Friday, May 24, 2024

Mansplaining, Offensive Representation, and…a Well-Written Sex Scene! Thrones Does the Impossible!

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Episode 2 of Game of Thrones, entitled “Stormborn,” has officially aired, and while this episode contained the biggest surprise of all (there was actually a good scene!) and some positive moments thanks to Bryan “Yes I will shove all the exposition into my episode for you” Cogman trying his best, it still falls flat.


For an episode entitled “Stormborn” we get absolutely no character moments for Dany. The few we do get are mostly devoted to her being a vehicle for other characters’ genius or emotion, and she just keeps getting less and less likable.

The episode opens with a storm at Dragonstone (yes…a heavy-handed reference to the title of the episode) but it isn’t just a reference…no, it gives way to the expository backstory about the name as well. Tyrion and Varys explain that Dany got the name “Stormborn” from a storm just like this many years ago. It’s not a necessary moment, and maybe it if wasn’t dually stressed, it would be okay. I can see Varys perhaps saying this to her—I mean really this sounds like a conversation that should have been happening with Barristan Selmy—but it seemed a little weird coming from Tyrion. It just seems more in service of D&D’s mission that he has to do everything and know everything rather than a moment to serve his character or his relationship to Dany.

Also, exposition on that name because we named the episode after it? Sure, we’ve got time for that. There’s even a line that Dany wishes she too could remember it, although delivered in her deadpan voice so I can’t tell what she actually feels. But thoughtful moments about the complexity of home for her? No…that would take too much time and take away from Tyrion.

Also remember last week when we were supposed to be emotionally roused by Dany returning home and spent a whole scene closing the episode watching her walk through Dragonstone in silence because it was so significant? Well, this week she could give a shit about it and wants to be off this crappy island with no lighting already.

Tyrion calms her woes, assuring her they will leave soon and Varys tries to do the same, telling Dany that the people despise Cersei…

I mean come on…if you’re going to write it into your episode, you have to show it. We’ve gotten no sign that there’s been any actual pushback from the common people of Kings Landing (aka the only people who should be left since Cersei obliterated all of the highborn) since the sept incident.

Then Cogman brings us back to season one (I think he rewatched it recently before writing this episode, guys) and Dany brings up the fact that Viserys used to believe the common people would be waiting for them, sewing secret dragon banners for their return. Cogman then attempts to plug a pothole that they’ve written when making Varys a Targ supporter by having Dany confront him about it, as well as his supporting“stupid and weak” Viserys, and that they sold her like a horse to the Dothraki for their profit.

On one hand, at least Cogman comprehends that she was sold to the Dothraki and her memories of that shouldn’t be all rainbows and sunshine, but I feel like that’s sort of undermined when he has Varys use the word “advantage” when talking about how Dany got through that situation. She was sold, like a slave. Implying she turned the situation to her advantage applies a sort of agency and lack of necessity of survival in her situation.

And they clearly do not understand the character they are writing. We have her targeting Viserys and Varys’s support for such a person to take the crown, but don’t realize they are essentially writing her as a less charismatic Viserys 2.0. She’s not any kinder, she’s not any wiser. Also Viserys wasn’t just cruel, stupid, and weak. He was verbally and physically abusive, lustful for power, and dangerously paranoid. But we’ve left the complexity of that relationship behind in season one and haven’t touched on it since, so why start now? It’s not as if it’s important that he essentially raised her.

Dany continues to call out Varys, telling him that he sent assassins after her and puts his weight behind whoever he likes better, without a shred of loyalty, only highlighting how little Varys’s masterplan makes sense in the show’s context, but Varys stands up for himself. He’s of the people and has lived in “alleys” and “gutters” and doesn’t owe loyalty to a name, but rather the realm. I think this would have been a nice scene for us to really get to have character moments for Dany in referencing the past, who she is, and the journey she has taken, especially as this episode is called “Stormborn” and her having just arrived “home,” for the first time. But every time there’s a thread to be taken, they let it go.

