Game of Thrones Satisfying Second Episode Made Us Cheer Scream and Squirm

first_imgStay on target ‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Many TV shows will go experience a slump during the second episode of a season. After the first hooks you in with huge initiating events and shocking reveals, the second is often left with the housekeeping. The second typically has the necessary, though not always as fun, work or resetting for the rest of the season. That’s not what happened on Game of Thrones. Maybe it’s because on this show, watching the pieces move around the board is half the fun. And because it fills the other half with gigantic battles, death, and disgusting surgeries.The second episode picked up right after the end of the first. Daenerys stood in Castle Dragonstone, surrounded by advisors, planning to take King’s Landing. After taking care of some business with Varys, of course. Finally, someone is smart enough to realize he isn’t trustworthy at all. He’ll serve just about anyone as long as it keeps him alive. At least he has a good excuse. He tells Daenerys that his loyalty is to the people, and he’ll serve her well as long as she’s good for her subjects. That puts her in a forgiving mood, on the condition that he promises to tell her to her face if she isn’t serving her people well. Varys survives another day, and things are looking good for Daenerys. Then, Melisandre shows up.You didn’t think we’d seen the last of her, did you? The creepy child-burning old witch is here because when it comes to prophecies, third time’s the charm. She feeds Daenerys’s ego with the true information that “prince” in High Valyrian has no gender. That, combined with the fact that all the red priestesses she’s met before have been good, means that Melisandre is now on Team Dany. Will we ever be rid of her?Carice van Houten. (Credit: HBO.)Well, at least she’s serving some kind of purpose. The show is wasting very little time in getting Daenerys and Jon Snow in a room together. Melisandre convinces Daenerys to invite Jon to Dragonstone. Coincidentally, a few days after Jon receives the correspondence; he hears from Samwell Tarly that there’s a mountain of Dragonglass under Dragonstone. After some arguing with the Lords who serve him, he departs, leaving Winterfell in Sansa’s hands. So many good things are happening in this sequence. We know that Daenerys and Jon are going to have to meet, and the show is making sure it doesn’t take longer than absolutely necessary. So many shows try to play coy with their destinations even when it’s obvious to even the most casual viewers. Game of Thrones is at least smart enough to avoid that pitfall.Sansa also has power now, having been put in charge of Winterfell while Jon’s away. Sadly, we don’t get to see what kind of leader she’ll be just yet, but that should alleviate some of her frustrations. She has the power she’s wanted since she and Jon took back Winterfell. The question is what will she do with it? She’s already shown herself to be much less forgiving, more isolationist and more wary of Cersei than Jon is. We’ll have to wait until next week to see if she rules that way.Speaking of Cersei, this episode did a much better job of reminding us why she’s in the Iron Throne, to begin with. Last episode, she appeared unhinged and tyrannical. This time, she showed everyone exactly how she’s able to keep power. She terrifies the houses into loyalty with tales of the Dothraki hoards Daenerys will bring. That’s enough to build Cersei quite a formidable army. She’s still surrounded by enemies, but she’s in a much better position than last week. The best/worst part of her story? None of it was technically a lie. Daenerys did feed the slave-master to her dragons. Of course, we know that she had a good reason for it, but nobody in this room does. Without context, it does make her sound as mad as her father. The one thing we’ve always known about Cersei is that she knows how to play the game well. Even if all her enemies unite against her, there’s still a chance she could defeat them all. Oh, and she has an arrow that can pierce a dragon’s skull. Someone’s been reading The Hobbit. Lena Headey. (Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO.)Meanwhile, Daenerys’s position isn’t nearly as strong as we thought. She still has the Dothraki army and dragons behind her, but things don’t go well for one of her other alliances. Sadly, part of the problem may be she’s listening to Tyrion. Not wanting to be “Queen of the ashes,” she communicates a plan with her allies. The Greyjoy siblings will bring their fleet down to King’s Landing, where they’ll join up with the Tyrell army to lay siege to King’s Landing. She’ll take her army to Casterly Rock, where the power truly lies, and unleash her powerful army upon it. It’s a clever plan, and it carries extra weight when delivered by Tyrion, who grew up in Casterly Rock. Too bad it doesn’t work.Olenna Tyrell continues to be the best character on this show, warning Daenerys of the dangers of listening too much to clever men like Tyrion. She points out that she’s outlived countless clever men by ignoring them at every turn. If Daenerys wants to live to be Olenna’s age, she might want to take some of her advice. Especially since, as clever as Tyrion’s plan was, it didn’t quite work out. Euron Greyjoy, who allied with Cersei last week, got the drop on Yara’s fleet, massacring everyone. The Sand Snakes are taken out with their own weapons, but it appears nobody will miss them all that much. Poisoning children is bad. The battle was spectacularly shot, putting the audience in the middle of the carnage. It perfectly captured the hopeless, claustrophobic feel of an ambush at sea. It also reminded us that the damage to Theon Greyjoy may be permanent. When Euron held his ax to Yara’s throat, Theon turned tail and ran. Come next week, they’ll both still be alive, but Yara has been left to suffer at the hands of her uncle. She’ll hate Theon, and he’ll probably hate himself too. Now Daenerys will have to do without the Greyjoy fleet at King’s Landing. Will she break out the dragons?Gemma Whelan (Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)Even outside of the battle for the Iron Throne, this episode was packed with amazing moments that we all need to talk about. The writers appear to be responding to the shorter season by cramming as many shocking scenes and big reveals into an episode as possible. Samwell Tarly’s story probably elicited the most screams out of anything that happened last night. After meeting Jorah Mormont, he becomes determined to cure his advanced greyscale. And wouldn’t you know it, he finds a procedure. Unfortunately, it’s forbidden, deemed too dangerous. That means Sam has to perform the surgery himself. By reading from a book. With almost no training whatsoever. The camera got real close as he scraped Jorah’s pus-spewing flesh away from his body. This show loves to make us squirm, doesn’t it? Thankfully, it cut away, but we won’t see if he was successful until next week.Finally, there was Arya’s story, and the scene that had everyone squealing with joy. We got not one, but two long awaited reunions. The first was Hot Pie. Hot Pie! He’s still alive! Sadly, Arya doesn’t seem to share our enthusiasm. This arc appears to be the beginning of Arya’s redemption. When she greets Hot Pie, she’s emotionless and uninterested. Her quest for vengeance has robbed her of humanity. It’s only when she finds out that her half-brother is still alive, and King of the North, that life comes back into her eyes. She immediately warms up to Hot Pie and changes her destination. Now, she heads to Winterfell.Ben Hawkey, Maisie Williams (Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO)Along the way, she meets another old friend. When a pack of wolves descends on her, she notices they back off at the appearance of a large, full-grown direwolf. It’s Nymeria! She’s alive, and doing well by the looks of it. She reaches out to pet her old friend, but stops and says “no, that’s not you.” Nymeria isn’t her pet anymore. She has to go her own way now. Now, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Nymeria, but it’s a huge moment for Arya. She now knows that people (and direwolves) she cares about are still alive. She may choose to go her own way, like Nymeria, but now she has a reason to fight beyond vengeance.In its second week back, Game of Thrones gave us an immensely satisfying episode, moving the story along in important, meaningful ways. As the pieces on the board get closer together, we can only expect the pace to pick up from here. I only wish we didn’t have to wait a week to see what happens next.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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