“The Gross, Pukey Green Wedding,” GAME OF THRONES Season 4 Episode 2 Review- ‘The Lion and the Rose’
This review is littered with spoilers that the Internet will probably have ruined for you by the time you eat breakfast on Monday morning. It is also written from the point of view of someone who has not read the books. If you have any spoilers you would like to share, don’t.
There’s a lot to talk about tonight, but all anybody is going to be discussing tomorrow is Joffrey. As he shuffled off this mortal stick up his ass and made his way to the Great Midget Fight in the Sky, I could almost hear the echoing calls of millions of Game of Thrones fans elating into the night. It might just be the single biggest cause for celebration since V-J Day.
But “The Lion and the Rose” was so stuffed with really good stuff that it’d be a shame for this review to only comment on Joffrey’s always-inevitable but much-fantasized downfall. Hell, that’s half the reason why I divide these reviews into sections, so that I can give every aspect of the show its due. That should prove particularly tricky tonight, as the vast majority of the episode takes place at the wedding reception of Joffrey, of House Baratheon and House Lannister, and Margaery Tyrell, of House Tyrell (which raises more than a couple questions about her lineage, but I’ve sort of just stopped asking questions about bloodlines as far as royalty is concerned, real or fictional). To keep things interesting (and short winded), I’m going to subdivide the events at King’s Landing tonight into a few different, smaller sections, and, by the end of this review, announce this week’s winner. But first…
Bran’d This Week: A Section for Those Not on This Week’s Call Sheet
–Jon Snow and all of the boring mopey white people of The Wall are blessedly missing this week, including but not limited to Beard Guy, the Rapey Bald Guys, Other Beard Guy, “You Know Nuffin’, Jon Snow,” and Another Dozen Subsequent Beard Guys
–Danaerys, the walking, talking Emancipation Proclamation
–Littlefinger. Goddammit! When am I going to see me some Littlefinger?
–Arya, the living embodiment of Merida from Brave. Also Missing: All of her really cool friends
Dammit, Bran! Way to show up tonight and ruin my flawless system of review!
Not that Bran ended up doing much this week, but, when compared to a typical Bran episode, Bran might as well have gone through the entire plot of Die Hard tonight, with how much screen time he had.
Bran’s powers have developed nicely since the probably thirty seconds of real time since we last saw him. He’s really expanding his ability to do that thing Harry Potter did with Nagini the one time, but with all the animals, granting him the best seats in the house to a first person deer killing. After visiting Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas, Bran has a set of visions made up almost entirely of time lapse photography.
While not particularly substantial, tonight’s Bran check-in was notable because something actually happened!, which is weird for a Bran check-in. We also know that Bran will be forcing Hodor to start digging under a tree for the next few episodes, so we have that riveting storyline to look forward to. Thanks, Bran. I knew you couldn’t get my hopes up forever.
Ramsay Snow, you reek! (God, I am so, so sorry for that)
They’re out of the dungeon, everybody!
After an entire season spent in a dungeon doing really grating torture sequences, I honestly believe that Theon and Ramsay being outside is more cause for celebration than Joffrey’s demise. They’re now free to do whatever they want.
Which is apparently hunting women in the woods. I don’t know who that girl was, or where she came from, but I do know that frail, waifish women of no means running scared through the woods is truly the Most Dangerous Game, so she probably had it coming.
It also appears that Ramsay has found himself a girlfriend. One who takes just as much joy in the murder of people as he does. You know, it’s always nice when misfits can find each other…
It wasn’t until later in the episode, when Ramsay was having Theon shave his face, that it dawned on me just how much Theon has truly transitioned into Reek. When his admission of his new name first occurred last season, I didn’t think much of it. I saw it as a momentary, voluntary statement and not the true breaking of a human spirit. But Reek is all that is left of Theon now. He is a shell of a man, at the beck and call of a merciless killer. There is hardly anything left of the Theon we once knew and acknowledged that he existed. Even the news of Robb’s death, which gave us a tremendous performance by Reek’s eyeballs, could hardly bring out the amorous former Greyjoy. At the end of last season, I changed the name of these headings from “Theon” to “Ramsay,” and it seems as if we will just never go back. Theon is gone. He was never a character of much acclaim or attention, but that’s not going to make it any easier to watch his new form week to week, spurred on by the sausage guzzling Ramsay. “I place too much trust in you,” Ramsay Bolton tells his son. Uh, yeah you do. He is the craziest person in the universe whose name doesn’t start with “The Mad [Blank].”
The aforementioned shaving scene was the first bit of exquisite tension in tonight’s episode. The light coming in from the window and just glinting on the blade of the razor as it kissed Ramsay’s throat was a wonderful moment, brought to us by director Alex Graves in what is an overall really strong episode. As the show’s ads are frequent to remind us, All Men Must Die. Eventually Ramsay will succumb to those ads and be gone from our televisions. But, thankfully enough for our psychopath quotas, it is not this day.
Melisandre and Stannis Do Something That Makes Me Feel Like I Missed a Couple Episodes
This is not a new feeling on Game of Thrones, but our visit to the Isle of Complicated Feelings About Sex tonight felt especially non sequitur. I mean, we walked in on them burning alive characters I didn’t recognize. It ended up simply being the family of Stannis’ wife (?), but the abruptness of this entrance just made me feel like we missed a storyline where these guys were on a walking tour doing exactly the opposite of what Danny has been up to.
