Give it to “Game of Thrones,’’ they don’t make us wait too long to see more of its biggest star. After that Emmy-certified speech from Tyrion last week (go ahead, watch it again before HBO takes it down from YouTube) , we barely have to wait through the opening credits to see him again.
Few things in “Thrones’’ are better than the rapport between the Lannister siblings, and we’re gifted with a good one right off the bat – as Jaime gives Tyrion the unfortunate news that The Mountain is going to represent Queen Cersei at the upcoming trial by combat. Tyrion is having a whole heap of trouble finding someone to fight for him, understandable when we are reintroduced to the Mountain – played by a new actor for the third time in four seasons. This one is bigger and brawnier than the last version (who really only looked like an angrier Zdeno Chara), and he’s introduced in a massive shower of gore and sliced-up intestines, as he practices his muderin’ skills on a whole bunch of random Kings Landing unfortunates.
Tyrion goes 0-for-2 with his champion requests, as Jaime bows thanks to his weakened state and the upwardly mobile Bronn declines for purely selfish reasons, namely, not wanting to get mashed up like a potato on Thanksgiving. The charming sellsword is one of the smartest characters on the show, and one of the most ruthless; he’s the ultimate survivor. “I like you,’’ he says to Tyrion, “I just like myself more.’’ It appears that’s the only way to get ahead in Westeros.
Finally, we do have a champion to represent Tyrion, and it’s a bit of a surprise. Oberyn Martell comes to chill with the little man in his jail cell, relating to him a disturbing childhood anecdote about Cersei before offering his blade to take out The Mountain. Vengeance, it appears, could be his. All he’s got to do is topple The Mountain. This is a wonderful, rousing scene, made even better by the impressive score from Ramin Djawadi (something that doesn’t get talked about near enough) and a lovely fire-lit set. So, can we set the odds of this David and Goliath battle? Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson opened at 27-to-1 for Tyson. That’s not a bad comparison, right? We all know how that battle turned out. Are there Vegas odds in Westeros? I’d throw down a gold dragon or two on the Viper.
Vengeance is also on the mind of Arya, as she takes out another of her enemies – the foul-mouthed Rorge from season two – when she and the Hound happen across him during their traipsings. Do we have a kill count website for Arya, like the Jack Bauer site? If not, someone should really get on that ASAP. In the wake of that most recent kill, there’s a surprisingly tender scene between the mismatched pair, as he relates to her the story of his burned face (his big brother, The Mountain, held his head to a fire as punishment during their childhood) and she cleans a wound of his. These two can’t probably hold on much longer – she’s getting stronger and he seems to be falling apart by the day. What’s going to be the final straw that breaks the pair apart?
Across the narrow sea, Dany and Daario Naharis finally bust through that wall of sexual tension that’s been hanging with them, much to the chagrin of the unlucky-in-love Jorah Mormont. We’ve all been there, dude. Meanwhile, she makes more plans to take back Yunkai from the slavers. Bold move or a tactical mistake? This smells of the latter.
The Pod and Brienne stop and eat at a random inn, where we see another old friend – Hot Pie, who is well on his way to becoming the Guy Fieri of Westeros. He sends them on the way to look for Arya (with a much better piece of wolf-bread). The other Stark they’re on the hunt for seems to be taking to life in the Vale, with Sansa painstakingly recreating her homeworld in the snow of the Eyrie. Robin, her odd duck cousin again shows that he’s a malicious little twerp, deserving of the thwack that Sansa delivers to him after he Godzillas all over her fine snow recreation of Winterfell. Things get a lot more awkward after that, if possible, as Littlefinger steals a kiss from Sansa under the terrifying “Fatal Attraction’’ gaze of Lysa.
Was it all part of another one of Littlefinger’s plots? Crazy old Lysa comes thisclose to dropping Sansa out of the moon door in her jealous fit, before Littlefinger appears to come save the day – and promptly makes Lysa fly, shoving her out to the long drop below. How do you enjoy that moon door now, Robin, you little weirdo? Now, we just have to wonder about Littlefinger’s endgame. Marry Sansa and take over The Vale? Or does he have grander ambitions – the crown, even? King Littlefinger. All of the gods, old and new, help us all if that happens.
Other thoughts, as I wonder what Gendry is doing through all of this:
– Carice Van Houten, the fine Dutch actress who plays Melisandre, doesn’t seem to have any qualms about the level of nudity required on the show, as she bares all during a brief chat with Lady Selyse. I bet the nakedness riders for this show are something else.
– Oh, we get a little detour to The Wall, too, where Alliser Thorne is still being a total a-hole to Jon. Boy, I can’t wait until some wildling runs him through. Or maybe Jon can frag him during the upcoming battle, “Platoon’’ style.
– Isn’t it funny how cousin marriage seems kind of tame, when it comes to all of the other incestuous relationships in the “Game of Thrones’’ world? We can only hope those cousins might be as happy as George Michael and Maeby or the residents of Shelbyville. There, I’ve gotten a “Simpsons’’ reference and an “Arrested Development’’ reference into one “Game of Thrones’’ recap bullet point. I’ve achieved everything in life.
– “Game of Thrones’’ set in Super Mario World. I’m gathering a lot of you would probably find this awesome, but my parents didn’t allow video games in the house until I was old enough to get a PlayStation. Thanks for that, guys.
– George R.R. Martin still writes his stuff on the operating system I used to play “Wolfenstein’’ on.
– The “Game of Thrones’’ / “Law and Order’’ mashup is beyond brilliant. Why couldn’t this work? As one of my friends said, this should be made by “Dick Dire-Wolf.’’
– In two weeks, “The Mountain and the Viper,’’ directed by Alex Graves. I’m having my Red Viper foam finger and pennant sent to my house right now.