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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Teen Titans TV: Game of Thrones S03 E03



Teen Titans TV

Game of Thrones

This review comes a bit late because I was off in Mumbai so I had to come home to Pune and watch the re-run for the show, plus currently I am making both a comic for my Gender through comics course and a short-film for my College class. So enjoy this weeks review;



Episode: Season 3 Episode 3 "Walk of Punishment"

Director: David Benioff

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

Main Cast (of Episode): Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister, Aiden Gillen Petyr Baelish, Daniel Portman as Podrick, Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy, Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, Carice Van Houten as Melisandre, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys, Iain Glen as Ser Jorah Mormont, Ian McElhinney as Ser Barristan Selmy, Kit Harrington as Jon Snow, Mackenzie Crook as Orell, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Ciarin Hinds as Mance Rayder, John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, Robert Pugh as Craster, Hannah Murray as Gilly, Richard Madden as King Robb Stark, Oona Chaplin as Queen Talisa, Michelle Fairley as Lady Catelyn, Tobias Menzies as Edmure, Clive Russell as Brynden the Blackfish, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Ben Hawkey as Hot-Pie, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane, Noah Taylor as Locke, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jamie Lannister

Pros: -Some more enhanced odd ball yet fitting humor for the episode
         -A wider scope of characters are given screen time, each one plays there small part to perfection
         -Focus on a lot of depth filled emotional pieces
         -Two interestingly surprising twists (I would have said three, but the third one is still a mystery to non-book readers and non-reviewing peoples so for now I'll keep that a secret)
         -Special Effect within the episode are not present, thus there is nothing jarring to cause viewing problems
         -With this episode the series picks up pace, allusion to coming action scenes in the next few episodes

Cons: -The wider scope of characters given screen-time, means that each character had divided small screen-times thus making some of their presences redundant. The episode seems more content in building for the season
          -The balancing of acts between characters means that Bran is left out, his arc was at a very interesting stand point
          -Jamie losing his hand without saving Brienne from rape (like in the books) rather with his mouth just unfortunately reinforces the fact that he is all talk in the show. In the book he saves her with his non-sword hand (after losing the sword one)

Score: 9.1/10

Best Performance: Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister/Daniel Portman as Podrick

Best Scene: Podrick returns a conqueror having not paid a single cent for the 'gifts' given to him by Tyrion via Petyr. Questions can arise whether that money returned may be a favor to Podrick by Petyr (for later use of him against Tyrion) but for now the scene can be enjoyed for its comedic gold

Best Dialogue: "Valar Morghulis"-Missanedei (Slave Translator)
                         "Yes, all men must die...but we are not men."-Daenerys


Story

 

For the foreseeable future I am not going to delve into how far from or how close to the show is to the books. As previously mentioned, I have only read till the third novel of the Song of Fire and Ice saga, thus some things may be behind and forward on TV. Also with multiple characters, I have to constantly reference IGN's own book/episode differences page just to get a hang of what's there or missing. 

This weeks story is fast paced, the third episode picks up quite a bit for most characters on screen but also doesn't let loose of the humor that has invaded this season. Of the main characters, Bran, Sansa, Joffery and Margaery are the only ones lacking any screen time. This episode was written by the show-runners themselves, as such the script is tighter. 

Walk of Punishment is nice enough to give us a glimpse of the King's small council, we get a hint of the ideas running through Petyr Baelish and also comedic gold between them and Tyrion. Unlike the previous seasons, Tyrion's comedy is now outright and in the face. Its also fresh considering that since the second half of season 2 he was more serious and heroic/romantically portrayed. Baelish's motives are cleared and yet these hints are given in the background to viewers. Conclusively his marriage to Lysa Aryn could help the king but also make him a lord and protect him from the Lannisters once they get word of his heavy debt collected through the bank, another background hint given when Tyrion becomes Master of Coin. 

The full dose of humor is not lacking, as said it seems the two show runners learned a bit from last weeks writer Vanessa Taylor. While in the scope of the narrative it is unnecessary, Benioff and Weiss utilize Podrick to great effect. The erotica previously felt just like a way for HBO to reel in viewers, the way they always do with most of their great shows. Here however the scene adds a touch of humor, with Podrick being the kind of man that prostitutes sleep with for free. Possibly one of the best scenes so far this season, as Bronn and Tyrion try to gain the knowledge of a lowly squire in matters they have tried to handle for years. 

