That’s it, guys. The season flew by.
The episode opens on Jon tromping through the charred remains of the battle. There are dead wildlings strewn about every which way, and happy little crows pecking away at the dead flesh. Gross! As you may remember, Jon is heading to the wildling camp to try to kill Mance Rayder, the leader of the wildlings.
As Jon walks into the wildling camp, he surrenders. I’m more than a little bit surprised that he wasn’t killed on sight. I’m also surprised that he straight up lies to Mance, telling him he was sent to negotiate on behalf of the Night’s Watch.
Jon breaks down the whole story of how he faked being a turncoat because Qhorin Halfhand ordered him to. “I was loyal to my Night’s Watch vows,” he claims. Mance calls bullshit on that one, as everyone knows that Crow was pecking around Ygritte’s nest. Ew, I can’t believe I even just wrote that. Ygritte seems to be as beloved to the wildlings as she is to me, as Jon and Mance spend a few minutes chatting about her fate before they get down to the pretty freakin urgent matters of state. They drink a toast to Ygritte, and to Grenn and the giant king he took down.
Mance claims that the wildlings are here to hide, not to conquer. That seems to be belied by the fact that they employed a huge murderous attack rather than just saying they needed a place to crash, but ok. Mance also states that ‘winter is coming’, which we haven’t heard in awhile. Pardon? I thought winter was already here. What the fuck is winter then if it isn’t endless snow and the raising of ice zombies?
Jon makes a half-hearted attempt to pull out his sword and kill Mance, but he obviously can’t do it without being killed himself. Also, it would be kind of rude to murder Mance right after he offered peace. Before that whole situation is resolved, the war horn is blown, and we see a giant cavalry riding in perfect formation from two sides. Who the eff is that? Also, another battle? I’m burned out on this shit.
We get a few moments of wildlings being slaughtered by armored men on horse back before Mance tells his men to stand down. There’s been enough bloodshed. Really? We couldn’t decide that before Ygritte got killed?
Who’s here to save the day? Its mother fucking Stannis, finally getting to feel like one of the cool kids for probably the first time in his life.
Him, Davos, and some other knights even do a cute little synchronized dismount from their horses.
Nobody seems too concerned that Jon, supposedly a Crow, is just hanging out in the wildling camp. (Again, what’s with the not killing on sight?) He even gets some special props from Stannis for being related to Ned Stark, and Stannis takes Jon’s advice to take Mance prisoner. Mance surrenders, but he won’t kneel.
Our next shot is of a big Night’s Watch funeral. We get some final goodbye shots of the cold dead faces of Pyp and Grenn. There’s no nice crematorium, so all of the dead just get burned in the middle of the yard. I wonder if it smells like barbecue.
Jon then goes to check in on the imprisoned Tormund; he’d like to know if the free folk have any special prayers to be said over their dead. Naw, says Tormund. The free folk don’t believe in shit. Again, the conversation turns to Ygritte. Even grizzly old Tormund knew that Ygritte truly loved Jon, cause she wouldn’t stop talking about killing him.
“I wish she wanted to cut off my fun bits like she wanted to cut off your fun bits.”
Sounds right. Tormund also asks that Ygritte be buried in the ‘real north’ – AKA beyond the Wall.
Jon again treks out beyond the Wall, dragging Ygritte’s body. Seriously? Are they just not even checking who goes in and out any more? Jon arranges her all pretty on a funeral pyre, then lights it up.
He walks away, leaving the fire and just dropping a burning stick on the ground. Smoky the Bear would not be pleased. (Also I cried again. Shut up.)
Despite appearances last week, the Mountain is still alive. However, he is slowly dying from manticore venom, which that crafty Oberyn apparently put on his spear. I guess he wasn’t taking any chances with the vengeance. We are introduced to a completely random, creepy man who was apparently kicked of maester school for being too curious. Maester Pycelle doesn’t trust him, but Cersei does and tells him to save the Mountain. The creepy guy is doing some creepy process to save the Mountain, which will ‘change’ him, but not make him weaker. What?
