3.06 "The Climb"
Nick Hanover: Well, Dylan, we're now at our annual "things slow way the fuck down" point with Game of Thrones, as we went from a streak of crazy episodes to "The Climb," which isn't boring, but sure does bring things down a notch with its focus on family intrigue, arranged marriages and high stakes ice climbing.
But what really made it clear that this episode was going to be slower than the rest of the season has been was motherfucking Sam, who is now living out some kind of Westeros variant on Raising Arizona, minus all the fun.
Dylan Garsee: While Theon may be living out Saw: Westeros, Gilly is truly the victim of torture in Game of Thrones. Who would have thought the only thing worse than living in a compound where your dad rapes you and your sisters to breed more daughter/sister/rape holes would be living in the woods with only Samwell?
Not saying that the sister/daughter/rape hole is worse than Samwell's company.
Just that I would much rather be Theon
Nick: At our viewing party, someone shouted that Gilly should cut Sam open and crawl inside for warmth and all I'm going to say is that I would have given this episode a 5 if that would have happened.
We also imagined a scenario in which that baby of Gilly's was frozen. Because we are awful human beings.
Dylan: She could have used Chekov's dragonglass to do the deed.
MAN I WONDER IF THIS WILL EVER BE IMPORTANT EVER.
Nick: Since I love talking about Sam so much, let's go ahead and move on to Theon, who as you pointed out was in a slightly better place, what with his bonding time with Roose Bolton's bastard.
Dylan: I saw a reddit thread where they said to stop referring to him as Roose Bolton's bastard, as to not spoil the inevitable reveal.
Nick: Well, I'm under the belief that viewers are smarter than Theon and realize that Theon being held up as the literal symbol of House Bolton makes it clear who he has been kidnapped by. Karstark, Theon? Really?
Dylan: Whoever he is (Roose Bolton's bastard) did a superb job this week making the pads of my pinky fingers tingle.
I have always wondered what Sean Astin and Hannibal Lector would look like if they somehow had a baby.
Nick: You leave Iwan Rheon alone and I'll leave Against Me bassist alone.
Dylan: BUT HE'S NOT EVEN A MAIN CHARACTER. I DON'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME? DAENERYS? WHO KNOWS?
Nick: But yes, that was some effective torturing, I just hope we get some kind of payoff soon, other than the joy everyone gets from watching Theon get tortured. I assume that this is heading towards a plotline involving the Bastard Bolton hunting down Bran and company, now that he knows they're alive, and attempting to sell them off as hostages. It's not like anything is going on in that plotline at the moment anyway, as all we learned about the Bran camp this week is that JoJen is kind of maybe epileptic and that Meera and Osha don't like one another.
Dylan: You know nothing, Nick HanoveeAARRRRR.
Wait, that was last week.
I haven't done these in a while.
Nick: I like the frogpeople, but that storyline is getting dangerously close to Sam-levels of pointlessness.
Dylan: Yeah, we need an episode or three break from them.
Nick: Speaking of things we need breaks from, though, can we please let Robb do something that isn't entirely idiotic?
Dylan: Each week, he is starting to look more and more like Oswald from The Drew Carey Show.
Nick: As if he hadn't pissed off enough people in his camp, he's now forced Edmure to marry a random Frey girl because it's one of Lord Frey's demands for their alliance. Of course Edmure has to do it, but Robb's bullshit response of "It isn't right and it isn't fair but I won't forget it" should bite him in the ass.
Dylan: And each week, he is starting to act more and more like Oswald from The Drew Carey Show.
Nick: I miss when Robb was a force to be reckoned with, but I do understand why we're being shown this side. As Robb himself says "I've won every battle I've fought, but I'm losing this war." Yes, yes, you are. Because you are an impulsive dick.
Dylan: There's a reason I bought a Renly doll instead of a Robb doll.
Because of the bearded young people vying for the throne, Renly was the less dumbfuck one.
Also, Renly can love me back.
Nick: Robb has potential, and he may still come out on top, but the only way that will happen is if he sides with Daenerys or another major player, because he doesn't know how to lead at all and needs a true leader to keep the troops together while he handles the strategy.
Dylan: He's running out of lives, running out of chances. Robb needs to make better decisions before it's too late.
