Mother of Dragons!
Ehh…Episode 7 Recap
By: Dan Shorr
Sorry to be an overly critical hater, but I thought this episode was the season’s weakest offering. Let’s find out why!
No Longer Beyond the Wall:
Her first time visiting beyond the Wall, Ygritte is adjusting to a different way of life. “You and your roads” she scoffs at Jon Snow, inexplicably taking issue with convenient transportation infrastructure before also stating her disdain for drummer-boys and percussion assisted warfare. We’re starting to see some tension between the young lovers as their fundamental differences become more and more apparent. Making matters even worse, Orell the Impolite Warg interrupts, bluntly telling Jon that his relationship with Ygritte is doomed. Impolite indeed.
Inclement weather has Robb and the Tullys taking a pit stop on the way to the Frey wedding festivities. Catelyn Stark – delivering her typical trifecta of whining, brooding and disapproving stares – is worried that the delay will further aggravate their soon-to-be hosts. Her entire family ignores her.
Robb then kicks everyone out of his tent except for his wife, has some sex, and then hits the Stratego board for some post-coital war brainstorming. Meanwhile Naked Queen Talisa reveals she is pregnant. Congrats to their kid, he/she/Unsullied just inherited the least fun grandmother ever.
No Longer Beyond The Wall:
Tormund gives the group some raunchy love tips invoking animal references to dogs and wet seals, neither of which is particularly pleasant. Orell, forgetting that in a past life he was a one-eyed pirate ghost, makes the move on Ygritte. She is obviously way, way out of his league but aside from the common sense issues the interaction raised, it also just felt forced and out of nowhere. Jon is getting closer and closer to having his loyalty to the Night’s Watch and loyalty to Ygritte come to a deciding collision – we don’t need Orell’s bitter mack game to increase the tension between Jon and Ygritte’s dynamic. Unsurprisingly, with lines like “I’d tell you that your beautiful, and fierce and wild. I’d be good to you,” Orell strikes out.
Walking in the Park has become the new Having Sex in a Brothel in terms of Game of Thrones’ preferred conversational backdrop. To summarize this scene’s brief and trivial conversation between Margaery Tyrell and Sansa Stark, Margaery tells Sansa that she might enjoy having sex with Tyrion because she has heard he is very experienced with prostitutes. No, that’s it.
Tyrion is doing some Catelyn Stark-esque moping. His fiancé’s maid is also his girlfriend and gosh, he just doesn’t know what to do. What happened to the Tyrion that saved King’s Landing? The guy that played musical chairs with the Small Council and had Grand Maester Pycelle imprisoned? We’ve seen Westeros’ most unlikely hero talk his way out of the Sky Cells, urinate off the Wall, survive multiple attacks, plan the Battle of the Blackwater and navigate through a bunch of other exciting, difficult circumstances. But what is he dealing with now? Planning a wedding, acting as Master of Coin and dealing with an angry girlfriend? Simply put, these don’t feel like the type of obstacles that should be throwing off Tyrion.
Joffrey is sitting on the Iron Throne. Automatically an A+ start for any scene that begins with the character we all love to hate. The doors open – in walks Tywin Lannister. A one-on-one with these two?!? Where the premise is Joffrey petulantly confronting his grandfather?!? What else could you ask for? And yet, while the scene was OK, I expected so much more out of it. Aside from Tywin’s one moment of climbing the steps and getting in Joffrey’s face, the typically cutthroat Hand of the King was unusually reserved. Yes, he was talking to the King and we shouldn’t expect the same level of no-holds-barred treatment, but that doesn’t mean the audience has to settle for a brief chitchat about dragon skulls and Small Council meetings between these two entertaining and violate characters.
Dany has journeyed to Yunkai, another rotten slaver city, and doesn’t plan on leaving until she frees the 200,000 slaves inside. A reasonably wary leader from Yunkai shows up, thinking Ms. Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons is going to fall for some bribery. Dude starts talking and Dany throws a steak at her dragons to let him know how nice the show’s CGI budget is these days. Dany turns down the bribe (but keeps the gold, nice) and instructs him to “release every slave in Yunkai.” She left out the or else I will burn you alive, son!
Shae is not handling the Sansa Stark/ Tyrion development very well. “I’m not your lady, I’m your whore” she says to her Lannister lover. Remember at the end of last season, when depressed and wounded Tyrion emotionally bared all to Shae and it looked like they were truly in love? Well now they are on the ropes, and while Shae’s frustrations make sense, the tension that has driven them apart has been presented sloppily. She’s jealous of Sansa. He didn’t tell Shae about his wedding, until THE EXACT MOMENT he told Sansa. He chose not to leave and runaway with her. We could be having seizures with Bran’s telepathic sidekick or eating figs with Lady Olenna, and yet we have to deal with this flat storyline? Next!
