Subtitle: Loose ends part one (of ten?)
Longest previously on ever, this show is getting very complicated.
We start at Castle Black. Jon Snow is dead, Ghost and Edd are in mourning, Davos and a handful of Jon’s besties hole up in the Lord Commander’s office (?) with the dead body and the dire wolf. There they plot to take on the whole of the new guard, but mostly Thorne, because they’re mad as hell. “We have a dire wolf” says Edd —
which is like a Hulk, but they are still outnumbered by an army of soldiers made up of the worst of Westeros. But! Davos, the only smart person in these woods, points out they could have their own army: the wildlings who were saved by Jon Snow basically single handedly I think yesterday. Edd heads out to get em while the rest hold off Thorne et al with legit hostage negotiation stalling tactics: by asking for
pizza delivery mutton.
The titular Red Woman, Melisandre, is also hanging with the Snow crew and in the absence of Edd’s return Davos is actually considering using her terrible power (yikes, he’s more desperate than I thought, though I guess his situation IS pretty desperate at this point). But she’s pretty depressed by the whole situation because she “saw” Jon fighting in Winterfell in her fire and as Davos points out — rather kindly all told — Jon is dead and therefore in no shape to be fighting anywhere. Melisandre withdraws to gaze sadly into a mirror and then get naked, take off the talisman she wears around her neck, and turn into the old woman she apparently really is. So that happened.
In Winterfell Ramsay mourns the one creature he’s ever shown any kind of real affection for, Myranda the kennel master’s (crazy and cruel) daughter, who he remembers as the only person who wasn’t afraid of him. Idk Ramsay maybe because you use fear as your only way of communicating with people? ‘Course he learned it from Daddy Shame and Threaten who blames Ramsay, correctly, for the loss of Sansa and Theon.
They’re running through the woods to awesome music and Theon’s redemption arc is in full swing as he consistently supports, protects, and cares for Sansa throughout the whole scene. And she rewards him with trust.
Awww. But this hug of necessity (they need to share body heat to survive the cold) is honestly lovely as neither of them has shared any affection with anyone for years and either of them just feeling safe enough to touch another person is comforting to see.
Anyway, Theon tries and fails to hold off Ramsay’s men and Sansa and Theon are set to be returned to Ramsay’s torture chambers but the awesome music returns with the arrival of avenging angel Brienne of Tarth and her squire Podrick who, with one assist from the return of Theon’s sword arm, destroy the lot of them. Hurray! Brienne offers her sword and soul to Sansa again and Sansa, with one assist from Podrick supplying the proper words, finally accepts. HURRAY! This scene is easily my favourite of the hour.
But Cersei and Jaime mourning their daughter is a close second. Hearing a ship from Dorne is in the castle’s harbor, Cersei runs to the water looking happier than I remember seeing her but at the sight of Jamie, and Myrcella’s gold shroud, she crumbles.
Back inside, Cersei explains she became obsessed with imagining their mother’s dead body after her death and now can’t stop thinking about her daughter rotting in a crypt. Jaime tries to tell her Myrcella is free and safe now, not trapped in a tomb, but Cersei is distraught. Unlike Joffrey, Myrcella was good, and to Cersei, proof she might be more than a monster, too. This is both So Sad and So Cersei (it’s all about me!).
Jaime tries again to deflect the guilt and trauma off his sister-lover and onto himself but Cersei confesses she’s known since childhood her children would die. He couldn’t stop fate any more than she can. It’s clear she’s never told him any of this before, which means she’s been holding onto these feelings and fears alone most of her life, which explains a lot. The prophecy is a gimmick and the dialogue is clunky but these two have a chemistry that walks a troublingly beautiful line between amazing and disturbing and they sell it.
Margaery is still in jail and refusing to confess. I don’t even know what she’s supposed to confess to? She asks after her brother (which I love, sibling relationships of all kinds are vitally important to this story) and at one point tries to invoke her power as Queen. Hmmm.
In Dorne Ellaria Sand continues her coup by killing Prince Doran. So I guess he’ll never get to do . . . anything at all in the series. Ellaria’s daughter takes out Doran’s bodyguard while the other two Sand Snakes fight over who gets to kill Trystane (the one who was nominated for an Academy Award for being in Whale Rider wins). So that also happened.
In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys go for a walk, give money to the poor, and discuss who their most troublesome enemies might be while being watched by presumably their more troublesome enemies. Meanwhile, the Red God is recruiting, but oddly through a man, not another Red Woman. Odd to me, at least, because Dany’s plot — which is now also Tyrion’s plot — has always had trouble being a part of the main story and if it was a priestess in place of the priest there would be a through line to the events at Castle Black by way of the title. As is, it’s once removed at best.
Also the harbor burns.
Dany is in the clutches of the Dothraki and plays her trick of pretending not to understand the language so she can use it at the most dramatic time. The men tasked with leading her discuss her body and their plans to rape her because of course they do. But when brought before the Khal she asserts herself with her 500 titles and finally the fact that she was married to his peer once upon a time. Hmmm.
This is most interesting to me because Margaery tried the same thing and neither of them got what they wanted, though both were saved from a worser fate. Dany is told she won’t be returned to Meereen but brought to the temple where the widows of Khals go to live out the rest of their lives. It must be terrible because Khal Moro’s wives, who had wanted him to cut off Dany’s head, looks delighted that she’s being sent there.
Somewhere in between Meereen and Khal Moro’s encampment, the newest Best Worst Road Trip duo, Daario and Jorah, bond over love of their missing queen. Actual exchange:
Daario: When I look at you I like to think I see what I will be when I’m old.
Jorah: Spoilers, you’re not gonna live that long.
Okay, not actually actual. But pretty close. They both pledge themselves to Team Daenerys (yes, again) and find the evidence that she’s being held by the Dothraki. The action seems to be moving very quickly this season. Also, Jorah is still afflicted with the stone skin plague. I’m sure it will matter at some point.
Finally in Braavos, Arya is still a) blind, b) being forced to pretend to be a beggar, and c) being beat up by the Faceless Waif in what I assume is their definition of training. But my definition of abuse.
I cried twice this episode, laughed out loud twice, was legitimately surprised twice, and though there were also eye rolls, I never wanted to hit someone so, low bar but we’re off to a good start.
Winning: Ellaria though I don’t expect that to hold (if we even ever see anyone from Dorne again lol); Sansa, Brienne and crew FINALLY
Dead: Doran, Trystane