After two or three somber episodes, we get a taste of what made this show popular, and promises of resurgence.
Review (with Spoilers)
I find it unfortunate, as a fan, that when the show opts to develop characters, further storylines, and actually focus on something besides sex and violence, I get a tad bored of the show. And though it probably speaks much more about me than anything else, I think the fact of the matter is, while the characters are all equally interesting, I would argue the majority of the actors and actresses give only an adequate performance. While Peter Dinklage, as well as Lena Headey, seem to actually be doing more than reciting lines with a taste of feeling, but trying to make their performances almost Shakespearean. Hence why whenever there is a news article on the show, usually one or both are named.
Topic 1: A Chance at Retribution – Theon (Reek), Daenerys
With Ramsay thoroughly embarrassing those of the Iron Isles, Asha seems to vow to rebuild the name of the Greyjoys by getting Theon back. Problem is, whatever psychological torture Ramsay has caused him, it seems to have been implanted so deep that the sight of his sister doesn’t bring relief, but fear. This man, castrated by Ramsay, decides to forego the one opportunity he had to escape, the one opportunity where all these sacrifices he has made could actually be worth something, and alas, stay loyal to his torturer.
This is good for Ramsay though, for with Asha showing her face, and doing battle with Ramsay, he now feels that it is the time to impress father. So, using Theon as a sort of Trojan Horse, he seemingly wants to head to the Iron Isles and maybe do battle there, making his father Lord Bolton proud, and maybe ascending a bit higher than simply being his bastard.
Meanwhile, across the waters, Daenerys continues to sit as Queen in Meereen and seemingly is about to eat the words of Ser Barriston by not granting mercy. If just because the children of the slave masters live, and though one, Hizdar zo Lovaq, seems to respect her, with his father’s death you can see that he can easily become an enemy within the city. But, in recognition of Lovaq’s father being an exception, for he was against slavery and is credited for maintaining the landmarks, Daenerys allows him to give his father a proper burial. Thing is though, this isn’t the sole issue Daenerys has. Her dragons are killing people’s livelihoods, she has rebellions among her kingdoms, and then comes the issue of Tywin’s increasing note of her accomplishments and rising power. Which leads him to possibly sending Daenerys a note, possibly in an attempt to broker peace before war breaks out.
Topic 2: Reclaiming the Throne – Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon
But while Tywin seems to have a strong focus on Daenerys, he seems to dismiss Stannis trying to get his second chance at King’s Landing. One which the Iron Bank dismisses as well, at first, but thanks to Ser Devos speech about the greatness of his king, and noting how old Tywin is, and how his family is inept to pay back the Iron Bank, it seems the three person council may have renewed faith in the one who claims the Iron Throne. However, as of now all we see is Ser Devos reminding the king of his value, and him providing Salladhor Saan with gold to possibly assist in another naval attack. In the future though, no plans seem immediate as of now.
Topic 3: The Trial of the Century – Tyrion
As should be expected, Tyrion trial is the highlight of the episode. Peter Dinklage reminds us of why he has won awards for his role, and why Game of Thrones can be about more than sex, violence, and the cycle repeated. Though he isn’t alone. Perhaps, oddly enough, some of the best actors of the show remain in King’s Landing. Be it Oberyn and Lord Varys, both eccentrics, though Lord Varys being a far mysterious one; Cersei, whose complexity can drive her to either being a woman no less violent than the men on the show, or a maternal figure trapped in a patriarchal society, simply trying to survive; or others who partake in King’s Landing drama.
But I digress, with Tyrion’s trial comes old enemies getting their stabs in and even some betrayals. Lord Varys, for example, likely to forward his ambitions, all but hands Tywin and Cersei the sword to cut Tyrion’s head off, and then Shae appears and seemingly the words Tyrion said to make sure she would leave, she makes him eat each and every word. Anything kind he ever said was used against him, anything she could make up which seemed highly feasible was testified, and this all brings Tyrion to the point he sees no other option than to confess.
Though not in the way Cersei nor Tywin wants. His confession is that of him speaking how he believes his father feels about him, his utter hatred for being betrayed so swiftly and openly, and not even getting the credit he is due for keeping Stannis from sitting on the Iron Throne. And while Jamie wished to save his brother, trade in being a king’s guard, give Tywin heirs, just to save his brother’s life, Tyrion throws this option away for a dual to prove his innocence, just as he did before in his last trial in the Vale. Though this time, question is who will be his champion and who will said champion face?