‘Game of Thrones’ Recap 6×04: Burning Down the Horse

Pictured: Daenerys, completely over it.

Pictured: Daenerys, over this nonsense. photo: Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Vinnie: That sound whoooooshing over your head, Ben, is not the sound of dragon’s wing, nor is it the flames burning Vaes Dothrak to a crisp, or the flutter of millions of hearts echoing in basements across the country as dudes realize Emilia Clarke agreed to do nudity again for Game of Thrones.

Ben: Or is it the sound of Missandei’s Meereenese pantsuit of agency? Or, is it my heart breaking apart and coming together stronger than before at Jon and Sansa’s reunion/meeting? Or, is it the sudden spike in demand for Thormund/Brienne fanfiction? Holy expletive; this freaking episode.

Pictured: Daenerys, REALLY over this.

Pictured: Daenerys, REALLY over this nonsense. HBO

Vinnie: All close, but no! (Personally, I’m shipping Dolorous Edd and Sansa, but that’s a way different fanfic) It was the sound of David Benioff and Dan Weiss absolutely flying through storylines that George RR Martin –, hell, even earlier Game of Thrones–would’ve meandered in seemingly forever. The showrunners seem to have an end in direct sight, side plots, meat pie descriptions and Lady Stonehearts be damned.

Ben: King’s Landing is still spinning its wheels, but the North and Essos have me as giddy as an unspanked schoolboy.

Vinnie: Like this Dany stuff? Man, if this was season two we would’ve spent all season in the Dothraki retirement home, watching Dany’s hair getting slightly dirtier by the episode as dudes with bells in their hair came up with increasing more creative rape threats. But nuh-uh, not in season six, man. Four episodes in and Dany already has the entire Dothraki Khalasar YAS QUEEN-ing in unison as if the crackling sound of burning Khal corpses behind her was also calling out Jay-Z’s cheating ass. 

Ben: You know what? I loved this. Because Dany isn’t just Mhysa The Queen of the Andals, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. She is also freaking fireproof and I loved that the big fiery Episode 4 “display of power” we all expected since the season 6 trailer, involved absolutely no dragon. Sisters doing it for themselves, yo. I’m back on team Dany. If only for wrapping up that leg of the story in a single episode.


Slay, Khaleesi. HBO

Vinnie: With that said…how terrible is this show at writing buddy team-up rescue missions? That’s such a specific but noticeable flaw! Last season it was Jaime and Bronn’s trip to Dorne, a storyline that launched a thousand burning internet criticisms. And now it’s Daario and Jorah, whose plan to rescue Dany was Step 1) Get rid of ALL the weapons except a tiny knife Step 2) Throw sand Step 3) “Hey Jorah, bro, did I mention me and Dany totally got it on?” Step 4) Randomly run into Daenerys, who quite frankly doesn’t need help escaping.

Ben: I loved her lack of acknowledgment at their “We’re here to rescue you” schtick. She’s not even surprised to see them. Well, of course you’re here. Even Drogon isn’t this codependent. “Oh, good: you two. Look, momma’s got a plan. You go over there and you go over there. Chop, chop.”

Vinnie: I know last week I said Jon was being a baby for ending his watch just because, BOO HOO, he died and saw nothing in the afterlife but darkness. Like, cry me a Riverrun, Jon. But I like it a lot better as a sort of mirror to Daenerys, especially if we’re going to run with them being aunt and nephew and all that. Jon tried to do the right thing, his own sworn brothers murdered him, and now he just wants to go get warm. Across the world, Dany also tried to do the right thing, her own people tried to kill her, and now she will burn your leaders in cleansing fire and claim this horse army as her own. 

Ben: Not to take away from your boy and his new man-bun (NoUrghWhy), but I am all about Sansa this week. It’s no secret that Sansa Stark is my favorite Game of Thrones character. I think she’s as strong Dany, more resilient than Theon,  and even more protective of her family than Cersei. She has Jon, and knowing that Bran, Rickon and Arya are all alive is all the motivation she needs to go back to Winterfell instead of run. My girl is ready to fight.

Sophie Turner also has a new “I’ve survived Ramsay Bolton” strength to her delivery that I really loved. Gah, I am so ready for the Queen of the North.

Vinnie: On a scale of Theon to Reek how hard did Jon and Sansa reuniting at Castle Black make you ugly-cry?

Ben: I’m a beautiful crier. It starts with the single tear and then cascades symmetrically. Honestly, only fans who have been with the show since the beginning can understand the power of that hug. Just pure Stark PTSD relief.


D’aw. HBO

Vinnie: Ugh, that was just as cathartic a moment as Game of Thrones is ever going to give you. Sometimes, underneath the bloodshed, grimness, and gratuitous bewb-age you forget how long we’ve been with these Starks, and just how darn hard you want these kids to pull through. Usually I’d nitpick something like this, but I kind of love how they glossed over Sansa’s reaction to Jon literally being dead two days ago. I like to picture Sansa just responding softly with “Yeah, we’ve both been through some stuff, Jon” followed by two uninterrupted minutes of knowing glances.

Ben: Well, she never knew him dead. It would have been one of those Whedonesque bits of dialogue. “How have you been?” “Dead. You?” “Married to Ramsay Bolton.” “Uh.” “Yeah.”

Vinnie: Speaking of Stark children living through unimaginable pain and misery: Rickon is still in the hands of Ramsay Bolton, who at his point has graduated from “menacingly creepy” to “evil incarnate in the body of a scary leprechaun.”

Ben: Considering how one-dimensional they’ve made Ramsay, we’re assuming Rickon is just a pile of walking scar tissue with eyes in the Winterfell dungeons, right? He has no reason to treat him well.

Vinnie: I’m constantly flip-flopping on my feelings for Ramsay.

