This week on Game of Thrones, everyone is either extremely horny, going fully off-book in regard to reasonable character development, or both. It is Fuck Plot Central: Everyone has or is trying to have lovely, consensual sex, but we don’t actually get to see any of it, which is darkly hilarious, considering we have seen 1,000 rapes on this show. Dany acts deranged because the writers can’t figure out how to resolve her story line in a way that won’t eclipse Jon Snow’s. Everyone gets to the North so freaking fast. Make it make sense!!! But really, my favorite part of this episode is that everyone was fully beaten to shit by the White Walkers, but everyone has exactly one bruise on their face.
Things kick off with a solemn “In Remembrance” montage; apparently, everyone cleaned up the millions of wights very fast, got nice little black outfits together, and had time to plan a cute funeral pyre for all of their dead friends before their bodies even began to decompose. Dany leans over Jorah and whispers the last line from Lost in Translation, which he had always wanted to figure out but never had a strong enough Wi-Fi connection to do so.
Jon gives a little campaign speech. Sansa refuses to remove her domme outfit, even at a funeral. Re — and I cannot stress this enough — spect. Bran is pretending to pay attention, but he’s actually texting his staff about his new space start-up, which will launch watermelons directly at the moon to see how they behave in that environment.
Everyone is sitting shiva, which is to say, they’re drinking excessively and flirting over sliced meats. Dany, absolutely soused but hiding it well, asks Gendry to run Storm’s End. She hands him a big brown-paper bag full of deli pickles. Sansa, whose entire arc has been reduced to Suspicious Jealous Trauma Person, looks on suspiciously and enviously.
Bran stares into the fire, mentally calculating how many watermelons he will have to hurl at the moon to get a solid sample size. Tyrion interrupts his reverie. “What, exactly, are you trying to prove vis-à-vis these watermelons? Just curious?” he asks.
Bran laughs. “I don’t need to prove anything,” he says.
“Okay, but just to be clear, you’re Lord of Winterfell now,” says Tyrion.
“I am not,” says Bran. “I am the Watermelon King of Space.”
Hour four of the shiva. Everyone is blacked out and trying to fuck. Except for Chris Harrison. He’s standing in the back, with the Bachelor crew. He waves at Jon. “Don’t forget, you’re still under contract,” he mouths. He smiles. Wine pours out both sides of his mouth. Jon gulps. He looks at Dany and forces a grin. She terrifies him. Not because she is his aunt. That’s honestly fine. It’s other stuff. Dany smiles back, gripping her wine goblet so hard it shatters into a thousand pieces. Neither breaks the other’s gaze.
Sansa watches both of them out of the corner of her eye. She can’t decide whether she wants to fuck Jon, kill both of them, or fuck both of them. She begins sweating underneath her domme harness. She storms off to shower and then get dressed in the exact same outfit again. All of the men of the North are patting Jon on the back really hard. He begins to sweat, too, remembering how Chris Harrison likes to do this to him until he pukes. He tries to escape, but cannot. He looks at Dany, wondering if the classic shiva traditions — eating bagels for dinner, patting people on the back, fucking strangers — are upsetting her. After all, she was raised Catholic. In response, Dany looks at Jon the way a baby-boomer looks at her husband when he’s had too many complimentary margaritas on a cruise and forgotten himself.
Tyrion, Jaime, and Brienne are playing a classic shiva game where you just say facts to each other and then drink. It is often played near the end of the shiva, when just the close family is left and everyone is looking for somebody to lash out at. It is thusly revealed that Brienne is a virgin. Embarrassed, she gets up to pee and find a corner to eat some lox. Tormund moves to join her, grabbing a fistful of bagels. Jaime steps in front of him, rips the bagels out of his hands, and races after Brienne, grabbing a handful of capers. “Wait!” he says. “You also need tomatoes and red onions!”
Tormund bursts into sobs. A totally random Northern woman propositions him. We’re reminded that Podrick also fucks.
Sansa sits down with the Hound. They have the following horrifying conversation, the sort of singularly insane, backward dialogue that could only have been written by a man and approved by Amanda Peet’s husband:
The Hound: “Heard you were broken in. Heard you were broken in rough.”
Sansa: “And he got what he deserved. I gave it to him.”
The Hound: “How?”
The Hound [chuckling]: “You’ve changed, Little Bird. None of it would have happened if you left King’s Landing with me. No Littlefinger, no Ramsay none of it.”
Sansa: “Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a Little Bird all my life.”
Let’s unpack this briefly, shall we? Sansa is comforting the Hound, not vice versa — because he feels bad for not saving her from 1 million rapes — and expressing the idea that these 1 million rapes … made her who she is today? That she would not be a Strong Female Character without them? Meanwhile, she is the only person who does not get a Shiva Fuck Plot?
Gendry goes to find Arya, who is shooting arrows alone in the garage. “It’s a shiva!” says Gendry. “Why aren’t you drunk as hell? Should we resume our Fuck Plot from before?”
“I’m drunk on self-sufficiency,” says Arya.
“Will you marry me?” asks Gendry.
