Just to be clear, I’m writing this recap while jet-lagged, emotionally crippled by irrational grief for a CGI beastie, and slightly drunk from the cans of gin and tonic I found at Tesco (don’t judge, I was disoriented and desperate). Are you ready? Good. Me either.
We open on Dragonstone…because Dragonstone. Specifically, Aegon’s map table thingy. More specifically – we’re zooming up towards the area beyond the Wall.
Cut to actual beyond the Wall, where Jon and his band of merry idiots are hauling arse through the snow. The first half of the episode is mostly these guys bonding on their way to find a dead guy…so pretty much Stand By Me with snow and zombies.
There’s loads of dialogue, which is a ballache to recap – so I’ll summarise:
- Gendry’s never seen snow
- Tormund recommends sex to stay warm.
- Gendry’s dumb.
- Going beyond the wall to hunt for a dead guy is also dumb.
- Jon’s still refusing to bend the knee.
- Tormund: Yeah…Mance felt that way too. He’s dead now, along with lots of people who followed him. Good story, Tormund!
- Gendry’s bitching about the Brotherhood selling him to Melisandre. The Hound tells him he’s whining; his lips are moving and complaining is coming out. Since one of the themes running through this episode is parenthood, I have to say – the Hound would make an ace dad. Kind of like my uncle who used to hose his children off in the backyard when they went number twos.
- Jon and Jorah bond over their daddy issues. Jon even tries to give Longclaw back, but Jorah refuses and tells Jon to keep it – may it serve him well-and his children after him…wink wink! I feel like Jorah’s giving Jon his blessing to boink Khaleesi. Jon seems confused though…maybe he’s forgotten where to put it?
To Winterfell, where Arya’s taken over from Bran as Stark Psychopath of the Week. I hated this whole scene, so here’s my version:
ARYA: Knitting is stupid. I shot arrows and father clapped and now he’s dead…BECAUSE OF YOU.
SANSA: None of that makes any fucking sense.
ARYA: LOOKIT YOUR PRETTY HANDWRITING ON THIS RAVEN.
SANSA: I was 12. You’re being a douche. Also – totally won Winterfell back, so fuck off.
ARYA: YOU BETRAYED OUR FAMILY! I’M TELLING THE NORTHERN LORDS!
Why is Arya a complete cunt now? Two weeks ago she was awesome, now she’s the Waif.
Back beyond the Wall. Tormund’s trying to make friends with the Hound, who apparently has sad eyes. Tormund has never heard the word ‘dick’ before, yet is somehow acquainted with the word ‘pussy’. He discovers the Hound knows Brienne, and says he wants to make monstrous babies with her. Good GOD will everyone stop fucking talking about babies?
Cut to Jon and Beric, comparing notes on being not dead and their mutual existential angst. I take it back – let’s return to Tormund, discussing co-sleeping and selective schools.
Beric tells Jon death is the enemy – the first and the last. Jon looks a little bit like Keanu Reeves grappling with the concept of manufactured reality in The Matrix. I iz shield that guardz realmz of men. I PRETTY!
The group arrives at the mountain the Hound saw in the flames – the Hound says they’re getting close.
Back at Dragonstone, Tyrion and Dany are sitting in front of the fire, painting their toenails and gossiping about boys.
DANY: You know what I like about you? You’re not a hero.
TYRION: Actually, I totally stormed a gate during the Battle of the Black-
DANY: NOT LIKE JON SNOW. Who I don’t even like so STOP MENTIONING HIM, OKAY? Why do you even keep bringing him up??! Has he said something to you about me??
Tyrion tells her Jon Snow is in love with her. Dany, demonstrating the emotional sensitivity of a potato, actually wonders aloud if Jon’s too short for her. Tyrion visibly flinches. You know what, Dany? You’re a shit boss, and about 5″1 at best. Shut up.
They move on to discussing tactics for the upcoming meeting with Cersei, and shit escalates pretty quick. Tyrion points out that Dany tends to lose her temper. Dany responds by losing her temper.
Tyrone then decides it’s a good time to talk about who gets the throne when she croaks. Either Tyrion’s trying to get himself executed, or this is the writers’ ham-fisted way of getting the conversation back to babies – namely the fact that Dany can’t have any. Dany’s pissed and tells Tyrion they’ll discuss her successor once she’s actually wearing the crown.
