We open in bizarro Westeros, where the sun is shining, the fields are green, and clean, cheerful people are working together in harmony to construct some sort of house of worship. Even the music is uncharacteristically uplifting, evoking a sense of hope and the possibility of a better future. It stirs something deep within your heart, and you’re filled with a sudden clarity: these people are going to fucking die.
Building, building, hammering. Jolly Papa Smurf Septon dude wearing a Seven-pointed-star necklace and joking about. People carrying big logs on their shoulders. One super-tough guy is carrying one all on his own and HOLY SHIT IT’S THE HOUND.
I totally didn’t see that coming. But you know what this means, right?
CLEGANEBOOOOOOOOWL!! And it better be this season, jackasses. Don’t cliffhanger this shit up.
The Hound is chopping wood. Papa Smurf Septon admires his form and muses that it must have been quite a man that cut him down. The Hound admits it was a woman. Papa Smurf laughs. Are they flirting?
Dinnertime. Papa Smurf brings the Hound a drink, presumably to wash down ALL THE FUCKING CHICKENS. Man I miss Season 4. We learn that the Septon saved the Hound’s life and believes the Gods have plans for him…like getting him to slay the Mountain in a trial-by-combat upset that results in Cersei getting the Anne Boleyn treatment, for example.
To King’s Landing, where Margaery is continuing her brainwashed-act in the High Sparrow’s lair. She’s wearing a modest dress that has more fabric than all her former dresses combined. The High Sparrow enters and she convincingly quotes the Book of the Seven: a wife salves her husband’s wounds and sings her son to sleep and makes nurturing casseroles before freshening up her makeup and popping some Xanax.
The High Sparrow ups his own creepy factor x 10 by asking Margaery why she isn’t putting out for Tommen. When Margaery tells him it’s because she’s no longer driven by ‘those desires’, her tells her that the King doesn’t need her desire – just patience. Patience? Why? Does it take forever? Tommen strikes me as a 10-seconds-and-done kinda guy.
Margaery agrees to give Tommen pity sex in order to produce an heir. The High Sparrow then openly pinpoints her grandmother as his next target. So with dour Septa Unella in tow, Margaery meets with Olenna and implores her to leave Kings Landing – then nearly blows her cover by squishing a note in Olenna’s hand. Olenna leaves and we see it’s a drawing of a rose, indicating Margaery’s ongoing loyalty to House Tyrell.
Stark Campaign Trail: Part 1. Jon, Sansa and Davos hit up the Wildling settlement and ask them to join the march on Winterfell. Jon reminds them that they’ll die if the Boltons aren’t defeated. Tormund weighs in with the emotional guilt: Jon, like, died for us. He’s the Christ figure that was promised. Wun Wun gives Jon the giant thumbs up, and the rest of the wildlings are on board.
Back to Kings Landing, where Cersei approaches Olenna and asks why she’s leaving the city. Olenna blows her off and reminds her that this complete cluster-fuck is due to her stupidity. Cersei agrees…she’s is weirdly passive during this whole scene. She tells Olenna that they need each other, and Olenna – ever eloquent and elegant – wonders aloud if Cersei is the worst person she’s ever met. I love this character. Run, Olenna! If the High Sparrow captures and beheads you, my heart will break.
Riverrun, where Jaime and Bronn arrive with the Lannister army. We hear the Rains of Castamere and Jaime is wearing Tywin’s threads, which I suppose is all symbolic of his moral pendulum swinging back towards being a coldhearted ball-bag who will compromise his honor to make Cersei happy. Hopefully Brienne sorts him out next week.
The Freys are trying to take back the castle by threatening to hang Edmure. The Blackfish appears and is all ‘meh’. Jaime steps in and fires the Freys, then tells Bronn to get word to the Blackfish: he wants to party. What? Oh – parlay.
Stark Campaign Trail: Part 2: The Ballbreaker of Bear Island. Jon, Sansa and Davos meet with young Lyanna Mormont, who takes exactly no shit from anyone. She rebuffs Sansa and Jon, and asks why any more of her people should die in someone else’s war. Good question!
Lucky for Jon and Sansa, they have the best motivational speaker in Westeros by their side. Davos steps up and points out that the war is bigger than just a few squabbling houses; the dead are coming for them all. No one can resist a Davos sweet-talk, and Lyanna Mormont pledges them her fighting men… all 62 of them.
Back to Riverrun, where Jaime rides to meet the Blackfish. He tells him to surrender the castle and promises to spare his men if he does so. Blackfish tells him to go fuck himself. Jaime asks him why he bothered even meeting with him if he had no intention of saving his men’s lives. Apparently the Blackfish was bored shitless and wanted to get the measure of Jaime…and he’s disappointed. Eeeek! A zinger right to the heart of Jaime’s daddy issues.
