‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Recap: Cersei Executes Missandei, Kills Daenerys’ Dragon Rhaegal
Much of what occurred on Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Last of the Starks,” was expected.
Following the destruction of the Army of the Dead, sealed by Arya’s (Maisie Williams) killing of the Night King, the living first mourned the dead — which included Jorah and (Iain Glen) Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) — and honored them with a huge funeral pyre. After this, the forces celebrated their victory over the White Walkers at Winterfell by drinking themselves into oblivion. Well, almost all of them did: Daenerys (Emilia Clarke)seemed visibly displeased with the debauchery going on in the North, looking at Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) like a disapproving mother chaperoning a college frat party.
Meanwhile, Arya — who was toasted as the hero of Winterfell — spent her time shooting arrows away from everyone else. Dany named Gendry (Joe Dempsie) the new Lord of Storm’s End, and he is as delighted as a child who has been given a new toy, but we quickly learn the Mother of Dragons made this decision more for herself than anything: she is trying to collect as many loyal men beside her as possible, as her right-hand-man Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) points out.
A giddy Gendry then rushes over to Arya — whom he slept with two episodes ago — to tell her the good news and asks her to marry him and be his lady. Arya kisses Gendry but unsurprisingly refuses the offer, saying she was not born to be a “lady.” Big shocker there! The youngest Stark girl just wants to continue perfecting the art of being an unstoppable assassin and continues her archery practice before joining the Hound (Rory McCann)on a horse-ride to King’s Landing.
Another hookup that lasts less than a bag of salad is Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie). The lady of Tarth finally gets her chance to sleep with the legendary “Kingslayer,” who recently made her a knight. However, Jaime rides off to King’s Landing to go confront his psychotic sister Cersei (Lena Headey) and after Brienne begs him not to, Jaime reveals to her all of the terrible things he has done for Cersei and how he is not nearly as good a man as Brienne believes him to be. Brienne is left crying into the void as Jaime rides off.
Before Jaime left, however, he and Tyrion have a crossbow pointed at them by a threatening Bronn (Jerome Flynn), who in the first episode of this season was promised great benefits by Cersei — via Qyburn (Anton Lesser) in exchange for killing the two Lannister brothers. Ultimately, Bronn acts like a total jackass: he spares the brothers but breaks Tyrion’s nose and demands they give him the lordship of Highgarden.
Meanwhile, Sansa (Sophie Turner) continues her complete distrust of Dany, despite Jon and Tyrion both repeatedly trying to convince her that her intentions are good. Jon, with help from Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) finally reveals his true identity to Arya and Sansa and makes them swear to never tell anyone else. However, stubborn Sansa unsurprisingly breaks this promise and informs at least one person: Tyrion, who then tells Varys (Conleth Hill). Clearly, she is determined to see Jon on the Iron Throne and not Dany, who is still distraught over learning her familial relationship with Jon and its implications for her status as Queen. Jon reassures her he still views her as his Queen, but the Mother of Dragons is visibly freaking out as she too tries to hide Jon’s Targaryen identity from everyone.
Dany and the Unsullied head toward King’s Landing to confront Cersei, but her forces — led by sociopath Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) — kill Rhaegal, and only one of Dany’s dragons now remain. The Unsullied arrive on the shores of King’s Landing, alive but worn out and injured, and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) is taken captive by Cersei.
After Dany reveals she is prepared to make Cersei surrender at any cost, even killing innocent civilians if necessary, Varys advises her against this and has a long discussion with Tyrion in which he says he believes Jon would be a better fit to sit on the Iron Throne because he is less impulsive then Dany. After arriving at the gates of King’s Landing, Dany and the Unsullied use Tyrion as a means of bargaining with Cersei. Tyrion and Qyburn unsuccessfully negotiate a surrender deal, and then the “imp” tries to appeal to his sister’s emotions and convince her she is not a “monster.”
Nevertheless, Cersei shows how merciless she can be and how determined she is to keep her seat on the Iron Throne by having the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) publicly execute Missandei by decapitation. Dany and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) are left emotionally in shambles, with the former’s grief quickly morphing into apparent furor, as she mulls her next plan of attack. Poor Khaleesi… losing her child and her longtime slave interpreter within such a short time — especially after Jorah — has understandably sent her nearly over the edge.
One big question that may or may not prove relevant? Is Cersei really pregnant with Jaime’s child, or was this just a lie? Tyrion mentioned her baby in his short speech imploring her sister not to hurt anyone else. One can only guess that next week’s penultimate episode will finally resolve this final conflict between Cersei and Dany’s camps, while the series finale on May 19 will perhaps simply serve mostly as a sort of exposition for a new chapter of life in the Seven Kingdoms.
Tune in next Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO to find out what happens next!