We’re only three episodes into season 5 of True Blood and I may already have filled my quota for seeing Alexander Skarsgard’s naked ass for the year (my wife would likely disagree). Whatever I Am, You Made Me is a well crafted episode that doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on the boring storylines and makes some decent headway with the overall plot while fleshing out and stripping bare (literally in some cases) new characters.
While episode 2 stalled almost every storyline it touched, episode 3 does exactly the opposite. I’d love every episode to be like this one but sadly they tend to be as rare as fairy blood. Sharpen your stakes and let us recap…
Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) still a crazy vampire. I’d love to leave it at that but she actually contributed to the story this week, most notably we got to see the world from a vampire’s point of view (apparently they have a ‘zoom’ option). Of all people she goes to Sam (Sam Trammell) for help which is really more help for him as his story was going nowhere so far this season. He puts her on ice, promises not to tell anyone, and then tells people. Tara gets angry (big stretch for the character there) and runs off, again, and we are left with her trying to off herself in a tanning booth.
After much deliberation the Vampire Authority agrees to take Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Skarsgard) up on their offer to bring in Russell Edgington but not before tagging them with tiny vampire bombs to help keep them in line. The most interesting piece between the fang brothers this week is the development of Salome (Valentina Cervi), a Vampire Authority council member. Her back story as Salome from the bible is a nice angle and equally so is her ‘screening’ of Bill and Eric which naturally involves sex (apparently that’s how you screen people…I’d be careful next time you’re going through airport security). As an added extra she also screens Roman (Christopher Meloni), the Guardian of the Vampire Authority, which leads me to the opinion that vampires are more into ‘free love’ than all the hippies at Woodstock.
Jason (Ryan Kwanten) puts his genitalia to good use by bedding one of his ex-high school teachers which makes him realize that he’s been using sex to feel fulfilled (that isn’t the purpose?). After Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) gets a sniff of, what I can only assume is, a fairy she makes a play for Jason but finds him emotional and lacking in testosterone so they assume their role as friends and buddy up for a chat. This is the first positive character development for Jason since Season 1.
Flashback! Pam’s (Kristin Bauer van Straten) memories of her first encounter with Eric are laid bare (again, literally) and how she came to be a vampire of his creation. In a surprising twist we’re also treated to Eric and Bill’s first encounter and as you can imagine they didn’t like each other.
Alcide (Joe Manganiello) finally gets to do some acting when he’s confronted with Debbie’s disappearance by her parents before finding out the truth from Sookie. He appears none too happy that Sookie blew his ex-girlfriend’s brains out. I can see how that would be upsetting.
Finer points of Whatever I Am, You Made Me:
- Reverend Steve Newlin is introduced as the new public liaison for the Vampire Authority and is given a lesson in politics by Roman. If all lessons in school were taught by a large man picking you up by your head I probably would have paid more attention.
- When Sookie asks Pam for help in controlling Tara she gets knocked across the room. Not to be outdone she whoops Pam’s ass with a hit of fairy lightning. That’s right, Sookie’s got game! (with a name like Sookie, she needs it)
- Andy’s bare ass plastered all over Facebook was amusing and even more so was his proposition to Holly proving that rednecks belong together.
- I even liked Arlene and Terry this week, mainly because we barely saw them.
- Hoyt visits Fangtasia looking like a gay goth. I think he’s looking to score with a female vampire but he might end up surprised.
- Eric’s sister, Nora, is tortured by the authority and admits that she’s against mainstreaming and believes humans should be food. Makes you wonder if Eric shares the same agenda?
- And finally we see Lafayette’s colorful inner demon which was passed to him by his dead boyfriend. My guess is it’ll come in useful somewhere down the line.
Whatever I Am, You Made Me was all about the vampire bond between makers and vampire children. It made interesting points about vampire opinions and drove the story forward while maintaining the quirky characterizations that make True Blood what it is: a helluva lot better than Twilight!
