Recap

Recap Round-up: “Two Swords”

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Haven’t heard what the critics think about the Season 4 premiere yet? Here are some recaps and reviews for “Two Swords,” and the verdict is positive.

Book Readers

Sean T. Collins – Rolling Stone
The Lannisters shall inherit the earth as the epic fantasy kicks off a bold fourth season

Myles McNutt – Cultural Learnings
“Two Swords” marks the calm before the storm…the season premiere has the series firmly in transition, still holding onto the familiar instability we’ve come to understand.

James Hibberd – Entertainment Weekly
It’s a hugely confident hour that effortlessly dives into nearly all the major storylines, an appealing mix of super-tight storytelling with a relaxed vibe — the actors are so comfortable in these roles, the dialog so conversational and sharp-witted, this hour just flies by.

Todd VanDerWerff – A.V. Club
A-, In the tradition of Game Of Thrones premieres, “Two Swords” is a bit scattered between storylines, trying to make sure we’re caught up on almost everybody.
BUT This premiere struck me as a distinct improvement over the other three in the series’ history.

Alyssa Rosenberg – Washington Post
A Game of Thrones episode that is all about the power of stories

Charlie Jane Anders – io9
We reached the ‘Everybody’s Broken Past Fixing” Part of Game of Thrones

Scott Meslow – The Week
With several Starks dead, Game of Thrones does feel a little smaller than it did last season…but it’s no less compelling to see the narrative pivot from the wars among Westeros’ most legendary families

Sarah Hughes – The Guardian
A fantastic series if this tautly paced opening episode is anything to go by.

Elio Garcia – Westeros.org

Sandrine Sahakians and Axe of House Chucker (video)

 

NEW VIEWERS

Erik Adams – A.V. Club
B+, “Two Swords” sets the stage for the season to come, so it’s necessarily talky—but when that talk involves two members of House Lannister, it’s compelling on a sniping, intimate level that suggests there’s a great family drama…pounding away within Game Of Thrones.

David Malitz – Washington Post
The season premiere isn’t an instant classic, as it’s more concerned with reacquainting us what’s happening, introducing us to a new character and reminding us how generally miserable everyone is.

Alan Sepinwall – Hitfix
“Two Swords” gives the Lannisters a long, luxurious, period of celebration, and it is both wonderful and extremely unsettling.

Eric Dodds – Time
By all accounts, the season-opener was setting the table for what promises to be a season filled with violence and intrigue.

Andy Greenwald – Grantland
I can’t shake the feeling this will be the year when the old Game board is finally tossed aside completely, revealing an even more chaotic and fearsome competition in its stead.

Brian Juergens – The Backlot
Season 4 put a bag over our heads while we were unsuspectingly having brunch with a college friend, threw us into the trunk of an unmarked car, drove us in circles (so we couldn’t count traffic lights), dropped us into the middle of the action and ran.

Jordan Yerman – Vancouver Observer

97 Comments

  • Thx! Will Tyler Davis come back to review episodes this season? I enjoyed his essays on his dedicated threads last season.

  • Sucks that Sepinwall had to disable all comments since so many book readers are fucking assholes.

  • Congrats on your inaugural post, Bex!

    Only surprised it took Sepinwall so many seasons to turn off comments, frankly. People can’t resist “helping” the Unsullied…and spoiling outright sometimes.

  • Misplay,

    It’s not the book readers who spoil most of the time, it’s normally trolls who don’t care for the show and look up the plot on the aSoIaF wiki because they get a kick out if spoiling other people’s enjoyment

  • is anyone else watching this twitter battle unfold on Bryan Cogman’s twitter? he is getting attacked. I say the twitter users from WiC should come to his defense

  • Greg: is anyone else watching this twitter battle unfold on Bryan Cogman’s twitter? he is getting attacked. I say the twitter users from WiC should come to his defense

    As much as I like Cogman, it was a stupid idea to give that kind of “attack” the spotlight by retweeting it, IMO.

    I get that it must be hard to stay silent when that kind of critic pops up.. but he’s a professional now, and he should act like one.

  • No need to make things worse. Cogman is handling them just fine. People have the right to express themselves to him, and he can address them in return (or block them). That’s what Twitter is for.

    Although if Cogman is in charge of the nudity, maybe I could put in a request for a Night’s Watch river-bathing group nudie scene in season 5.

  • At this point they need to just have an episode with seven hanging dongs. The critics want to see gratuitous, show them, in the form of seven veiny erect fat pink masts. Maybe get a male contortionist who can bend all the way forward and…well you get the picture. Let’s see what the ratings would look like after that episode.