Ben: From bored to supremely bored?

Vinnie: More like from bored to the same escapist enjoyment I’d get from like, a show on Starz (gasp!). On one hand, I’ve become so desensitized to his cartoonish wickedness that by the time he murders Osha it’s like, “Huh,  I GUESS?” But then he goes and composes a note to Jon, on what I assume was paper made from the flesh of orphans and puppies, that is just so…hilariously villainous? “I will come to Winterfell and personally eat your eyeballs and Rickon’s eyeballs and fuck it all the Night’s Watch’s eyeballs if you don’t return my bride. Also, let Harry Potter know he has until midnight to meet me in the Forbidden Forest.”

Ben: It is so dull. Ramsay’s creepiest scene will always be him giving Theon that bath. I understand that it’s him living up to his father’s warning that “if you act like a mad dog, you will be put down like one,” but it’s too telegraphed for me at this point.

Worse still, it’s starting to impact the story as no houses would logically align themselves to that sadist…. Also, that letter’s parchment is supposed to be pink. Just saying.

Vinnie: Now that Osha is dead —

Ben: Because Ramsay would rather slit a woman’s throat open than have fully consensual sex —

Vinnie: –can we give Yara Greyjoy her original name back and forget that ever happened? She’s going to need all the help she can get if she wants to beat her psychotic and possibly magical uncle in the upcoming Kingsmoot. Especially now that she chose a dude last seen sleeping in a dog cage as her running mate.

I assume the answer is "my penis back."

I assume the answer is “my penis back.” HBO

Ben: I did appreciate that Osha went down trying to pull a fast one on him as is her wont. RIP, most interesting Wildling female since Karsi from “Hardhome.”

Vinnie: It’s nice to see Alfie Allen get to act a little more like Theon this season. I mean, like he said, Ramsay broke him into a hundred pieces so it’s not exactly Theon, and probably never will be again. But we’re already a far cry from season 5, where Allen’s acting was limited to “Wear this pee-covered cloak and cry like Keanu Reeves is coming to kill you.” 

Ben: Now, there’s your ugly crier. Phenomenal acting, yes, we know, but I’m going to need him to go through one scene without bursting into tears. I guess I’m a little confused as to what scales a castrated Theon is supposed to tip in the upcoming Kingsmoot. His only “skill” is his willingness to give up his life to save someone else’s after his time as Reek.

Vinnie: What do we make of Tyrion’s political maneuvers in Meereen, and by extension Cersei’s plotting in King’s Landing? Because they are both, by and large, plots heavily involving characters sitting around a table and talking about immensely cool things that are totally about to go down…later.

Ben: The dissent within the ranks in Meereen was fascinating. Sure, he’s a kinslaying fictional dwarf but we forget that above all else, Tyrion Lannister is a rich white man. That was a “Rich White Man” solution to Meereen’s problems right there. It was nice that the two Summer Islanders take a stance against this. His  “What? It’s just 7 years of slavery” was something Dany would never allow. She’s an idealist, he’s a pragmatist and we see that in their vastly different ruling styles already bumping heads in her absence. Thoroughly “unwoke” of you, Tyrion.

Vinnie: Cersei is laying the foundations for an all out King’s Landing: Civil War with Gregor Clegane playing the role of Iron Man, as the Tyrell family gets set to invade religion itself to stop Margaery taking the walk of shame and save Loras from that beard he grew.

Ben: It’s basically confirmed that Loras is getting sexually tortured in there, day in, day out, right? From the way Margaery finds him to his “Please make it stop” pleas, it was pretty jarring. It also makes sense, in a horrible way? If Margaery was imprisoned, starved, and beaten, just for lying about having seen Loras with another man, can you imagine what they’re doing to Loras himself? A Walk of Atonement sounds like a forest stroll next to his ordeal, the poor guy. He’s one of those characters I wished we’d gotten more out of these past few years.

Very hug-happy episode of GOT.

Very hug-happy episode of GOT. HBO

Vinnie: But…so far we’ve just heard this stuff, which is season six in a nutshell. It really seems like the first season of Game of Thrones that is.  really, really dependent on sticking the landing. So, so much is being set up. Holy war in King’s Landing.  Dragon-assisted war in Meereen.

Ben: What happened to the two dragons Tyrion freed two episodes ago? Did we ever get a word on that? Are they just chilling in the catacombs, out and about, or what??

Vinnie: The war between the righteousness of the Sansa/Jon Snow Union and the cold, unmitigated evil of Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell, which may or may not get interrupted by the army of DEATH ITSELF from beyond the Wall. But, again, this is all in the future. So far, our actual big moments have come from Jon waking up from a long snooze to quit his job, and Dany setting a bunch of smelly horse men on fire.

Ben: And the Queen of the North rising. Wardeness just means wife of the acting Warden. Screw that. Sansa will lead; not follow.

Vinnie: Like Sansa said to Jon: “Stop being such a curly headed baby, and let’s go fuck up some Boltons.” Where did she say that, you ask? Right up here in my head, Ben, Right up here in my head.

Ben: Don’t forget Littlefinger’s return, swinging his schlong all over the Vale! That smug dick. I love him strolling him and accusing Royce of invented duplicitousness. And, oof, Robin Arryn has grown into… exactly what we all predicted from that first scene of him being breastfed at age ten.  He makes Tommen look agro by comparison. There’s also a little “Joffrey” in him, which I kind of missed having around. He’s really turned into a perfectly creepy, politically-powerful X factor.

Vinnie: I can pretty much only relate to Robin’s archery skills and love of flowery, golden capes. Besides that, for my thoughts on Littlefinger’s return please refer to Yohn Royce’s deep, prolonged sigh played repeatedly over this GIF:

. ‘Game of Thrones’ Recap 6×04: Burning Down the Horse