Sunday, June 16, 2024

Simplified Bay of Dragons Part 1: Catching Fire

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Well guys, this is the big one. This is the Game of Thrones Season 6 retrospective with the show’s most important character. You know the one we mean…the ruler of Meereen who can intimidate the high lords and inspire the people, who is loved by millions with a powerful army and the right family name.

Saint Tyrion! Oh, and his super-feminist mouthpiece, Deadpan Card-born the Khaleesi of Faux-Empowerment.

That’s right, yet again, Kylie and Julia jump back into GoT’s most recent season to fully analyze the Meereenese/Essosi plotline to determine what showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) were going for, and then…what we actually ended up getting.

“Julie” is on the case!

As we’ve done in all our past retrospectives, we will take you back through the events of the plotline first, so we can refresh ourselves on everything that happened. Because of the number of scenes and importance of characters, this will be the entirety of Part 1. Then we have decided that, given the two protagonists of this story, Part 2 focuses on Deadpan, and Part 3 is reserved for Saint Tyrion.

But who are these protagonists, what even is the titular Simplified Bay of Dragons, and why are we such jerks that we avoid using the names 9 million viewers would instantly recognize?

Well, the fuller and book-snobbier answer to that can be found in our GoT glossary, along with the explanations for each nickname. For the time-being, here are the down-and-dirty introductions you’ll need:

The Players

It is important to note that the ship name for Missandei and Grey Worm is “MissWorm,” and Jorah’s nickname used to be “Ser Hilariously Friendzoned,” which we might whip out here and there. Don’t get us wrong: the typhoid greyscale may be his most important feature right now, but he is still quite hilariously stalking in love with Deadpan.

Tyrion Plans, Deadpan Pans

We are dumped back into Meereen in what we think a scene that immediately follows that time Varys unceremoniously popped into the city so that Tyrion could complete his quest. As a quick reminder, said quest was learning how awesome he was. So the two unproblematic friendos stroll out wearing their same exact clothes—according to Saint Tyrion, the garb of a “common merchant”—so that they can assess exactly how much Deadpan fucked up last season. Fortunately, those Strawmen of the Harpy were still magically vanished, despite having flooded the pit in Season 5’s penultimate episode.

We guess Deadpan screwed up a lot, because the first person we run into is a mother with a newborn baby just chilling on the sidewalk. Way to go, Khaleesi. She probably lives there. Tyrion hilariously doesn’t have a grasp of the local language (the monolithic “Valyrian”), so his offer to give her money to allow her baby to eat (dude, she’s nursing) turns into what she thinks is a request to eat her child. Ha ha.

Varys tells Tyrion he looks like a rich person in how he carries himself, and Tyrion makes Eunuch Joke #1. However, the important takeaway is that Tyrion gets his next quest: bring peace to Meereen, while also remembering how awesome he is. The reward is a major healing potion and a hand-shaped pin that gives +10 infallibility. But however will he do it, when Deadpan fucked up so much that people wrote “Mysha is a master”, helpfully using the Common Tongue for those last 3 words?

Also, in his 3 whole days since arriving there, Tyrion knows the city so well that he gives Varys Marx a tour! “Over here is some red priest who looks like Vedek Bareil.” Bareil is doing his best to stan Deadpan, but even so there’s a meeting of Disgruntled Freedmen taking place. For some reason Tyrion and Varys see this, and then go on to ponder “but who could have written the awkwardly mixed Common Tongue and Valyrian?” Who do you think, dinguses?

It’s fine though, because Varys still has his candy-loving birds established in Simplified Bay (remember that one who gave Barry the dirt on Jorah? On Tywin’s orders?), and they’re going to get to the bottom of this super mystery. We’re sure this will amount to something.

Oh, also the fleet that D&D awkwardly retconned into existence last year, got ret-retconned. And went up in smoke. In broad daylight.

Resolving D&D’s poor planning in a single stroke.

Meanwhile, in the fields of Northern Ireland Dothraki Sea, we catch back up with the best bros ever: Faabio and Greyscale Jorah the Andal. Faabio wants to keep talking about Jorah’s hilarious friendzoning, while the Andal (why is he suddenly called this again? He’s not even an Andal and we think Faabio would know that!) tries to follow charred bones. This amazing super-sleuthing leads them to the biggest mystery yet:

Jorah: A horde.

Faabio: Dothraki?

No, Faabio, it was the Huns, who also frequent the Dothraki Sea and leave a fucking CRATER behind them. However, if this wasn’t enough for the geniuses to follow, they find Deadpan’s smartly dropped leaf of Lothlorien ring, maybe from her off-screen wedding of extreme holy-fuck-this-actually-was-supposed-to-have-happened-ness. (No really, we find out later this season that she totes was married to poor Hizdahr zo Sansa. So that’s one mystery from last season solved.) We can only hope that Jorah and Faabio manage to keep following this enigmatic trail.

As the audience, we learn that it leads to a Dothraki camp, where a very rough-looking Deadpan is being led. She’s staggering in pain and getting whipped. If only she had an ace identity-in-the-hole that would protect her and ensure that these two Dothraki wanting to rape her would be put in their place! But no, she keeps her mouth shut, and they decide that they need to ask their Khal’s permission to rape her. Khal Moro runs a tight ship, guys.