As mentioned, the two writers are closer to home in the show and thus there handling of full duties adds another pathos to most character arcs. The grief present in the Tully funeral scene is just waiting to hit crescendo once we come to a gory scene from the books. The depressing scenes may bog down the story but once again the writers delve into the knack of wry humor in the form of Brynden the Blackfish and his pathetic brother Edmure.

Viewers will also see Arya harken back to Season 1 Episode 'The Kingsroad' when confronting Sandor Clegane about his execution of Mycha. Mycha was that little boy that sparred with Arya (on her saying) after which Joffery was bitten by Nymeria (Arya's wolf) and in turn Ned had to execute lady (Sansa's wolf) while Mycha was killed for his involvement in the incident (did you get all that?). This not only builds the link and flow of the series as a whole but also shows Arya's character and upbringing in remembering innocent people/friends even though they are lower in the chain then her. A good quality for a noble Queen, perhaps?

Brienne and Jamie steal the show once again, their arc is a mix of the spiteful but playful banter between the two with added emotional weight and repercussions. Jamie saving Brienne with his words rather than sword (as he does in the book, which I tried not to mention but here it is) seemed undermining off the character. To me it felt annoying as neither did he beat her last episode or get his arm cut off and come back to save her like he does in the novel. His hand however getting cut off was a dynamic scene and the writers did justice to the way in which it played out.

Last week I mentioned how I thought one of the torturers may be Bolton's bastard but totally forgot that the bastard comes as a friend first to Theon in the books. This is one spot I will not speak off, as I am sure many missed a hint in this episode of an effective secret. I am content where Theon's arc is headed.

Stannis and Melisandre enter into the episode simply to build towards where they're arc is headed rather than anything else. Nothing much of note really occurs, maybe an acknowledgement for the horrors Stannis must enact in order to gain the throne.

While across the seas there's some interesting knowledge to be gained on the strategy of war as Selmy and Jorah argue their points on what Daenerys should do about her army problem (since the Unsullied can be powerful allies but with the price of losing ones morality in buying slaves). She takes matters into her own hand and once again there is proof of the character growth when it comes in her decision to sell a dragon for the army, with hints of an ulterior motive.

Here's where we see the best dialogue of the show (see above), another indication of how bad-ass Daenerys has become. Dialogue in this episode has been a strong point, as with this we also get two other great dialogues already heard in the Season 3 trailer, the one of man and a sword and of Mance burning the biggest fire the North has seen.

Speaking of Mance, the Wildlings reach the fist where they find desecrated horse parts laid out in a pattern. It's interesting, funny and at the same time a little worrying to see that the White Walkers can create patterns with dead bodies. Benioff and Weiss are clever to make it seem that Jon still worries for his comrades in black, it gives an added sense of realism to his decision (infiltration) to be a wildling.

Another thing of note is that Gilly returns, Samwell and company arrive at Craster's keep and once again his insults are directed towards the main character, in this case Sam. Here's where we head off to him witnessing Gilly giving birth to a boy. With no Jon around there's no compass to direct Sam, this is where the writers start to make his arc interesting.

Overall the story is fast paced with quick introductions and exits. At times the writers may be over dependent on the comedy to carry the flow, but there is a boiling emotional weight just waiting to burst. Three episodes of slow build up will result in alot of excitement next week, mark my words.

Score: 7.5/10


Direction


 

So I know I said I'd lay of the direction review but this episode is directed by the show-runners so it's not a big difference. They handle everything well, for my novice knowledge I don't see anything that they do which hinders the show. It helps that they are show runners and writers making the episode very tight and appealing.

Score: 10/10 


Performances

 

The smaller doses of screen time help and hinder actors abilities. Here in this show each actor is proven and they all perform impeccably. Charles Dance in his small cameo is strong, his dialogue delivery is crisp and it adds weight to a character who has to be neither respectable like Ned or cunning like Tyrion as Hand. He simply demands and commands. 

Gillen plays off the sinister motives with ease, I have truly become a fan off this actor and would love to see him cast as a certain magical doctor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (hint, hint). Neither Lena Headey as Cersei or Conleth Hill as Varys get to do much.

Tyrion returns to a fuller form of comedy I haven't seen him do since the earliest of Season 1, his chair dragging act and eventual interactions with Podrick are a joy to watch. GoT provides doses of laughter between the two's chemistry that isn't seen in most comedy shows today. Dinklage makes up for his previous episode short comings (pun intended) by giving his all and you can see that he relishes the spotlight of carrying the bulk of the writing. Daniel Portman as Podrick is no less, his silent expressions and gestures are up to the mark and adds dimension to a small supporting character. Even if it's just an episode, it's a mark of a good actor who can use a small role and still make something worthy of it. 

