Game of Thrones Recap, Season 4 Episode 2 -or- Every breath you take, every move you make, you annoy Cersei Lannister

Joffrey Baratheon, first of his name. King of the Andals and of the First Men.

Joffrey Baratheon, first of his name. King of the Andals and of the First Men.

Have you ever had to pee really, really badly and everywhere you turned there were not only no bathrooms but constant reminders of how badly you had to pee? Like everyone around you starts communicating through hissing noises and you stumble upon a waterfall where there wasn’t one before and it feels like the whole world is conspiring to make you pee yourself? And then you pee and it’s the best feeling in the world?

As a fan of the books that inspired Game of Thrones, I just peed. Now the whole world knows what happens, and it’s SUCH A RELIEF that I don’t have to keep it a secret!

The secret, and the recap after the jump:

Joffrey is dead. Joffrey is so freaking dead. He has progressed from king of the seven kingdoms to captain of the varsity dead team. May he rest in a million awful, smelly pieces.

But before we get to what may be the most delightful freeze-frame of all time, we have the rest of the show to go over. No Jon Snow, Arya, or Dany this week- and while normally I would consider an episode without them a “low point” in any season, the necessary action in episode two makes up for everything.

We begin at the Dreadfort, creepy seat of House Bolton and this season’s newest addition to the Game of Thrones opening credit Lego playset. Roose Bolton returns from pulling off the dick move of the century at the Red Wedding with a new wife and some harsh words for his psychopathic bastard Ramsay Snow. His wife gets very little screen time, but her character (who is only ever referred to in the books as “Fat Walda”) is already a ray of sunshine. Her cute little smile and benign acceptance of Ramsay is the nicest thing that has happened to him ever.

Roose is mad because Ramsay has mutilated, castrated, and mentally shattered Theon Greyjoy to the point where he has no identity and almost no worth as a hostage. Even Locke seems a little grossed out by Ramsay’s methods, and recall he is the one who cut off Jamie Lannister’s hand and threw Brienne in a bear pit. For fun.

Roose is entirely aware that everything Ramsay does is to prove himself a worthy son, so he cruelly manipulates his language to make him feel as worthless as possible- it’s easy to see how someone with Ramsay’s mental instability could be warped into the monster he is by Roose’s unbelievably shitty parenting. Still, all the daddy issues in the world can’t explain why Ramsay hunts women for fun…or why his girlfriend Miranda seems to also be a homicidal maniac. Birds of a feather I guess.

Over at Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon is still around and is still burning people alive because he lost the stupid Battle of Blackwater. Stannis. Bro. It was two seasons ago. Get over it. Melisandre, birther of shadow babies, has gotten exactly zero percent less crazy since last season, and now Stannis’ wife Selyse (keeper of dead fetuses) wants her to babysit their daughter. To Princess Shireen’s credit, she is one of the two people on that island who thinks Melisandre is a few coins short of a dragon haul. Davos Seaworth is the other.

In King’s Landing, Varys the Spider warns Tyrion that Cersei knows about Shae. That sentence that will make negative sense to anyone who hasn’t followed this series from the very first episode. Tyrion understandably freaks out and tries to tell Shae to GTFO out of King’s Landing but she refuses because she is a complete nubcake. Girl you are in King’s Landing. You are messing with the Lannisters. They sew wolf heads onto people’s bodies. They send giants to rape women and smash their babies against walls. They are not your friends. Even stupid people realize this.

Because Shae refuses to understand even the basic syntax behind Tyrion’s attempt to save her life, Tyrion changes his angle. He calls her a whore, belittles her, and denies that he loves her at all. It’s a brutal scene that hurts him as much as he is hurting her, but his commitment to the ruse shows that he knows these are the only things he can say that will get her away from him. Oh man, it hurt to hear Shae’s sobs as he left her behind. I don’t even like her and it hurt me right here in the blood-pumper. Oof. So many feels.

Now, onward to the big event.

King Joffrey’s wedding started out feeling like the last twenty minutes of a Gossip Girl episode, with snarky, rich people in beautiful clothes sniping each other down at a party that plebes could only dream of attending. Showdowns include Jamie and Loras Tyrell facing off over who gets to marry/bang/be murdered by Cersei, Olenna and Tywin snarking at each other over how much money they have, Joffrey throwing things at the entertainment (a hilarious cameo by Icelandic freak band Sigur Ros), and Oberyn and Cersei facing off over his lover’s bastard status.

Oberyn wins his argument by calling the Lannisters assholes to their faces, insulting their culture, threatening Cersei’s daughter Myrcella and basically moonwalking out of the arena of conversation. Can Oberyn get any cooler? We just don’t know.

Joffrey then manages to insult his wife, his in-laws, a member of his Kingsguard, his uncle, and his aunt in one fell swoop by arranging for the War of the Five Kings to be played out in a farce by costumed Little People. It’s a dick move, and it only gets dickier when he tries to make Tyrion participate. The humiliating powerplay that follows is cringeworthy and highlights the depths of Joffrey’s cruelty.

Then he tries to eat a pie and dies. The timing is impeccable.

 

Other things that happened: 

I’m taking credit for predicting the “Jamie and Tyrion getting drunk and talking about their problems” scene that opened the King’s Landing sequence. Thank you showrunners! Love you guys!

Bran continues to be both an awkward representation of disabled persons and unpardonably boring. Hey guys remember that one time he touched a tree? And hallucinated? Yeah, that was boring.

Melisandre’s reaction to being asked to mentor Princess Shireen is: “I would actually rather sacrifice myself to the Drowned God than talk to children but okay.”

Bran also warged into his wolf Summer and the best part was when a dead deer said “Hodoooor.”

Olenna Tyrell and Tywin Lannister actually have great chemistry and now I totally ship it. Tywenna 4 life!

Sansa helps Tyrion avoid embarrassment by picking up a fallen cup and handing it to him. If there ever was a glimmer of hope for their relationship, that moment of mutual Joffrey-hate would be the start of something nice. Of course, everything subsequently exploded.

After all that fuss about Margery’s necklace last week, she goes with something that looks like it came from Brighton Collectibles. Do better.

Joffrey uses his new Valyrian steel sword to destroy a book, offending librarians everywhere.

Margary’s bride cloak (meant to represent her coming under the protection of her husband’s house) is red and gold. Those are Lannister colors, not the Baratheon black and gold. BE MORE OBVIOUS, INCEST TWINS.

 

Bonus points: Ten gold dragons to the first show-watcher who can figure out what very small, very important detail gives this event its nickname, “The Purple Wedding.”

 

Until next week,

Alexis

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