From Dany grappling with not remembering the moment that gave her the famous title when she was born, to her complex relationship with Viserys, being sold to Drogo, and getting through that, to at last this moment with Varys where she could have brought up that she too had experienced the “gutter” and “alley” life. Viserys was called the “Beggar King” for a reason. It wasn’t all palaces, houses with red doors, and manses for the Targaryen children. The show too often forgets Dany’s struggle and what makes her identifiably human and someone to root for, which is why we end up with stuck-up, privileged Deadpan.

Varys then challenges her, telling her he will not serve her blindly but he will serve her completely if she should have him and is all “I choose you (Pikachu!)” Why? I cannot say. He just went through a whole speech about not serving blindly and how bad Aerys was before her. But she’s not been shown to be a good ruler.

In fact, the last few seasons we’ve just seen cruelty, violence, infantile shouting and demanding, and a mouthpiece for Tyrion to rule through. He’s literally made their only plans or talks her down from following through with any of her own. Unless he’s using her as a puppet for Tyrion’s rule, there’s no reason why he should feel such passion for crowning her. D&D really do not realize they’ve essentially written her to be a second coming of the mad king, but with a smirk of empowerment when killing rather than delirious laughter.

However, she’s feeling nice today, or the writers are writing her to be, so she pardons him, insisting that he tell her if she’s failing him rather than conspiring behind her back, and caps it off with a nice promise of “If you ever betray me, I will burn you alive.” Yeah…she’s a wonderfully kind ruler. Not at all like her father or brother.

Oh, was I supposed to mention that I brought Jon Snow back to life?

A visitor then arrives at Dragonstone, and it’s none other than Melisandre! They have a chat in Valyrian and Mel gives her some backstory that she was once a slave and is super game for the “Breaker of Chains”. Oh look, another moment that would have been nice to seed in prior for Mel (and also Varys). But Dany’s campaign against slavery was forgotten when they were allowed to ditch Meereen last season and leave Daario the sellsword in charge. This meeting should mean a lot, as should Dany’s teaming up with Varys, considering her number one cause, but instead all of that context is thrown away.

Instead Varys starts to get petty because Mel is a fire priestess but Dany reminds him she put on her nice hat today and she’s pardoning people…unless they don’t do what she wants them to do, but that’s a different story. (Although maybe, with the way they write Mel, she’d dig the whole burning people alive threat thing).

Mel then exposits the “Prince That Was Promised” prophesy because nothing is sacred and everything must be destroyed, and Missandei corrects Dany’s translation because the noun in Valyrian could mean “prince” or “princess”. Dany gets taken with the idea but Mel shoots down her dreams and starts talking about how great Jon is. She tells her of how he let the Wildlings through and united them with the northern houses against the greater threat…failing to mention a big part of why he’s important; the fact that she brought him back to life.

Dany is either impressed or jealous, but to be honest you can’t read anything off her face it’s so deadpanned. Tyrion is an “excellent judge of character” though and vouches for Jon, mansplaining the situation to Dany, so she sends a raven to Jon to tell him to come to Dragonstone to bend the knee to his queen.

They have a council meeting later where Yara tells Dany if she wants the Iron Throne she should just take it. (Which is the truth because Cersei and Jaime don’t have anything comparable to their numbers, but oh no plot conveniency needs them to give Euron time to miraculously destroy a massive part of Dany’s power.) Tyrion mansplains to a whole room of women that it will mean a ton of civilian casualties from the dragons (Can’t she magically control them now?) and Ellaria “Weak Men Will Never Rule Dorne Again” Sand is annoyed that Tyrion doesn’t understand war means killing.

Tyrion also brings up the fact that Ellaria killed his niece (Cogman is filling all the holes this week) that he really cared for, but instead of going into it too deeply, it just comes off as a petty tiff and Dany quiets them. This would have been the one organic character moment for Tyrion to have and yet it’s the one time Dany speaks out about anything, stopping it in its tracks, just to defend Saint Tyrion and tell Ellaria she must “treat him with respect”.