We get to Khal Moro, or some random dude cosplaying as Khal Drogo, and his posse. This includes his khaleesi, her bff, and his two bloodriders. We suspect that D&D might be trying to pitch a comedy spin-off here, because the zany set-up leads to:

  1. Some cattiness with his wife wanting Deadpan to be killed for being hot, while possibly chopping vegetables (Monica?)
  2. A reenactment of a Monty Python sketch. No one ever expects this!

The Ross of the group thinks it’s more fun to sack villages than to see a lovely woman naked for the first time.

Anyway, Deadpan is more of a Curb Your Enthusiasm girl, so she tries to elevate the smalltalk into medium talk by whipping her ability to speak Dothraki. We’re treated to reaction shots from everyone. She then decides to rattle off her impressive titles, because apparently no one possibly would recognize the Queen of Meereen who completely disrupted the industry that everyone depends on, and who has stories circulating even in Weisseroff about her dragons.

Moro insists that she’s “no one,” but she’ll give him a son one day. (What?) Then she tells him that she was Khal Drogo’s wife. Okay, after the title-listing, they still didn’t get this? How nice that the Dothraki get to be painted as totally uninformed savages.

Well, not complete savages. As a former khaleesi, Deadpan’s place is with the Dosh Khaleen in Vaes Dothrak, where Moro tells her that they’ll take her. The music swells and can’t decide if this is a good or a bad thing, while Catty Khaleesi gets one more catty smirk in. We’re so confused!

Back in Meereen, we get the next eunuch joke! Varys ignores this and tells Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm that poor Hizdahr zo Sansa’s magical deals with Yunkapor vanished. More amazing storytelling by D&D! Tyrion gets to problem solve for the same exact issues Deadpan had last year. Also “the whole of Slaver’s Bay has returned to the slavers.” She really fucked up.

Tyrion decides to randomly ask how the dragons are doing, and oh no! Book snob Rhaegal and Viseron have stopped eating, maybe because some dill-weed kicked their mother out of her own plotline. Tyrion then does everyone a kindness and educates Missandei and Grey Worm on the nature of dragons, because if there’s two things he knows, it’s drinking and whitesplaining.

Be sure to raise your hands if you have a question

Missandei, who has been around the fucking dragons for quite some time, doesn’t seem sold on his assertions that they won’t be problems (maybe because she witnessed someone bringing charred children’s bones before Deadpan in Season 4?), but Tyrion is the professor here! So he skips on down to the dragon holding cell anyway.

Once there, he begins randomly telling them his backstory, complete with garbled book quotes. This is enough for our scaly, little A Dance with Dragons-enthusiasts, so they calmly let Tyrion remove their collars as he smooth talks. Then he leaves. How this cures their eating problem is beyond us, but maybe Tyrion’s saintly powers include beast-taming, like St. Francis of Assisi. He’s so much better than Quentyn!

Meanwhile, the Part-Time Mother of Dragons is still looking like shit, being marched into Vaes Dothrak. Too bad the instant respect Khal Moro showed her once he found out who she was a former khaleesi didn’t at least earn her a horse. Maybe that’s reserved for only official Dosh Khaleen (why?).

Vaes Dothrak itself is way unimpressive. Far be it from us to accuse D&D of using stereotypes in their Dothraki portrayal, but we’re quite certain their holy city wouldn’t just be rows of Lego huts. Also it’s very weird that all we see are giant horse statues, when the Dothraki Inquisition sketch included an explicit mention to their habit of sacking cities and taking other people’s holy idols back with them to line the “god’s way.” This isn’t just from conflationists filling out the GoT wiki…this is from their own damn show!

No time to dwell on that! Deadpan is thrown into the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen (remember the horse heart-eating times?), and they immediately go Septa Spoonella on her ass. They strip her naked (why?) and then just look at her boobs for a good fifteen seconds (really why?) before bringing her official Dosh robes, or something. They’re also all smirking at her as this is happening as if they just won some kind of great, catty victory here. Even pledges for frats don’t deal with this kind of hazing.

Oh, also, Deadpan might be a book snob like her kids, because she decides to go all Cersei on their asses and starts yelling threats at them, until she’s clothed. She also tries to pull rank because she once was the “wife of a great khal.” Deadpan, you’re talking to the Dosh Khaleen. You literally were all in this boat before.

The de facto leader of these women, Mama Dosh, tells Deadpan that she enjoyed the heart-eating episode, but feels it’s really gone downhill lately. She also exposits on the incredibly strict rules surrounding becoming a Dosh Khaleen. Apparently Deadpan’s field trip to Qarth and Simplified Bay were big no-no’s. However, as the spiritual leaders of the Dothraki, the Dosh Khaleen certainly can’t decide whether Deadpan is allowed in their club themselves! That has to be up to the khals. Who are apparently all unified at the moment, and about to meet at the annual Dothraki Regional Conference. Mama Dosh says that Deadpan’s fate will be decided right after the meeting on budget expenditure.

Back in Meereen, Varys is fanning himself, and does so for a good…twenty seconds. However, we wish we had our fans ready, because guess who walks into the throne room? EVIL SEX WORKER OF FALSE TEARS! Our hearts suddenly fill with emotion, and we realize that this is our favorite show on television.

We suppose this is the fruit of the little birds’ labor, not that there’s any indication. But Varys knows she helped the Strawmen of the Harpy somehow. (There were literally no witnesses to this, but okay.) The good news is that GoT’s subtitler gets a rest because ESW can randomly speak the language of a place half a world away that has more or less no direct cultural or economic ties to this area.

