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Game of Thrones



Episode 4 - And Now His Watch is Ended

24 April 2013

Credit HBO

Synopsis: Jaime is humiliated further by Bolton's men and Brienne has to keep him alive. Theon is led back to his torture chamber after admitting that he made the wrong choice in going home. Varys explains his origins to Tyrion before Ros informs him of Little Finger's interest in Sansa. Varys asks Olenna Tyrell for help and they suggest that Sansa wed Loras. Margaery further endears herself to Joffrey. The Brotherhood without Banners decides to try the Hound for murder. At Craster's Keep empty bellies lead to a rebellion, Mormont and Craster are killed and Sam flees with Gilly. Dany hands over her dragon only to slaughter the masters of the Unsullied and lead her 'free' army out of Astapor.

The Good: There was some very strong stuff throughout this episode. Dany's new world order was beautifully shot and gave a good sense of the size of her army. Turning on Kraznys was predictable and satisfying and fit with her sense of wanting to lead willing people as opposed to mercenaries.

Meanwhile Jaime was pretty methodically humiliated by his captors, it was almost tough to watch. You get the sense that he and Brienne will be bonded pretty tightly if they manage to escape.

Varys remains one of my favourite characters on the show. It's probably unwise to assume he really is fighting for the realm as he claims though, given the way the show likes to pull the rug out from under you. Still, we've waited a long time for his origin story and it was pretty horrific. It gave us enough information to imagine what he's capable of and interestingly positioned him as the enemy of magic. I don't know what that does for his future loyalty given the key role magical things are playing in the armies arrayed against King's Landing. The plan to thwart Little Finger by marrying Sansa to Loras is a twisty one. Baelish has never revealed his plans to us, so we don't know how he will respond to that. For poor Sansa of course what looks like the absolute best of a bad situation really isn't. Her taste in men has led her down the wrong path before and this would be another dead end (given Loras' sexuality).

The bonding between Margaery and Sansa was a pleasant scene and Margaery is quickly establishing herself as a rich character capable of simultaneously manipulating and bonding with people. Once more she takes advantage of Joffrey to have herself seen with him in front of the crowds and playing to his fragile ego. And oh how I'd love to see the results if Tywin makes good on his promise to bring Joffrey in line. If that clash went badly then Varys' question about who really holds power (203) could be answered with dark results.

Speaking of which, they say we're all three missed meals from revolution and so it proved amongst what's left of the Nights Watch. It seemed all too believable that after their shattering defeat at the hands of the Walkers that discipline would be low. To stand at Craster's place and suffer cold, hunger and jealousy was a fatal combination. I assume Commander Mormont is dead, which is a significant moment, but after Theon's story I'm not sure of such things. Sam and Gilly are the latest couple to be out wondering on the roads and Jon Snow probably won't have to choose sides now given that there won't be anyone guarding the Wall at this rate.

It was good to hear Tyrion still pursuing the truth over his scarring. I wondered if it was going to be chalked up to the cut and thrust of politics amongst the Lannisters but it would seem not. I liked the moment when Cersei looked Olenna up and down and recognised a kindred spirit, a woman tired of being ordered around by men.

The Bad: If the 'Podrick is a sex god' gags are over and not really part of the plot then I'm glad.

The Unknown: The pains of adaption were evident in various scenes. Theon spilled his guts a little too emphatically to seem believable. I don't mind what he said or who he said it too, it was just the speed of it all. To admit that actually he's been all bluff since returning to the Iron Islands and actually misses the care Ned showed him was a big moment. It didn't quite feel right to lay it all out step by step for his rescuer. To lead him back to his torture chamber was clever stuff by whoever is holding him. At this point I guess it might be Bolton's son's men.

Similarly though Varys' origin story was blurted out in full colour when Tyrion had his mind on other matters. It put Tyrion in an awkward position to stand there not seeming too concerned by Varys' former suffering. To actually see the sorcerer in the box was also a little awkward. I think hearing how Varys has taken his revenge would have been more effective than seeing it. It leads us to actually imagine Varys, having shown admirable kindness toward Sansa, heading to the dungeons to torture the man.

