In this week’s Game of Thrones, we finally see the third version of the Mountain, Melisandre takes a bath, all of Tyrion’s scenes are great, Daario is skeevy, Baelish makes a big move, and Ser Pounce sits it all out once again. Oh, also the character with the worst name in the entire series returns. Does anybody else think George R.R. Martin used “Hot Pie” as a placeholder and planned to come up with something reasonable later?
Well, just about everybody is in the opening credits this week. Margaery and Tywin are the most notable missing characters this time around, but Bran and company are also MIA. Ever since I realized that the credits change, I’ve been utterly fixated on watching the names each week. I wish every show did this!
The episode opens in Tyrion’s cell, with Jaime berating him for not taking the deal. Tyrion notes that the deal was probably all Tywin wanted the whole time, since it meant Jaime would leave the Kingsguard, and Tyrion would eventually die at the Wall, out of sight and out of mind. That works so perfectly that I’m convinced Tywin knows that Tyrion isn’t guilty. And again, this is a scene that works a lot better in a world where Jaime isn’t a rapist. There’s still been no reference to it since it happened, and Jaime keeps getting cast as the voice of reason. I’m not ruling out the possibility that this will turn out to be a reasonable creative decision, but at this point, I still hate it.
Tyrion sort of assumes that Jaime will serve as his champion, but given that Jaime doesn’t know how to fight with his left hand yet, he bows out. Tyrion was not prepared for this eventuality. This is pretty rough, and it’s a really good scene between the brothers. Tyrion clings to his one last hope now – Bronn. He asks Jaime to go find him. Oh, and it gets worse. He asks who Cersei named as a champion, hoping it would be Meryn Trant. Nope. It’s the Mountain.
And we cut to somebody who I will assume from context is the Mountain, because this is now the third actor to play the role in only a handful of appearances. He’s merrily slaughtering people while Cersei watches. Well, this has gotten more complicated. Of course, since half the cast wants the Mountain dead, Tyrion might just have some takers now.
Hey, here are two of them now! It’s the Hound and Arya, and they’ve come upon the exterior location that seems to appear five times a season. There’s been some sort of attack, and they find a critically injured old man. They make conversation as he bleeds out, which is kind of funny, but he acknowledges that he’s not going to make it. Arya asks him why he’s still going on and he say “habit”. And then an exchange I really like:
ARYA: “Nothing could be worse than this.”
MAN: “Nothing IS worse than this.”
And they mean ‘nothing’ in different ways, and it’s quite good. It also lets us into Arya’s head a little. Arya introduces herself and they explain their situation, which is also pretty funny. It’s a messed-up deal to just explain to this dude all at once. Finally, the Hound gives the man a drink and puts him out of his misery. Then some guy jumps on his back and bites his neck. The Hound snaps his neck pretty casually, which is funny. Biter has a friend, who explains that there’s a price on his head – not because of what he said to Joffrey because of how he’s dead and all (which is the first Arya and the Hound have heard of it), but because of those soldiers he killed at the inn. (Tywin set this in motion last week.)
Arya recognizes this guy as one of the prisoners who was traveling to the Wall with her. He threatened her, but he’s not on the list because she doesn’t know his name. The Hound asks his name, and once he answers, Arya stabs him in the heart.
Names are a big thing for Arya – it’s not necessarily a theme that recurs for anybody else, but she has her list and there was that assassin who’d kill the people she named. There isn’t anything else in the show that indicates names have any special power, but they do for her.
Back at the Wall, Jon Snow returns from his successful raid, but that guy who hates him just yells at him for bringing Ghost in and not locking him up. Later, he recounts the events of Craster’s Keep and advises that they block the tunnel to the North – he says the gate won’t stop the giants coming through. Jon wants to fill the tunnel with water and freeze it. But Ser Thorne points out that Jon’s a steward and nobody should listen to him. Man, some of these guys deserve to get eaten by ice zombies.
