It wasn’t the ending I would have wanted, but Mhysa, the final episode of the third season of Game of Thrones, satisfyingly positioned all of the characters for their season four plots. It was as good a cap to the season as could be expected, hamstrung both by the fact that last week’s episode was so shocking and disturbing and by the fact that there was very little thematic support holding the episode together.
Let’s have a look.
The episode begins with shortly after Rains of Castamere ends, with Frey and Bolton troops slaughtering what remains of Robb’s men. Never one to leave cruel enough alone, Frey has had Robb’s head removed and Robb’s wolf’s head sewn on in its place.
Speaking of Arya (which we’re doing now), this episode gets her closer to her stabby-killey destiny. After fleeing The Twins, Arya and The Dog happen upon some Frey men, one bragging about being behind the wolf/man stitch up. Arya, pretending to be a beggar to get close, stabs the man to death while The Dog dispatches his friends. If there is anything in the world that I support, it is Arya butchering the man who desecrated her brother’s corpse.
Villainy villains Walder Frey and Roose Bolton have a strange “mwahaha” moment in which they discuss their on-going treacheries, including Bolton intentionally screwing up a pivotal battle and sending his son, Ramsay, to capture Theon. This was the season’s least shocking “twist”. We should all know by know that Theon’s jailer (and wang remover/phallic sausage eater) was a Bolton. That said, it was a nice effort on the writers’ part to unveil him this way.
Ramsay and Theon got some screen time too. Most of it was devoted to Ramsay eating a sausage that looked a little too much like a wang for comfort. I’ve already said that I’m not a fan of Iwan Rheon’s portrayal of Ramsay. Even in this episode I found his actual presence less creepy than his…correspondence…with the Greyjoys. Something about his take on crazy reads a little cartoonish to me.
The highlight of the episode for me was catching up to the Greyjoys who have just received a little gift.
As one should have expected, Balon is not exactly swinging to Theon’s rescue. Yara, on the other hand, will not let her family be tortured by some nutcase. So, in a scene I think would have worked as a final moment, (had it been scaled up a little) she set’s off to rescue him.
What will likely be fans’ favorite moment was the Small Council meeting regarding the situation in the North. Joffrey is so filled with glee that Robb is dead that he wants Robb’s head so that he can serve it to Sansa at his wedding. Seeing Tyrion respond that “kings are dropping like flies” is only half as delicious as Tywin saying that Joffrey needs a bottle and a nap.
While the Red Wedding has created some opportunities for the Lannisters, it comes with its own problems. Sure, people will blame the Freys, but they won’t forget that the Lannisters had a part to play in the affair as well. The North won’t forget. Also, killing Robb makes it more difficult to get Sansa in a baby-making mood.
Not that Tyrion would want to make a baby anyway. Keeping his marriage sexless is so far the only thing that is keeping Shae around. That is until Varys decides to offer Shae enough money to leave Westeros and retire in safety wherever she wishes. Of course, being Shae, she misreads this as another of Tyrion’s plots and rejects the offer.
We also catch up with Stannis the Mannis who has decided to follow through with Mel’s plan to sacrifice Gendry. Davos, finding some common ground with Robert’s bastard son, decides to take matters into his own hands, Davos sends Gedry on his way with a quick (and hilarious) boating lesson. For his good work, Davos gets sentenced to die. Of course, Davos has another plan (literally up his sleeve) for Stannis. Namely, a choice: to fight a war with black magic to become the king or to defend Westeros from the evil in the north.
The episode ends with a final revisit to Yunkai where Daenerys’ plan to sack the city and free the slaves has, apparently, worked. Now she has more followers and a credible reason to do what she’s doing. She want’s to free the slaves, not rule the world. It is a distcintion that has some real meaning especially when for the other major players, this is all just a game.
Highlights: Arya, duh, and the Return of the much missed (by me) Greyjoys.
Lowlights: The scene between Frey and Bolton came off a bid like dastardly dastards twirling their moustaches. A definite meh.
Naked bodies: wow, none? Really?
Gore: Arya and the Dog get some stabbing time in, but otherwise this episode was a talker.
Overall: A good ending. I’d have preferred a better image at the end, something on a par with the newborn dragons or the undead army from seasons one and two. However, seeing Dany become the queen she was meant to be works for me.