Here are the best and worst moments of this mostly great episode:
Best: Stannis Gets Told Off by the Iron Bank of Braavos
I’ll admit that I’m not fan of that loser Stannis. He’s the boring guy that shows up to a party and interrupts every conversation with his sad-sack boring life and ministry. He’s the type of dude who thinks he’s righteous, but kills his own followers. When he goes to the Iron Bank of Braavos for financial backing of his war against the Lannisters, it’s clear he thinks that proclaiming that Tommen is a bastard is enough to get all the gold he needs to win a war. But the banker gleefully tells him that his supplies (32 ships and barely any food rations) don’t inspire any faith that their gold won’t go to waste. If Stannis is going to take up screen time, it’s great that people are giving him the head-slap he so rightly deserves.
Worst: Yara’s Terrible Rescue Plan
Ramsey’s little gift to the Greyjoys (Theon’s penis, if you don’t remember) has inspired a little family loyalty in Yara Greyjoy. She’s rounded up a few men to attack the Dreadfort and rescue her brother. She easily gets within the Dreadfort walls and finds Theon. Unfortunately, the brainwashing has worked wonders on poor Theon’s head and he’s fully convinced that he’s Reek and is deathly afraid of Yara. Ramsey, who has been interrupted from some choke-sex, comes to fight the Ironborn SHIRTLESS. He couldn’t take a few seconds to put on some armor? Basically, it’s the dumbest thing ever. That is until Yara and her men, who clearly had the upper hand in the fight, run scared when Ramsey releases some dogs, without Theon. “My brother is dead,” she declares. Nah, sis, he’s just a little brain scrambled. But good to know it takes a total of five minutes for Yara to give up on her brother.
Best: The Sickening Bromance of Ramsey and Reek
Ramsey is one of the most sadistic characters in this sadistic world. His torture of Theon was unbearable at times to watch. However, their interactions in this episode were compelling and maybe even borderline sweet. (Okay, definitely not sweet.) Since Theon/Reek didn’t go with Yara, Ramsey rewards him with a hot bath. (Gross bastard also smiled when Reek took off his pants.) “Do you love me, Reek?” Ramsey asks his victim. “Of course, my lord!” Reek declares like a sad, tormented puppy. “Good,” Ramsey replies. Then Ramsey politely asks Reek to pretend to be Theon Greyjoy for him. If we didn’t know that this scene was preceded by a ton of physical and psychological torture, it’d be a nice scene between bros.
Worst: Oberyn Continues to be the Horniest Man in All 7 Kingdoms
Every time Oberyn comes on screen, he practically beats everyone over the head with his horniness. It’s a shame because he’s such an interesting character. Sure, he’s first few episodes were consumed with overly-long sexposition. But his background and position in the politics of the world is so fascinating that it’s almost worth looking past his obsession. While having Varys’ ear, arguably one of the biggest political players in the game, he could discuss anything: his sister’s death, the people he distrusts most, or the upcoming trial of Tyrion Lannister. Instead he’s desperate to know if Varys likes guys or girls. (The answer is neither. Varys’s sexuality is “politics.” He wants to marry the Iron Throne and have its babies.) When discussing Dany at the small council meeting, he can’t stop himself from bring up “the bedroom” when talking about the poor castrated Unsullied. During Tyrion’s trial, he can’t help but ask Shae about her sex life with Tyrion. Do the writers think we’re going to forget that he’s sex obsessed? We get it, bros.
Best: Jamie’s Plea
Jamie and Tyrion’s relationship is perhaps the purest on the show. They often show each other earnest brotherly affection. It’s clear from the look on Jamie’s face as he walks his little brother to his trial and watches the parade of hateful witness’s twist the truth that this trial is more painful to him than even the death of his son. It’s some great silent acting on the part of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. When he can no longer take it, he begs to his father to give mercy to Tyrion. He’ll sacrifice everything, including his love for Cersei and his honor as a member of the King’s Guard, to save his brother. Tywin agrees much too quickly (seriously was that one second or two?) and lays out Jamie’s future for him. Once Tyrion begs for mercy, Tywin will send him to the Night’s Guard and then Jamie will leave the King’s Guard to become the Lannister heir, marry, and have a bunch of little heirs to carry on the horrific Lannister legacy. The way it’s spelled out sounds like he’s being relegated to a life of torture, but he’s more than willing to do it for his brother. It’s nice to see an actual loving relationship in a show filled with horrors and hate.