Game Of Thrones Recap: It’s A Shame About Brother Ray
Game of Thrones’s seventh episode, “The Broken Man,” begins with a rare cold open. Immediately, we’re planted smack in the middle of The Shire from Lord of the Rings, where a bunch of free-lovin’ hippies are building a to-scale model of The Wicker Man and theatrically making salad. The wicker tower, like Game of Thrones, appears to be built very lazily, without structure, and out of popsicle sticks. A woman is chopping potatoes ridiculously.
It’s all very idyllic and green and lovely—just a bunch of nondescript communists whistling while they work, nothing to see here!—which means, naturally, that something horrific is going to happen to all of them. One of these never-explained, never-identified treef*ckers is played by Ian McShane, whose appearance on the show was inevitable and presaged in the Book of Leviticus. McShane is clearly the Charles Manson of this happy little cult.
In a mind-blowing turn of events, we learn that another one of these barn-raisers is the Hound, whom Arya killed but actually didn’t, whatever, nobody actually dies on this show, it’s fine. Then the credits happen, which is helpful because I always forget to pee right before the show starts, and that’s when I pee. Then we’re back to the Hound, who’s chopping wood to indicate that he is extremely angry and does not love himself, a thing that only happens in movies and TV shows. Have you ever seen a man hack away at a pile of logs to exorcise his rage IRL? If so, my condolences that you are dating Fitz from Scandal and/or every single horror-movie character teetering on the brink of becoming a mass murderer.
We quickly learn that the Hound is hanging out with these fledgling Bernie Bros because Ian McShane saved the Hound’s decaying ass just before he died and hauled him back to the Shire in a little red Radio Flyer. Ian McShane assumed the Hound had been “dead for days,” but really, the Hound was clinging to his mortal coil because, according to Ian McShane, he’s still got stuff to do. What stuff? IDK, some good stuff. Ian McShane explains that before he became a tunic-sporting, happy-go-lucky atheist, he was a felonious schmuck just like the Hound, but he turned his life around because he got tired of murdering. The subtext is that the Hound will be able to do the same; in other words, all of these Martha Marcy May Marlenes are going to get slaughtered so that the Hound can learn something about life and himself. They are Manic Pixie Dream Hippies.
Margaery is doing her best Kelly Preston in the High Sparrow’s chambers, cheerfully reciting sexist biblical passages and listening patiently as a literal dirty old man tells her she needs to f*ck her child groom better. At this point, it’s still supposed to be “unclear” (… it’s not unclear; this show is as subtle as an anvil to the face) whether Margaery is faking her piousness or actually believes this sh*t, but this scene removes any remaining doubt about her intentions. No self-respecting human woman would nod calmly as a shoeless Christopher Lloyd knockoff tells her “congress does not require desire on the woman’s part, only patience” and then high-key disses her grandmother. Margaery is next-level trolling the High Sparrow, and I am here for it.
Speaking of whom, Lady Olenna has not been watching Game of Thrones long enough to understand what Margaery is up to. She’s certain Margaery’s been co-opted by the Stanky Scientologists, and begs Margaery to come back to Highgarden so that the two can resume their days of mind-f*cking every man in Westeros as sport. Margaery is like, “Grandma, I gotta stay and smash this 12-year-old for a while,” but sneaks a secret note into Lady Olenna’s hands. The note turns out to be a sketch of a rose, because Olenna, like all people over 70, loves watching Charlie Rose.
Back in the North, Jon and Sansa are trying to convince the Wildlings to help take back Winterfell. Jon is looking cute in the elaborate fur his totally platonic hot sister made for him. Tormund Giantsbane makes a great point about how Jon died for them, and how also, everyone is going to die anyway because White Walkers. Actual Giant Giantsbane is the first to come over to Jon’s side, indicating his support by saying “Snow” really loudly and terrifyingly. I did not know Actual Giant could speak, much less speak English. Does he speak English? Does he even lift?
Cersei approaches Olenna for a chat five minutes before Charlie Rose is set to start, which starts the whole thing off on a bad note. Cersei’s like, “Let’s join forces and take down the High Sparrow,” and Olenna is like, “Bitch, I’m not about to join forces with the woman who put my grandkids in The Hole, and also, Charlie Rose is about to start and I can’t find my vibrator.” Cersei, typically undeterred, tries to appeal to Olenna’s love for her grandkids, comparing it to her own love for Tommen Cruise, Couch Jumper of the Seven Kingdoms. Olenna promptly issues one of her best ovary-busting takedowns—“I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met. At a certain age it’s hard to recall, but the truly vile do stand out through the years”—and goes back to her Mindfulness Colouring Book.
Over in Riverrun, Jaime and Bronn—not to be confused with Bran, or Blackfish, or Bladflee, or Blodflob—are talking smack about the Freys, who have done a terrible job storming Blackfish’s castle and I don’t know, this story line is so boring. They decide they can storm the castle better, and commence to do so in an extremely boring fashion. First, we have to watch a bunch of faceless white dudes threaten to kill another faceless white dude we haven’t seen in several seasons and have never cared about. Blackfish is like, “Do it, I literally could not care less.” They don’t do it. Then Jaime tells the Freys that he is going to take over their castle-storming because he was a rich white kid and he played Mario a lot more than they did and thusly has more virtual castle-storming experience. Side note: Is Blackfish named Blackfish because he is wearing a little black outfit that looks fishlike and also has a little black fish insignia on it?
