3.02- "Dark Wings, Dark Words"
Nick Hanover: There was only one thing Dylan wanted from Game of Thrones this week: Jaime and Brienne. With that in mind, I feel it's only appropriate to ask Dylan a question to get this review started: were you satisfied with your time with Westeros' favorite awkward duo, Dylan?
Dylan Garsee: The third book of A Song of Ice and Fire is filled with so many fantastic moments from [THIS CHARACTER DYING] to [THESE CHARACTERS DYING] to [THE DEATH OF THIS CHARACTER], but my two favorite moments happened in this episode, back to back! Jaime and Brienne's relationship in the book is so refreshing, so hilarious and sweet, and such a blast to read, that I would read other chapters fast just so I could get to back to their chapters. I was thrilled to see their transition to television, and to answer your question, I was satisfied. Brienne's stoic irritation at Jaime's charming nagging provided great comic relief for this otherwise dour show, which has been very humorless and self serious this season.
Nick: As comedic as their segments often were in this episode, they also accelerated the plot quite a bit, giving us more of a glimpse at the state of the rest of Westeros than pretty much any other section of the show had, especially with their run-in with the Flayed Man troops, which happened immediately after a duel that proved how dangerous Brienne can be.
Dylan: Oh, the Boltons– Westeros' own McPoyles.
With their run-in with the Bolton guards, I'm quite sad because it most likely means that they're removing an admittedly not that important plotline with a certain goat man. In the book, it's only a few chapters, but helps so much with their character development.
Nick: While it was somewhat easy to predict, I did enjoy the way Jaime called it with that wandering trader, who came back to bite Brienne in the ass and showed her why Jaime is worth listening to when it comes to survival savvy.
Dylan: I just want every story to be about Jaime and Brienne, and Tyrion and Bronn and Bran and Hodor and Cersei and wine to be Jaime and Brienne. Is that too hard?
Nick: That sentence just gave me an aneurysm.
Dylan: Is your aneurysm Jaime and Brienne? Then I don't care.
Nick: On the subject of weird travelers, though, this episode was full of them. Outside of Jaime and Brienne, we also saw the return of the rest of the Stark children. Bran in particular had his story developed more, as we learned both the name for his ability (he's a "Warg,” which sounds like a subreddit) and we met JoJen, a spiritual brother of sorts who is especially important in book two but has only just now debuted on the show, albeit in a completely badass way.
Dylan: I had a warg once, but it turned out he was actually a woman.
Nick: I'm glad you resisted turning that into a wang joke.
Dylan: I am very mature.
~~~~~REPOST THIS IF UR A MATURE DYLAN WHO DONT NEED NO WANG JOKEZ~~~~~
Nick: ~~~~~REPOST IF U A DYLAN WHO HAD TO BE WOKEN UP AFTER PASSING OUT ON SOMEBODY'S COUCH BEFORE THIS REVIEW BEGAN~~~~~
Dylan:~~~~~REPOST THIS IF YOU EVER FALL ASLEEP ON A COMFORTABLE ASS COUCH AFTER EATING TOO MUCH CICIS BECAUSE YOU MISSED YOUR FIRST BUS~~~~~
I've had a weird day.
Nick: Even though JoJen was kind of restricted here, he and his sister Meera made grand entrances that nicely summed up why they're so interesting and vital to Bran's cause without derailing that existing storyline. It makes sense that if you're on the road, on the run, hiding out in the woods, a couple of stealthy, semi-magical teens would come in handy. Preferrably of the non-Twilight variety.
Dylan: I'm happy to see Jojen and Meera finally inject something interesting in the Bran/Hodor/Yara plot.
Nick: Osha, you mean?
Because clearly Yara is the one similar name we couldn't handle in a show full of Bronn/Bran/Brons
Nick: What's odd is that even though we got more info on Bran's state, their plot otherwise didn't move far, and a lot of the info actually came from Jon Snow's plotline, where he dealt with another Warg, specifically the raven-bonded one who spied him and his group last season and who is played by fucking Gareth from the UK Office.
