This week’s episode has the same problems as last week’s – predictable, drawn-out plot developments – but some gorgeous cinematography and crisp writing made for a more engaging hour.
The best two scenes of the episode had much in common. Both were precisely photographed and both pertained to a verbal power struggle between two imposing individuals. In one scene, Joffrey’s position on the Iron Throne suggested he’d gained the upper hand over his uncle, but Tywin deftly reversed the situation in a clever visual joke, finally towering over his odious nephew. In the other, Daenerys (making a welcome return) asserted her own authority over the messenger from Yunkai, another immense slave city. Personally, my money’s on Daenerys if it comes to combat.
There were problems. The light that shone from Tyrion last season has dulled, and his domestic troubles with Shae felt like something from a lesser show. Seven episodes into the season, and Theon is still being tortured for no apparent reason. I haven’t mentioned Jaime’s selfless act of heroism that ended the episode. It was a bit much – I’ve already been won over to the dude’s side, trying to turn him into a bona fide hero this quickly felt rushed.