Boy, if you thought last week’s episode involved some questionable military tactics, this week’s episode must’ve really been a treat.
This episode went from feeling like slightly stilted, expository fan fiction (but funny) — turning “previously on” into a game of medieval “I never” was an interesting choice — to strong conflicts about how to recognize a tyrant, to an episode of Hitler’s superweapon, all while wiping their ass with basic physics. Now, you might say it’s silly to quibble about physics and realistic tactics in a show about dragons and zombies. And to that I say, if you can’t figure out a believable way to fill plot holes in a universe where shapeshifters, talking animals, and powerful wizards exist, what are you even doing?
You know how sometimes you just want to Yaas Qween but the crossbros just won’t let you? Must we relitigate the 2016 primary again?
It’s weird, because this episode was so strong on the subject of trying to recognize a future tyrant and yet so weak on basic physics. I’m just saying, if a fleet of giant crossbow weapons just destroyed one of my dragons and my entire fleet, my first reaction probably wouldn’t be 1) fly my last remaining dragon directly at all of the crossbows while screaming, and 2) conveniently assembling the vanguard of my army well within crossbow range.
When Daenerys first started flying straight at the crossbows I thought, “Oh, maybe she’s drawing their fire, because crossbows are notoriously slow to reload. Or maybe she’s just wheeling around behind them because surely ships can’t turn as fast as dragons.”
But nope, turns out that was just Daenerys blowing off steam. To quote Hot Fuzz, haven’t you ever fired your gun up into the air and gone “aaaarrggh?”
Still, we have to give her a little credit. Things would be better in Westeros if only people would actually listen to Daenerys. Did she not tell Jon that he would ruin everything if he told anyone he was a Targaryen? So what does he do? Tells everyone that he’s a Targaryen, of course, and ruins everything. Way to go, dumbass.
So yes, Daenerys is about to go a little nuts, but can you really blame her?
TORMUND, slapping Jon on the back: What kind of person climbs on a dragon? A madman, or a fucking KING!
DAENERYS: [*angry Tracy Flick music plays in background*]
Maybe that’s the thing about absolute power. Maybe it only corrupts absolutely because the more power you have, the more dumb bullshit you have to deal with from idiots who drive you crazy. Oh, did you like it when the man rode the dragon? Did you not like it when I was doing it two seasons ago while freeing the slaves, you ungrateful proles!
VARYS: “Hmm, I don’t know if we can trust her, she seems a bit nuts.”
Down: Ser Jorah
Dry ol’ Mormont, not even dying for his lady could get him a kiss on the lips. You hate to see it.
Down: Tormund Giant’s Bane
Poor Tormund, everyone’s favorite party animal, cockblocked by Jamie Lannister, the greatest fuckboi in all of Westeros. “Pardon me, m’lady, it seems I’m having trouble taking my shirt off.”
You hate to see it. Why don’t women ever go for nice guys instead of rich phonies? Then again, maybe Tormund saying “find the coward who shit in my pants” isn’t the greatest pick-up line.
“Women don’t like me here.” Yeah, well virgins don’t either. Know your audience, man.
Up: Euron Greyjoy
Euron’s collection of flowing scarves and devastating sneers are really helping tide me over while I wait for Young Pope to come back on. It looks like he’s really lucked into a good thing here thanks to Qyburn’s crossbows. And good on him for not snickering when Cersei brought up having a child. “Babe, babe, you’re an aging ex-dowager who’s had three children by her own brother and failed utterly at keeping any of them alive, and I’m considered a Tomcat even by the standards of the race of grumbly, bickering pirates who steal everything they own from which I come. But for sure, yeah, I think we’ll make great parents.”
My man looks like Pacey from Dawson’s Creek.
Way Up: Qyburn
Qyburn is quickly turning out to be the MVP of this whole conflict. You really have to give the guy credit for developing a giant crossbow thingy that can:
-fire massive, dragon-killing bolts thousands of yards.
