All right, HBO – you’re not playing fair. You get us all excited by promising us AC/AL/V/N/ – YAAAAY! – and then give us an episode of Game of Thrones that boasts multiple rapes and some light child molestation. Can you come up with some new letters for that?
Messandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) have cheer-sex after their English-lesson-slash-slave-story-comparison-session. Their fingers touch illicitly. Grey Worm practices: “KILL THE MASTERS!” Dany (Emelia Clarke) interrupts to monotone, “It’s time.”
It is night, and the Unsullieds are sneaking into the city disguised as slaves in order to kickstart their Norma Rae-style revolution. UNION YES! They interrupt a what is either an underground slave meeting or a rehearsal for the Meereen Community Playhouse production of Our Town. Grey Worm reads the Season 4 posters: “All Men Must Die;” then he delivers the Unsullieds’ corporate pitch (“I think you’ll really be impressed by our 401K plan options”) and dumps about 700 pounds worth of weapons on the ground. See you at the corporate picnic!
Outside, a rich dude with prettyboy guards is mobbed and destroyed on the street as the Targaryen flag flaps high above. Dany decides to have all the rich folk nailed to mileposts, because that’s what the 1% apparently did to a few hundred children (wait, is that what “No Child Left Behind” means?!). When her advisor-man tries to talk her out of it, she says, “I will answer injustice with justice.” They roll out the red carpet like Katy Perry has come to town… to crucify everyone. Dany looks out across her new city, presumably thinking about which city’s ass she’s going to hand to itself next.
Back in the KL, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) spar, which ends with Bronn beating Jaime down with his own golden hand. I know that biting the hand that feeds you is a bad idea, and can’t imagine that smacking the crap out of the hand that feeds you WITH the actual hand that feeds you is any better. Bronn asks, “You wanna fight pretty or you wanna win?” and Jaime admits he has a point. Bronn says Tyrion didn’t kill Joffrey, but that maybe Jaime should ask him himself, nudge nudge. He adds that Tyrion only picked Bronn to fight for him at Eyrie because Jaime wasn’t answering his texts, not like that means that he owes him a visit in his filthy cell or anything.
Getting the hint, Jaime visits Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and they waste no time establishing that A) Tyrion did not kill Joffrey; and B) that Tyrion knows that Joffrey was Jaime’s kid and nobody really cares. Jaime says Cersei has it in for Sansa but Tyrion insists, “Sansa’s not a killer – not yet, anyways.” Ooooh! Foreshadowing Meter is tingling.
Meanwhile, back on the Black Pearl, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) is bragging about how he is marrying Sansa’s crazypants aunt Lyssa when he really should be taking a clean washcloth to… well, just about any surface on this floating tub of E. coli. Sansa (Sophie Turner) asks, “Did you kill Joffrey?” and he basically says that he did, with her necklace, but that he had help from his “new friends”… and then we cut to Lady Olenna Tyrell (Dame Diana Motherf*cking Rigg) and Margaery (Natalie Dormer) walking in the garden and talking shit about the flowers, so we are essentially supposed to assume that the Tyrells and Littlefinger worked together to kill Joffrey, right? Littlefinger notes, “If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they won’t know what you’ll do next.”
Lady Olenna tells Mardge that she is tired of leisurely strolls through the same opulent garden location every goddamn time she is on the call sheet, thank you very f*cking much. Plus, would it kill craft services to whip up a nice kidney pie once in a blue moon? Honestly. She reveals that she was once betrothed to a Targaryen (“Marrying a Targaryen was all the rage back then” – like the Kardashians) but then she banged her sister’s boyfriend silly and saved herself from a life of misery. She tells Mardge that she is even better at banging than she is, so she should be fine – especially since her doting nana went ahead and killed her nasty fiancé and all – as she fingers Mardge’s necklace. Well, that takes care of that, I guess? Tell Jessica Fletcher she can take the night off.
Grenn (Mark Stanley) – GRENN! – and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) spar. A young boy who looks and sounds like Ygritte (sorry, kid, but it’s true) wants to play, but Jon shuts him down. Two other guys spar – one of whom is the guy who took Jaime’s hand, if I’m not mistaken? He shuts the other guy down and then introduces himself to Jon – it’s Locke (Noah Taylor), BTW – before Jon gets sent off to clean the outhouse by his superior. Who I’m sure was important before now, except that I can’t remember ever having seen him before. This show has seriously reached its saturation point for grubby middle-aged white guys.
ANYWAY. The shift supervisor’s friend tells him to send Jon up to Craster’s Farm, where he’ll be killed by Mance Rayder’s men and stop being the Big Man on Night’s Watch. He’s feeling it.
Cersei (Lena Headey) pours herself another pint of cab sav – ATTA GIRL – and blows up at Jaime. No, not about the fact that he raped her last week or anything – but about the fact that her last remaining son doesn’t have enough nannies. Girl, you don’t love yourself. PRIORITIES. She calls Brienne “that great cow” and accuses Jaime of conspiring with the now dead Catelynn against her and their family. She calls Tyrion “that monster that murdered our son” and insists that “he’d kill us all if he could.” I think they might want to look into adjusting her diet slightly away from “all red wine”.
