We begin our second Game of Thrones of the season with another installment of My How You’ve Grown, this time starring wee Brandon Stark, dancing through his dreams looking like he’s ready for freshman year at NYU. Even in his hallucinatory prophesy dreams he’s crap at archery, but at least he can walk and pal around with his brothers.
And Rickon’s huge. Even Hodor got taller. My wife has noted that Hodor is pretty much Jerry from Parks & Rec, which somehow makes Hodor even more awesome. Hodor. And Tonks is in a mood.
Meanwhile at Harrenhal, we get some flirty chat from Nurse Not-in-the-book, who I’m trying not to be irritated by. We are saved by Lord Flaymate, whose po-faced expression says I’ve got some shitty news, and some god-awful news. Which Robbo gets to pass on to his mom. Hi mom, your dad’s dead, and no news is definitely not good news about Bran & Rickon.
So wait, Bolton’s bastard got to Winterfell and the Ironborn had already torched the place and peaced out? So who’s crucifying Odious Theon?
Back on the road with Brienne the Big and Jamie the Bored. Jamie’s literally pissing out his territory, and running off at the mouth. This show puts a lot of time into prisoner/captor relationship dynamics, which is interesting sometimes, and wears really thin at others. The chatty fellow hauling hay to market is obviously a danger to the mission, but there’s no way Brienne is going to whack him. She’s as bad as Sansa with the dewy idealism and honor.
Jamie is an early front runner for best line of the night with the Iron Throne Made of Cocks.
And Joffrey is still a turd. He’s scared of girls, but not of his old mum, because she’s not the boss of him anymore.
Speaking of Sansa, dewiness, and also being an idiot, Sansa is a dewy idiot. Or she’s still riding the high off not having to marry Joffrey. Either way, Shae shouldn’t have to be disabusing her of the notion that the vicious pimp who sold out her dad is helping her because of sentiment.
The look on Shae’s face as Sansa floats out the door with Ser Daisy is just priceless. Much like the look on Loras’ face as he slogs through small talk with Sansa before delivering her to the tea party. And man, Diana Rigg still rules.
And we’re back to prisoner/captor, as Marge and her salty grandma wittily interrogate Sansa about King Turd. Sansa cracks right on schedule, and gets a lemon cake for her trouble.
On the road to Riverrun, Lord Dogfoodhands is complaining again, which never gets old. And he doesn’t like Nurse. Neither does Lady Cat, but she really needs someone to talk to while she lashes together her Blair Witch dreamcatcher. And apparently there’s still more to the story of why and how much she hates Jon Snowbastard.
Who is trudging south with the Dread Pirate Mance, who will most likely kill him in the morning. And it’s Gareth! From the Office! With Batman eyes! Ygritte’s really reaching for something to give Jon shit about. No, he’s never met a warg. OMG, what a hick.
A bit further south with the Unhappiest Campers, Fat Sam is getting grief for being the only one without blood frozen to his face, and also for being a fatty. Luckily he’s got mates to stick up for him, and no one likes his tormentor.
And a twig snaps in the woods, and Bran is awake in a flash. And Tonks is itching to stick that spear up someone. And out of the mists comes Cryptic Lad from Bran’s dreams. And his sis, who is even sneakier than Tonks.
Meanwhile, somewhere not far enough away from Harrenhal and not headed north, we catch up with Arya, Gendry, and why is Hot Pie along for this ride again? Is there a rule about fat kids on bad-idea camping trips? Gendry is browbeating Arya for not using her three wishes to stop the war, which is pretty ungracious even if he can’t smell the mass grave downwind of Harrenhal. Anyway, you guys all suck at directions and also hiding. And making up cover stories, and standing your ground.
And horrible scene with Shae tediously bullying Tyrion. Is there an idiot in any village who trusts Shittyfinger? Well, sadly yes, but Shae can’t restrain herself from having jealous snits for long enough to pursue the issue. I hate watching Tyrion lose arguments with Shae.
And it appears Joff has summoned Marge, for reasons clearly unknown to him. He know he wants something, so he runs down the usual list. Small talk, browbeating, digging for dirt, fishing for praise, showing off, and nothing quite satisfies. Marge handles him like she’s playing checkers with a 7-year-old. Or rather, like she’s dealing with a horny, sadistic, repressed kid with terrifying mommy issues. Would you take me hunting sometime? Genius.
It takes a bit to make me feel sorry for Odious Theon. Crushing his instep into jelly? That works. And here’s a hint, OT: There’s no right answer. (Hey, that’s Simon the Invisible Welsh Nerd from Misfits! I wonder if he’s a lying bastard and this is a trick?)
On the road north to the wall, Jojen Exposition is here, explaining warging and The Sight to Bran, while Tonks hangs back and tries not to make friends with sis Meera. Good luck.
Pub scene! Thoros of Myr is another witty interrogator, and Arya is out of practice with that sword. Still, they’re just about off the hook when who should show up? Just the Hound, who has been on a bender since the Blackwater and still spots Arya in three seconds.
So we aren’t going to get any gratuitous nudity this ep. I can accept this, grudgingly, because hey Sword Fight! Feels like we haven’t had one of these since Drogo owned that dude in season one. Jamie tries to ride the momentum from tricking Big B out of her sword, talking smack and trying to get into her head. Brienne, however, is really good at this stuff and is beating herself a Knight of the Kingsguard, at least until they’re interrupted by a parade of Lord Flaymate’s bannermen. Who, to add insult to injury, have been tipped off by the nice chap Brienne would never have killed anyway. Shit.