Back to King’s Landing! Bronn has arrived to see Tyrion. He’s all dressed up because he’s engaged to a fancy lady who will be very rich once her older sister maybe falls off a horse or something, if you know what I’m saying. It’s clear that Cersei set the marriage up to keep him out of the trial by combat. Tyrion admits he’s a little tapped at the moment, so he can’t afford to pay Bronn double what Cersei has set up for him. Bronn’s really there as a courtesy to his friend. He does acknowledge their friendship but admits he can’t beat the Mountain. “I like you… I just like myself more.” Another good scene! Scenes with Tyrion in them are usually good, and this really feels like these two are saying good-bye forever.
Time to check in with Daenerys. Since New Daario is determined to be as skeevy as possible, he surprises her by sneaking into her quarters and waiting for her. He’s got wildflowers, and she is not impressed. Anyway, he asks for a favor. He explains that he only has two talents – war and women. He’s frustrated that he doesn’t get to kill anybody and the only woman he wants isn’t interested in him. This dude is seriously saying “Since you’re not letting me do any murders, you kind of owe me some sex.” Ewww. He is the worst, this guy. Bizarrely, it seems to work and Daenerys orders him to take off his clothes. And then we cut away.
Gross. Look, I’m all for consensual sex on this show (and in life), and it’s nice for Daenerys to move out from under the shadow of Khal Drogo. But this dude? His whole “do me or let me kill somebody” thing is just all kinds of offensive. It’s a sex ultimatum, and, you know, ick. I’ve got no beef with Daenerys taking control here, I just hate that this guy can be that terrible and then get what he wants. You can do better, Khaleesi!
We hop over to Dragonstone where Melisandre is taking a bath and just nuding it up. Queen Selyse enters her chambers to talk, and then offers to wait until she’s less naked. Melisandre is not having it, though. She does not need clothing to convey information! (Have I mentioned that she’s really my one GoT crush?) And she is really enjoying this bath – she says that the Lord of Light told her this would be her last good bath and she should make it count. Then she says it’s a joke. Comedy is not among her strengths, people.
She climbs out of the bath and makes no attempt to cover herself. Selyse knows that Stannis had sex with Melisandre, so this is really a power move. She tells Selyse about her various magic potions, including one that drives men wild with lust. However, she didn’t have to use it with Stannis and points that out. Hee! She is just chipping away at Selyse here, and it’s really mean but also kind of awesome.
Anyway, the point of her visit. Selyse doesn’t want to bring their daughter when they depart Dragonstone and Stannis disagrees. Melisandre says the Lord needs her, so she has to be with them when they set sail.
Back across the Narrow Sea, Daario is leaving Daenerys’ quarters when he runs into Jorah. He is super smug about it because he wasn’t punchable enough. Jorah goes into see her, and is all “Really? That guy?” His issue (well, the one he admits to) is that he doesn’t trust Daario, what with him murdering the last people he worked for. Daenerys explains that she sent Daario and the Second Sons to head back to that city she had liberated it and re-liberate it. They argue over how to deal with the masters, and Jorah makes the point that not all of your enemies are entirely evil, but Daenerys doesn’t see it that way. Jorah reminds her that he used to be a slaver, and if Ned Stark had taken her approach, he would have been executed years ago. Finally, she relents and tells Jorah to go to Yunkai and help them conform to her law rather than just having them killed.
And in a pretty sweet move, she tells Jorah to tell Daario that she changed her mind. But then she changes it to “tell him you changed my mind”. Hee!
The Hound tries to stitch up his would, and Arya explains that he has to burn it first. He wants nothing to do with fire, and then opens up to her about how his brother nearly burned his face off on purpose. You know, his brother the Mountain. That guy again! Arya offers to help him stitch and wash out the wound, but no burning. I love these two!