I give Whatever I Am, You Made Me 8.5 naked rear ends of Alexander Skarsgard out of 10.
What fresh hell is this? A True Blood episode with no gratuitous nudity? Actual story development? Wait, that second one’s a good thing. After a fast paced season opener Authority Always Wins acts more like a setup episode. While the pacing of this episode was slower it still successfully lined up a number of blood sucking ducks in a neat little row. Having said that there are several precious minutes of my life that I’m never going to get back after having wasted them on some of the completely pointless scenes in this episode (hang tight, we’ll get there).
Authority Always Wins is still a worthwhile episode because it spends a lot of time on the main storyline featuring a character pairing that has worked well throughout the entire run of True Blood to date but has never been fully explored. Now stop playing with that werewolf puppy and let’s recap.
Damnit! Tara (Rutina Wesley) still isn’t dead, at least not in the conventional sense that I’d like. My false hope that making Tara a vampire would make her more interesting has been staked right through the heart. As a human character she was angry and irritating. As a vampire she’s angry, irritating, and super fast. Not a vast improvement. Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) do their best to feed their former friend/cousin but Tara is too bat-crap crazy to care and ends up running away. There’s also a slightly interesting scene where Lafayette considers staking her (I actually shouted at the TV for him to do it! He didn’t hear me…).
Alcide (Joe Manganiello) refuses to eat the man he killed (werewolf or werewuss?) and he leaves the pack behind. After threatening to kill Sam the pack lets him go which made about as much sense as a brick trying to read Shakespeare. Sam (Sam Trammell) and Luna (Janina Gavankar) then get into a pointless fight over whether her daughter, Emma, is a werewolf or a shape shifter. Later in the episode irony pays a visit as Emma turns into an adorable little wolf pup. This at least makes their story worth watching.
Here are those lost moments of my life I mentioned: Firstly, Arlene (Carrie Preston) and Terry’s (Todd Lowe) story about the latter’s war background and how it’s affecting his mental state and their relationship, and then there’s something about a fire, some quick flashbacks…and seriously, I couldn’t care any less. This feels like it has so little to do with True Blood that it might as well be a deleted storyline from an old episode of NCIS.
Secondly Jason (Ryan Kwanten) is a man whore. But we’ve known that since episode one so why is it important now? Jason and Andy (Chris Bauer) discover the now very dead Debbie’s car but gloss over the entire thing by touching upon Andy’s vampire blood addiction and, later on, Jason tries to patch things up with Hoyt (Jim Parrack) but the big guy isn’t interested. Understandable. If someone stole my red headed vampire I’d be upset too.
Now the awesome stuff! Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) is a fan favorite on the show so it’s about time she got some personal story rather than playing second fiddle, or is it ukulele? Whatever the instrument we’re treated to flashbacks of Pam as a Madam in a house of ill repute and her first encounter with Eric.
Up until the end of Season 4 Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) were constantly against each other, most often than not, fighting over Sookie the super fairy. Once Sookie ditched the two of them they finally began working together which brought an interesting dynamic to their relationship. As the two of them are imprisoned by the Authority in silver cells with UV lights and tortured using some sort of silver injection system they both hold true to each other even in the face of death. We also meet Roman (Christopher Meloni), the head of the Vampire Authority and a general badass. Bill and Eric offer to kill Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) in order to save their lives and the answer to the offer is left hanging.
Highlights of Authority Always Wins:
- Lafayette unsuccessfully trying to give Tara her first drop of True Blood.
- The interrogation scene with Dieter Braun and Bill – An impassioned speech revealing the vampire origins.
- Gay vampire Reverend Newlin (possibly my new favorite character) crashing Jessica’s party (dancing) and offering to ‘buy’ Jason.
- Our first glimpse at Russell Edgington as he heals from his time encased in concrete. Heee’s baaacckkkk!