Dany then proves she is literally a puppet queen by repeating the words he told her earlier in the episode ‘I am not here to be queen of the ashes.” (Could she not have come to this conclusion herself?! I might lose it if they infantilize her any further.) But Olenna is badass™ and empowering™ and tells Dany to defeat Cersei and rule her people, she must make them fear her. Hey, Olenna, I hate to tell you this but you sound a lot like Cersei “The only way to keep your people loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy” Lannister. If it wasn’t for that pesky sept explosion killing your whole family, you two could have been great allies. 

Dany thanks all the women for speaking their mind, but tells them to shut up unless their name is Tyrion as he lays out their whole plan. BUT WAIT… SHE LITERALLY STEPS BACK TO LET HIM HAVE THE FLOOR AND LAY IT ALL OUT FOR EVERYONE.

Yes, go ahead and mansplain Tyrion. I will just stand back here minding my own business. #womenontop

I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

The plan is to besiege Kings Landing with the Martells, Tyrells, and Greyjoys because the Unsullied and Dothraki will only prove Cersei’s point of foreign invasion. (Which is riding on the idea that the people of Kings Landing actually exist and care.) Yara will escort Ellaria “home to Sunspear” to gather her army to ferry them to Kings Landing where they will lay siege, cutting off their food supply. (Rule #1: Roasting people to death is bad…but starving them is totally cool). 

Also, you mean to tell me the Dornish sailed all the way from Dorne to Meereen last season and then back with Dany only to squat back in Dorne when they arrived in Westeros?


Meanwhile the Unsullied will take Casterly Rock, (literally circumvent the fucking continent for this stronghold) and we don’t even get a Missandei reaction shot to this news because why lead up to future moments in the episode when all your scenes can exist isolated from one another? 

They all agree with King Tyrion—I mean Queen Dany and Olenna has a conversation with her telling her that the best way to rule is to ignore clever men, forget peace, and BE A DRAGON. #WomenOnTop

Onto the one good scene this episode! Missandei and Greyworm say goodbye to one another before he sets off for Casterly Rock, and these two actors absolutely kill this scene. There’s actual chemistry, they emote, it’s beautiful. Greyworm talks about how his feelings for Missandei have made him weak because he now feels fear, and in my heart I want to just sit him down and recite that Ned quote that a man can only be brave when he is afraid. It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength, but the Unsullied have been conditioned to think otherwise. He kisses her and when she pulls away, the pure fear, anxiety, and vulnerability on his face was so palpable.

She disrobes (we’ll just ignore the fact that she’s literally wearing nothing under her clothes) and then begins to disrobe Greyworm. “I want to see you, please,” she insists. At first he stops her, but eventually he allows her to continue, feeling true trust and vulnerability for the first time with another human being. And it’s so well acted and handled. She takes him to the bed and those first moments of contact, of them coming to terms with what they are doing and what it means from both of them, was really nice and made me actually feel something…a feat I thought impossible on this show.

Oh my god…is that ACTING? And…emotions? I thought D&D forbid showing feeling. Is the world ending?

On the other hand though, the cinematography really wasn’t doing this episode any favors and certainly not this scene. For example we get an extreme closeup of Greyworm processing his emotions and trying desperately to read Missandei’s reaction to seeing all of him, but then when we see her looking at him, instead of a closeup for her, which would be justified in that moment (perhaps not as tight as his), we get a wider shot from an odd high up angle with her body and boobs in frame. The scene wasn’t written vouyeristically or exploitatively at all, but it was sort of shot that way. It also went on a bit too long, but overall it was a really nice and surprisingly effecting scene.


Jon gets the letter from Tyrion mega fast, and he quotes “all dwarves are bastards in their fathers eyes” at the end of it. It’s like their safe-phrase so Jon knows it’s not fake. Seriously though, Cogman just rewatched season 1 didn’t he?

Jon asks Sansa what she thinks for once, ’cause she was married to Tyrion and maybe he doesn’t want to endure the same fate as the last time he didn’t ask her opinion, (except for later when he doesn’t ask her opinion again,) and she’s all #NOTALLLANNISTERS. She insists “he was always kind to me” but still it’s too great a risk for him to go. It could be a trap. Davos sees the bullshit of Team Dany but that will get ignored for the rest of the episode i.e. the Dothraki horde, Unsullied , etc, but that stops immediately because he’s gotta make the obvious connection Jon fails to see. Dragons = fire. They need fire to fight the threat of the ice zombies.


Davos agrees it’s too dangerous for Jon to go, but they need them…god, this conversation is meandering, and so instead of finishing this talk to it’s logical conclusion and Sansa bringing up the possibility of sending envoys here they just cut away. This could have been a nice moment of them communicating and putting her in command. Instead we get more sibling bickering.

Eight years later (compared to the speed of light travel time of the other ravens) Jon gets Sam’s letter about the dragon glass on Dragonstone and holds a meeting without talking the situation out with Sansa once again. Jon tells them what Sam says and about Tyron’s letter. He says that he’s going to accept the offer because they need allies and the dragon glass, announcing it to Sansa then and there. (And we get no reaction shot of her…cause why do that?)

Sansa finally chimes in and is, like, “oh hey yeah, remember when grandpa was killed by the last Targaryen that was crowned?”, and the room agrees with Sansa, that it is too dangerous for him to go. Jon agrees that it could be a trap but then backpedals because Tyrion wouldn’t “do that”. “You know him, he’s a good man,” he insists to Sansa, because even when Sansa is not married to him, she can’t escape being told how great he is. Nothing will change Jon’s mind.

Sansa brings up the great point of just sending an envoy, but Jon says that “Daenerys is a queen. Only a king can convince her to help us.” I don’t know why that is…what even is this line of reasoning? Also, is it just me or is Kit Harrington being directed to play Jon as a petulant child playing at war? All of his speeches come off so false this season, like a whiny child, but I don’t think it’s intentional.

Jon is leaving the north in Sansa’s hand’s (only for a bit though until he comes back) and that she’s “the only Stark in Winterfell”… how nice is it that he’s recognizing that it’s her birthright? But don’t get too cozy Sansa, it’s only while he’s gone. If we didn’t have unnecessary bickering and rivalry, accompanied by the failure to realize this is her place to begin with, this could have been a really nice moment. Especially if it was Sansa’s choice to relinquish the power of the North to Jon in the first place or just be the Lady of Winterfell while he took the King in the North title. Something to make this moment more than a checkbox of Jon being #great. Meanwhile Littlefinger is still on his reserved spot on the wall being creepy about it and so happy with the latest development. 

Would you even know that this was from a different episode than the last three if I didn’t tell you?

Speaking of Littlefinger he and Jon have a scene in the crypts where he tells Jon how much he loved Cat *gags* and  that he loves “Sansa as [he] loved her mother.” *gags again*  Jon slams him up against a wall a la Ned in season one and Jon’s all “touch my sister and I’ll kill you myself.” Which was a yay because finally we got some in-universe recognition of Littlefinger’s creeper status, and moments that weren’t all sibling rivalry for Jon and Sansa, but because of how they have been developed, it mostly came off as men fighting over property rather than the sibling protectiveness it was meant to be.


Arya reunites with Hot Pie and it’s incredibly underwhelming. She’s acting really weird. She doesn’t seem to care about seeing Hot Pie again. She literally doesn’t look at him while he’s talking. It’s very Deadpan-esque, but Maisie Williams is too emotive to give absolutely nothing in the way that they’ve managed to make Clarke succeed in doing.