Dylan: Jon Snow's plot this week consisted entirely of "this man can see out of a raven." End scene.
It's starting to feel a smidge whiplashy.
Nick: Other than the Warg reveal, did anything even happen in Jon Snow's plot this week?
Dylan: Nope. He had 90 seconds of screentime. They made this mistake last season with Daenerys by having her appear for 12 seconds just to say "MY DRAGONS" and everyone got pissed. We can go a few episodes without characters, it's okay.
The same can be applied to Tyrion this episode who had a very quick scene with Shae that could easily have been in last weeks episode.
Nick: Especially considering most of the characters in this episode were otherwise missing from the premier.
Dylan: Don't worry, writers and producers of Game of Thrones, we know Jon Snow and Tyrion will be back. We're not idiots.
Nick: span> At least with Jon, the Warg bit fit with the other plotline. The Shae and Tyrion stuff was irritating because it served no purpose other than to further convince me Shae is going to die soon.
Dylan: STOP MAKIING PREDICTIONS I CAN'T RESPOND TO.
Nick: I have a confession to make, Dylan.
I am actually George R. R. Martin.
And I deliberately put you in the hospital.
Dylan: Totally explains your love of leather police hats.
Nick: They're just comfy.
Nick: On less irrelevant Stark fronts, though, we did get some great Arya scenes this week. Her storyline was really the only that had me– and I think the rest of our Sunday viewing crowd– on edge.
Dylan: While I'm beyond overjoyed to see the return of Brienne and Jaime, we finally got to see the return of the pudgy and totally underused in the show Hot Pie.
Oh yeah, and that girl Arya.
And piece of manmeat, Gendry.
Nick: Dylan writes Hot Pie on Gendry fanfic in his free time.
You can find it at gendrymanpie.tumblr.com
Dylan: Readers, don't click that.
Nick: At first I thought Arya and her merry men had been picked up by a Freegan version of John Cleese's interpretation of Robin Hood from Time Bandits. I was disappointed that that was not the case.
Dylan: As someone that speaks almost exclusively in 30 Rock references, I think you may have overdone it with the references.
Here, I'll redo the joke for you:
At first glimpse, I thought Arya and her merry men had been picked up by a a group of grey scraggly men that don't look exactly like the men that kidnapped Brienne and Jaime, or Stannis' army, or Renly's army, or the men at the wall.
What I'm saying is that everyone that isn't a main character on this show looks the exact same to me.
Nick: This is because Dylan can't tell bearded white people apart. Which is why he still doesn't believe he has in fact lived with five separate roommates, only one of which was a man named Ryan Usher.
Dylan: They all look the same in the dark.
Nick: When I don't shave for a while, do I just turn into a stranger in your head?
Dylan: ENOUGH WITH THE SCHTICK. WHAT HAPPENED WITH ARYA?
Nick: She got abducted by a bearded dude who really wanted to know how she escaped the Lannisters, especially since her gang is such a sad group of individuals. And they almost made it out of there intact and free when the fucking Hound showed up and wanted to know how not-Robin-Hood managed to snag "the Stark bitch."
Dylan: Oh man, when the Hound and Arya made eye contact, I may have shivered. Arya sure knows how to get herself into situations that scare me. See: all of last season
Nick: Arya has a very special talent for winding up in insanely stressful situations, which is only slightly less useful than your talent for falling asleep on any semi-flat surface more or less immediately.
Dylan: You know what, the next time you give me shit about falling asleep, I will spoil all of the character deaths in the book and then teabag you in your sleep.
Nick: As fun as that sounds, I imagine Arya is going to be worse off as a result of catching the Hound's attention and thus getting revealed to the Brotherhood without Banners. It's too early to tell whether the Brotherhood is good or just exploitative, but regardless, Arya's background makes her a valuable commodity. Still, at least she isn't in quite as dire of straits as good ol' Theon is.
Dylan: Admit it, you were happy they were Saw III-ing him.
Nick: It looked more like they were Zero Dark Thirty-ing him. I'm still confused about who was actually torturing him, though. Tumblr made it seem like the torturer was a key character, but the show itself didn't give many details. Is this character more important in the books?
