One Lannister who doesn't ignore Cersei is her brother Jaime. Jaime is entering as Tywin and Tommen are leaving. Jaimes orders out everyone else so he can be alone with his sister. Cersei is convinced that Tyrion murdered Joffrey and wants Jaime to kill him. She doesn't want Tyrion to make it to trial. Jaime is outraged by this and in a shout back to his first season line "The things I do for love" uttered just before he shoved Bran out of a window calls Cersei hateful while bemoaning he loves her so. Of course his love is hardly platonic. In what could be seen as a rape by some lights, Jaime decides to have his sister right there next to their dead son's body. I was reminded of the scene in the original Straw Dogs. Cersei initially fights and says no but gives in. Is she enjoying herself? It's up to the viewer to make that call. The concept of spousal rape doesn't exist in Westeros of course but brother-rape probably does. Or does it? Cersei can hardly go to the authorities. It would be useful to know what, in particular, women thought of this scene.
Of course the big question is who killed Joffrey? That may or may not become evident. Sansa has escaped the city with Dontos who helpfully had a boat stashed nearby. He rows her out to an anchored ship where Sansa discovers that her rescuer is none other than that pimp of pimps, Littlefinger. When Dontos asks for his reward, Littlefinger has him killed and informs the angered Sansa that 1) Dontos could not be trusted and 2) the "family heirloom" which Dontos gave to Sansa to wear was a cheap fake recently procured by Littlefinger. Ominously Littlefinger also reminds Sansa that people probably think she killed Joffrey. In a brief tete-a-tete between Margaery and her grandmother, Lady Olenna reminds the not all that disconsolate Margaery that she's better off not staying married to the abusive Joffrey and though technically she's not the Queen, the Lannisters still need the Tyrell money, food and other resources.
It wouldn't be Game of Thrones without some entirely unnecessary sexposition. Like the infamous scene with Littlefinger laying out his nature in front of Ros and another prostitute, I thought the set piece with Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand engaged in an orgy with both sexes to be unnecessary and too graphic. We already know that Oberyn is a sybarite. Do we need to see this spelled out yet again with full frontal nudity? I didn't think so. If you want porn there are tons of it available elsewhere. Thankfully this is cut short when a business minded Tywin enters and asks to talk to Oberyn in private. Twyin is suspicious that the famously vengeful Oberyn, known to use poison, may have murdered Joffrey. Oberyn confirms that it was poison but claims he had nothing to do with Joffrey's death as unlike Tywin he doesn't hold children responsible for the actions of adults. Showing something close to amusement, Tywin asks Oberyn why doesn't Oberyn just attack the unarmed Tywin right then and there. Oberyn responds that he wouldn't be able to escape but would be drawn and quartered the next day. Oberyn also says that he and Tyrion talked of Elia Martell's rape and murder, not of poisons.
Seemingly satisfied, Tywin comes out of left field with a pragmatic offer for Oberyn. He wants Oberyn to be the third judge at Tyrion's trial. He also wants to give Oberyn a seat on the Small Council. Tywin, perhaps through Varys, perhaps via other networks, is aware of Daenerys' dragons and her intentions towards Westeros. He knows that only Dorne resisted a dragon armed invader. And if the price to fully bring Dorne back into the fold is a "meeting" between Oberyn and the Mountain, well Tywin might be willing to arrange that. Tywin denies ordering the Mountain to rape and murder Oberyn's sister. Left unstated is the expectation that Oberyn will vote to convict Tyrion.
Tyrion, as you might expect, is a bit depressed in jail. He's cheered when his former squire Podrick brings him food but upset when he learns his trial judges will be his father, Mace Tyrell, and Oberyn Martell. Tyrion has always been one of the smarter players. He points out to Podrick that if he were going to murder the king, deservedly or not, he'd make sure he was far far away from the scene. Tyrion muses that the murder might have been Tywin's work to get a more pliant relative in charge but most definitely wasn't Cersei. He knows that Sansa, despite her flight, is no killer. Someone has gone to great lengths to set Tyrion up. Tyrion also learns that his would be witnesses are already being pressured not to testify for him or worse yet, lie and testify for the other side. This includes Podrick. Worried, Tyrion dismisses Podrick, urging him to leave town, as the people asking him to lie are not likely to take no for an answer.
Previously Tormund told Ygritte that given her skill with the bow, that if Jon Snow is alive, it's because she wanted him to be. We see the truth of that statement when Ygritte leads a wildling attack on a settlement south of the Wall, putting an arrow through a father's head as he talks with his son. It's critical here to step back and show that despite what we might think of any of the primary characters and their relations with one another, war is not a good thing. It's questionable as to whether the wildling attack here is even war and not a war crime. The people they attack and kill are not warriors and include plenty of women and children. It's no different than what the Mountain and his men did in the Riverlands. Well maybe it's a little different. I don't think the Mountain is a cannibal. At Castle Black the Night's Watch argues over next steps. Everyone is spread out. There are little more than a hundred men at Castle Black.
The surviving rangers return bringing more news of the mutiny and Karl's murder of the Lord Commander and Craster.
What I liked
- Charles Dance really is a boss. As I've said before his Tywin Lannister is not someone I'd want as a father or a supervisor, but he is someone I'd want on my side. He's one of the more competent and intelligent administrators around. And if he has fear he certainly doesn't show it. He works at what is best for his family. He's not losing himself in grief or lust. He either has a plan or will work one out pretty quickly. The man exudes authority. He's a monster of course but he's an intelligent, rational, cultured one.
- Being reminded that the Hound, despite his protectiveness towards the Stark girls, is a bully, thief, thug and not a man with any real moral rules. He has contempt for weakness, probably as a result of his long ago abuse at the hands of his brother, Gregor aka The Mountain.
- Davos' sense of humor with Shireen.
- With the examples of both the gentle man and his daughter who are robbed and assaulted by the Hound and the son who sees his mother and father killed by wildlings we learn again that there is little honor to be found in war. Unarmed people just trying to get by are the ones who suffer the most.
- Not really into seeing more nudity, especially male nudity. I think that's just the lazy way out. The scene with Jaime and Cersei getting busy had no nudity but was far more emotionally involving that that with Ellaria, Oberyn and their whores.
- Gilly not understanding that being the only woman around a bunch of desperately horny men, many of whom are rapists, is not a safe or stable environment for her. I know your sister is your mother girl but can you really be that stupid?