BATH OF THE TITANS: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) search the chilly wasteland for a place to properly hookup.
Later, Loras and his sparring partner get it on. Loras wants to know how he knew about his orientation. Turns out he's not blessed with expert gaydar but was tipped off by his secret boss Littlefinger. He also wooed from Loras the Tyrell's secret plan for him to marry Sansa.
So then Sansa and Littlefinger have a meeting where both flagrantly lie to each other. She makes it sound like she wants to stay in King's Landing out of concern for him; Littlefinger pretends to be completely fine with it. You know he's annoyed -- he bought an extra feather bed for her! He also makes her kiss his hand, which is probably another way to get greyscale.
All this King's Landing maneuvering is paid off in the episode's final scene. Tyrion joins his father and sister for a meeting, and naturally Tywin is totally unimpressed with his successful haggling over the wedding. Cersei is beaming at Tyrion, which rightly makes him nervous. All three of these actors are great, of course, but Lena Headey is amazing with only a handful of lines here -- every one of them is hugely entertaining.
Cersei is partly thrilled because her paranoia has finally payed off by Littlefinger discovering the Tyrell plot to marry Sansa to Loras. Tywin sees the maneuver in the darkest terms -- "trying to steal the North out from under me" while predicting Robb's "days are numbered."
Tywin notes that "plots are not public knowledge" so they can kill the Tyrells' plan without looking like they're doing anything intentional. The solution is to have Sansa marry ... Tyrion. He's floored and revolted. "That's cruel, even for you," Tyrion says, and then he throws back at his father the sorest point of contention between them: Tyrion's previous marriage, to the young woman who turned out to be a prostitute that his father ordered to be gang-raped by his men.
Cersei is delighted at Tyrion's horror, but her happiness evaporates when Tywin reveals the other half of his plan -- Cersei marry Loras. Cersei, of course, is in love with Jaime and absolutely hated being forced to wed Robert. The ever-pragmatic Tywin doesn't care about the happiness of Sansa or his kids, only that their marriages will help secure the kingdom for the family. Legacy, legacy, legacy!
When Cersei protests, Tywin loses his temper like we haven't seen before. He bellows at her that the marriage will "put an end to the disgusting rumors about you once and for all." Ah ha! So Tywin does know about her and Jaime, at least in theory. All this time we've been wondering if Tyrion has been unfairly getting all of dad's scorn while his sister has seemingly escaped his scrutiny, but no. Notice Tywin can't bring himself to mention Jaime's name when referencing this scandal. I bet he assumes if there is something going on between them that it's all Cersei's fault.
Tywin's decision is a great example of George R.R. Martin's twists -- a surprising turn of events that you don't see coming yet it all makes perfect sense and feels wholly earned. And look at what this means for us: There are now three potential weddings on the horizon -- Joffrey and Margaery, Tyrion and Sansa, and Cersei and Loras. If she's asked to help pay for two more weddings, I bet The Queen of Thorns isn't going to need any prunes. And as much of an emotionally abusive father Tywin Lannister is, if he ran a corporation, who wouldn't want to invest?
BEST LINE: Tough this week. I liked: "By what right does the wolf judge the lion?"
BEST SCENE: Jaime and Brienne in the bath, with that final scene with the Lannisters right behind.
Game of Thrones episode titles are typically boring, often they're some vaguely relevant Westrosi term or phrase that goes out of its way to not give any hint what actually happens in the episode. But next week's episode has a blunt and descriptive title: "The Climb." Ohh.
Now I have to set up some pitch meetings for a couple reality shows. First stop is HBO to pitch my unscripted hidden-camera docu-series Bathtub Confessionals -- it's all the candid human drama of Taxicab Confessions and the voyeurism of Cathouse rolled into one. Then it's off to MTV and Syfy to pitch Trial by Combat. I could honestly see this one being a show. You know how people with minor legal disputes agree to have silly daytime clowns like Judge Judy or Joe Brown decide their case? Same thing, but instead the two parties duel in some kind of challenge to decide who prevails. Why it's American Gladiators meets People's Court! While I'm out pitching, sound off with your comments about this week below.