With Bill and Eric’s storyline currently being the most interesting we can only hope that once Russell is back on his feet we’ll see Sookie joining the fight and maybe even Lafayette with his magic mojo (not a penis euphemism).
I give Authority Always Wins 7.5 blood sucking ducks out of 10.
With Game of Thrones ending it’s second season HBO happily moves onto a TV show that looks at hard hitting, real-world issues…That’s right! Vampires! True Blood is one of my favorite incarnations of vampires as it’s nowhere near as fluffy and sparkly as Twilight nor is it the overly metro/bi/homo/hetro-sexual vampires of Anne Rice. True Blood falls somewhere in the middle and throws in a crap load of other supernatural elements to support it’s ever growing cast of characters.
With HBO (and now AMC) specializing in the 10 – 13 episode story arc it feels like an eternity between seasons but True Blood finally returned to us in all it’s blood and gore covered, naked, fangy, werewolf growling, shape shifting, glory with the premiere episode of season 5: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Now is a good time to insert my blanket ‘SPOILER ALERT’ statement so I only have to write it once. All True Blood reviews and recaps from here on out will include vast quantities of spoilers. If you’re not okay with that then suck it! (vampire humor, not a sexual reference)
Old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and older vampire Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) join forces after getting dumped by Sookie (Anna Paquin) and are captured by the Vampire Authority. They quickly escape and after a fair amount of bare ass sexual thrusting by Alexander Skarsgard (my wife was overjoyed and kept meowing at the TV) are again recaptured along with Eric’s vampire ‘sister’ (Lucy Griffiths).
To my utmost delight Tara (Rutina Wesley) was shot in the head at the end of season 4. In my opinion her character had run it’s course by season 2 and even making her a cage fighting lesbian in the last season did absolutely nothing to make her more interesting. Sadly Pam (Kristen Bauer van Straten) shows up as Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Sookie are mourning over her death and begrudgingly agrees to try turning Tara into a vampire. She gets buried along with Pam during the ‘changing’ process and the cliffhanger of the episode rested firmly on her waking up and attacking Sookie (which, let’s face it, is nothing new). Here’s hoping this makes Tara more interesting but I won’t hold my breath.
Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) finds the ever flamboyant and preppy Reverend Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) at his front door and proceeds to get himself into trouble...again. Apparently the once devout leader of the anti-vampire cult now has his own set of fangs and really wants to plant them on Jason, but in a loving sort of way. Jason is saved again by Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and their infatuation, or lack thereof (it’s hard to tell), continues later in the episode through an awkward game of Rock Band. Which begs the question: Do people still play Rock Band?
Every season of True Blood (except maybe the first) has a wealth of storylines that don’t go anywhere or seem needless and focus on characters that we don’t care about. This season it looks like shape shifter Sam (Sam Trammell) will be continuing the not-so-interesting story arc based around his involvement in the death of the local werewolf pack leader. While Alcide Herveaux (Joe Manganiello) shows up at the end to make it a little more interesting and we find out that werewolves are cannibals it still doesn’t salvage Sam’s increasingly boring character. Other boring storylines include Andy Bellefleur (Chris Bauer) getting caught with his pants down and, in an unrelated incident, taking bribes from a local judge and whatever the hell is going on with Arlene and Terry. Sure it was fun when we thought they had a demon baby but now it’s just getting silly. There’s something dark in Terry’s past, yada, yada, yada. Let’s move on.
Highlights of Turn! Turn! Turn!:
- Eric using his vampire powers to clean up Bill’s office: As if the man didn’t have enough going for him already he goes and puts Mr. Clean to shame (yet again, my wife meowed at the TV)
- Lafayette shaved his head: For the past few seasons I’ve missed the old Lafayette who was confident and cocky and not terrified of his own shadow. The audience is momentarily led to believe that Lafayette is considering suicide but instead we find he was just thinking about shaving his head. This and the following altercation with Alcide show Lafayette returning to true form. I hope it sticks.
