Welcome back to the worst recap on the interwebs, where it’s all game, all thrones, all the time, and now we have all the feels on top of everything else, because now that it’s all systems go for Benioff and Weiss, we have all the plot. Seriously, back in the days when we were following the books it would have taken half a season for this much to happen. It will be interesting to see if this change in pacing keeps up, or how it balances over the season.
So we start with Bran, and some nice reminders of what heart trees look like, and why Bran’s currently entangled in Devil’s Snare, and who exactly that odd little green person is who’s hanging around. And then we get to the good stuff.
It is extremely telling to me what Benioff and Weiss are diving straight into. Now that they hold the reins they go where we’ve all been waiting to go: Lyanna, Rhaegar, the Battle of the Five Kings, the Tower of Joy, and the plot points….they are a’comin.
Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in the Plantsieve, watching young Ned, young Benjen, and young Hodor, who isn’t Hodor yet, and has a suspiciously larger vocabulary than we’ve seen him exhibit thus far. Lyanna does a Significant Entrance on her horse, riding circles around the boys, and Bran is so…happy. It’s bittersweet and touching to see the longing on his face, the joy of being able to stand, and see his father and his home, and it’s a nice testament to Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s acting — he’s a delight to watch as Bran, especially since he got a serious grown-up haircut a la Order of the Phoenix.
Bran wants to stay, Von Sydow says go, because apparently the showrunners’ need to tease out the plotlines coincides nicely with the rules of the Plantsieve.
Meera is still inconsolable, even when Bran tries to cheer her up with tidings of oncoming war and memories of his dead family, which must surely mean so much to her, what with her own brother dead and all. But it’s okay, the Child of the Forest says. Bran needs you. So… I guess…. humor him? Not sure.
Back at the Wall…
It’s SO WEIRD, you guys. That thing I said that would happen, what with Thorne killing Jon to keep the Wildlings out, thereby ensuring that that selfsame group of very pissed Wildlings would thenceforth refuse to be kept out, storming the Castle and all — it’s almost like logic works, and bad ideas really are bad, and ice is cold, and DUH, Thorne.
So the giant knocks the gate politely down, and some brave patriot tries to crossbow him, and the giant decides to show him what the arrow feels like when the crossbow slams it into something, by slamming him into something himself — in this case, the wall. Tormund is always rocking the best beard and the best attitude, and so gets the best line. Thorne: “The Night’s Watch has defended Castle Black against the Wildlings for hundreds of years!” Tormund: “Until you.”
Then Tormund and company go see Jon, who has frankly looked better, and after consulting on exactly how dead we can all agree Jon actually is, Tormund offers to build a funeral pyre, apparently the only one still cognizant of the fact that Jon could totally ice zombie out on them at any point. (Has the fact that he hasn’t done so appeared significant to no one?)
King’s Landing, where we do drunken bar stories in the grossest possible way!
Ah, the local tavern. Where everybody knows your name, and you can brag about flashing your substantial (sure) junk at Queen Cersei, and she liked it, and then you go relieve yourself against a wall and Ser Robert Strong comes and offers you an infinitely more intimate acquaintance with said wall. I’m starting to think that the effects team for this episode specializes in blood spatter / smear over stone.
Tommen is feeling guilty and inept, and apologizes to Cersei for being inept, and Cersei hugs him even though he’s inept. My first thought was that Lena Headey must be SO glad to have her own short hair now, and to be free of that undoubtedly heavy wig. My second thought was that Cersei is in an unenviable position. Her daughter is dead, and she can’t go to her funeral, and her third son will probably be dead soon due to his own youth and inexperience, and you have to wonder if she can summon the will to fight this too, or if she already knows that Tommen’s funeral is inevitable.
Jaime and the High Sparrow have a nice little standoff. Jaime points out that the High Sparrow is being a bit sexist, what with the throwing women in jail and shaming them for whoring and ignoring the self-same men they whored with, not to mention all his other murdery sins. High Sparrow is all *shrug*. He’s got faceless minions with blades, and Jaime will go down, and take that, Lannister. And he smirks and pads off.
(I can’t help feeling that the High Sparrow and Bernie Sanders could have some epic conversations. Am I alone in this? Maybe just a frowsy hair-off?)
The Tyrion and Varys Variety Hour
Tyrion opens with a eunuch joke, and pokes Varys for making dwarf jokes. Varys: “I don’t make dwarf jokes.” Tyrion: “You think them.” This is why we tune in, folks — for the sparkling repartee from these two. Heck, the repartee could be smudgy and I’d still tune in.
