This was a mildly frustrating episode by design. Focusing mainly on set up, everyone was basically spinning their wheels either waiting for the next shoe to drop, or actively pursuing the next stage of their story.
Margaery is playing a long game of chess with the High Sparrow, and I'm not entirely sure if he buys her charade. She has delivered him the crown in a lot of ways, yet her loyalties remain with her family whose survival is clearly her priority. Unfortunately, the result is that Tommen has been positioned to be a puppet of the faith, and that means his days are probably limited.
Cersei is having just as hard a time figuring out how to regain her power. With the Tyrells effectively removed from the game, and Jaime sent off to take back Riverrun, all she has is the Mountain. Jaime at least has Bronn to act as his right hand, not that his peaceful attempts to take Riverrun from Blackfish were at all successful. It almost seems like he doesn't care all that much, like the fight is gone from him.
Sansa and Jon aren't having any more luck getting the Northern lords to sign onto their fight. Taking back Winterfell from Ramsey isn't going to be easy or quick, and time is not on their side, with both winter and the Night's King approaching. One thing is clear, neither of them are capable of instilling the same devotion as Robb (at least with the Northern Lords). I do hope Brienne and Sansa's secret letter find better results, or god forbid Ramsey might win.
Yara and Theon at least seem to have a goal, and it seems like it's basically the same one their uncle has. Except neither of them appears to want to take Daenerys as their bride (which was an idea so laughable that I actually snorted when Euron suggested it a couple of episodes ago). One thing has come out the siblings reunion, Yara seems to have coaxed Theon out of his Reek shell for now.
But the main story the episode kept returning to belonged to the Hound, who it turns out did survive when Arya abandoned him. The story of him being covered in bugs and half dead when Brother Ray found him and nursed him back to health was pretty effective. It made sense that Sandor followed him and tried to make a new home for himself. Brother Ray even became a kind of a new mentor to him, preaching peace. It was a much nicer story than I would've expected for Sandor. Unfortunately, this show has no mercy, and by the end of the episode the Hound had to pick up a weapon again, this time for revenge.
Arya getting stabbed by the Waif was not surprising, but I'd hoped she had learned to be more cautious.
Ian McShane was a welcome surprise as Brother Ray, and I loved his performance. But couldn't we have gotten one more episode with him?
The scene between Theon and Yara could have happened anywhere, did it have to be a brothel? It's as if the show needed to fulfill a quota of nudity for the episode.
It was kind of cool to see Walder Frey again, even though he is an absolutely horrible character. It does look like his own family is close to killing him off themselves.
Lady Mormont was a neat character, a child lord who was both competent and intelligent without being evil. I think that's a first for Game of Thrones.
Bronn: "You promised me a lordship, and a castle, and a highborn beauty for a wife."
Jaime: "And you'll get all three. A Lannister always pays..."
Bronn: "Don't say it, don't fucking say it."
Jaime: "You have better instincts than anyone else in the Lannister army."
Bronn: "That's like saying I have a bigger cock than anyone in the Unsullied army."
Jaime: "Get word to the Blackfish. I want to parlay."
Bronn: "Parlay or a fight."
Jaime: "He's an old man."
Bronn: "And you've got one hand. My money's on the old boy."
Brother Ray: "Violence is a disease. You don't cure a disease by spreading it to more people."
Sandor: "You don't cure it by dying, either."
While not a great episode, it was at least interesting from a character perspective.
3 out of 4 Unhelpful Lords
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.
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