- Pam in a yellow jump suit: Priceless!
- Pam telling Sookie to use her ‘magic hands or her super snatch’ to fix the situation: Not sure how appropriate it is to use ‘snatch’ so my apologies to all those that take offense (and high-fives to all those who think it’s funny).
- Alcide growling at Lafayette: He’s a werewolf, makes sense.
- 39 mins and 49 seconds in, someone gets fed to something: This comes after a reference made to Russell Edgington’s escape from his concrete prison so maybe it’s him…or maybe it’s something else?
With so many rich characters I don’t fully understand why we continue to dwell on things like Arlene and Terry’s relationship and Andy’s fling with a fairy but I assume the writers know what they’re doing. True Blood returned to our TV sets with all the elements that made the show great and with Russell coming back as the villain I can’t see how season 5 can go wrong…famous last words?
I give Turn! Turn! Turn! 8 wives meowing at the TV out of 10 (points lost for not keeping Tara fully dead).
In 2008, two months before we were subjected to sparkly vampires with stylish hair and an obsession with socially awkward teenagers, the world was introduced to True Blood. This weekly hour long TV show gave vampires a fresh pulse and proved that they don’t all spend their time moping around wishing they were still human. Somehow they also made retractable fangs completely viable without being cheesy.
When True Blood first aired on September 7th, 2008 it received an equal amount of bashing and praise from critics alike. Loosely based on the Sookie Stackhouse series of books by Charlaine Harris and produced by Allan Ball (Six Feet Under) this new take on vampires living openly among humans turned into a profitable franchise for HBO and quickly won itself a Golden Globe and an Emmy. Whether you love True Blood because of it’s classic horror storytelling, the colorful characters, the copious amounts of gratuitous nudity, blood, and violence, or you’re just a fan of the eternal bloodsuckers it’s clear that the show has garnered a strong following.
Season 5 is almost upon us so sit back, relax, crack open a bottle of True Blood (slightly warmed), retract your fangs, and let’s look at the story so far: (spoilers!)
Season 1 of True Blood opened with a bang throwing us into a world where vampires have ‘come out of the coffin’ and introducing us to the main characters of Sookie Stackhouse (a telepathic waitress) played by Anna Paquin, Bill Compton (a 200 year old vampire) played by lovable Brit Stephen Moyer, Sam Merlotte (shapeshifter) played by Sam Trammell, Tara Thornton (an angry black woman) played by Rutina Wesley, and Jason Stackhouse (Sookie’s lovable but dumb as a brick brother) played by Aussie native Ryan Kwanten. Bill moves into the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, just as a series of women begin to turn up dead. The murders are initially pinned on Jason for a while but he’s later discovered to be innocent. After Sookie saves Bill from a pair of blood thieves they form an instant bond and a relationship begins to grow much to the disdain of Tara and Sam who later end up having their own fling. The season ends with the murderer turning out to be Rene Lenier, a local resident who has created a false identity and has a problem with ‘fang bangers’ (women who sleep with vampires). Later in the same season we’re introduced to Eric (a 1000 year old vampire) played by Alexander Skarsgard, who acts as ‘Sheriff’ to the local area. (Coincidentally at the introduction of Skarsgard female audiences everywhere began to experience hot sweats and a stirring in the unmentionable regions)
The second season revolved around two different storylines that remain separate until the final few episodes. A 2000 year old vampire named Godric is kidnapped by the Fellowship of the Sun church and Eric employs Sookie and Bill to investigate, meaning to monopolize on Sookie’s abilities. The second storyline revolves around a maenad (ancient demon thingy) named Maryann who thrives on lust and debauchery. She quickly turns the residents of Bon Temp into her willing servants and it’s up to Sam, Bill, Sookie and Jason to try and stop her. Despite Eric beginning to show an infatuation for Sookie the season ends with Bill proposing to her and while she’s in the bathroom Bill is kidnapped.
