The final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrived along with an avalanche of recaps, reviews, and other coverage on the internet, so Vulture’s comedy section decided we’d join in too. We are proud to announce that comedian and former professional reviewer Andy Daly has agreed to cover all six episodes of Game of Thrones’ season eight for us for a column titled “Throning It In With Andy Daly.” Check back here every Monday to see Daly’s thoughts on the latest GOT episode.
Hello again, recap readers! A new episode of Game of Thrones was on last night. They seem to be dropping them almost one a week at this point. Pretty impressive. But to tell you the truth, I went into this new episode thinking, Eh, I would have been fine with the season ending last week. You know what I mean? I was mostly concerned with the ice dragon. After he died in that weird and fundamentally unfair (to the dragon) slaying-by-proxy, these petty affairs of men seemed beneath me. I mean, what’s so great about ruling the Seven Kingdoms? Seems like a pain in the ass to me. Maybe it’s too many kingdoms, ever think of that? If Cersei wants to rule that whole mess, let the baby have her bottle, say I!
So that, plus a little more Sudafed than the box recommends (oops!), made it a challenge to sit down and watch this one. But oh brother, they roped me in again!! This was a good one!!
Oh! But before we get to that, apparently at the bottom of these recaps there is a space for readers to leave wise and insightful comments on my work. I am reluctant to read them for fear of what too many compliments will do to my ego, but I am told that last week, someone dove in to the “Throning It In” comment section to criticize me for, of all things, feeding my children dessert at too late an hour. First off, thank you, sir or madam, for the feedback. But secondly, let me set your mind at ease. I live on the West Coast and can watch Game of Thrones at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard on my HBONow application. So the dessert I referenced last week occurred at 7:30 p.m. Before you go accusing someone of loading up his children with chocolate at 10:30 at night, do a little research, friend! Jesus! Okay, this concludes old business. On to some sweet-ass recappin’!
First of all, this was my favorite “Previously On” of the whole series. It was artful and portentous and, unlike a lot of Game of Thrones “Previously On”s, everything in it really did happen previously on this show. Nice job!
After that, the episode opens with some surprisingly good news. It seems like that horrific, endless battle we were treated to last week wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. I mean, any number of bodies on a funeral pyre is too many, but this was less than I expected. Plus, the wolf, who led the charge, somehow came out of it with only a boo-boo on his snout. My dog didn’t look much better than that after his backyard tangle with a skunk. There are still plenty of Dothraki dudes left, and the dragon I was sure I saw die is still swooping around up there.
There was also surprisingly good news for the actor who plays Jorah. That crafty old fox managed to get himself paid for another episode! Nice! The whole thing starts with him lying there dead and Daenerys is crying and whispers something in his ear. And I know what she whispered too: “You will never get paid this much for doing this little again. Be sure to stay for lunch too. Catering is making ribs!”
Jon gives a nice big speech during which he says, “We shall never see their like again,” paraphrasing Shakespeare, which can only mean that at some earlier point in the history of this world, people visited Earth somehow. Bran would know all about it but don’t expect him to tell anyone. He’s pretty tight-lipped, except when it comes to the history of wheelchairs, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Then we have a big rowdy dinner scene and, although she doesn’t say anything, I think there’s a moment where Sansa is still concerned about the amount of food they have. You can see it in her eyes. Very focused on the food.
Gendry goes to find Arya and gets stopped by Daenerys, who makes him the Lord of Storm’s End and everybody celebrates but this is obviously terrible news. “Oh great! Instead of a good job making swords somewhere for the rest of my life, now I have to boss people around and solve peasants’ problems and probably get killed by my next closest relative someday.” What a gift!
There are lots of delightful little conversations all around the room. Jaime peer pressures Brienne into drinking, Tyrion expresses his usual lack of confidence in humanity, Giantsbane starts making a drunken ass out of himself. Then Tyrion mentions Bran’s wheelchair, and Bran perks up the most we’ve ever seen him as he gets to show off his otherworldly knowledge of history’s greatest wheelchairs. No wonder the Night King wanted this guy dead! He knows too much!
