The first two episodes of Game of ThronesSeason 3 were relatively light on the overabundant nudity that has caused so much controversy since the HBO show first premiered, but it all came roaring back in Episode 3: "Walk of Punishment." And for the first time in the show's history, we found the nudity not just unnecessary, but borderline offensive in its gratuity.
We aren't as down on Game of Thrones' general tendency towards explicit sex as some people. Although using sex scenes to mask exposition has become a predictable narrative crutch, the writers are generally decent at tying the specifics of each such scene to the characters involved, using their most private moments to reveal new sides or highlight specific personality traits. Even Joffrey's disturbing sex scene in Season 2, which we originally questioned, is paying dividends now that Margaery has realized she can seduce him by playing to his sadistic impulses.
However, tonight's whore-extravaganza with Podrick felt entirely, almost ridiculously, gratuitous. The show spent over a minute lingering on the sexual show being put on for Pod's benefit, but what was the benefit for the viewer, other than sheer titillation? What did we learn? That Podrick Payne is good in bed? That Tyrion repays his debts (which we already knew)? That there’s one whore who's super flexible?
Now, we've only seen through Episode 4, so it's possible that this scene will somehow pay off later down the line, like Joffrey's has. We hope so, because right now it seems like it was just a setup for a predictable punchline about this awkward squire being a boss in the sack. If the point was to draw attention to Pod's character, there are so many other, more entertaining and informative, ways the show could have gone about it. This felt almost like an f--- you from the writers to critics of the show's use of nudity, and it took away from an otherwise extremely strong episode.
The problem is not just that the nudity seemed unnecessary and gratuitously titillating. We're frustrated because this smart, layered show is already struggling to fit in all the important plot points and major character beats. There isn't time to waste on titty shows for tertiary characters.
Maybe the entire fanbase has been Punk'd.
Did this scene bother you, or were you fine with it? Sound off in the comments below.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter@BeccaDMartin.