    Seriously, Oberyn and Daario should hang dong at some point.

  • Greg,

    I guess I just don’t understand a certain segment of ASOIAF fans. How can they get this amazing show based on the books that they supposedly love and bitch about everything?!? It’s really unbelievable.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Apparently these people did not see True Detective; I never heard one complaint about the nudity on that show. It’s really ridiculous that GOT gets singled out. People need to lighten the fuck up. It’s HBO; there is going to be T & A! And a lot of subscribers (clearly) like it!

  • Im a sarcastic person and I say shit that comes off as trollish every now and then, but this person coming at BCogs was starting to piss me off lol. Like Fury said tho, he is handling it well and it looks like he finally stopped responding.

    Anyways, im glad the first episode did so well ratings wise and critically!

  • Natalie Bochenski of the Sydney Morning Herald is always good as well, and Unsullied to boot!

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/box-seat/game-of-thrones-series-4-episode-1-recap-the-deadliest-soap-opera-returns-with-more-intrigue-20140407-369ix.html?rand=1396923244300

    Now as every soap opera fan would attest, mysterious symptoms generally mean either a) an incurable disease that will inevitably be miraculously cured or b) pregnancy. Let’s assume Cersei hasn’t been making the beast with her twin … could she be crook? Or is it just something simple like conjunctivitis from all those withering looks she shoots at everyone?

  • Everyone knows GoT is the most pirated show, but I just was at TPB and clicked the top 200 and the top 3 spots are just different versions of the premier. I don’t think I have ever seen that before. This show has to be HBO’s most successful and popular show ever

  • Larry Williams (Otaku Assemble) is also back, despite saying he was done last year. Hahah, I knew he’d be back.

  • BCog, we love you and your writing and even the bewbs! Don’t let the trolls get you down.
    (I don’t have a Twitter).

  • Lex,

    Did he ever actually explain why he’s back to doing GoT reviews? I’m not surprised in the least; I just wish his love/hate relationship with the show was more entertaining to watch.

  • MRR,

    Yeah, Larry has a Season 4 looking forward video where he spends the first five minutes explaining his return. Despite how down on the show he seemed last year he seems very excited again.

  • MRR,
    He did. His reasons were something along the lines of:
    – it is his most viewed show and what he is known for
    – it would be the longest running show that he has reviewed every episode of
    – he felt he owed it to the viewers that stuck around after he said he wouldn’t continue reviewing it

  • Haven’t watched Larry’s review yet. I stopped watching last year, as I didn’t enjoy his angry rants. But when he’s excited and pumped, I do enjoy watching him! I’m guessing he really just couldn’t resist. Come on, it’s Game of Thrones! It’s addicting as all hell. Also, I think last year he was just bitter over having the RW spoiled for him.

    But as someone else said, in another thread, RV’s death is probably going to destroy Larry’s hopes and dreams all over again. LOL!

  • Thanks for the review suggestions, all, I’m definitely on the prowl!

    Enfield,
    I love James, thanks for sharing his piece. I decided just to add in the new recapper for this post since James isn’t doing it, unfortunately.

  • Bryan Cogman is the man. Since Season 1, he’s been one of the coolest people involved in the show (whether writing scripts, the GOT book, or whatever). I know he quit Twitter once already, and I didn’t blame him. Glad he’s back, and yeah, I hope he doesn’t let the general stupidity of humanity get the better of him.

  • Bex:
    Thanks for the review suggestions, all, I’m definitely on the prowl!

    I especially enjoy that you added little quotes under the links. That’s new, and a great idea! Thanks.

  • Everybody involved in the production of the show can now probably read the complaints while lying on top of a large pile of money. It’s an unqualified success.

  • I see that unsurprisingly Larry Williams has gotten over his Red Wedding rage quit of the series and is back. Sounding more like his old self now, pretty enthusiastic about the episode.

  • BEST VIDEO REVIEWS

    Think Hero – Unsullied
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlcAZljKwuo&list=UU5KD40UCDRUbR-od7sp9cuA

    Konstantinos Litourgis – Unsullied
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGENknBibZI

    Total Film – Sullied / Unsullied (no spoilers)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cxg0hk-vQCM&list=PLnX89JOgn4GnfY3eJBQ_AIL3wHLl1BBN-

    What the Flick – Unsullied
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG0f485vDWE

    Afterbuzz – Sullied / Unsullied (no spoilers)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZefHOpFR00

  • Siobhán Mooney,

    As soon as she said Lord Tywin Lannister wasn’t awesome I lost all interest in the rest. Who’s not awesome is her hair stylist, I guess they drink a lot at super cuts.

