Game of Thrones excels at showing and developing relationships between characters. We've been blessed with several buddy comedies this season, perhaps lead by Arya & the Hound (Little Wolf & Big Dog?). My favorite relationship (this one is well established, think of the prequel opportunities), and perhaps best source of comedy, is between Davos and his Pirate friend Salladhor Saan. Their scene in the baths where Salladhor is telling a joke that everyone has heard before reminded me that the show has its lighter moments that are still meaningful to the story.
This is of course, is followed by a failed jailbreak of Theon, due in no small part that Reek (Reek, Reek, my name is Reek) did not want to go. Then we get right on to dragons having a nice goat lunch. Daenerys is presented with the charred bones from the farmer who now has nothing. The writers are quick to remind you that the show has a lot of darkness at its core.
There is both light and darkness in every character, some just have different ratios than others. It's not that the show is a dark show; it's that it's realistic. That point is driven home by the fact that the first scene of the episode took place at a bank. That's definitely a setting you don't often see in most fantasy, ok, other than Discworld.
Back in King’s Landing, we’re treated to our first small council meeting in quite some time. There are a few new faces, two of them basically opposites of each other. Mace Tyrell can’t stop brown-nosing Tywin Lannister and Prince Oberyn had a late night last night. He seems like the kind of person who has a lot of late nights. Hopefully we have many fun small council meetings in the future, as Oberyn seems to relish in making people uncomfortable and certainly does not follow anyone’s rules.
Finally, we are treated to Tyrion just losing his cool. He’s told, after a break in his trial, that he will be granted a chance to take the black if he pleads guilty and asks for mercy. Tyrion, of course, doesn’t trust this as the last person to take this offer wound up a head shorter (Ned Stark).
Back up a second and understand why Tyrion does wind up losing his cool. He never expected to receive a fair trial, but the parade of people telling lies and half-truths was laid on pretty thick. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the ultimate betrayal by Shae. She had been very hurt by his repeated attempts to dismiss him, though it had seemed that he got through finally and Bronn told him that she was on a ship. Clearly, this was not the case as she delivered the most damning testimony of the trial.
Shae’s testimony is basically the nail in the coffin and causes Tyrion to snap. In one of the best speeches of the entire show, he spits a lifetime of hate back into his father’s face and throws a wrench into everyone’s plans. By demanding Trial by Combat, he single handedly ruins all of his father’s current plans for the family. He’s either going to be exonerated by a victory, thus not forcing Jaime to leave the kings guard, or be killed and basically the same result happens for Jaime. Either way, Tyrion uses his wits to roll the dice one last time on his life and Tywin is left with no real prospects for the future of House Lannister.