Directed by: Brian Kirk
Written by: Bryan Cogman
A TCC RATING OF:
Cripples, Bastards, & Broken Things opens with Tyrion Lannister’s return to Winterfell on his way South to King’s Landing. He stops by to give Bran a schematic for a special saddle which would allow him to ride a horse despite not having use of his legs. He does this without asking for anything in return.
At The Wall, we are introduced to a new character, Samuel, who is a fat man afraid to fight. Jon Snow stands up for him and tries to help him survive. The fat man’s father threatened him with death or The Wall.
Meanwhile, in the Dothraki procession, Viserys continues to voice his displeasure about the Dothraki and about Daenerys, emphasizing the fact that HE should be the one commanding the army. Sir Jorah comforts Daenerys and talks to her about the old times.
In King’s Landing, Sansa is wallowing in her emotions, upset that Joffrey doesn’t like he, worrying what would happen if she only gave birth to daughters when she becomes Queen, and upset with her father about her dire wolf. At a political meeting we find out that King’s landing is being “overrun” by rowdy travellers who have come for the tournament, which the had to go though with despite Eddard’s financial considerations. Eddard talks to a very old man on the council about what the former Hand of the King, John Arryn, was doing the day before he died. He finds out that John was asking about a specific book, and kept saying “the seed is strong” before he died. Eddard gets the book, which appears to be just the lineages of each house. We see Arya practicing her balance and continuing to reject her femininity, saying she wants to become a lord, not give birth to them. Eddard takes a walk with Peter (Lord Peter Baelish) who points out a few spies for different people in the kingdom, and gives Eddard a couple leads for his investigation: John Arryn’s former squire, now a knight, and an armorer. He talks to the armorer, asks about John Arryn, finds out they made some helmets for him and Eddard figures out through discussion that the armorer’s son is the King’s bastard son, though he doesn’t know it himself. Lastly, we see Eddard’s right hand man try to deliver a message to the King, but he is busy with a handful of whores so the message cannot be delivered.
Back at The Wall, tensions rise between Jon Snow and a man with a beard, regarding the fat man, so Jon Snow and his friends threaten the bearded man in his sleep, warning him not to hurt the fat man when they’re sparring.
In the Dothraki procession, Viserys spends some quality time with one of the servants to Daenerys, the former prostitute. We learn that he bought her for his sister, and when he finds out she is teaching Daenerys the art of lovemaking he gets upset with her. We see him pull her by the hair into Daenerys’s tent and throw her to the ground. Brother and sister get mad at each other, and Viserys hits his sister. She hits him back harder, replying “the next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!” We later see Daenerys talking to Sir Jorah about what happened, and he speaks ill of Viserys, saying he is unfit and unwanted as ruler of the seven kingdoms.
Meanwhile, at The Wall, we find out that the fat man is a virgin (surprise!) but so is Jon Snow, because he is afraid of creating a bastard son like himself. The mean old head of the recruits comes in and tells the two of them horror stories about the cold of the winter beyond the wall and hints at cannibalism.
Back in King’s Landing, Peter Baelish introduces himself to Sansa and Arya, and we are introduced to two knights, Lord Vail (Arryn’s former squire) and Lord Gregor (The Hound’s older brother, with The Hound being the mutilated personal guard of King Robert). The two Lords joust, and Lord Vail brutally dies. Queen Cersei meets with Eddard in his office, and they clearly don’t like each other.
To close out the episode, we see Tyrion Lannister run into Catelyn Stark at a tavern somewhere on the road between Winterfell and King’s Landing, upon which they travel in opposite directions. Catelyn calls upon the connections her father’s house (house Tully) to get all the armed men in the bar to seize Tyrion to bring him back to Winterfell to face the King’s Justice for conspiring to murder Bran.
As for the review, I felt this was another pretty slow episode. After a very promising first two episodes full of novelty and intrigue, things are starting to drag. The experience of meeting new interesting characters is mostly gone, and most of the beautiful sets and locations have already been revealed. It’s still a very good show though. The script and the acting are still very strong.
In terms of the plot, I really was not a fan of the fat man plot going on with Jon Snow at The Wall. The fat man character feels like too much of a caricature of the bumbling incompetent fat man, rather than being a more well rounded (pun not intended) character. I’m also disappointed that Jon, one of my favorite characters, has to deal with it, instead of doing something cooler or more interesting.
The episode did have some good foreshadowing moments though. When the training officer at The Wall talked about when Jon and the fat man would have to go past the wall and survive the winter it set up a very creepy atmosphere and I’m really hoping we get to see some sort of excursion into the wild North. The relationship between Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen is also developing in an interesting manner, with the power shifting almost completely in favor of Daenerys, exemplified by Sir Jorah becoming closer with her and distancing himself from Viserys. I get the impression that Sir Jorah knows more than he lets on, and may play a vital role later in the season.
I’m not really a fan of seeing the kingdom politics, and the feud between the Lannisters and Starks reminds me a bit too much of warring cliques in high school a la Mean Girls. Although I was not terribly interested watching the two most recent episodes, I understand that with such a complex and detailed universe, such episodes are required to set up a foundation for more exciting things to happen later in this season, and in later seasons. Eddard continued to make progress in his investigation, and Catelyn is forcing the plot into action by seizing Tyrion. Hopefully it speeds up more in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully some characters start dying so we can spend more time with those who live (Arya is such a delightful character, full of heart, but she’s only in one scene all episode).