But really, this is kind of weird and so inconsistent. Arya was way happier with those Lannister troops last week than she is seeing a familiar and happy face. If they are trying to finally seed in the toxic effect all of this is having on her, it’s a little to late considering last episode we were supposed to be cheering about her empowered™ mass murder at the Twins.

Hot Pie even asks “What happened to you ‘Arry?” Which should mean something, but because of the context of everything leading up to this and how Arya has been framed, it doesn’t. Arya’s sequence this episode is just so weird because it’s nice but it doesn’t flow naturally from what they’ve been writing in the past, (heck just last episode). Is this just purely a result of it being a Cogman episode and him trying to write some complexity here? I like what this scene is trying to say, but it fails to actually say it.

Hot Pie tells Arya that the Boltons are dead after Jon won “the “Battle of the Bastards” (Can we stop the use of this name in-universe, please?) and after finding out her brother is alive and at Winterfell, Arya immediately leaves. She starts second guessing her choices and it could be nice. Maisie is so good, but there’s been no lead up to this. There’s been no questioning of her choice of going “home” or “family,” just pure badassery™ up until now, and it doesn’t elevate this moment the way it should.

Hot Pie doesn’t let her pay and they have one moment after—which feels separate from the rest of their conversation, because it feels like they actually know each other—where she tells him to take care. He tells her not to worry, that he is a survivor like her and it’s really sweet. I wish the whole scene had felt like this.

Outside the Inn, Arya decides to turn North instead of South, a nice bit of acting from Maisie as Arya chooses family over revenge. (Which again…needed the set up of this massive character choice that we failed to have, but I admire Cogman for trying to give Arya a complex arc, even if he had to do it in the isolation of one episode).

While warming herself near a fire, Arya’s horse (A+ horse acting here) starts shrieking and moving around and suddenly she’s surrounded by a wolf pack. Then behind her giant CGI Nymeria shows up! Yes Nymeria…Arya’s direwolf and probably the only source of the wolf CGI budget this season because who is Ghost? Arya is going back home and want’s Nymeria to come with her. There’s the almost promise and possibility of a return to normalcy for Arya with the arrival of Nymeria on her journey home but Nymeria turns away. She can’t go back home because the implication is that she is too wild. “That’s not you,” Arya says smiling, a callback to Season one when Ned describes the life of a lady laid out before Arya and she protests “that is not me”.

This could, again, taken out of context to the rest of the past few seasons, mean something greater for Arya. Has she been through too much to return to normalcy too? Is it possible to go back to that after all of this? Doe she want normal? Is it always possible to return home?

But no…that would require pre-existing set up and an established character arc.


Back at Oldtown, Archmaester Slughorn and Sam are inspecting Jorah, chastising him that should have cut off his arm the moment he was touched…yeah why didn’t he? Jorah apparently has about 10 years before it kills him, maybe 20, but around 6 months or less till his mind goes. Sam asks Slughorn about stopping Greyscale because Shireen’s was halted, (can we just say, thank god Sam is not doing poop montages this week and they are actually referencing previous episodes), but Slughorn tells him that was because they caught it early and she was a kid.

Jorah is a allowed “one more day” before being sent off to live with the Stonemen because he’s an anointed knight not a commoner, and Slughorn not so subtly hints that he should use that time to take his own life before he loses his mind—he’s a lost cause. It’s a heavy concept and not one addressed or stressed at all in an episode that had the time for it. Before he leaves, Sam learns Jorah’s family name.

While getting some books from the library—I guess no repercussions of sneaking into the restricted section without his invisibility cloak—Sam brings up that while perusing the Study of Rare Diseases by Archmaester Pylos, he found a possible cure to Greyscale. But Slughorn shuts him down, saying the procedure is too dangerous and it’s forbidden. It seems like maybe it should have been tested out some more before forbidding it, as we know Sam is going to be successful…

Jorah is writing a letter to Dany and literally addresses it “Khaleesi.” It is ridiculous and absolutely hilarious. Jorah looks at the sword, another suggestion that he’s going to kill himself so these are his last moments, but again we don’t get the weight of that decision at all. If we’re going to feel sympathy or follow Jorah’s POV at all, we couldn’t even use a few minutes to give him an essential character moment?

