GAME OF THRONES – Live-action fantasy-political drama based on the series of novels by George R. R. Martin "A Song of Ice and Fire"; rated TV-MA; airs Sundays on HBO; 60 minutes. Episode 5.2: “The House of Black and White” (Aired April 19, 2015). Directed by Michael Slovis; written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (8 out of 10)

(Catching up after spending most of last week at Star Wars Celebration).

This episode started out giving us what many have been waiting for . . . Arya Stark and her trusty sword Needle. Arya arrives in Braavos at the House of Black and White. So-called because of the black and white doors, I presume. She is turned away and sits on the steps in the rain, repeating the names on her Kill Bill list over and over: Cersei, Walder Frey, the Mountain, Meryn Trant. The list has grown shorter, and having not read the books in a long time, I wonder how she knows who has already perished. She’s far from King’s Landing now, but maybe a raven told her.  But even though she’s in a new land, there’s at least one familiar face in Braavos . . .

Brienne and Podrick finally run across Sansa and Littlefinger, but though Brienne vows her loyalty and swears to uphold Catelyn’s request to protect her daughters, Sansa declines her offer, with Littlefinger reminding her that she failed to protect Renly or Catelyn. But Brienne, not one to be defeated, will not be deterred in her quest to honor Lady Stark’s last request. Brienne is nothing if not determined.

Meanwhile, Cersei fears for Myrcella’s safety in Dorne, where Ellaria Sand seeks revenge. She says of Myrcella, ““Let me send her to Cersei one finger at a time.” Don’t get on her bad sad. Cersei hasn’t had much luck with her children lately. Her eldest is dead, Myrcella is in the enemy’s territory, and their youngest is engaged to that “smirking whore from Highgarden.”

In Meereen, Daario takes the Unsullied to locate the Sons of the Harpy. They discover one hidden behind a wall, and Daenerys wants to kill him but is reminded that the Mad King earned that name for a reason. But instead of standing trial, he’s murdered by a former slave, and she feels forced to punish him in public for the crime. Her people cried out “Mercy” and “Mhysa” (Mother), but she is unmoved, and in a chillingly similar scene to Ned Stark’s execution, she has the man beheaded.

Has she made a critical error? Has she lost the love of the people so quickly?

This episode covered so much ground, and I felt it was a much stronger episode than the season premiere. The chess pieces continue to move across the board. Who will next sit on the Iron Throne? Whose blood will spill across it?

After all, Valar Morgulis. All men must die. 

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Tags: Game of Thrones