With her proper British accent, she informs Varys that she’s not too fond of conquerors, and we get a rush of Dornish feels for her. Wait! That’s why she speaks the Common Tongue—she’s Dornish! She’s Anders Yronwood’s missing spouse!

We also learn that she has a son named Cletus Dom, who Varys threatens with even less ambiguity than the High Grandpa did about Olenna. However when ESW calls him on this, he acts all horrified and says he’d never harm children, because they’re innocent.

Book reader default face

Long story short (too late), if she talks, she gets a bag of money to start a new life with Dom in Pentos. Maybe she can even find time to swing by Norvos and chill with another exiled Dornish spouse.

While Varys unnecessarily spends all his energy pressing her for “answers” abouts these oh-so mysterious mysteries, Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm are sitting silently in a room. Tyrion asks what they’d be talking about if he weren’t there, and Missandei and Grey Worm are both like, “our jobs…”. However the Patron Saint of Good Times decides to try and peer-pressure them into drinking. He also refers to himself as a “wise man” and takes credit for inventing Never-Have-I-Ever.

Four full minutes and one subtle rape joke later, Varys barges in and mercifully interrupts this scene.

Tyrion: You don’t play games, either one of you, ever?

Grey Worm: Games are for children.

Missandei: My master Kraznys would sometimes make us play games.

Tyrion: There, that’s a start.

Missandei: Only the girls.

Tyrion: No, no, no. Not that. Of course not that.

Varys informs everyone that ESW’s inquisition really paid-off because she told him, wait for it (no really, you’ll need to be sitting down), that the Strawmen of the Harpy are funded by the masters of Yunkapor. With help from friends in Volantis.

Really, this is one of those cases where Tyrion and Varys could have just said they suspected this in the season opener, and we never needed to go through this at all. Because it’s the most reasonable and obvious answer that doesn’t exactly need a special explanation.

Apparently, these rich former slavers in Meereen need so much funding to buy their bronze masks, that Varys and Tyrion now think they don’t even need to worry about the internal threat.

“You don’t even have to worry about the local rebellion. We only have to worry about the three rich foreign cities paying for it.”

Why? We understand the concept of funding rebellions, but the insurgency itself also seems to be a bit of a problem. Just a bit.

Grey Worm and Missandei immediately tell Tyrion that the masters can’t be negotiated with because their prejudices, which they have experienced first-hand, are intractable. But Tyrion gently ignores them and asks Varys to send his birds to Yunkapor. Why listen to the people who actually know things? It worked with the dragons, didn’t it?

Some indeterminate amount of time later, the masters have arrived at Meereen! (Those birds are speedy.) Grey Worm and Missandei act as though they weren’t told about this meeting, and once again try to impress upon Tyrion that you cannot reason with them. Missandei even mentions the fact that Deadpan tried negotiations before. Tyrion, however, responds by telling her that he’ll be able to enter into the talk with “open eyes” due to his own experience of slavery.

This leads to our completely uncynical, favorite moment of the season:

Missandei: How many days were you a slave?

Tyrion: Long enough to know.

Missandei: Not long enough to understand.

However, Tyrion still isn’t convinced enough to bother checking his privilege, so we cut to the negotiations, where our patron saint fashions himself after Abraham Lincoln, apparently.

One of the slavers there was Tyrion’s former master…you know, the guy who bought him because he was so impressed with Tyrion’s ability to beat people up, and then lost him when “Strong Belwas” (um, no) struck off his chains for lols. However, he’s not bitter, he’s just impressed with Tyrion’s enterprising nature. We at least can be grateful that one other person noticed how Tyrion has done nothing to earn any of this.

Grey Worm and Missandei try to point out how full of shit the masters are, to which one of them replies “Just because your master has silver hair and tits doesn’t mean she’s not a master.” Because there’s no history of people looking like that participating in slavery in this world.

We guess those Rhoynar were just oppressing themselves

Tyrion begins spouting his Marxism 101 that Varys taught him, about the haves and the have-nots, and how “don’t worry guys, you’ll still probably be rich because of entrenched classism, even if we get rid of slavery.” It worked with the American South, and he is the Abe Lincoln of his time! As if to prove his point, he then calls in three sex-workers who presumably used to be slaves, because freedom tastes “every bit as good as what came before.” Please stop. Oh and they have 7 years to transition off of slavery because reasons and this is totally enforceable.

Then, to rub salt into Missandei and Grey Worm’s wounds, Tyrion calls on them to defend him when some other freedmen visit the pyramid to ask “what the actual fuck?” about these negotiations. It’s kind of heartbreaking to watch Grey Worm swallow his opinion and support Tyrion, and it’s even worse when Missandei has to pull this shit:

“As a clever man once told me, ‘We make peace with our enemies, not our friends.'”

Grey Worm must know what we’re thinking at this point, because once outside, he starts screaming at Tyrion for not ?? fucking ?? listening ??. He tries, yet again, to explain how the masters will never view slaves as humans, and that they still view poor Missandei as a “whore” (what? She’s a translator), but Tyrion explains how he can’t end both slavery and war at the same time. He’s just so dang reasonable!

Hey, did you miss that classic GoT buddy-trip? Well not a moment too soon we are shoved back into the Dothraki Sea where Faabio and Jorah followed cleverly hidden breadcrumbs giant loaves of bread to Vaes Dothrak. What’s the reverse-Bechdel test called? Well, this scene fails it hard. All these two can discuss is how in love with Deadpan they both are, or rather Faabio talks at Jorah about how in love with her they both are while making references to “riding the dragon”, because of course he makes references to riding the dragon.

