Clearly, now that this season’s big regicide is out of the way, this is the time in Game of Thrones‘ season where they can buckle down, relax a little bit, and get into the plot-heavy mumbling. Not that I’m complaining – since the show’s extremely blah second season, showrunners Benioff and Weiss have figured out how to nicely balance plot with pizazz. For the most part. Last night’s episode, overall, was a naked, muddy, self-righteous mess, with a few moments that weren’t completely irritating. Let’s get to it.
Well, we finally know who killed Joffrey, and if you were surprised by this information, I don’t think you’ve really been paying much attention. Obviously Littlefinger had a big hand in it, but the actual poisoner was none other than Oleanna Tyrell, who was willing to go to any lengths to make sure her darling granddaughter didn’t have to actually marry that monster. (Well… I can’t say I blame her.) Oleanna spills this to Margaery in the same kind of casual tone that you would use to tell someone what you had for dinner last night, and then just kind of saunters back off to Highgarden, telling Margaery she has to make sure she gets friendly with Tommen, lest Cersei get to him first. Margaery handles that weirdly. In the books, Tommen is supposed to be only eight years old, but happily, they’ve aged him up slightly to make Margaery’s bed-intruder act only a little less creepy. Sneaking into his chambers in the middle of the night, Margaery leers and smirks at him, while the young king-to-be can only stammer, stare, and talk about his cat. Tommen is very clearly unlike his brother, but he’s about to be the rope in a massive tug-of-war between Margaery and Cersei, so we’ll see how much they can pull him before he breaks.
Oleanna’s co-conspirator, Littlefinger, is still creeping around on a foggy boat with poor Sansa, who insists that her hapless husband had nothing to do with Joffrey’s murder, and she didn’t either. (Except for the fact that she happened to be wearing the murder weapon around her neck, but, whatever.) He’s taking Sansa to her crazy breastfeeding aunt Lysa in the Eyrie, also known as Littlefinger’s future wife, and assures her she’ll “be safe there.” Yeah, I think the whole “Sansa being safe anywhere” ship has sailed. (See what I did there?)
And speaking of keeping Sansa safe, didn’t Jaime swear some kind of oath about that to the now deceased Catelyn Stark quite some time ago? Oh, Jaime. How do you solve a problem like Jaime? Last week, with that horrifying rape scene, the show seemed to undo all of the one-handed Prince Charming work they’d spent a few seasons on, and this week’s episode was so clearly intended to build him back up that I was surprised he didn’t get some kind of heroic soundtrack for his entire storyline (something similar to the Lord of the Rings theme, but just slightly different so there’s no copyright infringement). A swordfighting lesson with Bronn convinces Jaime that his brother probably didn’t kill his son, and a visit to Tyrion’s barnyard cell confirms it for him (at the very least, the scene gave Peter Dinklage some quality quip time). Even in a scene with Cersei, sloshed per usual, Jaime comes off smelling like roses, mostly because she insults every other character on the show and dismisses him a little coldly. (I’m sorry, what did he expect? Consensual sex this time?!) The scenes with Brienne, though, who’s been reduced to mooning over Jaime for a few episodes, were way too much. One episode of Jaime acting like the nicest guy around and giving away Valyrian steels named “Oathkeeper” doesn’t exactly erase the memories of incest twin rape. Sorry, show.
Brienne, though, is heading back out, armor-clad and searching for Sansa. The best development of the whole Jaime situation, however, is that Podrick Payne will serve as Brienne’s new squire, and that shot of him grinning adorably next to Bronn was basically the cutest thing that’s ever happened, so.
Daenerys, meanwhile, showy as ever, has finally taken Mereen, by sending Grey Worm in the middle of the night to visit the slaves and talk up freedom (really, not a hard sell). The best single scene comes out of her storyline, where a group of vengeful slaves corner a master, right next to a wall with “Kill the Masters” scrawled in what looks like blood (although, wait, why was that in English…?). The scene is tense and thrilling, but the implications for what’s next are a little dire. Even with Barristan Selmy advising mercy, Daenerys is literally taking no prisoners, going so far as to crucify one slave master for each crucified slave that marked her path to Mereen – maybe not the best way to start things off in your new regime. Now that she has Mereen, she has people and a mini-kingdom; but what is she supposed to do with that now?
Up North, we have boring, boring, boring and naked. Jon Snow keeps getting bullied at Castle Black, so Locke, who’s really just searching for intel on Jon’s younger half-brothers (and the guy who looks exactly like Christopher Guest from The Princess Bride), creepily befriends him. He is so obviously evil it’s ridiculous, but then again, Jon Snow knows nothing. Then Jon gets a group of the Night’s Watch to volunteer to go to Craster’s Keep and avenge Mormont. Yawn, yawn, yawn.
It’s probably a good thing that they’re headed to Craster’s, though, since Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor have suddenly found themselves captive there, along with the now-caged direwolves Summer and Ghost. Craster’s Keep is as gross as ever, with Rast actually just walking around and sticking his dick in whatever he feels like (thanks for making me watch that, Game of Thrones). Oh, and guess what? They’re STILL sacrificing babies – specifically, the last of Craster’s sons. This time, though, we get to see the fate of the little one. After he cries in the snow for a while and gives me sadface, a Walker comes and scoops him up, and the baby seems a little comforted to have some company, staring up into the undead creature’s face. They arrive at Ice Stonehenge, where the baby gets a seat of honor right in the middle, and a second Walker arrives, running a finger down the baby’s face and turning his brown eyes ice blue. Well… now we know how wights get made, so, great, I guess.
Here’s hoping for better next week. Tyrion’s trial and Tommen’s coronation are both coming up, and we know how smoothly events like those tend to go in Westeros. At the very least, even a subpar episode sets up extreme tension, and once the shit starts hitting the fan, it’s probably not going to stop for a while. Plus, we can hold out hope that we get some more squabbling from the Hound and Arya next week. See you then!