And now our show has ended. Until next season, anyway.
We knew not to expect big huge things from this episode, the Season 3 finale of Game of Thrones. The show shot its wad last week by killing off several major (and about a trillion minor) characters. Episode 10 was always going to be about reacting to the events of the Red Wedding.
I thought "Mhysa" was a pretty solid episode that nicely set up what's to come in Season 4. We touched base (sometimes unnecessarily) with pretty much everyone we've seen this season. The show was jam packed full of story lines, so I feel like I'm back to the same complaint I've had all season. Just give us a taste, Game of Thrones. We didn't need to spend time with absolutely everyone this week. There will be time for that next year. Just give us a The Wire-style season ending montage and be done with it (and by "it" I mean Daenerys).
Let's check in with our friends, shall we?
The Red Wedding Clean-Up Crew: Roose Bolton has been named the warden of the North, which is pretty cool for a traitor. His bastard son, Ramsay, is up there right now keeping Theon company. Walder Frey needs to find a new wife, but he doesn't seem too broken up about it. He seems to have named himself Lord of Riverrun, even though he still holds the real Lord of Riverrun (the Red Wedding's groom, Edmure) in his dungeons, but he doesn't seem concerned about that either. He also doesn't appear to be bothered that Brynden "Blackfish" Tully escaped the Red Wedding unscathed. Blackfish is an old man. Surely the Freys will beat him back to Riverrun. What could possibly go awry? That squib, Walder Frey, has an air-tight plan for world domination.
The Lannisters: They're all pretty happy that Walder Frey managed to kill Robb and his mother, but no one more so than Joffrey, who was positively giddy during this scene. It's nice to see a young man so enthusiastic about his work. Only Tyrion has concerns that the Freys took out King Robb in such an underhanded manner, instead of engaging him in battle like civilized folks. Tywin pooh-poohs Tyrion's concerns, wondering why it matters how it happened. Why is killing someone in battle any different than killing him at dinner? I mean, really.
In fact, Tywin's head has grown a few sizes since he orchestrated the mass murder of a king, his mother, and his loyal subjects. Tywin sass mouths King Joffrey, telling him that, "Any man who must say 'I'm the king,' is no true king." Then Tywin confesses to Tyrion that he believes himself to be the most powerful man in Westeros. Tyrion worries that the Northerners will never forget what the Lannisters did to the Stark family. Tywin says, "Good. Let them remember." Them's fighting words, Twyin. Watch yourself.
Team Bran: Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor have broken off from Osha and Rickon and are camping out in one of the abandoned castles on the Wall. While there, Bran tells ghost stories that relate perfectly to what happened to his brother at the Red Wedding. The gods cannot forgive a man who kills a guest beneath his roof. Walder Frey, you're on notice.
After Hodor screams down a well a few times, Sam shows up with Gilly and Baby Sam (but not Sam's baby, Maester Aemon, we promise). Sam teaches Bran and company how to kill a white walker with nothing but some dragonglass and a sassy attitude. Sam begs Bran to follow him to Castle Black (and be reunited with his bastard brother, Jon!), but Bran refuses. He has to save the world by talking to a three-eyed crow or something.
Jon Snow: And the kicker is, Bran totally would've seen Jon if he had followed Sam to the Wall because Jon is back. Sure, he pissed off Ygritte and took three arrows to his person, but he's back, baby! (Cue: "Back in Black")
Davos, the Unsung Shaft of Westeros: Davos is my new favorite, I think. I'm currently reading the fifth book, so that might have a lot to do with my affection for him. Davos is the new Jaime, people. Get on board.
Anyway, Davos is still stuck on Dragonstone with Stannis, Melisandre, Stannis's grayscale ridden daughter, and Gendry. Davos has become friendly with Gendry, because they're both from Flea Bottom, AKA the place where Joffrey's shift (you're welcome, Sansa) goes to die. (By the way, all of this Davos-talking-to-Gendry stuff is completely new. The same storyline happens in the book with another bastard of Robert Baratheon, but it makes so much sense for the show to use Gendry, the bastard we've come to know and love, instead of a random bastard we've never met. This is one instance where the show going off book really worked.)
