Tonight’s episode isn’t just about death or battles; it’s about proving your worth as a player. For some, it cost them their lives while others gained power through careful manipulation. And what really lies beneath the surface is the human spirit. It can be easily destroyed or resurrected through choices one makes. Alex Graves directed this phenomenal episode with even more intensity and excitement building towards the final 2 episodes.
Moles Town falls under attack from the Wildings and the only one to sense danger is Gilly. Thenns and Giantsbane kill the inhabitants at the Tavern; while Ygritte kills the loudmouth, drunken madam. She hears a baby cry and finds Gilly with her son hiding. She tells her to keep quiet and lets them live.
The next morning, Jon tells Pyp and Grenn, the Wall is next. There are only 102 NW men defending it against the Wilding army of 100,000. Sam sits in tears as he realizes leaving Gilly alone was a mistake. His friends remind him that she survived Craster and a WW; so she might have escaped. They drink to the upcoming battle and pledge not to come back as “wights”.
It’s evident that the next big battle is at the Wall. It’s going to be epic! Let’s hope Gilly is safe.
Ramsay reminds Reek to play Theon Greyjoy in order to treat with the Ironborn. He enters the castle with a white flag. Reek meets Ralf Canning who isn’t buying him as Theon Greyjoy. He becomes terrified as Canning refuses Snow’s terms. Just then, the captain is axed by his fellow mate who wants safe passage home. The Ironborn surrender as Snow and crew flayed the remaining men.
Later on, Ramsay meets up Roose, informing him that Moat Cailin is taken. Bolton rewards his son by legitimizing him as a Bolton. The caravan makes way to Winterfell as Ramsay looks forward to a bath.
A significant turning point for the Boltons as they capture the Moat and begin to yield their power in the North. Ramsay’s sociopathic nature has kept his pet in line without much hesitation. The horror in Reek/Theon’s eyes said it all when he turned on his own, the Ironborn.
During a moment of peace at the river, Missandei and Grey Worm exchange glances as she stood naked bathing. Daenerys questions her about how the Unsullied are cut. Her handmaid isn’t sure but has often wondered about it, herself. Later on, Grey Worm and Missandei meet up in the Throne room where she asks him in the Common Tongue if he remembers being cut but he can’t. He only knows being Unsullied, led him to meet Daenerys and Missandei. In High Valyrian, he does apologize for making her feel uncomfortable earlier but, she replies, it was ok.
As Selmy patrols the city, he receives a letter that has come from Hand of the King. He discovers Jorah’s secret. Next, Barristan confronts Mormont with the pardon before seeing Dany. As Jorah is summoned to her Throne Room, Daenerys questions him about being an informant. Jorah tries to defend himself by saying that Tywin Lannister along with Varys; were masterminds behind his betrayal. Dany orders him to leave the city before dawn or he’ll be beheaded. Jorah rides out into the desert alone.
It’s about time that Jorah’s lies caught with him. We were reminded of this at the beginning of the episode. The atmosphere was pungent as Jorah begged for forgiveness to an unrelenting Dany. Perhaps Selmy’s words to balance injustice with mercy resonated with the Khalessi since she banishes him from Meereen . What will be in store for Jorah, is anyone’s guess. Selmy seems to be the only person Dany can trust now. The budding romance between Grey Worm and Missandei ?
Baelish is questioned by the Lords of the Vale, suspicious of Lysa’s apparent suicide. They question his niece, Alayne. LF becomes uncomfortable as Sansa is brought into the room. She apologizes to Lord Baelish first, but reveals her true identity as Sansa Stark, taken hostage by the Lannisters after her father was beheaded. She convinces them that Lord Baelish rescued her from KL and the only person she could trust. She recounts that her aunt tried to threaten her with the Moon Door after seeing LF kiss her on the cheek as well as corroborates his claim of Lysa falling to her death. She convinces the Lords , as she breaks down in tears while giving her mentor a victorious glance.
Later Baelish visits Sansa in her chambers. He questions his young prodigy as to why she lied for him. Without looking up, Sansa states that if he were gone, she wouldn’t know what would happen to her. More importantly, she lets it be known; she knows what Petyr really wants.
Meanwhile, the Hound and Arya make their way towards the Bloody Gate. He educates her that men fight with steel but poison is a lady’s weapon. Arya insists she would have killed Joffrey with a chicken bone. They come upon the Gate and announce their arrival. The Hound is stunned as Arya laughs hysterically as both find out, Aunt Lysa is dead.
As Littlefingerand Robin prepare to leave the castle and tour the Vale, Sansa comes down the stairs in revealing, black feathered dress and raven hair. Baelish is stunned by her new look but pleasantly surprised.
Finally, Sansa is going from pawn to player in GOT. Her convincing testimony to the Lords of the Vale and the priceless look at Littlefinger sealed her deal. Obviously, she has been paying attention to the lessons. Unlike her brothers or Arya, Sansa will have to use her wits/charm to get what she wants including Littlefinger. Kudos to Sophie Turner as Sansa, for giving us a new power player in Westeros.
Jaime and Tyrion share a last drink before his trial by combat. Tyrion recalls their cousin, Orson, a simple minded man that killed beetles. He asks his brother if the Red Viper stands a chance. The bells tow and Jaime’s wishes him luck.
As Tyrion enters the arena, he sees that Oberyn isn’t armored up and concerned that he is drinking before the fight. The Mountain comes forth with his squire. Ellaria is stunned by Clegane’s sizeand tells her man, not to leave her alone in the world. Obyern assures her that he will not die today. Pycelle recites a prayer as Tywin cuts him off.
The Red Viper shows off his skills with a spear to the crowd. He entices the Mountain by making him confess his part in killing his sister and her children. The Viper constantly jabs at Clegane beginning to unnerve him. Jaime, Ellaria and Tyrion look rather impressed at the moment. Martel continually taunts Gregor about the murders using it to his advantage and stabs him in the leg and chest. It’s not good enough for the Viper as he removes the spear questioning his rival about who gave the orders implicating Tywin
Martel makes the mistake of getting too close to his opponent; who grabs him and smashes his face and teeth. The Mountain, out of control, begins to gauge the Viper’s eyes and head as he confesses he killed Elia the same way. Ellaria screams in horror as Oberyn’s brains are splattered on the ground. Tyrion is speechless while Jaime is shocked. Tywin Lannister proclaims Tyrion’s guilt and sentences him to death while a smiling Cersei looking on.
Another well-crafted fight scene between the Viper and the Mountain, one of the best of this season. The landscape outside with an ocean view was the perfect setting. The scene was not only riveting but emotionally intense through the eyes of Jaime, Tywin and Cersei. Oberyn’s death was shocking to all. Tyrion’s fate is sealed with no possible way out. Now we’ll have to wait until the season finale to see what happens. Pedro Pascal embodied the Red Viper, Oberyn Martel, making him a fan favorite and introducing us to Dorne making the wait for Season 5, even greater.
“ When a slave is castrated, the masters take “all of it”-both the “pillar” and the “stones.” Danerys to Missandei
“You’re going to fight that?” Ellaria Sand to Oberyn Martel, “ I’m going to kill that”
“Poison is a women’s weapon, men kill with steel” Sandor to Arya
“Remember what you are and what you are not, “ Ramsay to Theon
“Better to gamble on the man you know, then the strangers you don’t” Littlefinger to Sansa
Here is a preview of Episode 9, “Watchers on the Wall”: