We open our new episode of Game of Thrones in the dark stony confines of Project Mayhem, where a girl is doing the novice’s duty of pointlessly sweeping floors until she’s about to lose her shit. A man teaches a girl. The Faceless Men appear to be an ascetic monotheist sect, and euthanasia is part of their service to the community. That and not giving straight answers.
Back in King’s Landing, we get as peaceable and bloodless a wedding as we’ve seen thus far. Mostly because looks can’t kill. It’s hard to feel sorry for Tommen. If you’re going to be used and manipulated, Marge is a pretty sweet option.
If you’re Tommen, that is. Marge is a lot less gentle with Cersei, who knows she’s being fucked with even without the peals of girlish snickering in her wake.
The Boltons are redecorating in the expected fashion, with flayed man banners all over Winterfell, and a few flayed men and women as accents. Our Theon of Sorrows is clearly finding it distressing to be back home, with the folks who murdered his brother and whittled him down to a ruin lording it over the place.
Theon at least gets to watch them puzzling over the same issues as he had after taking Winterfell: holding it when you have no allies or supply lines, and are surrounded by people who hate your guts. Of course, Lord Flaymate has a practical solution, now that he has a legitimate heir to marry off to solidify an alliance.
And here’s where we take a minute to pour one out for Sansa Stark, who just stone cold does not deserve this shit. She didn’t deserve Joff’s heinous abuse, she doesn’t deserve to be under the thrall of the unspeakable pimp Baelish, and holy shit, does she not deserve to be a torture canvas for the Legit Bastard of Bolton.
Even Scratchy the Pimp can’t look her in the eye as he holds her by the face, his poisoner’s rings digging into her cheeks, and tries to sell her this deranged bullshit. His little smirk as she rides on to Moat Caillin leaves me wondering if he can possibly meet a hideous enough end.
Pod and Brienne share some backstory. Earnest and honorable and stout of heart, these two. I don’t even want to imagine what’s going to happen to them. Especially if she’s serious about taking out Stannis.
Stannis, by the by, is a dick, a lousy guest, and a bully. He has a couple of solid points, though, including that Jon has a load of enemies to deal with. Davos makes a couple of solid points too, though they of course serve Stannis.
Back at the Project Mayhem dorms, Arya’s getting hazed. A man challenges her to surrender her possessions and attachments. She chucks her filthy clothes and cash in the river without much hesitation, but she killed a man to get that sword back.
Regardless, the novice has passed her second test, and gets promoted to corpse washer.
Sansa manages to keep her mask on as she is introduced to Lord Flaymate and his smirking bastard. If looks could in fact kill, the bastard’s little coven of torture pom pom girls would have turned Sansa into steak tartare on the spot.
Lord Commander Snow has some politicking to do, and gives promotions to three of his men, the third of whom is the arrogant coward Ser Janos Slynt. He gives Slynt three chances to obey a direct order, and he fucks up.
Well, Slynt was useless in life, but in his death he gives Jon Snow the opportunity to cement his authority and show Stannis he doesn’t fuck around. Stannis’ little nod there is as chilling as Littlefinger’s smirk.
Since there was zero gratuitous nudity last week, this week we are in Littlefinger’s whore palace with all the goose-pimpled buttocks and nipples you could ask for. We also get the High Septon’s horrid buttocks, which is a buzzkill.
The High Septon runs to the Small Council, and is further humiliated for his troubles. Cersei does venture out to meet the High Sparrow, who is another advocate of a selfless life of service. Cersei appears to wish to coopt him, which will clearly end well.
I will spare you the Young Frankenstein and Archer jokes about Qyburn.
Back at Winterfell, Baelish and Bastard are trading pleasantries of such treacly dishonesty that Lord Flaymate has to step in to make it all stop. Flaymate doesn’t trust Baelish, but clearly likes how he thinks.
On the road to Volantis, Tyrion has reached the end of his mental resources and Varys is apparently unwilling to sedate him, so we have a field trip. Volantis is a slave city, which is ominous, and very crowded. This makes it easy to lose track of someone about 4 feet tall who is behaving erratically. As far as tavern luck goes, Varys doesn’t have any and Ser Jorah Mormont has finally gotten his share.
This breaks up my favorite double act on the road, and I am not happy. I’m hoping Jorah and Tyrion find some chemistry in our next ep.