Stark Campaign Trail: Part 3: Cranky House Glover. Lord Glover denies Jon’s request for support, and says the Boltons could skin him for even talking to them. Sansa is looking more and more pre-menstrual. Lord Glover learns that the majority of the Stark army is comprised of wildlings, and tells them to leave. Sansa bitchily reminds Lord Glover that his house is pledged to the Starks. Glover’s eye twitches and he informs her that the last time he fought for the Starks, his family and men were brutalised and murdered. So maybe shut up, Sansa.
Volantis, where Greyjoy sails are flying. Theon is sitting in a tavern looking twitchy, while Yara is enjoying some local hospitality. Boobs. Boobs everywhere. Theon asks why they had to come here, and Yara decides it’s time to give him a verbal kick up the arse; she forces him to guzzle ale and says she’s tired of watching him cower like a dog – it’s time for the real Theon to return. If he’s lost forever, he should cut his wrists – but if not, she needs him to come with her to Meereen (WHOOOP!) and make a pact with the Dragon Queen. Is he with her? Theon raises his head, looks her in the eye and nods. Another powerful moment from Alfie Allen.
Jon, Sansa and Davos arrive in Stannis’ old camp. You know, the one where he flambéed his own daughter. Speaking of, where is Melisandre at these days?
Sansa Snark bitches about setting up camp here, given that Stannis was defeated. Sigh. For someone who had zero fucking allies a few weeks ago, she’s pretty ungrateful. Davos reminds her that Stannis was the most experienced commander in Westeros and chose this location with good reason. Again – shut up, Sansa.
They dismount and talk numbers: 2,000 wildlings, 200 Hornwoods, 143 Mazins and 62 Mormonts make up their army. Um, you also have a giant. Just sayin’. How sweet would it be to see Wun Wun bitch-slap Ramsay against a wall?
Davos runs off to break up an argument between a wildling and a northman. Sansa snits at Jon about trusting Davos and tells him they need more men. Jon says they’ll fight with the army they have now, before the snow cuts them off. Sansa pouts before running off to send a raven to (presumably) Littlefinger. Dear Littlefinger, I know I told you to go fuck yourself a few weeks ago, but I’ve decided to revert back to my previously annoying self and hand you a chance to weave your poisonous web and create enmity between my brother and I. KTHXBYE.
Bizarro Westeros, where Papa Smurf is at the centre of a circle of trust and telling his people of his past transgressions as a coward, an arsonist, a thief and a murderer. Looking pointedly at the Hound, he says it’s never too late to come back. Aw. But also, it’s never too late to WREAK BLOODY REVENGE ON YOUR MONSTROUS BROTHER. So do that!
Three men on horseback approaching. The Hound smells trouble. Papa Smurf Septon greets the men, who claim to be protecting the people. They also want horses, gold, steel and food. Papa Smurf tells them they have none of the above, and they warn him that the night is dark and full of terrors.
Cut to the Hound, compulsively chopping wood again. Papa Smurf swings by and the Hound warns him that the men were from the Brotherhood Without Banners. Papa Smurf shrugs it off, and something tells me our brief time in bizarro Westeros is coming to an end soon.
Bravos! Arya finds herself some Westerosi sailors and buys her passage home. THANK FUCK. She’s even dressed like pre-House-of-Black-and-Boring Arya. Quick, Arya! Run home, reunite with the Hound and go on a justice rampage so we can forget this entire plotline ever happened. And when I say happened, I mean nothing fucking happened – for nearly two seasons.
Trip home sorted, Arya finds a bridge and looks towards Westeros. A little old lady approaches and says ‘Sweet girl’… before pulling a knife and stabbing Arya in the guts. She removes her old-lady face and we see it’s the Waif. Arya, bleeding like a stuck pig, headbutts her before throwing herself off the bridge. The water turns red with blood and the Waif is psychopathically happy.
Cut to see Arya surface elsewhere. She drags herself from the water and takes a look at her wounds. Erm…it’ll be fine. Just whack some Betadine on it. And maybe find yourself a Red Priestess.
We cut to see Arya staggering through the streets of Bravos, terrified and suspicious of everyone. She’s leaving a trail of blood behind her…deliberately? As some have already pointed out, she’s not carrying Needle – and the way in which she left herself utterly open to attack was very out of character. So hopefully Arya’s putting on quite the act, and the tables will turn on the Waif next week.
Back to the Hound, still chopping wood. Perhaps this is his version of nicotine patches? Instead of butchering people, he now channels his rage into the woodpile. He pauses for a moment to take a drink, and hears screams in the distance.
He returns to find everyone slain. Papa Smurf’s body hangs from the rafters. The Hound stares up at him for a moment, then grabs his axe. It’s time to eat ALL THE FUCKING CHICKENS.
Next week: Cersei chooses violence, Brienne arrives in Riverrun, Jaime loves Cersei and will kill every Tully ever in order to get back to her, the Waif is on watch, the Hound swings his axe, Tyrion inspects a chandelier, and Arya (I think??) parkours the shit out of Bravos.