This week begins in the Vale, where we get a chance to finally meet, albeit very briefly, the lady Rhea Royce. The Lady of Runestone, Rhea, is Daemon Targaryen's wife and the "bronze bitch" we've heard about. Clearly, Daemon is not fond of her or the Vale.
As she goes out hunting solo, she comes across Daemon, who had been banished to the Vale (again) by Viserys. Now while it's possible that Daemon went there to seek an annulment of their marriage, that does not happen. Rhea has no love for Daemon either and makes fun of the fact that they haven't consummated their marriage and how Viserys cast him aside in favor of Rhaenyra.
Daemon, ever the wild card, causes her horse to toss her off, and it lands on top of her, breaking her neck and leaving her paralyzed. He begins to walk away, but after she insults him one last time, we see him pick up a rock to finish the job.
Meanwhile, Viserys, Rhaenyra, and the rest of the Royals are on their way to Driftmark to meet with Lord Corlys to arrange the marriage of Rhaenyra and Laenor. Viserys continues to get sicker every week, and Rhaenyra takes notice as her father throws up on the side of the ship, a combination of seasickness and his illness, no doubt.
In King's Landing, Otto prepares to leave the city for good when Alicent stops him. She doesn't want him to go, but Otto has no choice, and he is disappointed with her, saying that she chose Rhaenyra over him and her children. Alicent still believes Rhaenyra, or at the very least wants to believe her, and says that this might not have happened if Otto wasn't so focused on making Aegon heir.
He warns her that if Rhaenyra succeeds Viserys, then war will follow because the Realm will not accept her as Queen. In order to secure her claim, Alicent's kids will need to be killed, a fact that Alicent knows but refuses to believe. She must choose between her friend or the genuine possibility that it is her kids who will suffer the consequences. Otto hugs her before riding off in the rain, leaving Alicent crying in the rain.
In the gardens of King's Landing, Alicent is approached by Larys Strong, the son of the new Hand of the King, Lyonel Strong. They talk about their fathers, and we begin to see that, despite his lack of physical prowess, he has a real talent for manipulation and scheming, a powerful asset in the world of House of the Dragon.
He appears to express concern for Rhaenyra when he mentions that she had a tea delivered to her by the Grand Maester. He makes it seem as if Rhaenyra is sick and that Viserys sent the tea to help her. The news shakes Alicent, who realizes what the tea was likely for and that Rhaenyra had, almost certainly, lied to her.
At Driftmark, Viserys finds no Royal welcome from Corlys or any Velaryons, a slight no doubt. Lady Laena comes to greet him, and Viserys begrudgingly walks inside the castle. While Laena keeps Rhaenyra busy with Laenor, Viserys meets with Corlys and Rhaenys to discuss the potential marriage. They're both able to see how sick Viserys is, which in Westeros always presents an opportunity for some to take advantage of.
They let Viserys know that Rhea Royce has died under suspicious circumstances, given that she was a great rider and hunter. Viserys proposes the marriage of Rhaenyra and Laenor, with Corlys needing a few details ironed out.
Rhaenyra will still be the Queen, and their firstborn child (regardless of gender) will inherit the Iron Throne from her. Corlys asks whether or not, as in keeping with Westorosi tradition, the children would take their father's name. The line of Targaryens will not end, the children will take the Velaryon name, but when they ascend the throne, they will revert to the Targaryen name. Corlys agrees to the compromise.
Rhaenyra and Laenor walk on the beach together, where we find out that Laenor is secretly gay (a fact his parents are aware of.) They agree that they'll do what they need to do as a married couple (produce children, rule, etc.), but they'll be free to do as they please outside of that.
On the ship ride home, Ser Criston professes his love for Rhaenyra, proposing they leave this whole thing behind. They could escape to Dorne, board passage to Essos, and live freely without the constraints of their Royal duties. Laenor was not chosen for her, and she has no feelings for him, so if they fled to Essos, they could get married, and they'd be able to do so for love.
She cares for him but knows that she cannot do what he wants her to do. Rhaenyra attempts to console him by telling him that since she and Laenor have come to their understanding, she and Criston could still be together. Criston took an oath of chastity, and his reputation has now been ruined because of what they did. Rhaenyra attempts to explain why she must do what she is going to do, but Criston leaves.