What last night’s “Game of Thrones” needed was what the Red Viper of Dorne needed: A little more of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” a little less “Princess Bride.”
“The Mountain and the Viper” didn’t spend very much time with either of those characters until its final moments, but so much happened that the fateful battle between Gregor Clegane and Oberyn Martell could have fallen flat. It didn’t, but it was another exercise in the frustrating injustice of this world.
The wildlings, bringing their attacks closer and closer to the Night’s Watch, are still really hard to root for, aren’t they? I liked kissy-face, ice-climbing Ygritte better than hooker-stabbing Ygritte, but at least she let Gilly and baby Sam live.
Across the sea in Meereen, Missandei, the cute translator who works for Daenerys, has a nude scene. On “Game of Thrones,” this is called “expanding her character.”
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“None of the Unsullied care what’s under our clothes,” Daenerys tells Missandei, but she’s wrong. It turns out that the Unsullied leader Grey Worm still has lustful feelings even if he can’t carry through with them, and seeing Missandei bathing brought them out.
Speaking of castration, there’s Theon/Reek, taking his biggest test of loyalty to his torturer, Ramsay Snow, who needs help convincing the last holdouts for Balon Greyjoy to surrender their outpost.
“Bring me Moat Cailin,” Ramsay tells Theon/Reek, who meekly carries the message to the Ironborn as their prince. He promises them that Ramsay will be nice.
“He will be just and fair with you as he’s been with me,” he says. Which, to be fair, is true.
“Only a whipped dog would speak this way. Or a woman,” their leader hisses. “Are you a woman, boy? The Ironborn will not surrender.”
But of course the Ironborn do surrender, because Ironborn always make terrible decisions. So they let House Bolton’s forces waltz into Moat Cailin, and and of course Ramsay peels the Ironborn like grapefruit. That’s what Ramsay does, and now he’s getting rewarded for it. Meet Ramsay Bolton, leading candidate to fill Joffrey’s shoes as the big bad evil who really needs a good killing.
Ramsay is so odious that when Littlefinger’s face on the screen, it comes as a relief. You can’t exactly get behind his lies about Lyssa Arryn’s death, but when Sansa shows up to testify, she makes us all proud.
“My aunt was a jealous lady,” she simpers. Understatement of the century. Oh, Baelish is proud of her. Too bad neither of them realize how close Arya and the Hound are. Too bad the Hound has no one to sell Arya to — again.
Sansa’s coming-of-age is depicted as a literal moment in the sun for her, but Danyers has to grow up a lot this episode, too. Jorah’s secret — that he used to spy for the Iron Throne at Daenerys’ expense — comes back to bite him. Barristan Selmy has gotten a package from Tywin Lannister, and Jorah is screwed.
“Let me speak with her in private,” he begs Barristan, who replies, “You’ll never be alone with her again.” Ouch.
And so Ser Jorah is a freelancer again, after his Khaleesi exiles him. He’s lucky he didn’t get crucified.
Finally, it’s time to check in on Tyrion, having what might be his last bonding session with his big brother Jaime. I’d watch Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau read the phone book to each other, but enough with the reminiscing about their brain-damaged cousin and his incessant bug-squishing. Unless that’s some kind of foreshadowing .... oh no.
So it’s time for the sexy Dornishman to fight Cersei’s trained pit bull to determine Tyrion’s fate, but he’s not really fighting for Tyrion. He basically gets in the ring and recites: “Elia Martell! You raped her! You murdered her! Say her name!”
He’s an impressive fighter, and he’s doing pretty well against the Mountain, too, if only he would shut up. He might as well be saying, “Hello! My name is Oberyn Martell. You killed my sister. Prepare to die.”
“Who gave the order?” he screams, pointing at Tywin Lannister. You gotta love this guy. But he’s obviously never seen a James Bond movie. Or a Sergio Leone movie, for that matter. He might have heeded the wise words of Eli Wallach as Tuco, the wise villain of the spaghetti Western: “When it’s time to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”
Because taking your spear out of the chest of a guy like Gregor Clegane is never a good idea. When you have a guy like that on his back, kill him. Because given the slightest chance, he will squish your head like a bug.