Since Last Time…
When last we saw the heroes and not-so-much-heroes of Westeros, about a bazillion and a half things had happened. Daenerys had become mayor of Dragonville, burned a bunch of people alive and swooped around on her dragons; Cersei had sat around making smug faces and being mean; Jon Snow had died, come back, fucked his family members and done that wistful staring thing. The Stark sisters got back together, the ghost of Charlie Bucket (aka Brienne) was … doing stuff, and everybody's favorite onetime-alive giant had died, become an ice zombie and then cometh at everyone he did. Other stuff happened, too, but we forget what, exactly. Oh yeah, and the king o' ice zombies had taken a fucking dragon and zombie-fied it, turning it into the ice-spewing abomination on the other side of the wall just in time for Clegane, Sparky, Fuck-Boi, Clown Shoes and Dickface of Dickopolis to see it, flip the fuck out and understand that winter is some damn bullshit around here. A really huge fight went down and every goddamn thing that we never thought would come together across the land came together. We learned that dragonglass kills ice zombies, we learned that kneeling to people is, like, a really big deal, we learned that the snowy, icy wall of never-breaking-ness can totally get broke. GAH! Caught up? Good. Full and incredibly detailed spoilers follow.
Ruh-roh, the opening animation is changed here and there to show us that ice zombies can't stop, won't stop, and to up the stakes, but when we finally get to the real-deal show, it opens on a terrified kid romping through icy streams and over carts in villages and such. Soldiers march by while the moon-faced Arya Stark looks on like, "Mmmm … fuck, yes!" The soldiers stretch for miles, because this is a fucking ice dragon we're talking about, and shit ain't no joke.
Dany and Jon "No Nickname" Snow appear within the procession all triumphant as heck and wearing clean clothes and everything. Not far behind rides Clegane, Tyrion and Varys "Matt Pinfield" the emmer-effing Spider. Tyrion riffs on his having no balls, and the onetime slaves from Meereen are there to party, too. But it's not super easy, though, because, as Snow points out, the North hates people not from the North, and this goes double when Dany's Dragons (which sounds like a telethon for dragons with wounded wings) come zhushing out of the sky. There, on a nearby castle parapet, stands Sansa Stark, fur coat flapping the breeze. Snow and Oat-Bran Stark are reunited, forehead kisses are given, it's weirdly quiet around Winterfell.
"You're a full-on man now," Snow says to Bran.
"Fuck off, you limey fuck," Bran's eyes seem to scream from beneath the pile of bloody wolfskins he's calling a blanket.
Dany tries to make friends, but people are none too pleased. "How do we solve a problem like this?" they all wonder. Through civil municipal discourse. There, at the Winterfell city council meeting, kids ask for horses, plans to send ravens are made and that super-cool little girl mayor of whatever town (don't recall) pops out to smart-mouth fools and remind Snow that he should live up to that time they named him King o' the North.
"We need allies or we will die," Snow says. "And just look at this asshole parade I brought with me!"
Murmurs and whining commences and Tyrion tells everyone to shut the hell up. What dragons might or mightn't eat is briefly discussed.
Tyrion and Sansa meet up for the first time since Joffrey was around, and the shit-talking on Cersei commences. Word, we get that.
Elsewhere, Snow communes with the face tree which, hand to God, we don't recall existing. Snow n' Arya meet there, and it's hugs under the red-leaf tree and sword comparisons and story swapping.
"Sansa kinda sucks, right?" Snow says.
And Arya's changing of the subject says more than words ever could.
Smash-cut to Cersei who smiles like a jerk before another cut to Uncle Greyjoy (Euron might be his name? I dunno …), leader of the Lannister boat patrol. You may recall he kidnapped a family member whose name we don't know, and there, in the kidnap room, he talks shit on the rest of the crew and drinks from his leathery flask. Anyway, once he's at King's Landing, he and his sidekick Captain Strickland bum Cersei out by announcing they didn't bring any elephants. She acts like she's not bothered by it, but you can tell she is.
Meanwhile, Bron has set aside some time with a trio of sex workers, but is called up to duty sooner than he'd have liked. The old bastard who's shown up to call on Bron lets him know there's a bunch of money from Cersei in the car outside, he just needs to kill someone, maybe. I don't know, a lot's happening, it's hard to keep track.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei and Uncle Greyjoy wax philosophical on boredom, and there's some kind of gross flirting going down. Cersei doesn't like it, and neither does anyone else. Dejected, Greyjoy slinks off to weep someplace, but while he's doing that, Theon/Reek/Whatever That Dude is Called shows up to save his sister from the boat. Arrows are shot into eyeballs, faces are smashed, hands are extended, and it's an all-around snoozer of a moment. The Greyjoy Twins steal a couple boats for a joyride, and it's back out to open sea where everyone's hair can flap in the fucking breeze like a bunch of jerks.