Dany's dramatic recruitment drive also left us with questions. If the Unsullied have had all questions taken from them then they probably don't know what they'd do with themselves if they didn't have a master. The emancipation proclamation and spear banging all seemed a little staged as a result. She may have freed an army of slaves but their lives don't seem to have changed much and their loyalty to her either feels precarious or a bit easy. I know it's a lot of story to tell but we don't really have a sense of who runs Astapor. Where they happy about a local business owner (or possibly member of government, I don't know) being slaughtered along with his people? The army seemed to march out of the city at episodes end. Did they kill other masters in the city? Where are they headed now? Were we supposed to know that Dany spoke Valyrian? Or that Valyrian was the language being spoken?

Trial by Combat caused me some problems back at the Eyrie (106). Someone needs to explain how it reflects justice. If the Hound slaughters every men sent against him what would that achieve? The Brothers without Banners still don't feel fully introduced. I do remember Ned ordering the capture of the Mountain (106) but Beric Dondarrion was hardly a character then and its far from clear how he ended up here. The plotting was awkward too because Beric accused the Hound of murder yet was clearly excluding the men he's killed in battle. If Arya wasn't there would he have apologised and set him free? It seems hard to argue that the Hound should have refused orders from his masters considering Beric did the same. Do all the Brothers serve the Lord of Light?

Best Moment: There really were some fine moments. Olenna talking about her chamber pots or Varys laying out his horrible mutilation. The moment I reacted most to though was Tywin ticking off Cersei about how she lets Joffrey do what he wants. It was a moment that clicked. It fit the story, it fit Tywin's mastery of his surroundings and it put Cersei in her place because controlling the King (e.g. Ned's execution) is her main job in his eyes. It also hints of the possible conflict to come.

Conclusion: The pace of developments remains high and once more several stories were left out to give enough time to other scenes which is all good. However the show is still suffering from the same problem it always has. So many little things happen which only become contextualised in later episodes. That style demands a high level of investment from viewers and delays your emotional response to things as they are unfolding.



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  • Dave - Thank you for your patience with my style.

    I assume Mormont is dead. I just wanted to point out that the show is leaving so much as a mystery at the moment that his death didn't seem as certain as it should have.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 23/04/2013 11:54pm (5 years ago)

  • I really enjoyed this episode! all the characters stories moved forward in big ways and we learnt something new about them as it did, i didn't feel there
    were any weak stories slowing the episode down as has sometimes been the case.
    it was interesting to see Theon expressing regrets for his actions in Winterfell, i was so caught up in his story i almost didn't see that he was walking
    and not limping as he was lead back to his torturers.
    I was glad to see Dany taking control of her own destiny, she's been the victim for far too long and now she's making things happen instead of simply reacting.
    Varys scenes were great and i feel his character is becoming more compelling unlike little finger, who i hope is taking notes, and the revelation that Varys new
    package was in fact the wizard who had emasculated him as a boy was a surprise for me, although i have to admit i did look for an '' logo on the
    side of the crate :)
    As part 4 of 10 I'm happy with the way things are going but i suspect the next episode won't move at the same pace as this one but the next peak in activity,
    probably around the end of the season, looks like something to relish.

    i also have a few questions for you both that I've been wondering about of late and would be interested in what you think, first, how do you both think the
    show would be received if it was produced and aired before the book had been written or if the books were never written?
    and second, what proportion of viewers do you think are 'casual viewers' who have not and will never read the books and do you think such viewers prevent
    the show being more true to the books or do you suspect, as i do, that the show would not exist without them?
    Keep up the good work and thanks for staying up so late to produce the show, too bad you guys don't live in the same time zone!

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by Charlie, 23/04/2013 10:06pm (5 years ago)

  • For slightly over half this episode, I was convinced it was one of the most lackluster Game of Thrones episodes I'd seen yet, certainly of this season at least. The early going just seemed oddly disconnected and devoid of stakes. But I should have known better. Whenever GoT wiles away time place-setting early on, you can be sure they have something interesting and explosive up their sleeves for late in the episode, and this one paid off in spades. Dany's powerful and fiery take over and assertion of what is hers was the cathartic moment I think we've frankly been building to for three seasons with her. Now she has her army, and while I respect her for her definitively anti-slavery choices, I'm still deeply scared of her on behalf of the common people of Westeros, given the massive war that seems to be coming. Even if the Unsullied are not the raping type, and even if toppling the Lannisters etc will be good in the long run, war will nevertheless be terrifically destructive for a time.

