If this were an episode of Friends, its title would be "The One Where Robb Gets Some." While a few other things did happen -- Cersei threatens Tyrion (with the wrong whore, no less), Catelyn catches hell for letting Jaime Lannister go -- it wasn't exactly the most action-packed of episodes. Oh, and there was something about Jon being captured and threatened with having his balls cut off, but really, is anyone too worried that that is going to happen? I don't think so.
Robb and his lady of Volantis are cute, but that love scene felt like it was ten minutes long. At one point I was looking at the time, wondering when it was going to end. This is odd considering that I am female and according to Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times, all the sex scenes in this show are there specifically for my entertainment. But go figure.
Of course it was an important moment: until now Robb has been the model leader -- winning all the battles, exercising perfect control over his subordinates, and looking great while doing it too. But in this instance he is throwing away one of his key responsibilities as a leader -- the strategic marriage. Worse, he is already promised to someone else, so it's not as if the marriage in question is theoretical.
This is not to say that I blame Robb, of course. What 21st century person would? But in the world of his parents, in particular -- Ned and Catelyn Stark being devoted above all else to duty and family -- this is a significant betrayal.
This episode was clearly the calm before the siege, as we see Tyrion taking full responsibility for something that no one else is being realistic about. Faced with the prospect of her psychotic baby going into battle, Cersei takes what she believes is Tyrion's mistress hostage -- but being Cersei, gets it wrong. Shae is fine, which we actually care about because unlike the book where she is a mercenary whiner, here she is actually likeable and seems to care about Tyrion. (Obviously this is because of the awesomeness that is Peter Dinklage.)
We also get that moment that is going to haunt Cersei for the rest of her life: When Tyrion, furious at her treachery, says, "A day will come when you think you're safe and happy, and the joy will turn to ashes in your mouth and you will know the debt is paid." It will haunt Tyrion too, in a different way. That's something to look forward to.
The most amusing moment of the episode was undoubtedly when Joffrey declares he's going to give Stannis a "red smile" with his shiny gold sword, and Tyrion and Varys exchange a mutual eyeroll like something in high school. Which is exactly the attitude that Joffrey deserves. Can we have more Tyrion and Varys, HBO? You took away Tywin/Arya, so at least this? Give a girl a break.
Anyway, Stannis is coming. It's not winter, exactly, but it'll do.
Follow Ilana Teitelbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/IlanaCT