When I was growing up in the 80′s, I remember when my family first got cable. To start, it was just one HBO channel and one Showtime channel. In the town I grew up in, our cable provider didn’t offer The Movie Channel, but we did eventually get HBO’s version, called Cinemax. It was another channel that showed nothing but movies with some random goodies sprinkled in between. As time passed, Cinemax garnered a bit of a reputation with their propensity to air shows and movies that showed a whole lot of skin, and earned the nickname Skinemax.
This season has flown by so fast I can’t even believe that it’s over. I’ve said before that this series could benefit from either longer episodes ala BBC, or a longer season. There is so much story to tell that it’s next to impossible to cover all the bases without a storyline or two suffering. There have been a few episodes this season that felt a little disjointed because of the break neck speed in which the writers jumped from one place to another. Others have dragged a bit but overall, the second season was stellar and think, in the end, the writers did a bang up job.
The second season finale visited a lot of places and a lot of characters so I was thankful that they gave us an extended episode. Given, some of that time was taken up by the especially long flashback intro, but with a show like this, I feel that was needed. Plus, the audience could use a refresher since last week’s “Blackwater” episode only focused on the events surrounding King’s Landing. Since we haven’t seen the bulk of the cast in two or more weeks, there was no doubt that the writers were going to squeeze in as many as they could in to the finale. The visits may have been brief, but the impact on what’s to come was huge.
I think this is the episode that everyone who’s read the books have been waiting for. We’ve been hearing all season about the impending war, but this second to the last episode finally brings the battle to King’s Landing in the true fight for the Iron Throne. Normally the episodes, as well as my recaps, are split up by location. There is so much going on all over Westeros and beyond that the story is told in bits and pieces. This week however, marks the first time that the GoT series focuses on one location for the entire episode.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss bravely and wisely stepped back from this episode and instead turned over the writing duties over to the man himself, George R.R. Martin. It’s rather fitting for the man behind the Song of Ice and Fire series to pen this episode considering it’s the biggest one so far. Neil Marshall took over directing duties and if his work on The Decent shows anything, it’s that he’s capable of doing a lot with very little.
Only two episodes are left and with them, the war that has been raging finally looks like it’s going to hit the shores of King’s Landing. This latest episode felt like it could and probably should have been a two-hour episode. With so much going on all over Westeros, little time was given to characters who would have benefited from a little more screen time. We haven’t seen Stannis in the last couple of episodes and we only get but a snippet of him this week. However, that being said, the small scene he did have, gave us more insight into his character than the sum of his screen time as a whole.
Every story has characters that you will loathe. But for me, it’s a rare occasion where there is a character whose face I wish I could rip off. It happened in the Harry Potter books, and it’s happening again now. Theon make me so mad I can’t even see straight. The final shot of last week’s episode where he hoisted the remains of the young boys up for all of Winterfell to see left me shocked and angry. Once I calmed down however, I questioned on if the remains were actually those of the Stark boys. We get the answer to that question in this latest episode and the action picks up in Winterfell.
Last week I complained about how quickly paced the episode was. Events moved so quickly from location to location that the viewed were treated to nice case of whiplash. This week visits several places, but at least we’re given time to absorb what exactly is happening in each place. The tension is rising as we head into the back end of the season and with only four episodes left, I imagine it’s going to continue to build.
The Old Gods and the New had me from the first scene. While I was expecting it, and was prepared for the anger it would bring, I didn’t expect the episode to jump in with both feet. I should know by now that the writers don’t hold back and Vanessa Taylor, who penned this episode, started this episode out with a bang.
This is one of those episodes that will give you whiplash. It moves so quickly from place to place, it never really takes the necessary time to fully explore any one location long enough. I get that there is so much tell and such a limited time to tell it, but if this season is to be as incredible as last, they need to slow it down. The Ghost of Harrenhal marks the halfway point of the season already. Starting next week we’re on a downhill slide to the finale and it seems to me that they are going to cram the next five episodes with a whole lot of story. I don’t normally mind information overload, but when it comes at a cost, that’s when I get frustrated.
Last week left off with that wretched shadow birth scene and with it, a visual to chew on for the rest of the week. Talk about leaving you with something to think about….that was just….yeah.
This is probably the first episode in a while where I wasn’t quite sure what to think once it ended. While most of it I already knew about, thanks to the book, there was a little part at the end that left me bewildered, befuddled and in a state of shock. I’ll give some major props to the writers since they don’t seem intimidated by the material they’re adapting at all. Too many times we’ve seen source material ruined because the powers that be don’t have the balls to faithfully adapt it for the screen. The same definitely cannot be said here. They did go through with killing Ned after all. Although they didn’t have much of a choice in that, but still.
This week does without the shenanigans in Pyke and north of the Wall, which means, sadly for me, no Jon Snow. However, this week also marks the return of the King of the North himself, Robb Stark which is a huge bonus. Garden of Bones is one of those episodes that gives you loads of information, without saying very much at all. It may not have seemed like much on the surface, but once you put a little thought into it and peek behind the curtain, you’ll see that this episode contained quite a bit.
Finally, after months and months of build up and that kick ass season ending shot, Game of Thrones is back with a vengeance. I desperately wanted to be done with this book prior to the season premier but alas, I’m still reading it. Luckily I’m ahead of where this first episode left off so nothing in the episode came as a surprise. There’s turmoil in Westeros and The North Remembers does a pretty good job and setting up the chaos as well as introducing a few new characters. There is so much going on in different parts of the realm and like last season, if you pay attention to the opening credits, you’ll know what areas the episode will focus on.
Last season left off with the aftermath of Ned Stark’s beheading. Robb has been declared King of the North, while Joffrey, the boy-king, sits on the Iron Thron in Kings Landing. Tyrion Lannister was appointed to the position of Hand of the King, and the surviving Baratheon brothers, Stannis and Renly both think the Iron Throne belongs to them. Meanwhile, Daenerys emerged from the fire (literally) with three baby dragons and what’s left of her khalasar.
Two more months to go until the second season of Game of Thrones premiers. I’m desperately trying to tear through the second book before that happens and have tried my hardest to stay away from all things spoiler-y. That being said, I couldn’t resist the call of this trailer so I watched it. Twice.
Now that the holidays are but a memory, it’s time to get back to business. TV business that is. Television pretty much comes to a grinding halt during the festive season and aside from the holiday specials, we’re forced to watch other things. Which isn’t really a bad thing per se, but it makes for difficult decision-making. Should I stream this show I’ve been sitting on for ages or should I watch that movie. You get the idea.
Since there is a whole lot of TV coming back in the following weeks, I’ve done a bit of a round-up. Below is a listing of shows (not every single one) returning from their winter break, and shows that are just starting. Everything is listed by premier date to make it easy.