After last week’s controversy, Game of Thrones returned this week with a more toned-down episode that is bereft of any apology or remorse for how badly it treated one of its characters.
But for the sake of recapping the show (and for that purpose alone), let us bury the hatchet for just a second and talk about what happened this week in the cruel realm we love to hate.
The show opened with where they left us in the previous episode. Khaleesi and their army are still trying to convince the slaves of Mereen that they must claim their freedom from their masters. Grey Worm and few other unsullied got through the slaves’ chambers and talked them into staging a wide revolt using some weapons they brought. We then see one master walking in a deserted alley of the city. To his surprise, a banner of the House Targaryen was draped over Mereen’s highest point, foretelling the victory, yet again, of Daenerys Targaryen and her army of liberators. The lone master, now scared, tried to brush the horror off and proceed to his business. But there was nowhere to go as the slaves of Mereen have already decided that they will take a shot at liberty.
But Khaleesi did not forget that the city of Mereen chose to crucify 163 slaves to prevent a slave uprising in the past. Determined to avenge the innocent, she orders that 163 masters of the city be crucified. Upon hearing the decision, the Queen’s hand Ser Barristan Selmy confronted her and said “Sometimes, it is better to answer in justice with mercy.” But Daenerys, being the resolute and ruler that she is, refuted Selmy by saying “I will answer in justice with justice.” If that one-liner does not encapsulate Daenerys’ governing style and political consciousness, I don’t know what will.
Jamie Lannister, who got away with raping his sister-cum-lover last week, proved pivotal to this week’s episode. He was first seen with Bronn as he continues his combat training and later with his brother Tyrion, who grows more convinced that his head will roll regardless of the outcome of his trial. It amazes me how the showrunners were able to elevate Jamie’s status as a primary character (although this feat was more flawlessly executed by George R. R. Martin himself in the books). Suddenly, he’s not one of the resident villains of Westeros anymore; now, he’s just a tortured soul who’s yearning for love, a peaceful life and his sister. And thanks to the character growth he experienced, particularly in the third season, the audience are buying his change of heart (would have been a near-perfect run if not for his grave misstep last week).
But Jaime’s best moments came when he was confronting the two women who are tugging at his heartstrings. He shared one scene with Cersei who is still grieving but is more determine to nail Tyrion for a crime she’s convinced he committed. The next day, after giving Brienne of Tarth a sword made of Valyrian steel and an armor, she asks the lady warrior to go after Sansa, who they believe is the last remaining Stark alive, and keep her safe and protected at all times. Brienne named her sword “Oathkeeper” and sets forth but not after waving Jamie an emotional good bye.
Margaery Tyrell also has her fair share of screen time this week. No less than her grandmother, the Queen of Thorns has hinted to her that she’s one of the people who poisoned King Joffrey. If Margaery knew that Lady Olenna was the culprit, which I’d like to think she did, she was able to hide it very well. We see Margaery next sneaking to King Tommen’s room, attempting to win his heart and telling him that their midnight rendezvous is their own little secret. What is clear to us right now is that Margaery desperately wants to be the Queen of Westeros. What still isn’t clear is that we don’t know why she wants to be a queen. Sure, she’s a Tyrell – a House that wants to hold and wield power so badly but her characterization is completely different from her grandmother’s. So what is she really up to? Our only option is to keep watching and wait for the big reveal.
At Castle Black, we see Jon Snow organizing a team to capture the ex-crows at Craster’s Keep. To his surprise, a handful of men volunteered to go with him. But the most interesting part of the Castle Black story arc this week is how the showrunners are already setting up the stage for the election of the next Lord Commander which, based on this season’s pacing, is bound to be the season finale scene/cliff hanger. Or is it too early for that kind of prediction?
Meanwhile, Bran Stark, his direwolf Summer, the Reeds and Hodor have advanced near Craster’s Keep, but were unfortunately captured by the mutineers. Bran reveals that he is a Stark and his captors immediately took an interest in him.
But just when I thought this episode is just all about character development and setting up foundations for more climactic episodes, the final scene started rolling. A lone White Walker approached Craster’s last son. He took it in his arms and made his way back to their lair where the infant was finally transformed into a young White Walker. The scene is as creepy as it is interesting and it saved the episode from becoming just a filler in the season.
- What, no Oberyn this week?
- What, no Arya this week?
- Sansa’s scene? What Sansa’s scene?
- It is evident that the show is running out of additional interesting plot points to play around with.
MNL Film Club Score: 1.75