On episode 69 of Game of Thrones, Amanda Peet’s husband and his friends decide to take a bit of a detour and turn the show into a situational comedy. The situation being, of course, that everyone is on the verge of violent death … together!
The entire episode is centered around the sheer, apparently hilarious novelty of everyone on the show being in the same place at once. Literally every scene is just the creators mashing all of their characters together like Barbie dolls, being like, “Look what happens when we put these people in the same room. Aren’t you kvelling?!?!? Look!!!” They say tragedy plus time is comedy, so it follows that Game of Thrones plus time is Friends.
The reason they’re doing this, of course, is to make it extra painful when they kill everyone off next week. It’s manipulative and lazy and it severely undercuts any emotional impact that these scenes and these eventual deaths might have had. But anyway, 69.
Dany is dressing Jaime down in Winterfell’s little court area. She wonders if she should trust Jaime, because he murdered her insane dad and his hair looks absolutely crazy. Brienne is like, “I know his hair looks like he straightened it very slowly, piece by piece, until it hung slack over his face in the perfect shape of a bowl, but normally, Jaime could get it.” Dany and Sansa are like, “Ohh, okay.” The problem is fixed. Bran chimes in to remind everyone that he knows how everything turns out, and is not going to be helpful about it, but he would like to tell everyone about Malcolm Gladwell’s latest op-ed in the New York Times about how compulsory monogamy causes cancer.
The only nod the show makes to the fact that it’s episode 69 is Sansa’s BDSM outfit. If I could watch 69 episodes of Sansa picking out this outfit, then figuring out how to take this necklace off without hurting herself, I would.
Dany is upset because Jon Snow is ignoring her after their terrible Hometown Date. She thought things went well, but he left quite shaken, realizing he’d taken on much more than he bargained for: two Large Adult Dragon Sons, hundreds of thousands of soldiers, an increasingly complex web of grudges, 16 pounds of hair extensions, and also fucking his own aunt. I’m just one man, Jon thought as he left dinner with Dany’s kids, who mooned him as he walked to his car. Dany, frustrated and confused, is taking things out on Tyrion. She thinks she’s mad at him, but she’s actually just horny. Common mistake.
Meanwhile, Gendry and Arya are furthering their own Fuck Plot down in the sword factory. The music gets moody and heavy so we remember we’re supposed to be scared and absolutely not happy. However, the scene then plays out like a porn. Gendry is covered in soot, sweating, hammering things. Arya, who has gone from “precocious murder teen” to “sexually mature adult woman” in the span of two episodes, is watching him from behind, moving her eyebrows up and down very fast and screaming, “Hubba hubba!!!!” She approaches Gendry and berates him for not making her spear faster. Gendry stabs a tree trunk. Both make a lot of references to being “down in the crypt.” Arya asks Gendry to talk dirty to her: “What do the White Walkers smell like?” “Death,” says Gendry. Arya is visibly aroused — not by Gendry, of course, because Arya is queer and this is canon, but by the concept of death itself.
Bran is … you know what Bran is doing. He is staring at a tree. He is inventing a form of invisible Soylent that tastes like a bus seat. Jaime approaches him, hair akimbo, and asks why he didn’t tell his family Jaime once pushed him out a window so he could continue hitting his twin sister from behind. Bran looks at him the way I look at men who catcall me while I am listening to the A Star Is Born soundtrack on my commute.
Bran doesn’t have time for human concerns like “feuds” and “incest,” because Bran is very busy figuring out how to drop into a conversation with Jon Snow the fact that he has read Infinite Jest in the original Latin while on acid. Jaime asks what Bran will do to him “afterwards” and Bran is like, “After words? I’m already after words. Words are manmade and therefore imperfect. From here on out I will only communicate—” Jaime waits. But Bran was serious. He is post-words. He opens his phone and emails Elon Musk a series of photos of his favorite hackathons throughout history.
Jaime and Tyrion literally start the next scene as follows:
“Here we are.”
“Yes, here we are.”
Game of Thrones’ writers are just as exhausted as we are, and I take some comfort in that.
The rest of the scene is just the two of them going over plot points that have already happened, while also doing a low-key homage to Joey and Chandler. Tyrion is like, “Remember how we’re brothers? Could we be more related?” Jaime is like, “Ha, true. And I admit it was dumb to fuck my own sister, but at least now I know better.” At one point, Tyrion repeats one of his own lines from an earlier episode and Jaime mocks him for it. There is absolutely no point whatsoever to this scene, outside of the fact that it is the last time we’ll see Tyrion and Jaime being happy little brothers together. However, it does throw the Lannisters’ wildly divergent curl patterns into sharp relief.
