Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 6 "The Laws of Gods and Men" Review

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Positives this week included... Davos' convincing of the Iron Bank, Salladhor Saan's scene, Ironborn and Bolton fight scene, Reek's denial of his roots, Ramsay's creepiness, Drogon, Daenerys ruling Meereen, Oberyn Martell, Tyrion's trial

Negatives this week included... Nothing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
I don't believe I have anything witty to put here this week,
so, yeah...
Very few seasons of any television show have been as tense, thrilling and utterly ambitious as Game of Thrones Season 4, and we've still got 4 more episodes to go. Season 4 is changing the way I, as well as near all viewers, perceive the series in way of pacing most noticeably. It's been common knowledge that episode 9 is the shocker, but Thrones has taken that knowledge and used it to it's advantage, catching viewers off guard from the second episode. It's made for a consistently incredible season, that has managed to grip the audience stronger than any come before. And now the biggest episode of the season has hit... and I'm completely speechless. The goosebumps have risen, the mouth has dropped open, and my fingers are searching out the keyboard keys; it must mean it's time for our recap!


This week on Thrones recap, lets run through things quicker; I'm sick, and my head is thumping, so that's what I'd prefer. So, what went on this week exactly? Well, we got some much welcomed Theon/Reek action, with Yara attempting to get him out of the Dreadfort, Daenerys discovering her dragons consistently large appetite for flocks of goats, Stannis (yay!) and Davos travelling to Braavos to pay a visit to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and Tyrion's trial in King's Landing. Let's begin with Stannis and Davos. Their introduction served as the beginning of the episode, and what a beginning it was! The visual effects department has outdone themselves once again this week, because they've rendered a good portion of Braavos in a single shot, as well as the Titan of Braavos, which is impressive in of itself. We've seen what they can do with the Red Keep, but this a whole other beast, and I have to give credit to them.

When we arrived within Braavos, Davos and Stannis' intentions for going there are made clear; they wish to make common ground with the Iron Bank of Braavos, and possibly find funding for their cause. Sherlock commoner Mark Gatiss plays one of the representatives for the Bank, and he gives a promising, dictating performance that established not only his character, but the Bank as a whole, as an incredibly powerful organisation. The Bank can literally bring down Kings and Queens, and so a component and confident head voice was required, and fortunately Mark Gatiss lends his voice to that ideal. Davos came to the rescue of Stannis when his argument for his cause seemed to be failing, and we were delivered an interesting piece of information; the fact that everyone, including those from across the Narrow Sea, believes Tywin is the one who holds the Lannisters together, which is completely true. It shows the reckoning the House of Lannister is in for, considering their best commander, strategist and ruler is a 67 year old man, living in a time when those who live to their teens have a life expectancy of that around their mid-fifties. Yeah... not a great thing the Lannisters have got going on. 

Stannis did this to me! Wait.... what do you mean this isn't a good argument?

Back on track, Davos convinces the Iron Bank that Stannis is a worthy cause for consideration, and their funding of him means that Davos can re-recruit Salladhor Saan, the most badass pirate the world has ever seen. His introduction back into the series at such a point as this hints at more book deviations for this character, and I'm sure that we'll be seeing him doing a lot more towards the beginning of Season 5, as well as participating in one event towards the end of this season, which I shan't disclose just yet, that will most likely occur in the ninth episode. So I'm completely happy with his reintroduction; hopefully he'll get more scenes in between now and the end of the season.

And now the section of the episode receiving the most hate, or dis-appreciation, because I don't believe it to be that bad; Theon's scenes at the Dreadfort. Yara has returned to the series, and is attacking the Dreadfort to go save Theo... I mean Reek. Let's be honest; we all knew Reek was going to detest leaving, and for good reason. The poor guy had been tricked in Season 3 into believing Ramsay himself was actually saving him, only to be led directly back to the Dreadfort for another batch of severe torture. I don't think you'd be trusting anyone after that gets thrown at you! Reek's refusal to leave his captors for his sister was as infuriating as it gets, and the fight that ensued between the Ironborn and the Boltons was a great action piece that allowed my blood thirst to get some satisfaction. If it wasn't for a few questionable editing flaws towards the end of the scene, between when Ramsay threatens Yara with the dogs, and she arrives back on her boat, I feel like this scene could've been absoutetly perfect.

Guys, I was boning some random woman! Why do you always have to raid whilst I'm boning!

A lot of people seem to under appreciate Alfie Allen, for some unknown reason. The guy is an incredibly convincing Reek, and he played his role perfectly in both his 2 scenes. He's not playing the stereotypical bat-shit crazy character for Reek, fortunately; not all twitchy and wide eyed all the time. Instead, his performance seems much more natural and freeflowing, or as natural and free flowing as is possible with someone who's in a situation as Reek is in. Iwan Rheon also earns some cudos, again embracing the character he plays, Ramsay, so very well! His scene with the bathtub, where Ramsay offered Reek a bath for his loyalty to his master during the Ironborn's raid, and Ramsay's suggestion of Reek posing as his true self Theon for some unknown cause, was masterfully handled by our director Alik Sakharov, with some somewhat sickening moments thrown into the ring to keep you balled up inside with rage and anticipation. 

