Warning: This review contains spoilers from the fourth season of Game of Thrones, so turn back now if you'd like to remain in the dark.
We are now almost halfway through the fourth season of HBO's wildly successful Game of Thrones series, and things are becoming more and more interesting. After the events of the previous two episodes, it should be abundantly clear that anyone in this show could kick the bucket at any moment (as if the rest of the show hadn't already stressed that). With this week's episode, “Oathkeeper,” the drums of war continue to beat, serving both as an omen of bad things to come for more than half of the cast and as proof that this is the biggest, most shocking season of the show yet. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) fans have quite a bit to get excited about, especially since this episode basically completes his long-awaited transformation from quiet, pensive “bastard” to competent, respected leader. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) takes Meereen, nails some dudes to some posts to exact some revenge, or “justice,” as she puts it, and frees more slaves. Honestly, we could just leave her out of the next few episodes and focus on the people who HAVEN'T conquered an entire city. Also, why the hell are Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) getting shafted this season? We've barely seen those two, and we're beginning to have withdrawals. King's Landing has become fairly boring since Joffrey croaked on his wedding day. It turns out that little bastard was more fun when he was alive, even if a small part of us always fantasised about how he would get his comeuppance.
Last week's episode, “Breaker of Chains,” lacked the level of excitement and suspense that we've come to expect from this phenomenal show, a problem that has luckily been rectified with “Oathkeeper.” And as an added advantage, we don't get to watch Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rape his sister next to their son's dead body (this sentence is disgusting even without context). Instead, we get some truly engaging character interactions, exciting foreshadowing, and an ending that will shock anyone unfamiliar with the source material.
“Oathkeeper” may just be the strongest episode of the season, mainly because it sets some major new developments in motion and propels the story forward in a fun new way. Making Bran's story compelling was something that the showrunners really needed to do, and now they finally have. As you can imagine, watching him follow deformed crows and stroke local flora gets old quickly. Hopefully he's past that phase and will be a character who's consistently entertaining. Fortunately, it looks like that's what the show is trying to do. Everything is coming together in a really incredible way, and we can't wait to see what other shenanigans the silly folks of Wild, Wild Westeros will get themselves into.
This episode perfectly sets up the shitfest we all know is coming, focusing on events that happened early last season before ending on a White Walker abducting a baby and using some creepy ice wizardry to turn it into one of its own. It's pretty cool stuff, but waiting a week between episodes is really starting to suck again. Why can't HBO give the rights to the show to Netflix so we can just binge all ten episodes and then suffer for a year before the next season becomes available? Instant gratification seems much more desirable than waiting in agony for seven days every time the show ends on a brilliant cliffhanger (which goes for every damn episode). Oh well. It doesn't hurt to dream.
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