The Story Thus Far
Jamie lived after all while everything everywhere stayed pretty effed. Cersei was not into Jamie's wack war performance. Samwise or Samwell or whoever the hell left the Citadel (but didn't know that Daenerys had burned his dad and brother alive) while Arya followed Baelish (who followed her right back) and Snow, Clegane, Jorah, Potsie, Fonzie, David, Frodo, Cam-a-lam-a-ding-dong, Smooth Pete, Small Paul, Tall Paul and all the rest took off into the snowy zone beyond the wall (indeed, this week's title is apt) to try and capture an ice zombie for experimental reasons—or at least convince people that they truly exist, are evil and fully plan on killing everyone they can should they make it to the wall…although I'm now wondering how they got so far away from everything, especially since we saw that Snow's friend the giant is now one of them, and didn't he get turned into one on the good side of the wall? Aw, who knows. Anyway, stop dragon your feet—it's Game of Thrones for Noobs!

The Gist

We pick up beyond the wall while Snow and Jorah and company discuss how snow (the stuff, not the guy) is cool. And cold. Conditions have already deteriorated with people shit-talking other people and furry jackets taking center stage. One of these guys (whom I previously thought was Davos’ son but wasn’t) fights with Clegane and his homies because they apparently previously sold him to a witch who covered him in leeches. “Yeah, OK,” Clegane says, “but considering the other shit that’s happened to people who live around here, you got off light.” The scene goes on and on. And then it keeps going. Jorah and Snow talk about Snow’s dad, Sean Bean, and how he once almost got the better of Nicolas Cage only to have his dang head chopped off. Snow gifts Jorah a sword, a famous sword; the one with the lion’s head on it that everyone knows about. Jorah admires it’s swordy goodness, but he won’t take it. Snow would never admit it, but he’s relieved by this. He likes the sword.

Back in Winterfell, Arya and Sansa continue to stand around remembering things that happened to them here when they were kids. Doesn't anybody do any fucking work around this place!? Arya's eyebrows tremble in the frosty mid-morning. She relates the tale of some years-past archery practice and wonders to herself why Sansa never changes her damn clothes. They both miss their dad, Sean Bean, and think fondly about the time he almost got the better of Pierce Brosnan. Arya reveals the contents of that letter she stole from Baelish: "Dear Robb," it says, "here's some evidence you can use to get my father killed. Have a cool summer!" Arya is straight pissed, but Sansa is like, "They made me!" But Arya is like, "I had to loan my fucking face to the wizard of the House of Black and White to achieve throat-slasher-general status of Westeros—you don't know pain!" But Sansa ain't having it, and rambles off a list of accomplishments including, but not limited to, keeping cool, marrying a jerk for political gain, waxing Baelish's mustache to keep it stylish and never ever ever changing her fucking clothes. Much like the last scene, it drones on and on and on, but both of the Stark sisters get some good digs against the Lannisters in there.

Meanwhile, back on the shitty side of the wall, the Westeros Avengers continue their frozen journey. Clegane and the redheaded guy (whose name, I think, is Gimli Sr.) trade barbs and penis synonyms. They're hardly staying focused on the task at hand. Once again, Sean Bean comes up in conversation, and Clegane's buddy with the eyepatch reminisces about the time he almost got one over on a pack of orcs while trying to return a magic ring to its native land. You'd think they could've brought a horse or two with them, but whatevs. Eyepatch waxes pseudo-philosophically about the concept of death, but Snow, having died once before, counters with, "No man but myself knows what lies beyond the veil of mortality! Yours is but a fleeting existence!" Everyone else is silent.

Cut to Dragontown, where Daenerys and Tyrion squeeze in some quality time near a roaring fire. Tyrion reminds homegirl that everyone falls in love with her, but she's more concerned with meeting Cersei, killing her, and being the grand fucking master of all the land. Tyrion, of course, knows Cersei's tactics well, but he advises Danny to just be cool and honorable if she wants people to get in line behind her. But she doesn't care about Lannister promises…except Tyrion's. Is she, like, nice? Is she mean? What's her deal, exactly? Tyrion wonders the same thing, using her recent burning people alive streak as an example of when she's lost her temper. In your face.

