Editor’s Note: “The Eye of Newb” contains spoilers from the episode listed. If you have not watched the episode written about, you have been warned. But as Matt has not read the books (as of yet), you do not have to worry about future spoilers.
The Eye of Newb (Return of the Newb)
Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 5: First of His Name
“Your friend’s dead and Meryn Trant’s not ‘cos Trant had armor and a big fu$%ing sword.”- The Hound
Back, I am. Back from EN (why, God, WHY?!) CEE and a hotel suitable for the Dark Ages in its utter lack of HBO. Time to catch up on my Newbly ranting duties and with the two remaining Dear Readers willing to tolerate my unique definition of ‘episodic’.
If it’s any comfort, Manhattan’s stubborn insistence on preventing a certain Newb from partaking in the post-Fortress of Crystal Gale-itude tales of Westeros was deeply irritating. It chafed at my id, Friends. Of course, so did the traffic, the absence of a noticeable horizon, the teensy glimpses of sky, and the $53 steaks, a la carte. Apparently ‘ supply and demand’ is an outdated economic model on that overpopulated isle, and has been roundly rejected in favor of a ‘pillage the out-of-towners until they squeal’ one. At least there’s still decent gyros by the side of the road and the beer’s mostly cold.
All that aside for now… Onward!
- So, the first aggravation is: No deets whatsoever on the location of Darth Pale and the Baby-snatchers in the opening credits. WTF? Is this the Area 51 of the North or Patrick Duffy’s fever dream, or worse? If it’s where Winter is Coming From, shouldn’t we at least get a pop-up book compass point for it? Bah.
- We open with Tommen formally crowned as the new King of the Andals and Blah, blah, blah, etc., etc. Margaery seems schemingly giddy about this turn of events.
- Tommen = Still smitten.
- Margaery = the feminine equivalent (if, indeed there is such a thing – please Dear Female Reader, educate me so that I may add the appropriate term to my lexicon) of cock-blocked by the Ice Queen, Cersei.
- Oh, crap. Straight outta cock-block and directly into full-blown ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ for the Lady Lannister. Run, Margaery! Run!
- Wait just a damn minute. Cersei seems less interested in cock-blocking than co-opting or conspiring. Huh! And, runner-up line of the night to Margaery: “I won’t even know what to call you… sister or mother.” Well played, Miss Thing. Well played.
- For the record, I prefer Cersei as her normal Robert Patrick relentless Terminator of entitlement and pure evil than this doting mother figure. Watching this makes me feel all filthy inside.
- Thankfully, we flit away to a counsel chamber in Meereen and Dany holding court. Novartis screwed up and started thinking for himself again, and for some reason stole himself a navy.
- Stoic banter ensues about odds and armies and allegiances follow. Ergh.
- Dany’s conquests around and about Slavers’ Bay are cycling through rulers, at an impressively Ecuadorian pace, from bad to worse. Thus, she decides to answer my previously-posed Baratheon Disease question and try her hand at ruling for awhile. Interesting.
- At least she’s finally taking counsel from Jorah the Andal again.
- Cut to Sansa and Littlefinger (yes! Littlefinger!) on a craggy path en route, no doubt, to the Eyrie. We review the highly defensible position that said outpost holds and subsequently plunge into the murky world of Baelish’s paranoia. He’ll fit right in with dear Lysa Arryn.
- Speaking of that selfsame freakish Bag of Nutso, here she (along with her dimwit son) is! Wheee!
- At least she’s kind to the Poor, Poor, Pitiful One, so she can’t be all bad, right? Brain like a sack of meth-addled ferrets, sure, but not all bad…
- Little Lord Dimwit, by contrast, has all of Joffrey’s lack of tact and some of his sociopathy (note his fascination with flying babymen and presents plunging to their doom).
- Why do I have a feeling that Robin – that’s the dimwitted little twerp’s name! – will not, at an absolutely critical moment, recall his mother’s admonition against using Sansa’s name in public? I’ll spot a tenner on that one.
- Gaaaahh!!! Ugh! Noooooooo…! Making out with ferret-brained Lysa? Holy crap is Baelish paying his dues for this particular scheme.
- Apparently, per Lysa, the Arryns also had a role in Joffrey’s demise. This woman is all 31 flavors of mixed nuts, true, and I wouldn’t kiss her with Baelish’s tongue, but I like her a little, teeny bit more with each reveal.
- Poor Petyr – every excuse he makes to delay his impending nuptials (bad things, after all, do happen at weddings around here) has already been anticipated and thwarted by Lysa. Oh, you need a Septon? Got one right here!
- So, this is to be the episode wherein your Newb is never allowed to feel clean in body and mind again. First, there was Momma Cersei. Then the smooches with the crazy… and now screaming fornication among scheming eels. Blech.
- Aaaand, there it is. Lysa’s shrieks of ecstasy. Pardon a moment, Dear Readers. I need to step away and bathe my cowering inner child. Like, right now. With Clorox. And Bombay gin.
- Away we go to Tywin and Cersei, sparring. The elder Lannister pushing the younger to marry Loras Tyrell already.
- Interesting reveal about the dry mines and the Iron Bank of Braavos. So much for sh*tting gold.
- Clearly, Cersei Lannister is not used to dealing with bureaucracy. People work in banks? Seriously?! People have souls.
- Ah, now Cersei is trying to sway the judge – work the refs, if you will – to ensure her little brother’s execution. Bitch.
- Cut to the Hound and Arya (yes! Arya!) and the latter’s icy-veined bedtime recitation of her own personal dead pool. Hound is having none of it. Although, it seems that Sandor hates Gregor as much as Arya hates Sandor. Nice fade on her saying so, as well.
