But seriously folks, this was a great episode. Did it perhaps have to do with the fact that Theon doesn't appear, and instead we get plenty of Dany and Gendry (specifically, boobs, butt and penis base)? I'd certainly say so.
photo by Terry Richardson
- Arya, dissatisfied with the Brotherhood after they sold out Gendry, wanders from camp and gets kidnapped by The Hound. Out of the frying pan and into the other frying pan and into the other frying pan and into the other frying pan and into the other frying pan as usual for our girl Arya. Whatever, she'll be fine.
- Theon continues to languish in a meta version of Eli Roth's Hostel. The less said about it the better. But you know, there was at least some gratuitous nudity!
- Osha tells a boring story. Bran's plot advances exactly zero percent.
- Jamie, on his way back to King's Landing, learns from Maester Mengele that Brienne, still captive at Harrenhall, is going to be tonight's "entertainment" for Locke and his asshole friends. So he goes rushing back and gets to be in, to date, this show's most heroic "guy jumping down from a thing" shot. Yeah Jamie's redemption arc! I love it! He saves Brienne from a fucking bear (by, fair enough, mostly just standing in the way for a sec) and they set out for King's Landing together. As it should be, forever and ever, amen.
that Collective Soul song would almost work, unironically, under that scene. How much do you love Ygritte's Jon Snow impression, by the way?
The Hound is given his day in court, which as we learned back in season 1, usually just consists of a fight to the death. Yes, it is imperfect, but think how much citizens of Westeros save on legal fees! And despite Beric Dondarrion's dick move of setting his sword on fire (that's just so tacky, Beric) the Hound manages to cut him practically in half and wins his freedom. But he leaves pretty spooked, as Beric Notdeadagain rises to his feet a few minutes later, doing his signature little side-nod and smirk--the universal signal for "THAT SHIT JUST HAPPENED."
Later, Gendry concludes that the Brotherhood is sufficiently badass for his badass self to join, and Arya, soon to be ransomed back to her mother and Robb, feels abandoned yet again. I feel for you Arya, and I hope that we get to see Gendry in future episodes, but dude has a point. I mean, if you get cut in half, the Brotherhood has a dude who can fix you! You gotta get with that program if they'll let you, that's just obvious.
Up above the wall, Ygritte playfully grabs Jon's sword (not one for subtle gestures, that girl) and he chases her into a wet cave (yeah, the symbolism here is pretty stark) where they finally get their fuck on. I was weirdly happy for Jon Snow. Get some, my brother! Show her how they do it Southern style!
Jamie and Brienne are delivered to Roose Bolton, who shows disdain for the handmade necklace his men have given Jamie (heh) but needlessly fucks with our boy only moments later, letting him believe briefly that Stannis successfully took King's Landing while he was captive. Seriously, what was that shit? Last week Mad Men made a 30 Rock reference--is Game Of Thrones doing Arrested Development now?
Meanwhile, everybody in Robb's camp apparently spent last week getting sexy makeovers. What up, Robb, with that open collar! Looking good, man. What up, Lady Cat, with your hair all down? Grief agrees with you, my lady. Looking significantly less sexy is Lord Karstark, the one who has had a murderboner for like two straight seasons now. When he and his compatriots kill two Lannister children Robb is holding captive at Riverrun, Robb executes him, despite the (correct, as it turns out) council from his wife and advisors that to do so will cost him the rest of the Karstark bannermen. Like father, like son, generally unwilling to play the game. The stubborn apple doesn't fall far from the stubborn tree--and why would it? But later, Robb is seized with inspiration. He'll make up with Walder Frey (one of like a dozen people he has grievously offended so far) and attack the Lannister HQ, Casterly Rock. Well, that's as good a plan as any, I guess!
In King's Landing, everybody hears about the Tyrell plan to wed Sansa to Knight One Direction like, right away (I kinda felt bad for Loras--his sexy new boyfriend is a spy!). And if you were throwing up your hands at all the sixth-amendment-shattering battles to the death earlier in this episode, it must really grind your gears to realize that whoever breaks Sansa's hymen first gets to control Winterfell. And thus The Race To Fuck Sansa begins! Tywin orders Tyrion to marry her instead, a plan that Cercei (and Zac, morbidly) finds delightful. But who will marry Loras?! Turns out ol Tywin has a plan for that too! Batter up, Queen Eyebrow!
