We open on Grey Worm and the rest of the Unsullied as the Targaryen-Jaws theme kicks in. The music and scene at hand hint at impending fire! And blood! And gruesome green explosions! And a cataclysmic battle for King’s Landing!
None of which happens. They should have briefed Ramin Djawadi on some nice, benign lobby music…perhaps some Coldplay circa 2004. Because all that’s going to happen in King’s Landing this morning is a Westerosi board meeting, sans little bowls of Mentos.
Bronn and Jaime stand on the battlements of King’s Landing, talking about how having a cock gives life meaning and seemingly oblivious to the fact that this implies 50% of the existing population’s lives are already not worth living. Personally I’ve always thought having a cock must be like having a bald, senile Jack Russell that dry-humps the furniture and barks every time someone walks within 500 metres of your house, but I could be wrong.
The Dothraki arrive to join the Unsullied, while Tyrion, Jon, Davos, Varys, Theon, Jorah and Missandei approach by sea. Jon’s predictably appalled at the density of city living. The Hound’s below deck, checking on demo dead guy. Demo dead guy reminds me of a live mud crab I once bought from the fish market on a whim – do you think I could get that fucker out of my laundry sink when I was finally ready to cook him? Nope. Now I buy my crabs pre-cooked in ginger and shallots.
Inside the Red Keep, Cersei wants to know why Daenerys wasn’t in any of the episode promos and doesn’t appear to be with the others. She tells the Mountain to kill Dany first if anything goes wrong, then Tyrion, then Jon; the rest he’s allowed to kill at his leisure. Points to Cersei for not micro-managing.
Everyone heads for the Dragonpit, where the Targaryens used to keep their dragons so they didn’t eat Kings Landing’s residents or poop on their lawns. Team Targaryen meets up with Bronn, who’s towing Brienne and Pod. The Hound and Brienne clock each other. Tyrion and Pod reunite. Brienne and the Hound settle their differences over protective custody of Arya. Tyrion tries to buy Bronn’s allegiance back, and tells him it’s good to see him. There’s so much juicy intermingling my little heart can barely stand it.
They arrive at the Dragonpit and scan for signs of impending mass murder. What follows is yet again a dialogue-heavy sequence, so I’m hitting the bullet points:
- Bronn and Podrick head to the pub. Jon watches them go wistfully, as if he’s keen for a pint.
- The Hound asks Tyrion if he’s likely to die in this shit city. Tyrion: Probably.
- Cersei rocks up with her entourage, including a smirking Euron. You’re still not scary, arsebag. You’re like a second-rate Captain Jack Sparrow cosplay.
- Tyrion and Cersei eye each other off. Fuck I’ve missed Dinklage and Headey together…their chemistry is dynamite.
- Jon eyes Cersei. Jaime eyes Brienne. Euron eyes Theon. The Hound eyes the Mountain, and hilariously breaks protocol to tell him he’s coming for him…later. Right now he has to go grab the demonstration Tupperware dead guy.
- Waaaaah I so wanted Cleganebowl!
- Cersei vents her fury over Dany’s lack of punctuality by using her eyes to tell Brienne to go die in a fire.
- Jaime looks embarrassed that Brienne’s here to witness his testicles being tucked into Cersei’s purse.
- Dragon screech! Dany arrives on Drogon, while Rhaegal frolicks in the sky above. My heart explodes in renewed grief for Viserion.
- Unimpressed by the dragons, workplace psychopath Cersei bitches at Dany for arriving late. Dany’s super dignified about it.
- Tyrion hops up to launch his preso. Theon forgot to set up the fucking overhead projector AGAIN. Euron interrupts to be a fucking douche until Cersei tells him to sit down.
- Tyrion launches into his intro: none of us like each other, we’ve all lost people, blah-blah-blah, major peril means we must unite. Jon’s pronunciation of ‘battlefield’ annoys me. Cersei bitches at Jon and Dany. Tyrion introduces the main event…dead guy in a box!
- Dead guy runs straight for Cersei, the way a large, wet dog will run towards the one person in a group who’s terrified of dogs. Her resting bitch face transforms for pretty much the first time ever, showing actual terror.
- Jaime doesn’t move a muscle when it comes for her. I sense there’s still good in you, Jaime!
- The Hound cuts dead guy in half. Jon demonstrates how a wight can be killed, and gives his spiel: Sign up to kill wights today, and receive this Flavourstone non-stick frying pan – FREE!
- Euron fakes being terrified and leaves. Cersei pretends to care about the plight of mankind, and pledges to fight alongside her enemies – as long as Jon doesn’t choose sides when she and Dany battle it out later on. Unable to tell a lie, Jon declares for Team Targaryen. Cersei storms out of the meeting.
