Game of Thrones, Season Four, Episode 4
Adam O'Brien

I’m not too proud to admit when I have no idea what’s going on, and this episode, more than any other single episode from the series, veers way off the course I’m familiar with.

It was touched on last week, but I didn’t appreciate just how alone Tyrion is until his scene with Jaime. Here is Tyrion’s last and best friend, who he’s counted on to get him out of binds since he was a small child. And he won’t help Tyrion this time. Theirs has always been one of my favorite relationships. I’ve never seen such a bond between two characters who share so little screen time. The two brothers, each cynical and sardonic for his own reasons, see the futility of the situation. I think we’ll see more from their relationship before the season is over.

The scene between Jaime and Brienne left me vaguely underwhelmed. Although all of the honor and dignity and unspoken affection was there, I didn’t feel swept up in the scene. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I rewatch it. I’m relieved to have noble, honorable, reformed Jaime back. It seemed to take some time after being back in King’s Landing for Jaime to regain his sense of self.

All of this Jon and Bran stuff has me at a loss. Bran’s storyline hasn’t thrilled me, historically, but I really am curious to see where it goes. The Night’s Watch deserters are so creepy it makes me uncomfortable to watch scenes with them. Will Jon & company save the day? I honestly have no idea.

Did Margaery not know about the plot against Joffrey? I sort of assumed she was complicit in it, but she looks scandalized when Olenna admits to it. She recovers quickly, though, and gets right to ingratiating herself with Tommen. I feel like it was very recently that she was doing the same with Joffrey, but this looks like it’s shaping up to be a much healthier relationship, manipulation notwithstanding.

I was intrigued by the last scene. It was sort of implied in the books, what happens to Craster’s sons, but it’s something else to show it on screen. The genesis of the White Walkers is something I’ve always been mildly curious about. Even more curious was the culture they seem to have, where a child is brought to a certain location and transformed by some leader or religious figure. Honestly, I just kind of pictured a bunch of naked ice dudes hanging out, with new ones occasionally springing out of the ether.

Episodes like this are really hard to place. Nothing blew me away, but I also had no major problems with anything. Still, I don’t need to be wowed every episode. A show needs time to build. A show that skips from climax to climax comes to feel unearned pretty quickly.

Grade: B-

Other Thoughts:

-I’d talk about Dany’s storyline more, but it really just looks like more of the same. They accelerated her character development too early, and now she’s stagnant.

-More importantly, I have been waiting so, so long for an appearance by Ser Pounce. I love that little guy.

-Did it take anyone else a few minutes to figure out whether or not that was Locke at Castle Black? I think I must have spaced out during the relevant Theon/Ramsay scene where this was decided.

-I don’t know which was more uncomfortable: Littlefinger explaining to Sansa that he gets what he wants by any means necessary, or Olenna going on, at length, about what a good lay she used to be.

-My favorite thing about Sansa is how it dawns on her little by little in each scene with Littlefinger how out of her depth she is with this sociopath.

-Something that has always worked really well for this series is how it rides the line between fantasy and reality, keeping us interested with little flashes of magic, but not so saturated with us that we become comfortable and take it for granted. The grand conclave of ice demons was a little too Middle Earth for me.

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