“Queen, I love you so much. I might be dying but pls remember our love that definitely exists. PS poor me I’m so friendzoned.”

He’s not even getting ready to do it when Sam comes in to cure him. There’s no weight to anything. It all just sort of happens. Sam mentions that he knew Jorah’s father and was with him when he died, declaring “You’re not dying today, Ser Jorah”. Ooh… is Sam taking on the complex guilt Connington feels about failing the father and not wanting to fail the son here? Definitely has the same weight…

It’s surgery time and Sam has him drink rum, not milk of the poppy for some reason, which would have been handy because Jorah isn’t allowed to scream or they will be caught. The steps are basically to cut off the layer of skin where the scales have formed and apply an ointment (it’s not like this is an internal disease or anything?). The layer peels off kind of easily, almost as if it were makeup!


In King’s Landing Cersei calls what few banners she has, including some house Tyrell bannermen like the Tarlys, to rally them to her cause. She tells them that Dany has ferried an army of savages to their shores. (Oh yeah, what are the Dothraki doing? It would be interesting to see their reaction to doing the impossible—crossing the narrow sea and touching land on Westeros.) Cersei is genuinely trying to warn about Aerys 2.0 and she has a point, but at the same time she’s kinda doing the same thing, so really instead of bickering they should bond over their love for burning their enemies.

“You remember the mad king. You remember the horrors he inflicted upon his people,” Cersei recites and they cut to a Jaime reaction shot, as if this line means something for him while simultaneously ignoring the fact that the dude that is standing by the side of someone who blew a shit ton of people up with Aerys’s wildfire.

Randyll Tarly and the new Dickon are there, and despite trepidations about Dany’s dragons and his passionate loyalty for Olenna Tyrell (Where’s the patriarchy?) Jaime takes him aside and convinces him to join them. I thought he was already on their side considering he made the trek there in the first place? And also, what is with this notion that he’s worried about his honor by betraying the Tyrells and Olenna and siding with people who would “stab people in the back or cut their throats at weddings” like the Lannisters? I got news for you…Olenna murdered the king at his wedding via poison. (Maybe that is news. Whatever.) 

Something looks different…

Qyburn has got a plan for the impossible enemy—the dragons—as he takes Cersei for a stroll through the Dragon skulls stored below the Red Keep. We get backstory about Robert removing them from the throne room but that he didn’t destroy them because they were his “trophies”. Apparently Robert brought his “whores” down there to look at them, which must have been a fun time because anything Targaryen basically works as a blind anger trigger for Robert.

Also, is it just me or should Balerion’s skull be bigger?

Qyburn watched season five and knows that Drogon was wounded by spears in Meereen so he built a giant cross-bow-esque contraption for spears and they fire one into the skull. Cersei seems quite pleased with her new toy.


This Sand Snake scene only makes me happy that they are soon going to be gone from the show and these actors will be free to do bigger and better things, but oh my god it is awful. They are fighting over who they can kill when they get to King’s Landing, their accents are somehow worse, and the Bad Pussy Sand Snake threatens to kill the other two. Then they tease her because #womeontop and I leave the scene feeling so Empowered™.

At last it is the Yallaria scene we’ve all been “waiting” for, and they are discussing wine and fucking. How new, how original. Also, woohoo. Confirmation. Yara is officially a bisexual rapist pirate. I’m so glad. I feel so represented.

