Spoilers We open with Stannis and Davos arriving in Braavos to visit the Iron Bank. You know, the one that the Lannisters owe a shit ton of money to. Stannis reasserts his claim to the throne, the head of the Iron Bank representatives throws back what Tywin claims to be the truth. It’s like a douchey form of verbal tennis. The bank declines to give Stannis a loan, leading Davos on soliloquy extolling the virtues of Stannis Baratheon. He asks who they will back after Tywin is gone: a child with the cloud of incest hanging over him, a queen regent who’s subjects hate her, or a proven warrior with verifiable rights to the throne? I wish that kinda thing actually worked at banks. I’d be rich!
Theon’s sister Yara reads a letter sent from Ramsay Snow demanding that the army of the Iron Islands withdraw from the North or she will be flayed and more of Theon will end up like his little buddy. Needless to say, I do not think the sexual mutilation of her brother frightened Yara. She uses the letter as a battle cry of sorts, storming the stronghold where Theon is being held. Yara finds him in the kennels, because of course he’s being held in the kennels. Theon, I mean Reek, flips his , allowing Ramsay and his men to arrive. Cue battle! At the end, Yara retreats to avoid being eaten by the hunting dogs, stating that Theon is dead and they must head back to their ship. Well, that probably could’ve gone better.
This leads to an odd scene. Ramsay surprises Reek with a bath as a reward for being an emotionally broken man. As Reek strips, Ramsay smiles at his handiwork of turning Theon/Reek into a Westeros version of a Ken doll. As Reek bathes, Ramsay requests his help taking a castle by playing the role of Theon Greyjoy. O…k then…
Across the Narrow Sea, in Meereen, Daenyers is seen by a goat herder whose flock was fried by her dragons, to which she states that he’ll receive triple their value, for mental anguish probably. She is then approached by Meereenese noble begging to be allowed to bury his father, one the crucified Masters. Daenyers points out that he is asking for a mercy that the children that the Masters crucified were not afforded, but allows him to take his father down for a proper burial. She is the informed that there are an additional 212 people waiting for an audience. Being queen ain’t easy, Dany.
In King’s Landing, a meeting of the Small Council is underway including the Dornish prince Oberyn. News of the Hound’s whereabouts are shared by Varys, prompting a bounty on his head. News of Daenyers’ conquest of Meereen is also brought up. Cersei tries to belittle her 8000 strong army of Unsullied, her band of sellswords, her two skilled military advisors, and her freaking DRAGONS, but Tywin shoots her down.
Varys and Oberyn speak after the meeting, showing each other their motivations: Oberyn with adventure, Varys with power. Short sequence that is quite telling overall.
The long wait is over, as the trial of Tyrion finally begins. Witness after witness, including Cersei herself, come forward and bury him with damming, if not slightly weighted, testimony. During a recess from the proceedings, Jaime confronts Tywin, stating that it is obvious that the trial is just an excuse for Tywin to kill Tyrion, something he had always wanted to do. When Tywin correctly states that he is accused of killing King Joffrey, Jaime correctly states that he actually did kill the Mad King, so why was he treated differently? He also relays the final order he received before killing the King: to bring him Tywin’s head. Jaime offers to leave the King’s Guard and assume the role of lord of Casterly Rock in return for Tyrion’s life, to which Tywin greedily accepts. He vows that when the guilty verdict is rendered and Tyrion begs for mercy, he will allow Tyrion to join the Night’s Watch. Jaime accepts as the trial is called back to order. As people file in, Jaime informs Tyrion of the plan.
The next witness is Shae…wait…what? I thought…shit. Shae recounts the story of obviously fed to her by someone (cough cough Cersei cough cough) breaking his heart…and his mind apparently. Tyrion states that he wishes to confess, but not to the crime to which he stands accused. Instead, he confesses to the crime of being a dwarf and that he didn’t kill Joffrey, but he wishes he had. He knows that he will receive no true justice, so he goes to an old standby: trial by combat. Damn.
That last sequence was probably the best of the season so far, maybe the series. The next episode has a lot to live up to. This seems to be a season full of that. Let’s see what happens next.