“Uh, literally this is a shiva,” says Arya. “But incidentally, no, I will not. Please make me a little sandwich from the deli tray, though.”
“Do you want it on rye or wheat?” asks Gendry.
“Both,” says Arya.
Jaime is attempting to seduce Brienne using the oldest trick in the shiva book: pretending to be really hot at shiva. “Wow, it is toas-tay in here!” he says, tearing off his pleather H&M jacket. Brienne takes off her Ann Taylor Loft peasant top. They begin to make out wildly. After years and years of Fuck Plot tension, we finally get a Fuck Plot resolution. Naturally, because the sex is nice and consensual and nonviolent and nobody is related by blood, the camera pans away.
Jon, similarly toasty in his bedroom in his Uniqlo puffer, is interrupted by Dany in her Meghan Markle for Aritzia trench. Chris Harrison, just outside the door, rubs his hands together in anticipation. “This is the Fantasy Suite episode, boys!” he tells the remaining crew (most of them were killed by the White Walkers). “But she’s his aunt, right?” asks one of the cameramen. “I’m still really confused about whether this is a thing for them or not.” Chris Harrison throws him out a window.
“Jon, I know you’re afraid of me, but I love you,” says Dany.
“I’m not afraid of you,” confesses Jon. “Well, actually, yes, I am. But I’m more afraid of your sons. Just last week one of them put a frog in my coffee cup. And yesterday I woke up handcuffed to my bed, covered in silly string.”
Dany laughs. “That’s how they show affection, silly! Ever seen The Parent Trap? Not the original, but the Nancy Meyers one?”
Jon looks at Chris Harrison, whose head is popping in through the door. “Say yes,” he mouths. “We can watch it later, I have the Blu-ray in my bag.”
Jon nods. “I love the episode where they trap the parents,” he says. “I’m happy your sons like to have fun. I just need to know that I can trust them before I give you the final rose.”
“Uh, actually, I need to know that I can trust your sister, who clearly wants to fuck you,” says Dany.
Jon laughs. “We’re hardly in a position to throw stones,” he says.
Dany looks at him curiously. “What do you mean?” she says.
“I don’t know. Should we continue our Fuck Plot? That was fun,” says Jon. “I miss fun.”
“Yeah. Actually, one more small thing,” says Dany. “You can’t be the king.”
“Okay,” says Jon. “I told you like 40 times I don’t want to be king. But I need to tell my sisters you’re my aunt. I know we’ve decided we don’t care about fucking aunts and nephews and stuff, and that’s fine, but they deserve to know.”
Dany storms out.
Shiva’s over. Everybody is hung-over and full of regret. The bagels have gone stale because nobody remembered to put them in plastic bags with those little twisty ties. Little pieces of smoked salmon litter the castle. In the garage, an entire dessert platter has fallen onto the windshield of Jon Snow’s Volvo. It’s early in the morning, which means it’s time for everyone to stand at a table and move tiles around a map. This time, nobody can agree on where to move the tiles. Dany is being reckless, throwing tiles all around the room. Tyrion wants to keep the tiles in one little neat pile. Sansa wants to put the tiles away for a while and do something else. Jon is like, “What if we don’t touch the tiles and just look at them? Aren’t they pretty?”
Ultimately, Jon decides they will throw the tiles all over the room because Dany wants to. He can’t risk another tense conversation in tight jackets. Arya tells Jon that she and Sansa “need a word.”
The Starks are yelling at Jon Snow in Bran’s office. It’s a crossover episode of Succession. “I don’t trust Dany,” says Arya. “I only trust myself. And Bran, who is going to have a great start-up.”
Bran smiles and waves from his desk. “Only two watermelons to go!” he says.
“If you only trust yourself and Bran, you’ll never make friends,” says Jon, flailing.
“I’m not here to make friends,” says Arya. She looks at Chris Harrison and winks.
“Bran actually has something to tell you, then,” says Jon.
Bran stares at him blankly.
“Bran, you know,” says Jon. “The thing you told me … about the thing?”
Bran opens his laptop. “I have to work on my pre-money valuation before we actually get the VC funding to hurl the watermelons at the moon,” he says.
We didn’t get to see Jaime and Brienne fuck, but we do get to see Tyrion wildly objectify and disrespect her in a post-fuck scene. Again, only men find the post-consensual, non-incest-fucking conversation with your bros more compelling than the fucking itself. Fortunately, Bron interrupts this boring display of lazy writing and threatens to kill the Lannister brothers. Tyrion promises him Highgarden instead. He leaves. I miss the shiva.
Arya and the Hound are off to King’s Landing to kill some people. Arya says she won’t be back to the North, which is sad, because we didn’t even get to see her say bye to Sansa! Good thing we spent ten separate scenes watching the Lannister brothers shoot the shit, though. That was important. The Hound shows Arya his one bruise. “Cool,” she says. “Mine is a little more evocative, though still disturbingly low-key, considering the circumstances.”