- Back to Bag O’Ferrets Arryn and Poor, Poor, Pitiful Sansa having some sweet treats and twittering like birds. It’s far less oogy without the carnal wailing, but still… yawn.
- This chatter is nice… Too nice. And, there we go. Lysa is jealous, insane, and has all the bedside manner of a diminutive Skeletor – not to mention the cheekbones. It’s exactly like she’s permanently trapped between a grin and a snarl. Damn. She makes watching Cersei almost tolerable. Almost.
- Oh, thank all that’s Holy, we snip to Brienne and Pod and an uncooperative mare. Brienne is rapidly giving up on Podrick, but the stubbornly loyal boy refuses to take his leave. Touching battle of wills, tho.
- Back to the Hound… without Arya and genuinely fearful. She’s merely stepped away to practice her swordplay. And, apparently attack the Hound. Heh! Line of the night to Sandor Clegane. Pretty sound philosophy he’s got there, in the Newb’s humble opinion. When given a choice, go with armor and a big f@&#ing sword.
- Slip away to Oberyn and Cersei in the gardens with some poetry. Oh, the former Queen Regent is so-o working the refs tonight, Friends. I hate, nay loathe and despise, her.
- That loathing is not tempered, even a smidge, by her whole ‘I miss my baby girl’ schtick. If a Lannister has a date with death this season, please God let it be Cersei.
- We roll out of that scene and for some odd reason into a Pink Floyd video… or at least the flaming rabbit from therein. Ah, I see… loyal, gentle Pod is merely proving that he can’t cook worth a damn either.
- I’d say Brienne is not only gathering her own wood, but assiduously plotting to be rid of this inept squire. Until…
- Pod reveals that he not only has some combat experience, but has, in point of fact, personally shoved a spear through the neck of a King’s Guard. Suddenly, Brienne welcomes assistance with her armor straps. Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for this partnership yet.
- And off northward we swing to the Craster Corral. Goody! I’ve been waiting for Karl to taste the wrath of the Immortal Sno-Tep.
- Not yet to be, tho, for instead we find Bolton’s Pet Rat slinking through the Mutineers’ camp in search of Bran and Rikon.
- Sneaking, exposition, lamp, snowflakes… yawn.
- Bran notices the sneaking at least , as we wheel-shot to the captured ‘Lil Rascals in a snowy shed.
- As a quick aside, it still freaks me out a bit that whenever Jojen, the blond seer-boy, opens his mouth to utter some acid trip of counsel to Bran… Ferb’s voice comes out.
- In any case, it seems there are more creepy weeping trees in the Newb’s future, or so Jojen says. Step one: secure alcohol. Step two: hunker down and grit teeth. Step three, and the last: endeavor to persevere.
- And we’re off to the woods again and more Crows, prepping. The Pet Rat was ostensibly scouting for their imminent attack. Finally – swordplay! Jeebus, but this episode has dragged. Feels like a week and a half since anybody got slain, smote or cleaved.
- On another side note… walnut pie?! Urk.
- Either way, Locke the Pet Rat is intent on Sno-Tep not discovering Bran.
- Through the magic of telly-vision, we leap forward in time to a darkened Craster Corral and our old psycho buddy Karl making some bad decisions.
- Bad decisions involving ‘Lil Rascal Meera and violent molestation. Karl, my old psycho-buddy, you are going to die. Tonight. Of that I am certain.
- As if on cue… Send in the Crows! Yes!! Mayhem!
- Well, crap. That was short-lived. Pet Rat steals away under cover of the mayhem with Bran…
- Back to the mayhem! Yes!! Bring it… blood, fire, piss, vinegar and all!
- Oh, quit with the jump cuts, ferchrissakes, Producers. Wait, wait… Bran just turned Hodor into a weapon, didn’t he? On the one hand, awesome. Who wouldn’t want their own personal giant? On the other hand, dear, sweet, innocent Hodor shouldn’t be used as a leg-breaker.
- Back to mayhem! For a second and a half… Ergh. Hey, Producers, could we please try, y’know, sustaining this level of tension for a whole episode instead of just tacking it on the end like firecrackers on a molasses flow. Sigh.
- Pet Rat meets the Hodor-bot of death and loses his spinal fortitude. And the Hodor conflict arises within me again. Poor oaf should not have to deal with blood on his hands.
- Bran, now freed and un-warged, is desperate to reach his big brother Jon, naturally, but Ferb won’t let him. Something about Blinky the Three-eyed Fish, er Bird. Or something.
- Back to mayhem! That irascible psycho Karl should really seek him some employment in the local Benihana, what with those wicked sweet chippity-chop moves he’s got.
- Oh, Sno-Tep, Karl (unfortunately) is right. If you fight all honorable and Nedly like that, you’re gonna get your sullen ass killed. Told ya.
- Thank Heaven for Lizzie Borden Craster and her trusty kitchenware. And Karl bites it. For the record, I called a broadsword to the throat, and I was not far from wrong. Only 180 degrees around the neck. Very, very nice finishing move, Sno-Tep. Very Mortal Kombat, indeed, and the audio was worthy of Sam Raimi’s finest.
- Rast, that poor bastard, for his part, has taunted his last direwolf and will spend the rest of his short, brutish existence as a large Milk-bone. Also very nice.
- Which brings us to our Hallmark moment of the night. A boy and his carnivorous killing machine, reunited again.
- And a bonfire to boot! Hell, this is turning into a Lowenbrau commercial.
So, debuting a new denouement… the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Good – Swordplay, a justified murder of (ex) Crows, a nasty neck wound, and not a hint of The Dreaded Tarley.
The Bad – Lysa Arryn’s private sex tapes, no Tyrion, and all kinds of ref-working.
The Ugly – Momma Cersei.
Until next unspecified elapsed duration, I remain your Faithful Newb.