On the eve of Memorial Day in the good ole US of A, war begins in Westeros. Even the episode title, “Blackwater,” has its own undertones of wars past. Let the fighting begin, and may these fallen heroes, the men and the women, also be remembered for their own heroic battles.
A surprise night attack is anything but, as would-be king Stannnis Baratheon’s ships creep toward King’s Landing under cover of darkness. They know the citadel’s weaknesses, but fortunately, Tyrion Lannister predicts their strategy. Each side is confident of its own success, which should make for some hearty bloodshed. The Imp and the Eunuch finalize Tyrion’s strategy using maps of tunnels beneath the city. Varys warns Tyrion of Stannis’ alliance with the gods of old, but assures the Imp that he is truly the only man that can stop the Baratheon horde.
As the fighting begins, the women are rushed away to be hidden from the fighting. Joffrey summons Sansa to see him off, and she wishes him a sarcastic and demeaning goodbye. It’s amazing that despite her fear of him, Sansa always manages to get her digs in. She’s a little like the queen in that way. After she gives his sword a good-luck kiss (no euphemism intended), he promises to return, so she can lick the blood of Stannis Baratheon and Robb Stark from it. You can’t make this stuff up. As she’s shuffled away, her handmaiden Shea notes that Joffrey might be killed in battle, but Sansa knows better. The worst ones always live.
Alone on the battlements, Tyrion, Joffrey and their Gold Cloak await the signal. There is really nothing about Joffrey that inspires confidence. His cocky attitude and spoiled-rotten whining make the soldiers of the Gold Cloak smirk when he barks orders. As soon as fighting begins, the King shivers and cowers like a frightened Chihuahua. The Hand of the King is the one leading this fight, twice the man at half the size.
In the sea, Tyrion’s plan comes to fruition. As Stannis’ ships approach, they are greeted by Tyrion’s fleet: a ghost ship of one, trailing “wildfire,” the Westeros version of Napalm. One single flaming arrow ignites the weapon and obliterates the ships with blinding power. It was definitely the shot seen ‘round Westeros. Too bad Tyrion can only play that card once. Eventually, Baratheon’s next fleets land, and what follows is a great deal of blood and guts.
Deflated by the slaughter on the front lines, The Hound gives up and retreats. King Joffrey, in turn, abandons his men to return to his mother, but determined to win, Tyrion leads the attack, inspiring the men to fight, not for the King, but for themselves. They use the tunnels to sneak up on the Baratheon army from behind. But while they win a battle, Tyrion turns around to find another onslaught attacking. Alas, he’s wounded and falls.
While the war rages on outside, Queen Regent Cersei calls over Sansa and teaches her what happens to women in war. It seems as if she wants to groom her to be as callous and as vicious as she is. If captured, the women will be raped and killed. The best weapon, she advises, is between your legs, so learn how to use it. Wow! How inspiring.
When news arrives of the sea on fire, Cersei demands Joffrey be brought back and flees with Tommen, her youngest son. Knowing what will come, Shea insists Sansa flee and bar herself in her chambers. She does, and there she runs into the Hound, resting before he flees. He offers to take her safely to Winterfell, but she declines. Perhaps she knows neither of them would live.
Hiding with her youngest son Tommen on the Iron Throne, Cersei tells a hopeful and metaphoric tale of a lion cub and his future as king. All the while she’s clutching a vial of deadly nightshade, while men pound at the door trying desperately to get inside. As her story ends and the soldiers break through, Tywin Lannister leads the charge and announces that the Lannisters have won the battle for King’s Landing.
Is the war really over? Will the Starks or the Dragon Mother be able to make any play for the throne? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
|Jim C. is a sci-fi/supernatural/federation/superhero/Cylon teacher nerd, obsessed with TV, books and film. He spent his childhood reading comics, writing morbid horror stories and being the token tormented class homo, but he thinks he turned out pretty freakin’ awesome.|