As if the show wasn’t already littered with enough supernatural elements season 3 introduced us to werewolves and werepanthers (like a werewolf but…you get it). The central plot revolved around Sookie and Eric searching for Bill who was kidnapped by Russell Edgington, the King of Mississippi, who became a fan favorite and a wonderful villain. Eric later discovers that Russell was responsible for killing his original Viking parents and takes steps to destroy him. A new main character named Alcide Herveaux (werewolf) is introduced as he assists Sookie and Eric in their search for Bill. The season ends with Russell being buried alive and Sookie’s heritage as a faerie revealed as she vanishes into Fairie Land.
The 4th season threw a coven of witches into the mix led by Marnie who is later possessed by a malevolent spirit out to kill all vampires. Eric’s memory is erased by the witches and he lives with Sookie who returns from the Fairie Land. While Sookie believes she’s only been gone for a few hours she’s actually been missing for a year. In the meantime Bill has been appointed the new King of Louisiana and is disappointed to find that Sookie falls in love with Eric although in the end she declares love for both of them and then leaves them. The finale was bombarded with several cliffhangers including, Rene’s ghost appearing, Russell Edgington escapes from his concrete prison, Bill and Eric team up to destroy liaisons of the ‘Vampire Authority’, and Tara is shot in the head.
And all that’s without even mentioning epic characters like Lafayette, Pam, Jessica, or Hoyt. There are a hundred reasons to love True Blood whether it’s the love triangle, the acting, the supernatural elements, the sex, the violence, the plethora of supporting characters, or just the way that Bill says ‘SOOKIE!’ If you haven’t already had your first taste of True Blood I recommend starting at the beginning, if you’re a veteran vampire lover then pop in your fake fangs and gear up for an exciting fifth season!
True Blood Season 5 premieres on Sunday at 9pm on HBO.
If for any reason you missed part one or two of this fantastic and much needed guide then you’re completely out of luck as all records of said articles have been destroyed. Twenty years ago that may have been true, but thanks to the ‘internet’ everything is constantly available to anyone, anywhere, forever! Check out part 1 HERE or Part 2 HERE
. In the final part of The 2012 Nerd Movie Guide we’ll cover zombies, hobbits, scary stuff, a British spy, and Liam Neeson (who, rumor has it, has a very special set of skills…)
Resident Evil: Retribution – September 14th
Welcome to Resident Evil part five? Or is it part six? I’ve lost count. What I do know is that not only was this one of the first video game franchises to make a successful leap to the big screen but it also made killing zombies damn sexy (who can forget that red dress?). Milla Jovovich returns as Alice with Paul W.S. Anderson once again in the driver’s seat. What’s the story? Who cares! There will be massive over the top action sequences and lots of zombie killing. Unusual casting choices include Michelle Rodriguez and Oded Fehr as both their characters already died in previous Resident Evil films. But hell, this is still action horror at it’s finest. Down with the Umbrella Corporation!
Dredd – September 21st
While I have happy memories of Sylvester Stallone’s incarnation of Judge Dredd, and Rob Schneider making fun of him, I also understand it was a massive deviation from the comics upon which it was based. Having never read a Dredd comic I haven’t faintest idea what it’s supposed to be about. All I know is that ‘he is the law’, he wears a helmet, and he has a chin. Early set pictures and a massive Comic-Con presence last year have got fans excited about this latest incarnation of the cop with an attitude. While I really enjoyed Karl Urban in Star Trek and Red I have trouble picturing him as a badass cop/judge/executioner. This is probably one of the few that I’ll skip going to the theatre for but please don’t let my opinion stop you as, frankly, I’m NOT the law.