    PS I've been trying to comment on the Breaking Bad rewatch for a while, but my comments are not posting for some reason. I'll see if this attempt over here succeeds.

    Viewer score: 68 / 100

    Posted by dfault, 23/04/2013 6:08pm (5 years ago)

  • Ah, okay I get it now, especially when you mentioned emotions. That and consequences are words you use a lot on your reviews and I know that you highly regard those two when it comes to scores. I thought the Unknown sections is you asking for information (non-spoilers kind, obviously) that needed to be filled in whether the show didn't explain it well enough or still have to get to like some of the stuff with Dany, it's reason why I didn't get into it unlike with the trial by combat and Beric or something you missed and didn't pick up on. Seeing as I'm a narrow minded know-it-all, when it comes to GoT anyway, I happily proceed with feeding you with that info. Not that I expected you to suddenly change your score because I provided you some info, my ego isn't that big. LOL.

    On another topic, what makes you think Commander Mormont is still alive? I'm not confirming he's dead or alive, but multiple stabs from that Night's Watchman who hates Sam, as we saw on this episode compared to what happened with Theon this episode is totally different. One seems more lethal than the another. I'm asking because I'm curious on how you came to that conclusion.

    Posted by Dave, 23/04/2013 5:53pm (5 years ago)

  • These episodes are all fantastic, but as such must be held to a higher standard of criticism. In no particular order. What was up with the "Disaster at the Craster"? It felt like they were bivouacking for the long haul despite all the pressing urgency to return to the wall and outrun the "walkers". Next thing we know there's a full scale mutiny and I can't tell who's fighting whom. If I had semi intelligent blue eyed zombies breathing down my neck I'm grabbing a turkey leg and double timing it down the path, not killing teammates.

    I don't like the green dreams in the book (damned confusing) and I don't like them on the small screen.

    Roz the upwardly mobile hooker. File that with the unnecessary Pod story line.

    How does the kingslayer take 3 or 4 gulps of urine and doesn't realize what he's drinking until notified? Did like the hand boutineer.

    Can't quite figure out Arya's indignation with the dog after she just ordered the death of countless enemies to facilitate her escape.

    A little disappointed that the wizard in the box wasn't wearing studded leather and a gag ball.

    The Danny close was fun, but the slaver came off as a serious rube. The expression on Jorah's face really annoyed me and felt like he borrowed if from some other show he worked on.

    I didn't think Theon's buddy was on the level for a second and didn't mind the elaborate ruse to further torture the poor boy, but the kid took a direct mace blow from a moving horse (those things have spikes on them) and had a giant corkscrew auger a hole in his foot, yet he walks without so much as a hint of a limp? Whatever happened to method acting?

    Viewer score: 72 / 100

    Posted by dbates, 23/04/2013 2:57pm (5 years ago)

  • Good: I loved Tywin's dismissal of Cersei and his promise to correct Jofrey. The most recent Conquering done by Daenerys was very well done, and gave me chills. (although that last shot with the fireballs exploding behind her back was a bit overdone 0_o )

    The scenes with Olenna were probably my favorite... I thought that her comments on the various family words was very interesting. In particular, we had Varys talking about his influence "growing like a weed." Olenna dismisses the words "growing strong" as not being as exciting as the other family's boasts, but at the same time we saw the growth of many characters in this episode. "Hear me roar!" might be ferocious words, but nothing beats the threat proposed by unceasing growth.

    Bad: As previously mentioned, the only thing I thought was bad was that "dramatic" shot of Dany framed by the burning walls of Astapor. Leaving that bit out would have resulted in a perfect portrayal of dramatic action.

    Unknown: Theon's story seems to be very strange. Coupled with Sam's developments (another character "on the road"), I do wonder if we will simply stop hearing from one set of characters or another.

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by Matt Uebel, 23/04/2013 2:34pm (5 years ago)

  • Dave - I think I need to clarify something about the way I review TV shows. When I point out something that I don't know or fully understand as a viewer, it isn't just the missing information that I'm complaining about. The reason I bring up the trial by combat or how Beric ended up there is that I had zero emotional reaction or investment in that development.