Jaime is staring intently at Brienne. He knows she’d be good for him — as good as Cersei is bad. He can picture their lives together, vividly: taking long walks and bonking their heads on the doorframe every time they go back inside; having bracing but ultimately cathartic conversations about the ethical implications of children born out of incest and then murdered for political gain; Brienne deleting his hairstylist’s phone number and cutting his hair herself, over the sink. Unfortunately, he is not allowed to have sex with her on television because she is tall and has short hair. Instead, he asks if she will do him the great honor of … being his wartime boss.
Dany is in her chambers, in mourning because she is not currently communing with Jon Snow’s apple-cheeked tush. Jorah pops in to defend Tyrion and encourage Dany to make peace with Sansa, who is in the other room, sweating in her PVC dress. Sansa stands up as Dany enters, her rubber outfit creaking with the strain. The two then have a sensual conversation about the perils of commodified feminism.
“Should we support each other just because we’re two women on a show that historically kills, rapes, or turns its women into delivery systems for shoehorned-in, awkward Empowerment Plots? Or does it make sense that we’re enemies because we’re two women who have only slightly different political ideologies? I can’t tell which thing is more offensive in the context of the Game of Thrones universe,” says Dany.
Sansa laughs, then stops, because it hurts in this dress. “You’re forgetting one other thing,” she says. “The writers have also given me some explicit sexual tension with my brother, who’s actually my cousin, but I don’t know that yet.”
“Right,” says Dany. “Me neither. But I am fully dickmatized by Jon Snow, so don’t be mad at me, okay? Anyway, should we hold hands?”
Theon shows up, destroying the destroyed moment. He and Sansa hug for a long time and, oh God, it’s going to be another Fuck Plot, isn’t it? We. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This!!!
Davos is doling out soup to everyone in Winterfell. Say it with me now: “That’s a lot of soup!” One of the soup-eaters is a young girl with facial scars who reminds him of Shireen. Another is Gilly. She reveals that everyone who isn’t fighting the White Walkers will be down in the crypt. Just to be clear, these people are about to engage in an apocalyptic war with the dead, so to protect their women and children, they’re sending them into a confined underground space surrounded by dead people? Just making sure I’m clear on this.
Nearby, Jon is reuniting with his brothers from the Night’s Watch. He seems mostly fine even though he now knows he is fucking his aunt. His hair looks fantastic. Really great little half-bun. Nice slick top, not too much gel, but enough to hold down the poof. This is what I will focus on as we enter … Battle Plan Time. Everyone is standing around a table, moving little tiles around. I’ve never been to war, but this seems real. Jon decides that the best way to defeat the millions of immortal freakies is to kill their leader. Everyone is like, “But how???”
Bran, who has known all of this the entire time, pipes up. “I know where the Night King is. He’s coming for me. I’ll wait for him. He wants to get in as an angel investor on my latest app. It’s an app that tells you when your creatine levels are low and then it tells you where the nearest place to eat creatine is.”
“What’s creatine?” asks Jon Snow.
Bran shakes his head. “I’m sorry. That’s proprietary.”
Tyrion pulls up a chair, the first and only person on the show to ask Bran what the actual fuck is up with him. “You’re going to tell me about creatine,” he says. “And you’re going to tell me right now.”
A brief moment of Winterfell racism occurs, but the show decides not to delve into it in any real way. Missandei and Grey Worm wax rhapsodically about their future; they will go to a beach when the war is over, which means, of course, one or both of these hotties is going to die. They make out, which is great, because they’re hot and not related.
Another area within Winterfell, another group of people having a conversation. This time it’s Jon and Sam and, uh, Bledflay (?) at Central Perk. Jon and the other guy are like, “Sam, maybe you shouldn’t fight, because you’re a nerd, and that’s your whole thing.” Sam is like, “Uh, remember when I cured greyscale, killed a White Walker, forgave your aunt (who you are fucking) for killing my entire family, married a woman and fathered her baby who was actually her father’s baby, had sex (nice), and figured out how to slick my hair back very cutely? Let me be a soldier!” The men begrudgingly agree to let Sam die. They clink coffee cups.
More people talking, more rooms. I was wrong; Jaime and Tyrion are having more quality brother time. I’m not really sure why we needed more of this, but. Tyrion reminisces about the first time the Lannisters were in the North. “I remember when you had good hair, and therefore, everything was great,” he says. Jaime is like, “Yeah, but I was also sleeping with my sister, and you had one friend in the world. [He really says that part!] I know that these days, my hair looks like Justin Bieber fell into a well, but on the whole, things are looking up.” Which is weird, because they are waiting to be sieged by death itself.
Brienne, Podrick, Tormund Giantsbane, and Ser Davos enter. Everybody agrees to have a small amount of wine. Looks like we are about to be witness to Something Meaningful. First, though, Tormund attempts to seduce Brienne by telling a story about the time he crawled into the bed of a giantess at age 10, after murdering her husband. “When she woke up, you know what she did? She suckled me at her teet for three months. Thought I was a baby. That’s how I got so strong,” he says. He chugs an entire beer out of his horn.