Taken 2 – October 5th
The 2008 movie Taken was a surprise hit among action fans. The acting was weak, the dialogue was almost comic book, and the daughter was so annoying that you almost wanted the slave traders to win. However there was nothing cooler in 2008 than watching Liam Neeson kill half the bad guys in Europe. His ex-CIA operative with a very special set of skills tore through the European underground and made everyone remember how cool Liam Neeson is when he’s not wearing a kilt or trying to be a Jedi. But why did he only kill half the bad guys in Europe? Because they had to leave room for a sequel! Taken 2 has Liam Neeson and his wife getting kidnapped in Europe. That’s all I know of the plot but I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say that the rest of the movie revolves around Liam getting revenge on the kidnappers. When the zombie apocalypse hits, I want Neeson on my team!
Silent Hill: Revelation 3D – October 26th
I’m going to come clean right away on this one. I’ve never played Silent Hill, I know absolutely nothing about it, I watched the 2006 movie and found it creepy but to this day have absolutely no clue what the plot was about. The only reason I’m including it is because I overheard a bunch of hardcore video game geeks wetting themselves over a sequel. I’ll likely watch it as I loved the visuals in the first movie. Silent Hill: Revelation has one other redeeming factor which lives with it’s casting choice of Sean Bean. If it’s got Lord Eddard Stark in it how bad can it be?
Skyfall – November 9th
Much to the disappointment of my mother who was a big fan of the charismatic, gadget orientated, comic action version of James Bond we are about to see the third movie featuring the iconic spy in his re-imagined state. In 2006 Casino Royale introduced us to a new, gritty, I’m going to really hurt you’ kind of Bond in the form of Daniel Craig. Other than retaining Judi Dench as ‘M’ the movies updated themselves for new audiences and Royale was an impressive hit. They lost some momentum with Quantum of Solace but so far Skyfall looks like Bond may have fired that magic bullet again. Focusing this time on the relationship (not that kind) between Bond and ‘M’ it’s up to 007 to track and destroy a threat which is either Ralph Fiennes or Javier Bardem. We’re guaranteed car chases, hand to hand combat, someone will undoubtedly get shot in the head, Bond will drink a martini and then sleep with someone he’s not supposed to. Ahhh the magical life of a spy.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – December 14th
For a while it didn’t look like we were ever going to see Middle Earth again as The Hobbit lived in Hollywood’s development hell for what seemed like an eternity. Finally the director of Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, stepped up to the helm and steered this massive money maker in the right direction. Jackson split the movie into two pieces, one half covering the discovery of the ring and the second half (we’re all assuming) covering the dragon. Martin Freeman (Hitchikers Guide and BBC’s Sherlock) takes over the title role as Bilbo Baggins and even I got chills after watching the preview and hearing Gollum’s voice again. Written by the same team that brought us LOTR and bringing back the necessary actors (including Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, and the ever-scary Cate Blanchett) The Hobbit is set to be this year’s big Christmas Season movie.
That’s it! We’ve got a ton of good movies to sink our teeth into this year and hopefully this guide will help you navigate the dark waters of the movie theatre and steer you clear of anything that will make you feel like you were just robbed of your hard earned money (not mentioning any names…Battleship).
Magic, a wedding, dragons, a witch, zombies, blood, Kings, a dwarf, and a eunuch. It can be nothing else but the Game of Thrones Season 2 finale and it did not disappoint! Overall the entire second season has been very well done with only a few minor problems here and there. My initial expectation was that the season finale would feel rushed as there were a number of storylines that still needed to be touched upon but the pacing ended up near perfect.
Valar Morghulis delivered payoff after payoff with every scene leaving the audience both satisfied and hungering for more. The episode was also extended to run for 65 minutes. That’s right people, HBO can alter time! For the final time this season, feed your dragon, and let’s look at Valar Morghulis.
