Quests, rousing speeches, White Walkers, conquests, direwolves, dragons and a pyramid to top it all off. This week's episode was such a full-fledged fantasy show I half expected elves and orcs to battle in Mirkwood for a ring of power. And yeah, I know we didn't actually see the dragons, but we got everything else, and I'm sure they were around there somewhere.
It was an hour of exciting high-fantasy elements in a series that typically delights in brutally subverting such tropes. Not that every single scene was full of swords-and-sorcery glory, of course. There was yet another bout of awful rape for the blogsphere to debate, and we must talk about Margaery's seductive tuck-in of an adolescent king. Plus, I'll break down that White Walker WTF closer. So let's unsheathe this week's recap and swear our fealty to Game of Thrones.
Meereen: We open with a few familiar Thrones devices: images of fire and a literacy lesson. It's a moment of post-slavery bonding between Grey Worm and Missandei. As she talks, he worms his hand toward hers and she quickly pulls her hand away -- it's tough to woo the ladies when you're missing key parts. So perhaps it's not a surprise when Missandei hints of wanting to return home to the Summer Isles, and Grey Worm says he has just one goal: "Kill the masters! Kill the masters!" It's probably the only phrase she really needs to teach him.
So to penetrate Meereen, Dany has Grey Worm lead an amphibious commando unit of former slaves to sneak into the city. Unsullied Team Six approach by sea, then take advantage of a rather serious security design flaw by opening a sewer gate with an outside lever. Under the city, they find a group of Meereen slaves contemplating revolt and give them bags of swords. Grey Worm makes a speech to rouse them to an uprising. But what the speech really boils down to is this: "Kill the masters!" We get a shot of the slaves descending on one master, then cut to post-battle celebrations.
Which leaves us feeling let down that more wasn't shown. It's not TV, it's HBO ... but it's still TV. The producers, I'm sure, would have loved to make this sequence more elaborate, just as they would have loved for the Battle of the Blackwater to have been even bigger. But they have to pick and choose where to spend that $6-8 million per week. (I suspect they could have had an elaborate city conquest scene OR those White Walkers.)
Dany enjoys cheering crowds of ex-slaves, all happily waving S&M collars. Then she makes a controversial decision.
NEXT: Joffrey's killers explain their plot, make creepy innuendos