updated 05/12/2014 AT 2:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/12/2014 AT 5:30 AM ET
In the criminal justice system, the people of Westeros are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The Lannisters, who investigate crimes and the Lannisters, who prosecute the offenders.
Okay, so they re not separate at all; as “The Laws of Gods and Men” proves, having all power in the realm rest with Tywin Lannister is a pretty crappy deal for everyone not named Tywin Lannister. But, as this show loves to remind us, all men must die.
What will happen when Tywin s gone? That s a question Game of Thrones has never considered as explicitly as it has this week.
(Also, if you were wondering whether or not someone s already made a Game of Thrones-Law and Order mashup, yes, they have.)
Major spoilers below. Proceed at your own risk!
The specter of a post-Tywin Westeros is first raised explicitly by Ser Davos during his and Stannis s tense visit to the Iron Bank of Braavos. The bank, represented here by Sherlock s Mark Gatiss, are initially unsympathetic to Stannis s claims, but a impromptu stump speech from Davos – “There only one reliable leader left in Westeros and he s in his prime!” – does the trick. Who knew flashing your finger stumps would be the Westeros equivalent of “Where s the beef?”
Elsewhere in Essos, Dany is learning that you can t be Tywin Lannister and Mother Teresa all at once. Ruling is easy enough when your dragons are burning some poor farmer s goats – just reimburse him for the error and move on. But what do you do when confronted with the evidence that the horrible slavers you ve just tortured to death were people too, with loved ones who mourn them?
The appearance of Hizdahr Zo Loraq (much more sympathetic here than the preening dandy of the books), son of one of the crucified slavers, is the first sign that Dayn s reign in Meereen is going to be more complicated than it seemed at first. It s one thing to burn the baddies with fire, it s another to accept them as your subjects, with all the rights that entails.
Remember that plot thread about Yara rescuing Theon? Yeah, that s reintroduced and finished up in the span of 10 minutes. Turns out Theon doesn t want to go, an act of loyalty that earns him a rare bath from Ramsay. (And it s a credit to Iwan Rheon s performance that such a tender scene could be so terrifying.) In return, the Bolton bastard acts his captive to play a crucial role in an upcoming scheme: his former self.