Quickly folks! There’s no time to waste! People are conspiring some stuff, and I’m here to tell you about it! Game of Thrones show spoilers! Organised roughly by geography.
Riverlands: We waste no time in conducting the Hound’s trial by battle against Dondarrion. The trial occurs in an inexplicably small space and involves a lot of fire, much to Sandor’s dismay. However, the Lord of Light judges him innocent, as he manages to cleave Beric Dondarrion nearly in half. Arya tries to kill him instead, but Gendry stops her, and Dondarrion- freshly resurrected by Thoros- assures her that the Hound will one day die. They let him go, but not before robbing him.
Later, Gendry fixes Dondarrion’s armour while informing Arya that he’ll be joining the brotherhood, an account of he wants to belong to a family. She says that she would be his family if he left with her, but he says that she could only be his lady. This clearly angers Arya, but is really sort of sweet if you think about it.
She sulks with her list of people she wants murdered. Thoros and Beric tell her about the resurrections, and the various ways Beric has died. She asks if Thoros could bring back her father, but he tells her that Ned’s at rest, so no.
North of the Wall: Mance interrogates Jon Snow about the manpower of the Night’s Watch. Jon is clearly reluctant to divulge that information, which is taken as a sign of mistrust by Orell. In the meantime, Ygritte is feeling frisky. She steals Jon’s sword and runs away to a cave, where she promptly strips naked and forces herself upon him. We’re treated to a somewhat not-gratuitous sex scene! Huzzah!
Harrenhall: Jaime and Brienne are brought to Lord Bolton, who apologises for their rough treatment. He gives Jaime the good (?) news that Cercei is fine. Bolton then sends Jaime to a maester to have his hand taken care of. The maester wants to take off the whole arm, but Jaime insists instead on gritting his teeth while having the dead flesh trimmed off. How… unpleasant.
Brienne is soaking while Jaime’s done having his hand treated and then it’s time for his own bath. He gets in the tub with her, much to her irritation, and we’re treated to more butt shots! Butts all around! He then tells the story of his King Slaying, and we learn that when they called Aerys the “mad king,” they weren’t hyperbolising. Brienne, listening in horror, realises she has misjudged Jaime.
King’s Landing: Cercei tells Littlefinger to sniff out whatever it is the Tyrells are up to. Meanwhile, Tyrion and Lady Olenna meet to discuss finances. We get an idea of just how indebted the Lannister/Baratheon crew is to the Tyrells re: the war. Olenna stresses that despite the extravagance of the wedding, it is necessary to provide distraction; however, she does agree that Highgarden will cover half the expenses.
Littlefinger accomplishes his spying by sending one of his man-whores to seduce Loras (also giving us a gratuitous sex scene), thus learning that there are plans to have him engaged to Sansa. This obviously irks Baelish, as he has his creepy eyes on her for himself. He later revisits the idea of taking her home, but since she’s smitten with Loras (poor, naive girl) she says she might just stay.
In the final, amazing scene (I seriously fucking love the Lannisters), Tywin and Cercei trap Tyrion and inform him that he will be marrying Sansa in order to interrupt the Tyrell’s plan to marry her to Loras. Lena Headey sure knows how to pull a smirk. Said smirk is wiped off her face, however, when Tywin tells her that she’ll be marrying Loras instead. She is… irate.
Riverrun: The Karstarks break into the cell where the young Lannister boys are being kept and slaughter them. Robb Stark, King of the North, cannot abide this, as he promised their safety. He sentences Rickard Karstark to death and very honourably (albeit dramatically) beheads him, as Ned would have wanted. And we all know that Ned’s honour got him real far in life.
That night, Robb is playing Risk: Westeros Edition (aside: I would totally buy that). He tries to teach his wife’s tiny woman brain how to read a map, and thus decides that the best way to defeat the Lannisters is not to meet them in the riverlands or at King’s Landing, but instead to take Casterly Rock. For this, he’ll need the help of Walder Frey. (I am so ready for this shit you guys!)
Storm’s End: Stannis finally goes to Lady Selyse, who is praying to the Lord of Light. He tries to confess his adultery to his wife, but Mellisandre already told her- and she wept with joy, because Stannis was doing the Lord’s work. Man, religion is weird. Also, Selyse apparently keeps her dead sons in formaldehyde, so that’s neat. He then goes to see his living daughter, Shireen, who has been scarred by greyscale and sings creepy songs to herself. (Book readers will recognise the song she’s singing as the one her fool, Patchface, sings, as he had his brain addled when he nearly drowned.) Stannis tells her that Davos is a traitor, and she’s sad because Davos built her a nice toy boat. At night she sneaks out of her cell to see Davos, bearing a letter. When he tells her he can’t read, she starts to teach him.
Near Astapoor: Jorah and Selmy talk about the good ol’ days in Westeros. I have to say that they get along much better in the show than they do in the book. Selmy wants to serve a king (or, I guess queen) with pride before he dies. Jorah says Daenerys is worth believing in. They do get a bit pissy with each other when Selmy points out that, despite both of their distaste for politics, Jorah doesn’t exactly have a stellar reputation in Westeros, what with the slave trading and all. Jorah dismisses him, saying he serves only Dany. She, meanwhile, is busy interviewing her new unsullied commander.
Some good backstory here, along with some solid callbacks to older stuff. I’m seriously loving the Lannisters- all of them, not just Tyrion, though I’d argue he’s the only one who can still think of someone besides himself. But seriously, the scenes with them are great. This episode allowed a lot of the actors to show off their skills, and once again made me super appreciate non-network television. It’s a fine line between drama and melodrama, and Game of Thrones generally knows which side of that line to toe. Thank you HBO, for that and for all of the butts.