    My belief is that good television should make you feel something. So when I point out these questions I'm not saying if I had answers that would make me like everything I see. I'm just putting into words an explanation for where I think the story isn't engaging my emotions. Same thing for Dany and the Unsullied. I could guess answers to the questions but I shouldn't have to. The point of the adaption should be to arm viewers with all the information they need. Whether or not there is an explanation in the books is essentially irrelevant in whether or not this was good TV.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 23/04/2013 9:53am (5 years ago)

  • A correction on my last post, the BWB do all serve the Lord of Light.

    The Hound was accuse of murders and rape of innocent civilians that the Mountain and his men have done when they sieged Riverrun, seeing as The Hound was in House Clegane and serve the Lannisters at that time. Even without Arya telling us about Micah, he still has to proceed with the Trail by Combat, seeing as it settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or confessions. I know, not the best justice system, but they did stuff like this in the medieval times.

    Posted by Dave, 23/04/2013 5:11am (5 years ago)

  • Okay, I know you guys are getting tired of reading my posts, since I've been blabbing from episode 1 this season. But I just got to comment on my 1st episode that received a 65 or higher.

    Out of all the episodes that have aired, this one I didn't have as much complaints. The only scene I could have done without was Bran's scene. It's one of those scenes where you check-in with the character to see if he/she still alive and show nothing important, like a lot of Dany's scenes from last season.

    As great as the scene was where Theon admitted that his real father is Ned, but it kind of took me out when his "rescuer" brought him back to his torture chamber without a little bit of a hint from Theon that he realized they were heading back there. They did circle the woods a dozen times to confuse him?

    My next complaint is more on the books than the show. Kraznys not seeing Dany betray him after selling one of her dragons, which is worth more than an army. I'm surprise he's been a slaver this long if he can be tricked so easily. Still it was a great scene seeing this one played out. Just counting the first three books, this scene and Arya not using her wishes to kill either Tywin or Joffrey were the biggest problems I had

    While, I didn't knock the score because of it, but as a book reader, I'm disappointed they didn't include the scene with Commander Mormont speaking with Sam before he went off with Gilly. Hopefully, the show runners will bring up what they talked about in a later episode.

    Regarding your review, Robin. I chuckled when you mentioned "Baelish has never revealed his plans to us". Because compared to the books, TV Baelish is not so subtle. In season 1, in a scene where he expressed his jealously of Ned to two prostitutes, one of them was Ros who just recently arrived at King's Landing. My friends who are non-book readers, predicted right that he would betray Ned after watching that scene. A bit upset that it wasn't a complete surprise to them. In Season 2, he told Cersei that he knows the truth about Joffrey, which nearly got him killed. I wouldn't be surprised if he reveals his plans for Sansa in a not so subtle way later on.

    Regarding Trial by Combat, at first I didn't get it either, but a bit of research on the net that this stuff happened during medieval times. So I can see why this sort of thing is done in the world of GoT. The Hound doesn't need to fight all, but just the one, same with Bronn who killed just one Knights of the Vale back in S1.

    I'm not all that confused on how Beric Dondarrion ended up there, even if I didn't read the books. Remember he and his group were sent out to arrest and execute the Mountain, who was sieging Riverrun. Judging from Beric's bandage over his eye and how the Mountain is still running around, I predict Beric's group got their asses kicked. Seeing as the North are branded as "traitors" to the kingdom, they can't go back to King's Landing and Beric's men can't meet up with Robb's troops at that time, I assume either Lannister's army surround their means to go up north or the Freys won't let them cross, seeing as they refused Robb's army and Catelyn who is the daughter of the Frey's lord, without getting something in return. So they splintered off and form this band of outlaws and continue to harass the Lannister's men. Not all BWB members serve the Lord of Light.

    Viewer score: 66 / 100

    Posted by Dave, 23/04/2013 4:36am (5 years ago)

  • Guessing that it is Bolton's son's men holding Theon is a bit of a spoiler for me. I was still totally in the dark as to who they were. But now that you mention it, it's obvious who his "rescuer" is and why Theon is on the "cross".

    Viewer score: 70 / 100

    Posted by David, 23/04/2013 4:21am (5 years ago)

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