With so much time dedicated to the attack on King’s Landing in last week’s episode I was surprised that we saw so much of it this time round. Poor Tyrion (Peter ‘he deserves another Emmy’ Dinklage) wakes up and finds he no longer has a job, he’s been removed from his castle and there’s a nasty gash across his face. Vultures appear to be circling our favorite Imp as his defense of the City is all but forgotten except for a few compatriots in the form of his bought and paid for girlfriend, his squire, and Varys the eunuch (Conleth Hill). Meanwhile back at the iron throne the victorious King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) wastes no time in appointing his grandfather Tywin (Charles Dance) to be his new Hand of the King.
Also on the King and Queen front Sansa (Sophie Turner) is released from her betrothal to Joffrey who instead sets his sights on Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) who is damn well determined to be a Queen and having failed at bedding her first gay husband is looking to get some.
In the Westerlands Robb Stark (Richard Madden) defies his mother and marries Lady Talisa (Oona ‘silly first name’ Chaplin). In doing so he breaks his original agreement with Lord Walder Frey and it’s unlikely the slap in the face will go un-punished. Elsewhere Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) continues her escort of Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and when met with opposition from Stark men she efficiently kills them all making them sorry that they ever laughed at her for being a ten foot tall angry looking woman.
Stannis returns to Dragonstone to lick his wounds and choke the life from his red priestess (not a metaphor). He releases her before she passes out and she makes him look into the flames to see his future as King of the Seven Kingdoms. Sure he has no army, no ships, and the Lannisters want him dead but that’s no reason to mope around.
At Winterfell Theon makes what’s likely to be his last mistake and after receiving council from Maester Luwin who encourages him to run away does the exact opposite and begins to rally his men to die in battle. His men don’t fully agree and instead decide to knock Theon unconscious and throw him to the enemy. When Bran and his motley crew emerge from their hiding place Winterfell has been burned and everyone is dead or gone except Maester Luwin who tells them he loves them and they should head for the Wall before he abruptly dies.
Somewhere else in the Seven Kingdoms Arya (Maisie Williams) meets back up with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) who offers to teach her how to kill people but she declines in favor of seeking out what remains of her family. He bestows to her a gift of a coin and a code phrase which not-so-coincidentally is also the title of the episode: Valar Morghulis. If she ever needs him she just needs to give the coin to someone from Braavos and say the words. As he leaves his face changes completely revealing him to be a ‘faceless man’ (I bet that trick slays at parties).
The best two sequences of the episode rest in the final twenty minutes. Firstly Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) enters the House of the Undying to confront the warlock Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore) about him stealing her dragons. She’s first led through a series of dream sequences featuring a burned and empty iron throne, beyond the Wall, and a Dothraki tent containing her dead husband and child. The cries of her dragons bring her back to reality and she confronts the warlock who states that with the return of dragons his magic has also been restored. He chains her up along with her dragons with the intention of keeping her there but she orders the dragons to burn the warlock which they happily do. It’s a fantastic sequence and for tiny creatures the little dragons pack a fierce punch.
Finally, beyond the Wall Qhorin Halfhand (Simon Armstrong) continues to goad Jon Snow (Kit Harington) into killing him so that the Wildlings will accept Jon as one of their own. After a clash of swords Jon succeeds in slaying Qhorin and a vast Wildling army is revealed to him before he is led away to meet their King and former ranger of the Night’s Watch, Mance Rayder. Back at the Night’s Watch camp Sam (John Bradley-West) is horrified when he hears three blasts of the horn signaling an attack by the White Walkers (or ‘Others’). I thought the special effects budget went up in smoke with last week’s Wildfire explosion but apparently the show had enough left over to create an army of Wights (zombies) and a very impressive looking White Walker General riding a dead horse (it’s more humane to ride them than flog them). Sam wets himself (presumably) and the dead army marches towards the camp. Credits.
I give Valar Morghulis 9.5 blue eyed white walkers out of 10!
It’s with a sad heart that I had to write this last recap and review for Game of Thrones Season 2. My Sundays will be cold and empty without the…oh never mind, True Blood starts next week! Fangtastic.