Dylan: Well the thing with the Theon stuff is that, in the books, it's told as flashbacks.
So I don't know what is happening with that plot.
Nick: That plot was maybe the oddest fit for the episode, although I am intrigued by the appearance of Simon from Misfits as an as-yet-unnamed character. It went on far longer than it needed to, and it seemed to mostly be an excuse to watch Theon be in pain, which, admittedly, I am not necessarily against.
Dylan: While I am not anti-Theon pain, I will always be anti-needles in fingernails.
Nick: I think I'd rather Theon just get the clap, that way we could watch him go insane and blind.
Dylan: That's weirdly specific.
Nick: If it was good enough for Voltaire, it's good enough for Theon.
Nick: Speaking of disgusting sexual problems, though, we did get a whole lot of Joffrey in this episode. Specifically Joffrey showing off his phallic weaponry and his soon-to-be-bride Margaery educating him on the finer points of anal sex.
Dylan: "Renly, well, how do I say this…he just wanted the d…"
"…Not the v."
Nick: "You know how you hate when your tailor puts flowers on your robes? Well, Renly really liked flowers. Especially flowers with lances, if you know what I mean."
Dylan: "Joffrey, are you familiar with the term 'power-bottom'?"
Nick: I am curious to see what Margaery does with the confirmation from Sansa that Joffrey is the Patrick Bateman of Westeros. It's too late for Margaery to get out of the marriage, but other than anothe
r hunting "accident," I don't know what she can do to improve her situation, though I do appreciate her use of all her charm and seduction in this episode. Still, she clearly gets that she has wound up with a sociopath and I'm worried that her catering to his darker impulses will backfire tremendously.
Dylan: She's much smarter than she puts on, just like her grandmother, The Queen of Thornes, whose performance made me wish there could somehow be a Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones crossover, just so I can see her go toe to toe with the Dowager Countess.
Nick: I would gladly pay you cash moneys to make that crossover a reality.
Dylan: All the gold in Casterly Rock.
Nick: I half suspected that Margaery was moving for some kind of Sansa-Lorys marriage, and I still think that remains a possibility, because Margaery has to know that for her to really have power as Queen, she needs all the allies she can get.
Dylan: If she doesn't have any royal allies, she does have an army of orphans on her side.
Nick: I hear they make excellent cannonballs.
Dylan: You heard correctly.
Nick: I really want to know where the fuck Varys is, though. With all of this King's Landing intrigue, his absence is baffling and bizarre.
Dylan: Just know he's somewhere in the shadows, scheming.
Nick: But I'm not sure whether his absence is meant to terrify me, in the same way that knowing a bee is somewhere in the house terrifies you, or whether it's just something the show hasn't gotten to yet because they're too busy showing us Tyrion making out with Shae before whatever the hell happens to her happens to her.
Anyway, what are we giving this super momentous and eventful episode of Game of Thrones?
Dylan: Well, we've been writing this for 2 hours, and I think we've covered everyone.
And as we were writing this, I realized nothing happened in this episode.
Nick: Well, half an hour of that was spent verbally slapping each other. And another half hour was spent physically slapping one another.
Dylan: You were one slap away from it being a hate crime.
As happy as I am with the Queen of Thorns and Brienne/Jaime scenes, the other 50 minutes of it were totally uneventful, so 3.5 stars.
Nick: Yeah, that's my feeling on this, too. I know something horrible is on the horizon, so I'm more tolerant of this kind of water treading than I would have been last season.
But seriously, GoT, pick up the pace a bit.
He says, as though he has some kind of direct line through to HBO and George R.R. Martin.
Dylan: You're splitting the book into two seasons to fit everything in, not to slow it down to a crawl.
Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on twitter @garseed.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he's the last of the secret agents and he's your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Comics Bulletin, where he reigns as the co-managing editor, or at Panel Panopticon, which he started as a joke and now takes semi-seriously. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd rants about his potentially psychopathic roommate on twitter @Nick_Hanover and explore the world of his musical alter ego at Fitness and Pontypool.