Jorah is oddly patient here. Remember the good old days when he was just slugging Tyrion for humming?

Anyway, they find Mordor Vaes Dothrak and this show rips of a far better adaption (YMMV) for like the fifth time in this plotline already.

Jorah tells Faabio that they need to sneak in (is it like, illegal to go here or something?), and that they have to leave their weapons in case they get caught because D&D were at least consistent enough to keep in the “no blood spilling” rule. What a rich and well-developed world!

This leads to, we shit you not, a good minute of Faabio parting with his nude-lady knife…for comedy. Then he catches a glimpse of Jorah’s arm COMPLETELY COVERED with greyscale and has a very, very tame reaction. “Don’t worry, it didn’t touch you.” Oh, okay then. Guess it’s fine that you’re just running around with the literal plague.

Faabio offers to bury Jorah the Andal in the ground. Can we ship them?

So the bro-trip continues into Vaes Dothrak, where Faabio is so impressed with the rape culture around him that he declares “I should have been born a Dothraki.” We’re concerned.

It’s also apparently a super xenophobic culture, because Faabio and Jorah get stopped pretty much right away, and when they try to claim that they’re merchants looking for the market, the two dudes are instantly all, “you’re not merchants.” What about them is suspicious, exactly? They look just like drunk, clueless tourists to us. Is this a closed city to Dothraki-only? Why? We’re quite certain these markets bring in traders from all of Essos.

Don’t question it. To avoid arrest, or something, Jorah and Faabio fight these two dudes. Jorah is able to strangle one of them to death, but when the other one gets the upper-hand, Faabio stabs him. He hid his nude-lady knife up his sleeve. Gasp! Jorah immediately starts freaking out that they spilled blood and they’re going to get found (but they’re already suspicious for existing, so…), but Faabio is on it. He smashes in the stabbed Dothraki’s head with a rock, which we would guess spills even more blood, and somehow this is going to make everything less suspicious.


Over where the Dosh Khaleen are partying, we learn that they’re still full-on Mean Girls about Deadpan, who’s at least managed to score a bath and someone to curl her hair. Mama Dosh is less lucky, so she and the bird’s nest sitting on her head explain to Deadpan that the other khaleesis are racist and think she’s ruining the purity of their blood. You know…the blood of people in a culture defined by its sacking of other societies and taking slaves and reproducing and…

Then Mama Dosh randomly begins talking about the only other nice girl in the room and gives Deadpan her back-story. Nice Khaleesi’s village had been sacked by a khalasar when she was 12, and the khal found her hiding in a well. We guess he found attractive, because he married her (and her pure blood?), but he was a real schmuck because he broke Nice Khaleesi’s ribs when he found out she gave birth to a girl, not a boy.

Now we feel bad for Nice Khaleesi. What organic storytelling.

Mama Dosh goes on to complain about the Dothraki misogyny, but then tells Deadpan that at least their “wisdom is valued.” Footage not fucking found, lady. According to D&D, this makes Mama Dosh “stern, but not quite awful.” Okay. She encourages Deadpan to give a professional quarterly report at the Dothraki Regional Conference so that she’ll be allowed in their Dosh clique.

Deadpan asks if she can go pee outside, and Mama Dosh orders Nice Khaleesi to “go show her.” Has she literally not peed before this point? Because at least a day has passed.

Once outside, we are treated to some GIRL POWER where Deadpan and Nice Khaleesi agree that the khal who married the well-dwelling 12-year-old is a shit. Nice Khaleesi also wants to see Deadpan’s dragons, but suddenly Faabio pops out from behind a bush and grabs her, saying he needs to kill her so that she won’t talk.

Deadpan calls him off and points out that he and Jorah have no exit strategy, so maybe they can calm the fuck down. But it’s okay, because she has an idea to blow the popsicle stand at her presentation tomorrow. Tomorrow. This means Faabio and Jorah just like, hide behind a rock or something for a full day.

Not that we’re shown it. Instead we cut to the Dothraki Regional Conference, where it is brought before the khals that someone had their head smashed in. A full day ago. Did no one stumble onto the body for that long, or did they know that the seminar on employee outreach would be keeping everyone occupied until now? Khal Moro (who is the chairman) is all, “eh there’s always a little blood spilled.” Good thing this isn’t a particularly spiritual or superstitious culture. It is known.

Now let’s get to the new HR policies

Mama Dosh and Nice Khaleesi march Deadpan into the temple (oh yeah, the khals must have rented out the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen for their conference, because why would the spiritual leaders of the Dothraki be allowed to stay in their own digs), and Khal Moro sort of gives Mama Dosh a headnod. We think this is showing how much they respect her opinion.

Once the spare women leave, a few of the khals begin making lewd remarks about Deadpan, including our favorite, “I’d like to know what Khaleesi tastes like.” We’re going to guess he’s a bachelor, or this is a show fan who thinks Deadpan’s name is “Khaleesi.” Also, why are they creeping on the revered religious figure?

Khal Moro kind of shuts everyone up, including the one who says they should sell her to the masters of Yunkapor, and kindly tells her that her place is with the Dosh Khaleen, and they will respect that. Which is frankly what should have happened from the start, so why was this weird technicality even evoked?

Deadpan, however, just randomly asks them “what about what I think?” We get comedic reaction shots. Then Khal Moro goes, “You have no voice here, unless you are Dosh Khaleen.” But…you just said she was in the club…

Deadpan empoweredly ignores this, going on to berate them for their regional conference (and frankly she has a point about their micromanagement), leading to her conclusion:

“You are small men. None of you are fit to lead the Dothraki. But I am. So I will.”

