Johnny Mansbach’s Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 19: “Blackwater”

First, I’m sorry this is a day late, but I was out camping along the Colorado River in Arizona over the weekend, enjoying the 40 MPH winds and sand in my barbeque. But the real drama unfolded in this week’s powerhouse Thrones episode appropriately labeled, “Blackwater.”

NOTE: This episode dramatically differed from any other, as it was the first to tell a directly linear storyline from one single geographic location: King’s Landing. The character stories bounced around from place to place within the castle, but there were no outside mentions of Arya at Harrenhal, Jon in the Frostfangs, Robb out in Westeros, Daenerys in Qarth, or Theon back at the Pyke. This was just one darkly epic chapter, filmed so beautifully that I’d easily put it up against any major motion picture of its genre.

Written by Johnny Mansbach for

As Tyrion predicted, Stannis Baratheon arrives at the Mud Gate with scores of ships and ten thousand men.

The wise and seasoned knight, Ser Davos Seaworth, talks with his son Matthos, just before landing at King’s Landing. His son is positive, claiming he has God – The Lord of Light – on their side. Davos is less optimistic… Probably because he’s seen this shadowy “Lord of Light” burst forth from Melisandre’s red crackerbox and stab kings in the back. Ewww, you don’t know where that newborn demon has been!

The rational Hand of the King lies in bed with his committed prostitute Shae. When asked, Tyrion admits he’s afraid of the impending war, citing that every Lannister head will be on a crag if Stannis comes through the door. Shae vows to protect her little lover by wrapping her flesh cloak around his little warrior one last time before battle. Sorry if this just became Penthouse Forum…

To make amends for his previously undesired gossip sessions, the old Grand Maester Pycelle brings Cersei a vial of “Essence of Nightshade.” One drop will soothe the recipient. Three drops will put them into a deep, dreamless sleep. Ten drops will really bring death to the party—however I believe 5 drops will get the same result when mixed with Red Bull. But why is Cersei caught up in this drug deal? Hmmm…

Between discussing the details of his broken nose history with a naked prostitute, the leader of the Kingsguard Bronn sings ironic Lannister ballads with his comrades… The Hound Clegane enters, makes clear he wants to kill Bronn. Bronn accepts the challenge, but absconds the situation as the bells of war ring throughout King’s Landing. Death is at their doorstep, so they have another drink.

Varys, the Master of Whispers, shows Tyrion a rare sign of loyalty and faith by offering a detailed map to King’s Landing. It includes 50 miles of underground tunnels and escape routes. For some reason, the smooth-domed eunuch also nearly tells us how he got his dong cut off, but… apparently that exciting story is for another day. Oh boy, the anticipation for that one is palpable.

Probably from the realization that they are both a sort of “half-men”; Varys offers motivation to little Tyrion, claiming he believes the brave dwarf is the only man cunning enough to stop Stannis on this night.

In the Iron Throne room, Tyrion pretends he does not know Shae as he urges Sansa to take shelter with the royal women and children. Luckily, Shae is to go with her.

Former Children of the Corn star and infant king Joffrey nearly orgasms as he makes Sansa kiss his sword, called “Heart-Eater.” It’s apparent he’s confused it for his penis. Joffrey is urged to join the men on the front lines for support, but it’s obvious he’s scared shitless. Sansa says she’ll pray for her retarded fiancé, then urges him to go fight at the frontlines like a brave king.


The war drums sound.  Stannis signals his intention to attack.

As the ships approach, Joffrey tediously bugs Tyrion about his apparent lack of plan. Tyrion, as usual, verbally slaps the shit out of his trying nephew.

As Ser Davos leads the Baratheon ships into port, his army realizes there are no Lannister ships present to defend the gate. A single Lannister ship emerges from the mist, sailing hastily into the middle of the Baratheon fleet. The ship is unmanned, but we soon see it’s purposely spilling a strange green liquid out it’s stern. It’s the acidic, glowing liquid the alchemist was making out of pig shit.

Tyrion gives a signal to Bronn… Bronn shoots a fire arrow… The fiery arrow whizzes across the black sky, past Ser Davos, and into the trailing pool of green liquid called “wildfire”… The trail ignites and burns like a fuse toward the ship that spilled it, until…

BOOM! And I mean BOOM!!!

The entire fleet is eradicated in a fiery, green napalm cloud. Chaos ensues as the men and ships burn.