Ultimately, though, it feels like same old, same old at Camp Baratheon. Melisandre still has a hold over Stannis and everything he does, says, or sexes. She has also taken a real interest in Stannis’ child, which I imagine can only lead to good things and further smoke vagina monster assassin babies.
The Wedding Party
In tonight’s first of many sub-categories to prolong me talking about Joffrey, let’s talk about the wedding party.
Olenna Tyrell’s reaction shots to tonight’s events were some of the episode’s true highlights, particularly the look of absolute British old lady disgust she wears during the Dwarf Fight. There is a storm brewing in House Tyrell, one that will surely be unleashed by an old woman, pop culture’s current default for generating beloved characters.
Margaery, likewise, has always been a favorite character of mine, mostly because she as a character does what we as the audience desperately want a character on this show to do, namely not taking Joffrey’s crap and being nice to Sansa. Her material in the coming weeks ought to be really interesting, as she was Queen of the Realm for all of about an hour before having it taken away from her by poison, which for all we know could have come from her.
We also get a lovely little scene where Cersei and Tywin have a chat with Gay Ramsay and Evil Shae, the last of which has not yet unconfirmed my suspicions that she is Shae from some parallel timeline. I mean, she even dresses like it. She shows more torso skin and has squintier eyes. If that is not evil, I simply don’t know what is.
Jamie Lannister, Sad Puppy
Besides being filthy rich, devilishly handsome, and having the affections of Lena Headey, everything in Jamie’s life sucks right now. He is has to use a sparring sword as he relearns how to swordfight, a training regimen his very life depends on. His family derides him and disrespects him. He is forced to eat with a dwarf. He got made fun of by someone whose title is “The Lord of Flowers.” And, if typical Game of Thrones style is in play here, things are only going to get much, much worse for Jamie before they get better. So let’s all sit back and try to think about how he’s really rich so that we don’t feel so bad for him. So as to keep from weeping.
RIP Joffrey Baratheon, King of Fan Hate, Lord of Slapping GIFs, Hero of the Battle of Most Hated Fictional Character Since Turtle from Entourage
The editor of tonight’s episode must have really, really wanted us to know that he was dead. We hold on his face until every sign of life has fled from his body, and we are left with the lazy-eyed corpse of the most reviled young man in the world. I love Joffrey. Always have. It takes a lot of careful, meticulous work to make me hate a character as much as we all hate Joffrey, and actor Jack Gleeson works so well in tandem with his material to give a truly loathsome performance. Maybe we hate him so much because he’s rich. The AV Club posits just as much in its review of tonight’s episode. I was only half kidding when I said above that thinking of Jamie’s money would help us feel less sorry for him. Ultimately, Joffrey never personally did anything worse than what we’ve watched Ramsay do for an entire season and shrugged away. His gilded crown and his lavish clothes, tag-teaming with Gleeson’s sneer and his gross actions, made Joffrey the terrible, awful, putrid king that I loved so very much.
And now, a eulogy composed in his honor…
“Joffrey Baratheon was a great man. Born of noble incest to his mother and his uncle/father, young Joffrey was a fighter. He fought battles that never needed to be fought, once going so far as to crossbow a pair of women who committed the unforgivable transgression of agreeing to have sex with him for money. He was always one to take advantage of the opportunities given to him. Who else would have been so kind as to show Sansa Stark her father’s decapitated head stuck on a pike, so that she might have one last goodbye? As king, he did what most of us would do. He once paid midgets to fight each other for his amusement. Truly, he was a man who knew his audience. He is somehow mourned by his family, who must have been just as sick of his shit as the rest of us. His last action was to indicate his dwarf uncle as his killer, instead of that really suspicious jester or Gay Ramsay. His death is all the more sad because he never got to really use his sword he named “Widow’s Wale,” which is pretty badass. We will always remember your highs, Joffrey. You went where no other television character has dared to go. Namely, the depths of Hell. He is survived by his mother, Cersei, his brother/uncle, Jamie the Kingslayer, his grandfather, Tywin, and his new bride, Margaery, who is so far out of his league that it’s fucking ridiculous. Seriously. I don’t even think they are both of the same species.
RIP, Joffrey. The fandom doesn’t know it yet, but they’re going to miss you dearly.”
Tonight’s Winner: Tyrion and the Hendersons
I’m not crowning Tyrion tonight to be contrarian. His material tonight was so good, so poignant and so strong, that even if the episode hadn’t ended with Joffrey Baratheon getting the shit killed out of him this still would have been a high water mark for the season to come. It also had Lord Varys, which will never, ever be amiss on my end.
After Tyrion had his Harry and the Hendersons moment and told Shae to “Go on, get!” we were treated to one of the most tense and heartbreaking scenes Game of Thrones has ever seen. His tete-a-tete with Joffrey over the wine goblet was wrenching, and so very, very hard to watch. When the trained dwarfs arrive to reenact the War of the Five Kings, I wasn’t thinking about how disgusting Joffrey was. I was concerned for Tyrion, and how he and Sansa were feeling. I was even thinking about Margaery before I was concerning myself with Joffrey. Tyrion Lannister is fan favorite for a reason, and the writers (including episode writer George R.R. Martin) always give him primo stuff to work with. So, bravo, Tyrion. You took top spot in an episode that killed off Joffrey Baratheon. Stand up, man. Stand up and take a bow.
Final Verdict: 9/10 Dove Pies, for a superbly directed episode that means great things for the future and didn’t have Jon Snow in it.
Be sure to come back every week for a review of the latest episode of Game of Thrones! If you have a comment, leave it below!
How and when did you think Joffrey was gonna go out?
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