Post Battle of the Blackwater, the King’s Landing naval cleanup crew has clearly made very little progress as dismantled ship debris clutters the murky waters. Melisandre drops some knowledge on Gendry and lets him know that he is the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon by subtly pointing to the castle and saying: “there, your father’s house.” Melisandre, as we know from her birthing habits, is a very theatrical individual.
Arya is sulking (everybody is whining in this episode) and refuses to forgive Beric Dondarrion for selling her dear friend Gendry. Additionally, for the 27th time, Arya finds her trip home postponed as the Brotherhood without Banners decide to go stage an impromptu sneak attack on a Lannister raiding party instead of bringing her back to her mother. This is the last straw for Arya; she dashes off and escapes into the dark night (probably chock-full of terrors too). Unfortunately, Arya’s freedom is short lived. She gets abducted by… the Hound! Understandably unhappy with the Brotherhood without Banners taking his gold and leaving him with a dinky IOU, it looks like the burned Clegane brother has been stalking the camp, waiting for an opportunity to abduct the valuable Stark child.
Jaime says goodbye to Brienne, who makes him promise to fulfill their oath to return Catelyn Stark’s daughters. He agrees: “I will return the Stark girls to their mother, I swear it.” This means a lot to him, as typically no one considers an oath from the “Oathbreaker” to mean much and would never ask Jaime to swear over anything.
A troubling development: we find out that Roose Bolton is also leaving the castle and has left Locke in charge, a leadership rotation that certainly does not favor Brienne.
Move over Grey Worm and Varys, there is a new eunuch in town as Theon’s troubling treatment continues. Even though this is the same show that just last week featured the mighty King of Westeros executing a prostitute for no other reason than archery practice, Theon’s abuse (castration!) may have officially crossed the line. Even with the brief introduction of Theon’s (yes-we-know-the-bad-guy-sent-them) female companions mixing the formula up a bit, there still wasn’t any question about whether the torturer would show up or not. These scenes have become somewhat repetitive; Theon can’t do much, and the other guy thinks it’s fun. That’s it. There is no negotiation, no hope. That might be the point – that Theon is totally screwed – but for a storyline that has basically taken place within a single room this entire season, I personally wish they would make these interactions a little bit more nuanced.
Not Beyond The Wall:
Ygritte is enamored by a windmill. Roads and windmills, doesn’t take much to impress her does it? Jon ignores her rudimentary understanding of architecture and provides some statistical analysis regarding King Beyond the Wall war track records. Turns out they are 0/6 and Jon thinks they are soon to be 0/7. This further aggravates what Ygritte already seems to know, that Jon is not on board with the Wildling plan. She still makes out with him. That Jon Snow, he is such a charmer.
Because of the information gained from Jojen’s seizure dream, Bran tells Osha that they are no longer going to Castle Black, they are now going to go over the Wall and travel to the far North. Osha says hell no and spazzes out. After spending the last few weeks hanging out with a one-word-speaking half giant, a narcoleptic toddler, a disabled direwolf warg boy, a direwolf, and two weird siblings – she was due for an anxiety attack. Or maybe it has something to do with her last experience in the far North, when her boyfriend turned into an ice zombie and she had to burn her house down. Hate when that happens. She agrees to only accompany them to Castle Black.
P.S. Guess who appears in the background of one shot, sleeping? Rickon! Seven episodes, less than 20 seconds of screen time. Damn.
Qyburn rubs some Neosporin on Jaime’s stub and admits that he lost his Maester’s chain for performing weird, condemned experiments on living men. An ideal resume factoid, that is not. Qyburn also tells Jaime that Brienne’s 300 Gold Dragon ransom was declined by Locke because he was insulted to have not received the sapphires he was expecting. Feeling responsible and wanting to save the only member of his fan club, Jaime forces his chaperone to head back to Harrenhal.
Jaime finds Brienne fighting a bear with a wooden sword and he heroically jumps into the pit without a weapon to save her. Sounds awesome on paper, but did anyone else feel like it was kind of underwhelming? The chaperone shoots an arrow at the bear and Jaime and Brienne run up the wall. That’s it. They leave. I wanted to see Locke get thrown in, is that so wrong?! Jaime just looks at him, the vile man who cut off his hand and threw his dear friend into a bear pit. And what does Jaime do? What does he say? “Well, we must be on our way.” That’s how I feel about this episode, lets move on.
Tune in Sundays at 9:00 PM and then check Independent Philly the following day for the recap!
[Story by Dan Shorr]