Beyond the Wall once more, and there’s a zombie bear. A great big zombie bear! Away up there! It attacks, eating a nameless extra and a chunk of Thoros; Beric cauterizes his wounds with his flaming sword before using it to make everyone crème brulee. Jon picks up the zombie bear’s trail, presumably leading back to the army of the dead.
Winterfell. Again. Sansa’s enlisted Littlefinger’s help with the Arya situation – as he no doubt knew she would. How is it Sansa still doesn’t know when she’s being played? Or does she? Sansa says she doesn’t know Arya anymore. Littlefinger suggests using Brienne to intervene, and Sansa seemingly takes the stinking bait – but I’m not so sure.
Back beyond the Wall, Jon and co finally track down a group of wights, led by a single White Walker. They set a trap, and a fight ensues. Jon manages to take out the White Walker, which consequentially destroys all the wights – except one. Handy. Problem is, he’s a screamer – and alerts the rest of the army of the dead. We hear a rumble and see the avalanche in the distance as the wights tumble over the cliffs in pursuit.
Realising they’re pretty much fucked, Jon tells Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send an SOS raven to Dany – because he’s the fastest. I’m left wondering how and when this was established. Have they conducted timed sprints in the snow to pass the time? Or is Jon just sick of Gendry, given he’s either fucking high or whining all the time?
Gendry trots off towards Eastwatch. The others bag up the wight and neck it out of there, managing to find refuge on a rock in the middle of a semi-frozen lake as the army of the dead surround them, unable to cross – at least for now.
After a cold night on Refuge Rock, the group finds Thoros dead. The Hound says dying from hypothermia while stranded on a rock surrounded by a zombie army is one of the better ways to go. On this show, that’s probably true. Beric whips out his flaming sword (again) and sets fire to Thoros’s corpse. I have flamey-sword envy.
Jorah points out to Jon that they’re all going to freeze soon –maybe if they try take out the White Walkers, the wights will self-destruct? Jon insists Daenerys is their only chance. In a moment of geek homage, Beric channels Yoda and says ‘No…there is another’. Is this a nod to the incest parallels? Cos Luke and Leia only kissed that one time, and it was totes awkward and there was no tongue and it was all about making Han jealous anyway.
Wait…nope. Beric’s talking about the Night King. Kill him, and it’s game over for the whole zombie army. Beric wonders if the Lord of Light brought him and Jon back to kill the Night King. The Hound, at his sardonic best this episode, says that every Lord he’s ever met has been a cunt – why would the Lord of Light be any different? Fingers crossed we get a spin-off with just the Hound, travelling the countryside, calling people cunts.
Back to Winterfell. Sansa’s received a summons to King’s Landing and decides to send Brienne instead. This is what makes me think Sansa’s more aware of Littlefinger’s manipulations than she lets on – it’s like she doesn’t want Brienne caught up in his web, which he’s already gunning for. Or is she sending Brienne so she won’t be able to protect Arya should Sansa decide to behead her sister? That seems out of character, but then Arya’s become Hannibal Lector over the course of two weeks, so anything’s possible.
Dragonstone. Dany’s changed into a wicked winter flying outfit made from only the fluffiest endangered white tiger cubs, and is off to rescue the Stupid Seven. Tyrion doesn’t want her to go, despite the fact that – as usual – the whole thing was his dumb fucking idea. And as usual, Dany doesn’t listen – blaming Tyrion for all her problems instead. Get out of this relationship, Tyrion.
Back to Refuge Rock. Bored and characteristically irritable, the Hound actually decides to throws rocks at the wights. I love you, Hound.
His second rock skids across the surface of the lake, showing it’s frozen solid again.
The Hound: Oh. Fuck.
Wights descend upon Refuge Rock, and it’s on like Donkey Kong. Have you ever noticed Jon’s a noisy fighter? He’s the Monica Seles of swordsmanship.
Our heroes fight bravely, but inevitably get caned. Jon yells at them to fall back. Um…to where, exactly? Then it’s sad slo-mo moments of heroism. Jon prepares to go down fighting. All is lost…
Aaaaaannnd Dany’s here, ready to burn shit and take names! Flight time from Dragonstone: approximately 7 minutes, 14 seconds.
Jon stares up at her like a devoted Labradoodle. How can he not? Even I’m in love with Daenerys at this point. That jacket is wicked.