So Tyrion has decided to share that he knows all about dragons, which is some very useful information that makes you really appreciate that if Hermione was here, we’d already be riding these dragons. But Tyrion decides that the best plan is to march down and talk to the dragons, because they’re smart and they’ll know he’s a friend.
That’s right. Tyrion Lannister is a man whose plan involves charming a pair of dragons with his wit, vivacity and humor. Tyrion is why we have nice things.
(Meanwhile, Varys stands at the top of the steps, quietly fingering the equivalent to a Westerosi fire extinguisher, tucked in his voluminous robes, and practices arranging his face into the appropriate expression for having your dear ally sadly munched by a monster. Alas.)
This scene with Tyrion and the dragons is worth the entire episode, honestly. Dinklage shines. He makes me more convinced that there are dragons there than Daenerys ever really has. And he manages it — he charms the dragons. “I’m here to help. Don’t eat the help.”
This — this is epic stuff. And this makes me wonder if Benioff and Weiss don’t have the answer to that little Tyrion-is-a-secret-Targaryen theory. I’ve always wondered how Tyrion could rightfully be the third head of the dragon. I have fewer questions about that after watching this scene. We’ll talk about that more later, I’m sure.
Braavos, where children are beaten in the streets and that’s just, like, a Monday
Arya is getting caned, again, and then Jaqen H’ghar appears and offers her comforts if she’ll say her name. Arya is all, pffffft, no. And Jaqen smiles, because Arya has leveled up on sheer attitude, and this is gonna be good. Eventually.
The Dreadfort, where shade goes to die.
Okay, let me just say I am not okay with this.
I am okay with this, because Iwan Rheon is amazing, and ever since I saw that he was cast as Ramsay I was 100% on board. And he has been great. Evil, yes, and therefore great.
But I am not okay with this, because I had just gotten Roose Bolton, Lord of Shade, back. And now I have lost him.
And he even gets a parting shady line! When Ramsay is explaining how all those hunters he sent after Sansa and Theon mysteriously got dead, and hypothesizes that they must have had help. Roose deadpans, “I didn’t think Lady Sansa killed all of them herself.”
Annnnnd then it all goes to hell, because Lady Walda has had a boy, and time has run out for Roose. He’s taught his son so well. Ramsay hugs, then stabs, his father (unable to look him in the face when he does it, interestingly) and then escorts Lady Walda and the baby to his kennel, where he sets the dogs on them, because he wants to be an only child again.
And now I pause, for a moment, to pay tribute to one of my all time favorite bad guys, and now that he and Tywin are gone who will I have to fill the Unfairly Handsome and Compelling Villain void in my life, WHO???
I shall miss you, Roose, and your constant and utter destruction of your son’s self-esteem and my ethics and principles. Your disdain for others and continually implied amusement kept me going through so much. Bolton out.
We get a brief moment with Sansa, Brienne (who is updating Sansa on Arya’s status), and Theon, who has decided to go home. So we go to Pyke, where the interesting stuff is happening.
Yara is yelling at Balon for being stupid, and I thought he was dead? Oh, right, that was the books. I was getting ahead of myself. No worries, the show catches up pretty quick: Euron shows up, he and Balon have a nice symbol-laden conversation about that time Euron went crazy at sea and thinks he’s god now, and Euron tosses Balon off the bridge to his death.
Okay, so NOW he’s dead. And there will be a Kingsmoot to determine the next king, and if you read the books, you know where this is going. And if you didn’t, you’ll probably see next episode.
AND NOW THE MOMENT THAT THE SHOWRUNNERS HAVE BEEN STAUNCHLY PRETENDING WE WEREN’T ALL WAITING FOR, FINGERS FIRMLY IN EARS, “LA LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU, AUDIENCES CAN’T DO LOGIC AND STUFF, WE ARE THE MASTERS OF PLOT POINTS AND JON SNOW IS DEAD DEAD DEAD”
Only, of course, nope.
Davos gives Melisandre a pep talk, which is interesting because he’s always been very anti-Melisandre, but maybe since this is important…. Not sure how he’s justifying that particular contradiction in his head. Knowing Davos, he isn’t justifying anything, he’s just doing what needs doing.
So Melisandre, being the only woman at the Wall, is the only person to stare at Jon’s corpse and think, “You know, that’s a lot of dried blood and gore, would it kill you people to clean him up first?” Dramatic sponging ensues, and then some chanting, and Melisandre seems to genuinely plead with R’hllor, and nothing happens, because Jon Snow is DEAD.
So everyone leaves.
Because he’s dead.
And they shut the door.
Because he’s dead.
And Ghost lies desolately on the floor.
Until, of course, Ghost opens his eyes, and so does Jon.