Monday, May 20, 2013

The Idiot Box: Game Of Thrones 3x08 - “Second Sons” Review

Yeah, that's right fat boy, run away from the one thing you just found out kills the invading monsters. That's smart...

I'm noticing that this season, perhaps more than either of the other ones, is an exercise in delayed gratification. Every time I watch a storyline play out and find myself frustrated by it not going where I want it to go, or not getting there fast enough, almost like clockwerk, I get what I want by the next episode. Case in point, this week we have Tyrion finally getting an opportunity to defend Sansa's honor, Stannis finally registering a glimmer of understanding that that Red bitch be crazy, and we get some always welcome White Walker action to boot.

Can I just say the Onion Knight learning to read is freaking adorable? This is a storyline that is maybe a little more prominent than I would like, especially considering that at this point I'd like to seem some magic not associated with the Fire God, but its not without its charm. That said charm is contingent on naked Candice Van Houtan is only a little crass on my part, but at the very least, the show seems to be aware of this, subverting expectations by giving us the second scene in as many weeks combining a beautiful naked woman and threats to male genitalia.

I think the Daenerys-As-Mary Sue thing I've talked about in previous reviews has finally gotten to the point of being unbearable, but based on the whole delayed gratification trend I mentioned, I assume she'll be taken down a peg at some point before season's end. I know that sounds weird and maybe a little misogynistic  especially coming right after the naked Melisandre comment, but the premise of her story in this episode basically amounts to the idea that her boobs are magic and have the power to forge and break alliances at every jiggle. I'm not even saying she's bad in the role or that its a bad character, but a little more drama and moral complexity would be nice.

This episode really belongs to Peter Dinklage, as every episode by all rights should be, and as too few this season have been. We get his wedding to Sansa and the aforementioned noble defense of her against the manipulative Tywin and the dickish and rapey Joffry, and for once we get something of a happy ending to go out on, though as always with this show, that's only tentative until the next horrible tragedy. There's one moment in particular that rivals the famous Tyrion/Joffry bitchslap heard round the world, and it gives Dinklage a chance to play the frailty and darkness of his character without loosing the sympathy he's earned up to this point.

We get a moment between Arya and the Hound that I'm already dreading might presage a Jaime-style redemption of a great bad guy, and a final moment calling back the last scene of season two that, while incredibly cool, made me scream at my TV in response to the stupidity of the characters involved. Based on my cursory knowledge of the books and a tip from a much more knowledgeable fan, I happen to know that next week's episode is a biggie, and if done right, might just have the potential to be one of the best of the series. We'll see if it meets expectations, but as of now, we couldn't get a better set up for it.

See you next time. 

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