'Game of Thrones' Season 2, Episode 9 Recap - 'Blackwater'
Normally for this recap, I go through the events of the episode by location, just to keep everything straight. But this week, there was no jumping around: the entire episode centered on King's Landing and the Battle of the Blackwater, as it is described in the books and will likely later be described in the show. So all of those locations shown in the credits for for nothing. NOTHING!
We start on Stannis' ships, where Ser Davos Seaworth keeps saying the wrong thing about gods and kings. He's clearly a pragmatist among zealots, which can be a frustrating position, but when you're offered a pretty nice job as Hand of the King, you roll with it.
The ships are also equipped with a puke bucket, which at this point is very full. This show is so rich in details that I don't particularly want to see.
Back in King's Landing, our heroes and villains prepare for the coming battle:
- Tyrion lies in bed with Shae, getting emotional. Aww. Later, Lord Varys talks a bit of strategy with him, revealing a map of all of the tunnels underneath King's Landing. Something tells me those will come in handy a bit later. Also, Tyrion gets an axe!
- Cersei speaks with Pycelle, who seems to have regrown at least some of his beard. He gives her a bottle of Nightshade, which he explains will put her to sleep, put her in a coma, or outright kill her.
- Joffrey, as undeservedly cocky as ever, struts through the throne room with his new sword and armor. Sansa is there to meet him, and he pulls out the blade and says "kiss it," forcibly, as though pretty clearly referring to something else. Sansa does so, and I'm very happy her face was not sliced off in the process. Jack Gleeson does all of this with perfectly calculated shittiness, and deserves an Emmy nomination. I'm going to keep saying it every week until it happens.
- Bronn, as captain of the guard, does his duty by providing the troops with ale, prostitutes, and witty one-liners. The Hound is unamused by all of it, and nearly starts a fight with Bronn there in the hall: "Killing's the thing you love," he says. "You're just like me." Some serious stabbing is about to go down, but they're interrupted by the bells signaling the arrival of Stannis' fleet.
The rest of the episode is a battle that is as epic as HBO can get considering its budget. Of course this is supposed to be a fight between tens of thousands of soldiers on Stannis' side and about another thousand on Tyrion's side, but enough is done to make the whole thing seem big enough while staying withing the constraints set by budget.
Seeing the Wildfire put into use was pretty cool, and it's always fun when this show steps a bit further into the realm of fantasy. The attack decimates a chunk of Stannis' fleet, but not enough: he leads his men on longboats to the shore, where they begin their assault on the gate.
We learned something about The Hound today, if we didn't piece it together already: he is not a big fan of fire. Understandable, of course. Where do you think he got that big scar on his face from? He's tearing things up on the ground outside the gate until the fire gets a bit too close for him. Seeing The Hound in fear is a bit unsettling, isn't it? Seems like if he's afraid of something, everybody should get the eff out pronto.
That causes him to retreat and deliver this little gem to Joffrey: "Fuck the King's Guard. Fuck the city. Fuck the king." It would be a purely satisfying moment, were it not for the fact that Tyrion, who is pretty much tops on the Awesome-o-Meter, is now totally screwed.
But he rallies, giving one of the better battle speeches I've heard in a while, mostly because it contains the phrase "fuck them in their asses," and ends with, "Those are brave men out there. Let's kill them!" Tyrion leads the army through one of his tunnels to sneak around and attack the army from the back.
That works well enough to get rid of the battering ram, but there's a problem: the rest of Stannis' army comes charging in, and there's a lot of them. Tyrion manages to get a few kills in, but is ultimately taken down... by his own sworn shield, Ser Mandon Moore. Did Cersei or Joffrey just try to assassinate Tyrion in the middle of the battle? Is Tyrion going to make it?
He passes out right as help arrives: Tywin Lannister shows up with Tyrell allies, putting a quick end to the battle. Stannis is captured alive.
Through all of this, Cersei is in super asshole mode, as she, Sansa, Shae and the rest of the women hole up in a tower for protection. She has Ser Ilyn, the executioner, on hand for "protection" as well, but we know that that means... if Stannis wins, he's there to kill Cersei and Sansa.
Cersei spends the duration of the battle getting increasingly drunk and being a total dick to Sansa while she's trying to pray. Her antics include being creepy about Sansa's period again (one of her favorite hobbies), overpronouncing the word "sacked," and generally being grim about the outcome of the battle. She helpfully notes that, if Stannis wins, the women in the tower "should be in for a bit of a rape."
When it looks like all is lost, she collects her son and sits in the throne room, ready to feed him the Nightshade and take some herself. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the battle is won just before she does so.
Sansa, meanwhile, gets the eff out of the tower at Shae's encouragement, and runs into The Hound in her quarters. He offers to take her north to Winterfell. Do we have a new traveling duo on our hands, to balance out the Jamie/Brienne adventure?
Also, on a scale of one to Tyrion, how awesome was Bronn?
Game of Thrones