People learn to love their chains.
Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by: David Nutter
The season three finale, "Mhysa", is unfortunately the most tame, anti-climactic season finale that Game of Thrones will ever have. When you're the episode coming right after The Red Wedding, it's expected that you're not going to be anywhere near as good. All that "Mhysa" sets out to accomplish is bring closure to some of season three's remaining storylines, while laying the foundation for season four, which I find to be the best season of the entire show (excluding season eight). Considering that at least half of worldwide viewers were still feeling the anguish of how "The Rains of Castamere" ended, D&D figured that "Mhysa" would be best if it eased up on all the killing and betrayal, serving as another reactionary episode like "Fire and Blood", the season one finale.
As you can imagine, the news of The Red Wedding spreads like wildfire throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Tyrion goes to a Small Council meeting where, instead of hooting and hollering, there are threats and insults. Tyrion and Tywin anger Joffrey and have him sent to bed. This is then followed with another heated conversation between Tyrion and Tywin, with Tywin expressing his disappointment over Tyrion for not having impregnated Sansa yet. One thing The Red Wedding did not resolve: the internal discord of the Lannister family. At this point, it seems that nothing will ever be able to help Tyrion get on the same page as his father and his sister; now that the war is over, there will be nothing to distract the Lannisters from what has been their greatest problem all this time: themselves.
Oh yeah, by the way, Jaime arrives in King's Landing with Brienne, so the family is all back together again.
At the Twins, the Frey soldiers finish off the remaining Stark bannermen in the moments immediately following Robb's death. The next morning, Walder Frey and Roose Bolton discuss their newly acquired positions: Frey is now the new Lord of Riverrun, while Bolton has been declared Warden of the North. Bolton reveals that the boy who went to capture Theon Greyjoy was his bastard son, Ramsay Snow, and Ramsay being Ramsay has screwed everything up for Bolton's hopes of giving the Ironborn free passage and with his hopes of negotiating with Balon Greyjoy. If the early seasons of Game of Thrones were like any traditional television series, no such scene like the one here between Walder Frey and Roose Bolton would probably ever occur, certainly not after such a traumatic event as The Red Wedding. Unlike "Fire and Blood", the series of reactions seen in this episode are from characters who opposed Robb Stark and his rebellion against the Crown, not from those who knew him and supported him. Once again, the "villainous" characters of the show are painted with a few more shades of grey, especially in King's Landing, where what should be a grand celebration instead is a meeting that only serves to further strain the relationship between Joffrey and the rest of the Small Council. Even in the conversation between Walder Frey and Roose Bolton, Bolton assures us that he has not won anything other than a title. There's still more work to be done.
Speaking of Ramsay, he puts the finishing touches on his torturing of Theon Greyjoy, by slapping Theon until he acknowledge his new name: Reek. This is now Ramsay basically dehumanizing Theon, now turning him into his pet as opposed to continuing to use him as a prisoner. There are no limits to Ramsay's macabre ways of dealing with others, but things will get interesting when Roose Bolton comes by and does some catching up with Ramsay.
And while we're still talking about events in the North, we should talk about how Sam and Gilly run into Bran and his crew, who are still hiding in the abandoned mill. Sam is able to deduce Bran's identity, and Bran requests that Sam take his group north of the Wall. Before the two groups separate, Sam, revealing that he killed a White Walker, gives Bran, Hodor, and the Reed siblings his supply of dragonglass weapons. Sam and Gilly then make it back to Castle Black, where Maester Aemon allows Gilly to stay as a guest, while telling Sam that he must prepare to send messages to everywhere in the Seven Kingdoms, warning that the White Walkers have returned and are coming for everybody. It was the right thing to do to have Sam and Gilly meet up with Bran, because at the moment, these are the two groups with the most knowledge of the White Walkers and just how much of a threat they are.
The news from Castle Black makes its way to Dragonstone, where Ser Davos shares the message with Stannis and Melisandre. This proves to be enough for Stannis to spare Davos' life, as Davos was able to sneak Gendry out and save him from being one of Melisandre's sacrifices to the Lord of Light. This is the birth of one of Game of Thrones' most infamous internet memes: Gendry rowing for what will seem like all of eternity. Yeah, we're not going to see Gendry again for a long time, so it's expected for someone new to the show to start wondering during the middle of season four or five, "Hey, is Gendry still rowing?" Anyway, Stannis learning of the White Walkers really complicates matters on his hands. He technically still has the Iron Throne to win, but Melisandre tells Stannis that only he can save the North. The plot thickens.
"Mhysa" then ends with Daenerys opening the gates of Yunkai, allowing all the slaves to walk free. After Daenerys tells the crowd that only they can take their freedom back, the crowd begins to chant "mhysa", which means "mother" in the Ghiscari language. Daenerys then walks on her own into the crowd, where she is lifted up into the air. The episodes end with a bird's-eye view shot of Daenerys being carried through the crowd, as her dragons fly overhead. This whole sequence gives me mixed signals: I can't tell if I want to praise this scene for ending the season on a happy note, or if I want to bash it for its suggestively religious and colonial undertones. It's all very bizarre, but there could have been far worse ways to close out the season.
Normally, Game of Thrones' season finales are stuffed full of material that needs dissected, but "Mhysa" is a little bit of an exception. You can't really blame D&D for taking their foot off the gas here, though; The Red Wedding was so emotionally draining that "Mhysa" had no choice but to be something of a therapy session. All it sets out to do is put the finishing touches on a season almost chock-full of intense, dramatic moments, while setting the stage for season four, which will have no shortage of gruesome deaths or heated conversations. On its own, "Mhysa" is a perfectly fine episode, but I wouldn't hesitate to call it the worst of all of Game of Thrones' season finales, and yes, that's including the final episode that is coming next year; D&D are NOT going to mess that one up.
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