Weddings, wildlings, and water — oh my! After a walloper of a Game of Thrones last week, Sunday night's episode could've easily fallen by the wayside and disappointed. But luckily this isn't just any TV show, it's an epically-scaled magical fantasy sojourn about power, family, and dragons. And it rules. Allow me to introduce myself — my name is Alicia, and I am a huge nerd for the realm. Old gods, new gods, or no gods. As long as it keeps going as well as season three has gone, I'm game for you, whether you're iron born or dead and can never die.
"Kissed by Fire" took a step back from the theatrics and got in heavy with the dramatics. And what's more dramatic than the words of others? Everyone loves to make a promise, but nobody loves to keep a promise unless it gives them an edge. Politics be political, my dudes. Maybe if people in Westeros took their promises as serious as their hot tubs, we'd have a much higher-functioning monarchy on our hands.
I mean, seriously though, if this episode was made as an 80s movie, this would be the soundtrack:
But let's get down to it, shall we?
Boyz in the CaveWe start off the episode in one of the best places to be: by Arya's side. Because no matter what happens — and crazy shit, when it happens on this show? It HAPPENS — she's going to be fine. Arya is just fiiiiiine. We worry so much about her, but she's the one on this show that feels most likely to survive anything. Poor Arya. She is getting the s**t end of every stick. First, The Hound gets set free, then her Baratheon bastard boo has decided to bro out with the Banner Free Boyz. Maybe in a few years when Arya's a teen she'll be gettin' a kiss on the mouth from Gendry, but for now he's really into eyepatches and immortality so he has to go on with the dudes. No wonder the poor gal's all hoo-hum thinking about her dead dad (can't get any sadder for this girl) next to the dude who keeps on living, despite all odds.
Not having the best day ever was The Hound: off to be be judged by the one true god, thanks to the Brotherhood Without Banners. Only things didn't go as well as the bloodlusty Ms. Arya Stark seems to have wanted, because this one true g.o.d. is apparently more of a watcher than a doer, so The Hound may have gotten himself a notch on the Beric Death Belt, but he was ultimately released.
Ain't no firesword gonna hold him down! No siree. Ain't nobody got time for that! That's just some predated technology for the lightsaber s**t. But Beric sure does have a fun lil party trick on his hand (pun intended, obviously) if he can light s**t on fire with his own blood. Tip for all you folks ready to hop on the Banner-less bandwagon: never hang around a firesword fight in a cave (That's like rule number one), because odds are you're going home at least seriously maimed. Not that a critical injury ever kept Beric down — and with such panache, to boot!
Well, Jon Snow Know at Least One Thing...The Wildings and Mance were on their way south to The Wall at the beginning of this episode. But the only thing we really want to talk about is Ygritte gettin' some of that vow-broken Crow wang — not any of that strategy talk. And does she ever! Jon Snow just might be a magical being after that "Oh, I know nothing, do I?" tonguing. I mean, he must be magical because that's the only explanation that would give him some sort of tonguework superpower out the gate. I mean, Ygritte might be a lady in the streets, but she's a wildling in the sheets, y'all. She's seen things. Penis things. But somehow Jon Snow has the ability to turn this seasoned pro into a quivering mess.
Which means two things: 1.) most people watching this show are so jealous right now, and 2.) can this show stop glorfying the sexual abilities of male virgins? Podrick was one thing, but Jon Snow knows nothing — how you gonna try and tell me that he suddenly knows a thing or two about goin' down on a lady? Also pretty sure "kissed by fire" isn't a code for redhead, it's a code for "please get yourself checked out at the ye ole STD makeshift tent." And while we're at it, that bath should've definitely happened before the sexy times that weren't nearly sexy enough. Give us naked Jon Snow or give us death, HBO! What are you good for if not for giving us all of the skin?
Also, how was that magical hot spring grotto (you takin' notes, Hefner?) packed with people? You are Beyond The Wall up there: warmth is hard to come by (ba-da-ching)!
Kingslayer: An Origin StoryJaime and Brienne ended up at the doorstep of Roose Bolton's pad and are also getting in on the naked hot water times. Not sexually, though, guys: these two don't ride that way. But back to this Roose Bolton guy. I'm not sure how to feel about him, but he l-ov-e-d twisting Jaime around on that sister tip.
Jaime was taken to Qyburn, that one guy who was the only one found alive at Harrenhal. He was formally a maester now stripped of his license because of his love of radical medical experiments. The interaction of distrust between the two over the Milk of the Poppy was a fun one, eh? Man, that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has had one hell of a season; somebody get him a nomination when that stuff gets started. Also, at Qyburn's hand Jaime might end up with new missing parts so I'm sure he was more than keen on staying awake rather than pain management.
