‘Game of Thrones’ 3.3: ‘Walk of Punishment,’ Recap and Review

'Game of Thrones' 3.3: 'Walk of Punishment,' Recap and Review

Spoilers rule, as “Game of Thrones” gets down to the serious business of delivering plot shocks to the viewers’ system. Series co-creator and episode co-writer David Benioff directed this one, picking up the pace noticeably in short, tight scenes that bounce us around all over Westeros.

Benioff also clearly relishes the task of executing personally the first of the third season’s big shocks, structuring the episode as a whole, and then the scene, for maximum Holy Shit impact.

We’re offering our post-mortem on the scene right after the jump, so don’t click through to the SPOILER unless you mean it.

In this eventful episode, Rob finally does something in our presence to justify the faith many of his relatives claim to place in him as a commander and as a would be king. Most of his military victories were won off camera, but here he is convincingly and angrily explaining why a seeming victory, bragged about by a clueless cousin, could turn out to be a setback. Time, etc.

Dany, meanwhile, still in Slaver’s Bay, has one of her best scenes to date with Jorah Mormont and new advisor Barristan Selmy. The scene is staged so that the pair appear to be perched on her shoulders, like the angel and a devil in the old image, arguing the pros and cons of slavery as she mulls a major purchase. Her ultimate decision goes so pointedly against her stated humanistic views on the subject that you’ve gotta know she has something up her sleeve. Time, etc, etc.

Emilia Clarke manages to suggest all this without giving the game away, holding her own impressively with major veteran actors Iain Glenn and Ian McElhinney. Clarke doesn’t always get her due, I think, probably because people take one look at her and think they know why she got the part.

A lot of what this season is really about, like the “Ice and Fire”
novel it’s based on, “A Storm of Swords,” is the mighty being brought
low, and the inevitability of that in the order of things. That’s why
hacking off Jaime Lannister’s sword hand isn’t just a gratuitous horror.
In an instant, this most charismatic of blonde-god egomaniacs has his
crucial source of pride and dignity removed. Freudians would have a
field day with this, although it could be argued that process dismemberment
truly began when he was defeated in what I guess you’d have to call hand-to-hand combat by the splendid Brienne.

It’s
worth cutting off that hand, in other words, just to see how Jaime will
fare without it, and how his perspective will shift, over the next few
weeks. In storytelling terms, that’s more than enough to justify the act.

In
general, the characters in Martin’s novels who don’t thirst and grapple
for power are the ones who are valorized, though a failure to recognize
that others are doing so behind your back is certainly a weakness, Ned
Stark being cautionary example number one. Tyrion, in that sense, is the
story’s proper central character, being level-headed, sympathetic and
crafty all at the same time.

Too
sensible to take the game entirely seriously, even though he plays it
well, the Little Big Man has one of his better moments in Episode 3,
wincing and fretting at the prospect of replacing Petyr Baelish as the
Lannister administration’s Master of Coin. We sense, however, that
Tyrion is doing a Br’er Rabbit number, here, careful to object
strenuously to the very outcome he’s hoping for, since this is the
office that was such a formidable power base for Littlefinger. Time will
tell.

The scenes with Tyrion, Bron and Pod in this episode are flat-out comic relief, a welcome first for this rather grim season. When Pod is offered his reward in the brothel the show runners seems to be addressing the horny 14-year-old-boy contingent in the audience: “You’re grumbling that there hasn’t been enough nudity this season? Well how about this? And this. And this! That oughta hold you for a while.”

In the payoff scene a bit later on Pod comes across as the Dirk Diggler of Westeros, the innocent stud who doesn’t know his own strength. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that poor Pod never gets his source of power chopped off.

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