Monday, April 20, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x02 The House of Black and White

By s. Monday, April 20, 2015 ,
The second episode of the 5th season was even better than last week's premiere. It included some truly magnificent cinematography, wonderful action scene featuring Brienne and The Wall's storyline loveliest moment to date.

We open with Arya who arrives to Braavos. She doesn't have as cool of a facial impression as the duo of Stanis and Davos had last season when they saw the Titan of Braavos. Correction - they didn't give a fuck and even look at it. Arya arrives at House of Black and White where an old guy opens and denies her request to come in. Arya stays outside all night and recites her kill list - Cersei, Walder Frey, Merryn  Trant. That list is way too short, what the hell is up with the lack of Roose Bolton? Is the show giving us the hints of people that Arya is actually gonna kill later on?
Pissed off Arya throws the coin into the water and walks away. Later in the episode Arya sees the old man again and follows him. The man changes his face to the face of Jaqen and Arya walks into the House of Black and White.

Brienne continues to be useless while it's Pod who is the brains behind operation now. The duo is at the inn and Pod notices Sansa who is with Littlefinger. Yep, that's, right. So many inns in Westeros but Brienne just happens to bump into Sansa again. Anyways, shit writing aside, Brienne kneels before stunned Sansa and tells her of her oath to Catelyn - I swear if Stoneheart is not in then every time they are actually bringing this oath up is a slap across the face of LS fans. Littlefinger, speaking with his batshit insane accent makes a good point of how in King Landing Brienne didn't even talk to Sansa. While it's the writers to be blamed for this idiocy, not Brienne, he is completely in the right. Sansa denies her and Brienne and Pod starts escaping because LF sends Vale knights after them.

Then the Bri/Pod storyline essentially turns into Benny Hill routine with Pod threatening to throw a rock and falling off his horse. But it was a good action sequence and the music was fantastic. Also you gotta love Brienne cutting the guy's sword in two with Oathkeeper.
We see Cersei who summoned Jaime. Cersei got a gift from Dorne -a stuffed viper with Myrcella's necklace in his mouth. Cersei is furious because she knows the Dornish will try to hurt Myrcella because of what happened to Oberyn.  Also Cersei has a bunch of other problems including that Margaery who Cersei calls that smirking whore from Highgarden. Jaime offers to go to Dorne and make sure Marcella is safe. He also tries to get Cersei to talk more quietly about the fact he is Myrcella's father. Ah, newsflash Jaime - everyone knows you two fucked.

Jaime goes to fetch Bronn who is currently hanging out with his betrothed Lollys. Jaime offers Bronn a better bride and a better castle if he comes with him to Dorne.
Then we finally see Dorne and its first scene is fantastic - Ellaria, looking pissed off and determined is staring at Marcella and her betrothed Trystane. She then yells at Doran, Oberyn's brother accusing him of doing nothing about Oberyn's death. Doran is mad about her accusations. Ellaria wants to torture Marcella as a payback but Doran tells her the girl is innocent and that they won't do such a thing - echoing Oberyn's We don't hurt little girls in Dorne sentiment.

That scene gave me serious season 1 vibes - the way they showed Ellaria staring at Cersei's daughter and all those boiling emotions, feelings that will lead to major developments. As much as the merging of characters and silly choices are dragging the show down - really, where are Manderlys, just how ridiculous is Brienne's storyline and Littlefinger's plans this season - the show feels very "together", it may have a variety of sets and characters but for the first time in a long time it all feels whole and connected.
Barristan tells Daenerys the truth about her father and his madness. Dany decides to grant fair trial to the captured member of Sons of the Harpy. Some new dude whose name I didn't bother to memorize kills the prisoner for Daenerys.

The whitewashing continues - in the books Dany did some horrible things, including torturing people yet in the show the however little likely but possible similarities to her father are brushed off with "I'm not my father". At least they are portraying Dany as incompetent and lost. It's kinda ironic how Varys and Tyrion are on their way to meet her when she really can't do much. On her own, that is.
Varys and Tyrion are on their way to Volantis. There is lots of feisty dialogue there including sassy exchange about a bug in the wine. I'm loving Varys and Tyrion hanging out together, it was one of the best things in season 2.

Cersei is having a chat with her new BFF Qyburn. They bring the head - she is obviously looking for Tyrion so she is having a hunt for the dwarfs. The head is not Tyrion's but Qyburn asks if he can have it. Cersei agrees to this perfectly reasonable and non-creepy request.
We get another small council scene. The just never fail.  Kevan is there sassing Cersei. I'm surprised at how calm she was, maybe she had some weed with her wine. I'm loving Kevan not having any of Cersei's shit.