Alfie Allen looks pitiful and play that great, while like him; Stephen Dillane (Stannis) and Carice Houten (Melisandre) barely get much to show off. Glen (Jorah Mormont) and McElhinney (Barristan Selmy) sparkle in their bickering chemistry on the methods of how Daenerys should get soldiers. Emilia Clarke finally does justice to how hardened and cunning her character has become. For the first time I have no complaints against the actor, she is splendid.

Ciaran Hinds gets added the edge of comedy yet vigor to his dialogue and he delivers this in his powerful crackle voice. He has been the perfect choice for Mance from the get go. Kit Harrington doesn't get much in the way of talking but he expressively sells that his loyalties are still muddled (as he is pretending to want to be a Wildling). One personal complaint, please give Rose Leslie (Ygritte) more screen time. Her acting last season was superb as she mocked Jon Snow, and I also think I'm in love with her. 

Robert Pugh as Craster was a fun addition to the show, he really knows how to crawl under the viewers skin. I really hate him, and Robert should take a bow for eliciting such emotions through his acting. Bradley as Sam just plays to the script and gives hints to his coming arc in this season.

Toby Menzies really carries the pathetic character of Edmure, while he makes it overtly comedic during the shooting of the arrow ritual, his expressions are a joy. The air of confidence yet laziness and stupidity clearly clash but make an interesting style. On the other hand there's Clive Russell (Brynden the Blackfish). He is given some great written material, and he clearly has a ball with it. In one swift sequence he establishes himself as a smart, wise, wise-cracking and emotionally deep character. As much as the writing deserves credit, this quick back-story is only established if your actor looks the part and can carry the writing and Clive does this.

Michelle Fairley get's a lot of screen time to sell her grief, it really evokes pity from the viewers as she goes smoothly (not sure if that's the right word) from grieving for her father to her sons. She has been a strong actor for the show in representing a mother like with Cersei. Richard Madden gets the best of it, as he proves his talent outside of the lame chemistry with his Queen Talisa. 

One thing I forgot to mention is Hot-pie staying at the Inn while Arya and Gendry leave. Not much can be felt since we barely got to know Hot-Pie as a nice character rather as the one who bullied and got bullied by Arya and others. So at points their lingering emotional scene seems a bit cheesy even if the actors aren't really performing badly. 

Noah Taylor starts off as the bumbling and greedy leader of men working in Bolton's service but his Locke is quite smart, and both sides of the coin are simply shown. Nikolaj and Gwendoline have some scintillating chemistry as Jamie and Brienne, there's just so much fun had with their constant banter but also their is seriousness to their scenes. Both deliver, and it's especially important to witness the facial expressions when Jamie's sword hand is cut off. 

Finally, all actors do well but I believe they have more of an advantage from the small screen time. There is barely any room for slip-ups, but small screen time could squish actors and their performances if they weren't good enough. This conclusively proves that these batch of actors are good enough.

Score: 9/10


Score, Make-Up and Costumes

 

The score is great as ever. Only one surprise was the rock version of 'The Bear and the Maiden Fair' by indie band The Hold Steady. It was interesting as the directors had explained this gave the popular song from the books a feel of drunk men jamming while their rowdy party goes on. The addition after Jamie's hand being cut off is just an interesting way to jolt the viewers.  

The song itself in the show is sung by Locke and his men. It adds a lot of information to the cultural ways of singing among men. It is a constant in the books and shows that the show runners do their reading to detail. Nicely composed by Ramin Djawadi. 

Once again costumes are perfect. The detail of grime, blood and overall scruffiness to the surviving crows is realistic. While the scene of art with horses is done nicely, although I'm pretty sure that falls in vfx.

Score: 10/10  


VFX

 

As mentioned the horses seem like they're VFX and such it looks really awesome. Not that I'm for killing horses and using them for art. But the effects for Jamie's cut hand, correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't he have been bleeding?

Do I need to keep saying how superb the title credits animation is?

Score: 9/10


An amazing but surprisingly fast episode, that builds towards this season yet feels like it doesn't (am I making sense?). Now I would like to thank Screenrant for allowing my previous episode post toe remain on their comments page. I hit 150 views for the previous episodes review, hope this one gets double.

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia

    

                     

      







   

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