“The Lannisters have WMDs!  The Lannisters have WMDs!”

Only a handful of ships and few thousand Baratheon men remain…


In the protective quarters, Sansa notices the creepy guard Ser Ilyn glaring at her like a distant uncle. She finds out the purpose of his presence—to kill Sansa, Cersei, and the other high-born women and children if any Baratheon soldier breaches the door.  That’s uplifting. Great party, but who invited the leering asshole?

Cersei gets drunk on wine and giddily piles on some abusive words for Sansa, including some advice on how to prepare for the impending rapes since she’s such a nice “slice of cake.”

Cersei notices Shae for the first time, notices she doesn’t know how to curtsy, therefore not really a nobleperson.  Hmm.  Damn, these Lannisters have great CSI skills.

Although thousands of men, including Davos and Matthos, have been lost at sea; Stannis believes his adversary is out of this “wildfire.” And as the remaining Baratheon troops arrive on land, the flaming arrows start a’ flyin’. The Hound forms a greeting party outside the gates to slice and dice the beachfront attackers. But after a few minutes near all the fire, the beastly recovering burn victim has a moment of PTSD, turns tail and withdraws himself to hide in the castle. But not before finally telling Joffrey to kiss his ass (in more colorful words than I can print here.)

With The Hound missing and no one, but uncle Tyrion to protect him, Cersei demands her son/nephew Joffrey flee to his quarters even though it’s bad for troop morale. You don’t have to tell Joffrey twice. As the ladders are raised and doors start breaking down, Joffrey worms his way through his own warriors and disappears to safety.

In a moment of bravery and clarity, Tyrion announces he will lead the counter-attack. He’ll guide his army through the tunnels with the map supplied by Varys, then sneak up behind the castle attackers to wipe their collective butts with steel. The surprise attack seems to have worked as the warriors chant “half man” in support of their leader… Until…

A massive army of Baratheons attacks from the flank. Tyrion’s counter forces are overtaken. Tyrion is left standing face to face with a giant enemy warrior. The warrior slashes at the imp’s large face with a sword. The attack slices Tyrion’s face open diagonally from top to bottom… He collapses in shock. The wound is deep, but not life threatening… We hope. I don’t know about you, but I just love this little lion and want to see more of him. I hope we find out soon, because right now Tyrion is a little “imp-patient.” Eh? See what I did there? Just a “little” pun. Eh? Okay bite me.

Sansa is able to escape to her quarters where she finds a very dejected and tired Hound. The broken beast offers to rescue Sansa, taking her to Winterfell.  Sansa realizes this horrible man would not actually hurt her. It seems Sansa is finally at the precipice of her escape. But will she jump?

Cersei has taken her youngest son Tommen to sit on the iron throne to live out their final moments. In a tearfully bittersweet scene she tries to comfort her youngest boy with tales of lions and tigers and bears, oh bullshit! She’s just distracting him so she can feed him the poisonous nightshade before he faces a violent death by the hands of the enemy at the gates.

She lifts the vial to his lips… He tips it back as the Iron Throne room gates burst open… But it’s not the Baratheon army; it’s Tywin Lannister, and he’s reclaimed King’s Landing.

Stannis’ army is overtaken… His surviving men pull Stannis to safety… Cersei drops the poison… The Shit Stain King is hiding under a shoe somewhere… Sansa flees King’s Landing with the Hound… And the battle’s true hero, Tyrion, lies bleeding and forgotten on the battleground.

The season finale is next weekend, but I’m already exhausted. I feel like I was just violated by Theon Greyjoy and his band of toothless desirables. Where’s Robb? Will Jaime the Kingslayer make his comeback? Is Jon alright up in the Frostfangs? Why is Hodor qualified to be a nanny? Will Daenerys ever wash that ratty hair? Answers to all these questions and more, next week, when we wrap up this mind-blowing second season of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

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3 thoughts on “Johnny Mansbach’s Game of Thrones Recap – Episode 19: “Blackwater”

  • May 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I have not watched the show yet, but it looks definitely interesting and exciting but most importantly this recap made me laugh. My hubby watches this show. I’m going to have him read this too. I think I’d have to leave this post open and have it to refer to while I watched. Thanks Johnny Mansbach

  • May 31, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    great write-up! Thanks.

  • May 31, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Love the recap. Thanks for posting. It was a great episode!

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