“Game of Thrones” Recap: “Is He a Ham?”

Hell’s horses, that was a fun one, eh? Extreme spanking, torture, amputation, and the most alarming birth since American Horror Story made this week’s Game of Thrones the leg-crosser of the season. Let’s dig in!

The episode is of course preceded by my favorite letters in the Western alphabet: AC, AL, GV, and N. Together, they spell H-A-P-P-Y L-O-R-D-S D-A-Y Y-A-L-L!

The opening credits let us know that we’re going to be introduced to yet another new land – this one looks to be waaaaay out there. Like, Staten Island out there. It’s called Qarth, which sounds like a home accounting software with a speech impediment.

Stark, raving mad (Richard Madden)

It’s raining in Westeros (my haaaair is a meesssss…) and two Lannisterian soldiers are joking about in the dark about the fighting prowess of Lorax, the Knight of Flowers. One points out that he can’t be that good of a swordsman, because “he’s been stabbing Renly Baratheon for years and he ain’t dead!” Okay, that’s actually kind of funny in a “Catskills-on-Winterfell” comic kind of way. Something spooks the horses, but it turns out it’s just one of the soldiers’ massive gas problem. Fantasy fart joke! Will wonders never Cersei. But the joke’s on the flatulent fella, as one of Robb Stark’s direwolves jumps out of the darkness and kills him. Shoulda taken that Beano, squire.

The morning after, Robb (Richard Madden) walks the battlefield, and says that they shouldn’t be torturing the prisoners despite the fact that “A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man, none.” He holds down a young soldier as a Florence (and the Machine) Nightingale type cuts off his gangrened foot. He is obviously impressed by her way with a saw. It’s a Westeros meet-cute! I think her name’s Talissa? And she’s from Velantis? Seriously, half of these names and places sound like wiener pills to me.

“A little club soda will get that out.” … “LIAR!” (Sophie Turner)

Back in King’s Landing, Lady Salsa Sansa (Sophie Turner) is on her knees in the Throne Room, and Joffrey the Lady Alien Crown Prince (Jack Gleeson) has a crossbow aimed at her face. He wants to torture her to send a message to Robb Stark about his winning the battle and all – and he goes so far as to have her stripped a little and beaten before Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) comes in and crashes the party. There’s also a mention of the Northerners being cannibals, which is just plain rude. Tyrion schools Joffrey’s guard on the difference between a history lesson and a threat, and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) tells Tyrion that Joffrey is just “backed up”. At first I think that he means that they should slip some Metamucil into Joffrey’s sippy-chalice. But no, he means that Joffrey needs to get laid, which might help – although even he admits that “there’s no cure for bein’ a c*nt”.

Jack Gleeson

Still, worth a try, right? Tyrion buys Joffrey two whores (one of whom is Ginger Whore, who I think used to be Theon’s ladypal before she hitched the turnip wagon out of town?), and Joffrey isn’t feeling it until he realizes that he can have the ladies beat the living crap out of one another for his amusement. He gives Ginger his belt and tells him to let the other girl – who is eating an apple – have it. Then he hands her a huge, thick staff with a stag’s head on it and OMG he’s not asking her to do what I THINK he’s asking her to do and WHY IS HE READYING HIS CROSSBOW? Seriously, isn’t this kid, like, TWELVE? Okay, it turns out that he just wants the one girl to beat the other girl senseless with the staff, and not … what I was afraid he was going to have her do. So yes, just the ultraviolent bludgeoning – what a relief!

Meanwhile, Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) is sent up to Renly’s camp to sweet-talk Catelyn Stark into giving back Jaime. Petyr chats with my D&D husband, Renly (Gethin Anthony), for as long as Renly can stand it, as Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) stands dutifully by being awesome. Renly picks up an apple – what’s with the apples, eh?

Gethin Anthony-Juergens

Outside, Baelish runs into Marjaery (Natalie Dormer), who is wearing a bizarre structured gown that makes her look like an uncircumcized penis in a cold draft (I’m sorry, but someone had to say it). They do a Sorkin-approved walk-and-talk, with her saying that Renly will win the battle because he’s got the numbers, and Baelish countering that “if wars were won by arithmetic, mathematicians would run the world.” Just wait until Steve Jobs arrives in Season 3!

Anyway, Baelish calls Marjie out on being a beard and she pretends she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He also calls her out on being rich, which is good to know. I guess.

We then cut to the desert, which can mean only one thing – Dany time! Thank God, because it’s been weeks since we’ve seen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her ragtag gang of survivors as the languish in the desert. It’s bad enough that they’re stuck in the sun-beaten, rain-starved wasteland for weeks on end, but to add insult to injury, they also had to put up with this:

Damn you, Gomez!

