Game of Thrones Episode 604 Recap: Everything Gets Back on Track – Vanity Fair

5 months ago Comments Off on Game of Thrones Episode 604 Recap: Everything Gets Back on Track – Vanity Fair

Here’s an episode to make you believe in Game of Thrones again. In “Book of the Stranger,” several key characters emerge from the haze of ennui and indecisiveness that’s been following them for ages and begin to plan moves that, if they pull them off, will reset the game board that we’d nearly forgotten about.

If some of it seems like fan service, who cares? Watching a defanged Cersei, a dithering Daenerys, and a perpetually tormented Sansa stopped being fun a while ago. Now, with Jon and Sansa poised to take Winterfell back from Ramsay Bolton, Cersei plotting with Tyrells to reclaim her power, and Daenerys serving badass realness again, the coffee break is over and the Game of Thrones appears to be back on.

Sansa and Jon Are Re-united

Just when Jon Snow is about to flounce away from Castle Black for good, who should come galloping through the gates but little sister Sansa Stark? Thanks to Sansa’s un-Stark-like sense of timing, we now have two Starks sharing a screen for the first time since the Red Wedding.

The fact that it’s the least likely pairing of Starks makes it, in some ways, even more satisfying when they jump into each other’s arms. Yes, it’s an emotional moment that the show sells gamely, but it also delivers a payoff that we’ve been waiting for since the first season, and is a welcome sign that Game of Thrones is about to start firing off some of the the many, many guns that they’ve been busily planting throughout the series.

But if you thought Sansa was coming to the Wall for protection and comfort, think again: Sansa’s seen a lot since she first left Winterfell, and she’s not about to sit back and let the heavy hitters handle things. When Jon balks at the idea of more fighting, Sansa coolly tells him she’ll do it on her own if she has to. It’s not until he gets a message from Ramsay Bolton—letting him know that poor little Rickon is chained up in the basement—that Jon changes his tune.

The Starks are together again, and they’re going back to Winterfell. Now if only Arya would appear in a puff of smoke . . .

Cersei and the Queen of Thorns Join Forces

The shrill, incessant chirping of the High Sparrow has finally become too much to bear for Cersei, who enlists the aid of her old adversary, Olenna Tyrell, to finally take down their shared enemy.

What’s better than one scheming queen? Two scheming queens, obviously! If these two working together can’t stop the tiresome soliloquizing of one religious nut, no one can.

Daenerys Starts a Fire

Daenerys gives the Dothraki boys’ club every opportunity to fall in line behind her, and how do they respond? They threaten to rape her, naturally. (“Don’t you think everyone’s actually getting a little sick of that?” you can practically see her thinking.)

Look, Dany really isn’t the type to wait around for anyone to dump pig’s blood on her before she shows them what’s what. Before you know it, she’s unleashing a Carrie-style pyrotechnic nightmare on the Khals—and without the aid of either telekinesis or her dragons. (It does help, of course, to be congenitally impervious to flames.)

By the time she emerges triumphantly from the conflagration to greet the rest of the khalasar—oops, guess her clothes weren’t so flame retardant!—her new subjects are already starting to kneel for her.

One suspects that many viewers are also kneeling before their TV screens. Because after several seasons of watching Daenerys holed up in her castle fussing over the problems of leadership, it was high time that she reminded us of why we loved her in the first place: Dany may be a benevolent breaker of chains and a passable politician, but she’s at her best when she’s raining down total destruction on her enemies. The Khaleesi is back. I’d forgotten how much I missed her.

And Some Other Things Happened

Osha Clears Her Schedule for Various Harry Potter Sequels

Back for all of one episode and already super-nanny Osha is dead in a puddle of blood. (You didn’t really think we’d be rid of Ramsay that easily, did you?) Oh well—if you’re going to be killed by Ramsay Bolton, being stabbed in the neck probably isn’t the worst way to go.

Brienne of Tarth Knows What You Did Last Summer

Brienne may have (partially) fulfilled her oath by bringing Sansa to Castle Black, but she’s not about to let Ser Davos and Melisandre forget that she knows their dirty little secrets. And is it just me, or did she and Tormund Giantsbane look like they were about to get romantic over that giant leg o’ mutton? (Editor’s note: It’s not just me.)

Theon Goes Home

Theon’s lengthy punishment continues, as he returns to the Iron Islands to beg his family’s forgiveness. Sure, it’s probably a step up from the flaying and dismemberment that Theon is used to, but the Greyjoys’ extreme commitment to the shabby-chic look is nevertheless bound to be its own special kind of aesthetic torture.

There’s also the fact that Theon has to prostrate himself before his obnoxious sister by promising to back her in the upcoming Kingsmoot. What’s a Kingsmoot? If Theon knew the tedious answer to that question, he probably would have chosen to seek refuge somewhere else.

Tyrion Is an Incrementalist

What’s another seven years of slavery, right? As Tyrion continues to manage the volatile situation in Mereen—how did Tyrion get put in charge of Meereen, again?—tensions flare with Missandei and Grey Worm, both of whom think Tyrion’s proposed compromises sound suspiciously like politics as usual. (Also, Missandei is on point with her fashion game, in a tweed I Dream of Jeannie number that’s chic, professional, and relaxed.)

Jorah and Daario Have a Measuring Contest

Nothing brings bros together like a little macho posturing, right?

Robin Arryn Graduates to a Sippy Cup

Too bad he’s still nuts. (Oh, and Littlefinger is up to his inscrutable old tricks.)


Game of Thrones Episode 604 Recap: Everything Gets Back on Track – Vanity Fair