Cersei also pops in for a last-ditch chat with Papa Tywin about her upcoming marriage to Loras. She even kinda threatens to kill herself and Tommen a little bit, like she almost did in the Throne Room during the siege. She fears that Tywin and Margaery will put their claws in Tommen and rip him apart, which seems pretty likely; she won’t be shipped off to Highgarden where she can’t protect him.
Tywin shuts her down, as usual, with talk of duty and the family. Cersei must be really desperate, because she plays her final trump card: She’ll tell everyone that Jaime is the father of her kids. Even as Cersei looks him in the eye and says it, Tywin refuses to believe her.
Next, Cersei rushes over to Jaime; she is all excited that she finally came out to Tywin. She’s also excited that Tyrion’s finally going to die. For the umpteenth time, she makes it clear that she blames his tiny little baby body for deliberately killing their mom. She tells Jaime she chooses him, and they start doing it right there on the table. I guess that whole rape thing is just a fond memory now.
Dany is dealing with still more annoying subjects who can’t figure out their place in the new world. This time, it’s a guy who actually misses being a slave. He’s all old and doesn’t know what else to do with himself, and he thinks the former slave barracks and dining halls are too ratty and dangerous for him. He’s asking for special permission to be a slave again. Instead, Daenerys says he can enter into a year-long work contract. Good luck with that slippery slope, princess?
Remember that time Drogon was chasing a little goatherd boy and we all thought Drogon ate him but then it was just a goat? Yea, that was a major spoiler, cause this time Drogon actually did eat a child. A little three year old girl. (Yup, I cried, even as I was surprised that anyone on this show cares about the fate of their female children.)
Drogon is still off wreaking havoc, and can’t be found. Dany takes her other two babies down to the catacombs, chains them up, and locks them in. Whattt! That is discrimination! You can’t tar all dragon with the same brush! They cry for their mama and strain at the chains as she locks them in there. No sunshine, can’t fly. WTF.
Bran, Jojen, Meera, Hodor and Summer are still heading north, through the snow. Jojen is, as usual, pretty much dying, and everyone else is exhausted. I would be so goddamned pissed watching Bran ride around in that sled.
Anyway, they have at last reached the mystical tree.
Cool tree bro.
Everyone is really excited til they get within a hundred yards of the tree and skeletons start popping out of the ground. What the fuckity fuck? This is some really cheesy pirates of the Caribbean shit. It’s the first time I’ve really been judging the special effects crew.
Hodor is being a pansy as usual, so Bran goes into his body to fight the skeletons. Summer and Meera help too. Blah blah blah. I really didn’t need another fight scene, honestly, especially one with stupid CGI skeletons. Jojen gets stabbed by a skeleton and I don’t care that much.
Just as it looks like they’ll lose the battle, a creepy child comes and takes the skeletons out with fire balls. Why didn’t you do that a minute ago, mystical child? Meera slits Jojen’s throat so he won’t become a Walker – we already see his eyes start to turn blue – then runs towards the weird child.
They all run into the roots of the mystical tree. Apparently the tree is like a base in tag, cuz the bonies explode when they try to go inside. They trek through the tunnels with the mystical child, and I pretty much expect Rufio to pop out at any moment.
Apparently, she is one of The Children – the creatures that lived on the land before men. The three eyed raven is squawking around down there, as well. The storyline continues to be stupid as Bran crawls up to an old man wrapped in a tree.
“I’ve been watching you, all of you, all of your lives, with a thousand eyes… You’ll never walk, but you will fly.”
Wow, this is super stupid. We already have goddamned dragons and the Brotherhood bringing people from the dead and Melisandre’s magic and White Walkers and Jaqen Hagar’s face-changing magic. Now we have dancing skeletons, elf children and a man who’s part of a tree. Where the fuck is this going?
Brienne and Pod are heading towards the Eyrie, and Arya and the Hound are heading away, so of course they run directly into one another in that broad enormous expanse of land without roads.
As I predicted, the Hound and Arya left the Eyrie without trying to talk to Robyn, which is stupid. Arya is wary but curious of the lady knight, and they chat about sword names and their daddies.
Once the Hound finishes taking a poop, he intervenes. His normal dickish attitude towards other humans generally notwithstanding, he also recognizes the Lannister gold. Pod recognizes the Hound, on the other hand, and that tips Brienne off that she’s looking at Arya. Brienne claims she swore an oath to Catelyn, but that’s not too convincing once she admits her sword was a gift from Jaime.
