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 gets back in the win column

Astros end six-game skid thanks to a gem by Greinke

Zack Greinke tossed a gem Saturday night. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the Mariners roared back Friday night to get a walk-off win over the Astros, dashing their hopes of ending their losing streak, Houston tried to even the series with a win on Saturday night with their ace Zack Greinke on the mound. Greinke would do his part, throwing a terrific game, and the Astros would squeak out one run, which was enough to get back in the win column.

Final Score: Astros 1, Mariners 0

Astros' Record: 7-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Chris Flexen (1-1)

Plenty of hits, but only one run

Although the Astros were racking up hits against Chris Flexen, they had little to show for it. Eight different batters would notch ten hits against him, but the only time it amounted to a run was on a two-out RBI-single by Taylor Jones in the top of the fourth, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.

Greinke spins a gem

Luckily for them, Zack Greinke was making it look like that would be enough. He cruised through the Mariners all night, allowing just four hits while giving up zero runs along with six strikeouts, one of which moved him past 2,700 on his career. He could have attempted to finish the complete-game shutout, but at 91 pitches after eight, Dusty Baker opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly for the ninth. Greinke's final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 91 P.

Houston finally ends their losing streak

With the high-leverage save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered to hold on to the one-run lead. He would do his job, finishing off the win for Greinke and putting an end to Houston's disappointing losing streak.

Up Next: The third and final game of this series will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will look to make a rebound from his disappointing first start with the Astros, while the Mariners will start Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA).

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