Wow, what an episode, right? I will have to admit, knowing what’s left in the season (from the books and all), I expected more; but the lack of it, just means the next two episode will be more packed. I think as a “show” its just helping building character and tying up loose ends… though you’ll have to wait for the next two episodes to see what I mean.
As always… SPOILERS.
Lets start with the north. Reek (now pretending to be Theon) helps Ramsay take Moat Cailin (a key stronghold connecting the Iron Islands/West Coast with some of the inland), by betraying his own Iron born men. Roose then makes his son an official Bolton, no longer a Snow. We’ll have to see where this goes, but psycho Ramsay just got a lot more power to his name.
Near the wall, the Wildlings massacre Mole’s Town… basically, the closest town South of the Wall. What does this mean? That they’re about to attack the Wall (from the backside obviously), which also means that Mance’s army of thousands (tens of thousands) of Wildling must almost be here. And how many Nights Watchmen are left? 102. Sure, the wall will help defend the big army, but when you know they can climb as well as they do, and you know they have Giants to just break through the tunnel gates at the base, while about 100 or so wildlings are attacking from the south/behind… well.. what do you do then? Looks like we might be seeing the end of an era.
To the west, Littlefinger is questioned at the Vale about everything that happened to Lysa. When Sansa is brought in to say her version, she (masterfully, I might add) lies and defends Littlefinger. Partly cause what she said (him saving her) was true, and partly because… well, she’s learning from Littlefinger… learning to lie and manipulate.
Right outside the gates of the Vale, another Stark is learning from her companion. Arya walks on with Clegane, complaining about how he’s slowed his walking pace. Looks like the bite in his neck from last episode is still bothering him and not healing. We also she how cynical she is becoming… when Clegane introduces himself and finds out the Lysa has died, Arya starts laughing. Of course this would happen… of course this wouldn’t work out for her. But instead of falling apart, she laughs. All this time, they’ve been trying to make it here, and now it seems it was a dead end. So… what does Arya do now? The people at the gates do not now that it’s Sansa inside. Will they meet?
Crossing over the Narrow Sea and traveling even farther to the west, Sir Barriston gets a letter for Jorah. A letter from Robert Baratheon that states his “reward” (no longer being exiled) for revealing what Dani was doing. This was obviously a while back (season 1) and clearly the letter was now sent by Tywin… he’s as good as it gets playing this so-called “game” of thrones. But Barriston speak to Jorah and then the truth is revealed to Dani. Betrayed, and unable to trust him anymore (someone she considered her oldest friend), she exiles him from her own kingdom now. Jorah walks off into the desert alone, never to be seen again.
We also see Grey Worm being a “peeping Tom” to the bathing nude Missandei. As she later discusses with Dani about how they are “chopped” down there, and what the evolves. In the books, there is a mention on how the Unsullied still seek out whores… obviously not for sex, but since they have been freed by Dani and have started to develop individuality, they seek emotional connections. So while this particular romance between Grey Work and Missandei doesn’t exist in the book, I think it is a great way of representing that part of the book.
So, back to the east, all the way to Kings Landing, and we see Tyrion and Jaime talking in the cell. It seems nonsensical, but honest. And if you think about it, it’s what may be their last conversation. They’re brothers being brothers. And the bells ring for the match to start.
Everyone is brought to the arena, the Mountain towering in full plate armor and his enormous sword, which prince Oberyn barely wearing armor and a spear. But when they start, and Oberyn is swinging and flipping and showing what a great fighter he is, you start to feel hope for Tyrion. In fact, Oberyn completely out-classes the Mountain. Jaime smiles, happy to know his brother will live. Left, right, up, down, he dodges, evades and constantly hits. Small hits, but he slowly takes the Mountain down. So self assured and confident, he is toying with the Mountain. He doesn’t want to kill him… he wants to hear him confess of the murder of his sister and her children. He wants to hear him confess, and also confess who gave the order. You see, that is the reason he’s even here. He wants to take out the Lannisters, and the Mountain’s confession would prove that Tywin was in charge, and he would be next to die.
Eventually the Mountain falls, stabbed hard, but not killed. Oberyn will not kill him. Confess, confess he keeps saying. And, here comes the shocking and sad moment. in his self confidence and lost in his own passion for revenge, the Mountain uses the last of his energy to reach out and grab him. One punch smashes Oberyns face, teeth and blood spilling out. He hold him to the ground, and as he gives Oberyn the confession he wanted, he squeezes his head until in squashes under his strength. The Mountain rolls over on his back and the fight ends. Whether the Mountain is dead, and he probably is (I can’t say, as this is slightly different in the books), it doesn’t matter… technically Oberyn died first. So Tywin looses no time to stand up and declare the winner, and in turn the execution of Tyrion.
It looks like HBO is saving that death for next episode though… loosing Oberyn in this episode is pretty big as is, and it sucks. I loved his character even more than I did in the book. And so, everything falls apart, and it looks like, for none of the “good” characters of this story, do we get happy endings. Stay tuned next week to see how depressing and messed up this story can get. Like Tyrion said: “If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place!”