Can we please just get to the part where everybody fights?
So don't get me wrong, I love this show all the time, unconditionally, the way a mother loves her children/khaleesi her dragons, but was it just me or what this episode a bit slow? Well, not slow, but I don't feel we've accomplished much. To be fair, we've set up a lot of little things that lead into the next two episodes (which I am just like, so excited for you guys, you have no idea) but the sum total of this episode feels like... not much.
We open in Winterfell, where there's a surplus of dead ravens. Guess Theon isn't terribly proud of taking over the place and "burning" the Stark boys. Asha/Yara (seriously, why did they change her name?) shows up and calls him an idiot and a cunt. Actually the word "cunt" gets thrown around a lot in this episode, which I'm not opposed to, but it's best used to describe Cercei and Joffery. Theon is being more of a "fucking moron" in my opinion. Asha/Yara agrees with me, pointing out that, as Ironborn, they are bound to the sea and their ships, so taking over a castle in the middle of a forest in the middle of a continent isn't the best plan for world domination. We also get a glimpse into the fact that Theon was an annoying brat even when he was an infant, but either liked Yara or was scared shitless by her, so he didn't cry anymore.
In the North, the Lord of Bones shows up, looking dapper in his suit of, well, bones. They have Quorin captured. Ygritte defends Jon, thus preserving him from death for another day. She declares them even. Everyone else in the Watch's party is dead.
Somewhere vaguely in the Riverlands, Robb is discussing his whole "I have to marry a Frey" thing with Lady Talisa. We are reminded for the billionth time that Ned Stark was a super honourable and all-around good dude. His bannerman comes to him to inform him that the Kingslayer is gone. He confronts Catelyn, who admits she did it in hopes of saving Sansa and Arya. She's upset that all her children except Robb are captives. She doesn't know Bran and Rickon are "dead" yet, as none of those ravens are getting out. Think of how different Westeros would be if there was a decent 3G network. Everyone is super pissed at Lady Stark and Robb orders her under lockdown.
Nearby, Brienne rides off with Jaime in tow. He spends some time being a cocky, smarmy douchebag to her. Yet he's somehow loveable. Brienne is terse at best.
We leave the wacky and unlikely duo (they should start a spinoff on USA) to head over to Harrenhall. Lord Tywin discusses his plans with his men while Arya serves him. He decides to have his men set out at once and ride through the night to destroy the brotherhood and smash Robb's forces before they head over to King's Landing to defend against Stannis. He tells Arya to remain with The Mountain. She runs off looking for Jaqen, but doesn't find him before Tywin leaves. Awwww, I'm going to miss the Tywin/Arya thing so much!
In the North, Quorin purposefully starts a fight with Jon as part of his master plan. Jon looks really whiny, as usual.
Far south in King's Landing, Bronn is back! I've missed the bromance he has with Tyrion. They bicker a bit about various things, including manicures, clothing, and how an author's name is pronounced (they're for real like an old married couple) when Varys shows up. All we get from him is the proper pronunciation of the maester's name. I think the only thing this scene was establishing is that Stannis will most likely attack via the Mudgate, the weakest of the city gates, and that Tyrion is the only one trying to defend the city.
Up north, but with the Watch instead of the Wildlings, Sam is longing after Jon while they dig trenches for their piss or whatever. They dig up an old stone, marked with symbols of the first men. Beneath it is a black cloak bundled around some daggers and arrowheads made of obsidian/dragonglass and an old horn. No one is sure how they got there. This is another one of those small changes that I don't completely understand- why didn't they find that earlier, like in the book? Jon's supposed to have a dagger, after all.
Jaqen finally shows up to Harrenhall. Arya yells at him, since she missed her chance to get Lord Tywin (not that you didn't have, like, a million chances to stab/poison him yourself girl). She gives him his own name as her third choice. He is obviously not thrilled with that option. She extorts him for more extensive help defeating the Lannister forces.
In King's Landing, Cercei and Tyrion are having a lovely dinner between siblings. Their conversation turns sour (think: further use of the word "cunt"). In a scene that is almost identical to the book, she taunts Tyrion and informs him that she has his "whore," though he finds out it's actually Alayaya she has and not Shae. Cercei's in full bitch-form tonight, guys, none of that sympothy leftover from last week. Tyrion covers her mistake pretty well, though goes running to his rooms to find Shae after. They have a very sweet scene where he confesses his love to her and she says she loves him too and I want to rip her stupid whore head off. I know, I know, getting ahead of myself again. But seriously. Whore.
Robb confers with Roose Bolton about what to do about Winterfell/Casterly Rock. He wants to pursue the Lannister forces but knows he cannot leave Winterfell to Theon. Bolton again pushes the idea of his bastard marching to defend the northern stronghold, but is interrupted by Lady Talisa's arrival. She and Robb interact with each other, and I shall quote it exactly so no one feels left out:
Lady Talisa- My brother almost died but a slave saved him so I decided slavery is bad and helping people is good.
Robb- That's hot. Let's bang.
Talisa- Okay. Check out my butt, it's pretty nice, right?
Robb- Mmm, dat ass
Meanwhile his sister Arya is being slightly more productive about defeating the Lannisters, in that she and Hot Pie and Gendry are heading to the gates to meet Jaqen & co. All the guards are dead.
Out on the sea, Stannis tells Davos all the terrible things people say about him for being an onion knight. Davos ain't even mad, bro. Then Stannis tells him that he would be appointed Hand of the King when Stannis sits upon the Iron Throne. Stannis is sending mixed signals on his feelings here.
In King's Landing, Joffery is yelling at Varys for not knowing anything about the happenings in Winterfell. He wants to take it over. Tyrion points out that Stannis is less than two days out from King's Landing, so maybe worry about that first. Joffery just grins his psychotic grin and says he shall give Stannis a red grin of his own (implying he will slay Stannis.) Right, Joff, I am so sure. Varys compliments Tyrion on his good work Hand-ing, and also mentions whispers of Dragons. Dragons!
Speaking of which, over in Qarth, Jorah is telling Dany to G-T-F-O. He also points out that calling her dragons her "children" all the time isn't strictly accurate, in a biological sense. Dany says something about fiyah and blud, or at least I assume she does, I kind of don't listen to her talk anymore. She strokes Jorah on the face, because she's a wench! A heartless wench I say! He agrees to follow her anywhere.
We end where we began, in Winterfell. Theon wants to pay the farmer for his trouble. Luwin notices the exchange, and also sees Osha slip down to the crypt with some bread. We pan over to them conversing. She tells him how they escaped and of how Theon killed the farmer's boys instead of the Starks. He is appalled and begs her not to tell them, lest they must bear the guilt, but Bran is listening. Poor kid.
Aaaaand that's it. See what I mean? Just more talking, but unlike last week's episode there wasn't a pile of character development. The acting is always solid, but come on. We've had enough foreplay, let's get down to the dirty stuff! Ships! Swords! Fire! Blood! That's what we watch this show for! Seriously, there was more action on my weekend news, although the city's sort of in a police lockdown right now. Whatever, the point is, we're ready for the battle of Blackwater. Well I am. Anyway, post thoughts/feelings in the comments or, alternatively, rate the tapability of Lady Talisa's ass.
Written or Contributed by: Dr. Improbable