Three episodes down in this season and we might, might get a fight soon. Mostly everyone is postering and blowing smoke up each other's asses. For the most part, though, this episode is all about leadership and the eternal question of who has the power and who deserves it.
As we usually do, I'm gonna be location specific because things are not really crossing over much. All the little battles going around are affecting each other but only in tertiary ways. Just a little mention, I kinda hate it when they put a location in the opening yet don't use it in the show. I got whole spaces for Pyke, Winterfell, and The Wall that sit empty in my notebook. I know they do it for time, but they could have maybe thrown up Storm's End or Riverrun. At least then I could talk about that awesome first scene with the joking Lannister guards who become Grey Wind chow. C'est la vie.
King's Landing has turned into just a horror show where Joffrey is concerned. He's pissed that Rob's army beat his in a surprise attack, so he gets his King's Guard to strip and beat Sansa. Tyrion comes in and educates everybody about power and kindness. Thinking that maybe Joffrey is just young and needs some sex, Tyrion sends some prostitutes to the young king. It does not go well with Joffrey ordering Ros to beat the other girl… to death? I'm not actually sure about that. Finally, Lancel comes to Tyrion in the night with Cersei's demand that Pycelle be released. Tyrion calls out Lancel for sexying Cersi and makes him into a spy.
With the best part of the intro (and the least used part of the map?), Harrenhal is introduced. With its black stone walls melted by dragon fire, this is one of the most metal places in Westeros and the place where Arya has found herself under the boot of The Mountain and the Lannisters. We learn that one person a day is tortured, being asked about the location of gold and The Brotherhood. Hot Pie thinks staring at The Mountain will not get him chosen, and pees himself when a like minded individual gets picked. The torture involves a rat being tasked with eating through the person, helped along by a heated bucket tied to the person's torso. Gendry gets chosen, but Tywin Lannister shows up just in time to tell his men to stop wasting good slaves, proving his point by learning that Gendry is a smith. Tywin makes Arya his cupbearer and we fuck off with them.
Over across the sea, a rider comes back to all the dead and dying of Dany's khalasar. He says he found a city named Qarth surrounded by a desert called the Garden of Bones (Title Drop!). The garden is watered when the city closes the gates to outsiders and more bones grow. Dany and company meet with the leaders of the city, the Thirteen, who are lead by an asshole who wants to see her dragons. Dany gets snippy thinking she's a queen and they tell her to fuck off, not wanting Dothraki in their city despite the fact that they gave one a horse and sent him back to her earlier. Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a merchant from the Summer Isles and one of the Thirteen, vouches for her and lets her in the city. They live happily ever after and we never have to go back to Dany until her dragons become interesting. Kidding, but yeah, I remember. Also, what was up with Dany mispronouncing "Qarth?" How did that even happen? Did she just read about it when she was little and believe everyone else was pronouncing it wrong?
In the places not on the beginning map, we get Rob and Renly starting their downfalls. Rob, loving the smell of poop after a battle, sees a lady helping a wounded man get rid of his leg. He helps out because why do we need two legs? Then she gives him some shit, saying it's Robs fault all these men are dead. Then she questions him about what happens after the war when he's won and he stands there like he's thinking about putting his dick in a pencil sharpener. She's hot and he's young, so of course this meet cute over death will lead to romance.
Over at Storm's End, a badass castle just south of King's Landing, Littlefinger shows up. He talks to Renly and the two trade jabs about Renly's sexy times. Littlefinger then talks to Margery who tells him he better watch his shit. The asshole completes his trifecta by giving Ned's bones back to Catelyn only to then hit on her pretty hard causing her to pull a knife on his ass. I mean, come on dude. She knows you didn't support her husband and got the dude killed. You ain't gonna get that at all.
The next day, we learn that Stannis is here, missing my favorite part in the book where Tyrion and Cersei learn that Stannis's giant fleet is gonna attack Renly and not King's Landing and Cersei spins Tyrion around and kisses him. Anyway, Renly and Stannis are acting like assholes not brothers and Cat calls them out on it. Stannis says he's king by right and Renly says he's king because people like him. They vow to fight in the morning. Stannis goes back to his ships and talks to Davos. We learn that Stannis cut off Davos's fingers because he was a smuggler but also made him a knight because he smuggled food to Stannis when Stannis needed it during the war. So Stannis asks Davos to smuggle one last time, good buddy, and he takes Melisandre under Storm's End…
One second, sorry, one of the faults I think of the show is them not telling why she needs to be smuggled in the caves. Renly looked to be camping, but now he's in a castle? Why would he have to fight at all if he was in the castle? In the book, there's Robert's bastard in the castle that needs to die. I just don't see the justification.
So where was I? Oh, yeah. So Melisandre drops trou and spreads her legs, totally with a giant ass food baby belly, and out climbs, I almost wrote "pops," but the damn thing climbs out of her, this shadow baby. Davos is freaked out and the episode ends.
Another episode where we see other people using other people all over the place. In King's Landing, Joffrey uses his kingsguard to beat Sansa, Tyrion uses Bronn to threaten the kingsguard, Cersei uses Lancel to command Tyrion, and Tyrion flips Lancel to spy on Cersei. At Harrenhal, the Mountain uses the little folks for his and his dude's amusement before Tywin shows up and tells them to stop because they're wasting good slaves. At Qarth, Dany demands from and uses the people of Qarth and you just know they're using them. Littlefinger tries using most everybody and this one time gets called on it, and Stannis uses Davos to deliver his shadow baby. Everybody uses everybody, commanding power and leading not by example but with simple expectation.