Anyway, Davos, who, like a BAMF, still won't just shut up and do as he's told when Melisandre's around, helps Gendry escape. Melisandre wants to offer Gendry up to the Lord of Light, and Davos won't have it. He frees Gendry from his cell, puts him in a rowboat, and points him in the direction of King's Landing. When Stannis is about to execute Davos for his insubordination, Davos pulls out a parchment from Maester Aemon at the Wall, asking for help in fighting the monsters of the North. Davos sees this as Stannis's big moment. If he can rally together the lords of the North and take on the biggest threat to humanity, the people of Westeros will have to name them their king. And he's going to need Davos's help to do it. Melisandre agrees, which feels ominous to me.
Daenerys: Dragons. Slaves freed. Same old, same old. Yawn.
OK, no. I'm going to say more about this, because I hated this scene so very much. I had my own thoughts about how this season should end, of course, but apparently the writers disagreed with me, which is fine. But this ending was so cheesy, so anticlimactic, and so obviously trying to get us all on board the Dany train that I hated it with every fiber of my cold, dead heart. It felt unearned. Dany is missing from the entire episode, and shows up right at the end to get a big standing ovation for merely existing. You are better than this scene, Game of Thrones. CGI dragons are not the answer to every problem.
I suppose I understand what they were doing, in a way. Dany is the anti-Twyin, the anti-Roose Bolton, the anti-Stannis (though, like Stannis, she's also kind of doing what she does because she believes it's her birthright). What makes her different is that she wants to make life better for others, not for herself. That's great. Lovely. I just wish we could see her misstep once in a while. This whole season has been about Dany's triumphs. She needs to be brought down a peg or two, or people (i.e. the viewers) are going to start to get really tired of her schtick.
All that said, if the other scenes are the ones we're left with, I'm not sure which one makes the best ending. Maybe Stannis and Davos resolving to help the crows on the Wall? An arrow ridden Jon Snow falling into the arms of his brothers? They really should've used the ending in my head, which is the final scene of A Storm of Swords, and which I won't describe here because spoilers, but just know it would've been a doozy of an ending, much better than this dragons flying, people calling Dany "mother" and lifting her over their heads bullshit.
- Poor Grey Wind deserved better than having his massive head hoisted up on a pole. At least Arya got to exact some revenge on the guys who did it (even though next time she should tell the Hound about her plans for murder). I love Arya and the Hound together.
- I also love Sansa and Tyrion together (in scenes. Not in love. Same with Arya and the Hound. The Hound belongs with Sansa). The monster and the traitor's daughter have a good rapport and should realize that, in King's Landing, each can be the other's best friend.
- They were really laying on the "Joffrey's a horrible petty twerp, like Justin Bieber" thing pretty thick. Poor Jack Gleeson. Will he ever escape the stench of Joffrey Baratheon on his acting resume?
- Are we supposed to think it's noble that Tywin kept Tyrion alive after birth, merely because he's family? Because everything Tywin's done to Tyrion since then kind of negates that patriarchal sentiment.
- Is there a Tumblr of Hodor just shouting into things?
- This episode is where Theon gets the name "Reek." I'm currently reading A Dance With Dragons, so I've only recently realized that all of the Theon stuff this season was totally fabricated. In the books, we don't see Theon with Ramsay "Bolton" Snow until after he's been beaten to the point of being broken.
- When Bran was trying to keep his identity from Sam and Gilly, Hodor totally gave them away with all his Hodoring.
- Davos on Melisandre: "She does know her way around a man's head, I'll give her that."
- Varys offers Shae diamonds to leave King's Landing, and she refuses them. I'll be interested to see where the writers take Shae's story during the next season, because...I won't say more and risk spoiling anything.
- Tyrion on being drunk: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everybody would do it if it were easy."
- The husband to me after Ygritte shoots Jon Snow: "So is that it for them, then?" I think it's kind of hard to go back, relationship-wise, after one party looses several arrows into the other's body.
- Jaime's back in King's Landing. Remember him? See, that's one of those moments that would've been perfect for a Wire-style montage. Same with Jon arriving back at Castle Black.
Thus ends The Song of Ice and Fire series through the middle of Book 3. You now have a year to read and get caught up. (DO IT. I highly recommend reading the books. If you're a fan of the show, you will certainly be sucked in.) What did you think of the episode? How about the season as a whole?
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