Directed by: Daniel Minahan
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
A TCC RATING OF:
The episode opens at an unknown location, featuring a conversation between Jamie and a second man, also a Lannister. They discuss what has been happening at King’s Landing, and the mystery man pledges 30,000 troops to Jamie to help get Tyrion back and help secure the future good of the Lannister house.
Meanwhile, at King’s Landing, Eddard confronts Cersei about Bran seeing her and Jamie making love, and tells her to leave the kingdom while King Robert is still out hunting, because he’s going to spill the beans to him upon his return. Lord Baelish is also shown giving a soliloquy to lesbian whores about how much he loved and still loves Catelyn Stark.
Briefly, at Winterfell, the woman Rob and Theon captured is shown doing slave work, and Theon was going to forcibly get intimate with her before he was interrupted by the servant to the Lord of Winterfell.
At The Wall, which we haven’t seen in a while, Jon sees his uncle’s horse run back to The Wall, without his uncle upon it.
Back to King’s Landing, Eddard gets word that King Robert has been seriously injured by a boar and is going to die. King Robert gets alone time with Eddard and writes a will stating that Eddard will be the protector of the realm and acting king until Joffrey becomes of age, but Eddard who is writing it down, puts “rightful heir” in place of “Joffrey.” Outside his chambers, Eddard talks with the other people close to the King, and hears that Robert was reeling from drinking his wine, which was served to him by his squire, a Lannister. Eddard tries to cancel the arrangements to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen, but he is too late.
Speaking of Daenerys, at the Dothraki city, the Khal does not seem to be in a hurry to take over the kingdoms, and she asks Sir Jorah to help convince Khal Drogo, but he declines. Sir Jorah goes to pick up the mail, and gets a message from King’s Landing that he has a full pardon should he want to return. In the market, Daenerys is offered wine from a vendor, but Sir Jorah interferes and discovers it was poisoned and the man is captured.
Returning to The Wall, the recruits are graduating to become builders, stewards, or rangers. Jon gets chosen to be a steward to the commander of The Wall, which he sees as payback for being a little bitch and standing up for the fat man. Jon and the fat man will both take their oath to the Night’s Watch north of the wall since they worship the old gods, not the new ones.
Meanwhile, at King’s Landing, Lord Renley talks to Eddard, trying to convince him to capture Joffrey in the middle of the night to hold power so he can eventually be King. Eddard, however, is planning on transferring power to King Robert’s brother, Stannis. Lord Baelish comes to see Eddard, and tries to convince him to make peace with the Lannisters, release Tyrion, let Sansa marry Joffrey, and then if Joffrey will be problematic as King when he ages, they can put Lord Renley in his place. Eddard does not like that idea either.
Back at The Wall for the third time, we see Jon and the fat man make their vows, and then Jon’s dog, Ghost, walks up to them from the forest with a severed hand in his mouth.
At the Dothraki City, the Khal is upset with the assassination attempt and promises to sail the seas and invade Westeros so that his son can sit in the throne.
Lastly, at King’s Landing, King Robert finally passes away. We hear Lord Renley left in the morning with Sir Lloris and 50 men. Eddard strolls into the grand chamber with his personal guards and the King’s former guards who Lord Baelish has paid to support their side. There is a big showdown between Cersei, who is claiming Joffrey is going to be the new King, and Eddard, who has the will from King Robert himself. Cersei rips up the will, and Joffrey orders Eddard’s men killed. The men Lord Baelish hired turn against Eddard’s bodyguards, and Lord Baelish sticks a knife to Eddard’s throat.
Everything good that happened in the past two episodes for this series was undone in this episode. Gone is the great pacing and exciting action, replaced again by political moves. I am not inherently opposed to slow-moving shows, but I don’t like slow-moving shows that spend little time developing characters. It just feels like they are cramming too much plot into each episode, which does not give them time to spend on certain things. We only got one scene at Winterfell, one scene with Jamie, we didn’t see Arya or Sansa at all, and no time was spent showing what happened to Tyrion or Catelyn. I am also learning very little about the characters and making no emotional connections, because almost all of the episode is devoted to plot.
That said, I do understand that it is setting up the last three episodes of the season, which will likely be more exciting than this one, just because of everything that has happened. The Lannisters made a power-play and are now sitting on the throne, and the Dothraki are going to invade Westeros very soon. Civil war seems imminent, and war with the Dothraki as well, although most people in the kingdom have no idea of that threat.
The most interesting part of this episode though was Sir Jorah. It was implied that he has been given or will be given instructions to kill Daenerys himself, hence the pardon from the kingdom. However he stepped in and saved her life from the merchant assassin. Could his loyalties truly lie with Daenerys now, or will he once again betray the royalty nearest him and flee back to Westeros a hero to the kingdom and a mortal enemy of the Dothraki?