This week in Westeros we’re back in Setup Mode, bringing with it a slightly lackluster episode (save for two particularly enjoyable scenes, but more on that in a bit). Last week, with Tyrion’s demand for a trial by combat, I was pretty psyched to see what happened with that this week, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a full TWO WEEKS (damn you, Memorial Day!!) to see how that pans out and which warrior will fall. (That’s not a spoiler alert. One dude has to die in a trial by combat. That’s just how it works.)
Tyrion is back in his nice, cozy cell, where he’s visited by a bunch of would-be defenders, and one who finally agrees to champion him. First comes Jaime, who’s pretty furious that he agreed to give up the Kingsguard and his brother couldn’t even plead for mercy. Jaime tells Tyrion he basically has one strike left with him – plus, Jaime is one of the only friends with any pull that Tyrion has left – but none of that matters, since a one-handed guy can’t exactly go up against the Mountain, the terrifying cave troll Cersei has picked to fight for the prosecution. Also, Cersei would definitely shank him, but that goes without saying. Next up is Bronn, who would totally take up Tyrion’s sword a second time, but Cersei has promised him a castle and a little wife, and it’s not like Tyrion has ever risked his life for Bronn’s. (Not a completely unfair point.) They leave each other on decent terms – Bronn is a sellsword, so his loyalty was only with Tyrion as long as he was paid – though the jokes about Tyrion’s death songs are kind of a huge bummer.
There is one person left in Westeros, however, who’s willing to fight for Tyrion, and that person is Oberyn Martell. His speech to Tyrion is excellently written, and the first high point of the episode. He goes way back to Tyrion’s very beginning, remembering all of the horrifying rumors about Tyrion’s disfigured baby body and coming to see him only to find that he was basically normal except that his older sister liked to go around pinching his dick whenever the mood struck her. (Goddammit, Cersei.) Most importantly, Oberyn has scores to settle with the Mountain – namely, the rape and murder of his sister – so he’ll take up Tyrion’s cause. Brilliantly acted by Peter Dinklage and Pedro Pascal both, this moment was as close to a hopeful one for Tyrion as we’ve had in a while, so let’s all cling to that, okay?
I’m going to work through the rest basically in brief (except for the final scene) since there was a lot of talky-talky in this episodes that seemed to go in small circles. Daenerys finally bangs Daario, but Friendzone Jorah scores his own victory by convincing her to give the Yunkai slavemasters a choice between bowing to her and death, rather than killing them outright. (Jorah is the one who gets to tell Daario that he changed the Khaleesi’s mind, too, setting up some nice bro tension – brotension? – between the two men.) Brienne and Podrick run into Arya’s old friend Hot Pie, and even though he talks way too much about the intricacies of gravy, he does provide them with some pretty helpful information – namely, that Arya is alive and they should try and find her at the Eyrie. Oh, and she’s with a huge dude with a burned face. Speaking of that huge dude, he’s got some more life lessons for his little protege. Arya already knows to stick ’em with the pointy end, so this time he reminds her to go right for the heart, since brevity is the soul of stabbing, or something like that. After the Hound mercy kills an injured old man, he and Arya are visited by Rorge and the Biter (two characters I barely remember) and while the Hound dispatches Biter with a tidy neck-snap, Arya goes for the heart on Rorge, to which the Hound roars, “Now you’re learning!” Aw, how sweet. Wet Mop Selyse and Melisandre looked into some smoke and there were some ominous warnings about Shireen. I would go into more detail but I don’t fully understand or care about what exactly happened there.
But finally, finally, we find ourselves right back at the Eyrie, in one of the most striking sets yet this season – a stark (teehee) snow covered courtyard, where Sansa and Robin get to work building some snow castles (specifically, a little recreation of Winterfell, which Sansa knows she can never return to). Things start off fine, but Robin ruins one of his castles by accident, and when Sansa teases him, he has a full on tantrum. Clearly, Sansa and Tyrion were actually a decent match, since she goes right for the slap, and Robin goes running. Little does Sansa know that Littlefinger was watching this whole exchange, and child abuse really gets him going. So he kisses her, but someone is basically always watching on this show, and, surprise surprise, this time it’s Lysa.
Lysa calls Sansa into the throne room for a little chat, and before too long she’s dangling the poor kid over that freaking Moon Door, screaming about how all of the people who stood between her and Petyr – her father, her husband, her sister – are dead. Petyr arrives just in time, telling her to let Sansa go and he’ll get rid of her, but that maybe throwing her out the window is a bit extreme. He goes to his wife, gently cradling her face, and tells her that she shouldn’t worry, because he’s only ever loved one woman – “your sister.” And with that, because the Moon Door stupidly doesn’t have any railings, he makes her fly, just like the way we all used to kill our Sims by not putting railings on their balconies. (What? Just me?)
I won’t miss Lady Breastfeeding Nostrils, Lord of the Sex Screams and the Crazy Eyes (I’m pretty sure that’s her full title in the books), but there’s sure to be some aftermath here. Robin is definitely going to shit a brick, so there’s that. Plus, even though Littlefinger is literally the shadiest fucker alive, he’ll just tell everyone Lysa fell and it was a terrible accident and they’ll be all, “Yeah, I bet that’s exactly what happened!” Right. See you next week, when Littlefinger will get away with yet another murder, and we’ll (hopefully) see how Tyrion fares in his second trial by combat.