-be mounted on ships and fired at sea
-reload almost instantly, despite the fact that the hand-held version are notoriously slow
-snipe an animal no one has ever seen before out of the sky with deadly accuracy
…and are apparently light and portable enough to be carried up to the top of a castle’s walls via man and horsepower. Those things are a real game changer. Who knew a necromancer would be so damned good at engineering and organization? The Citadel really has egg on their face for kicking Qyburn out.
Hey, where the fuck are you guys? There are only a few episodes left, are you ever going to originate a substantive plot in this show? So far your most valuable contribution is as a place in a song where someone “slept with the Dornishman’s wife.” Cucked province.
I admit, I questioned the wisdom of shacking up with a weaselly, iron-born rebel, but between Euron and Qyburn, Cersei is fast beginning to seem like she has a real gift for staffing. Still, I have to question some of her choices.
For instance: When you take out your enemy’s fleet with giant crossbows and they wash up on the beach, you just let them run off home? Or did they just respawn back in their own lair like a video game? Either way, that seemed like an ideal time for host-crushing. Instead you… took your enemy’s most militarily and narratively expendable advisor hostage. Interesting.
Also: if you dispatch a professional assassin to kill your dwarf brother because said brother is allegedly such a valuable asset to your enemy, and said brother just waddles right into arrow range unarmed, why wouldn’t you just kill said brother? Was that death not elaborate enough? I feel like Cersei can’t stand to see her enemies die unless it involves wildfire, necromancy, superweapons, or elaborate schemes. Foolish Tyrion, invoking Cersei’s children. Clearly, it’s the drama that she loves.
Speaking of, how the hell did Bronn just show up alone in a room with the hand of the king and Jamie Lannister in the middle of their entire army? And shhh, quiet, I don’t want the explanation from you. That just seems like something it would’ve been cool to see, and/or have someone on the show question in any way. Instead, they were like “Oh cool, Bronn’s here! That makes sense, he’s definitely a character in this show.”
[*Tommy Wiseau voice*] Oh, hi, Bronn.
Up/Down: Tyrion and Varys
Thank God for these two, they’re the only ones keeping this show from going completely off the rails (or at least, the ones keeping it semi-watchable even as it leaves the rails far, far behind). It’s nice to watch them discover that perhaps the best person to lead Westeros is the person who’s least interested in leading Westeros. The same rules apply to taking kids on a camping trip.
Still, I have to question Tyrion’s strategy of appealing to Cersei’s better nature. And walking right into crossbow range. And assuming Bronn wouldn’t slap him around just because they had history. Honestly, for a clever character, Tyrion is starting to become a real dumbass.
Down: Jon Snow
Wow, man. Are you seriously going to pull a Lena Dunham on the dog who just lost an ear protecting you from the undead? Not even one last nuzzle and “who’s a good boy?” Also, way to just let your dragon die, you dumb asshole. Jon’s leadership favorability really starts to take a hit once you factor in pet ownership.
Up: Brienne Of Tarth
The former Maiden of Tarth got to have two men fight over her, finally got it in, and in the end learned a valuable lesson about thinking you can change the handsome charming rich guy who kills people and fucks his sister. You hate to see it. In any case, it seems like she’s better off. And there’s still time to run through the proverbial airport after Tormund.
Excellent product placement, so subtle I barely noticed.
Still, my favorite Game of Thrones coffee tie-in has to be this one.
Even: Arya Stark
Between “I’m not a lady” and “I respect that,” Arya is getting the most consistently fan-fiction-y dialogue in this show. Still, she managed to make a full recovery from getting stabbed by the Night King in less than a day and made Gendry Baratheon fall in love with her after just one roll in the hay. What tricks did she learn from the Faceless Men? Or maybe Gendry was just smitten ever since he thought she was a young boy named ‘arry. Either way, it was probably smart not to husband that one.
What Will Next Week Bring?
Some Cleghane-on-Clegane action? Qyburn getting a taste of his own dark magic? Greyworm going John Wick on some fools? Dorne… well, Dorne factoring into this story in any way? Daenerys letting those Aerys genes shine through? Necromancy spells (Jon, The Mountain) beginning to wear off? Whatever happens, I just want Davos to be okay.