The small council scenes this year are really gonna be something - the amount of passive aggressiveness there is hilarious and the looks exchanged between Pycelle and Qyburn are so funny. Then we got a lovely scene with Shireen, Gilly and Sam. Shireen who is now the primary educator of the illiterate in Westeros is teaching Gilly how to read. There was a lot of talk about Shireen's greyscale in this scene. This is definitely gonna lead to something later, I'm just hoping it's nothing horrific.

Selyse comes in and ruins things of course with her sour puss and then she talks shit about Gilly to Shireen. I really don't like Selyse. The way she treats Shireen is so cold it makes Stannis look like father of the year in comparison. I'm liking Gilly and Sam this season, they are really adorable.
Then we got to see my baby sitting there behind the desk being outraged. Why was my sweetest outraged? Because he got a letter from 'this wretched girl'. Stannis hands over the letter to Jon Snow and it turns out that the late commander Mormont's niece, Lyanna has written this in response to Stannis asking for her men to join his cause

"Bear Island knows no King but the King in the North, whose name is STARK".

This is one of my favorite moments in the books. Why? Because first of all the idea of a 10 year old girl sassing Stannis this hard is hilarious. Secondly there are all sorts of parodies of this letter. written with glitter etc. on the Internet. Thirdly you gotta admire Lyanna's spirit. And finally it shows yet again just how much the true Northmen love and respect the Starks.
 But my favorite thing about the scene was Jon's reaction to the letter. He smiled, moved at the sentiment behind what Lyanna wrote. The scene also contained hilarious moments when Davos showed to Jon what Stannis does to people who disobey him - extending his hand with chopped of fingers and having the funniest look on his face.

Stannis wants Jon help to take the North. He offers to legitimize him and again the look on Jon's face is amazing. In the next scene Sam is all excited for Jon, who always wanted to become the true Stark. but they both Jon can't really abandon his wows. Master Aemon is there calling for the election of the new Lord Commander. There are several candidates, including favorite to win Alliser Thorne. Suddenly Sam stands up and gives a wonderful speech about Jon's bravery.

The votes are counted and it's a tie. Master Aemon stands up and casts his vote - for Jon. The brothers of the Night's Watch start shouting Jon's name and clapping and the Maester smiles. Jon Snow, the Bastard of Winterfell, rises as the 998th Commander of the Night's Watch.
The election scene is perhaps the loveliest moment of the Wall storyline so far. It was so well made and you could just feel the joy of those who support Jon and Jon himself. In the books there was a bit more to it which included Sam running all over the place and doing some really clever things to get Jon to win but here it was very simple and stunning.

Back in Meereen Dany is set to kill the man who disobeyed her. The crowd of Meereen gathers, calling her Mhysa. Daenerys looks around and there is a splendid maneuver here, when the camera spins around her, highlighting just how alone in making her decision Dany is. Dany nods and Daario beheads the men and suddenly the cries "Mhysa" cease. The crowd starts hissing in anger and Daenerys is chased away and forced to hide in her Pyramid
Daenerys hides with her entourage. Then alone and frightened she goes to the top of Pyramid. She hears something and turns around - it is Drogon who is at the top. Daenerys is so happy to see him, she extends her hand to caress him and Drogon moves closer but before she gets to touch him he flies away. Daenerys watches him flying and looks so alone.

 I adored Emilia Clarke's acting in this moment - she is the best in her scenes with dragons where she just nails the feeling of both loving them and being frightened. There is such joy on her face when she sees Drogon, her baby, safe and alive, but there is also fear because he is a dragon after all. Emilia wasn't very good last season but this year she is much better. Overall the season feels very whole and connected but there are glitches - the logic mistakes in the production of this scale are simply baffling - we had Cersei and number of her children inconsistency last week and this week it is whole Brienne/Sansa business. It's hard to judge while we don;'t know what becomes of Brienne's storyline later and it is a saving grace that Christie is still wonderful in the part.

The highlight of the season so far is the wonderful work of Kit Harington who is simply a joy to watch. It is remarkable that an actor who was one of the weaker cast members in season 1 is now giving the best performance of the big ensemble. Harington nails every single moment and manages to do the difficult job of being interesting even though he plays noble hero.I think we have rising star on our hands here.
It was also a joy seeing character interactions between Sam/Gilly/Shireen where the characters who are simply adorable get this smaller moment where we get to hear more about them. Also I imagine a number of women were happy to see Tom Wlaschiha again as Jaqen  and even though it's just a character with Jaqen face it adds a bit of familiarity to Arya's storyline.

The episode's finest moment is hard to pinpoint because there was so much going on. The beauty of the show is that it spends pretty much 2/3 of the season setting things up and then the pay off is mind blowing. And the pay of to Jon, Dorne, Dany and Cersei storylines will blow your minds.