What a fantastic, feminist parallel!

Khal Moro finally decides that this is too much; no more Dosh Khaleen for her! Instead, they’re going to rape her. She smirks at this, and this upsets him apparently, because he begins yelling the set-up line for her to burn them all:

“Diplomatic immunity!”

“You’re not going to serve. You’re going to die.”

Then, without moving a single facial muscle, Deadpan knocks over the braziers, spilling the flames onto the dirt of the temple. And rather than anticlimactically going out as it should, the fire mixes with what we guess is kerosene that had been poured out off-screen, because there’s instant immolation. The fire also looks like it’s oddly moving towards some of the khals, as if Deadpan is bending it. We’re confused.

The Khals are confused too. They forget what to do during a fire drill (the safety seminar wasn’t scheduled until Tuesday) and kind of run around with their hands flapping. A few of them reach the door, but Jorah and Faabio helpfully barred it with the world’s smallest stick, so they’re stuck. Stuck with Deadpan’s smirking and brazier-tipping. As are we. And this scene is way longer than we remember it.

One eternity later, Deadpan emerges from the burning holy temple totally naked, though yet again her wig survived. Then the sea of brown people immediately fall to their knees, while Jorah reacts the exact same way he did to this scene five years ago, and Faabio gapes at his girlfriend because she might have forgotten to tell him that she’s fireproof. D&D inform us that this isn’t just a lazy rehash, it’s better because there’s “more people around.”

More brown people to kneel to a white savior. Who just burned down their holy place. We guess they just didn’t hate that rape culture until she showed up.

Also, even if she’s somehow Super Khal from this, why are they bowing to her? The music tells us that this is very significant and memorable. We agree: kerosene is a very important technological breakthrough.

But Everything Changed when Yunkapor Attacked!

A day, or a week, or 5 minutes pass (we don’t know), and Deadpan’s on the road again with Jorah, Faabio, and every male Dothraki. The chicks get to look after Vaes Dothrak, we suppose. Have fun rebuilding the temple!

Deadpan is apparently super happy to be reunited with her ring, since she’s wearing it around her neck, Angelina Jolie/Billy Bob Thornton style. Maybe it is from Hizdahr. We miss him too, dear. She then addresses Jorah, since their last interaction after she banished him got cut short:

She points out how she sent him away, but he keeps coming back, and for a second we think she’s going to call out his stalking tendencies. But no, she instead says “you saved my life.” Wait, last year or this year, because he didn’t do jack shit except put a branch in front of a door, the last we checked.

She is firm that she “can’t” take him back (good). But that evaporates when he decides to flash is epic greyscale at her (seriously, it’s up to his bicep at this point); she grows misty-eyed and says she’s “so sorry”, while he tells her, and we QUOTE:

“Tyrion Lannister was right. I love you.”

The gift that keeps on giving, we guess. Oh also, during all of this Faabio is standing *right there* and just sort of awkwardly fiddling. What do you do in this situation?

Deadpan decides the only thing she can do is to “command” Jorah to find a cure to an incurable disease, so that he can return to her. “I need you by my side.” Well, we’re just so chock-full of empowerment that we’re able to ignore the whiplash from when she said the exact opposite at the start of the conversation.

Back in Meereen, we learn that exactly two weeks have passed since Abe Lincoln met his team of rivals the episode prior, just to drive anyone remotely concerned with the timeline even more crazy. In these two weeks, there have been absolutely no killings, so Tyrion is about ready to hang his “mission accomplished” banner. We guess the Strawmen of the Harpy were really dependent on that money for the local rebllion to have stopped instantly. Those bronze masks add up.

However, our Patron Saint of Spin-Teams worries that not enough people know Deadpan is responsible for Meereen being a peaceful, orderly utopia now (he’s just so humble!). He decides that they need to spread the good word on the street. The red priests seem very pro-Deadpan, so clearly the solution is to bring in the High Priestess for a conversation to…convince her to be pro-Deadpan. (What.)

We cut to some lady cosplaying as Meli-sans-bra strolling into the pyramid to meet Tyrion and Varys. We wonder if she and Khal Moro ran into each other at ComicCon. We will call her…Kuvira. She’s very concerned with the stability of the Earth Kingdom Simplified Bay and has her own string of highfalutin titles. “Flame of Truth” sounds neato. The real question is if her titties are actually OLD because she has a glamour necklace.

Kuvira may not have been to Meereen before, but she’s heard tales of Deadpan and also abhors slavery. She seems like she needs absolutely no convincing, probably because every single R’hllorite we’ve seen in Essos is already doing what Tyrion wants. However, Varys Marx, who knows religion is the opium of the people, just can’t take it, so he begins talking about how awful zealots are with their certainty. We’d say this makes him seem really dumb for not sucking it up just for one conversation, but this is also a negotiation for officially nothing to change, so go at it, Dawkins.

Kuvira’s totally unfazed, even when he throws Meli-sans-bra’s StanStanning in her face (#notallredpriests), and decides to begin talking about his castration, of which she knows every detail. We’re not sure if this is supposed to be magic or if she has a good spy-network, or if she’s just using an old-as-dirt cold reading technique, but her intimate knowledge freaks him out enough that he stops talking. And then the scene ends. We’re sure this just sent shock-waves throughout Meereen.

