Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Game of Thrones Episode 9 - Blackwater
Game of Thrones never fails to entertain and this week's episode was no different as Stannis Baratheon finally arrived at Kings Landing. After being called in last minute, first-time Thrones director Neil Marshall (although in no sense new to his craft, see The Descent) prooves to be more than capable of time managing both character development and cross family warfare. Yes, the hacking and slashing had its place but we were also treated to some great one on one scenes. The clash between The Hound and Bron will be, for this reviewer at least, the scene that lingers longest in the memory. While Cersei's slow slip into drunken malice built up a strong sense of unease whenever she lashed out at Sansa.
As always, however, Tyrion achieves that remarkable thing of stealing every frame he appears in while simultaeneously enriching the chracters around him. His drawing out of trust and emotion from Varys is a case in point. Blackwater even gave him the chance to be around some of Game of Thrones' now trademark violence. No more getting bumped on the head and missing it all, this time he's in the thick of it. In fact everyone, audience included, is in the thick of it. Game of Thrones has always provided visceral television but this episode took this to new heights and, arguably, this is also Blackwater's drawback. Marshall does balance the action and character development well time-wise, but tonally this weeks outing seemed a little off. The action was so - for want of a better word - gory that the intense encounters sometimes struggled to carry the weight of earlier dips into Westeros.
However this is, as is always the case when reviewing television of such high standards, mere nitpicking and if you haven't caught this week's shot of high-octane sex and violence, do so as soon as possible.