But back to that bath. Unpopular opinion alert: not as great as it could've been. Ugh, I don't know, it started so strong, but I just sort of hated how hokey it drew to an end. For me it felt like a loud ending when it should've been soft. Especially because Jaime spent his time opening up more than just his pores (C'mon! Bad jokes are my thing) in that hot water. The relationship between Brienne and Jaime just continues to develop in complex and interesting ways. I mean, to make Jaime Lannister come across as someone worthy of sympathy and respect? No easy feat, my dudes. And Brienne! Poor Brienne, really rung through the ringer. She's so fierce and fearless, but the horror on her face as she listened to Jaime's take on the true story of how he got his Kingslayer moniker almost made her look as though she was losing her innocence. Turns out Jaime is one parfait of a person, and I am thoroughly confused as to how I should feel about the Lannisters. Brilliant. But yeah, the cutaway felt a bit over the top.
It's a Tyrell World, You Just Live in ItEvery week someone new gets to bask in the glory that is Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell. Homegirl has no shame and ain't scared of s**t. I mean, literally: she talked about her pooping habits with Tyrion about 13 seconds into their first conversation. If that doesn't show you this woman means the bidness, I don't know what will. She gives none of the f**ks because she's a boss b**ch, y'all. She knows her worth and she knows what she's giving the Lannisters by hopping on board. Which is why she was able to so brilliantly remind Tyrion of all her family has given the castle right before graciously accepting taking on half the cost of the royal wedding and insulting him for not being who she hoped he'd be. She's not the Queen of Thorns for nothin', y'all.
Robb's Feelin' PunchyThe young Lannister squires held captive at Riverrun went and got murdered. It was a really crazy scene that was masterfully played: you really felt how scared and unsettled it was to be in it, from the kid's point of view.
But seriously: what was up with Robb Stark tonight, huh? Is someone feeling slightly emasculated? Whatever the case, homeboy wants to make sure everyone knows he's the king, and that means he's in charge. Why else would he change his tune of rational thinking just to behead Karstark? Robb, feeling fiesty and kingly in his power decides that all the henchmen involved in the murder of the Lannister boys get the noose as well. One whiny little brat gets all "Oh, but I just watched!" and Robb's all "This one is the watcher... hang him last so he can watch the others die." Drop the mic, walk out the room: damn son, you tell 'em how to run that Realm! Too bad it looks like he totally f**ked himself over with that move in the end. Hello big Frey showdown on the horizon.
Stannis Baratheon, Tea Party King?Feeling like he's betrayed is wife, Stannis takes a trip to visit the locked-up-in-a-cell wife and daughter. (It's so totally weird that he would think they feel betrayed, right? When he's kept them in such posh, befitting-of-a-royal-family digs!) Not that she seems to mind, it seems. Yep, Stannis' wife is a stone cold fanatical weirdo that's totally OK with her husband having smoke babies with Melisandre. Excuuuuuse me with your unborn babies in canister bulls**t right now, Selyse Florent?! Seriously? These two. These f**king two, am I right? They're downright terrifying with their fanatical misinterpretation of religion. And while we're at it, way to enforce that "gingers have no souls so they feed on the souls of others" stereotype, Melisandre. The only takeaway I have from all of this is if you want to start a fanatical cult, Stannis' family should be stop number one on your tour of potential converts.
Their daughter seems like a sweet little thing, though lord knows how that's possible with those two cuckaroos they call her parents. Shireen has remnants of her battle with the greyscale on her face, which looks more brown and tree bark-esque than I imagined it would be. Her desire to teach our fair Onion Knight how to read is precious. I like you, girl, but I worry about you and not because of your face.
Khaleesi's Got GameGood LORD I love me some Daenerys. After last week's truly outrageous (might as well call her Jem) — in the BEST way — episode, it was a bummer to see so little of her this go-around. You're giving us blue dragon balls, HBO! The moment she had tonight was worth it, though: her continued compassion for the Unsullied (and all slaves/innocents, really) soldiers is good stuff and continues to push her narrative towards what I am hopeful is a dragon-filled long game. I mean, Beyoncé has a poster of his b**ch on her wall — that's how serious this is. Oh and blah blah, Ser Jorah and Barristan Selmy had a nice little talk there, too.
Loras Gets SomeLittlefinger got a favor asked of him because Cersei is on the warpath against the Tyrells, so he used a lil fella named Oliver to get close. The two have a knightly romp betwixt the sheets pretty quickly thereafter. There was one very naked man... and Loras clothed in the nudity clause held within his contract. Loras doesn't seem to be too concerned about modesty in any other instance of his life, so I'm not sure why he's being so tame now behind closed doors. But while his pants might not be loose, his lips sure were: he was pretty quick to point out that his wife-to-be (Sansa) doesn't even know he likes dudes. What Loras doesn't realize is that she's literally the only one. But with the beans spilled, the stage is set for...
