Pretend that you are one of the showrunners for Game of Thrones. Last week was The Purple Wedding, one of the most anticipated and celebrated episodes of your series. For the next week’s episode, you have two choices: you could try to go all out and make something really cool that rides the wave of Joffrey-hate to a satisfying conclusion, or you could sleep through your alarm, roll over in bed and ask for fifty-five minutes of snooze time to get you through to the next episode.
You are not one of the showrunners for Game of Thrones. David Benioff and Dan Weiss are the showrunners for Game of Thrones. They went for option #2. Ugh.
On with the recap:
Sansa, as per the usual, has limited life options and actively chooses to flee King’s Landing with the alkie clown she met two weeks ago. He ferries her to a spooky ship where- “Surprise, Bitch”– Lord Petyr Baelish is waiting for her. He sniffs her at least twice and shoots Ser Dontos in the face because everyone else on this show is in a medieval fantasy setting but Petyr “The ‘Stache” Belish came straight out of Grand Theft Auto.
“We all lie,” Petyr whispers to Sansa in an accent that is different from that which he used for all of his previous lines, “…but you’re safe with me,” he continues unconvincingly. Sansa has the wherewithal to look uncomfortable.
Both Tywin Lannister and the audience both realize at the exact same time that Joffrey has a younger brother who nobody cared about until he became THE DE FACTO KING OF WESTEROS. Long Live King Tommen “Baratheon,” whose only redeeming quality so far is that he’s not Joffrey. Tywin considers his forgotten bonus grandchild with an expression that can only be described as “grumpy cat meets Lannister lion” and gives him a sex talk right there in the church next to Joffrey’s dead body.
Enter Jaimie, and a brief digression:
In this scene, the showrunners decide that a television show with fairly direct creative possibilities and a track record of accurately portraying the harsh realities of a violent life, which include the slaughter of innocents, the death of heroes, the sacking of cities, the imprisoning of the just, the general treatment of women as chattel, regicides by the dozen, sex slavery, and dragon immolation- NEEDS EXTRA RAPE.
That is to say that in the book version of this scene, both Jamie and Cersei express consent before having sex.
Jamie and Cersei have had difficultly rekindling their relationship since he returned to King’s Landing, and it’s okay to assume that they might come together to comfort each other after the death of their child. A consensual sexual encounter in a church next to their kid’s dead body is a weird way to go about reclaiming that spark, but it’s consistent with both of their characters. There is no reason that their dead-body-church-sex should be plastered with the added shock factor of rape. Rape is not spice to be liberally sprinkled over plots in order make them more interesting or to give characters motivation beyond how they are written. It is a violent and terrifying reality that people everywhere face.
Okay, I said the thing. Moving on.
Whenever I get upset, I think about Davos Seaworth learning how to read. It’s the closest thing this show has to a cutscene of puppies frolicking in the fields of Highgarden, and I appreciate every single minute of his muppety little face mouthing along to his homework. He hangs out with Shireen every night in what I hope is a treehouse with a sign that says “No Red Ladees Alowed” nailed to the door, and comes out of this episode with a brilliant plan™ that is left to the audience’s imagination…until probably episode 5.
Arya and the Hound have the Game of Thrones equivalent of a filler episode, where they stumble upon a farmer and his daughter and are taken in for the night. Arya proves that she is a “smart little shit” by talking her way into their home and correctly sussing out that the farmer is a Tully supporter. Sandor is impressed.
The farmer offers Sandor a job on his farm and he seems all set to take it…until he hits the farmer in the head with a brick, steals his money, and leaves him to die. Because never forget kiddies, even though Sandor Clegane is kind of a fox and really relatable, he’s still the Hound, and the Hound is a dick. When Arya questions his judgement, he reminds her that her whole family is dead and life sucks. See, what did I tell you? Hound = dick.
Oberyn is busy giving his gay lover a tumblr-worthy breakdown of the legitimacy of his bisexual identity when Tywin Lannister rolls up into his room and presumably kills Oberyn’s boner (I say presumably because despite his Lannister hatred I’m not entirely sure Oberyn wouldn’t.) Oberyn conveys that he is literally the opposite of sorry about Tywin’s grandson, and Tywin politely asks him to calm his tits and serve as one of three judges at Tyrion’s trial.
Speaking of Tyrion, he’s imprisoned awaiting trial for the murder of Joffrey when Poderick Payne, the Neville Longbottom of Westeros, comes to visit him. Pod reveals that people have tried to bribe him into testifying against Tyrion but has insofar held up against them because “you have been good to me, M’lord” and Poderick is the most loyal little german shephard/squire in the Seven Kingdoms. Seriously, I love this guy. 10/10, boyfriend material, super fav.
Tyrion realizes that he has to drop-kick everyone he loves far away from his person to keep them safe, so he shoos Pod off. It’s a little sweet.
Finally we catch up with Dany in Essos, where the Meereenese have sent out a champion to challenge her army. She gives Daario the honor of fighting the champion, allegedly because he’s the least valuable out of her advisors but actually because she wants to see him flex his muscles in the hot Essosian sunshine. Daario kills the challenger in two seconds and then whips his penis out because the sexual tension between him and Dany wasn’t overt enough before he looks her dead in the eyes while whipping his penis out.
Other things that happened:
A bunch of Nights Watchmen come down from the mutiny at Craster’s Keep, including my favorite deadpan jerk-of-a-friend Dolorous Edd. Welcome back, Eddy boy.
Sam is worried about Gilly being around all the men in the Night’s Watch…so he hides her in a dirty brothel. A for effort, F for execution.
Wildings are assholes and Thenns are worse. They roll into a town south of the Wall and go on a spree of rape and murder that ends with Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, telling a little boy that he is going to eat his parents. Because he’s a cannibal.
Oberyn brings back the “we live in the eye of a blue eyed giant named Macumba” joke from season one! Please let this recur, I will cheer every time.
In the Essos sequence, the camera kept cutting to a certain handsome dude on the walls of Meereen with a sick fro and a clear interest in the Mother of Dragons. Did anybody else catch that? I wonder who he is…