Synopsis of 5×02: We get a deeper look into Cersei’s life after the murder of both her father and son and see what worries her the most as Ellaria Sand taunts her all the way from Dorne. Arya finds her way to the House of Black and White while her brother pledges his loyalty to the Night’s Watch and her sister travels with Littlefinger. Dany continues to learn that having dragons and setting slaves free doesn’t mean you are a great ruler.
Let’s be honest – nothing really can top the second episode of last season. Need a refresher?
You guys get it now? Last season was literally so action packed the first few episodes that of course we’re going to be taking some time to step back and assess the current situation from all angles. It makes for some very univested watching, but it’s important. We’re finally building up to some major plot points that will now diverge from the path the GRRM himself still has yet to address so we need to have everything laid out as cleanly as possible before that happens.
So yes, once again it was a week with a lot of exposition and a lot of quick moments from characters just so we don’t forget what’s going on with them.
Here’s a quick rundown for the characters that didn’t get as much screen time this go around: Sansa is traveling with Littlefinger when they stop for a break at a tavern. Lo and behold, Pod and Brienne are at the same place. Pod notices his old master’s wife and quickly alerts the fact that she’s here to Brienne, who approaches Sansa and asks her to come with her, that it was her mother’s last wish. Littlefinger quickly begins to throw barbs at Brienne (“Why would she go with you when you couldn’t protect her mother” sorts of things) when Sansa quickly says she will not go with her. Brienne is infuriated and quickly escapes with Pod after they murder a few of the guards working for Baelish. Sansa has to have something up her sleeve though with her refusal, and Brienne begins to follow the two as they head west.
Jon Snow also faces a life changing decision – to become Jon Stark. Feeling loyalty to his Guard though, he refuses to become the Lord of Winterfell (also because he’s still mourning Robb) and ends up being voted the High Lord Commander of the Wall after a heartfelt speech from Sam.
Cersei is over in King’s Landing trying to remain the acting Hand of the King, throwing favors and titles in the way of those who try to oppose her, but this time around she’s facing a lot more rebuking without her beloved father on the Council. Her uncle won’t hear anything that she has to say and once she tells him, the Minister of War, that she’s sent Jamie on a sensitive mission that doesn’t concern him he leaves, saying that if they need him for anything he’ll be at his home and they can call for him.
Cersei is reeling over the thought of her darling daughter, Myrcella, who’s in Dorne now and betrothed to the crown prince, stuck in a land full of people who hate her family name and demands that Jamie brings her back. She tells him this is what he has to do since he was never their father at any point, and I have to agree with Jamie’s defense of “I never could have been their father in public” because you know, finding out that the children who are heirs to the throne are really the product of incest would destroy public opinion of themselves. Cersei doesn’t care though and she has him recruit Bronn to bring her daughter back while she continues to have bounty hunters kill dwarf after dwarf in hopes that it’s Tyrion, who’s just drunk on a ship with Varys on their way to Meereen.
But before we hop off to one exotic locale, let’s talk about the big exciting moment of the show – the reveal of Dorne and their country. I’m a huge fan of the Martells in general, but seeing Ellaria in the aftermath of her lover’s death was wholly enjoyable. While last season she was very much supportive of Oberyn and open minded in her regard to the world, she seemingly has one mission now: get back at the Lannisters. The object of her detestation is the fair haired Myrcella, who she believes has no right to breathe their air while her love rots. The ruler of Dorne, Doran Martell, deflects all of her rage and reminds her of what Oberyn said to Cersei in King’s Landing: They don’t harm little girls in Dorne. Ellaria reminds him that she has the support of the Sand Snakes and that they don’t care what their uncle has to say either.
Let’s just leave it at: Oh hell yeah bring it on. Give me more of this country and its people.
Another exciting plot point in a not as foreign land is the arrival of Arya at the House of Black and White. When she arrived, a man in a black hood answered the door and told her to leave. When she asks for Jaqen H’ghar, the man tells her that there is no one of that name there, and closes the door on her. Left “everywhere else to go,” she spends her first night outside of the House reciting her kill list with determination before she throws her coin into the ocean the next morning and makes off in Braavos, trying to figure out what to do next. When the man in the black hood is seen following her, she chases after him and demands that he tells her what he knows.
BAM! He reveals to be Jaqen himself, the only moment of this episode that made me go, “YOOOOOO!”
He grants Arya entry into the House of Black and White and her journey with the Faceless Men has begun. Finally, after two seasons of exposition Arya will finally have to grow and adapt to a whole new set of rules.
To round this recap up, I’ll give you a quick recap of Dany: She cannot govern. But really, if we’re being one hundred percent honest, this has been incredibly visible for the past few seasons. While Dany is a fan favorite, she is also one of the least politically minded rulers on this show. With the Sons of the Harpy still killing and only one suspect in custody, her council decides to go to trial even though the representative of the freed slaves wants him publicly executed. When Barristan Selmy tells her a tale of the Mad King and how the power went to his head, most of us agreed with his cautionary tale of the abuses of power but apparently Dany just completely forgot it with how the rest of this episode went. The representative of the slaves kills the Son of the Harpy himself and makes a public display of it and it leads to her deciding to publicly execute him.
Yes, she literally says I’ll make it law to go to trial and then decides to have this guy’s head chopped off in front of all of her subjects to show them what going against her will get them. She is literally the worst when it comes to politics and being able to handle her subjects. After the man’s head is cut off the slaves who used to call her “Mhysa” now hiss at her and claw their way towards her and the former nobility, throwing rocks at her as she flees under the shields of her army.
Like, Khaleesi. Girl. You actually really kind of suck at this thing.
Next week we have promises of Starks laying out their plans of revenge, a return of Theon Greyjoy and Ramsay Snow, and a lot of deception and aggression. Can’t wait for the episodes to pick up!