Game of Thrones Recap: Cersei Finally Tastes Her Own Medicine

Lena Headey on "Game of Thrones"
Finally, Cersei Baratheon has a door slammed in her face that all the power, money, and sexy wiles in the world will no longer open -- read Us Weekly's recap of the Sunday, May 23 episode of Game of Thrones. Macall B. Polay/Courtesy of HBO

Cersei haters, rejoice! After years of getting away with murder, both literally and figuratively, it looks like the most detested character on Game of Thrones might finally get her karmic comeuppance after tonight’s episode, which saw her arrested by the very army of zealots she empowered to take down her daughter-in-law.

With Cersei removed from her position of power — and stuffed inside a cell where she has none of either — loyalties are shifting with houses colluding everywhere else in Westeros. The time is getting ripe for someone to make a grab for the Iron Throne. Here’s what went down on the Sunday, May 23 episode of the show.

Sansa looks for a way out

Things haven’t improved at all for Sansa after her horrific wedding night with Ramsay Bolton; if anything, they’ve gotten worse. Sansa’s new husband has been keeping her locked in her room all day, and brutalizing her every night. (It’s unclear how long it’s been since the wedding, but she’s got what looks like weeks worth of bruises on her arms.) Desperate, she asks for Theon’s help in sending a signal to the remaining Stark loyalists in the North.

It’s not a bad idea, and it might even have worked, if not for Theon’s raging case of Stockholm syndrome. Instead, the Reek formerly known as Theon betrays Sansa immediately to Ramsay, who in turn sniffs out and flays the old woman who offered help to his bride when she arrived at Winterfell. It looks like the only person left who can save Sansa Stark is… Sansa Stark. Show us what you’ve got, princess of Winterfell.

Game of thrones Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Stannis draws a line

Stannis Baratheon’s army is making its long march to Winterfell, but they’re having a lousy time of it. It’s snowing, the horses are dying, and even Davos Seaworth suggests turning back. Stannis says no, because winter is coming. (Stannis must know something I don’t, because considering the amount of snow falling on everything in this episode, it seems like it’s about time to change winter’s status from “coming” to “came.”) However, his faith is flagging, which means it’s time to consult Melisandre — who suggests that Stannis could help ensure his success at Winterfell by spilling some more royal blood. Just one teensy problem: The blood she wants is currently inside the body of Stannis’s daughter.

Game of thrones Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Sam gets unlucky, but also lucky

Meanwhile, the Wall is getting to be a very unfriendly place for Samwell Tarley. Jon Snow has departed with his band of crows to recruit wildlings for their army. Master Aemon succumbs, at last, to age and infirmity. And then, with the ashes barely cold on the old man’s funeral pyre, Sam finds a pair of his Night’s Watch brothers harassing Gilly — and gets beaten to a pulp trying to intervene (although he displays admirable toughness despite it all.) Happily, both he and Gilly are saved from deeply unpleasant fates by the arrival of Ghost the Direwolf. Even more happily, Gilly thanks Sam for his bravery by, er, riding him into the sunset.

Dany gets ringside seats

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) goes from an enjoyable roll in the hay with Daario Naharis to a miserable seat at the slave fights with fiancé Hizdahr zo Loraq, where she’s obviously unsettled by the stupid brutality of watching men kill each other for no good reason. But there’s a surprise under one of those gladiator helmets: Jorah Mormont, who runs onto the field like a conquering hero and knocks out every fighter in an incredible display of both skill and restraint. If Jorah was hoping for a joyful reunion with his Queen, he’s not getting one; she is decidedly not happy to see him. She is, however, incredibly surprised at the gift he’s brought: a tiny Lannister, all the way from King’s Landing. With Tyrion and Daenerys finally sharing a screen, it’s a fair bet that the Game of Thrones is about to get blown wide open.

So that’s how they do it in Dorne

While Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) tries unsuccessfully to convince Princess Myrcella to return to King’s Landing, Bronn is killing time in the dungeons by belting out dirty ballads in a surprisingly fantastic baritone. His singing draws the attention of the Sand Snakes, locked up in the opposite cell — particularly Tyene, who starts flirting heavily with him. Right around the time that Tyene gets very, very nude, Bronn realizes he’s actually feeling very, very ill, thanks to the slow-acting poison on the blade she nicked him with. Is this the end of Bronn? Nope: Tyene taunts him, but tosses him the antidote to the poison at the very last minute. Calling it now: These two are gonna get married.

The Sparrows score another royal prisoner

Things are looking dire for poor Margaery, thrown in the clink last week for her perjured testimony about her brother’s sexual proclivities.But hey, at least she’ll have company now! Cersei, who stops by the sept to “visit” Margaery (a.k.a. to make sure that she won’t be getting out anytime soon), ends up staying for an important lesson about what happens when the pot calls the kettle a pervert, as the High Sparrow talks about stripping away wealth and finery to reveal the sin underneath. She thinks he’s talking about the Tyrells, but guess again, dowager queen. Because remember her cousin-turned-lover-turned-sparrow Lancel Lannister? His soul is as free and light as a bird now — because he’s been singing like a canary about Cersei’s naughty deeds.

Game of Thrones is nominated at the 5th Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards. Tune in to see which of your favorite shows take home a trophy on Sunday, May 31, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on A&E.

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