Still, there's a lot to cover before we can talk about what might be the most brutal moment in the show's history. So let's get to it!
Mole's Town: Attack of the Wildlings
We open in Mole's Town, where Gilly is not enjoying her life working as a drudge in an inn/whorehouse. Real nice setup you got your girl there, Sam (John Bradley). Fortunately, Gilly is able to use her wildling know-how to realize that the town is about to be attacked by the wildling advance scouts. Gilly hides with her baby, and the only wildling who finds them is Ygritte who, of course, lets them live. We knew we liked her for a reason, even if she does seem perfectly happy to kill everyone else around.
Some of the victims of the attack are Night's Watch brothers who were out breaking their vows, which makes some of the Night's Watch want to seek revenge. But they quickly realize they have a bigger problem: If the wildlings are at Mole's Town, The Wall is next, which means Mance's army is close. Dun, dun, dun. Come back next week to see where this plot goes, because of course the biggest battle is in Episode 9. We've all seen this show before. We know how it works.
In Meeren, Missandei catches Grey Worm spying on her while she's bathing. As she tells Dany (Emilia Clarke), Grey Worm may be missing his manhood, but he's still definitely interested in her. Can you blame him? She is gorgeous. Later, he comes to apologize to Missandei for being a peeping tom, and they have the weirdest flirting ever. He explains that he's not sad he was castrated, because if that hadn't happened, he never would have become an Unsullied, which means he never would have met Missandei. Missandei replies that she's totes glad he saw her naked. Aww?
Later, in a much less adorable plotline, Lord Barristan receives a revealing message: Jorah (Iain Glen) has been given a royal pardon (from Robert, so this is old) for spying on Dany. Remember when he used to do that? Like, all the way back in Season 1? Barristan makes it clear that if Jorah doesn't tell Dany, he will.
Dany won't even grant Jorah a private meeting; he has to explain himself in her throne room. Cold. Jorah tries to convince her that this info coming forward now is a trick by Tywin (Charles Dance) to tear them apart. Probably true, but it works. Dany is not the kind of woman who forgives betrayal easily.
"I have loved you," Jorah begs, but Dany isn't having it. She does the cruelest possible thing for Jorah: she tells him to get the hell out of her city and never come back.
Moat Cailin: "Theon Greyjoy"
At Moat Cailin, Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon) has dressed Theon (Alfie Allen) up as, um, Theon Greyjoy. But he's still Reek, Ramsay reminds his broken plaything. He's just pretending to be Theon to get the Ironborn to surrender. The messed up part? Theon is so brainwashed, broken, and scared that he actually does it. He betrays the other Ironborn and goes back to his master without hesitation, even when Ramsay kills all the men who he claimed he was going to give safe passage to. Damn.
Roose Bolton is impressed by his bastard's dastardly work, so he gives Ramsay the one thing he truly wants: legitimacy. Goodbye Ramsay Snow, hello Ramsay Bolton. This is good news for exactly no one other than Ramsay.
It turns out you can't throw your wife out a Moon Door without some consequences, even if you are technically a lord of the Vale. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) finds himself questioned by other lords from the area, who aren't buying his claim that Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) committed suicide.
Littlefinger is blindsided, for once, when the lords bring Sansa (Sophie Turner) in to give testimony, and she immediately fesses up to who she is (big change from the books!). But in the end she protects Littlefinger, explaining that he was her only friend in King's Landing. He saved her. She spins a version of what happened to Lysa Arryn that is almost true, except that she turns Littlefinger's creeper kiss into an innocent peck on the cheek, and, of course, backs up the suicide claim.
Sansa? Has learned how to play the game. Boom.
As soon as he's cleared Littlefinger start power playing again. The man does not miss a beat. His newest plan? That the Lords of the Vale should try to turn Robin Arryn into someone with actual power. Yes, the sick little boy. Sure. Great idea, man. He, Sansa, and Robin are going to go tour the Vale in hopes of making Robin suck less. Sounds like a fun trip.
The Road the the Eyrie: Arya's Not Happy
We check in on Arya (Maisie Williams), who is not actually happy Joffrey's (Jack Gleeson) dead, mostly because she didn't get to do it. She and The Hound (Rory McCann) debate the merits of killing with poison (The Hound thinks it's the wussy way to go, Arya is of the opinion that whatever gets the job done is good enough for her. She's clearly in a great place, mentally). They have also made it to the Eyrie... only to hear Lysa is dead. So much for selling Arya to her. Arya bursts out laughing at this news because at this point, what else can she do?
King's Landing: The Fight We've All Been Waiting For
All the rest of this episode is well and good, but we're all here for one thing this week: The Red Viper vs. The Mountain. So let's get to it.
In his cell, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is freaking out. He's not sure if Oberyn has a chance, and he realizes that if Oberyn fails, he's going to die. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) does his best to comfort his brother, and they share a nice moment reminiscing about their past, which turns into a Tyrion monologue about this one period of his life where he obsessed over why their mentally handicapped cousin was so into crushing beetles. In the end, Tyrion still doesn't know. And now maybe he never will.
But enough about philosophy and feelings. Fight time! Oberyn is all sorts of confident, wearing light armor and drinking for the fight. Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) is worried for him, but he's all swagger. He knows he can handle himself. He even shows off a bit before actually starting to fight.
Then things get going in earnest. Oberyn wastes no time telling The Mountain why he's really fighting him. He wants revenge for his sister — but he wants a confession, first. Which turns out to be a problem. Because here's the thing: Oberyn is everything his reputation would make it seem. His fighting is amazing; quick, flashy, and effective. He easily fells The Mountain while doing a Princess Bride-esque"you raped and murdered my sister, prepare to confess."
But in the end, his thirst for vengeance does him in. He refuses to take the final blow until he hears The Mountain admit what he did. He stands over The Mountain, who is nearly but not quite dead, and shouts for his foe to say his sister's name. Which The Mountain does — after he heaves himself off the ground, throws Obery down, and starts to gouge his eyes out.
That's about when we turned away from the screen screaming, but based on what we gathered by looking from the side of our eyes, The Mountain kills Oberyn by literally squeezing his head until it explodes. O.M.G. That's just so brutal it's hard to even think about. Also Oberyn's dead, which sucks, but we aren't even sad right now because we're still too busy screaming in horror.
The episode ends with Tywin coldly reminding us that this disgusting turn of events spells bad news for Tyrion, too:
"The Gods have made their will known. Tyrion Lannister, in the name of King Tommen of the House Baratheon, first of his name, you're hereby sentenced to death."
Stray Thoughts and Quotes
- Tyrion: "Every day, until that mule kicked him in the chest and killed him." Best way to end a story ever.
- Oberyn: "Size is no matter when you're laying on you back." Tyrion: "Thank the gods for that." Even on his worst day, Tyrion can still make us smile.
- Sansa confessing to who she is really is a huge change from the books, where she continues to pretend to be Littlefinger's niece. We'll be interested to see how that plays out.
- There was so much doubt about Pedro Pascal when he was cast, but it once again turns out the Game of Thrones casting directors can do no wrong. He was great all season, and he killed it in that fight scene. Oberyn, you will be missed.
What did you think of this episode? Will you miss Oberyn? Let us know in the comments below!
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars, and genre TV expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!