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Recap: 'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 8, 'The Mountain And The Viper' Face Off

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | katiewalshwrites.com June 2, 2014 at 8:12AM

We're back after a week off, and it's time to dive back into the wacky world of Westeros. There's another easter egg in the opening credits this week — Moat Cailin makes an appearance, the geography of the show growing with each episode. "The Mountain and the Viper," directed by Alex Graves (you might remember him from Joffrey's Purple Wedding), has promised us the trial by combat, the showdown and revenge we've been waiting for this whole season, and we're going to get it… right after all of these hideously boring monologues. The episode is a series of rather long, wordy, staid scenes bookended with bursts of bloody violence. A few of the monologues could stand to have been heavily edited, and time was checked during the show, a truly rare occurrence.
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Game of Thrones' Season 4 - The Mountain and the Viper'

We're back after a week off, and it's time to dive back into the wacky world of Westeros. There's another easter egg in the opening credits this week—Moat Cailin makes an appearance, the geography of the show growing with each episode. "The Mountain and the Viper," directed by Alex Graves (you might remember him from Joffrey's Purple Wedding), has promised us the trial by combat, the showdown and revenge we've been waiting for this whole season, and we're going to get it … right after all of these hideously boring monologues. The episode is a series of rather long, wordy, staid scenes bookended with bursts of bloody violence. A few of the monologues could stand to have been heavily edited, and time was checked during the show, a truly rare occurrence.  

Mole's Town
We open on the dark and damp streets of Mole's Town, and into Mole's Town's finest establishment, a brothel where the working girls burp the tune of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair." This is where Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) dropped off Gilly (Hannah Murray) and baby Sam to "stay safe." It seems like the least safe place on earth, especially when Ygritte (Rose Leslie), Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and their cannibal Wildling pals sweep in with a throat-slashing fervor. While nearly everyone in the tavern is skewered, stabbed, and otherwise dispatched, an empathetic Ygritte notices Gilly hiding with her baby and gives her only a "shhh" before leaving her as the lone survivor of this massacre. 

The Wall 
At the Wall, Samwell, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and friends are processing the news of the attack at Mole's Town, with Samwell blaming himself for what he assumes to be Gilly's death. His buds remind him that Gilly's survived Craster, The Wall, and a dang White Walker, so she's a resilient and clever girl—there's always a chance for her. They also realize that they are the logical next place for the Wildlings to attack in full force. Drink up boys, this could be your last. 

Game of Thrones' Season 4 - The Mountain and the Viper'

Meereen
The Unsullied soldiers have stripped down to take a quick bath in a stream, where Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) catches a glimpse of a nude Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) going about her daily ablutions. She tells Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) about the encounter later, while the queen braids her hair (so that's how they always have such crazy up-dos, was wondering where they get the time for that). Daenerys seems confused that Grey Worm might have been in any way intrigued by her nude bod, cause they're castrated, right? Missandei insists that he was, and Daenerys ponders the gory details of the castration process. 

Later, in private, Grey Worm apologizes to Missandei for the encounter. He remembers nothing about his prior name, his castration, and though Missandei expresses sympathy for his tragic injury, Grey Worm understands that this event led him to be in the place where he is now, leading Khaleesi's army and falling in love with Missandei. He doesn't regret it, and Missandei doesn't regret that he saw her either. 

Elsewhere in Meereen, things are not so lovey dovey. Ser Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) is supervising crucifixion disposal when he receives a message with the seal of the Hand of the King. Right quick he runs over to Ser Jorah Mormont's (Iain Glen) outdoor map office, and is like nyah, nyah check this out you terrible traitor. It's a royal pardon for Ser Mormont, signed by Robert Baratheon (terrible mail service there), which can only mean one thing! Uhh ... It means he spied on Khaleesi, which Selmy helpfully explains for us. Must be in the letter. He's all, "you'll never be alone with her again!" which is the worst thing ever for Mormont. When he goes to see Daenerys, she is PISSED, even though Mormont tries to argue that Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) is just trying to drive them apart (a very good point). He confesses to being one of Varys' little birds, leaking all of her secrets, and she gets her scary eyes and tells him to pack his things and get out by nightfall or find his head thrown into Slaver's Bay. This fruitful relationship has seemingly come to a unforgivable end.

Game of Thrones' Season 4 - The Mountain and the Viper'

Moat Cailin
Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon) has suited up his charge, Reek (Alfie Allen), in armor, and told him to go play "Theon Greyjoy" in order to take Moat Cailin from the Ironborn, as Ramsay's father, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) bid him. Ramsay uses a confusing metaphor about krakens and their strength in and out of water in order to make sure Reek keeps his Reek identity, and not get confused with this princely code-switching. 

Things are not going so hot at Moat Cailin! Lots of dead bodies being picked over by crows and the survivors are all beset with some terrible plague of facial sores and coughing up blood. The main dude is super sick, but he's not ready to surrender to to the Boltons at any time, even though the Boltons promise them safe passage to the shore. Well, if there's one thing the Ironborn hate, it's surrendering! Or at least this one guy. He calls Theon a whipped dog and a woman—which almost makes the nervous Theon lose his nerve and drop his act—before one of his guys puts an axe into his bald head. He wants to go home, y'all! 

Of course, in true Ramsay fashion, it's a bait and switch—he flays all the skin off the Ironborn. Some passage to safety! And what does this get him? Why the approval of Daddy Bolton! Who, as the new Warden of the North, decides Ramsay has done a great enough job conquering Moat Cailin (easiest task ever) to earn the last name Bolton. Oh happy day for Ramsay, no longer a bastard or a Snow. 

This article is related to: HBO's Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Aiden Gillen, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Television, TV Reviews, Reviews, Review


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