  • What’s the review with the two manly dudebros God why can’t I remember their channel name? I really enjoyed their other reviews.

  • HOLY HELL! I just realized something incredible on my rewatch! Go back to the scene with Oberyn in the brothel. When Tyrion comes in, Oberyn says “we’ll need a few more girls”. Then the most epic shot ever ensues- Tyrion shakes his head in a “no” while Bronn nods a “yes”. It’s hilarious! Someone should make a gif out of it.

  • jentario:
    HOLY HELL! I just realized something incredible on my rewatch! Go back to the scene with Oberyn in the brothel. When Tyrion comes in, Oberyn says “we’ll need a few more girls”. Then the most epic shot ever ensues- Tyrion shakes his head in a “no” while Bronn nods a “yes”. It’s hilarious! Someone should make a gif out of it.

    Yes – hilarious. I’ve re-watched it a few times. I love little moments like that.

    Speaking of our Red Viper, here’s a link to a short video interview on EW with Pedro. Its their Pop Culture Personality Test: http://popwatch.ew.com/2014/04/07/game-of-thrones-pedro-pascal-prince-oberyn-martell/

  • Greg,

    If Cogman was smart he would avoid responding to these people because all that does is encourage more people to tweet all their complaints about the show to him. He is going to be getting this stuff all season, unless there is a comment that really bothers him he should ignore them.

    And I have an issue with people saying that female nudity is degrading like the girl who tweeted him. It’s one thing to complain about the lack of male nudity but it’s another thing to use words like “objectify”, “sexist”, “degrading”for the female nudity. Do you think the woman who choose to do these scenes would appreciate feminists telling them that by doing nudity they are degrading women? It also contradicts the feminist mantra of being pro sex. They critique society and the shame we put on woman’s bodies, their sexuality, or the way they choose to dress but yet when a woman chooses to do a nude scene written by a man it suddenly becomes shameful and degrading. By implying these scenes are some affront to woman all they are doing is lending credence to the madonna/whore concept and the shame society puts on female sexually and their bodies. If you want more male nudity that’s fine but the show is not sexist because the male writers prefer female nudity over male just like I am not sexist because I prefer seeing female nudity instead of male.

  • Im so glad that Biran Jurgens is back(lot)! His reviews are hilaaarious, the only ones I read every week last year. :)

  • I guess Larry will again vow to not watch the show anymore after season 4. It’s too dark and depressive for him and he can’t cope with the loss of beloved characters.

  • Dutch maester:
    Guys, this video deserves a post!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf6oDup2VGA&feature=youtu.be

    Thanks! We already did post it, as part of a big post a couple days ago.

    JamesL: And I have an issue with people saying that female nudity is degrading like the girl who tweeted him. It’s one thing to complain about the lack of male nudity but it’s another thing to use words like “objectify”, “sexist”, “degrading”for the female nudity. Do you think the woman who choose to do these scenes would appreciate feminists telling them that by doing nudity they are degrading women? It also contradicts the feminist mantra of being pro sex.

    The initial complaints were from someone complaining about a lack of equality when it came to nudity, because there are several nude women and no nude men in the episode. I don’t think you need to be on guard for the actresses in the scenes, they can look after themselves. In fact, you can follow the woman who plays Marei, the flexible (and returning from last year) one of them on Twitter here (NSFW profile sometimes). I’m sure she’d love to hear from a fan.
    The nudity ratios have always been off when it comes to GoT, and that’s the source of the gripes usually. But it’s only the first episode, so I think that’s a little early, personally, to be going off on people about it. Let’s see how the next few episodes shake out.

  • Walter Harrow:
    Can Maisie Williams get an Emmy nomination for just that one scene?

    No. The majority of that scene was all action. And Rory McCann was the one who walked away with it.

  • It’s a brothel it supposed to be the way it is I guess the only weird thing on that brothel is that only girls take off their clothes

  • I can’t shake the feeling this will be the year when the old Game board is finally tossed aside completely, revealing an even more chaotic and fearsome competition in its stead.

    = Littlefinger

  • Glad Jordan got a mention this time around. He’s got the same sass as Hibbert along with the graphical talents of Jurgen.