Tyrion makes an enormous logical leap to come to the conclusion that he’s the one to make his sister reconsider. He presents himself to a seething Cersei, who appears as if she wants to kill him on sight – yet doesn’t. This makes a lot more sense later on when you find out she was orchestrating everything the whole time.
I don’t think Cersei avoids executing Tyrion because deep down she doesn’t want to kill him – that’s simply what she needs Tyrion to believe. She knows that what he longs for more than anything is acceptance from his family; she’s withheld that from him his entire life, and is now using it to play him. Just as she plays him by ‘accidentally’ giving away that she’s pregnant. Given his (inexplicable) feelings of guilt over Myrcella and Tommen, it enables Cersei to exploit his emotional vulnerabilities even further.
Anyhow, that’s my theory. But all that really matters is that Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage are fucking sensational together, and this is one of the best scenes of the season.
Back at the dragonpit, Jon’s foreshadowing later events by fondling a dragon bone. Dany comes over to lament the downfall of the Targaryen dynasty and sexy-talk him with some High Valyrian. She reminds us all – for the 700th-fucking-time – that she can’t have children. As an expert in the field of female reproduction, Jon isn’t so sure and personally wants to double check.
Tyrion returns with Cersei and her entourage, and Cersei commits her forces to fighting alongside the others in the Great War. Meeting adjourned! Is it wrong that I’m a little bereft at the lack of green explosions?
To Winterfell, where the snow’s flying and Littlefinger’s slime is oozing extra-thick. As usual, Sansa’s pissed off at Jon for making decisions without consulting her first, as if he’s King of the North or something. This somehow leads to nonsensical discussion about the merits of pre-emptively killing Arya before she can kill Sansa.
Littlefinger dispenses more of his creepy how-I-play-the-game wisdom. Dude, just write a fucking Chicken-Soup-for-the-Mastermind book already. Sansa soaks it all up, paranoid that Arya’s here to kill her and take the title of Lady of Winterfell. Technically speaking, isn’t Bran top dog in the line of succession anyhow?
To Dragonstone, for the sole purpose of watching everyone squirm uncomfortably when they realise Jon and Dany are going to bone their way to Winterfell. Jorah takes it especially hard. From Tyrion’s expression, I’m starting to think he’s going to betray Daenerys in season 8.
Theon approaches Jon in the throne room, telling him he always knew what the right thing to do was. Sensing Theon’s need for forgiveness, Jon says he forgives what he can – and that Theon doesn’t have to choose; he’s a Greyjoy and a Stark. I hope Jon remembers this philosophy next season when he confronts his own therapy-inducing identity issues. Also, Alfie Allen’s right up there with Dinklage and Headey in terms of performance in this episode, which is even more evident in the next scene.
The last of Yara’s men are down on the beach, getting ready to sail for greener pastures. Theon arrives and tells them they need to rescue Yara.
There’s a fight between him and their captain. Theon finally finds his courage and refuses to back down, despite the likelihood he’s going to be beaten to death. When his lack of a penis helps him win, he manages to gain the respect of the Ironborn. Theon sinks into the sand and washes away the last remnants of Reek. A really powerful scene that left me all lumpy in the throat.
Back to Winterfell, where – after a moment of contemplation – Sansa orders that Arya be brought to the great hall.
Inside the hall, the Knights of the Vale have gathered, along with Lord Baelish. Sansa and Bran hold court as Arya’s brought forth. There’s some frosty dialogue between Arya and Sansa, until finally Sansa list the charges: You stand accused of murder. You stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges…Lord Baelish?
Littlefinger visibly shits himself a little, but can’t digest the possibility of having been caught in a trap inspired by his own web-weaving. He tells Sansa he’s confused, so she clears matters up for him: he murdered their aunt Lysa to take control of the Vale, he conspired to murder Jon Arryn with poison, he instigated the conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks, and worst of all – he conspired to have Ned Stark locked up for treason.
He denies it all – none of them were there to see what happened.
Bran: Totally saw everything.
Littlefinger starts to panic, begging Sansa for a private audience. She throws his words back in his face, and it’s fucking delicious: Sometimes when I’m trying to understand a person’s motives, I play a little game…
Littlefinger demands the Knights of the Vale escort him back to the Eyrie: ACCESS DENIED. He becomes a blubbering coward, begging Sansa and telling her he loves her. Sansa responds by giving Arya the nod to cut his throat like he’s a prize hog. It’s glorious, juicy justice, even if the logistics of how all this actually played out are unclear. The cockroach of Westeros is finally dead, killed with his own treacherous blade.
