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Recap: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 5 'First Of His Name' Has Its Vengeance

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist May 5, 2014 at 9:05AM

Hi haters. I'm still here, still writing about "Game of Thrones," and will be for the rest of the season, so if you dislike my tone or the fact that I might complain about the specific portrayals of rape on screen, you might as well find another recapper to bother. Here's the thing: I accept the fact that rape exists in Westeros, just as it exists in the world we live in (but, for the record, Westeros Time never existed. There are DRAGONS and SNOW ZOMBIES. It's not real.) I accept rape as a part of a complicated, dark human nature that the show creators and GRRM choose to depict. My specific issue is with how the creators of this television show, who live in this world, in 2014, chose to represent it onscreen. I do not think it was necessary for storytelling or character purposes to have repeated graphic and violent depictions of rape, most particularly those in the scene in Craster's Keep.
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Craster's Keep 
Over at Craster's Keep, the crazy, violent, abuse-y, rape-y party is over, cause the Night's Watch are about to pounce. Locke (Noah Taylor) is hilariously sneaking around the grounds, doing a lot of head-swiveling, scoping out the joint. He clocks Bran (Isaac Hempsted-Wright) and pals in a shed, and when he goes back to relay his recon to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the rest of the Night's Watch on Craster's Keep raiding duty, he mentions they should avoid the hut where they have "hounds chained up inside" and promises they will carve up those bad guys "like walnut pie." Meanwhile, in the hut, Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is having visions of the magic tree and telling Bran he has to make it to the tree, that it's his responsibility. Also his hand is randomly on fire. 

Creepface Karl (Burn Gorman) shows up to torment and threaten assault to Meera (Ellie Kendrick). He is totally gross. Jojen distracts him by being like "woo I'm psychic I see you dying tonight!" and it actually works, especially when the Night's Watch storms the Keep. Good timing! Also, Jojen's psychic vision is such a relief for us viewers right now. 

Snow and the boys show up and slash a bunch of terrible mutineers. Meanwhile, Locke sneaks off to kidnap Bran. Quickly, Bran wargs into Hodor (Kristian Nairn), who rips loose of his chains with HULK POWER, follows Locke into the woods, and straight up liberates Locke's neck from his head with his bare hands, while possessed by Bran. However, it's clear he's pretty freaked out by the blood on his hands. While Bran watches Snow kicking ass and taking names in battle, he crawls to reach him, but Jojen reminds him that reuniting with Jon will only take him off the path towards the magic tree and the three-eyed raven. Bran sadly agrees and says they need to get Summer and peace out. 

Jon faces off with Karl in the hut, one broadsword vs. two knives. Karl's taunting him about how Jon fights with honor, a nobleman, and that's not his style. Karl's fighting dirty, just like the Hound fighting dirty with Arya, but he doesn't anticipate the knife in the back he receives from one of the Craster women. Before he can retaliate, Jon drives his sword straight through the back of his head and and through his mouth in a delightfully phallic and violating way. If only our gal had been able have the pleasure of doing that to Karl. As the Night's Watch count the dead, Rast (Luke Barnes), who's run off into the woods, gets ripped by what can only be dire wolf, Ghost, in the ultimate vengeance to his torturer. Ghost quickly reunites with his owner, Jon. Snow invites the remaining women of Craster's Keep to the Wall to escape Mance Rayder's army, but the ladies are like, "Umm, NUH UH, y'all homeboys did us wrong, burn this place to the ground, and we OUT." Who can blame them really. They've had enough of men for awhile. Can't wait to see what their badass all-women camp turns into. 

In following with the "Game of Thrones" ebb and flow of dramatic episodes vs. story building episodes, this one decidedly resides in the latter camp, though what happens at Craster's Keep is much more violent and action-packed than the rest of the episode. There are many deaths among the Night's Watch and mutineers, but they are throwaways, really, and treated as such, with the exception of Locke. "First of His Name" was also directed by Michelle McLaren, and while a strong episode considering the context, it's not entirely compelling, and much of the fight scenes were dim and confusing. And, as the series diverges more and more from the books, it's really wide open as to where it will go in the latter half of the season. 

This article is related to: Television, TV Reviews, TV News, Reviews, Review, Game of Thrones, HBO's Game of Thrones


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