Even though she swore on her life to keep Jon’s secret, Sansa decides to expose Jon to Tyrion out of petty jealousy. Makes total sense. This character is really consistent, making choices that line up with everything we’ve known about her for eight years. Meanwhile, Jon puts his hair in a rare full pony and says good-bye to his friends, then totally ghosts Ghost. Again: This makes sense, and I love it! Sam reminds Jon that he has had sex. More than once. “I’m not just a nerd,” says Sam. “I had sex again. Thanks for the hair-gel tutorial.” The troops step cutely off to battle, and Dany gives her sons a bunch of candy so they’ll have the energy for elaborate pranks on Jon.
Everyone is sailing to Dragonstone. They get there in 45 seconds, even though past trips across Westeros have taken entire seasons or longer. Jon and Dany aren’t speaking but trying very hard to figure out how to speak again, because otherwise Chris Harrison will bankrupt them with lawsuits. Missandei and Grey Worm are holding hands on the deck, just like in Titanic. Tyrion and Varys are gossiping below deck about Dany’s “state of mind.”
Their scene is meant to foreshadow Dany’s mental breakdown, which is coming entirely out of nowhere. “How do we get Jon Snow on the Iron Throne without pissing off a bunch of feminists?” Amanda Peet’s husband must have asked, eating crab’s legs out of a polar-bear head. “Well, we have to demonstrate that Dany is unfit for the crown,” said Amanda Peet’s husband’s writing partner, riding on the back of a lion, guzzling Clicquot. “Her whole thing was like, being the best person for the crown, though,” said Amanda Peet’s husband. “Yeah, but like …” said Amanda Peet’s husband’s writing partner. “I know,” said Amanda Peet’s husband. “Okay, let’s make her hysterical.”
The hysterical woman rides in on two dragons, one of whom is immediately killed by a gigantic arrow from Euron Greyjoy’s fleet. Gigantic arrows for gigantic dragons, why didn’t I think of that?! Anyway, two dead children means Dany is 20 percent more hysterical now. More big arrows puncture the deck of Grey Worm’s ship. Everyone falls into the sea. Tyrion is fake-crushed by a huge boat part that I don’t know the name of, and I am certainly not going to find out. Fortunately, all of the main characters wash up on a beach like the Little Mermaid. Except for Missandei, who has been kidnapped, because she is a woman of color and therefore this show is fine using her as a prop.
Cersei, the original hysterical woman on this show, is standing pregnantly at the window, looking at all of the subjects she hates. Her hair is looking like season one of Justin Bieber’s career. She tells Euron she’s pregnant with “our child,” and he gets too horny. Euron! Please. We are not at the shiva right now.
Everyone is back to moving tiles around. Where are they? In a very large, sturdy boat? How did they get there? Anyway, Varys tells Dany he thinks it’d be a mistake to storm King’s Landing, what with all of the humans that would die, but Dany is like, “No. I am hysterical now. My makeup is starting to look slightly bad and my hair ever so slightly off to indicate this. Please keep up.” Even so, she agrees to a farcical attempt at a calm resolution with Cersei.
Varys and Tyrion are having another gossip sesh about Dany’s mental health. Tyrion proposes the idea of Jon and Dany marrying and ruling together, but Varys is like, “Have you seen that tush? She would bend him right over and peg him ’til the end of time. They’d get absolutely nothing done.” Tyrion can’t disagree. Varys tells Tyrion he’s going to do something shady to Dany in the name of the “realm.” “We don’t know their names, but they’re just as real as you and I,” he says. “Unless they’re not white. Then we will kill them indiscriminately in hordes and not make a huge deal about it.”
Jaime is wandering about Winterfell in his Topman cape. He stumbles upon Sansa and Brienne, who tell him about all of the bad tile-moving. Jaime fucks Brienne, THEN thinks about this. He decides to leave without saying good-bye, and Brienne follows him, weeping, begging him to stay. Again: This totally tracks with Brienne’s characterization thus far! She’d absolutely run after a man in a boxy coat and cry into his frat beard.
Back at King’s Landing, outside of Cersei’s castle. You can tell Dany is about to lose it because she is extremely pale and her eyes have a light-red rim around them all of a sudden. The show will continue to make her less and less hot so that when they have to kill her off, it won’t be AS sad.
Qyburn saunters out in his best Diane Keaton drag to tell them all to get a grip. Tyrion ignores him, waltzing toward Cersei’s castle and appealing, yet again, to her “humanity.” All of her guards get ready to kill him. But she can’t do it, because then the show would be over. So instead, she decapitates Missandei. Her head topples down the side of the castle. Again: We don’t get to see Brienne finally do it, but we have to watch the full trajectory of Missandei’s head.
Dany’s eyes get redder, more flyaways escape her braids, her foundation becomes more uneven. She should have used Fenty, but it’s too late now. She won’t be wearing foundation again. She grits her teeth and shakes violently, then runs off-camera. In other words, the primary function of Missandei’s death is to make Dany even more hysterical, so we can eventually watch her die or lose the throne with little feeling. Remember when women on this show did other things besides act out of spite and jealousy and desperation and hysteria? Me neither.