Game of Thrones: The Old Gods And The New Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, May 06, 2012
SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT*
As the second half of the season gets underway, we are treated to another stellar episode of GOT. Starting off with a bang, Theon (Alfie Allen) and his hopeless bravado takes Winterfell on a whim by thinking that he is owed the kingdom he grew up in. Clearly he has drank the Greyjoy Kool-Aid but man is he not up to the task of having any kind of title. Upon his arrival, the coward Theon goes as far as stirring awake the disabled Lord Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) just to shoot the breeze of how he is going to take over! I thought this scene was remarkably understated proving that Bran has more gravitas in his two small arms than Theon does in his whole miserable existence.
New character alert in the North as Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and the Rangers come across a pack of wildings including a woman. The fem of the group, Ygritte played by Rose Leslie is caught and kept in Jon’s charge while the other Rangers group elsewhere. It is obvious that there is a budding romance between the two despite Jon’s allegiance to the code of the Watch. Also officially receiving a love interest this week that was teased in an earlier episode is King of the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden). Unfortunately this scene was less featured than Jon’s romance but at least it gives us some nice foreshadowing.
Upon receiving a raven, Robb is furious at Theon for having the gall to take his home and plans to ride back to Winterfell until his advisors convince him otherwise. This scene really showed the mettle and steady head of the Stark’s and how they are able to clear their initial knee-jerk reactions to let cooler heads prevail on the battlefield. Meanwhile in King’s Landing, the Lannister’s ship off one of their own for the best of the family during this period of unrest. On their way back to the castle, young King Joffrey’s inexperience and naïveté are on center display as a full out riot ensues from hungry peasants. I think it is easy to say I was not the only one who took joy in seeing Joff get hit in the face with a cow-pie. Adding insult to injury, the Notorious IMP (Peter Dinklage as Hand of the King Lord Tyrion) bitch slaps Joffrey after the melee basically just to prove that he can. Once again it has been proven that Joffrey is the worst kind of King; one that thinks he is deserving of such a gaudy title without ever having done anything to earn it.
Khaleesi Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is still in the city of Qarth trying to raise a fleet to regain her position to overtake the throne. She gives a fevered speech arguing that she is the only rightful heir to the throne and that her dreams are proven to be dreams that come true (see the three dragons she “mothered”). After being turned down for a fleet, Daxos (Nonso Anozie) does his best to console her before finding that Khaleesi’s followers have been massacred and her dragon’s are missing. But who took them? I have my theories but do not want to speak yet.
Little Arya (Maisie Williams) continues to hold her own while at the center of the Lannister stronghold. Almost losing her secret identity to Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) is just one of the bullets that she has to dodge in this episode. What I like best about Arya is that she continues to play the game fearlessly while gaining information and avoiding the same landmines that have outwitted those well beyond her years. This time she is able to cash in her second favor from “the List” after she intercepts some seriously juicy intel from Pop Lannister.
Finally, back at Winterfell we are treated to the lovely Osha (Nataia Tena) full on naked in a successful attempt to seduce Theon! (Take that Harry Potter series--Tonks has officially gone full frontal!) But, it was all a ruse to outthink Theon (not much of a task there) and bust Bran and Rikon (Art Parkinson) out of the North. A terrific ending by all counts.
What I liked best about this episode was that although there were admittedly some small moments of slowness—basically Jon’s wintery encounter with his new wildling lovely, the pacing got me hooked. It was a solid effort on all accounts and it left me hoping that maybe this week would be a back-to-back episode. No such luck but I cannot wait for next week.
Mania Grade: A-
TV Series: Game of Thrones
Episode: The Old Gods And The New
Starring: Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey and Kit Harington, Richard Madden
Written By: David Benioff (creator), D.B. Weiss (creator)
Directed By: David Nutter