Ellaria really likes it, and the two women who like women start flirting because they are two women who like women in the same room. Ellaria orders Theon to get her another drink while they talk. (Yes, Theon is in this episode and mostly in the background, but Alfie Allen still acts his face off and deserves an Emmy for doing the impossible with nothing.) We have a good moment where Yara is actually nice to him and scolds Ellaria, insisting “he’s not your servant.” She says “he’ll be my advisor, my protector,” and it’s kind of cheap and easy considering what comes not long after, but I like the concept of Theon not being able to live up to what that “should” mean.

But unfortunately that’s the closest we get to seeding what should be a big character moment for Theon later in the episode, and it seems like the showrunners care very little for putting his trauma in the foreground.

Yallaria starts to flirt and Ellaria utters the line of the episode “a foreign invasion is underway,” as she feels her up. Yeah…it’s real. Then just as we are about to get the kiss we have all been waiting for, it’s quickly interrupted because Euron comes out of nowhere to cock-block.

They are under attack and Euron really is Jack Sparrow because his ship comes out of the fucking fog like The Black Pearl. Also fireballs are just constantly raining down from the sky? I don’t know why or how, but they are.

Where’s Barbossa? Oh wow, this was supposed to be a screenshot of the boats but you literally cant see anything because what is lighting?

How did he find them you may ask? How did he time this so perfectly? Who knows.

Euron is absolutely ridiculous levels of theatrically insane, and with this camera work I can’t even see what is happening in this “epic” sea battle. Bad Pussy SS is killing people who have swords with her tiny dagger and it’s hilariously silly. She goes below after taking down a few people to keep Ellaria safe because she wasn’t trained in the art of Snake Fu.

Yara takes a moment to look at the battle, but we don’t get context of what this means for her because we never get to see her lead her people or really get any scenes developing her character, so that long shot is wasted. Nymeria and Obara are fighting Euron but he kills them their own weapons. (Is this supposed to be some sort of poetic justice?) Oh well, let’s say a happy goodbye to these two as they no longer have to waste their talent away on this show anymore!

Also holy fucking shit, you know you messed up these characters when I didn’t feel anything about their deaths, or even believed they felt anything about each other’s deaths. We didn’t even get a reaction shot of Bad Pussy and Ellaria being taken captive and seeing what Euron has done to Obara and Nym. The showrunners clearly care even less for these characters than we do.

Now Euron’s got his presents for Cersei, fireballs come crashing down, and in what is probably supposed to be an epic moment but feels like nothing, Yara finally goes to fight Euron. This week his personality is yelling and crazy eyes and he bests Yara quite quickly. The relationship between these people and what all of this means is very much lost. He holds a dagger to her throat and dares Theon to come save her. Theon stops in his tracks, processing what’s going on around him and Alfie Allen acts the shit out of it. He sees Euron’s men cutting out tongues and pure violence all around him. His history of abuse comes flooding back to him and, triggered, he drops his sword, leaving his sister, and jumps off the ship. (Not that he could have done much in the first place). 

I don’t take issue with the action in general, I take issue with how it was framed, the lack of seeding that went into it. It was too sudden and in an episode that gave little to no thought or time for Theon. The triggering moment itself wasn’t sudden. Triggers are sudden. However giving Theon the climax of an arc in an episode he was barely in did.  For such a huge moment like that, we needed a lead up. Also, in the Inside the Episode D&D mention that Theon’s actions disappoint Yara, so with that, the context, the framing, and last seasons’s horror show of the “man up or kill yourself” therapy session “working,” I contest their ability to deal with trauma and abuse and how they are framing this. 

Yes, trauma doesn’t just go away, but they seemed to think it did last season and that’s what worries me.

We leave the episode with Theon floating in the water (maybe Gendry will pick him up in his rowboat?).

Overall, it wasn’t a horrible episode. It had one actual good scene and other isolated moments that in a different show and different context could have been really nice. You could definitely tell it was a Cogman episode, but despite his valiant attempts, you can’t just try and cram complexity or development in an isolated episode without it losing any and all of its impact because of its predecessors.

Images courtesy of HBO

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