Yeah, we got that.

Have two weeks passed for Deadpan also? The Dothraki Sea;s size seems to adjust to the demands of the plot, so it’s hard to tell. We cut to Deadpan and Faabio talking about how there’s “at least” a week of riding in front of them too. So of course she chooses now to plan the logistics of her invasion.

Luckily Faabio can still get a great signal in the middle of nowhere, since he found out about his magically acquired fleet getting destroyed on that Weisseroffi Twitter. Deadpan needs a thousand ships, he says. Deadpan is kinda like, “okay cool we’ll get it eventually,” but Faabio reveals himself to be a book snob! See, he’s read Daenerys X in A Dance with Dragons and knows that the conclusion she’s supposed to come to at the end of her quest is that she’s a conqueror. Which he just randomly blurts at her, before they can get into Winds material:

We’re proud of your literary analysis too, babe.

Deadpan thinks this is nifty, and goes riding off around a cliff-face. There’s this weird wipe effect, so we’re pretty sure she ditched Faabio and the Dothraki for at least ten minutes, but possibly ten days, while they all patiently waited.

And boy was it worth it! Because Deadpan suddenly pops up on Drogon’s back! He must have slept and feels good again. The CGI budget is really put to great use as Deadpan announces to the army already following her that they’re going to Disneyworld Weisseroff after Meereen! They seem happy she’s letting them in on the long-term plan.

They also seem happy when she further butchers their culture by announcing that she’s not going to choose three bloodriders, because everyone’s a bloodrider! And you’re a bloodrider, and you’re a bloodrider!

Here’s hoping she changed those rules about bloodriders needing to commit suicide after the khal dies… But still, how exciting for everyone! This will totally make them all sit up a little straighter in their saddles for that week of riding still in front of them. Great timing for a battle speech!

No need to rush back though, boys…Tyrion has everything in Meereen all under control! He and Varys swagger proudly through the streets, which are now just MOBBED with red priests. Seriously, they’re standing only like, twenty feet apart from one another. But we guess they brought a lot of money with them, because suddenly commerce in the city is back on its feet.

Mission accomplished!

But Tyrion isn’t resting on his laurels. In his wisdom, he’s decided to acquiesce to Varys Marx’s request to go off on a *SECRET MISSION of Extreme Misappropriation* to earn Deadpan allies in Weisseroff. Though not before slipping in another humdinger of a eunuch joke, naturally. Then this exchange happens, and it needs no embellishment:

Varys: I’ll walk the rest of the way myself. I can’t go off on a secret mission in the company of the most famous dwarf in the city.

Tyrion: Varys. The most famous dwarf in the world.

We’re just so happy that for a second year in a row, he’s learned to love himself.

There is touching goodbye music, so we suppose this means that Varys and Tyrion have really bonded. To be fair, Tyrion does seem sad without his bff. So sad, in fact, that he decides to once again harass Missandei and Grey Worm at their meeting.

This time, he found a great way to manipulate them into drinking: he’s toasting Deadpan, so if they don’t drink, then they’re awful traitors. We feel very comfortable about these happenings.

Tyrion: And you? What’s your excuse?

Missandei: I have tried wine before. It made me feel funny.

Dude, leave her alone!

But Tyrion is just a simple man, with simple tastes, because he begins bloviating about his retirement plans to live at a vineyard and make his own label. (What?) Missandei is basically instantly drunk, and she’s adorable, even if this whole situation is entirely coerced. Meanwhile Grey Worm looks reasonable uncomfortable, but we have the appreciate the loving looks he keeps giving his gf:

Oh my god. We ship this unironically now. WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

So Tyrion decides to take another crack at joke-telling. We guess the red priests just have the city running that well that these three have all this free time. Knowing his audience, our saint jumps into a joke about feudal dynamics in Weisseroff, which implies that Lannisters are awesome, Martells are drunks, and Starks are stupid. Obviously the only reason MissWorm don’t laugh is because of those sticks up their asses. If only they’d appreciate him!

Missandei feels awkward enough to try a joke of her own. We think it’s perfect and actually funny:

“Two translators are on a sinking ship. The first says, ‘Do you know how to swim?’ The second says, ‘No, but I can shout for help in 19 languages.'”

Then Grey Worm makes a joke by being fake-serious at how awful that joke was, before giggling about it.

Stahp it, you two

Guys, we’re kind of scared that it’s not coming across just how long this scene is. Seriously, we’re giving you the short, short version.

But finally YUNKAPOR ARRIVES! That’s right, implacable masters are implacable. Despite them getting a better deal than Tyrion gave the Dornish in A Clash of Kings Season 2 (har), they decide to attack. Maybe they wanted to do so before the red priests somehow improve commerce so much that Meereen becomes unstoppable. Or before dragon lady gets back? Truthfully, these seem reasonable to us, and we don’t have to watch any more of Peter Dinklage struggling to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so we’ll leave well enough alone.

However, the best thing all season, and possibly for the past two years on this show happens: Grey Worm yells at Tyrion!

“No more talking from you. Your talking gave us this.”

Even shit-faced Missandei seems pissed, so we’re about ready to dance a jig. Tyrion was wrong! He messed up (sort of), and the narrative acknowledges it for half a second! But seriously, why isn’t Grey Worm in charge? Or Missandei. Or Kuvira? Or Hizdahr’s corpse?

