On this week’s awful-looking, tedious yet still rushed House of the Dragon, we start by mourning Doctor Who’s wife—self-immolated at the age of who the fuck cares. We have seen this woman for like five total minutes of screentime, and now we have to watch a whole funeral ceremony and reception.
No one we know or care about even speaks at this funeral. Some dude just gives a boilerplate eulogy in whatever made-up language, they dump what’s her name’s sarcophagus into the sea, and, like the series itself, it sinks like a stone. You’d think these seafaring people might do sort of a dramatic Viking thing where they light a boat on fire or something, but it’s this utter anticlimax of a whole production just dumping this skeleton about ten yards from shore. It’s surprising there isn’t already a pile of skeleton boxes down there. “One more for the stack!” It could grow into an island of stone coffins, children playing above the many skeletons. That would be more fun than this.
Then we get to the reception, and it’s an entire event of exchanging furtive glances and pensive glares. It’s so boring. The most interesting thing that happens is Sea Snake going up to his son’s boyfriend to be like, “Please make my son stop standing plaintively in the sea. It’s painfully histrionic.”
Finally, nightfall comes—in that the show is then dark, clearly shot day-for-night, and looks like murky dogshit. HBO Max is catching up with Disney+’s Star Wars shows in streaming “night” scenes where there’s no contrast and it’s impossible to tell what’s going on.
With the darkness also comes some weird video game dialogue where everyone is scripted to have different ways to reference going to bed.
Sea Snake and the Non-Queen do not go to bed but instead go off to their quarters for what will be the first of several discussions where it’s just a drawn-out version of, “Look, we’ve never really said it out loud, but we’re all aware Rhaenyra’s kids are from that other guy, right?”
Meanwhile, Rhaenyra herself is off making some more bastards as she finally fucks her uncle. Congrats!
It’s at this point where the episode turns into a straight-to-video children’s movie called The Dragon Rider. The little outcast white-haired kid bonds with What’s Her Name’s newly-available dragon and goes for a far-too-long ride that comes just shy of the kid screaming, “Yaaaaa-hoooooo!!!” It’s a shame we already blew our Neverending Story screengrab on a prior Game of Thrones recap.
The bullied kid is now feeling empowered, so when he finishes his joyride and his cousins start giving him shit about making off with his aunt’s dragon, he is not having it. He too calls the little brown-haired fuckers out as bastards, and there’s a whole four-on-one kerfuffle with him. He holds his own pretty well for the little asshole he is and nearly bashes in one of their heads with a stone, but he ultimately loses when one of Rhaenyra’s boys pulls a knife and slashes him in the face. It’s sort of on him for bringing a rock to a knife fight.
For some fucking reason, this means that we have to invite every goddamn character on the show to wake up and reconvene to discuss the matter. Like it’s a fucking murder mystery whodunit of who cut this kid.
There, the maester stitches up this little turd’s face, reassuring the queen, “Don’t worry, he’ll be just fine. Except the eye. He did lose the eye. Otherwise, should heal up nicely. Save for the eye, which will never return.”
Queenie is pissed—so much so that she quite literally demands an eye for an eye. This premise presumably does not exist in Westeros, so she’s probably pretty proud she’s coined this phrase and concept. “It just makes sense! Leaves the whole world blind, you say? Not sure how you already have a counter to this punishment ideology I invented in the moment, but can we just get that eye hacked out and call it a night?”
Rhaenyra is opposed to the tit-for-tat-with-eyes arrangement, saying, “The eye-slashing was deserved! He called my sons bastards?” And everyone is tugging at their collars like, “Eghhhhhhhhh…”
Paddy demands to know who told his one-eyed son such “lies,” and despite very clearly implicating his mother with the latest of the episode’s numerous pregnant gazes, he says that his brother who jacked off out the window told him.
As said in last week’s recap, this teenage dipshit who just wants to sit in his room jacking off in a fucked up way is the best, most truthfully-written character in the entire show, and he yet again proves it when, here, confronted, he doesn’t even shirk the blame that’s fallen to him. He’s just like, “I mean, come onnnnn. We all know what’s up.”
Regardless of all that melodrama about parentage, Queenie still has eye on the mind. She grabs her husband’s side-dagger and, in an out-of-place, lazily Raimi-esque sequence, tries to take the boy’s eye herself—in the process instead slitting Rhaenyra’s wrist. You’d figure this would be a pretty big deal, since slit wrists are notoriously a cause of death, but everyone just sort of immediately moves on and it’s a nonissue outside of some later stitches.
The one-eyed boy is like, “Y’know, before I lost the eye, I did befriend that dragon, so ultimately the night’s a bit of a wash, right?”
King Paddy, tired and withering by the minute, agrees. Let’s stop all this catfighting and take a bite out of that old sleep sandwich!
They depart, and off in the queen’s chamber, Queenie’s father, Rhys Ifans, visits her to discuss the incident. The conversation is basically just, “I can’t believe you did that… BECAUSE IT WAS SO AWESOME! Stabbing a bitch is just what you’ve been lacking as a ruler!”
The next morning, Rhaenyra and her gay husband have a little meeting where he’s like, “Sorry I wasn’t there for you last night. I was off being gay. I am sorry for being so gay, and I will try to be less gay in the future.”
She’s like, “Don’t apologize. You are indeed very gay. But you’re also cool. And in a continent of assholes, being cool… is pretty cool.”
The visitors from King’s Landing sail away, and on the way out, Devious Theatre Kid continues to be not just conniving but bizarre as he drifts into the territory of Walter from Big Lebowski.
The vast majority of this episode has been boring so far. It’s been a ton of glaring and glancing, a lot of hammering in the same points again and again, and bullshit with some troublemaking children.
Now, with five minutes to go before the end of the episode, House of the Dragon decides it’s time to rush some proper plot points in as what’s barely a glorified montage.
Rhaenyra and the villain from Morbius meet up in what’s clearly the same day of shooting from their night stuff but now less darkened. She’s like, “I should actually marry you, my uncle, which is fine in our culture.” And he’s like, “Of course that would be fine and normal! Alas, your husband would have to die for that to happen…”
[Upbeat ‘80s music swells]
So in the final three minutes of this fucking thing, Doctor Who convinces Gay Husband’s Boyfriend to stage a swordfight with Gay Husband; he himself kills some guy; when Gay Husband’s page or whatever runs off to alert people about the swordfight, the co-conspirators somehow sneak in the dead body and toss it in the fireplace under the guise of it being an unrecognizably-charred Gay Husband; Gay Husband shaves his head; and they somehow all sneak out, the lovers departing to be together on kinder shores that we will presumably never see.
With a minute to spare, uncle and niece marry in a small, private ceremony. The couple asks that your gifts come as a renewal of the HBO Max subscription you’re starting to second-guess.
Could we not have given Rhaenyra these precious final moments to explain what the fuck she meant by moaning about how “fire is a prison”? That doesn’t mean anything!