The Ninjabot

Game of Thrones: “The Climb” Review

Posted on May 5, 2013 at 9:04 pm by Jeff Mueller

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So another episode of Game of Thrones has come and gone, and for the first time in a long while I am left unsatisfied. It’s not that the episode was bad (it wasn’t) or that nothing happened (they did), it’s just that it very much felt like filler episode whose only purpose was to set the stage for big things to come. The problem with that is when we are dealing with so many different plots, subplots and story lines I expect there to be significant progress in at least one of them. I just feel that this episode suffered due to poor pacing. We cut between characters every 2-3 minutes it seemed, and not a single one really got their story advanced more than a step or two. It was a bit frustrating. Especially when this was the week that the writers finally decided to try and close the gap between Thoros and Melisandre by bringing them together and giving us some much needed backstory on the Priest of Myr. Any other time I would have loved this insight, but not this week.

To top it off, it was even more frustrating watching Sylvester Stallone Jon Snow do his best “Cliffhanger” impersonation in what was a series first for me. A scene where I actually rolled my eyes. It was a shame, as the titular act represents such a huge internal struggle for the character and I would have liked to be able to savor it for what it should have been, not a CGI/green screen spectacle.

Not every episode can knock it out of the park though, so hopefully the missteps that were evident tonight are erased from my memory with a strong showing next week.

Where “The Climb” managed to succeed though was in reinforcing just how separated all the characters are from each other. The end, with a majestic view from the top of the wall, was a nice reminder of how big this world is and how very small these characters are. Separated by leagues, mountains and rivers; not knowing how each other fares, or even if they survive. It’s a point that can easily be forgotten, both for the Starks as well as the Lannisters, and we were reminded on several occasions tonight. Most notably when Jojen Reed let’s Brann know he has seen Jon Snow in a vision, on the other side of the wall, surrounded by enemies. Hopefully this fractured family can begin slowly working their way back together again.

Game of Thrones - The Climb

The other major success of the episode was the tangled web of political dealings, machinations and back-stabbings it presented for us!

Jamie successfully bargains for his release with Roose Bolton; the smug and in control demeanor we are so used to seeing from him starting to creep its way back. Not letting his inability to perform the simplest of tasks, like cutting his own meat, to interfere with the negotiations but ends up blind-sided by the fact the Lord Bolton refused to free Brienne along with him. I was really beginning to enjoy this odd couple, and I hope that they will continue to share the screen at least for a little while longer.

Rob Stark and the Tulley’s sit with two of Walder Frey’s sons, seeking to negotiate the joining of their forces to take Casterly Rock from the Lannisters.  The Freys lay it right out on the table with no dancing around the subject; Lord Frey wants an apology for Robb breaking his word, Castle Harrenhall and for Edmure Tulley to marry one of his daughters. In what has become par for the course, Edmure balks at the suggestion but finally comes around when Robb lays it on the table for him… he needs Frey’s men and there is no way around it.

I’ve won every battle, but I’m losing this war.” – Robb Stark

We get to see the rug pulled out from underneath Sansa Stark once more, but only after seeing her excitement grow at the prospect of escaping to High Garden with the knight she first swooned over back in Season 1, Ser Loras. It has reached the point where I just feel horrible for her. All traces of her shrew-like tendencies from seasons past have dissipated and I can see nothing but someone who truly needs to be saved from her circumstances. Will Tyrion end up being the one to finally get her to safety? I hope so, because someone needs to!

Speaking of the diminutive Lord of Coin, he finally confronts Cersei and asks her if it was she who ordered Ser Mandon to kill him during the Battle of Blackwater and we come to find out it was actually Joffrey who made the order, bringing the response “The boy’s an idiot” from Tyrion.  Cersei, for once, does not argue the point; probably due to the fact she is trying to come to terms with her impending future as wife to Ser Loras.

Not only do we get to see the Lannister siblings try and figure out how to handle the curve ball they have been thrown, we get to see the master puppeteers face off in a Lannister vs Tyrell verbal sparring match. That’s right, Lord Tywin lays his plans out for Lady Olenna’s displeasure. After innuendo-ing the crap out of Ser Loras and his predilection for those of the same sex Olenna decides to drops the incest bomb. The two lock horns over who benefits most from the Cersei/Loras union? Is it more advantageous to the Tyrell’s to stave off rumors of Loras being gay or is it better for the Lannister’s to get people to forget that Cersei has been accused of laying with her own brother? In the end, Tywin manages to checkmate her by threatening to have Loras join the Kings Guard where he can never wed and ultimately the Tyrell’s male bloodline will die. Probably my second favorite scene of the night.

Game of Thrones - The Climb

The last few minutes of the episode are what truly kept me glued to the screen though. The slow building, but epic, score coming out of Varys and Baelish’s meeting in the throne room was a fitting end to the episode. At first it seemed as though this would be another fun back and forth between them but then things started to get real ominous, real fast.  The shot of Sansa weeping as she watches her hopes of escape from Lannister tyranny sail away right before we cut to Jon and Ygritte embracing triumphantly on top of the wall. A cinematic moment that tugs all the right heart strings before we are reminded of just how brutal Westeros can be as the King we all love to hate returns to the screen for a brief, but horribly shocking, moment. All of this laid over Littlefinger’s epic and disturbing “Chaos is a Ladder” speech left me with chills!

“Who doesn’t like to see their friends fail now and then.” – Lord Varys

My Score: B

 

So let us know, do you wish we could spend more than 2 minutes on a character at a time? How much more psychotic can whoever the hell it is torturing Theon get, and will I be able to stomach much more of his vicious onscreen punishments? Why is Samwell not a coward all of a sudden? How is Shae going to take the news of Tyrion’s betrothal? Who else immediately started trying to remember character’s eye colors when Melisandre dropped that ominous portent on Arya? And can someone tell me where the goddamned Direwolves are? Get to commenting below!

Make sure to follow @themightyjerd on Twitter for more Game of Thrones musings!

Game of Thrones: Season 3, Episode 6 “The Climb” aired May 5, 2013 on HBO.

Please Note – Due the nature of this TV show being quite far behind the books in terms of plot, we want to remind everyone that there is a zero tolerance policy regarding spoilers in the comments. Keep discussions relevant to the show only!

    • Less/no Bran, Sansa, and Theon and more of anyone else.

    • Rose deserved better at the end, but I can understand why they chose to handle her character in that way. If there’d been any sort of “goodbye” scene with her, then it would’ve lessened the impact of Baelish’s speech.

    • Great article. I felt the same way after watching it. At first I had a bad taste in my mouth because it seemed like ‘nothing happened’. I the more I thought it through I liked it. The wall climbing spectacle was weak at best. One of the first times I’ve said aloud, and ‘the CG looks terrible’. I’m hoping this weaker episode is just fuel for next week’s questions and impending answers.

      • They have set the bar so high with this show, that anything other than absolutely stellar seems like a let-down. Once I reminded myself of that I felt much better about the episode!

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