House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 recap and review: "A Dance of Dragons"

And so, it begins.
Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon II Targaryen in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4
Tom Glynn-Carney as Aegon II Targaryen in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 /

Alright, dragon enthusiasts, buckle up because this week's episode of House of the Dragon is not for the weak of heart.

In the last episode, we watched with baited breath while Rhaenyra learned that she indeed would have to break the lengthy peace her father had established throughout the realm and go through with an all-out war with her own family. Alicent realized she made a mistake but refused to back down from this inevitable bloodshed, saying it was too late.

Get ready for dragon battles, emotional spirals, and enough drama to fill the Red Keep. Let’s dive into the chaos of "The Red Dragon and the Gold." SPOILER WARNING: Please continue to read at your own risk!

Freddie Fox as Gwayne Hightower in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 /

House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4, "The Red Dragon and the Gold" recap and review

Daemon (Matt Smith) is having a trippy time at Harrenhal. Imagine waking up at a creepy castle with no idea how you got there and seeing your dead wife Laena (Nanna Blondell) serving drinks. Talk about a bad trip! Milly Alcock’s younger version of Rhaenyra drops by to give Daemon some much-needed advice, while Alys Rivers (Gayle Rankin) fills in the spooky history of Harrenhal and serves us incredibly well-timed sass and humor. I love Rankin's portrayal of Alys in this so far. Daemon’s stay here feels like a ticking time bomb. Nobody in Westeros has ever managed to hold onto Harrenhal for long, and Daemon’s odds aren’t looking great.

Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) is in a tough spot. With Rhaenys gone and Daemon off in his own world, her support system is crumbling. The walls are closing in, her councilmen are sexist bafoons, and she’s got to figure out her next move fast. What happens when you corner a dragon? We’re about to find out.

Poor Alicent (Olivia Cooke) is having a rough time. Was she pregnant with Cole's baby or was that just a precaution? Not sure, but her hand placement sure seemed very suspicious. Alicent’s frustration boils over, leading to a cold conversation with Aegon, who’s proving to be more of a clown than a king. Aegon’s reign has been a mess. His antics have won him no friends, and even his mother can’t get through to him. When Aemond steps up, it’s clear he’s ready to take control and is actually much better equipped to be king in my honest opinion. Alicent, resigned to the chaos, saying, “The significance of Viserys’s intentions died with him.” Ouch.

Dragons soaring through the skies, fire everywhere, and a fight that’ll make your heart race. Yep, the Battle of Rook’s Rest is the main event in this episode, and it does not disappoint. Around the 33-minute mark, the dragons come out to play, and it’s an all-out brawl. Rhaenys (Eve Best) faces off against Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), who seems to have taken a personal offense to his brother Aegon’s (Tom Glynn-Carney) earlier insults. Things get brutal fast, with Rhaenys meeting her fiery end and Aegon’s fate hanging by a thread. Aemond, showing no mercy, takes revenge to a whole new level. By the time the flames die down, Aemond is victorious, but at what cost?

Matt Smith as Daemon Targaryen and Sir Simon Russell Beale as Simon Strong in House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4 /

Odds & Ends

Aemond picking up Aegon’s dagger at the end is a big deal. This blade isn’t just for show - it holds secrets about the Song of Ice and Fire. With Aemond’s sharp and very knowledgeable mind, he’s bound to figure it all out soon. Also, the Velaryon plot is heating up. Corlys (Steve Toussaint) stepping in to help Rhaenys was a nice touch, but the reveal that Alyn is his bastard is sure to stir things up.

And so it begins.. Camila Domingues | Bam Smack Pow. House of the Dragon season 2 episode 4, "The Red Dragon and the Gold". HotD. A+

This episode is a game-changer. The Battle of Rook’s Rest is just the beginning of the civil war, and with Aemond’s ruthless rise, things are bound to get even bloodier. Rhaenyra is cornered, Daemon’s losing it at Harrenhal, and Alicent’s world is falling apart. The stage is set for an explosive continuation, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

This second season of House of the Dragon is on fire, literally and figuratively. Don't forget to tune in to MAX or Hulu next Sunday, July 14th, for the fifth episode of House of the Dragon.

Next. 4 Marvel projects in danger of cancellation in 2024. 4 Marvel projects in danger of cancellation in 2024. dark