Game of Thrones has spent so much time building up tension and drawing out plots that many of its ongoing storylines have literally been brewing for years—in some cases, since the very beginning of the series. With this episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” we’re finally starting to see some real payoff: Bran and Sansa are reunited, Danaerys and Jon Snow finally cross paths, and Cersei is finally empowering herself to live her best life. After all that, will it be worth it?
Here Are the Important Parts
Cersei Gets Her Revenge
Let’s start with the deaths. Last episode, we saw two Sand Snakes bite the dust; this episode saw the presumed ends of the other two, with Cersei taking Ellaria and Tyene Sand down into her basement, poisoning young Tyene (via the always popular French Kiss method of poison administration), and leaving her to rot, with her mother forced to watch the grisly process from where she’s chained up on the other side of the dungeon.
While we don’t technically see either of them die onscreen—leaving open the possibility of a surprise Sand Snake reappearance at a later point—the actress who plays Ellaria Sand has confirmed that she won’t be returning to the show. I can’t say I’m sad to see the last of them. (For one thing, I have to look up their names every time they’re on.)
Cersei’s on quite a tear this episode. Along with torturing and killing the Sands, she’s also decided to come out of the closet about that whole incest thing, and has sent the Lannister army off to lay waste to Highgarden and Lady Olenna. Of course, her greatest act of tyranny may be the fact that she seems to have forced all of her palace servants to adopt her trademark pixie cut.
Olenna Tyrell Bites It
While I doubt there are too many people weeping over the demise of Ellaria and Tyene Sand, the Queen of Thorns is another story. As portrayed by Diana Rigg, the saucy, sassy, always prepossessing Lady Olenna has never failed to take command of the screen when she makes an appearance. Plus, she works a wimple like no one else on television ever has. (Sorry, Sally Field.)
Unfortunately, Game of Thrones is busily clearing the deck of its second tier characters, and Lady Olenna’s time is up. At least she gets to go out in style: after downing the poison delivered to her by Jaime Lannister with old lady aplomb, she reveals to Jaime that it was she—not his brother Tyrion, as he previously suspected—who killed poor little Joffrey Baratheon. That’s going to give Jaime something to think about.
Jon and Danaerys Meet-Cute
After being summoned last episode, Jon arrives in Dragonstone for his first, highly anticipated meeting with Danaerys. Is it everything you hoped it would be? Well, it’s a little predictable: if they’re going to be friends (or more than friends) later, they have to fight with each other now, right? Cue the bickering.
While Danaerys’s imperiousness is exquisite and thrilling as always—no one serves imperiousness like Emilia Clarke—it also feels a little tedious. After all, we all know the show is just biding its time before these two drop their arguing and team up. Will they also team up in a nude way? I wouldn’t write off that possibility.
By the end of the episode, they’re already starting to thaw toward each other. No, Jon’s not quite ready to bend the knee and accept Dany as his queen, and no, Dany’s not quite ready to drop everything to fly off to the North and incinerate the White Walkers just yet. But what’s a little dragonglass between friends?
Bran Returns to Winterfell
When Bran left Winterfell, he was nothing but a lad in a basket. Now he’s returned, a strapping, fully-grown three-eyed raven. What does that mean, exactly? Well it’s hard to explain. (Actually, it’s not that hard—it means he can talk to trees, but only the kinds of trees that have faces.)
After an appropriately tearful reunion with Sansa—who, after a few rocky teenage years, is pretty much the most competent person in Westeros—Bran gets down to the truly important business: reminding her all about that time she was horrifically raped. Rude! Still, it’s nice to see the remaining Starks reconvening. Now if only Arya could stop murdering people long enough to make it home, and we’d have the whole gang back together.
AND SOME OTHER THINGS HAPPENED
Varys and Melisandre Talk About. . . Something
What happens when you take two sneaky characters with murky, constantly shifting motivations and play them off of each other in a scene? Why, a lot of sly glances and mysterious intimations, of course. Will it amount to anything, or is it all a lot of innuendo? With these characters, you never know.
Tyrion Has a Really Dumb Line
Yes, it must be exhausting to come up with endless quips for a quip-a-minute character like Tyrion Lannister. But when the writers are resorting to lines like “Give me ten good men and I’ll impregnate the bitch”—referring to the supposedly impregnable Casterly Rock—it’s probably time for them to slow their roll. Anyway, Greyworm and the rest of Dany’s unsullied proved Casterly Rock pregnable this episode, so I guess we can expect the baby in the next episode or two.
Jorah Gets His Cure
Samwell Tarly sure is good at reading books. In fact, he may be the very best book-reader in all the Seven Kingdoms. While we’ve been told that Greyscale—the nasty, supposedly fatal skin condition that Jorah Mormont’s been suffering from for what feels like forever—had no cure, it only took Sam a trip to the library and a little gumption to get Ser Jorah back in business. What amazing secrets will Sam learn in the library next?
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