‘Game of Thrones’ season 2, episode 9 recap
Bronn says Flame On!
I say Penultimate, you say Episode! Penultimate! Episode! Penultimate! Episode!
If you are hep enough to come to Guyism.com you know that the crap always hits the fan during the second-to-last episode of the season. And tonight’s Game of Thrones, “Blackwater,” was no exception.
Neil Marshall, the auteur behind the best things-go-bananas-in-a-specific-place horror film of the past ten years, The Descent, was absolutely the right choice to film Stannis Baratheon’s naval siege on King’s Landing. This is also the first episode written by George R.R. Martin since season one’s “The Pointy End.” (Which is cool and all, but shouldn’t he be busy, you know, working on the next book in case he drops dead?)
Anyway: the Siege!
We open on Stannis’ ships, the sailors looking pensive at best, nauseous at worst, the music ominous. Davos Seaworth jaws with his son, Matthos, reminding him that the Capitol’s walls have never been breached by the sea. The young man, however, has faith in his captain, in the Lord of Light and in the one God.
On the other side, Tyrion Lannister is unable to sleep. Luckily his ladyfriend Shae is there to ease the passage of time. (If ya know what I mean.) Queen Regent Cersei, gazing out the window and drinking wine, shoos Grand Maester Pycelle away, but not before he gives her a phial of Nightshade – a sleep aid, or, perhaps, a painless poison. It is implied she can slip it in her own drink if the Baratheon siege goes poorly.
Elsehwere in the city, Bronn and his Watch sing drinking songs and cavort with whores. The Hound comes for a visit and he and Bronn quickly lock horns. Bronn, with a nubile wench on his lap, accuses the Hound of having just as much bloodlust as those he despises. Just when they are about to come to blows, the city bells ring. ”One more drink before the war, shall we?”
Varys hears the bells and shivers – they always bring disaster, like war, a dead King. . .”Or a wedding,” Tyrion adds. Tyrion is suiting up for battle, acting surprisingly brave. Varys warns that Stannis brings with him the peculiar powers of the Red Priestess, but Tyrion seems unafraid. Varys, however, seems more than concerned about Stannis’ dealings with the Dark Arts.
The city bells can be heard all the way out by the ships, but Stannis has a comeback – drums!
HOLY SHIT THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!
As Tyrion heads off to battle, he says goodbye to Shae (pretending he hardly knows her) who is with Sansa. She zings him, wishing him the same fate as she wishes for King Joffrey.
Joffrey acts like a big swinging dick and asks Sansa to kiss her sword. She asks if he’ll be in the vanguard, behind the lines. Clearly, he isn’t, but he won’t admit it. She tells him that her Brother Robb, of course, always fights at the front of the lines.
“A King doesn’t discuss battle plans with a stupid girl!” – King Joffrey, ever the prick.
Joffrey, Tyrion and the other big shots are overlooking the waters. Joffrey starts to whimper about not knowing what is going on, while Tyrion is clearly sticking to a well-thought out plan. Joffrey threatens to have him cut in half. “That would make me the Quarter-man,” he says. “Doesn’t have the same ring to it.”
Bunkered down with the city’s noble women in the “red keep,” Cersei decides to remind everyone that Samsa is on her first period (man, can’t this girl have some privacy?) and gives her lessons about using fear to keep the common folk in line.
Back to the battle, a ship approaches the Baratheon navy. No one is onboard and everyone is perplexed. Tyrion gives a signal and - boom! – Bronn fires off a flaming arrow. It hits the water and ship which are soaked in wildfire. Many of the Baratheons are killed, including Matthos Seaworth. Stannis’ fleet, however, is not destroyed.
Cersei, a little drunk now, starts to pester Sansa. Who is she praying to? And why? Sansa gives her scripted answers, which annoys Cersei enough to start unloading about her miserable upbringing and broken dreams. I can only imagine Judy Garland and Cersei would have made good drinking buddies. “I should’ve been born a man,” she says.
Encouraging Sansa to guzzle more wine, she warns her that to the invading armies, dizzy with blood and ready to go a-rapin’, she’ll be “a slice of cake, waiting to be eaten.”
As Stannis’ ships draw closer, Joffrey, it probably won’t surprise you, starts to freak out. Tyrion urges Bronn to begin raining fire. With that, the beach invasion begins and blood beings to flow in earnest on King’s Landing’s shores.
As men reach the all, stones are hurled – and then the Hound leads the infantrymen out. ”Any man dies with a clean sword, I’ll rape his fucking corpse!” he shouts, outdoing even Michael Ironside in Starship Troopers for badass things to say in battle.
Back in the bunker, with Cersei saying more vile things about sex to underage girls, she realizes that Sansa’s handmaiden, Shae, seems. . .out of place. She begins to give her the third degree. Just when she’s about to put the screws to her, Lancel bursts in to say that while many of Stannis’ ships were destroyed, his men have landed. Cersei urges him to snatch Joffrey away from danger and to hide him.
On the field of battle, things are bloody and nuts. The Hound is almost killed by a flaming berserker, but Bronn saves him. As the city walls are breached, the Hound demands wine. He is a defeated man, and as Tyrion urges him to go back and fight, Joffrey has to open his damn mouth. The Hound tells him to fuck off (yay) but also abandons his post (boo.) Next up: battering rams with animal heads on them. Things are getting nuts.
As Lancel tries to yank Joffrey back to the red keep, Tyrion all but calls him a coward. The King almost seems a little bit hesitant, but, let’s face it, is pretty damned relieved. Joffrey quits the scene.
The people, however, notice. To keep the peace, Tyrion steps forward
“They say I am half a man, but what does that make the lot of you?!. . .This is YOUR city! . . Those are your women they will rape!. . .Those are brave men knocking at our door. . .let’s go kill them!!!”
It’s The Imp’s finest moment yet. I leap of the couch and grab the TV remote and hold it like an axe, ready to follow the Half Man into battle.
Lancel, back with the women, asks Cersei if he can lead Joffrey back to the fighting. The people need him, and he wants — but before he can say anything else, Cersei shoves him aside, reminding him that she doesn’t care what he wants! She runs off, freaking everyone out.
Sansa tries to keep order, lying to the other women that Joffrey is leading the battle, and starts the singing of a hymn. Shae urges Sansa to go back to her chambers, then flashes a knife saying that she’ll defend herself against the swarm of rapists.
Surprisingly, waiting back in Sansa’s room is none other than The Hound. He promises to take Sansa back to Winterfell, away from a life of killers. He speaks with a frightening urgency.
At the battle, Tyrion leads the men in a successful push. The crowd cheers “Half Man! Half Man!” Tyrion cracks a smile, then turns to see a massive horde of fighters approaching. A sword comes down on him, gashing him across the face. He is wounded, badly, but he isn’t dead.
Cersei sits on the Iron Throne with little Tommen Baratheon on her lap. She is about to offer him the phial of poison. . .but just before she does, the door busts open. It is. . . .the Knight of Flowers? Wait. . .what is he doing here?!?! And. . .more importantly. . .is that TYWIN LANNISTER? What the hell? What does he have to say for himself?
The battle is won.
The battle is won? The Lannisters won? Where did they come from? And is Tyrion okay? And. . . who will run out to Target to buy me new BVDs, ’cause I’ve completely soiled my drawers?!
I’m still in a complete state of shock over this episode, and Tyrion’s speech to his men is the greatest oratory since Henry V. Okay, maybe that’s overdoing it, but let me be in the moment. I award this episode 10 Rousing Speech-Giving Imps Out Of 10
Photos courtesy of HBO