Game Of Thrones 3.10 “Mhysa” TV REVIEW
Writers: David Benioff, DB Weiss
Director: David Nutter
THE ONE WHERE The news of the Red Wedding spreads, Jon and Sam make it back to Castle Black and Stannis discovers a new threat to Westeros
VERDICT May the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin: season three of Game Of Thrones is over, alas. What the hell are we all going to do on Monday nights now? For the third year running we're finding ourselves wishing that Benioff and Weiss would throw caution to the wind and give us a 20-episode season, and for the third year running we're wondering how the hell next year is going to top what we've just been through.
On the basis of tonight's episode, it looks like it'll manage it. After all, there's no shortage of conflict heading over the horizon. While the War Of The Five Kings has all but fizzled thanks to Walder Frey's thorough decimation of Robb Stark and his army, the Lannisters still have a wild card in play in the form of Joffrey. He's a ruthless a little git as ever he was, and it's surely only a matter of time before he shakes free of Tywin's grasp and wreaks some real havoc.
Of course, that's not going to happen as long as the head of the Lannister family draws breath. He was the first to expound on one of this week's key themes, the importance of family, squaring his shaky morality by assuring himself – and Tyrion – that everything he's done has been for the family.
If only Balon Greyjoy felt the same about his. He barely raised an eyebrow when he learned what had happened to his son, which we wouldn't have thought was possible considering the contents of that box. Theon's transformation into Reek appears to be complete, with the reveal that his tormentor is Roose Bolton's bastard born son solving that particular mystery. Incidentally, Iwan Rheon did a fine job of playing the psychotic Ramsay this week, with top marks for sausage waggling and crazy eyes.
After all the excitement last week, it would be easy to be underwhelmed by what on the surface appeared to be quite a talky episode, but it was packed with more that a fair share of intriguing plot development. Bran has finally made it north of the wall, Arya has turned into a devious, completely unrepentant killer (the murder of the Frey guard was, frankly, frightening) and Jon is back at Castle Black.
Finally there are more eyes looking towards the Wall, although what Stannis will do with the information he now has is anyone's guess. Considering the white walkers and Mance Rayder are both heading south, the brothers of the Night's Watch are clearly going to have their hands full, whatever Stannis does to help them.
It's been an exhilarating and emotional season, more spectacular that the previous two and yet retaining a tight narrative focus, the multiple plot strands cohering beautifully. Every character has had a clear arc, each action a consequence, and there's been no wooly storytelling or lack of momentum. It's a show that's moving forward with huge confidence, the tight ten episode seasons ensuring that there's no fat anywhere to be trimmed. Game Of Thrones has spoiled us yet again, and we're all going to have to do what we can to get by until it rolls around again.
HEADS UP We were a little bit sick in our mouth when we saw what the Freys had done to poor old Robb Stark, replacing his head with his Direwolf's and parading him round the place.
FASHION STATEMENT OF THE WEEK Jon was rocking a fur coat that would have got him pelted with red paint in this world. In terms of Westerosi fashion though, he wins big. Shame it's full of arrow holes, really.
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK Well hello there Maester Aemon, you wily old Targaryen you! You thought you'd seen the last of the wisest man on the wall didn't you, but he's back in the game. We were, frankly delighted to see his little old face. Makes us all warm inside.
STAGE DIVE OF THE WEEK Dany playing the rock star to her crowd of freed slaves might have been completely bloody stupid – there's nothing quite like sending your small, unarmed leader into a crowd of total strangers – but you've got to admire her moves. We were waiting for them all to start waving their lighters, though.
QUITE THE PACKAGE Little Theon had quite the adventure this week, travelling in his own special box all the way to the Iron Islands. Surprisingly for Game Of Thrones , we were spared the grisly image of Theon's old chap in a box several hundred miles from its owner, but as messages go, they don't get much more powerful than that.
HODOR OF THE WEEK Could you have resisted shouting 'HODOR!' down the well? Nope, didn't think so. Hodor!
IS IT CHILLY IN HERE? “Forever young,” whispered Roose Bolton as he gloated with Walder Frey, and we felt the hairs on our neck rise. What a creepy bastard.
THANKS FOR THAT After giving the clearly baffled Gendry directions to King's Landing, Davos dropped a smashing bit of advice for the novice sailor who can’t swim: “Don't fall out.”
ONE-UPMANSHIP OF THE WEEK Davos may have had an ace up his sleeve (or a message of doom form the Night’s Watch up his sleeve, to be precise) to prevent Stannis from executing him, but Stannis still had a rather chilling last laugh: “You see, Sir Davos, you’ve been saved by that fire god you like to mock.” And what a gorgeously lit scene, too!
SHOT OF THE WEEK It's a split decision this week, and the two shots came at either end of the episode: Bolton overlooking the carnage outside of The Twins hammered home the wider implications of Robb Stark's betrayal, while Dany's dragons in flight helped show us just how huge a force she has assembled.
Joffrey: “Everyone is mine to torment.”
• Read our other Game Of Thrones season three reviews
• Game Of Thrones season has now finished airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic
• Check out our SFX Book Of Game Of Thrones , a 180-page guide to the TV and book phenomenon, which is available now!