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‘Game of Thrones’ Review: “Blackwater”

Game of Thrones Blackwater
HBO

War is finally here, no fooling! ‘Game of Thrones’ season lights up its ninth and penultimate episode of the season, as the forces of Stannis Baratheon finally arrive at Kings’ Landing, and all out war erupts while Tyrion, Bronn, Joffrey and the Hound attempt to keep from losing the city, while Sansa and Cersei commiserate in a safe room.

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode “The Prince of Winterfell” saw Tyrion learning that his sister Cersei has caught the scent of someone dear to him, while Arya named a surprising next name to Jaqen, Rob gave in to his passion for the beautiful Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin), and Jon Snow found himself a captive of the Wildlings up North, so what will the latest episode bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 episode “Blackwater!”

Their ever present threat still looming, Davos Seaworth and his son watch from their ship as they sail toward Kings’ Landing, not quite expecting a royal reception when they arrive, regardless of how much the city folk might hate Joffrey.  Tyrion certainly can’t sleep, even with Shae’s comfort, and Cersei takes little comfort in Maester Pycelle’s words either.  At her most optimistic, the Queen Regent readies a bottle of essence of nightshade, 10 drops of which will…we’ll lets just say it won’t be a short nap.

Meanwhile, Bronn and the Kings’ Guard men drink and indulge in the city’s women, when The Hound arrives and expresses his dislike of Bronn.  Before the two can have it out however, the city bells ring, signaling the approach of war!  Poor Varys dislikes the bells, and oversees as Tyrion armors up, noting how dangerous it’ll be for everyone if a man in service of dark forces like Stannis takes the throne.

While the bells ring, Davos has their army start the drums, while Tyrion and Bronn wish one another well.  So too do Tyrion and Shae discreetly say their goodbyes while Joffrey asks Sansa to kiss his new blade, “Hearteater.”  Still full of sass for her king, Sansa and Shae get themselves out of the way.  Tyrion and Joffrey perch themselves atop the wall, wondering where their army’s ships are to be found, while Sansa, Shae, Cersei and the other women hide in a safe-room, Cersei drinking herself into oblivion.

Tyrion’s archers ready themselves while Joffrey insists on beginning the attack, when out of the fog a single ship approaches Davos’ fleet.  Seemingly unmanned, Davos watches as Wildfire pours from the ship, and a flaming arrow from Bronn ignites the entire fleet in an explosion of green fire!  With Davos and his son seemingly lost, Stannis remains undeterred to breach the beaches.

While Cersei continues drunkenly berating Sansa, and assuring her her only real weapon lies between her legs, Stannis’ men approach and Tryion begins allotting forces to combat the threat, despite Joffrey’s cowardly pleas that the opposing army is too many.  The men land on the beach, rained down upon by flaming arrows, while The Hound and Lancel Lannister bravely fight, the Hound chopping men in half left and right.  Cersei finally notices that Sansa’s handmaiden Shae must not easily have made it into royal service without a little help from royalty (like…say…Tyrion, perhaps?), until Lancel bursts in with an update, and Cersei insists that he bring back Joffrey from the battlefield, regardless of the effect it has on the morale of the men.

The Hound continues slashing on, when the vision of a charging man in flames stops him in his track, and only a wayward arrow from Bronn saves his life.  Stannis next tries mounting ladders against the city walls, while The Hound retreats inside and begs a drink, having decided to abandon the city, his king, and the war.  Lancel arrives to beg Joffrey to accompany him, and the frightened king takes his erstwhile opportunity to flee the battle in shame.  With the men seemingly broken by this abandonment, Tyrion steps up to inspire everyone, plotting to sneak out from the walls and attack Stannis’ men from their rear.

Lancel returns to plead with Cersei to let Joffrey fight, and while she refuses, Shae insists that Sansa flee in the wake of upcoming defeat.  Alone, Sansa reaches her chambers, pausing to look at the doll that Ned Stark gave her back in season one, and surprised by the appearance of The Hound in her room.  Having abandoned the battle, he offers to take Sansa with him, returning her to Winterfell, an offer she momentarily rejects but seems to relent to in the end.  OR DOES SHE?!

Meanwhile, Tyrion leads his surprise attack on the men, which seems to go well until an additional force of Stannis’ army charges.  Stannis keeps bravely hacking and slashing, while Tyrion faces a bit of mutiny from the Kings’ Guard, and is only saved by the timely interruption of Podrick’s spear through his attacker’s face.  In the throne room, Cersei tries to comfort her youngest boy, secretly readying the flask of nightshade, while another force arrives on the battlefield by horseback, seeming to decimate Stannis’ army.  As Cersei readies the nightshade, the throne room doors fling open…revealing Ser Loras and Tywin Lannister, whose alliance saved the day!  The battle is won!

An epic and finely shot battle to be sure, but now the biggest question remains just how everything will wrap up in the finale next week!  We spent the entirety of the episode with the battle, so what will happen to Jon Snow and Daenerys, or even Theon as he continues his occupation of Winterfell?  Could anything ever be as bloody or awesome as “Blackwater” was?

Still, if you think this was good, just wait until next week!  Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’ season finale “Valar Morghulis” on HBO!

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