They hole up in the pyramid, ready to defend it (finally listening to Grey Worm’s actual expertise), when there’s a bump that goes thump on the roof and they jump. Then, just completely unceremoniously, Deadpan moseys into the room, as if she’s Kramer sliding through the door. The studio audience goes as wild, and we’re given a week to try and figure out what her facial expression is supposed to be:

We guess it was disappointed-face, because when we pick up again, Tyrion immediately begins explaining himself to Deadpan as if he’s a dog that got caught eating garbage. It’s also magically daytime now, so maybe Deadpan froze in that position for several hours?

Tyrion charmingly tries to explain that the reason the slavers are actually attacking now is because of what a good job he’s done. They’re threatened! They hate them for their freedom! Deadpan is just kind of like, “good,” although for all she’s emoting, she might as well be talking about the lunch menu.

“Turkey hoagies sound great, Tyrion.”

Then she tells him her great battle strategy is to reduce Yunkapor to a pile of ash. We’re sure this will help those re-enslaved laborers! Though Faabio told her she’s a conqueror, so what’s a girl to do?

Listen to her other man, that’s what. Tyrion tells her that burning = bad, and then clumsily drops a hint about a different boom that D&D wanted to set up, while further burying Larry’s characterization. Oh Larry! However, Tyrion has an “alternate approach.”

Pause. Not to spoil anything, but Faabio and the Dothraki do show up in the middle of this battle charging. So…did they know ahead of time about Tyrion’s alternate approach? Or should we just assume that they were following Deadpan’s tweets? #Meereen #AlternateApproach

We imagine Evil Sex Worker is chilling in Pentos, refreshing her feed and sadly shaking her head.

Cut to some cliffside overlooking Meereen that everyone easily accessed, and we find out that Tyrion’s alternate approach didn’t include arranging for a cease-fire before negotiations.

It also didn’t really include any actual negotiations, now that we think about it. The Masters of Yunkapor are super smug (and super stylish), and say that they’re going to generously let Deadpan walk away, but that they get everything. Also they get Missandei back, somehow (she was a gift…rude). Deadpan does that thing where she smirks through their entire speech, so we know something Badass is coming. And she doesn’t disappoint. Let’s let the Emmy-winning writing take it for us:

“We obviously didn’t communicate clearly. We’re here to discuss your surrender, not mine.”

Remember when the dialogue used to sound good? And vaguely appropriate for the setting?

The masters predictably laugh because they’re winning, and Deadpan predictably keeps smirking, and then Drogon predictably swoops over to where everyone is and Deadpan hops on, and we feel as though Kylie’s cat could have written a more imaginative battle.

Then, the book snob sing-along skillfully predicts the rest:

“Seasons 4 and 5 the characters who stay alive are inconsistent, but who cares? When we have crazy action CGI.”

Yup. There’s lots of swoopy shots of Deadpan on Drogon. Rhaegal and Viseron magically tunnel out of their prison at the exact same moment they’re overhead (we can chalk this up to magic, we guess), and then we’re treated to a long sequences of watching all three dragons focus their fire-power on a single ship. Remember when Vhagar destroyed the entire Arryn fleet? Though we suppose she does need them. Good ships are hard to come by.

We’re losing it.

Meanwhile the Strawmen of the Harpy are really confused about what they’re supposed to be doing (this is what happens without Evil Sex Worker! Clearly she was the brains of this entire operation), so they’ve just randomly convened outside the gates of Meereen and seem to be stabbing commoners who happen to be there.


Don’t worry though—nobody ever expects the Dothraki! The khalasar shows up, helpfully led by a white man, because why wouldn’t Faabio be in front of the charge? See, this is the problem with everyone being a bloodrider. And just like the Army of the Dead in Return of the King, they sweep aside the Strawmen, effectively ending that two-year plotline of nothingness.

Back up on the cliffside, the Masters of Yunkapor are far less smug now, but just as stylish. Grey Worm gets another little moment of awesome when he convinces their guards to run away. But never one to be upstaged, Saint Tyrion also gets in a witticism, graciously thanking the masters for the fleet they just gave him Deadpan. Well, assuming she got the memo not to burn them all. Then he takes the opportunity to teach the slavers all about their privilege. He tells them that one of the three of them must die as punishment for breaking the pact. Two of the masters, being decadent easterners, immediately throw the third one under the bus, and say that he should get killed. So Grey Worm leaves him alive and kills the other two. Was all of this part of the alternative approach? How oddly specific. Also, a negotiated peace is not exactly groundbreaking.

Tyrion leaves the third Yunkaporian with the menacing words, “Tell your people what happened here. Tell them you live by the grace of Her Majesty.” You mean Her Majesty who’s making plans to leave the continent right away, and who isn’t bothering to set up any alternate form of government in these cities, and basically just asks her boyfriend to house-sit when all is said and done? Yeah, we’re sure this is going to effectively fix the economic dependence on slavery.

Not a thread left hanging.

Also, wtf, “Her Majesty”? Have D&D not read A Song of Ice and Fire, or is this their way of having Tyrion go local?

Anyway, boom! The Greyjoys are here! Time has passed, we guess. We have no clue how long. We’re just plunked into Deadpan’s throne-room with Yara and Theon standing there. Okay!

This is also sandwiched by two scenes at Winterfell that take place on back-to-back days.

They’ve come to give Deadpan even more ships that she has done nothing to earn. Perhaps this is a crowning moment in Yara’s journey, but you’ll have to wait until our next retrospective to find that out.