Next, it’s Brienne and Podrick, treating themselves to a night in an inn with actual food. And then an employee stops by to talk at length about how important ingredients are when it comes to making pie. It’s legitimately hilarious, but the most boring man in the world is also the fat kid who was on the run with Arya before! Wikipedia tells me that his name is “Hot Pie”, and there’s no way that can be right. He will not shut up about gravy, and it’s cracking me up. He keeps asking them dumb questions, and Brienne finally blurts that they’re looking for Sansa Stark. Hot Pie (sigh) starts acting all shady, which Podrick interprets as him not being trustworthy.
Hot Pie catches up with them later to let them know that he doesn’t have any info on Sansa Stark, but he saw Arya not that long ago and she was still alive. As far as he knows, she’s still with the Hound and he intends to ransom her. They put it together that the only Stark relative who could pay a ransom is Lysa Arryn, so they decide to go to the Vale.
Let’s check in with Tyrion, who has another visitor. This time, it’s Oberyn. He tells Tyrion about meeting with Cersei, and it comes as no surprise to Tyrion that she very much wants him dead. Oberyn then tells about the time he was a kid and he saw Baby Tyrion. After all the talk, he was expecting an actual monster and instead, he just saw a baby with a big head. I like this a lot. Also, we learn that Cersei sexually abused him when he was a baby, which I like less. But it fits, you know. Of course she did. The real point of Oberyn’s visit, though, is that he’s a man who would very much like to kill the Mountain and he’ll represent Tyrion in the trial by combat. Awesome.
At the Vale, Sansa plays in the snow out in the courtyard and ends up making a snow castle replica of Winterfell. Robin is curious, and this kid skeeves me out so much. It’s partly the way-too-old-to-be-breastfeeding thing, but it’s also the fact that he’s just dumb enough that it’s creepy. Kid should know the word “fall” by now, you know? Robin has a bunch of questions about Winterfell and can’t fathom a castle without a trap door.
An enthusiastic Robin tries to put a moon door in the snow sculpture and knocks it over. Sansa, admittedly, overreacts a little. She get a bit Betty Draper about it, but she’s been through a lot. But Robin is a spoiled brat who kicks the whole thing over and then Sansa slaps him. He runs away, but man, he had it coming. Baelish was watching the whole thing, and he approves. He says he’ll smooth things over with Lysa if need be.
Baelish tells Sansa that he loved her mother, and in a better world, he could have been her father. Which is the grossest possible prelude to making out, but that’s exactly what happens. How old is Sansa supposed to be? It’s really hard to keep track on this show, but she’s got to be young enough to make this problematic. Well, moreso. Watching from afar is Lysa, who we already know is a little unhinged.
Later, Lysa summons her to the throne room and invites her to take a good look into that dangerous whole in the ground. Sansa’s survival instincts really haven’t kicked in yet. Lysa talks about what happens to a buddy that plunges from a great height and then tells Sansa she knows what she did. Sansa thinks it’s about hitting Robin but it totally isn’t and then Lysa does her best to drop her out of the moon door. She’s taking it as well as you’d expect. Also, she goes on about how everybody who stood between her and Baelish is dead now, and I can’t tell if she’s stating a fact or bragging. Does she have some involvement with the Red Wedding? Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the larger political machinations and I need Kevin Spacey to look into the camera and explain.
Anyway, Baelish shows up just in time and talks Lysa down. He swears that he’ll send Sansa away and everything will be OK. Then he moves to console Lysa and drops her out the moon door.
Lysa’s a minor enough character that her death isn’t big news, but the ramifications are interesting. First, we’ve got Baelish making a big move and than can only be awesome. But there’s the question of whether he and Sansa will remain at the Vale. If not, both Brienne and Podrick and Anya and the Hound are going to hit another wall. And what if they get there at the same time? (I don’t know if that’s feasible or not. I’m bad at fictional geography!)
We get a week off for Memorial Day and then this season’s final three episodes. And in past seasons, the last two episodes are usually where things go nuts. I can’t wait!