"Let's go to Winterfell and fight!" Theon somehow says without saying anything.
"Alright, li'l chumpy," his sister says. "Gimme a hug then head out to get down to stabbing!"
When we head back to Winterfell, Vary, Tyrion and Davos are taking a stroll and talking political manipulation. Craftspeople busy themselves nearby while Davos says something about how Dany n' Snow should be the mayors of this two-horse region. Luckily, we catch up with them as they continue to shit on Sansa. Homegirl can't catch a break. But before any of this can really matter, Dothraki couriers arrive to let Dany know the dragon vet is concerned about how much her dragons are eating—it's not a lot.
"They don't like the North," she says, petting and riding her lizard friends.
"Yeah, no shit," one of the dragons says. "It's fucking cold out here!"
Dany shames Snow into riding a dragon, but he's kind of a punk about it, but he comically climbs onboard, she laughs at how he isn't immediately great at this fucking thing he's never once done before in his life and together they set off to observe the snow-capped hills and valleys of Winterfell's outlying lands.
"You ruined horses for me," Snow complains, whining like an insolent child.
They make out near a frigid waterfall while the dragons whine nearby. Indeed, nobody likes being watched by pets while they make out.
In the bowels of the Winterfell forge, the moon-faced Arya Stark plays footsie with some dude I don't recognize when she presents him with a crude plan for a sword she wants.
"Make it or go to hell," she says.
Upstairs, Sansa and Snow learn the some folks they thought were allies aren't gonna show up to help, and then the argument over Daenerys finally bubbles to the surface. Snow thinks Sansa doesn't believe in him, Sansa thinks Snow needs to get the eff real. Everyone sighs and they objectify Daenerys while she's not even around to chime in. A tense question about love versus duty is asked, but we cut back to Dany at the library before an answer is given. There, Samwise Gamgee is congratulated from curing that dude Jorah's stone-itis. He doesn't want much, but Samwise still needs a pardon for book thievery.
"I knew your dad," Daenerys says. "He was a fucking dick. Thus, I burned his ass alive, as I, your queen, am wont to do. Did you know I burn a lot of people alive? Anyway, he's dead, and so's your brother."
Sam is majorly bummed by this turn of events, and yet he still fucking thanks her for coming by to say hello. Jeeeeeeze! He hits the stairwell to cry snottily and puke and stuff, almost gets hit by a car on the street outside and then, before you know it, he's saying what's up to Oat-Bran Stark and dealing with his long-winded nonsensical answers to simple, straightforward questions.
"You've gotta tell Snow he's not Ned Stark's son, and that he's fully full-on blood related to Dany," Bran says.
"Aw, fuck!" Sam replies, and off he goes to ruin Snow's life forever and ever.
"Hey, asshole," Sam says to Snow. "Your girlfriend killed my family. Oh, and PS—you're a king, and I don't mean o' the North, Jon, I mean of the goddamn Seven Kingdoms!"
Information is exchanged, Snow doesn't want to believe any of it, flames flicker nearby. Snow is really clinging to the Ned Stark thing, which we totally get, especially since he's been doing the incest for who even knows how long at this point. Sam, meanwhile, clings to chain of command and Jon Snow grapples with having received the first actually usable piece of information in his entire life.
Elsewhere, they don't really say, that Braveheart-looking-ass dude from the Wildlings leads a posse into some creepy crypt someplace, and one of the dudes has a sword that is just always on fire. That part's cool, but the dead kid they find stapled to a wall with a halo of dismembered legs around him is a real drag, especially when the kid they thought was dead screeches to life and they have to flame-sword him. Jeepers. The legs around him catch fire, too.
The final scene finds Jamie "Gold Hand" Lannister arriving in Winterfell and Bran giving him a knowing look. Ugh. Just … Ugh.
I dunno, that zombie kid was kind of cool.
OK, seriously, though, if Bran can see through time and space, what the heck's he doing all the time?
The Score: C
It's good to be back, maybe? But still, this episode may as well have been called "The Search for More Exposition."