How did Game of Thrones follow up on one of its most shocking deaths in series history?
By making it look like Joffrey may have been lucky to get killed off.
On Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 3, aptly titled "Breaker of Chains," we witnessed one scene after that proved those still alive are merely prisoners in their own, unhappy way.
There's SANSA, who thought she had escaped the pain of King's Landing, only to end up on Littlefinger's boat and be exposed to the truth that the one man she thought truly wanted to help her... didn't really care about helping her at all.
If she better off with Baelish than she had been at King's Landing? Maybe? Possibly?
But we all know what this deceptive, slimy figure is like. Sansa is anything but a free woman at the moment.
She's a tad more free, however, than husband TYRION, who is literally a prisoner, being held for the murder of Joffrey and having a fortnight to try and finagle his way out of it.
The scene with Podrick was both revealing in terms of Tyrion learning of the trial that awaits him, and also revealing in terms of showing how far Tyrion has come.
Think Season 1 Tyrion would have ordered his servant to accept a deal or get out of King's Landing just to spare his own life? Of course not. He'd have used every possible way to gain leverage and to save his own rear end.
CERSEI, meanwhile, has lost any semblance of power and/or leverage of her own. She's destroyed over the death of one son and watching helpless as Tywin starts to mold her other son into the sort of king he can control.
And she was raped by her brother alongside the corpse of their inbred child. That was... uncomfortable.
Poor GILLY is also a prisoner of her own circumstances. She's at the mercy of Sam, who really does want what's best for her - but what's best for her looks rather unappealing.
It could be worse, though; she could have been a resident of the town YGRITTE and company so mercilessly pillages. What a disturbing scene. I am going to eat your mama and I am going to eat your papa. Go tell the men at Castle black that... shudder.
Finally, the only character not stuck as a prisoner was the one trying to free those who were: DANY. She still feels very far removed from everyone else and we're anxious to see her actually make her way to King's Landing.
Along the way, though, it's always fun to see her make grand speeches and build her army.
Overall, a very busy episode. Sides are being built - from Tywin offering a deal to Oberyn to Davos realizing how to find Stannis some soldiers - for the next major battle to come. Let's all drink a glass of wine in celebration.
Actually, that's probably a bad idea.