'Walk of Punishment' is another mad dash of an episode as multiple plot-points are crammed into the hour. GoT’s producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (who make their directorial debut this week) have said they feel pressure to touch on every character, lest they anger viewers. But with each week feeling more and more rushed, are they really just frustrating fans with all the jumping around? Caution: Spoilers Ahead.
We finally got to see more from Daenarys this week, who is still at Slaver’s Isle with Jorah Mormont and new ally Barristan Selmy. They argue over the merits of hiring a slave-army. Would their loyalty be of the same level as that of an army who is fighting because they believe in their leader?
She makes a bold move and tells the slaver that she wants to purchase all 8,000 of the Unsullied. He once again insults her, and it still seems that Dany knows exactly what he’s saying though she has yet to outright reveal that this is the case. She makes a daring decision and promises him one of her dragons in return for the men – would she really give up one of her babies to this jerk? In addition to the men she takes the translator as well, and the two form a fast bond. We are secretly hoping that right at the last moment she will get her dragons to burn this guy to the ground.
In Riverrun, Catelyn and Robb attend Lord Hoster Tully’s funeral. There is an awkwardly humorous moment when her brother Edmure is unable to light their father’s funeral boat after they set it afloat in the Trident River. Her uncle Brynden saves the day and they go back inside to argue over the fate of their lands and what to do about the Lannisters. Robb has to act like a king here, putting his family bonds to the test as he speaks with authority. It is interesting to see him order his own uncle around.
They have no idea what has happened with Theon, Bran and Rickon. We don’t get to see the young boys this week but we get to briefly see what happens to Theon after he manages to escape. He’s helped by a mysterious friend of his sister, and is ambushed when he reaches the spot he’s supposed to meet her. Just when they’re about to violate him he’s saved by this new friend. It’s not clear who this guy is yet or what his angle is, who knows if he’s really even from Theon’s sister?
The Brotherhood Without Banners is holding Arya and her friends as “guests.” They are getting ready to ride out with them when Hot Pie informs them he has to stay. He made bread for the innkeeper and she liked it so much she decided to keep him on as an “employee,” telling him he must pay off his debt for staying with her for free. He bakes Arya a wolf-shaped loaf of bread to see her off before she and Gendry leave with the Thoros and his men.
Mance Rayder and Jon make a grim discovery at the Fist of the First Men – looks like the zombie army made art out of severed horse heads, leaving no trace of Night’s Watchmen. Jon has to wonder if his friends made it out alive. With it appearing like they have been massacred, Mance decides to invade Castle Black. He sends Jon and Tormund to get the job done, telling Tormund to throw Jon off the wall if he tries anything funny.
Samwell and Mormont bring the remaining survivors of the Night’s Watch back to the incredibly creepy Crastor’s Keep (the guy that likes to sleep with all his daughters and kills their sons if they have them). The men are less respectful this time around, openly leering at his girls while they uncomfortably listen to one of them giving birth. Crastor jokes that Sam is so fat they might as well use him as walking-food and he leaves, angry. When he goes outside he follows the sounds of the screaming and discovers his friend Gilly has had a son – something that isn’t allowed in the compound.
Tywin assembles the Small Council for their first meeting since he returned to his position as “Hand of the King.” There is a fantastic exchange when he tests how each councilmember reacts to the seating problem he throws their way. He tells Tyrion that he will be made “Master of Coin” – something Tyrion knows nothing about. He is naturally upset, but enlists Bronn and Podrick and dives into the new job anyway.
The Council expresses their frustration at not having any news of Jaime’s whereabouts. He and Brienne now travel tied together, captives of Locke and other men from House Bolton. Their kidnappers sing as the two of them argue over who won their swordfight. Jaime is worried Brienne will be raped when they make camp that night and they talk about what they would each do in that situation.
Sure enough when they make camp the men move in to take Brienne to the woods and assault her. She refuses to submit and tries to fight them off, but they outnumber her and drag her into the darkness. As she screams, Jaime tries to convince their leader she’s of more value as ransom if she remains untarnished. It works and Brienne is spared, but Jaime must promise Locke untold riches for both of them to stay safe.
And then there’s this last little moment of pure television brilliance that solidifies why we are so utterly hooked. Sometimes it gets a little clunky with all the jumping around, we all can admit that. But then one fantastic scene happens that literally makes us drop our jaws in surprise. This is how GoT chose to end the week, and it is spectacular.
Just when Jamie thinks he’s got these guys figured out they pull a fast one on him and threaten to cut him apart. There is pure panic on Jaime and Brienne’s faces as Locke insults him for relying so heavily on his father, telling him to never forget he’s nothing without him. They deal Jaime a brutal reminder that becomes one of the most perfectly ended episodes in the series to date. All frustrations with the jumpy plot are forgiven. This is why we love this show!