As the night wears on, things get flirtier between Jaime and Brienne, Daenerys starts to feel left out and underappreciated, and Giantsbane starts to get too drunk. I’ve definitely partied with dudes like this before. At some point, it goes from “This guy’s great!” to “Am I about to get shoved in front of the subway as a joke?” Funny enough, Drunkgiantsbane is super impressed with Jon Snow for riding a dragon during the battle. Never mind the fact that Daenerys was also riding a dragon or that both of them spent the whole battle lost in the clouds. What a dope. But then Giantsbane busts out the line of night: “Which one of you cowards shit in my pants?” I mean, c’mon. That’s probably a street joke. I don’t think he made it up. But funny is funny and Giantsbane brings it. And because Giantsbane is funny, that means he definitely gets the girl, right? Oh ho ho! No sir! Never! It seems there’s a classic Pretty in Pink scenario shaping up and Giantsbane is Duckie.
And just as Duckie confided in the Diceman on matters of the heart, so Giantsbane sidles up to the Hound, who is the exact last shoulder anyone should ever go to cry on. Sorry for the Pretty in Pink spoilers, by the way, but Giantsbane’s lovesickness actually ends up getting cured as quickly as Duckie’s did by the mere arrival of a random other woman who seems to like him. Some stories are truly eternal.
Then Sansa tells the Hound that all the miseries she’s been through have been worth it because they made her the woman she is today, and I kind of feel like this was the show trying to make me feel better about all the miseries they’ve put me through as a viewer. Aren’t you glad you got to see that pregnant lady get stabbed in the belly? Without that, you would have stayed a little bird all your life. Well, I’m going to have to think on that one a little while, Game of Thrones.
Then Gendry proposes to Arya and finds out pretty quick how much it sucks to be a lord. I think she would have married him if he were going to spend the rest of his life sweating and pounding out instruments of death in front of a fire. But Lady of Storm’s End? Fuck that.
Then Andie loses her virginity to Blane. Then Daenerys pops in on Jon and they start to get it on too, but Jon pulls back and they revisit the unwelcome fact that they are, in fact, brother and sister and that Jon has the better claim to the throne. Yep, all of that is awkward and a definite boner-killer. She ends the scene demanding that he spend his life telling a giant lie of omission and it doesn’t seem like he can, and I guess we’re supposed to start liking Daenerys less now, huh? She seems pretty power hungry and not in a good way anymore. Okay, whatever. For me, it’s kind of like the Democratic primary at this point. I’ll take any of these characters over the creep who’s in the big chair now. Just settle it before the California primary so I don’t have to make any decisions, okay?
Then we get a big strategy session, and Daenerys ignores what seems like good advice in her rush to destroy her enemies. The big conflict point is established in this scene: Should they try to depose Cersei without massive civilian casualties by allowing the people to rise up against her or, y’know, fire and rivers of blood? Daenerys is willing to try the former if it doesn’t take too long, but the latter sounds okay to her too. Or I think that’s what they decided. Sudafed. Too much of it.
Next up, it’s a Stark family meeting under the dead tree. After a very silly bit of sibling squabbling about whether you can promise to keep a secret before you know what the secret is (the answer is, duh, that you can, but then you’re allowed to change your mind once you hear it), Jon tells Bran to spill the beans about him and Daenerys. Then Bronn saunters into Winterfell like he owns the place, and Tyrion promises to make him the new Lord of Highgarden if he doesn’t kill him. For reasons that aren’t explained, Jaime gets spared in this arrangement too. Sorry, but Bronn is no replacement for the old lady who used to run Highgarden. He isn’t fit to polish her weird veiled pillbox hats. I miss funny grandma! Seeing her get poisoned didn’t make me stronger, Game of Thrones!
Then we have a rather large development. The Hound is headed south to settle some old business (i.e., kill his gigantic silent brother), and he is joined by Arya, who also has something to take care of (i.e., kill Cersei), and they head off together on a road trip like the classic cantankerous comedy duo they are. Just two supernaturally skilled ass-kickers headed down to King’s Landing to kick some asses. I can’t help thinking that if Arya had perhaps mentioned her plans to anyone else, it might have impacted some of the war planning. I’m pretty sure if she had raised her hand in that strategy session and said, “Oh, by the way, I’m definitely going to go down to King’s Landing and do to Cersei what I just did to the Night King,” everybody would have said, “Oh great, yeah okay, let’s just do that. Open some more wine!” But no, she kept it to herself for God knows what reason.