Next week's episode is entitled High Sparrow. In it we find out the destination of Sansa's journey, we meet High Sparrow, played by Jonathan Pryce and Jon makes his first decisions as the leader.


  1. Great recap!

    This episode was very good indeed!

    For once LF wasn't lying/cheating when he told those things to Brienne. Didn't see that one coming either.

    1. Yeah Brienne's stupidity is so apparent even LF manages to outmaneuver her :)

  2. Nice photo of Stannis there. The brilliant lighting highlights his features nicely :P

    1. He is! I think he looks more attractive than a lot of the younger actors. He's got a presence on screen which is so much more than a pretty face & a hot bod.

    2. I do think his face is beautiful ^^ But he is so charismatic indeed, which is also funny because Stannis is a man with no charisma in the books. But Stephen's voice alone and the way he delivers lines is so commanding

  3. "I adored Emilia Clarke's acting in this moment - she is the best in her scenes with dragons where she just nails the feeling of both loving them and being frightened. There is such joy on her face when she sees Drogon, her baby, safe and alive, but there is also fear because he is a dragon after all. Emilia wasn't very good last season but this year she is much better. "

    Totally agree, although I thought Clarke was very good in her final scene of the last season (where she's locking the dragons up). She's so inconsistent, but her high moments are great to watch.

    1. I thought her final scene last season was the only good scene she had in season 4 :) Hopefully she will be much better this year

  4. Excellent recap! I agree that The Wall scenes were the best. I love how they cut to Davos when they talked about people who disobey Stannis. They're really moving fast with the story though, it felt like it took so long in the books for Jon to be elected LC.

    I liked Sam and Gilly's scenes as well. Shireen really is teacher of the year.

    Brienne, I love her but her story is pissing me off so much. I hope it gets better.

    I'm not digging Ellaria tbh. I liked seeing Doran and Areo though.

    1. Thank you! The look on Davos' face was priceless in that moment :) I really hope there are more Wall scenes before Stannis leaves

  5. I think the dragon scene was my favorite this episode. Emilia is doing much better this year. I swear she was asleep last year. Great performance this ep. I didn't get that Brienne scene. That was just weird.

    1. Brienne's scenes are bound to be weird unless they get a grip and include Stoneheart :(

  6. I'm really liking this season so far. You're right, it does feel more connected. I like how scenes are given a few extra minutes instead of cramming together a ton of tiny scenes.

    I really thought that the LC election would take place a couple episodes down the line. Or that Jon would at least have an episode to dwell on if he would become Stark. Having the election right away really nipped that in the bud. I wonder if they're going to get all the way to the end of his ADWD storyline. What a great cliffhanger that would be if this season ended the way his last chapter does!

    1. I think it's heading this way, I don't think it would be the ending of the season but I think it's definitely in the finale episode

  7. Great recap! I loved the scenes at The Wall too, and Varys and Tyrion are awesome together.

    Sam, Gilly and Shireen are great. Love them.

    Brienne and Pod's scenes are taking a turn for the worse… unless someone slaps some sense into D&D and convinces them to include Lady Stoneheart!!

    1. Thank you!

      I really hope Stoneheart pops up. Brienne is becoming dumber with each episode

  8. Finally I'm able to comment because I'm all caught up.

    Now.. I don't like Khaleesi's storyline at all anymore. I loved her plot in season 1, it was alright in season 2 and then just kept going worse and worse. At first I was like, woo, she shall sit on the iron throne, now, I don't want her anywhere near that thing! She seems naive and incompetent, like you mentioned, without any help from her men around her and then she doesn't even listen to them. Though, I must say, the newest Daario is good to look at.

    "Tom Wlaschiha again as Jaqen" - yes yes and yes! I'm sure he has a different face in the books or is it just a different man? Anyway, I'm glad he is back because I like Arya and I wish she got to interact with Gendry again too.. Is she? I mean, Gendry does come back, right? Because he has been rowing a long time now...

    1. Yeah she is incompetent, but imagine that in comparison with the books 1. her storyline is not that bad 2. she is actually less incompetent :) The show keeps selling her as a good person with great destiny every chance they have :/

      it's a different guy all together :lol: At that point of the books Gendry and Arya have not reunited. As for the show, who knows what happens anymore

  9. I adore your recaps Sati! I love your point about Littlefinger's argument about Brienne unfortunately making a lot of sense as a result of the stuffing around D&D have done with her storyline. It does make a lot of sense. Which sucks because Brienne is awesome. Still hoping we get LS this season which may give her story a bit more oomph and relevance.

    1. Thank you! I really hope LS is in but I think D&D realize they are not talented enough to pull it off