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- Episode: First of His Name (Season 4 Episode 5)
- Starring: Emilia Clarke, Josef Altin, Jacob Anderson, Charles Dance, Natalie Dormer
- Written By: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
- Directed By: Michelle MacLaren
- Network: HBO
- Studio: Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360, Grok! Studio
Game of Thrones: First of His Name Review
Even the slow episodes...
By Jarrett Kruse
May 05, 2014
Even the slow episodes of GAME OF THRONES are better than a majority of one-hour dramas and tonight’s installment was just that. What I mainly mean by slow is that most of the events save for the last fifteen minutes or so were setting things up for future episodes. While it was not the most exciting of episodes, everything in it was tight. That is to say that this episode navigates the intricate story lines that encompass GOT. From that point of view “First of His Name” did pack a decent punch that will set the tone for the second half of the fourth season. I think that it says a great deal about the quality of the program when the bulk of the episode is made up of exposition. I think that each scene was rich with information and while I did not give it a very high grade as compared with previous weeks episodes, I do think it was a good entry to the GOT mythos.
Now that Joffrey has taken a poisonous dirt nap, it is time for his little brother Tommen to sit on the Iron Throne. While Tommen is nothing like the sadistic Joffrey, one can’t help but think that a young, timid and impressionable boy may just be a puppet for those in real power. Grandpa Tywin has never looked happier as he beams over his grandson as Hand to the new king. Margaery skillfully makes goo-goo eyes at Tommen from afar no sooner than when she is approached by Cersei. In a “did that really happen” moment, I was taken aback when Cersei seemed to be acting, well, nice. Margaery and Cersei discuss Joffrey and the future of the throne and I believe that these two are cut from the same ruthless cloth. I think that their may be some mutually beneficial scheming in the future as these two team up to get what they want. We’ll have to wait and see.
Daenerys is still in Meereen and is holding court consulting with her inner circle and learning of the death of King Joffrey. It seems that Daario Naharis has taken the Meereenese navy without permission and this may finally be the time to seize King’s Landing. In a private meeting with Jorah, Daeny reveals that in order to gain control of the Seven Kingdoms she must control Slaver’s Bay. It has been a long while of collecting for Khaleesi and I think it is safe to say that fans are ready for her to actually do something with the armies that she has accrued. Littlefinger and Sansa Stark arrive at the Vale of Aryn and are met by the supremely creepy Lysa and her son Robin. Lysa is determined to marry Petyr sooner than later but it is clear that he has great concern for Sansa. Like Cat Stark, Baelish feels responsible for Sansa. His unrequited love for the late Cat seems to be passing on to the young redhead. When Lysa visits Sansa in her bedroom, she goes a little nuts on the poor girl demanding answers and really spazzing out. Will Sansa ever catch a break? You gotta feel bad for this kid already.
Tywin and Cersei have a heart to heart and it is not long before the family patriarch of the Lannister’s admits that their gold mines have not produced anything for some time. The family owes a tremendous amount to the Iron Bank of Braavos and the only way to stop the proverbial bleeding is to vest the family with the Tyrell’s. Even though a Lannister always pays his debts, this is the first we are hearing that the family is hemorrhaging money. Seems like Tywin is a Medieval Madoff spinning money out of nothing. On the road, The Hound and Arya are still traveling in tandem and the young Stark’s list of people to kill seems to be getting longer. In fact the new version of the list includes The Hound. When practicing with Needle, the massive Hound teaches her a lesson in combat that she will not soon forget. The Stark kids seem to be under a cloud of continuous darkness with no end in sight.
At Craster’s Keep, Jon Snow and the volunteers from the Night’s Watch case the small house to get an idea of what they are up against. Bran, Joien, Meera and Hodor are still captive inside the Keep. Joien has a vision and tells Bran that he and the others are only there to guide him. This will not be the end for Bran. At sundown, Snow and company raid the compound and attempt to kill the mutineers led by Karl. The turncoat Locke steals Bran from his chains and heads into the snowy woods but not before the young Stark somehow transfers his power to Hodor of all people. The giant simpleton breaks free from his chains and kills Locke in convincing fashion thus protecting Bran. Jon Snow takes on Karl inside the Keep and commits perhaps the most awesome kill in GOT history. Sword through the base of the skull through the mouth. Epic badassery.
While it is a good enough episode it was not what I would call “repeat worthy.” Besides seeing Karl get killed there was nothing that I really needed to see twice. Sure it is great to see possible future story lines and paths the characters may take but it can be frustrating sometimes. Every episode counts in a lean ten episode season and while I enjoyed the episode, it was just a bit slow. Not a huge deal, I fully expect the second half of the season to be better than any other one hour drama. Oh and last thing; its no coincidence that the one episode I thought was slow just happened to be the one with no Tyrion! Dinklage rules!