Once again, we’re back on the other side of the wall, this time, however, there’s a real windstorm thing going down. It basically sucks, right up until they see what appears to be a polar bear creeping in the distance and—OH, HOLY SHIT! IT’S AN ICE ZOMBIE BEAR! Whoosh! It takes down Davos’ not-son and whoosh! The posse forms a fightin’ circle—but it’s not enough because this bastard could’ve taken down an army or two if it felt like it. They somehow light their swords on fire and they somehow set the zombie-bear on fire, but he’s still getting some good throat slashing in before he finally falls. I gotta tell you, eviscerated by a zombie-bear is no way to live, but they’ve come too far to turn back now. Clegane just stands there impotently watching his buddy bleed out from bear wounds. And so, they cauterize his gashes, stand him up and the saga continues.

We pop back to Winterfell where Baelish and Sansa examine the endless stream of bullshit they're up against. There's some question about what Brienne (who is supposed to be some sort of Stark girls bodyguard) might do if Arya and Sansa came to blows, but it's been a whole 15 seconds since we checked in with Snow and company, so of course it cuts back to that. It's still snowy, it still sucks, there are still mountains to climb and zombie-bears to thwart. Out of curiosity, is the deal that they're gonna catch just one single ice zombie? How's that supposed to go down? As if it sensing my mounting boredom, a small detachment of ice zombies appear in a ravine all pale and weird, and the fight begins. Snow takes down the main one, and a bunch of others fall. It's like a head-of-the-snake situation. Well, sort of, because a single one keeps zombie-ing it up. Convenient, right? Like, if your plan is to capture a solitary ice zombie, it couldn't have gone any better. And off goes Davos' not-son to deliver a raven to Daenerys with the good news. Things are looking up, right up until these bunch of yahoos wind up on a partially frozen lake pursued by the rest of the ice zombies. One of the good guys whiffs it, and the numerous zombies jack him big time. The lake ice caves in at this point (luckily) and it seems like things will maybe be OK. I mean, they're stranded in the middle of a lake on some stony outcropping, but it's at least a little better than getting got. Davos' not-son, meanwhile, sprints for the rest of the day, all the way back to the wall. "Send a raven, suckers!" he says as he collapses from exhaustion in Davos' arms. Indeed, 'tis a good day for dudes who can run fast and for a long time.

Back in the icy expanses of whatever the eff is beyond the wall, that dude from the zombie-bear attack has frozen to death and every fucking ice zombie in the vicinity has Snow and Clegane and the rest surrounded. Eyepatch has magic fire powers, I guess, so they burn their friend's body so he doesn't come back to life or un-death, anyway. They all hope desperately that Daenerys will swoop in with her dragon, but while they're jibber-jabbing about it, the king of all ice zombies shows up to watch. Asshole.

Back in Winterfell, Sansa gets a letter from the folks at King's Landing inviting her to the big peace talk extravaganza with Cersei, Daenerys, et al. Well, Sansa doesn't like this one bit, even as Brienne warns her of how hard Baelish sucks. "Get the fuck outta here with that shit!" Sansa barks, and Brienne, stickler for the protocol of fealty that she is, just takes it.

