In the final minutes of The Night Lands, we catch a brief glimpse of a White Walker. It’s our first look since the pilot, and it’s a spectacularly chilling moment. We’ve been hearing about these mysterious beings for a while now, but seeing their bright blue eyes is another thing entirely. In addition, their appearance serves a distinct purpose: to reveal that Craster the Wildling offers all of his male offspring to the Walkers for some mysterious reason. It’s a well-executed twist, punctuated by Jon getting knocked out before the screen cuts to black. Wow!
The Night Lands is also notable because it features Tyrion causing a whole lot of trouble in King’s Landing. The scene in which he sends Jonas Slynt to Castle Black is enormously satisfying, particularly in light of all the evil deeds the City Watch’s commander is responsible for. And his decision to put Bronn in charge? Well that’s the cherry on top because is a certainly a character who could benefit from a whole lot of screen time.
In a wonderfully perverted twist, Theon Greyjoy comes on to a mysterious female who is revealed to be none other than his sister Yara. Gemma Whelan is a formidable force in the role, and she’s completely believable as her father’s sole choice for leading the family’s forces. It’s actually fascinating to witness Greyjoy’s father insult his son so aggressively (he calls him a whore), and then show so much respect to Yara, when women are belittled so often in the show’s world. It’s a true testament to how much of a leader Yara truly is.
Bits & Beheadings
– It’s a quick scene, but this is the episode where Arya meets Jaqen H’ghar, a mysterious prisoner who refers to himself in third person.
– Absolutely love how Yoren scares off the City Watch when they come looking for Gendry. What a badass!
– Cersei sends a message checking on Jaime, and it’s a beautifully underplayed moment.
– It’s a great little touch with the Council not taking the White Walker threat seriously. Uh oh.
– For yet another episode, Dany gets a measly two-second scene. This week, Rakharo’s horse comes back with the rider’s decapitated head. Ouch.
– The Greyjoy boat sex scene made me very uncomfortable. It felt like borderline rape.
– Did we honestly need that image of Littlefinger wiping SEMEN from a girl’s lip (before sending her off to kiss another customer?). It’s disgusting and unnecessary. Why?
– Terrifying scene with Littlefinger threatening a crying Ros with the most horrifying future if she continues to disappoint his customers.
– How hilarious is the scene when Gendry discovers that Arya is a “lady”? She of course proves him wrong by pushing him to the ground.
– This episode also introduces the pirate Salldhor Saan, whose fleet is recruited by Ser Davos for Stannis’ cause. Saan is quite the character, seemingly obsessed with “fucking” Cersei no matter what. It’s all pretty vulgar and unsettling, but something about Lucious Msamas’ performance makes it work.
– The Night Lands also sheds great insight into just why Cersei hates her brother Tyrion so much: she loathes the imp because she blames him for their mother’s death (during childbirth). It’s ruthlessly played by Lena Headey as she cuts into Tyrion with her venomous words.
– Melisandre’s manipulations reach whole new levels as she seduces Stannis in his war room. Not only do we learn that his wife is sick, we discover that the red priestess is immensely persuasive, particularly with the promise of giving Stannis a son. Also the visual of the two having sex over the map is pretty symbolic (world domination and all).
Kings & Quips
Yoren: It’s a funny thing , people worry so much about their throats that they forget about what’s down low. Now I sharpened this blade before breakfast. I could shave a spider’s arse if I wanted to.
Tyrion: Threaten me again and I’ll have you thrown into the sea.
Varys: You might be disappointed in the results. Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.
Tyrion: (to Cersei) You’ve perfected the art of tearing up papers.
Edd: And I said, “if the Gods wanted us to have dignity, they wouldn’t make us fart when we died.”
Grenn: We fart when we die?
Edd: My blessed mother … I was holding her hand when she left this world. She farted so hard, the whole bed shook.
Theon: Try smiling with your lips closed. Better.
Ros: She’s the one … the Gold Cloaks, they killed her baby.
Littlefinger: Ah, yes. That was… poorly handled. Some times those with the most power have the least grace.
Slynt: The man was a traitor. He tried to buy my loyalty.
Tyrion: The fool. He had no idea you were already bought.
Slynt: I’ll not have my honor questioned by an Imp!
Tyrion: I’m not questioning Your Honor, Lord Janos. I’m denying its existence.
Tyrion: I hope you enjoy The Wall. I found it surprisingly beautiful… in a brutal, horribly uncomfortable sort of way.
Gendry: You know, you shouldn’t insult people that are bigger than you.
Arya: Then I wouldn’t get to insult anyone.
Theon: You’re a woman!
Yara: You’re the one in skirts.
Salladhor: One thing … I want the queen.
Matthos: The queen?
Salladhor: Cersei, I want her. I’ll sail with your fleet, all 30 of my ships. And if we don’t drown at the bottom of Blackwater Bay, I will fuck this blonde queen and I’ll fuck her well.
Matthos: This war isn’t about you. We’re not attacking King’s Landing so that you can rape the queen.
Salldhor: I’m not going to rape her. I’m going to fuck her.
Matthos: As if she would just let you.
Salladhor: You don’t know how persuasive I am. I’ve never tried to fuck you.
Cersei: You want to be Hand of the King? You want to rule? This is what ruling is; lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out by the root, one by one, before they strangle you in your sleep!
Tyrion: I’m no king, but I think there’s more to ruling than that.
Cersei: You’ve never taken it seriously. You haven’t, Jaime hasn’t. It’s all fallen on me.
Tyrion: As has Jaime repeatedly, according to Stannis Baratheon.
Cersei: You’re funny. You’ve always been funny… But none of your jokes will ever match the first one, will they? You remember? Back when you ripped my mother open on your way out of her and she bled to death?
Tyrion: She was my mother, too.
Cersei: Mother gone… For the sake of you. There’s no bigger joke in the world than that.
A number of memorable moments and some fantastic dialogue make for a solid hour.