Film and TV

Game of Thrones: "The Prince of Winterfell"

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Theon Greyjoy is screwed.

The eponymous "Prince" of this week's episode started out with the best of intentions: seeking to win back his father's favor after Balon declared himself King of the Iron Islands, he naturally -- and foolishly -- assumed a little mission creep might advance the old man's cause and win himself a little much-needed respect.

Unfortunately, hubris is a rather unforgiving character flaw. Starting with the botched execution of Ser Rodrik and ending with the murders of "Bran" and "Rickon," Theon has worked himself into a corner from which it looks like no one can free him.

Plus, Jon's been captured by wildlings, Daenerys's dragons are still missing and war is coming to King's Landing.

Fittingly, we start things off at Pyke East, a.k.a. Winterfell. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) has finally responded to little brother's summons, though probably not in the manner he was hoping, bringing a mere handful of men and asking him if he's "the dumbest cunt alive" Rather than reinforce his position, she's come to bring him home, correctly pointing out Winterfell is hundreds of miles from supply, and oh, yeah, those Stark kids were kind of fondly regarded, if not valuable as hostages. Theon makes it hard to be sympathetic.

Yara is unexpectedly nice to Theon (Alfie Allen) -- once her men are out of the room -- expressing her wish that he not die so far from the sea, but he rigidly insists on staying. As I mentioned earlier, he's hard to sympathize with.

No touchy-feely sentiments will be in the offing from Robb Stark (Richard Madden), who tells Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) to send his bastard son to take Winterfell back and kill Theon. And that's all without yet hearing the news of Bran and Rickon's quote-unquote deaths.

This is a pretty Robb-heavy episode. Not only does he continue to enjoy the company of the fetching Talisa from Volantis (and how!), he is also informed of the escape of one Jaime Lannister, freed by none other than his own mother. Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), distraught at the news of Theon seizing her other sons (again, she ain't heard nothing yet), decides in a fit of maternal pique to send Jaime back to King's Landing in exchange for Sansa and Arya. Neither Robb nor Rickard Karstark (John Stahl) is pleased by the news.

North of the Wall, Ygritte (Rose Leslie) presents Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) to the Lord of Bones, a kind of wildling field marshal. She manages to keep him from killing Jon, even though it looks like they've also captured Qhorin Halfhand, who understandably begrudges Jon for the deaths of the other rangers lost searching for him when he failed to kill Ygritte. On the other hand, he realizes Jon might be the Watch's best chance to figure out what Mance Rayder is up to.

Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) isn't alone, as Catelyn has sent her briefly serving bodyguard Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to escort him home. The combination of caustic Kingslayer and honorable-to-a-fault would-be knight is sure to make for future hijinx. And maybe we'll get to see them fight each other.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar