Game of Thrones S04E01 recap and review: Season 4 premiere spoiler alert
Game of Thrones is back with 'Two Swords'. Catch the recap and review right here.
Well, allow me to retort
Harya! Arya Stark and Sandor "The Hound" Cleganne are clip-clopping through the woods. They pass a scene of wholesale slaughter, and Arya muses that she wants a horse of her own. The Hound expositions that he plans to sell Arya to her Aunt in the Vale.
They find a pub with five horses parked outside (I think it's that pub from S01). Arya wants to heist the horses, while The Hound just wants to eat. Some dudes are coming out of the house to take a piss... one of them is Polliver, who occupies a spot on Arya's Shit List for killing one of her friends and stealing her sword, Needle. The Hound describes people who name their swords as See You Next Tuesdays. Okay, 48 minutes: first use of the four-letter C-word in "Game of Thrones" S04.
Arya marches right up to whup some ass, but The Hound intervenes. However, they're spotted, so they walk inside like it's no big thing. Polliver hasn't turned around, dot dot dot. The goons are abusing a serving girl when Polliver recognizes The Hound. Arya reaches for The Hound's sword...
Then thinks better of it. For now. Polliver sits down and starts nattering about torturing people with Gregor "The Mountain" Cleganne, with whom he's been serving. He doesn't recognize Arya at all. Polliver offers The Hound a job and the ability to basically do whatever he wants to whomever he wants, but he turns the opportunity down. Sandor's exact words are, "Fuck the king!"
Sandor then asks for a chicken; remember, he's hungry. Polliver wants to trade a chicken for Arya. Sandor reaches over and drinks Polliver's beer in a Samuel L. Jackson moment of badassery.
After dropping the four-letter C-word again, The Hound proceeds to take out the entire goon squad in a fearsome display of thuggery. The pub's owners flee upstairs to video the whole thing for World Star.
Arya kills one of the goons, and then reclaims her sword. She repeats Polliver's words from S01 back to him, but he still has no idea who she is or what she's talking about, not until it's too late.
Arya and the Hound ride away, he with a chicken and she with a horse of her own... and a slightly disturbing grin. They ride into the burning remains of Winterfell.
Game of Thrones S04E01 review
"Two Swords" got the season off to a cracking start. The introduction of Oberlyn and Ellaria was fantastic: they're a deeply weird presence. I also liked to see Arya and The Hound get to Winterfell so quickly: I was worried that they'd be riding through the woods all season. The scene with the dragons was nice, but I hope Team Dragon Mama moves a bit more quickly this time around.
We got a decent amount of the sex and violence that "Game of Thrones" is famous for, but this episode still managed to be about wordless exchanges. To that end, Peter Dinklage is this episodes MVP; for his silent scene with Shae, followed by his monologue to Sansa, which felt genuinely improvised. Also, props to Maisie Williams for mixing a touch of sociopath in with her righteous fury. Arya likes this whole killing thing.
I'm hoping the imperative to protect Sansa will keep Jaime and Brienne working together.
I know some people may have found "Two Swords" a bit slow, but I'm the guy who liked S02 for the Sansa/Tywin scenes, so I'm giving this one three brutal stabbings out of a possible five. It would have been four, if not for that Daario-Dani-flowers scene. Sometimes casting changes are unavoidable, but in this case, the established character of Daario was somehow lost. There was a weight and an cold oiliness to him that's now gone. He's more... goofy, and that didn't really work for me.
Khaleesi is too good a character to waste on rom-com antics, even for these tiny scenes.
How about you? What dialogue would you have given Shae and Tyrion? Would you let The Hound drink your beer? How long before that Joffrey statue ends up on SkyMall? Let me know in the comments below; and, please, no spoilers.
Okay, two quick bits of housekeeping. Next week, I'll be covering the Whistler Ski and Snowboard festival, but I heard that someone else –– someone good –– might be doing next week's "Game of Thrones" recap. I'll be back for S04E03.
Also, did Tourism Ireland post the worst #GameOfThrones tweet ever... or the best?