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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Another tough loss for Houston. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans lost again as their road game ineptitude continues. Former Texans stars DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt helped the Cardinals to the 31-5 victory.

1. The lack of talent is getting exposed earlier and earlier each week. The Texans have seen games slip away faster and faster from them each week. The team is overmatched almost everywhere.

2. Penalties remain a problem for the Texans. It seems like clockwork the team gets an illegal motion or illegal formation each week. Jordan Akins torpedoed a drive with a chop block. Max Scharping erased a positive play with a hold.

3. Davis Mills had some solid moments, but again, this team isn't good. It is hard to assess Mills with this team. He's making quicker decisions but he doesn't have the time or the players to make big plays.

4. The offensive line stinks. The interior of the line is still a mess and with Laremy Tunsil down the edges find themselves shaky as well. The running backs don't block well. The blocking tight ends don't block well. It is bad football in what was supposed to be a much-improved unit.

5. Desmond King was the best returner in the preseason. The team elected to give Andre Roberts an opportunity for a few games, but with his departure, the duties went to King. King is the most successful returner the Texans have had in a long while. Yes, it is that clear after just one game.

6. Max Scharping was benched in favor of Justin McCray. McCray produced similar levels of success. Scharping was benched last year for a journey-man veteran as well. The former second-round pick isn't getting it done.

7. Speaking of former second-round picks, Lonnie Johnson had an interception. That was the highlight of his day. Otherwise, Johnson frequently has me asking "what is Lonnie Johnson doing?" The former second-round pick at cornerback has been less than impressive at safety. Johnson seems to frequently be out of position or making the wrong choice in coverage.

8. DeAndre Hopkins had a solid day against the team that traded him away. Hopkins hauled in seven catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. After he scored, Hopkins looked to bring his hands together and mimic a prayer motion. I don't anticipate this was a nod to Arian Foster but perhaps could this have been about Jack Easterby?

9. The Texans had some sacks, but little of that action came when the game was close. Jonathan Greenard added two sacks to his total. The success Greenard is having is frustrating when you consider he couldn't get on the field last season. Charles Omenihu returned to action and had some pressures for the defense.

10. During the game reports surfaced that the Panthers might be interested in trading for Deshaun Watson. It was also reported by the Houston Chronicle Watson had vetoed a trade to Philadelphia, so the Eagles will not be involved in the Watson sweepstakes. The Panthers can only trade two first-round picks. The Miami Dolphins have three first-round picks they can trade for Deshaun Watson.

11. The Texans decided on a "culture" head coach in David Culley. His team has looked lifeless on the road. While the Texans took their beating, the Lions gave it their all against a good Rams team. Detroit is winless, but they play harder and better than the Texans. It grows clearer each week "culture" is meaningless if the team can't win.

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