Meanwhile, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) can’t sleep because some deranged castle decorator bought a dead boar’s head wall hanging from Westeros Elm and put an arrow through its head and hung it IN A CHILD’S ROOM. (Okay, fine – Joffrey probably did that.) But that’s not half as creepy as what’s next: Mardge sashays in by candlelight to essentially seduce this 10-year-old kid. Because her grandma told her to. Midway through this adorable pedophile bedtime tableaux, we learn that Tommen has a cat named Ser Pounce (COULD YOU JUST DIE) and isn’t nearly a cruel as his former big bro. Yet. Mardge shows some restraint by not actually molesting the poor child but merely telling him that she will molest him every night for the rest of his life and kissing him on the forehead. Ser Pounce looks on disapprovingly, because he is a cat, and that’s what cats do.
Elsewhere, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) reads Jaime’s anemic bio to him from that book everyone is so obsessed with lately. He takes up his new sword – well, one of them, anyway – and he gives it to her as a gift, telling her to use it to protect Sansa. INTERESTING. He also gives her armor, which looks pretty awesome, actually.
Brienne vows, “I’ll find her – for Lady Catelynn… and for you.” She then learns that she has also been given iPod (Daniel Portman) as a squire, because it is guaranteed comedy gold. And Bronn gives iPod Tyrion’s axe from Blackwater, because sharp thingie. Brienne, meanwhile, has named her Valerian sword “Oathkeeper”. Why do I think that “Oathkeeper” has Littlefinger’s unspellable real name written all over it? She and Jaime have goodbye cheer-sex, and she’s off. Knights… can’t live with ’em, can’t keep ’em from going on quests!
Spamwell Tarly (John Bradley) worries (yawn) that Gilly (YAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWN) isn’t safe in Mole’s Town (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…..), because Mole’s Town is essentially the Detroit of Westeros. Jon Snow is too busy being pretty to offer a suitable response – instead, they consult a map that has Craster’s Farm on it. Jon’s insidious middle manager tells him to go to Craster’s, adding that he can take volunteers. Jon tries to rally a squad in the caf. WHERE MY GRENN AT!? Ah, there he is – first to stand up! Such a good lad. More-than-expected other, non-Grenn guys volunteer, including Locke. Okay… that’s interesting. And wait, did Jon’s other, non-Grenn-friend not stand? The little guy? Take him off the Christmas card list.
We then visit Craster’s Farm, where there is a whole lot of raping going on. It’s… awful. Former Night’s Watchmen turned rape-cult leader Karl (Burn Gorman) actually says, “Fuck ’em ’til they’re dead.” Which, at the rate this season is going, may as well be the show’s tagline. They are going to take the last male baby from Craster’s seed (am I actually typing this?) to feed to the White Walkers. Karl – who led the revolt at Craster’s farm and who is now drinking out of Jeor Mormont’s skull (can someone find him a jelly jar, at least?) and yammering on about Gin Alley again – makes his second in command, Rast (Luke McEwan), do the deed. Rast takes the baby out and leaves him in the snow. Seriously, this is NOT RIGHT. That baby looks so cold!!! Rast would rather pour water in the snow than to give it to Ghost, Jon Snow’s direwolf, who is currently in a cage. So he does, and Ghost spooks him. The ravens cry and scare him away.
HODOR! Off in the woods, Hodor (Kristian Nairn) hears the baby cry, and says as much (“Hodor?”). Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) says that he’s going after the baby, and white-eyes out and runs off inside of Summer to save the day – only Summer gets caught in a trap just like Ghost did, and Bran snaps out of it. They track Summer to Craster’s and Meera (Ellie Kendrick) says that they need to get the hell outta dodge – but they get ambushed. Hodor is chained to a post. The Queen of Gin Alley taunts Bran, demanding to know, “Who are you!?” Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) goes into seizures and his sister tries to help him, and Bran reveals, “I’m Brandon Stark!”
FADE TO WHITE.
The White Walker on the rotting horse takes the baby to noplacegood. They approach the Fortress of Solitude. He puts the baby on an ice table, and a line of White Walkers who clearly get their clothes from the same Cenobite Casuals catalog as Littlefinger approach in formation. A Walker picks up the baby and pokes it in the cheek with its thumbnail, and its eyes turn crystal-blue as it instantly becomes a Walker.
Notably Dead: a bunch of rich masters, Cersei’s liver
Notably Absent: Arya, Hound, Stannis, Onion Knight, ToriAmosandre, Oberyn, Loras, Shae, Theon, Ramsay, Roose Bolton, Daario Naharis, Ygritte, Ginger McBeardy, the Poutiest Cannibal, Mance Rayder, the dragons
So! Apparently most of the White Walkers are Craster’s male heirs, at this point? That’s even worse than I expected, really – I thought they were just soldiers from hell. I’m surprised that Dany was able to take Meereen so quickly – on to the next, I suppose? At this rate she’ll have Boardwalk and Park Place locked up by mid-season. I do love that Messandei and Grey Worm got a little screen time this week and hope we see more of them. Brienne continues to rule the school, and having her and Pod together should be fun – but am I wrong to hope that Sansa finds a way to off Littlefinger before her rescuers get to her? I just want her to demonstrate a shred of initiative. Margaery’s going after wee Tommen is equal parts hilarious and disgusting – I hope Ser Pounce can defend his master against whatever smoke monster or poisoned pie might come their way, because this chick has NOT got a good track record when it comes to boyfriends.
More than anything I just need more Oberyn Martell in my life. Soon, please?
For an episode missing many of my favorite characters and where nothing terribly significant happened, it was still a lovely, rape-and-molestation filled way to pass a Sunday evening, no? I’d give it seven out of ten shampoo bottles, most of which I will use to wash my own eyes: