Season premiere review: 'Game of Thrones' - 'Two Swords': Eating crow
It's a fascinating closing scene. D.B. Weiss, directing his first episode of the show, does such a good job of drawing out the tension of whether Polliver will recognize Arya and/or whether there will be blood spilled. But it also invites us to cheer at Arya becoming more and more like the sadists she wants revenge on. As she kills Polliver, she recites the conversation he had with her friend right before killing him, and makes sure this is all as drawn out as possible. It's eye-for-an-eye justice, and everyone Arya has on her list deserves some of that, but in an episode that began with our first symbol of Ned Stark in quite some time, I wonder how he would feel about what his daughter is turning into in her travels.
(**) Too soon to pitch Maisie Williams and Rory McCann for "True Detective" season 2?
Some other thoughts:
* The opening credits add two new locations, in the rugged Westeros castle Dreadfort and Meereen, another walled city of Essos. Interestingly, we don't get to either one this week, though Dany is at least on her way to the latter. In the past, the show has treated King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall and wherever Dany is as weekly locations (and Dragonstone may have reached that level, given its presence in a Stannis-less episode), but hasn't always been consistent about whether we only see other places (say, the Twins) when major characters are there or if we stop at them as placeholders because the credits have to run a certain length.
* Michiel Huisman from "Tremé" steps in as the new Daario, and instantly seems more interesting than Ed Skrein was in the role. Huisman wasn't exactly hit by the ugly stick himself, but Daario now comes across as more calculating and smooth rather than just a pretty boy who can fight. He can pick up on Grey Worm's attraction to Dany's translator Missandei, and is incredibly smooth and sly in the way that he arranges to give Dany a lesson in local botany that of course makes it look like he's giving her a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Jorah didn't like Daario in his original incarnation, and I don't see him being any happier with this guy around his Khaleesi.
* Sansa gets her first good moment in forever when knight-turned-fool Dontos, whose life she saved early in season 2 when Joffrey was on the verge of having him executed, shows up to thank her for her kindness and give her a family heirloom he no longer has any use for. It's not an escape, but at least it's a reminder she has been able to do a few good things in the midst of all the tragedy of her life.
* Some tension at Castle Black, where Jon Snow is catching grief over the murder of Halfhand, sleeping with Ygritte and all his other shenanigans from north of the Wall. At this stage, it's interesting that there's no reaction by anyone further south to the news of White Walkers and the wildling army, given how concerned at least Stannis was at the end of last season, but that could still come later. And Ygritte and Tormund get some company from another wildling tribe who prefer their meat to be of the human variety. Time for a "Hannibal"/"GoT" crossover?
* No Bran this week also means no Hodor. My reaction to this: hodor.
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at email@example.com
NOTE: No more comments on any "Game of Thrones" posts. I tried setting up separate message board forums for readers and non-readers, but there are certain individuals with such small emotional lives that they've decided that they must punish anyone who hasn't read the books by posting extensive spoilers in the non-readers thread. So forget that. Y'all want to discuss this show, I would advise finding someplace else to do it. I'll keep reviewing it, but that's it.