Was 10-year-old Tormund attempting to have sex with the giant’s wife? Was he just going to snuggle there for awhile? Does he want Brienne to suckle him like the giantess? Does he want to be Baby or Daddy?
Arya storms through the castle. She is ready to see her Fuck Plot realized, but first, she has to make amends with the Hound, because everybody has to have 1 to 12 meaningful conversations peppered with weak attempts at witty banter in this episode. The Lord of Light guy joins in, because he hasn’t had his meaningful pre-death convo yet, either. They all make very gentle fun of one another, then Arya calls them “old shits” and leaves to do archery in the sword factory. Not a euphemism (yet).
Gendry approaches with her spear, which took him one hour to make after all of that whinging. Arya is like, “Great, but you misunderstood — I want your actual spear.” She throws him back onto a pile of old potato sacks, strips off her clothes, and pounces on him. I love it!
Back around the fire. Everyone is stoned. “How weird is it that we’re all here right now?” asks Tyrion. Everyone’s pupils dilate 12 percent as they take that in. Tyrion posits that they’ll all live because, despite unlikely narrative odds, they’ve survived dozens of battles. Suddenly, everyone is agreeing that now is the time to knight Brienne. “Women can’t be knights,” says Brienne sadly.
“Why not?” asks Tormund.
“Tradition,” she says.
“Fuck tradition!” says Tormund.
Jaime asks Brienne to kneel, and knights her in front of everyone, calling her “Ser Brienne.” She tears up. Everyone claps because they are so woke. “The Woke Knights of Winterfell!” screams Tyrion.
Listen, I’m thrilled for Brienne, my absolute favorite character of all time, who deserves everything she wants, including Jaime, even though his hair is absolutely insane. However, there is a very “I’m a Wonderful Male Feminist” energy about all of this, very virtue-signal-y. It’s about as feminist as, say, Target releasing a line of military-themed pajamas for little girls after bowing to an angry MoveOn.org petition. It feels like the show getting to have its cake and eating it too — patting itself on the back for including an end-of-the-series scene where a woman gets knighted after years of using women as devices for proving how evil various men were. This should be a wonderful moment for a beloved character; instead, it’s disingenuous and deeply annoying.
Sam gives his sword to Jorah and decides to go hang out in the crypt after all, because “I can’t really hold it upright.” We get it: Sam is a nerd! “I hope we win,” he says to Jorah, which is weird, because, yeah, that’s sort of the whole thing!
Back in the fire room, Tyrion asks if anybody knows a song. All of the woke men are like, “Songs?? That’s gay.” Podrick, the only man in this room who could actually knight a woman and make me believe it wasn’t motivated by his own self-interest, begins to sing a Florence + the Machine song about a woman dancing with ghosts. Suddenly, the show pivots from a situational comedy and becomes the end of Titanic.
Briefly, Sansa looks at Theon like she wants to mount him over a sack of old potatoes.
Down in the crypt, Jon is staring at his mom’s grave, wondering how he’s going to sneak off of The Bachelor set without being sued. Dany approaches, with Chris Harrison in tow. “Jon? You got a minute?” asks Chris. Jon sighs. He’d been avoiding this for as long as possible, but now he’ll have to face up to the fact that he’d ghosted Dany after the Hometown Date because he found her sons sociopathic. His gut still burned from where the baseball had hit him. “I’ll give you two some privacy,” says Chris Harrison, hiding behind Lyanna Stark’s statue.
“Listen, Dany,” says Jon. “I had a great time with you, but I just don’t think I’m ready to be king and to be the stepfather of two full psychos. Do you think we could just be friends?”
“Wait, be king?” asks Dany. “What in the name of your sweet, sweet ass are you talking about?”
“Oh, yeah,” says Jon. “This is awkward, but your brother is my dad, and I actually supercede you, heir to the throne-wise.”
Chris Harrison pops his little head out from behind the statue. “This also means you’re related, you guys get that, right?”
Both of them ignore him. He shrugs at the camera and disappears again.
Dany is furious. “How CONVENIENT,” she says. “And you waited until AFTER meeting my sons to tell me?”
“Listen, it was a lovely meal,” says Jon. “I just don’t think I’m the right man to raise them. Also, the whole king thing — kind of stressful, you know?”
Chris Harrison clears his throat. “Plus you’re his aunt — like, his actual aunt!” he says, trying to keep his voice cheerful.
Neither reply. Before they can resolve this whole entire thing in one conversation, the White Walkers approach. Dany storms off to find her sons, who have been farting into Davos’s soup as a prank.