Then Sansa spills the big beans to Tyrion. What’d I tell you? You can change your mind after you hear the secret. Then we have some heartfelt good-byes. Giantsbane is going back up north where there are, I guess, some people left somehow? Well, if not, he’ll have a scratched wolf to keep him company. Then Gilly, who I really thought got killed by a resurrected Stark last week, pops up and there are more good-byes and another sweet episodic fee for that actress. Nice!
And now we’re at sea. The good-guy navy is pulling up to some castle. Is this Daenerys’s home castle or something? I should know that, huh? There’s a weird scene where Tyrion and Varys discuss the big secret that Sansa told Tyrion. They have the first of two big chats about who should really rule the Seven Kingdoms and at some point, Varys says that Jon and Daenerys can’t get married because she’s his aunt. Excuse me, what?! Daenerys is Jon’s aunt in addition to being his sister? And his girlfriend? This show is nuts. I’m honestly not sure what I’m supposed to be rooting for anymore, but it sure as hell isn’t watching dragons get killed. Oh but that’s what I got next! I barely had time to get out a pen and paper and start trying to figure out how someone can be both your aunt and your sister when Euron Greyjoy and his Amazing Tongueless Navy show up with dragon-killing spearguns and knock one of those dudes into the ocean. Now I conveniently thought that dragon died last week, so this didn’t hit me as hard as it could have, but still!
Then those spearguns start shredding the good-guy navy, which is, I guess, hampered by the fact that everybody in it can’t speak, because the good guys go down hard.
Okay, I’m gonna pick up the pace. It’s almost 11 p.m. here and I need to wake up my children soon to see if they’ll have more pudding. Here we go …
Cersei has captured Missandei and duped Euron into thinking Jaime’s baby is his. Tyrion hatches a plan to offer Cersei her life in exchange for the throne — sure, that’ll work. Varys and Tyrion have their second big chat about who should rule, and they really delve into the rampant sexism of their putrid world (which is nothing at all like ours, thank goodness). Back at Winterfell, Sansa has heard about the naval debacle and now predicts massive bloodshed in King’s Landing.
Then Jaime decides to slip out in the middle of the night and go to his sister, who’s also his girlfriend, and maybe his aunt?! We can no longer rule it out! He doesn’t like the idea of Cersei being slaughtered at the end of a big ugly battle. What did he think was going to happen? Who cares, because really, this is a great scene. I was never exactly comfortable with the big redemption of Jaime Lannister. He’s proven himself to be too much of an asshole in too many episodes of this show. So I enjoyed hearing him lay it all out here and admit to being awful. This, by the way, is definitely what happens right after Andie Walsh sleeps with Blane. Pretty in Pink ends before we get to see it but for sure, Blane slips out in the middle of the night to go back to James Spader. Search your heart. You know it to be true.
Big final scene. Tyrion and Cersei’s creepy Hand dude agree that the sound of children burning alive is an unpleasant one, and that seems like some progress toward a deal here, but things fall apart quickly after that and Tyrion appeals directly to his sister’s better angels in pretty much exactly the same way Brienne just tried to appeal to Jaime. Cersei stands there for a loooong time looking like she’s thinking about Tyrion’s words, but I have a pretty solid hunch that she’s actually still thinking about those elephants. Well, whatever she’s thinking about, it’s bad news for Missandei, who is invited to offer some last words. She uses the opportunity to command the last remaining dragon to burn shit up, which is an odd choice given how many giant spearguns there are here. But we can forgive Missandei for not thinking clearly in this moment. Luckily the dragon ignored her. The Mountain beheads Missandei, Daenerys walks away with murderous rage in her eyes, and another episode of Game of Thrones is in the books.
Okey doke! Off to watch Veep because it’s also enjoyable to see a bleak quest for power play out with jokes! Plus, I’m in it. I always end these recaps by telling you which guest role I should have been hired to play, and it’s tough this time? The only speaking guest roles I noticed were the women who propositioned Giantsbane and the Hound, and I’m not sure I would have bought me in either of those roles. Maybe a dead body on the funeral pyre? I don’t think I could have held my breath for Jon’s whole speech though. Oh well. Hopefully better pickins next week!
See you then!