I don’t know about you guys but I am totally ready for someone to Kickstart a Westeros courtroom drama reality TV spin-off.
The Laws of Gods and Men was another great episode with viewers getting their first taste of Braavos and practically half-an-episode’s-worth of delicious medieval courtroom drama. It didn’t jump around as much as previous episodes this season but I think was all the better for it.
WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD
The first part of the episode centered on Davos and Stannis’ visit to the Iron Bank of Braavos. The introduction of Mark Gatiss as Braavosi banker, Tycho Nestoris, was a highlight here. I’m a big fan of Gatiss’ work and have been excited to see him make his appearance in the show since he got cast in the role.
Furthermore, I really dug the architecture of the Iron Bank and it was great to see Davos really step up his game and win the bankers (and no doubt a few more viewers) over to Stannis’ cause. Stannis may not be a Lannister but he definitely plays his debts and Davos makes some good points – Tywin really is the only thing holding the Lannister cause together.
Not too much to say about it, but it was also great to see Salladhor Saan again. He’s such a marvelously well-cast member of Team Dragonstone.
Overall, this episode was another major win for Stannis and it’ll be exciting to see him show off some renewed confidence now that he’s finally back in the game of thrones.
Given the amount of time spent talking in this first part, it was only appropriate the episode jumped to the ruthless Yara/Asha Greyjoy for her attempted-rescue of Theon. I’ve always been a big fan of Gemma Whelan’s take on the character and, as a book-fan, it was great to see Yara/Asha put her trademark axes to work.
What I liked about this stretch of the episode was that it was just as much about Yara/Asha as it was Theon/Reek and the seemingly-invincible Ramsay Snow. Alfie Allen has done a tremendous job capturing the transformation of Theon to Reek and his chemistry with Iwan Rheon’s Ramsay is terrifying. In my opinion, Ramsay has become more of a psychopath than Joffrey ever was and his request for Reek to ‘take on the role of Theon’ again should be interesting to watch unfold whenever this season returns to their plotline.
The episode also touched base with Daenerys takeover of Mereen. It was pretty impressive not just to see how big (and potentially problematic) her dragons are getting but also how good the show is getting at demonstrating it.
The formal of Hizdahr zo Loraq (played by Joel Fry) was also handled quite well. He made a really good case against Dany’s zero-compromises crusade against Slavers Bay and did a great job calling her out on her mistakes. With any luck, he’ll be acting as the mouthpiece for the social upheaval that Daenerys’s occupation has created and his inclusion should keep things interesting over in Essos for a while.
From here, The Laws of Gods and Men brought things back to Kings Landing to focus entirely on Tyrion’s trial. It was a bold move to spend so much time on this sequence but it let them take all they time they needed to get things just right – although it did bother me that Pycelle was able to acquire Sansa’s necklace.
From the brief small council meeting that preceded it to the trial itself, Pedro Pascal really brought his A-game as Oberyn this week. His brief interjections into both the meeting (“I have been to Essos and seen the Unsullied first hand, they are very impressive on the
battlefield. Less so in the bedroom”) and the trial were witty and masterfully played off. Even just focusing on Pascal’s body language alone throughout the episode, it’s clear that he gets his character on so many levels. His brief interchange with Varys this week was another great moment with just as many easter eggs for book-fans as there were fun lines for show-fans.
Jaime also did a great job this week. It was great to see so much screentime spent emphasizing the relationship that he has with Tyrion and the scene when he appealed to Tywin – only to get played like a fiddle – was possibly my favorite moment of the episode.
Peter Dinklage captured the build up to Tyrion’s final speech flawlessy and much like Joffrey’s wedding, the devil was in the details for this part of the episode. It was torturous to watch side-characters like Pycelle, Varys, Meryn Trant and eventually Shae come out and turn some of Tyrion’s best scene-stealing quips against him. On the other side of things, it was delightful to see the reactions of an uneasy Margaery and a smug Cersei as the walls closed in on Tyrion.
Tyrion’s decision to pin his hopes on a trial by combat was a great way to end the episode and the beginning of the end for this season’s major story arcs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dinklage secured himself an Emmy his performance this week. His transformation and uncanny manifestation of Tyrion’s rage and humiliation over the course of the episode was PHENOMENAL and the superb direction during his speech really brought things home.
Although The Laws of Gods and Men wasn’t the best episode this season, it certainly came close. Between Tyrion’s trial and Stannis’ trip to Braavos, there were too many highlights to count – All that’s certain is that the rest of this season is going to be a hell of a ride.