The weirdest scenes of this episode give us a glimpse into Stannis's domestic life. It's weird. Like, even weirder than you probably guessed. His wife and deformed daughter (I don't get it--was like, Stannis's grandfather a gargoyle?) live in a creepy tower with the bodies of his miscarried sons in pickle jars. It's some Mütter Museum shit.
As for me: after this episode, Dany could fly to Westeros and cook Arya on a spit and I'd still be like YOU GO GIRL. The Mother Of Dragons has my sword like whoa. How crushingly badass were those last few minutes? I think these gifs (one, two) capture it about as well as anything else. But we'll get to the details in a second.
In King's Landing, Joffrey's boner for Marge grows ever harder, and Cercei's eyebrows rise ever higher. There's a moment where the Queen ("Queen Regent."-Marge) is so on guard, she comes across like fuckin' Sansa: Lady Olenna tries to bond with her by complaining about the men in their lives specifically and the patriarchy in general, but Cercei stays firmly behind a wall of icy courtesy. C'mon, Cercei! Complaining about gender roles is your shit! You know you want to make friends with this lady. We all do.
Meanwhile: things are not going well for Jamie at all. He's got his sword hand on a string around his neck and his captors are punking him relentlessly. It's like, hey guys, maybe give your cruel joke a minute to breathe before you launch right into the next fifty cruel jokes, am I right? They've got a "Robin Williams on coke" sense of comedic pace. But hey, at least Jamie's bonding with Brienne! And hey, at least he's not one of the guys Varys keeps tied up in boxes! Speaking of which: YIKES, Varys!
Varys is all over this episode. Tyrion comes to him looking for clues about who might have tried to kill him during the battle of Blackwater, and Varys responds with a longwinded story about how he got um, those scars, which you only realize after about five minutes has literally nothing to do with what Tyrion asked about in the first place. Get better conversation skills, Varys! Then he's chatting with Joan Holloway, who it turns out is passing him a lot of intel on Lord Baelish's cummings and goings. (This is how she repays Littlefinger for helping her climb the professional ladder--she goes all Deep Throat on him? Well, maybe we need a better code name for this one.) Finally, Varys goes to Lady Olenna to inform her of Littlefinger's plans to steal, and maybe marry, Sansa. It's hard to know what Littlefinger's actual plan is, but it's also hard to know what Varys and Olenna want with her. Poor Sansa! Girl is always half in and half out of six or seven poorly articulated traps at once. But hey, at least she gets to joke around with Marge on the docks for a while, carefree if only for a moment. And hey, at least she's not one of the guys Varys keeps tied up in boxes!
Elsewhere: Bran is still learning to lucid dream like some asshole college freshman. Arya and Gendry meet Beric Dondarrian, a real haggard motherfucker you probably don't remember from season 1 (he was the guy Ned Stark sent after Gregor Clegane when he was on the throne for the day) who now leads Doctors Without Borders. And Theon learns a valuable lesson about journeys being more important that destinations. See, remember the Hobbit Hipster from last time who claimed to be helping Theon on his sister's behalf? Turns out he was just playing a weird game with himself where he led Theon away from the dungeon, killed the men who came after him, and then brought him back to the dungeon and blamed him for the killings. Um, OK? So now Theon is back on the torture rack and we are EXACTLY where we started three episodes ago. Is it me or did this seem like something from the Weeds playbook? It felt less like a deliberate feint and more like a stalling tactic. But at least Theon finally realized murdering children was wrong!
But even if the rest of this episode is kind of aimless and aggrivating, the final two sequences make up for everything and then some. Above the wall, at Craster's house, tensions boil over between the Night's Watchmen and Uber-Patriarch. Daughter Fucker is killed, and when Lord Mormont tries to step in he's murdered by his own men. Sam, thinking quickly for literally the first time in his entire life, grabs Cassie and her newborn baby and bails. Good on you, Sam! And hi, Cassie!
And then finally, oh man. This fucking shit is so rad: Dany shows up to inspect her newly purchased SlaveWOWs. She hands over the dragonleash to Offer Shlomi and he gives her the whip, giving her official control over ten grand or so Unsullied. So she immediately orders them to kill their former masters and to destroy the city. FUCKKKKKKKK YESSSSSSSS. And then her dragon (I mean literally every word out of Dany's mouth in this scene is pure, unadulterated badassery the likes of which I have maybe never seen on television, but the pinacle of said badassery is certainly the clear, confident order: "dracarys") sets Offer Shlomi on fire. AND THEN Dany informs her slaves that they are freed and may do as they wish, but she would like it if they'd join her on the march. And honestly, who says no to the Motherfucking Mother Of Dragons?