TV Review: Game of Thrones 2.2, 'The Night Lands'

Now this is more like it!

rating: 5

Now this is more like it! I enjoyed last week€™s episode of Game of Thrones, but let€™s face it; it was about reintroducing characters and not so much about plot. This episode? Oh, so many plots. So very, very many. We begin with Arya (Maisie Williams), now known as Ary, adjusting to life on the road. She meets a fellow by the name of Jaqen H€™gar (Tom Wlaschiha), and gets to be better friends with Gendy (Joe Dempsie, one of two first-generation Skins alumni in this episode). As the two of them talk, City Watch men show up. Ary thinks they are looking for her, but it turns out they are looking for Gendry. They€™re chased off, but clearly trouble is a brewin€™. Back at King€™s Landing, we see Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) meeting up with Shae (Sibel Kikilli) and Varys (Conleth Hill). It€™s about at this point that I started to really long for Shogun-style titles at the bottom of the screen listing the names of every character because, man, this is a heck of a list to keep track of. From here we go to catch up with the men of the Nights Watch, who are still kicking it at Craster€™s house. Samwell (John Bradley) is being his usual nice self and helps out one of Craster€™s daughters, Gilly (Hannah Murray, the other Skins cast member), when she€™s confronted by Ghost, the dire wolf belonging to Jon snow (Kit Harrington). Turns out she€™s pregnant and very afraid of what will happen if she has a boy. This episode introduces us to Pyke, a location in the Iron Islands, and home to the family of one Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen, who again proves clothing isn€™t really required when you€™re an actor). Theon is heading home bringing along a missive from the Starks asking for the help of the Greyjoys in their fight against the Lannisters and Baratheons. He€™s met at the dock by a young woman named Yara (Gemma Whalen), better known in the books as Asha. Her name was changed because audiences are too stupid to know that Osha and Asha are two different people. Anyhow, Theon begins flirting with her and cops a feel almost immediately, which is hilarious in hindsight, and reminds me of my Alabama joke from last week. As for the rest of the crowd, we see Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) and her team still camping, awaiting word of a way out of the wastelands they are in, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) trying to get ships for King Stannis (Stephan Dillane) and Lord Baelish (Aiden Gillen) being his usual self when dealing with one of his employees who has recently experienced a death in the family. As with last week, I€™m really skipping over a lot that happens, and thankfully in this case, it€™s a lot more than just moving characters around. An awful lot of plot occurred and almost all of what occurred was of great interest. There actually wasn€™t any point where I felt bored or disinterested in what was happening on screen. And as usual, everyone was on their A-game when it came to acting, especially Allen, who really did a good job of portraying the conflicting emotions that Theon Greyjoy was experiencing. The second season is well-and-truly on now, and I am very pleased with the progress so far. If the rest of it is as good, this season will likely end up being better than the previous.
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at