Big Daddy and His IssuesMan, that Tywin Lannister is one motherf**ker of a father, eh? What a ruthless, power-hungry manipumonster. No wonder these Lannisters are so messed up (excluding you, of course, Tyrion, because you're perfect but I'm also convinced you're not a Lannister because I don't want you to be). And his obsession for power and control certainly isn't for his family (as evidenced by, oh, every single action he's ever taken) since he clearly hates his children. I guess that fancy lion on the family crest and its legacy are far more important than everything else in the world.
So in order to beat the Tyrells at their own game, Tywin decided that Tyrion should marry Sansa and have it announced before Joffrey's wedding. All smug and chuffed, Cersei looks on at Tyrion, so happy to have orchestrated his good news. But shocker of all shockers, something Cersei pushed for ended up biting her in the ass. In one of the most perfect TWIST! moments, Tywin casually mentions that Cersei will also get tossed aside — as scraps for Loras. Because nothing says "let's try and convince everyone you aren't f**king your brother" by marrying you off to the gayest man within the walls of the Red Keep. She went from ain't-havin'-none-of-this-s**t to are-you-serious-right-now in nanoseconds. It was AWESOME.
So...we've got some weddings on the horizon, eh? Next week's looking pretty serious, too — the episode is titled "The Climb" and something tells me Miley Cyrus won't be in the soundtrack.
What did you think of this week's Game of Thrones? Let us know in the comments.
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More: 'Game of Thrones' Recap: And Now His Watch Is Ended'Game of Thrones' Recap: Walk of Punishment'Game of Thrones' Recap: Dark Wings, Dark Words
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Based on a series of six Marvel Comics created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in 1962 The Hulk revolves around a scientist named Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) who following a laboratory snafu absorbs a normally deadly dose of gamma radiation. Bruce thinks he has escaped unscathed--until he gets mad ... real mad which causes him to turn into a huge rampaging green monster known as the Hulk. In order to make this 40-year-old gamma theory somewhat more believable for today's science-savvy moviegoers screenwriter James Schamus and his team decided to arm the script with a somewhat more convincing scientific rationale. The story follows Bruce's father David Banner (Nick Nolte) who as a young scientist conducted prohibited genetic experiments on himself thus changing his son's life before he was even out of the womb. While modernizing the scientific reasoning behind Bruce's transformation makes sense it's a pity it had to be done in such a heavy-handed way. By adding such an elaborate layer to the story The Hulk becomes more about Bruce and David's tormented past and any semblance of a plot is buried in melodramatic dialogue between the characters. The result is a comic book adaptation that is much too serious for its own genre.
Despite the theatrical discourse don't expect complex characters to emerge from The Hulk. Although Bana (Black Hawk Down) is a good choice for the lead of the nerdy scientist and reluctant hero his character is so busy pretending he doesn't have any problems that the audience never gets to see his emotional side. Bana's character grimaces convincingly as he represses his anger for example but he fails ever to open up on a personal level to his love interest in the film his co-worker Betty played by Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind). Betty is Bruce's old flame but the two are obviously still in love: she is obsessed with fixing whatever is broken about him. As the Hulk Bruce need only look at Betty once for his anger to subside and allow him to morph back into human form. They have weighty discussions about the significance of their dreams and Bruce's past yet they never seem to connect on any level. One of the film's best performances comes from Nolte (The Good Thief) in the role of Bruce's mad scientist father David. Almost Shakespearean at times Nolte--scraggly hair and all-- completely immerses himself in the role. The cast's performances however are muted by the general heaviness of this would-be actioner. Look for quick cameo appearances by Lou Ferrigno (from the 1970s TV series The Incredible Hulk) and Marvel legend Stan Lee.
For his follow-up to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Ang Lee has turned to bigger greener matters. The Hulk the director's visual effects-intense picture (with a little help from Industrial Light & Magic) is stunning and startlingly well done. The green beast's computer generated movements from his heaving chest to the single leaps that spring him well into a different zip code are convincingly real. Not only does the ground shake when this goliath lands but his momentum even throws him off balance at times sending his lumbering arms flailing. But while the CGI Hulk has been meticulously honed Lee's homage to the world of print comic books--using multiple screens to present concurrent storylines and alternate angles of the same scene--is off-putting: Rival researcher Glenn Talbot (Josh Lucas) suspiciously walks out of the lab Betty reacts in one panel Bruce sits back in another. The simultaneous screens don't necessarily show anything pertinent going on making the far and wide close and medium shots of the character's reactions a distraction rather than a helpful storytelling technique. But the most disconcerting thing about the film is that in its leap from the four-color paneled pages to the big screen it lost its wit.