Mania Grade: B
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- Episode: The Laws of Gods and Men (Season 4, Episode 6)
- Starring: Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, Alfie Allen
- Written By: Bryan Cogman
- Directed By: Alik Sakharov
- Network: HBO
- Studio: Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360, Grok! Studio
Game of Thrones: The Laws of Gods and Men Review
More questions than answers
By Jarrett Kruse
May 12, 2014
The Laws of Gods and Men (Season 4)
After finishing episode six I think that I had more questions than answers by the time the credits rolled. That is not to say that only fifty minute episode did not pack a GOT punch. You never realize how big a ten minute difference can be until it happens to one of your favorite shows. While I felt a little short-changed, this installment did a good enough job to establish the pace for the final four episodes. I do get a little tired of waiting sometimes with the show and the seemingly endless plot lines. In the end, even if I am a little disappointed in a sluggish episode, GOT continues to set the bar. However, my expectations for the final four hours have just gone up big time. I’m not saying that everything in Westeros has to come together, far from it. I just want to see some of the stories that have been stewing for a long time get sewn up.
After hearing last week that the Lannister’s are in some serious debt to the Iron Bank, it was kind of cool to see this week. Stannis Baratheon is on a mission, flanked by Ser Davos to ask the bank for some serious coin for his cause. While he is initially turned down by the bankers, Ser Davos pleads his case for Stannis in convincing fashion. He actually makes some salient points and Davos scores also saving his role at Stannis’ side. Now that he has some serious coin and the Red Woman on his side, maybe ol’ Stannis will finally take his shot at the throne. It is this kind of small scene that works and makes for some enthralling television.
The character formerly known as Theon Greyjoy is still in pretty bad shape as Reek. He is “comfortably” resting in his dog cage when his sister Yara leads a party to save Theon from the clutches of the sadistic Ramsay Snow. Upon finding Theon, the poor guy does not even recognize his sister and is determined to stay in his cage. What ensues is a bloody fight between Yara and Ramsay’s men. When the fighting stops, it was confusing what happened next. Ramsay begins to open the dog cages to sic them on Yara and the surviving company but they cut away. The next shot is Yara and her men getting into their boats as she says “my brother is dead.” Huh? This really bothered me and it was a little confusing to say the least. It is certainly out of character for the evil bastard Ramsay to show any kind of mercy and that includes letting people, especially Yara, go. Their just felt like there was a scene missing from this particular thread. Maybe on the cutting room floor or maybe they wanted the reaction I had which simply put was confusion.
We briefly check in with Deanerys at Meereen where she is entertaining requests from the people of the very city she now controls. While Deanerys seemed to be enjoying herself as she entertained requests from her subjects, the life of the city does not seem to be for her. When a man whose father was crucified at the citadel asks to give his loved one a proper funeral, Deany seems to be out of her comfort zone. I continue to think that our beloved Khaleesi is poised for serious battle and is a threat to wind up as the Queen bee of all, but I want to see her do more than hand out platitudes to the cities she has sacked or just accruing more soldiers. Its been a while already! It wouldn’t be fair not to mention one of her awesome dragons taking out a herd of goats with its fire-breath. The dragon looked amazing and it was some seriously cool CGI but taking out a herd of farm animals is way different from taking out a city. I think it is time to consolidate and I hold on hope that she makes a serious play before season four is out.
At King’s Landing, everyone is gearing up for the trial of the century. Or whatever they call a century there. This is their O.J. trial and the most time of the episode is spent on the pomp and circumstance of the charade that is about to take place. Acting as the main “judge” is Hand of the King Tywin Lannister who is joined by Prince Oberyn and Mace Tyrell on the jury. With King Tommen recusing himself of the proceedings, Tywin is in perfect position to steer the trial as he sees fit. Tyrion is visibly exhausted from his time in the dungeons and after his first outburst, you realize that this whole thing is a sham. The trial itself is something even Dick Wolf would be proud of and it is gripping to see the witnesses come up and testify against the Imp. Things that Tyrion said and did in previous seasons are brought to light by the witnesses and it is clear he has no chance of being found innocent. It was interesting for me to see that while Cersei is still grieving for Joffrey, Jaime is going out of this way to save his younger brother. He does not seem to be affected by the death of Joffrey and maybe that is because Tommen is a much more malleable King.
After calling for a brief recess, Tywin and Jaime meet privately and in a conversation that can only be described as “Corleone-esque,” the pair strike a deal. Conditional on Tyrion asking for mercy at a guilty verdict, Jaime agrees to leave the Kingsguard and become the rightful heir of the Lannister house. Something was fishy with this deal and it seemed that Jaime walked right into Tywin’s plan. He practically said “done” before the words of the agreement resonated. Jaime rushes to tell Tyrion the “good news” that if he pleas guilty and asks for mercy, he will be extricated to the Night’s Watch. However, the prosecution calls a surprise witness and it definitely threw me and Tyrion for a loop. Somehow they were able to track down Shae (it had to be Lord Varys with the tip) and her testimony was damning. It played out like Marina Oswald talking about Lee Harvey after the dust settled from the assassination. Like an autonomous drone, Shae spews lies and some truth’s to the jury putting Tyrion in an even worse light than when the trial started. Never to be counted out, Dinklage’s Tyrion gives an epic speech that rivals some of the best courtroom scenes I have ever seen. Incensed with anger at the city, Tyrion requests a “trial by combat” whatever that is. It should be interesting.
The more I watch the episode, the more I think that a “B” is a very fair grade. This particular installment was interesting because the fate of the one real protagonist, the character we root for, is in serious trouble. Watching the trial for a third time you realize that family is not a word, its a sentence. Especially when you are a Lannister. Tyrion’s sincere cry about being on trial for being a dwarf is heartfelt and sincere. That is one of the great things about GOT, the stories do have a real emotional appeal in addition to the fantasy element. I definitely enjoyed the episode but couldn’t promote it to the “A” range. Still damn good though.