Daenerys is back, as is Drogon, her largest and most aggressive dragon, goat feasting and all. Damned dragons; those goats were simply too cute to kill. Go find some bunnies or sheep instead, Drogon, you black, hungry, angry shit! By the way, wasn't my intent to sound completely and utterly racist in that statement; oops. Nonetheless, the dragon looks even better this time around than our last look at him, back in episode 1 of this season. He looks larger, more viscous, and the fire effects are pretty impressive compared to last season. By the way, the location scouts did a fantastic job on finding a great landscape for the Drogon scene. Utterly beautiful scenery all around, and the waterfall was just another small but effective addition. These guys are just getting better and better at finding the most perfect locations possible.

Money shot bitches!

Daenerys is finding it difficult to rule in Meereen this week, and is getting complaints left, right and centre, first from our goat herder who's flock just got roasted, as well as one of the Great Master's sons, Hizdahr zo Loraq, who is requesting that his father is taken down from the crucifix he was placed on in episode 4, when all the Great Masters were crucified by Dany's command. She begins to see that blind justice, which is what she evoked during that episode when she made that rash decision, is not saving anyone, and that she needs to be more rational as to punishment. I believe it was her emotions that led her to making that inconceivably stupid decision, the emotions that were heightened thanks to the Great Master's crucifixion of the slave children we saw back in episode 1. Don't you know Dany, that you can't let emotions get in the way of logic whilst being a Queen. You should go consult Cersei on not allowing emotions to determin.... actually, no, that's a pretty idiotic thing to do as well. On second thought, listen to Barristan next time. That should leave you in good stead!   

And to King's Landing, where the bulk of this memorable and brilliant episode is centred. Tyrion's trial is on, and the event is handled spectacularly well again, by our director Alik Sakharov. He nailed the pacing, the tone, the shooting of the scene. Again, the set for the throne room is wonderful, and adds bucket loads of atmosphere to the already atmosphere driven scenes. And Peter Dinklage; if I ever doubted you, I apologise! Because this is one startlingly good performance that climaxes towards the end to leave us with our mouths open, whether or not you read the books. His delivery of the final line, "I demand a trial by combat," is utterly sensational, and that alone should get him his second Emmy. And it wasn't only Dinklage's juggernaut of a performance that really stood out this week, but it was also Charles Dance's presence and undeniable power that really rounded out this episode, performance wise. Sure, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was, as always, brilliant and emotional as Jaime, and Sibel Kekilli made a triumphantly heartbreaking return to the series that had my mouth on the floor, but nothing can outshine the two perfect players in Dinklage and Dance; they're unbeatable. 


It's that time of the week... getting fucked in the ass by dad time!

As I mentioned, Sibel Kekilli, Shae, returned once again to the series after her character's brief hiatus, and it made for a difficult to watch scene. Tyrion's face as the woman was brought before the entirety of the court to admit to being Tyrion's whore, and then lying about Joffrey's death, stating Tyrion did it to impress Sansa, was a well acted, raw scene, which was handled well with music, camerawork; everything, really. Now that I think about it, all the accusations against Tyrion were played out really well, by actors and crew alike. Meryn Trant's accusation was rightfully infuriating, Varys' was somewhat disappointing, and Cersei's was just... well, anything Cersei related is unbearable! These scenes were just plain good! And Varys' little comment to Tyrion, where the Imp asked the Spider whether or not he remembered his defense of the city, and Varys informed him that he supposedly, "never forgets," left some questions unanswered for non-book readers. Hinting at something maybe? Maybe he'll be back to help him later on? Maybe they'll team up again? Who knows? Well, all the book readers, but we aren't going to inform you all just yet!

Just before Shae made her presence known, we also got some more Tywin-centric action, this time with Jaime. Jaime, trying to convince Tywin to release Tyrion, offered Tywin the opportunity to take his white cloak, send him to Casterly Rock, and continue the Lannister legacy, as long as Tyrion was released without having his head separated from his neck. Tywin agreed to it all quite quickly, stating that he'd let Tyrion live if he begged for mercy... and that he would send him to the Wall. Damn, Tywin, obviously planning for this kind of situation! He reacted without missing a single beat, and so then Tywin had his ace in the hole. Tyrion to the Wall, which is as good as death to Tywin, and Jaime in his rightful place, atop Casterly Rock. I mean, up until Tyrion chose trial by combat, Tywin had it all in place. And that's why Tywin's a bloody genius, and in charge of the Lannister household people.  

So literally no Starks this week, for the first time since... I can't actually recall the last time no Starks appeared on this show! I don't believe it's ever happened! But honestly, this episode was tight enough already, so I don't believe including any of the Starks was actually necessary. I believe Tyrion's trial by combat is to occur during episode 8, so just wait for that piece of gold; it is sure to be fantastic. In conclusion, this episode was utter perfection, and despite my very minor gripes in relation to editing, directed towards the Ironborn vs. Bolton scene, I can't deny it the highest honors. On average, most seasons receive 2 perfect 10's from myself, and that has always included episode 9; so even without episode 9 out yet, Season 4 has managed to breach the average. It speaks for the intensity and utter brilliance of this season, and this show in general. I leave you with another Stannis meme, a promo, and this to think on; will Dinklage win an Emmy for this episode? And as always, see you next week!





Check out next week's episode's promo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Junkie Score: 10

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