor the Blessed". Is that like a Westeros Jesus? Dang, I want to reach through the screen and choke Joffrey's pale little neck.
Joffrey wants to play the tough guy, and condemns Ned Stark to death. Oh, fuck. Even Cersei doesn't want this. Arya, if you have any ninja moves ready, I suggest busting them out now. … It doesn't look like Arya has any ninja moves ready.
Wow, that's a big sword. Kind of like in Episode 1. The sword swings. We hear a sickening slicing sound. Birds fly off. Blackout.
I gotta say, I didn't see that one coming. Did they really kill Ned Stark, and before the season finale? Westeros is even harsher than I thought.
You know that Cersei didn't oppose Ned's execution because she gave a shit about him, but because she knew that all of the Starks would be coming for her. Not Joffrey, but her. And as well they should, but, if I may make a request, they should kill Joffrey, too… unless Khal Drogo survives, in which case he can skewer that smirking little fucker like a shish kebab.
Oh, and Cersei probably already heard that Team Stark has Jaime, and this little stunt does not bode well for her brother/lover's head-shoulder integrity. I mean, look how pissed the Starks were when Ned was merely imprisoned. Any bets that Jon Snow will come steaming in from oop North?
I give this episode five out of a possible five hacked-up corpses. One can't ask for much more violence in a single episode. The body count went into quadruple digits. Episode MVP: Tyrion Lannister. We got to see another dimension of the Imp: the foundation of his world view. We got to see him at work, at play, and on the make, and Peter Dinklage sold every moment.
Runner-up: Ned Stark, and that's not a sympathy vote. Sean Bean can do more with one "oh-shit" look than many actors could do with a paragraph. Human Rights Watch is going to be furious about this.
I know I keep saying how this series keeps picking up steam. Well, the brakes just gave out. All we need now are a few wolf-oriented revenge killings to make this a perfect season of fine televised entertainment.
Next week: Game of Thrones season finale.