Game of Thrones S3E23: Walk of Punishment, or Setup Time is Over

We open with the viking funeral of Cat’s dad. Doing the honors with the fire arrow is the sinister 2nd in command to Capt. Davos in last night’s Doctor Who. He’s having no better luck here, and after 3 misses gets roughly relieved of duty. (And totally owned.)

And we have a debrief with Robbo, 3-strikes and Deadeye. Poor 3-strikes is the goat here, and Deadeye is a bit of a dick. But Robbo isn’t exactly being unfair, and he’s basically right. Especially about Tywin Lannister, who looks like he has all the time in the world.

He certainly has time to play asshole head games with the rest of the small council, which gives us the funniest slow burn scene of the entire series so far. Now that everyone is settled and Tyrion has won round one with a total power move, it’s back on Tywin to restore the level of discomfort. Which he does deftly. No, no one knows where Jaime is. Yes, everyone knows that Baelish’s title as Lord of Harrenhal is a bad joke, but it’s enough title to justify sending him to the Eyrie to rope in Cat’s deranged shut-in sister. Baelish’s suppressed rage is giving him spasmodic dysphonia, by the way.

And for round three, Tyrion gets Baelish’s job. Which insults Baelish, amuses everyone who hates Tyrion, and crushes Tyrion with work, which he can’t complain about because he wanted respect and responsibility. Tywin is a colossal dick, but he’s doing a fantastic job with this whole Hand of the king gig.

And what news of Jaime? He’s sharing a saddle with Brienne, roped and chained, trudging ever Northward as our mysterious Flaymate bannermen sing a filthy song about a bear. Brienne, having been relieved of the duty of watching over Jaime, is taking none of his shit. And we’re back to prisoner/captive dynamics for a moment as Jaime broaches the ugly truth about Brienne’s inevitable fate as a female prisoner. He makes a dark joke of it, or tries. Jaime’s seen Brienne fight, and he’s fought her (and lost, whatever excuses he makes). He doesn’t want to see her killed, but he knows what’s coming.

Meanwhile, somewhere the hell else on the Kingsroad, Gendry’s making himself useful and Arya’s pissed. The Hound is provoking his captors, and Arya’s wants to see if he remembers murdering her friend while they were stopped at this inn a million years ago. That’s a no. And does everyone just carry a supply of those black prisoner hoods?

And to paraphrase Charlie Mingus, Goodbye Hot Pie. Not sure why you were on this trip, but you’re getting an easier way out than anybody else involved is likely to manage. And we’re off to Winterhell.

Actually, Riverrun. Where Deadeye/Blackfish and Cat are miserably re-bonding over their many losses. And we have a pointless scene with Nurse NITB, which might have been meant to establish that the blonde kids are Lannisters, for what purpose I shudder to imagine.

Way further northwards, we catch up with Jon Snowbastard and the Dread Pirate Mance, who have discovered a frozen tableau of dismembered horses at the Fist. Which looks cool and makes no sense at all. We do find out that the endless army of ice zombies has added some 250 unhappy campers to their tail. Mance sees this as a fine time to set up a pincer movement, and orders Tormund to assemble a squad to hit the wall and to show Jon Snow their method of infiltration. Jon & Ginger both look emo about this, surprise.

The 50 or so remaining unhappy campers have gotten as far as Craster’s Keep, which Ghost won’t go near. Craster is holding court all Manson-style, and seriously underestimating how much he’s pissing off his guests with his abusive psycho hillbilly bullshit. Sam gets his fill of the cannibalism humor, and goes outside to watch the chick he was ordered not to help give birth to a shockingly well-hung baby.

And in the mysterious dungeon, Our Theon of Sorrows is actually being broken out by Simon the Invisible Welsh Nerd from Misfits. Who needs a shorter nickname, or a name.

At Storm’s End, Melisandre is off on some ill-defined and open-ended mission in service of the Lord of Light, and Stannis has separation anxiety like a nervous Weimaraner. Mel shuts him down with a pitying look and leaves, cryptically talking blood and sacrifice.

I’m enjoying the Dany has Two Daddies dynamic with Mormont and Selmy, at least as far as exposition and plot explanations go. And we get more lost in translation gags as Dany plays some hardball with Master Kraznys, who suddenly remembers the common tongue when he gets offered a dragon to play with.

And Dany has bought an army, and drops a Michael Corleone line on 2Dads. And having bought Missandei and her loyalty, Dany can drop a little Valyrian.

Baelish keeps his ledgers in his office at Whore Island? How Baelish. He’s oddly calm about handing his gig over to Tyrion, so of course he’s up to something. We’re getting way more and better banter in this ep, which I hope is a trend. And thank you Bronn for Baelish’s new nickname. God, I was tired of calling him Baelish.

Speaking of significant debts, Tyrion has also noticed that Pod is a hulking teenager now, and in need of some corrupting. And we get a huge make-up scene to cover last ep’s grievous lack of naked.

Also speaking of significant debts, Lord Twatbeard has left Tyrion holding the bag in a big, grim way. Of course he’s happy to skip town to marry into a title while Tyrion tries to find actual revenue during a war. And Pod is back, having gotten a free ride from three expensive looking fillies. I’m totally okay with missing the actual debrief on that.

Our Theon is having a picturesque ride in the foothills of CGIreland, at least until the arrows start flying, and his tormentors crest the hill. Escape looks hopeless, even before he gets flanked and eats a morning star to the sternum. And just as he’s about to get punitively gang-raped, arrows come whistling in with deadly accuracy, and here’s Simon TIWNFM to the rescue.

“You Bastard.” Everyone heard that, right? This is a long con.

Night falls along the Kingsroad wherever the fuck Jaime and Brienne are, and the three biggest guys in camp are going to take a shot at Brienne. Jaime listens to as much of this as he can stand, and starts spinning up some bullshit to put a stop to it.

Since the leader of this pack of Flaymate contractors doesn’t have a name yet, he’s Count Ruthven. Fortunately Ruthven is a greedy swine and likes sapphires better than being fourth in line to rape a woman beaten half to death, so he shuts the party down.

Flush with victory, Jaime doesn’t quite see that (a) Ruthven utterly hates his guts and (b) you don’t stop the momentum of a huge act of violence, you just redirect it. So Jaime gets terrorized and violated in Brienne’s place.

That’s how I’m reading it. Regardless, Jaime’s left-handed now and this was a motherfucker of a third ep.

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