Back to King’s Landing, where Jaime’s organizing the expedition North. Cersei rocks up and asks what the fuck he’s doing, then tells him she always knew he was the stupidest Lannister. What in God’s name does Jaime get from this relationship aside from blow jobs??
Cersei has no intention of sending her armies North – she’s going to let the monsters deal with the monsters, while she strengthens her position. Jaime points out that this will result in powerful enemies coming to kill them, regardless of who wins the Great War – and their child will never be born if the dead conquer Westeros.
Cersei dismisses this; she clocked that Dany’s down a dragon, and is flush with cash from the Iron Bank – in fact, Euron’s on his way to Essos to pick up her newly-purchased army, complete with elephants. Oh, yeah. Elephants. They’ll help in a battle against dragons for sure.
Jaime’s unhappy she planned all this without him. Cerise’s unhappy he ‘betrayed’ her by speaking to Tyrion. Jaime’s had a gutful and is fucking OUTTA here. Cersei sets the Mountain on him; no one walks away from her! And for the second time in this episode, one of her brothers tells her to go ahead and kill him. She doesn’t though – this time I genuinely think she can’t.
Jaime goes to Cersei’s quarters and fishes his testicles out of her handbag, before heading North. As he gallops away, the snow finally starts to fall on King’s Landing.
Sam and Gilly arrive at Winterfell. They travelled by horse and cart rather than the Shinkansen, which I guess is is why it took them more than one episode. Sam’s first port of call is Bran, presumably to check just how far Bran’s sociopathic tendencies have progressed. Maybe Sam can learn how to give effective electro-shock therapy from one of his books?
Sam: What happened to you North of the Wall?
Bran (deadpan): I became the Three-Eyed Raven.
Sam: Oh. That’s…nice.
Bran explains that he can see shit that happened in the past, plus shit that’s happening now. They start talking about Jon, and Bran (finally) shares that Jon’s Rhaegar and Lyanna’s bastard.
Sam: Nope. He tells Bran that Gilly discovered Rhaegar’s first marriage was annulled, and he married Lyanna Stark in Dorne. Except that he doesn’t – he attributes the discovery to himself, like a total arsehole.
Bran delves into the weirwood-network to see what happened between Rhaegar and Lyanna. It turns out they did get married; Rhaegar wore Viserys’ horrendous wig as his ‘something old’. Seriously? Production couldn’t spring for a new wig to make Rhaegar remotely appealing?
Bran narrates the tragic story of Rhaegar and Lyanna as we cut to the dragon-boat of love, where Jon’s psyching himself up to knock on Dany’s door. Dragon incest booty call!
This entire sequence would be a lot sexier without fucking Bran monotone-ing over the top. But equally, it’s all so prim and serious and un-Game-of-Thrones that I kind of want to know what it’d be like if someone stripped their sex scene of its original sound and laid the music from the Blue Oyster Bar in Police Academy over the top. Please can someone make this happen?
While Jon and Dany get down, we learn Jon’s real name is Aegon Targaryen. Which was also the name of the son Rhaegar had with Elia Martell, who died at the hands of the Mountain. So Rhaegar recycled names much the same way my friend Lou’s mum calls every dog she has Pepper. When one Pepper dies, it’s replaced by the next Pepper. It’s quite macabre.
The music soars. Jon and Dany roll around naked, presumably about to make the baby Dany can’t possibly have – while Tyrion lurks in the shadows outside, looking forlorn. Is this another nail in the coffin for his trust in Dany, and if so – why? He was totally shipping them last week.
To Winterfell once more, where Arya and Sansa have the reunion conversation I was hoping for weeks ago. I love that Sansa’s a proper badass now, and Arya’s her muscle. Sad strings kick in as they talk about their father, and my throat gets all lumpy again. So let’s jump to a zombie dragon!
At Eastwatch Tormund’s keeping watch atop the wall with Beric Dondarrion. He spots the White Walkers emerging from the trees below, and knows shit’s about to go down.
An unearthly dragon shriek pierces the silence, and zombie-Viserion appears with the Night King on his back. He blows the Wall to shit with blue zombie-dragon fire. The Wall (or at least a good chunk of it) collapses. I hate to say it, but I think Tormund’s unlikely to make any monstrous babies with Brienne anytime soon.
The White Walkers lead the army of the dead into Westeros, while the Night King soars overhead. As Tyrion Lannister put it: we’re fucked.
Next week: Nothing. Nothing but staring down the barrel of an 18-month wait for the next new episode, wondering what the fuck happened to Gendry, if Bronn will follow Jaime to the North, and whether Ghost is chewing shoes and peeing on the carpet at Winterfell to protest being fucking neglected all year.