To find out what did (and didn’t) happen... join me after the jump!
That dirty, traitorous chav Theon Greyjoy gets the surprise of his life when his sister, Yara, rocks up at the freshly conquered Winterfell and puts him over her figurative knee and gives him a verbal spanking. Calling him a few choice phrases she points out how stupid and weak he is for (allegedly) killing Brann and Rickon, referring to the two unrecognisable burned baby pinatas he is proudly displaying on the castle.
The Greyjoys are people of the sea and Winterfell is a cold and distant shithole. They don’t want it, Theon’s a moron for taking it, and Yara implores him to return home and face an angry Papa Greyjoy. But Theon is such an obstinate dickbag that he refuses to budge, clinging to his castle like a baby with a rattle.
Beyond the wall in the accursed ice it’s Ygritte’s turn to walk that bastard Jon Snow on a leash. The Starks (and their bastards) are such saps when it comes to women at the moment that I’ll be astounded if they win this thing. In fact all my faith is in Arya at the moment, and maybe Bran because he’s kind of girlish. (Oh come on, you don’t really believe he’s dead do you?).
Jon Snow is brought before the evil Lord Skeletor who spares his life when he realises that he’s of Stark blood and might be of interest to the boss man. Jon learns that his fellow crack commando unit of Crows have been slaughtered, except for Qhorin - who is also a prisoner - and plans to embed Jon in the wildling ranks. I think. Tomfoolery is afoot.
Elsewhere in the ice fatty Sam and company are digging latrines (perhaps a metaphor for this episode?) (I kid!). They discover some buried dragon glass spearheads which I guess will be important later but are just broken promises now.
What about Robb Stark? Is anything interesting happening to him? Actually this one took me totally by surprise. Last week when Catelyn Stark took a sword to the capture Kingslayer I erroneously suggest that she would cut off his legs forcing him to drag his dick in the dirt. I was convinced that the mighty Catelyn would wreak unholy, permanent vengeance of some sort, but no! She set him free! WTF!? Kingslayer Jamie is now the prisoner of the towering Brienne who is returning him (via rowboat) to King’s Landing and having to endure a whole lot of his jibber-jabber.
Naturally, Robb is furious at the betrayal of his mother and puts his mother under constant guard. I think he probably should have cut her head off and kicked it into the river. Can we admit now that the Starks are pretty useless? Later in Robb’s tent, Lady Talisa arrives and, if we’ve learned anything, when a lady arrives in your tent at night when there are candles and she’s wearing a dress that unties at the front, guaranteed nudity and sex are about to happen. Robb politely sits through her obligatory monologue about her past and then the clothes come off and it’s all boom-chicka-wow-wow. The controversy here is that Robb is promised to the daughter of the bridge owner from series one, but is that a real problem? The beardy Robert Baratheon got to bang whoever he wanted so I can’t imagine this putting a crimp in Robb Stark’s strut.
We do have some tense scenes ias Team King’s Landing prepare for a siege. Demon monkey Tryion gets a bit of sass from guard captain Bronn but the real issue is a super vindictive play from Cersei. She claims to have found and captured his “whore” and will torture her to death if anything happens to her beloved Joff. Shae is a wonderful character and I was just as worried about her as Tyrion until the smug Cersei reveals that she has actually captured the perpetually unlucky redhead Ros instead. Tryion doesn’t alert her to her mistake, but vows to hurt her when she least expects it. At this rate the Lannister’s will eat each other before Stannis even gets there.
I get a little misty eyed when Tryion returns to Shae and declares his need for her. I get a little creeped out when Tyrion further forges his alliance with Varys. And then I laugh like a maniac when The Joff struts around the battlements boasting about all of the imagined future feats that he will inevitably fail. I hope he gets Shadow Man-Babied.
Speaking of Stannis he is out on his boat cracking wise with smuggler Davos who he humbles by promising him the eventual role of King’s Hand. It’s a brief scene, the best part being that it gave me the urge to insult people with, “You son of a crabber!”
We check in with Daenerys in Qarth but she’s still doing diddly squat. Ser Jorah wants her to bail but she still wants her dragons back. We KNOW she wants her dragons back. So stop talking about it and go and get them! Why is she not in the Temple of the Undying?! Hey! Who else thinks Ser Jorah looks like Sir Ridley Scott?
Arya’s leverage with Jaqen is to name himself as the final victim and she refuses to un-name him unless he assists her, Gendry, and for some reason Hot Pie, to escape. Not wanting to murder himself, Jaqen is forced to agree and tells her to casually saunter out the gate at midnight. It seems too good to be true but, sure enough, as the trio exit the guards have been killed and they escape into the night. Which is cool but... kind of brings them back full circle to where they were at the beginning of this season. So... ummm.... yeah.
Finally we cut back to Winterfell where our big “reveal” for the episode is something we had assumed all along. Brann, Rickon and co. aren’t dead at all. It was the orphan boys who had been murdered all along. Well duh! Nobody’s going to kill Brann before he wolfs out. Why waste all that foreshadowing? What I didn’t predict is that Brann is actually hiding in Winterfell, presumably the last place that Theon would think to look. And our episode ends with crippled lil’ Brann and his heavy, heavy heart.
All I can say is that next week better feature a naked Red Lady riding a shadow dragon down Joffrey’s throat or I’m going to be sad! Come on, Game of Thrones! Let’s do this!!!