Nick: His brother Jon isn't faring much better on the other side of the wall, despite having a relatively good week last episode. But his problems have more to do with his environment than his own choices. Mance Rayder's are rightfully skeptical of Jon, even if Ygritte is more loyal, as she confirmed that she knows he's not a true traitor to the Night's Watch and she doesn't care as long as he takes care of her safety. But it seems that Jon is less and less certain of staying true to the Night's Watch, even if Mance's men have it out for him. Jon seems to be enjoying the freedom, of being out in the open where his bloodline isn't as important as his intentions.
Dylan: The whole Ygritte/Jon/scary bearded ginger version of the non-Joe Pesci guy from Home Alone wall climbing business had this weird veneer of a high budgeted Lifetime movie. Yes, the wall was a grand set piece with some breathtaking visuals, but that ending scene with the sun bursting through the clouds and the sweeping music and camera zooms and everything was so over the top.
I couldn't help but groan.
Nick: So much wheel spinning this season! We did at least get some development in Melisandre's plot this week, as she appeared in Arya's storyline, freaked out about Beric and how often Thoros has resurrected him (turns out everyone is kind of baffled by this), bought Gendry (presumably to make some more shadow babbies), and then terrified Arya with a vague prophecy that I believe has something to do with her connection to the mystical forces she allied herself with last season. I mean, that line about lots of different eyes looking through her seemed to be a commentary on changing faces, to me at least.
Dylan: Melisandre was serving some fierce realness with that red dress/hood thing.
But for real, I have never really had any faith in R'hllor, Lord of Light. I had always seen it as the Scientology of the Seven Kingdoms. That's at least how it felt in the books.
But the last two episodes have given more legitimacy to the religion.
Nick: Well, it seems like they've upped their game here, if Thoros is to be believed. I'm intrigued by the Gendry business, but I'm worried for Arya, since she appears to be in way over her head and now no longer as any of her friends to back her up any longer. Her sister is in a similar position over in King's Landing, but in a far more tragic way. Sansa is now in Tyrion's hands, and their scene together was the second most heartbreaking of the episode. Hopefully Sansa doesn't blame Tyrion, or is it at least willing to learn not to blame Tyrion, but her tears at Littlefinger's departure made it clear that she realizes that all of her childhood dreams are crushed once and for all, and she's more or less permanently imprisoned in King's Landing. As great as it was to watch Oleanna go toe to toe with Tywin, it's pretty obvious that things are going to go horribly wrong there, and not just for Sansa and Loras. The Tyrell-Lannister merger is based on mutual distrust and disgust and there's no way it will hold up well. And in case that wasn't clear enough, we got that horrific image of Ros' dead body, shot through with arrows and bound to Joffrey's bed, a final fuck you from Littlefinger to his nemesis Varys, who may have gotten his vengeance against the sorcerer who castrated him but may never have his vengeance against Littlefinger, the chaotic force that keeps him from attaining the order he hopes to instill in King's Landing.
Dylan: I was reading online after the episode aired, and that Littlefinger speech on chaos being a ladder was pretty much universally loved and praised. To me though, it felt so heavyhanded and silly that it was almost laughable. The vague chaos malarkey felt very "Tool lyrics"-y.
Also, I'd gladly pay for 20 HBO subscriptions for a Golden Girls-esque sitcom staring Oleanna and Tywin. Could you imagine that?
"Oleanna, did you sic the Kingsguard on my wildfyre delivery men? Why would you do that?!"
"Let me tell you a story: the year, 14 winters ago, a young girl walks the streets of Highgarden…"
I'm very tired.
Nick: As fun as that Golden Girls hybrid would be, I think this may be the last bit of calm before the storm, and all the pieces are now in place for the absolute chaos I expect to rain down on the rest of the season. Everyone is basically in a terrible position, no one is doing well, per se, and we've got a big evil wedding coming up.
Dylan: This was another episode of watching chess pieces move with a dumb monologue at the end. We better hope that everything starts to pick up.
Nick: What are you rating it?
Dylan: 3.5, just because of how weirdly clumsy this episode was with regards to Littlefinger and the ending of the wall climb. It was so cliche I thought (and hope there is a mashup on youtube) that "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus was going to play over the credits.
Nick: I'd watch that. And 3.5 is what I'm feeling as well. I know things are going to pick up soon, but these mid-season episodes are always kind of tough to get through.
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.