  • Can I just say I hate recaps? I mean you don’t have to write what went down in the episode, we all watched it, that’s the point. No one will be reading this if they haven’t seen the episode. What I want to read is a person’s thoughts ont the episode, what they liked or didn’t like, what they were surprised by, what they their predictions are, etc. That’s just my opinion, take it or don’t.

  • Mike Chair:

    I started watching What the Flick?! last year.I liked their GoT reviews so much I’ve been watching their reviews of other shows all year.

    I love, love their Hannibal reviews. Am so glad they started covering it.

  • Mike Chair: I started watching What the Flick?! last year.I liked their GoT reviews so much I’ve been watching their reviews of other shows all year.

    I completely agree with you, WhattheFlick has my favourite reviews, especially Game of Thrones. But that S4E1 review was boring and weird. I want Cenk, John and Ana back.

  • Love, Love, Love the Recap Round ups.

    Also some good Podcast wrapups are the ‘Cast of Kings’ and Grantland ‘Hollywood podcast’.

  • Misplay:
    Sucks that Sepinwall had to disable all comments since so many book readers are fucking assholes.

    Honestly surprised it took this long.

  • Ragman’s Harbor:
    Can I just say I hate recaps? I mean you don’t have to write what went down in the episode, we all watched it, that’s the point. No one will be reading this if they haven’t seen the episode. What I want to read is a person’s thoughts ont the episode, what they liked or didn’t like, what they were surprised by, what they their predictions are, etc. That’s just my opinion, take it or don’t.

    Many of these recaps are also reviews, as they do mention what happens, then their thoughts on it. But since you don’t read them, you wouldn’t know I suppose.

  • Consistently the best recappers/reviewers have been Sullied: James Hibberd, Alyssa Rosenberg (Washington Post? I think that is a step up!), Myles McNutt, James Poniewozik.

    Unsullied: Andy Greenwald.

    Previous recappers, but no longer recapping that I enjoyed.: Mo Ryan, Jace Lacob.

  • Superdeluxe: Many of these recaps are also reviews, as they do mention what happens, then their thoughts on it.But since you don’t read them, you wouldn’t know I suppose.

    JEESUS! Sometimes this fandom makes me think of a ”Mean Girls” movie.

  • Ragman’s Harbor: JEESUS! Sometimes this fandom makes me think of a ”Mean Girls” movie.

    What are you talking about? You said you don’t read recaps because they don’t have individual thought, I countered that point that not all recaps are like that.

  • Superdeluxe,

    1. Ragman never said he didn’t read the recaps. He said he didn’t like recaps.

    2. I’m not really aware of any writer who simply lists off what happens in the episode without giving their opinion on it. So I think it is safe to assume that Ragman simply meant he doesn’t like when a reviewer spends a bunch of time recapping everything we just watched when all he really wants to know is what the person thought about the episode.

  • Because I’m on my cellphone at work i’ll simply list entertainment weekly’s recaps. 5 pages of ”what happened during the episode” and maybe what, a paragraph (maybe 2) of actual thoughts.

    I never said I didn’t read recaps. Just compare OITF’s recap and Oz’s recap, Oz is fare more interesting. To me, it isn’t because Oz is an Unsullied, but because he goes more in depth. Yes I know OITF wrote his thoughts at the end of his recap.

    I just don’t really like when a reviewer recaps all the scenes of the episode, that’s all. Let’s agree to disagree.

  • (applause)

    Terrific first post Bex! I look forward to more. This is such a great resource! Now…if I could only finish my first post…. :)

  • I think there’s a slight misunderstanding on Ragman’s part actually. A recap is a recap. A review is a review. Sometimes an article is both. But recaps by definition recap the scenes. That’s what they’re there for. If you don’t want to know what was in there for scenes in an episode, don’t read recaps. Read reviews. Pretty straightforward. The good thing about the popularity of GoT is that there are tons of both recaps and reviews out there to enjoy, so everyone has lots to choose from.

    Oh, and no worries about calling me a man. You’re far from the first. People have a tendency to default to male.

  • Yeah I do understand the difference between recaps and reviews, and some sites don’t post reviews but only recaps with no actual thoughts. This has blown a little out of proportion, I just don’t like recaps. There really is nothing more to say about it.

    Ours is the Fury,

    PS: The thing is I actually knew you were a girl, from your comments and other’s. Probably just my mother tongue which is not english, nor valyrian but french :) and there are genders to words in french and I thougth of you as a moderator (un moderateur, le moderateur, il, etc).

    On that sidenote, have a great week which hopefully will past pretty fast.