She lands Drogon and reaches out her hand to Jon. Hop on, idiot! Jon chooses to turn away and show off his sword fighting skills instead.
Cut to the Night King. One of his soldiers (Walkers? Honchos? Advisors? Attendants?) grabs a large ice-pick-thing, and hands it to him. While jon continues to battle wights for NO FUCKING GOOD REASON, the Night King takes aim.
Me: No. NO.
Husband: He’s gonna kill Jon!
Me: Fuck Jon! Please not the dragon. Please not the dragon. Please not the dragon. Plea- OH FUCKING FUCK.
The Night King nails Viserion with the pick. Screaming in pain, Viserions plunges towards the ice, cracking the lake’s surface on impact. His lifeless body sinks into the lake.
Even Drogon fucking cries.
Dany’s devo. Jon sees red and gives the Night King stink eye: You killed my girlfriend’s third favourite child!
The Night King reaches for another ice pick. I hate him, but you’ve got to admit – he’s totally badass. Jon yells at Dany to get the fuck out of there, just before he’s attacked and pulled beneath the ice.
Dany takes off. The Night King takes aim at Drogon, but thankfully misses. Still, his javelin skills are pretty impressive – that subsidized White Walker athletics program has really paid off.
I know most people – me included – saw this coming. There were too many script leaks and too much spoilery speculation flying around the interwebs not to get wind of the possibility. Plus the stakes clearly needed to be raised – Dany was holding too many aces.
But they killed a dragon. Fuckers. I haven’t been this upset since Artax died.
Jon emerges from the lake’s icy depths, only to find himself facing an onslaught of wights. Thankfully Uncle Benjen appears out of nowhere, swinging his fire lasoo-thing and somehow warding off thousands of ice zombies. He stops long enough to give Jon his horse and insist on remaining to die for no reason. Jon heads for Eastwatch while Benjen gets eaten alive. As far as Stark family reunions go…this was still one of the nicer ones.
Back at Eastwatch, Beric, Tormund and the Hound bundle the wight into a boat, while Dany stands watch upon the Wall, looking for any sign of Jon. Don’t worry Dany – as Sam once said, he always comes back.
And he does.
They undress him on the boat while Dany watches, shaking her head at the sight of Kit Harington’s abs. Is the boy ever allowed to eat carbs?
Winterfell again. Sansa’s broken into Arya’s room to look for the scroll, but finds a bag of harvested faces instead. Arya appears.
Arya: Let’s play a game! It’s called the game of fac-
Sansa: Fuck off. Why do you have a bag of heads?
Arya grabs her dagger and approaches Sansa, while venting all her jealous-sister angst. I’m the younger daughter in my family, and it did suck sometimes growing up – but carving my sister’s face off and capering about in her clothes never occurred to me. I just dealt with it the normal way – by stealing her stuff and dobbing on her whenever possible. Anyway. Instead of carving Sansa’s face off, Arya hands her the dagger and walks out.
Dragonboat of love. Jon wakes to find Dany by his side. He grabs her hand and apologises profusely for what happened to Viserion. Dany shrugs – he was the spare anyway. But her dragons are the only children she’ll ever have, geddit? Just for those of us who missed the fertility discussion earlier on.
Jon nods. Dany tells him they’re going to destroy the Night King together.
Jon: Thank you, Dany.
Dany doesn’t want him to call her Dany – that’s what Viserys used to call her.
And for one glorious moment, I’m convinced Jon is going to refer to her as Not-Dany for the remainder of the show. But no…he’s going to call her his queen. This seems to turn Dany much more than his abs do. They hold hands until shit gets awkwardly sexy, and Dany leaves.
Back beyond the wall, the wights are using chains to drag Viserion’s sagging corpse from the lake. JUST RIP MY BEATING HEART FROM MY CHEST, WHY DON”T YOU?
The Night King lays his hand on Viserion’s snout. After a few seconds, the dead dragon’s eye pops open – bright blue. What do you reckon the chances are that zombie-Viserion is gonna blow the shit out of the Wall?
Next week: It’s summit time in King’s Landing. Lots of boats. The Unsullied and the Dothraki line up for a fight. Tyrion looks nervous, Jon looks strange in direct sunlight, and Cersei’s got that gonna-blow-shit-up look in her eyes. How the fuck is it finale already??