Tyrion, it turns out, is really good at holding a grudge…over past, off-screen insults. See, we remember his scene with Theon being mostly about Tyrion making fun of his captivity (what a LOSER), and then giving him money so he could go fuck Ros. Oh Ros. We miss her.

However, now, Tyrion is talking about all the dwarf jokes Theon didn’t make, and getting really pissed. Theon is kind of just like, “okay, well, my sister is actually the one in charge, so…” This perks up Deadpan’s feminist, women-on-top antenna, so she almost manages a smile as Yara talks about wanting support for her claim in exchange for empoweredly murdering misogynists.

Yara: We’d like you to help us murder an uncle or two who don’t think a woman’s fit to rule.

Deadpan: Reasonable.

Then there’s fun queerbaiting when the swashbuckling lesibian decides to inappropriately hit on the person she’s trying to ally with. Separate that personal and political, girl!

They also bond about how they’re both mavericks who will serve as the first queens Weisseroff has ever seen.

One caveat: the Ironborn will need to give up their raping and reaving lifestyle, which Yara is suddenly defense of. We’re a little confused, too, how this makes Yara the queen of anything when she’s going to be bending her knee to Deadpan and agreeing to her laws. These details matter less than the fact that they both seem super desperate to climb into the metaphorical (or literal) man-killing bed with each other. But first they make sure that their men approve.

They do:

“I pity the lords of Westeros. They have no idea what’s coming for them.”

Yeah, us too.

Then, as “The Winds of Winter” (fuck you) apparently approach, enough time has passed for the fleet to be all ready to go. All they need to do is paint the sails! Faabio is really happy as he brags to his gf about what an efficient project manager he is (maybe), but Deadpan monotonously tells him (seriously, this her worst yet) that he won’t be sailing with her. Poor Faabio then gets all excited about the idea of attacking an impregnable fortress on the west coast of Wiessroff. Because, sure Faabio, go take Casterly Rock. Good luck.

Seriously, have they read A Song of Ice and Fire?

Deadpan looks at him with pity, or with her eyes out of focus, and then drops the news that no: he’s staying in Meereen. Because she needs someone to feed her cat. And also she’s breaking up with him.

She says that she’ll need to marry someone in Weisserroff, and thoughtfully confirms that she and Hizdahr zo Sansa were in fact married last year. We’re happy that mystery was solved.

Faabio gets upset, and is kind of cutely arguing how he don’t need no ring. He also points out the sexist double standards, because a potential king would totes be able to keep a mistress. However, Deadpan, the burner of the patriarchy, is unmoved. Very literally unmoved. She just sits there with frozen facial muscles, while he melts down in front of her and blames Tyrion. We’d feel more sad about this, but he was also just given a city to rule for no reason other than having a nice butt. And to be honest, there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to be invested in this relationship.

Deadpan tells him how she renamed the place to be the “Bay of Dragons” though. Good job, Khaleesi! We’re pretty sure this is the only bit of governing you actually did here. We also guess that the slaver problem is officially solved.

We then cut to a scene of Tyrion nervously waiting for Deadpan. We think he’s more invested in this relationship than she was. She strolls in, her face still stuck from staring into a fan, to tell him that she dumped her boyfriend, like a good girl. He pats her on the head, and says comforting words in the most infantilizing tone possible, as if she’s a five year old who agreed to stop playing with a bully. Deadpan talks about how she feels nothing, and it concerns her. It concerns us too, greatly.


Kylie nearly falls asleep, but Julia is having a bonny time projecting Arianne onto Deadpan with her sacrifice of personal happiness for the sake of politics. However, neither of us can really deny that these are just two hollow shells of characters sitting next to one another, with actors who may or may not have popped xanaxes.

To spice things up, Deadpan reaches into her cleavage and pulls out a Hand of the King Queen pin. She says she’s not sure “if it’s right.” She just has so much to learn about Weisseroff! Good thing she has the PERFECT TEACHER.

In fact, we can’t even try to explain how wonderful Tyrion is for her, so how about if D&D take care of it for us?

“Is that a Hand fit for a Queen? A wondrous, sweet, and most intelligent man. You tell me where there is a feat, can half-compete with his immaculate plans.”

This moment is so earned! Also, “where are Missandei and Grey Worm?”, said no one ever.

Over in Porne, Varys pops out from behind a curtain to shout random book dialogue at Faullaria Sand, the new Princess (?) of Porne, and our favorite Doweger Sasstress, Olenna. Apparently they’re all now #TeamDeadpan. And also #TeamTeleportation.

Which they immediately put into action! We jump back to Deadpan’s fleet of Yunkapori and Ironborn ships, sailing out of the Simplified Bay of Dragons (confirmed by D&D), but they’re also accompanied by Pornish and Tyrell ships! It was so nice of them to sail to Essos just to turn back immediately. Unless they painted the sails in advance of the alliance? That makes the sense.

Also joining Deadpan is Varys Marx, who popped up onto her flagship. Oh to be a fly on the wall when he explained himself for trying to have her killed back in Season 1. Unless they were just never introduced, and she doesn’t bother questioning the help. Maybe she thinks he’s a waiter.

Then we get a fun action shot of our heroes, sailing into the west.

We really don’t care if they go the way of the elves and we never hear from them again.

Well. That was really…dramatically satisfying. If you’re ready for it, jump into Part 2, where we focus on Deadpan specifically. We also close things out with Part 3 examining just Saint Tyrion, because the One True Protagonist deserves the past. We’ll see you then!

Images courtesy of HBO

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