This episode begins with Theon pretty pissed at finding that Bran and the others have made their escape. He leads a search party and makes a point of telling Luwin that he won’t kill the boys. Meanwhile Jon Snow’s commitment to the brotherhood is tested even further when his prisoner challenges his ideas on loyalty and his lineage. Before the end of the day, John ends up a captive of the wildlings. Tywin and Arya continue their chess game of words. While veteran actor Charles Dance likely has a resume that reaches higher than Maisie Williams’ head, she makes Arya a formidable opponent in their scenes together. It’s difficult to tell if Tywin knows exactly who she is, but he makes a point of letting her know he’s aware there’s more to her than she’s revealing.
In an incredible scene we see Jaime Lannister almost make a full escape by first using kindness and vulnerability followed by vicious brutality. When he’s presented to Catelyn after he’s recaptured, we are teased with the prospect that she might be ready to do something bold. Back in Qarth, Daenerys is reunited with Jorah. He helps her find out who is behind the theft of her dragons by questioning a mysterious woman who hides her face behind a mesh mask. This sequence has more of the supernatural elements that were missing from the first season, especially when we see what the undying are capable of.
The stakes are raised again for Sansa after she has her first period. Even though she is aware of how becoming a mother to Joffrey’s baby will mean a lifelong imprisonment, she finds an alley in Shae and a surprising mentor with Cersai. Lena Headey really brings Cersai’s humanity to the forefront in this episode. Somehow we see that long before she was a schemer, she was a prisoner just like Sansa. She reveals to her daughter in-law that despite her dire situation, being a mother will be all she needs to guide her. Later she reveals to Tyrion that she has come to terms with the fact that Joffrey is gone from her, and that all those who hate him are in the right. Tyrion finds it in him to comfort her as best he can, and they come close to expressing their bond to each other.
The episode ends with Theon revealing how far he’s ready to go to gain his place as a rightful king. We first see that his men have likely found the whereabouts of Bran and the others. He gathers all the people including Luwin and shows them the charred bodies of the two youngest Starks. Earlier in the episode Theon said to Luwin, “It’s all a game.” I really hope that this somehow applies to here.