Remember that smoke baby that Melisandre had? Well, it grew up into a Smoke Stannis that snuck into Renly's tent and killed him dead, right when he was cutting a deal with Catelyn Stark. So Renly's out of the picture, which transfers most of his army over to Stannis. The only parts that didn't defect immediately are those controlled by House Tyrell, specifically Loras and Margaery, both of whom get out of town immediately. As do Catelyn and Brienne, who were the only ones to see the assassination. Brienne is desperate for vengeance against Stannis, but she takes a moment to swear loyalty to Catelyn.
Daenerys gets into Qarth, where she's swept into a world of delightful garden parties. She does have to take some time convincing the remnants of her Dothraki horde not to steal golden peacocks, but mostly she gets to watch terrible magic tricks and receive marriage proposals from rich merchants. She also discovers that Jorah Mormont is in love with her, because up until now, I guess she assumed he was following her into certain death just for the fun of it. Jorah convinces her not to get married in exchange for a giant pile of money, because he thinks she can conquer Westeros with just one ship.
Now, some quick hits: Bran is still having weird dreams in Winterfell, and he has to send troops to defend against the Mountain and his raids. Theon discovers that the crew of the Sea Bitch doesn't respect him, and he realizes he should disobery his father's orders.
The real fun, though, is Arya Stark's new life as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer. After narrowly escaping with a lie about where she's from (although it didn't look to me like Tywin believed her), she runs into Jaqen H'ghar, the guy from the cage who talked in the third person. He's in the Lannister army now, somehow. In his circuitous way, Jaqen explains to Arya that she saved three lives by letting them out of that cage, so now he's going to kill three people for her. She kind of wastes the first one on the guy who was doing the interrogating in the last episode, but at least we learn that he was called "The Tickler." That's kind of fun. And now Arya has two wishes left, which should be fun.
If you're curious, this episode contains adult content, adult language, and violence. So if anyone makes fun of you for watching a fantasy-themed show, just remind them that two of the key elements contain the word "adult." Then snap your fingers in their face and stride off, ideally with a jaunty bounce in your walk. Maybe whistle the theme song, if you can remember how it goes.
Speaking of the theme song, it plays during the opening credits, which include King's Landing, Harrenhal, Pyke, Winterfell, the Wall, and Qarth. I have two quick observations about that. First, Winterfell and the Wall were in the credits last episode, but there weren't any scenes at either place. So they might be permanent fixtures in the credits. Or maybe they're just going to start throwing in random places, which I strongly endorse. Why not have Milwaukee in there once? And second, when the camera goes from the Wall to Qarth, it passes very close to a giant glowing thing in the sky. I assume that's supposed to be the meteor that everyone was talking about a couple episodes ago, but there's a chance it's just the sun. Unlike the cities, it's not labelled.
We start with a busy camp. There are people running around with torches. Ah, it's Renly's camp. I know that because Catelyn is promising Renly that Robb has no interest in the Iron Throne. Renly thinks this over and declares that he sees no reason for hostility between them. As far as he's concerned, Robb can call himelf "The King in the North" until he's blue in the face as long as he swears the same oath of fealty to Renly that Ned swore to Robert. And in return, Renly will destroy Stannis's army and then Baratheon and Stark will work together. That sounds like most of what Robb wanted, right? Renly seems to consider the negotiations basically over, so Brienne removes his cloak and armor. Catelyn begs him to negotiate a peace with Stannis. Nope! Renly considers Stannis unlikely to negotiate at this point. Besides, he's pretty confident in his giant army. He tells Catelyn, "Please bring my terms to your son. I believe we are natural allies. I hope he feels the same." He thinks that would let them end the war in a fortnight or so.
But just then! A shadow slithers into the room and stabs Renly in the back! Whoops! Brienne shrieks, "No!" Renly falls and the shadow dissipates. I guess it was one of those one-king shadows. Soldiers run in and attack Brienne, thinking she did it. Catelyn tries to tell them it wasn't her, but it's academic, because Brienne is awesome and kills them immediately. It's a good thing this is a big tent, because Brienne is a giant and she's swinging around a two-handed sword.