This week’s finale episode of Game of Thrones begins with me really not wanting to slog through recapping this dreary god-damned load. But Valar Dohaeris, fuckers.
We in fact begin with the repellent Lord Flaymate mounting the battlements to survey the fiery, bloody, screaming mass of horror he has co-authored in his betrayal of the Starks. He looks about like a man going out onto his deck and deciding whether to call the cops on a neighbor’s loud party.
From a lower vantage, Arya and the Hound are looking to make a discreet exit, which is no mean feat for a 7 footer with a kid in his lap. Not to mention FIRE EVERYWHERE. And we get to see Robbo and Grey Wind having been turned into a gory human jackalope. Arya’s too gobsmacked to even really cry, and the Hound figures that’s just the diversion they need and kicks in the spurs.
In the sun-kissed gardens of King’s Landing, Tyrion & Sansa are promenading in the gardens and drawing snickers from little shits. Tyrion is being rakish and charming, and Sansa seems to be warming to him in her way. Which is a problem, because Sansa’s a dipshit teenager and the more she talks the less any grown man would want to seduce her. Fucking Shae is loving this.
Tyrion is rescued by a summons to the small council, where Joff is bouncing around the table like an overexcited middle schooler. Everyone is sick of Joff’s shit, and after a few outbursts even he realizes he’s mouthed off more than he should. Grandpa Tywin decides it’s time to send him to bed and pour him a slug of whatever the maesters give kids with ADD.
This breaks up the party, leaving Tywin and Tyrion to trade barbs. Tywin’s philosophy of family has a distinct flavor of fascism. It’s also hard to know what to make of his admission that he was barely able to restrain himself from murdering Tyrion in his cradle.
And as predicted, Sansa’s in no mood for banter.
Meanwhile in the green hills of CGIreland, Bran’s merry fellowship has holed up in the Nightfort, which has a cheerful history to go with the name. And what’s a campfire without ghost stories?
Also, did Bran always have a lisp?
Speaking of murdering guests, here we are back at the Twins, listening to future rat Walder Frey cackling and boasting. Lord Flaymate icily plays along, stepping gingerly past the unlucky servants trying to scrub up all the blood.
And in case it wasn’t obvious enough, Theon’s leering captor is Bolton’s bastard, Ramsay Snow. (How the fuck did Flaymate wind up with a bastard? That has to be an awful story.) Flaybastard has a limited sense of humor, but amuses himself to no end. Him and Joff should have a flaydate.
Theon, who has spent his life as a captive, has one last spark of defiance left, and we get to see it punched out of him.
And in the cobwebby dark of the Nightfort, there are stirrings and moans. This turns out to be Sam & Gilly coming up the secret passage, of course. Sam figures out in an instant who he’s dealing with and swears to help in any way. He backs down pretty fast when the first request is to serve as tour guide in the frozen forest of the ice zombies.
Where haven’t we been for a good while? Asshole Island. Balon Greyjoy is reading his morning post, and gets a scroll from Flaybastard that could have been written by a sorority president. Message: Fuck off home or I will cunt-punt you home.
Step 1: Theon’s dick in a box.
Balon’s reaction, predictably, is Fuck That. Yara’s is Fuck You. So Yara’s Ironborn SEAL team are off to rescue whatever’s left of Theon. It’s the right thing to do, but boy is it stupid.
Speaking of which, Bran & co. are off on their dubious quest, armed with a handful of dragonglass. You did what you could, Sam.
And witty but largely pointless scene with Davos & Gendry.
And frankly terrible scene with Varys and Shae. At this point in the show, we know that you can offer any of these people a unicorn made of diamonds and sex if they’ll just listen to reason and turn from the suicidal path they’ve chosen. And they’ll say nope, gotta stay the course. It’s weird to see Varys backing Tyrion as a force for positive change in the kingdom, though.
Speaking of Tyrion and Now it’s just the drinking, here’s Tyrion drinking. And we get a largely pointless scene with Cersei, who drops the line of the night with An unhappy wife is a wine merchant’s best friend.
On the road from the Twins, Arya and the Hound ride within earshot of a Frey patrol bragging amongst themselves about Stark-murdering and taxidermy and the like. Arya does a coin trick for one of them and knifes him good, leaving the rest for the Hound to make ragout with. The Hound irritably reminds her that she should give him a heads up if she’s going to murder people, then sits down to eat the dead men’s dinner.
And Jon Snow and Ygritte have the worst break-up talk ever, ooooh it’s not you it’s me and you knew I was a Crow when you met me. Dope. Lucky for him she loves him too much to aim for anything vital, but she feathers him nonetheless.
And largely pointless scene with Maester Aemon and Sam & Gilly. Were they gone for nine months?
Davos struggles through mail call and argues with Stannis, who has just gotten the news about Robbo. Mel is looking smug as fuck here. Stannis has a point that dragons, like friendship, are magic. Davos has a point that wasting your nephew is a shitty path to power. Stannis could give a fuck.
So, back to the dungeons for a bit of executive decision making. So long, Gendry.
And we get a pair of homecomings, with Jon Snow back in the arms of his brothers, and Jaime getting rather less of a welcome than might be wished for.
Back at Storm’s End, Davos saves his ass by producing Sam’s message from the wall. Ice zombies trump everything.
And lest we forget who has the actual dragons in this story, here’s Dany. Dany does a bit of speechifying and crowd surfing and picks up a thousand or so hungry mouths to feed.
This ep was bound to be a letdown after last week’s shock and awe, but really. There was a lot of nifty dialogue, and few cool set pieces, and all that in service of not much. This felt much more midseason than finale. We don’t get much setup for next season, only a few loose ends tied up, and a lot of wheels spinning. (We also get a sense that a great deal of source material is being tossed, which is fine by me.)
This was a good season, and I’m interested to see what’s coming. But when I do the big rewatch to get ready for the new season, I’ll likely skip this ep.
But that’s next year. Until then, so long and enjoy not watching True Blood.