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- Episode: The Mountain and the Viper (Season 4, Episode 8)
- Starring: Alfie Allen, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, John Bradley, Charles Dance, Peter Dinklage
- Written By: D.B. Weiss & David Benioff
- Directed By: Alex Graves
- Network: HBO
- Studio: Home Box Office (HBO), Television 360, Grok! Studio
Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper Review
Back from the Break
By Jarret Kruse
June 02, 2014
Two weeks of pining over GOT culminated in a pretty epic episode of HBO’s newest flagship. It truly felt odd not having the show air last weekend but it comes back with a vengeance setting up one of the best endings I have ever seen on television, period. It is remarkable how some of these characters become so much more than just actors reading their lines. It is more like they are transforming and are transcending the entire genre at the same time. The pacing, the exposition and the downright cold world of Westeros is a truly dangerous world to live in. No one is safe no matter how much we like, loath or love them. Still, its one hell of a ride.
While Gilly and baby Sam are keeping to themselves doing laundry at the “inn,” an attack of Wildlings slaughter all of the folk standing. Fortunately for Gilly she knew the call of the Wildlings and Gilly and Sam are spared by none other than Ygritte. She shushes the pair and goes on her merry joining up with the rest of her brutal clan. Good thing Jon Snow was not hiding in that closet. After hearing of the raid, Sam is terrified that something has happened to Gilly and Sam. Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch must face the Wildling’s soon because its getting ugly out there.
Daenerys and company are still in Meereen and it does not look good for Ser Jorah. After a message reaches Ser Barristan from the Lannisters, the notes contents spell out in no uncertain terms that Jorah was royally pardoned years ago by Robert Baratheon and that he had many correspondences with Lord Varys, key spymaster of King’s Landing. It turns out that Jorah had been selling out Daenerys all this time. Not that I expected they’d get together but it was pretty tough to see Jorah reduced to tears kneeling for forgiveness. The Khaleesi’s bite is far greater than I expected and it was a truly impassioned plea by Jorah to stay and fight the Lannister’s together instead of infighting amongst themselves. The Queen of Dragons kicks Jorah’s medieval butt out of Meereen with nothing. Too bad they did not have a delete browser history during GOT’s time period.
Since the incident at the moon door with the late Aunt Lysa, it appears that Lord Baelish is now under investigation to determine what exactly happened. It was very interesting to see Baelish dance around the old council’s posturing looking to get something out of him. He does not bend despite how close he looked to tipping his hand. When they call in Sansa, she gives a passionate and heartfelt speech about how Baelish had saved her life. We know how much Sansa has been through but this was one beautifully crafted piece of dialogue with actress Sophie Turner downright owning her big speech.
Tears and all, their was a very slight exchange between Sansa and Baelish as she is being consoled. It was subtle but it appears that their is some type of sexual thing going on with her “uncle.” Since he never had Cat, I guess he is going for the next best thing. Baelish convinces the council to send young Robin Arryn on his way to see the Vale. As Baelish is seen talking up the creepy kid, Sansa appears looking stunning with what appears to be black hair. If you ask me it looks like Sansa and Baelish have done the deed, medieval style whatever that may mean. There was no doubt that Sansa had a glow about her as she sashayed down the staircase. Stunning and fierce; not the Sansa we’re used to seeing. At the gate of the Vale, The Hound and Arya have arrived only to find out that Aunt Lysa is dead which leaves Arya absolutely hysterically laughing. The Hound was not amused by this news but I am curious to see if at the very least Arya and her sister can have a bit of a Stark reunion.
Theon Greyjoy is off of his Reek leash for a bit as his master, Ramsay Snow, is helping his dear old Dad secure the Moat of Cailin. In order to do so, Theon must “act” on his own and tell the garrison that it is on behalf of Balon Greyjoy that they want to acquire the Moat. The men give up their post easily after killing their leader. Roose Bolton sees this as a triumph for his bastard and goes as far as stripping Ramsay’s last name and making him a Bolton. Man, this guy is the last kid you want to officially say is yours.
All of that aside, it was all foreplay as we entered the final ten minutes of the episode. A jailhouse visit for Tyrion by Jaime on the day of the trial by combat is uplifting. Jaime, while not mourning for his blood son Joffrey, he is truly hoping that he does not perish when its all over. They are real brothers and their conversations over the past few episodes have been really well orchestrated. Tyrion’s take on death was a scene I had to watch a few times for it to really sink in; a man facing death and how fragile life is. Dinklage gets the Emmy, bank on it. When we finally get to the big arena, we see the massive Mountain in full armor regalia and Prince Oberyn sauntering around, drinking and cavorting. He is after all the Red Viper of Dorne and man this dude knows what he’s doing. The fight was fantastic—this was the Monte Cristo of GOT violence. Oberyn, ever the showman, moves around like Daredevil and playing to the crowd. He wants revenge on The Mountain for raping and murdering his sister and her children and repeatedly says so as he toys with the massive warrior. Well it didn’t end the way I expected. In fact I got seriously served into thinking the fight was over. I knew I should of learned more from ROCKY II. That was a death I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
This episode was a solid “A” across the board leaving two weeks of GOT craving not seem so bad. It had it all and we gorged on every last tidbit thrown our way. Even after watching it a third time, it does a sensationally satisfying job complete with the signature GOT “wow factor.” Just two more episodes left and they can’t come quick enough.