Summary: Arya's training continues and she gets better at pretending to be somebody else. Jaqen shows her the Hall of Faces and tells her she will become somebody else. Jorah and Tyrion are captured by slavers. Littlefinger meets with Cersei and turns her against Roose. Olenna tries to get Cersei to release Loras. Loras is tried and found guilty and Margaery is condemned with him. Jaime and Bronn try to get Myrcella out of Dorne. They are noticed by the Sand Snakes who fight them. Both parties are arrested. Ramsay weds Sansa and rapes her on their wedding night, forcing Theon to watch.
The Good: Arya's training continued in enjoyable fashion. I was pleased by the logical progression of Arya's training. By serving, Arya gets to learn how the House of Black and White operates while also getting better at lying and being somebody else. Now she seemingly actually gets to become somebody else before she can be considered no one which makes a lot of sense. This training has been enjoyable to watch and I'm enjoying the thorough details of this process. Now I would like to know more about the Faceless Men in general (see: The Unknown).
Littlefinger was great in this episode as he proves to be many steps ahead of everyone. He seems to have primed himself in a position to become Warden of the North which is a huge development. It appears that he never actually did care about Sansa and faked his affection in order to get her to trust him more and so he could use her for his own gain. Littlefinger is much more despicable and selfish than I imagined and I really love that. Something crazy is going to need to happen if Littlefinger is to be stopped.
Olenna is still awesome. I love her character so much as she is tremendously fun and charismatic. The entire scene with Cersei was just wonderfully put together (see: Best Moment). I also loved her saying she could "smell the shit from 5 miles away" which is not only in-line with her character, but also historically accurate. I really love little things like these.
I liked the trial of Loras. I appreciate how subtly the set-up with Olyvar was included earlier in the season. It was unpredictable and Olyvar's appearance at the trial was surprising but very logical. I also love the use of a birth mark to condemn Loras, a fantastic little detail.
There were some good moments in Jorah and Tyrion's story. Jorah learning of his father's death was a great moment which I never realized we needed to see. It was a long-time coming. I also liked Tyrion using his mouth to save himself once more.
The Bad: Unfortunately a lot of this episode didn't work for me.
All of the Dorne scenes were bad. It made no sense for Jaime and Bronn to infiltrate the Water Gardens during the day, and their attempt to kidnap Myrcella was ridiculously thoughtless and unbelievable. I have no idea what they were thinking by doing that, especially Jaime who you would think would be more fearful about being in captivity after he lost his hand last time he was a captive. Worse yet were the Sand Snakes who are impossible to care about. The fight scene was messy but also bored me to tears because I am not at all invested in Ellaria and the Sand Snakes.
Cersei is presented to be a total idiot which is a problem for me. She has absolutely no leverage with her father dead, Jaime gone, a rebellion in the North and no friends, yet she is attacking her only allies in the Tyrells. I can't imagine what she hopes to accomplish, especially with Olenna's threat to cut off supply of food to King's Landing right before winter. I can't imagine why Cersei thinks this is a good idea and she needs to face consequences for stupidity like this. It feels so inconsistent with the Cersei from before who wasn't this dumb. She wasn't particularly smart but she also wasn't downright stupid.
The final scenes at Winterfell were simply unpleasant and gratuitous. What purpose does Sansa's rape serve? To tell us Ramsay is psychotic? We know! Is it to horrify Theon? He should already be horrified by Sansa simply seeing him, so that can't be the main purpose. Is it for Sansa's character? God no. This is a massive backslide for her character arc as she was just learning how to take control of situations which she doesn't do at all here. The only answer I can come up with is that it exists simply to horrify us which is a poor excuse to have rape in the show. If brutality has a purpose, I don't mind it so much, but something like this is created exclusively to get a reaction out of us, making it feel meaningless and cheap.
The Unknown: What happens to the bodies in the House of Black and White? What are the faces for? Are they the only faces that the Faceless Men can use? Also, what does that water do? Is it poison?
Does Littlefinger actually care for Sansa or is he just using her like everybody else?
How will Olenna bite back at Cersei for imprisoning both Margaery and Loras?
Best Moment: Olenna goes to talk with Cersei. Cersei is hilariously trying to be like Tywin, writing while ignoring the people in her presence, asserting his dominance. But Cersei is no Tywin and against Olenna she stands no chance as Olenna insults her viciously, playing off of the opening Cersei gave her by speaking to her. It's fantastic to watch, further cementing Olenna as one of my favourite characters.
Character of the Episode: Olenna.
Conclusion: This episode was a mixed bag in the end. Some really good scenes, but some really bad ones as well. This season has been worryingly weak in these middle episodes, so hopefully the season's climax delivers like all the previous seasons to make up for these weaker episodes.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.