Sure enough, her second horseman returns from scouting – and this time he keeps his head on! Actually, he looks pretty damned good, all things considered – and Dany notices that he’s got a new horse since he left. He says that the nice folks in Quark Qarth gave him the horse and would be happy for her to come by with her dragons which they totally wouldn’t try to steal from her or anything, nope. He mentions a group called The 13, and her confident says that Qarth is surrounded by a desert called the Garden of Bones because they’re all horticulturists and huge David Boreanaz fans. No, because everyone who visits gets killed. And they’re huge David Boreanaz fans.

And seriously, the scout guy is cuuuuuuuuuuute.

Meanwhile, Arya (Maisie Williams), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and the chubs kid (I’m sorry, but I have no idea what homeslice’s name is and he’s a little chubs, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT) are prisoners in the Lannister camp, which has arrived somewhere that is now in ruins. They wonder what could “melt stone”, and I ask, “Have you met my mother-in-law?” [Catskills-on-Winterfell rimshot] No, seriously – Arya says it’s dragons. Someone says that the dragons are dead, and it reminds me that no one has complained about winter coming for almost 5 minutes now. What gives? Is Westeros Al Roker on vacation?

Someone offscreen is tortured and dies horribly. A fellow prisoner who definitely is NOT Carol Kane says that they kill someone new every day, and this time it was her son. Errr … nice meeting you? Chubs looks nervous, but Arya is still rocking her medieval “Love is a Battlefield” look, so all is well.

“OMG, is this from Pier One? I love that place!”

Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) accuses Baelish of betraying Ned, and Baelish says he had nothing to do with it and by the way he’s loved her since they were kids. But seriously, NOTHING TO DO WITH HER HUSBAND BEING MURDERED ON HIS WATCH, NOSIREEEEEEEE. He does give her Ned’s corpse in a trunk, which is nice of him, and tells her that Joffrey will trade Sansa and Arya for Jaime – lying about the fact that Arya is still in King’s Landing, ’cause she ain’t. Although has he been too busy letting soldiers kill babies in his whorehouse to notice? Dunno. The important thing is, nice of him to give her the corpse – and thanks for making housewarming gifts pretty much impossible for us to top from now on, thanks.

Back in whereverAryais, their captors pick a kind of cute guy from the prisoners’ pen and strap him into a chair. They pull a rat from a cage, which probably makes a lot of people nervous but I gotta say, I saw about twenty bigger rats on the subway ride home last night. But this one they put in a bucket that they then strap to the cute guy’s tummy, and then they ask him about The Brotherhood. Huh? I mean, it’s a pretty lousy David DeCoteau D&A movie, but I don’t think having watched it earns anyone THIS kind of treatment…

Anyway, they hold a torch to the bucket and anyone who’s read American Psycho can guess what happens next … THEY CAST REESE WITHERSPOON IN THE MOVIE!

Meanwhile, Arya has been keeping herself busy by repeating a series of words – only about a half of which I can actually make out: “Cersei … the Hound … Joffrey … in a pan … Polliver … a carton a’ milk … a loaf a’ bread … and a stickabutta.”

This brings us to my favorite segment of the episode, which I like to call: “KEEPIN’ IT RENLY”

Renly – who, again, is as hot as Daenerys’ bathwater – meets with big bro Stannis (Stephen Dillane), and the two waste no time getting down to some old-fashioned “Yo Mama” jokes. Renly pokes fun at Stannis’s new banners, asking “Why’s your stag on fire?” and Stannis – clearly having never seen a queen throw shade – doesn’t even bother going for the obvious retort, which would of course be, “Idunno, lady – WHY’S YOURS?”

Carice van Houten and Stephen Dillane

Stannis has of course brought ToriAmosandre (Carice van Houten) along for the ride, and she jumps in to say that Stannis was “born of salt and smoke,” to which Renly very appropriately replies, “Is he a ham?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the library is CLOSED.

Stannis is not amused, and he gives Renly one night to pledge allegiance to his ass, even offering to make him his heir. Tori mutters something to Renly before leaving (I think it’s a lyric from “Caught a Light Sneeze”) and they leave.

Dany, meanwhile, has crossed the desert to attend the White Party, which is currently being held in Qarth. A kick-line of broad-shouldered men with expensive haircuts and fabulously shiny spears file out from the gates, followed by a group that must be The 13 that were mentioned earlier. One man – a froggy type who refuses to give his name – breaks from the line and crosses the scrimmage of chorus boys to speak with Dany. He wants to see the dragons, and she isn’t about to show them off so easily. I mean, she IS a lady, you know. She says they are tired and where she comes from guests are treated with respect, and he says that they want to see her damned dragons and she should probably go back to where she came, then. If you picture them both with $2000 sunglasses on, this is basically a brunch scene from The Real Housewives of Qarth.