Brienne tries to get Arya to come with her, so they can go to safety. The Hound responds, “Where the fuck is that?”
Arya doesn’t seem to know what to do, so the Hound and Brienne start fighting over her. At first I was irritated by another swordplay scene. I think one of them must really suck at fake swordplay, cause the shots were edited in .3 second intervals. Brienne gets Hound at the end of her sword, but doesn’t kill him right away. Hey, remember the last time someone had a Clegane brother at the end of his sword and decided to chill that way for a bit? Yea, it didn’t work out well, and it doesn’t this time either. The Hound grabs her sword and throws it away, and the fight goes from swordplay to really, really ugly. Like bashing each other with rocks, teeth flying everywhere ugly. Brienne goes absolutely batshit and pushes the Hound off a mini cliff, ending the battle. Good work! Let’s have less people who care about Arya in the world!
Arya’s hidden away, thinking that Brienne is clearly a psycho. Once Brienne and Pod stomp off looking for her in another direction, she goes down to visit the Hound, who’s still crawling a bit at the bottom of his mini cliff.
“Killed by a woman. I bet you like that.” I liked it!
Now, after this epic battle, he tells her to go with Brienne. What the fuck? What was the point of fighting her then? Arrrghh. He also asks Arya to stab him in the heart, and end it for him. She doesn’t move. He reminds her of the things he’s done – killing her friend, the butcher’s boy. He says he should’ve raped Sansa. Maisie Williams’ stone-faced Arya is really incredible through this scene.
Arya had started trusting and learning from the Hound, and I feel like this face is all of that faith draining out again.
Once he sees anger won’t work, he starts begging pathetically.
Arya gets up, goes over to him, snatches his purse of gold, and walks away. He keeps yelling “kill me!” as she walks off down the valley.
Tyrion gets a late night visitor, but it’s not his executioner. It’s Jaime, who has orchestrated his escape with the help of Varys. After a final bro hug, Jaime gives Tyrion instructions to go up a certain tunnel and knock twice.
Instead, Tyrion takes a little detour to the Tower of the Hand. When he enters the bedchambers, he finds none other than Shae.
Before she looks up and sees him, she murmurs, “my lion..”
Once Shae sees that it’s Tyrion, the first thing she does is reach for a knife. After a brief but brutal struggle, Tyrion catches her by the Chain of the Hand around her neck, and slowly strangles her.
Ooof. He even apologizes afterwards.
I guess now we’ll never know what Shae’s true motivations were. In the book, it seemed pretty clear that Shae was playing Tyrion from the beginning. In the show, though, he feelings for him seemed genuine. Did she sleep with Tywin to get back at Tyrion even further, because she loved him? Or was she Tywin’s plant from the beginning? Or did she just do what she had to do to survive? My money was on the latter until she reached for that knife. For more on Shae, see this interview with George R.R. Martin.
Next stop is the bathroom, where Papa Tywin is found on the chamberpot. He seemed a little less surprised to see Tyrion than I would think, and immediately works out that it was Jaime who engineered the escape. At first, he doesn’t even seem that worried that Tyrion’s pointing a crossbow at him.
But as he repeatedly tries to get up and Tyrion repeatedly stops him, it’s clear that Tywin starts to get nervous. He starts out cold, saying he always hoped Tyrion would die. He goes for flattery, saying he admires Tyrion’s instinct for staying alive. He tries some straight out desperate lies, promising he would never actually let his son be executed. None of these tacks seems to be working, and then Tywin makes the ultimate mistake by bringing up Shae. According to Tywin, her death doesn’t matter, because she’s just a whore.
“Are you afraid of a dead whore?”
Upon those words, Tyrion shoots Tywin right in the chest. Reloads, shoots again, drops the mic.
Tyrion finally goes to meet Tywin, who smuggles him onto a ship in a box. Varys also boards the ship, after looking back at a very imposing King’s Landing.
Arya’s taking to sea, as well. Remember that mystical coin Jaquen Hagar gave her? She gives it to a Braavosi sea captain, and voila, she’s riding the waves.