In good old Dragonton, Daenerys prepares to swoop in on Snow and them, but Tyrion isn’t feeling it. She leaves him there while the rest of us cross our fingers that she’ll just burn all the bad guys up as is her wont and her duty. It’s just as well, too, because the silence beyond the wall between the ice zombies and the Westeros Avengers has grown tiresome. Although, Jorah or Clegane or fucking one of them (who cares) throws a rock at the dead folk, which only serves to illustrate how the icy lake has hardened further, allowing them to cross the damn thing. Way to go, asshole. And so they fight, and it’s actually pretty cool because the zombies are all in various states of decomposition and also there’s this shot from the sky that just shows how there’s totally so damn many of them. Still, Snow’s posse holds their own, even if the episode would have been cooler had the whole 60 minutes just been all kinds of zombie sword fighting. Some zombies pop out of the lake, others shatter entirely when they get slashed; none of them bother to flank our heroes, which I guess is good for them, but seems like a pretty basic tactic. Oh wait, they actually did just start doing that, and one of the good guys gets swarmed all hard. Eaten, probably. It’s looking not good at all, and Snow stops fighting entirely to like, spend some time checking out the zombies. And then, of course, Daenerys appears and burns up about a bazillion of them (why she doesn’t just take all of them out in this moment shall forever be a mystery) and the guys we like escape. Sucks for that one guy who just died about 30 seconds before he’d be rescued. Snow for some fucking reason won’t just get on the dragon, and the king of all ice zombies heads his way with a totally brutal ice-javelin in his hand. He uses the damn thing to take down one of the other dragons (because obviously he can throw things really far), and the poor winged lizard dies. OHMYGOD! Is he gonna come back in ice zombie form? Like, was the zombie-bear foreshadowing for the idea that even animals can be zombiefied? Now that would be cool. Snow starts shouting about how it’s time to leave (which would have been way more helpful a second ago) right before he plunges in the ice lake. Across the way, the gold medal ice-javelin champ lines up another shot, but he misses. Either way, Snow’s still back there drowning in the lake and Daenerys lost her second favorite dragon a hard loss for her war effort. Snow pops out of the lake, though, and there’s no way he’s not freezing to death, right? I dunno, but he’s in bad shape and the horde most definitely realizes he’s over there. It’s looking oh-so bad until some dude called Benjen arrives and just straight gives Snow his horse. He looks like maybe he’s a half-zombie, but he’s got a pretty brutal fire weapon on a chain that starts to—oh no, wait…he’s down. They killed him. Man, Snow should just like, get in the fucking car when it’s time to go.

Regardless, they obtained the zombie of proof, which really oughta blow Cersei's mind at the peace talks, but Daenerys, ultra-bummed at the loss of her dragon, stands atop the wall, grieving. Her winter jacket is cool as hell, and it's a good thing she lingered because Snow finally arrives. They have to cut him out of his frozen coat, whereupon Daenerys finally gets a look at his gross scars, but kind of likes it. Is there even any urgency left at the concept of Snow possibly dying? What with the one red witch still wandering around, he could probably just come back.

Smash cut to Winterfell where Sansa rifles through Arya’s magic bag of faces. “Where’d you get these faces?” Sansa asks. Arya lays down the spooky demeanor and grills Sansa with heavy questions like “how do you feel about Snow being king?” and “what’s your fucking problem?” Sansa is a little transfixed on the faces, though, and Arya is really creeping her out big time…especially as she approaches her sister, knife in hand, laying down knowledge about how she can become Sansa should she so choose. It looks like she’ll kill her for a hot second, but she doesn’t.

Out at sea, Snow survives (duh) and wakes up to Danerys, who has been observing him sleeping. "Sorry about the dragon, grrrrrrrrrrrl," he says. She isn't that sorry, though, because now she is fully full-on aware of the true threat of ice-zombies. And so they hold hands and cry and it's borderline sexual and weird since someone told me they're cousins or something. Mayhap Cersei would find that quaint, but it's spooky to me. Snow decides it's nap time (he's really beat from holding up the posse and getting that dragon killed).

We close out the episode with a scene of ice zombies pulling the dragon out of the lake, which means I was 100 percent right about them zombie-fying it. That’s gonna make things a lot harder for everyone, and suddenly the bear-zombie doesn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. Yikes. Do you think this thing spews ice out of it's mouth? Do you think there will be some epic dragon showdown that pits justice against zombies? Do you think that this show has kind of gone off the rails and, like, an ice-zombie-dragon is kind of absurd but you still want to see it get out there and do it's thing? That's kind of where I am with this turn of events. It's cool, but it's also beyond absurd, especially with the whole ice-javelin thing. I dunno. Whatever. Anyway, the camera zooms in as one of the dragon's eyes opens, and it's now that spooky shade of zombie blue, signifying a complete fucking breakdown of the system and a total effing drag for the good guys of Westeros.

The Good

Ice zombies are objectively cool and, despite a tenuous grasp on things that make sense, the fights were rad.

The Bad

Some of them scenes droned on and on and on and on and...

The Bottom Line

One only hopes subsequent episodes will ramp up the action and the fighting, and even though I'm still often confused about what's going down, I must admit a zombie dragon and the potential mayhem it could cause are things I'd like to know more about.

The Grade: A

Despite some slow-moving scenes here and there, we’re talking about zombie-dragons, OK?! Oh, and that guy with the fire powers was pretty cool, too.