But after Dany threatens to come back after her dragons have grown up to burn them all to cinders, a tall black man emerges from The 13 to extend her an invitation. He also offers his name, which I think is Zaro Zaren Ducksauce. Seriously, that’s what it sounded like to me – and considering what he’s wearing around his neck, I think I’m totally right on this one:

Nonso Anozie as Zaro Zaren Ducksauce

He says that he’s “a savage from the Summer Isle” … or maybe he meant summer aisle? Like, he restocked the sunscreen? In any case, he cuts his hand as a symbol that he will stake his reputation and/or springrolls on her, and the gates swing open to reveal … actually, what looks to be a pretty kickin’ city. Welcome to Qarth, Birthplace of the Harem Pant!

We cut to a head on a stick that unfortunately resembles the kinda cute fellow that had the date with Ratatouille earlier. The next prisoner to get picked for interrogation is … Gendry! Oh – and I forgot to mention, Young Chubs peed a little last time the culling happened. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. That’s why The Mad King created Depends.

Gendry makes himself comfortable in the Rat Seat, and the inquisitors go through the usual, “Why did you watch The Brotherhood” bullcrap (what, no Voodoo Academy third-degree?) that they gave Billy Elliot the day before. But before they can strap Rizzo to Gendry’s very likely rippling torso, they are interrupted by … Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance)! Hey, remember him? He’s, like, the only big swingin’ Baby Boomer left in this piece, isn’t he? Anyway, he frees Gendry (pointing out that slaves with trades are far more valuable alive than dead) and then – brilliantly – calls out Arya for being of the My Little Pony persuasion and naming her his new Cup Bearer … which I hope is actually a position that involves her holding a drinking vessel and nothing more sinister involving either athletic protectors or … you know, bears.

Back in King’s Landing, Tyrion gets a visit from the kind of creepy-looking Lannister cousin that Cersei threw herself on last season – I’m pretty sure his name is Lancel (Eugene Simon). He delivers Tyrion a scroll demanding the release of Pycell, whom Tyrion threw in “the black cell” last week after sussing out his treachery. (And seriously, I really wanna see what “the black cell” is all about, don’t you?) Tyrion not only doesn’t submit to Cersei’s orders, but he turns things around on his fair-haired cousin, nailing him for nailing his sister and telling him that he’s going to narc to Joffrey unless he becomes his mole. He also tells him he smells like Cersei’s favorite lavender oil – so maybe we should just call him Lavender from now on. Anyway, Lavender agrees to be Tyrion’s spy.

On a boat with a very handsome stag’s head hood ornament, Stannis stands with Davos (Liam Cunningham), his right-fingerless-hand-man. Stannis corrects Davos’s grammar and then asks him to smuggle ToriAmosandre ashore. He begrudginly does so, and isn’t feeling it when Tori calls him “Onion Night” and threatens to expose herself to him. Which she then does – and she’s super-preggers! Wait, didn’t she just have her Mousetrap board romp with Stannis, like, a week ago? WTF? They run into some iron bars while trying to sneak into Renly’s back tunnel, and suddenly the lamp burns brightly and Tori drops to the ground to give birth to … EEEEEEEEWWWWW! WHAT IS THAT?!?!?! Mr. Boogedy? The Smoke Monster from Lost?


If it is the Smoke Monster, I’m just glad to see that he’s still getting work.

But anyway – either she just birthed a supernatural entity, or this episode both began AND ENDED with a fart joke.


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Sorry, but Renly was ON FIRE this week – he opened the library and LET. STANNIS. HAVE. IT. “Is he a ham?” took the cake, the plate, and the serving silver.

NOTABLY ABSENT: Jaime (AGAIN!), Cersei, Shae, Jon Snow, Bran, the eunuch, the dragons, Theon Greyjoy, LenaDunham Greyjoy, all the other calamari.

NOTABLY DEAD: Billy Elliot, Arya’s Just One of the Guys routine, ToriAmosandre’s uterine wall

This episode was AWESOME, y’all. Shocking, brutal, zany, and hilarious – just what I tune into this stuff to see. I’m a bit worried about my boyfriend Renly, considering what’s knocking on his back door (and I don’t mean Loris!), and I’m curious what’s going to come of Arya now that she’s working for the father of her sworn enemies.

I say it deserves nine bottles of shampoo:

But that’s just me – what did YOU think of this week’s ep?

In 2003, Brian launched the world's first website devoted to horror film from a gay perspective (CampBlood.org), mining an untapped (and occasionally unintentional) source of entertainment and bringing together a huge and colorful population of gay horror fans and filmmakers. When he's not pulling skeletons out of closets, Brian writes reviews for horror megasite Bloody-Disgusting.com, general film site Freezedriedmovies.com, and can be found on the ever-informative RottenTomatoes.com. Brian is also a filmmaker, having produced, written, and directed two shorts (the dark romantic comedy An Apple a Day and the eerie suspense piece Two Story House) that have played at film festivals worldwide and left audiences generally uneasy. A born-and-bred Midwesterner, Brian studied Mass Media and Film at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (I know – crazy, right?) before fleeing the district for the warm and occasionally stinky shores of NYC. Brian is a proud member of the Online Film Critics Society, loving husband to illustrator Andy Swist, and benevolent overlord of their two cats.