Jon and Sansa are waltzing around the rest of the North now, politely asking their neighbors for sugar—I mean begging them to court a violent death. Their first visit is to a down-ass bitch named Lyanna Mormont who is approximately 10 years old and single-handedly running sh*t on Bear Island. Side note, again: There are, like, three women on this show, but two of them have to be named Lyanna? Like. I know she is named after the first Lyanna. But Bro. Bro. Broooo.
Anyway, Lyanna is a hard-core gives-zero-f*cksaroo who is unimpressed by the Starks’ hard sell and unmoved by Jon Snow’s incest fur. She’s like, “Sansa, if you’re in such dire straits, why the fresh hell is your eye makeup so on point? Is that MAC Lipglass? How did you have time to apply that, and also how is your hair not stuck to your lips?”
Ser Davos, whom Sansa convinced to buy a nice tinted moisturiser, steps up and is like, “Let me verrrrrrrry tenuously connect my childhood as a crabber to your childhood as a boss bitch.” Somehow, this convinces Lyanna to give the Starks 62 of her men. Honestly, this makes no sense, but I love Lyanna so much that I am willing to forget about it and pledge my undying allegiance to her until my death.
Jaime is sexily riding his steed through the boring field of boring castle-stormers in order to boringly confront Blackfish, who is boring. He walks up to the edge of the castle moat, just like in Mario, and waits for the drawbridge to come down, just like in Mario, and dreams about screwing his sister, just like in Mario. Blackfish comes downstairs and opens the moat. They literally say this to each other by way of greeting: “Blackfish.” “Kingslayer.” These are adult men playing adult men. We are all adults watching this show. Just reminding everyone.
The two have an extremely boring conversation about who is going to kill whom. Nobody kills anyone. Nobody even bleeds a little bit. Both walk away all pouty, like a pair of middle-schoolers who couldn’t agree on a mutually beneficial pog trade.
Sansa and Jon are still Jehovah’s Witnessing around town. The second time around, they have worse luck; a faceless white dude—Bredwasp—is like, “Your brother Robb was enjoying his life and falling in love and experiencing happiness when he was supposed to be killing thousands of innocents, so y’all are dead to me.” Bredwasp is particularly pissed to find out that Jon and Sansa are in bed with the Wildlings. Sansa’s lip gloss has faded visibly.
Theon and his sister Yara are at a pub/brothel even though they are ostensibly running for their lives. Yara is about to get it with some hottie prostitute. Hmm—apparently Yara is a lesbian, which is both cool and random considering that her sexuality has only been addressed previously as it related to her brother fondling her. But OK, I buy it. Yara is about to head to Poontown, but Theon is killing her buzz by being such a depressive PTSD sufferer. Here is how Yara solves the problem of Theon’s sadness: She forces him to chug a beer, then she helpfully tells him to kill himself. I think she also calls him “ratchet”?
Jon and Sansa and Davos are realizing just how f*cked they are. They have 62 men, a lot of rowdy Wildlings, and a powerful sexual attraction to one another that is only exacerbated by their matching furs. Sansa decides to take matters into her own hands by sending a raven to somebody, either Littlefinger or Sephora, asking for a Lipglass refund.
Ian McShane is giving an uplifting speech to his constituents about choosing communism over being a murderer. The Hound looks convinced, but not convinced enough to stop feverishly chopping wood. How else would he demonstrate his tortured internal state? Suddenly, a group of white dudes show up and threaten Ian McShane and his cult friends. It’s unclear who they are, or why they’re there, or why they are threatening the treef*ckers, or why anybody is doing anything or who anybody even is in this entire scene. But OK. Fine.
The men hint that they will show up later on and murder everyone, but everyone conveniently ignores this hint and goes and eats soup. Culty communists love soup because it is easy to look poor but happy while eating soup. The Hound, who has not yet discovered that eating soup can be just as morally righteous as chopping wood, chops wood. Ian McShane is like, “Come have some soup!” The Hound’s like, “Maybe in a little bit, I need to chop.”
Over in Braavos, Arya buys her way to Westeros using stolen money, then watches the Braavos sunset between the big old statue’s legs. Things seem to be looking up for Arya oh wait nope now she is being stabbed in the stomach by That Bitch. Now she is rolling into the water, bleeding freely. Now she is dragging herself out of the water and stumbling down the streets of Braavos, blood gushing from her wounds, strangers staring at her nonchalantly. Will Arya die!?!? (No. Nobody dies anymore.)
Except, that is, for all of these nameless schmucks written into the show solely to provide some after-school-special lessons for the Hound. They’re all dead, killed by the other nameless men with no discernible motive or identifying characteristics. One-Episode McGee is hanging from his own Wicker Man hut, hoisted by his own petard. Bye, Ian McShane. It was fun while it lasted. Which was 12 minutes.
Somehow—and this is truly egregious—the Hound missed this entire murdering situation, too busy chopping wood to hear the hundreds of bloodcurdling death screams. He didn’t even hear the horses?! For real: Wood chopping is not that loud. This is the least believable thing that has ever happened on Game of Thrones. Having learned zero lessons about ax-wielding and the noise-canceling properties thereof, the Hound wrenches his ax from his beloved logs and goes to chop more sh*t.