THE THRONE ROOM

Game of Thrones season 8, episode 4 recap

HBO

An interesting episode, with one big death. Let's dive in:


1) Distrust grows

The beginning of the episode was about healing after so many friends were lost. But Dany's desire to take the iron throne at all costs is beginning to sow seeds of distrust. Varys and Tyrion are having their doubts. Sansa believes the troops need rest. With just two episodes remaining, the stage is set.

2) Cersei is just smarter

Dany's tactics from a military perspective continue to be questionable. She got another dragon killed, and Missandei captured. Cersei and her allies have been a step ahead from the beginning. Simple question: Why did she not circle around and hit the Greyjoy ships from behind after the anti-dragon weapon worked? She could have toasted the fleet without risking Drogon. Instead, she lost yet another battle.

3) Jamie comes full circle

Jamie's character arc has been amazing. From absolute turd to likable, and it all centered around Brienne. The fact that they finally hooked up was predictable. But for Jamie to leave her to return to Cersei, to once again go back to being a turd...the entire character change seemed to be erased. We still have to think that his story is still to be determined.

4) Adios, Missandei

Another second-tier character bites the dust as Cersei executes Missandei. It serves as a plot point in that now the wrath of Dany and Grey Worm will be impossible to stop. Cersei's arrogance is born of victory after victory. She believes she is going to win, to the point she enjoys killing Missandei. It would be wholly unsatisfying, but at this point do you believe she won't win?

5) Big betrayal coming?

The episode set up something big for next week. Does Varys betray Dany? Will Tyrion? Does the Golden Company betray Cersei? The battle for the Iron Throne will likely be settled next week, and we still have no clue who it will be. Cersei? Dany? Jon? Dany's strategy has been terrible. Why not just dispatch Arya to assassinate Cersei? No battle, no war. Easy surrender. Instead we are likely to see another battle and thousands of innocent deaths. Cersei was always the biggest threat, more so than the Night King, because she is smarter than everyone else.

My only main beef is with the pacing of the show. Too many scenes are dragged out, while others seem rushed.

Still, this was a solid episode, and hopefully the next will be even better.

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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