TV Review: “Game of Thrones” Epi 4 -“Oathkeeper”

Written by Spencer Sterritt May 01, 2014

Game of Thrones, Oathkeeper

After three fantastic episodes, it’s natural for “Game of Thrones” to start to slow down. Since there are only ten episodes in each season, I certainly don’t want it to happen, but alas I don’t have executive powers at HBO (yet). “Oathkeeper” manages to keep all of the various chess piece moving interesting, but it still can’t shake the feeling of not being a complete episode.

The first major plot point is quite a step back for “Game of Thrones,” as it does not deal with any of the Jamie-Cersei stuff from last episode. The only reason the whole rape thing worked was because it provided good shading for Jamie’s character, and reminder the viewers of how much of a monster he can still be. In “Oathkeeper” though, he’s right back to being good old redemptive Jamie.

“That will be all, Lord Commander.”

Much like the start of this season, “Oathkeeper” spends much of it’s time in one location, in this case at the Wall. This is what keeps the episode from feeling like a placeholder. Before, episodes would bounce around so much that any plot advancement had to be spread out over multiple episodes. “The Climb” from last season is the best/worst example of this, and also featured the Wall. Everything going on in Castle Black has been given the shaft so far this season, so I’m glad we finally got to spend so much time in the North.

North of the Wall, Oathkeeper, Jon Snow, Locke

I’m glad to see Jon again, now that he has some actually agency, but I’m also glad that the writers have focused on the Wall so much this episode to remind viewers that each season of “Game of Thrones” is part of a larger work. Jon’s mini-Crusade back to Craster’s Keep is a long delayed reaction to something that happened back in the middle of season three. It happened so long ago that I even forgot Burt Gorman, who is an amazing and immediately recognizable actor, was even involved, as the mutinous Karl. When episodes in previous seasons would just end on any particular note, it was always apparent that each episode was just one part of a larger story. But now, since season four is finishing up book three, the episodes have to fit into an even larger story.

Oathkeeper, Crasters Keep, Burt Gorman

Everyone online seems to be throwing a fit since all of this isn’t in the books, but I’m glad the North is getting it’s dose of plot, since we’ll end up forgetting about it if we don’t. It helps that Jon and Bran’s plots are so close together, and that for once two Stark’s will have their plots overlap (while they are both alive). What’s most exciting about focusing the episode on the North is the re-appearance of the White Walkers so early in the season. They are normally reserved for the beginning and end of a season, not the fourth episode, which gives me hope that the rest of the fourth season is really going to buck the trend. The short (though mighty expensive looking) scene does a lot to make the White Walkers a more credible threat. Since they were only featured sporadically, their appearances were nothing more than a reminder that they would eventually be a threat. Now that we’ve seen them freeze a baby, and are no longer just end-of-the-season signifiers, the White Walkers are a much more credible threat.

Oathkeeper, The Night's King, White Walkers,

I’m darned pleased to see the White Walkers in all of their glory, and I enjoyed how long we spent North of the Wall, but I still can’t help but feel a little let down by “Oathkeeper.” It manages to move some pretty major pieces across the board that is Westeros, but it feels incomplete, and when watched later on Blu-Ray will probably be best viewed back to back with next weeks episode “First of His Name.”

My Rating: 7/10


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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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