Entertaining Platt: Game of Thrones Season 2 Finale – “Valar Morghulis”

June 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

“And also plus, drinks for everybody at McGee’s Pub if you scratch the itch right next to my codpiece!”

I’m pretty sure my favorite shows are starting to merge.

It could be I’m just crazy or maybe my laser eyes are wearing out, but I could’ve sworn I saw Lori do nothing on the far horizon while Carl traipsed amidst the zombie army marching south toward the Wall at the end of the Game of Thrones season two finale.

My feelings about this scene kind of sum of my feelings about the episode as a whole: It was mostly great, except when it wasn’t. The moment when Sam Tarly cowers behind the rock and sees the horseback walker looking right at him? Absolutely fantastic. But the crowd shot of the shambling blue-eyed masses? Eh. Haven’t we been there many times before? Didn’t we see a bigger, more fearsome bunch of zombies lurking in Atlanta during The Walking Dead? That bunch of corpsicles is the looming threat to Westeros? They’re the winter that’s coming? Really? I just saw what Brienne did to three solid Stark fighters in this episode. I’m pretty sure she could throw an iron elbow at a thawing northern walker and take it out.

So, here’s what worked for me in the finale:

  • Brienne’s brilliant handling of the warriors who wanted to kill Jaime, and Jaime’s awed expression after she gives two of them a quick death, and one of them a bit slower.
  • Tywin’s horseback visit to the Red Keep in King’s Landing. Kind of the horse to relieve itself before presenting its rider to the king! And, yeah, when Sansa looked relieved at Joffrey casting her aside for Margaery, I thought pretty much what Baelish said moments later: It’s just going to get worse.
  • Varys’s maneuvering to survive with Cersei and the Lannisters securing their grip on the city.
  • Robb telling his mom what I’ve been saying for two seasons: She’s too reckless to call anyone else on taking unnecessary risks.
  • Theon Greyjoy’s stirring Henry V/Agincourt speech to the sellswords in Winterfell (and the subsequent blunt-force interruption as they betrayed him).
  • The revelation of Jaqen as a Faceless Man. Arya’s making some strange and interesting friends!

Where the episode fell short was in how underwhelming it could be in points where it should have been far more astounding. Maybe it’s due to special effects budget limitations, but the House of the Undying sequence didn’t live up to my expectations – it amounted to re-dressing a couple of sets, a couple of fire effects in a shadowy chamber, and Danaerys sticking her chest out. And I’m dangerously losing interest in Jon Snow’s misadventures north of the wall. It’s like the scene in Clerks 2 where Randall describes Lord of the Rings as a bunch of guys walking and walking and walking, except in this case the walking is occasionally punctuated by a woman in a fur coat smacking Jon with the flat of his own sword, which he ultimately uses to stab his boss to prove himself worthy of the Wildling King-to-be-shown-next-year.

Maybe it’ll improve for me on re-watching, and maybe it just suffered from having to follow a much more tightly focused and action-packed episode like last week’s “Blackwater.” It just felt anticlimactic, like last week’s was the real finale but this was more of an epilogue.

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