Last time, everybody who'd spent the last bunch of years separated got back together, and it was agreed that they'd have to join forces to kill the ice zombies, even if it meant setting aside long-running hurt. Bran was creepy, Jamie was creepy, Cersei and Samwise Gamgee and Arya were creepy. Everyone was just creeping everyone else out; it was an exchange of creepiness across the land. Know that.
Sansa and Daenerys gave each other the stink eye majorly, and Snow learned he'd been incesting it up like some kind of Lannister. Puke! And that should be all you need to know.
We open on Jamie as Daenerys gives him the third degree about how he killed her dad (maybe?), and she's pissed as fuck. Jamie, of course, is playing it cool and acting like he's a one-man army.
"Yo, you've only got one hand, bro!" Daenerys says, while Jamie delivers the bad news that Cersei isn't sending an army to fight the ice zombies after all. Everyone in the room looks at each other. Turns out she'll use the army she put together to take over after the upcoming mega-battle.
Tyrion tries to help, but Dany and Sansa are all like, "NAW!" about it, and Jamie's down to clown by yelling at everyone. Understandably, people want to know why Jamie's shitting on the Lannister name, and he says it's about staying alive. Brienne "Charlie Bucket" of Tarth pipes up for Team Jamie with a bunch of jibber-jabber about oaths and how she fought with Jamie before and such. She vouches, says she'd fight with him and Daney and Sansa ask Snow his thoughts.
"We need a lot of people," Snow says, "and since I've been incesting by accident, I'd really just rather have a fucking minute to myself to think." Jamie is given a sword, asks everyone to check out his totally boss new beard and then stares at Bran some more as the sunlight glints off of Daenerys' beautiful golden braids.
In the hallway, Dany shits on Tyrion for being a bad Hand (which is his job title), and he knows his days are numbered.
Meanwhile, the blacksmith shop in the bowels of the Winterfell castle is running full-tilt when the moon-faced Arya Stark arrives to complain at Gendry about the speed of their work. She's great at stabbing fools, is really only a B-minus laborer. Wait a sec, she might have a crush on this dude, but she's got a smarmy-ass way of proving it. He kind of likes her back and regales her with stories of the time he fought a few ice zombies.
"They suck huge," he says. "Huge."
Arya demands he become an encyclopedia of zombie physiology, but he's pretty sick of talking about it, especially when she starts claiming she's friends with Death. As it happens, this guy went to blacksmith college with Death, and he knows for a fact that they never met Arya fucking Stark.
Outdoors, Bran and Jamie meet in the snow to have a who-can-look-the-most-concerned contest, but Jamie wins the trophy because he's learned remorse and feelings over having thrown Bran out a window lo those many years ago, and Bran is but a vessel for the once-powerful spirit of Max von Tree-Dow, the 7-Eyed Raven—which is some kind of soothsayer, if you don't know. Anyway, the exchange is meaningless, but all a part of Jamie's "Sorry I Suck" Tour of Winterfell.
He finds Tyrion shortly after, who is just glad to be the one Lannister who hasn't slept with another Lannister. The nearby townsfolks' sphincters clench in anticipation.
"You seen my beard, bro?" Jamie asks.
"For sure," Tyrion replies, "have you seen mine?"
And then their beards interlock like velcro while they shit-talk Cersei and try to wrap their heads around the concept of incoming death. Tyrion always wanted to die mid-blowjob and drunk, but it looks like he's out of luck. He makes plans in case he's to become a zombie while Jamie looks out from a parapet at Brienne, who presides over the sword training and booby-trap construction being prepared for the soon-to-come fight. Jamie and Brienne walk and talk like they're in the fucking West Wing or something, and Brienne is all like, "Why'd you even come by?" Turns out Jamie's too old and tired to fight, but he'll try … for Brienne … who is like, "Wack, son! Wack!"
Back inside, Jorah has returned, totally stone-itis free and spouting off nonsense about how he should've been Hand instead of Tyrion. Still, though, Jorah sticks up for the guy and spins a yarn about how making mistakes is a great way to learn.
Dany doesn't give even one shit, and she's off to talk down to Sansa about the whole Jamie thing from before. Dany still won't let the Tyrion thing go, even if she also blew it by trusting Cersei and Sansa is just pumped that she doesn't have to hang around Ramsay Bolton anymore. Anyway, Sansa says something about how men are easily manipulated, and Dany would agree, except she's still super into Jon Snow and argues that she, Daenerys Targareyon, was probably more manipulated, because here she is in fucking Winterfell fixing to fight the same ice zombies who zombified her favorite fucking dragon when her home, the island of Dragonville, is just sitting there, totally ice zombie free and a billion miles away. Jeeeeze! Good thing they're interrupted by some guy we'll call Weird Beard—Theon/Reek is there, and he bends the goddamn knee before anyone even bothers to ask. He's there to fight, and he doesn't give a fuuuuuck. And then it's hugs under the balloons, or at least betwixt the cold and imposing stone.
Elsewhere, Davos volunteers at a soup kitchen where anyone unlucky enough to accept a bowl of soup is immediately conscripted into the fight against the ice zombies. A dirty trick indeed, and one that hurts all the more when a young girl who bears the scars of a serious burn says she wants to join the army of her own free will. Davos' heart de-stones just long enough to give her soup, but he's still gonna make her defend the super-secret hiding place they'll be sending the kids.
And then the Horn of Incoming Visitors sounds, and Snow's old buddies Braveheart, Eyestrap, Elf-Ears and Weird Beard Jr. arrive. Snow had thought they might be dead, turns out they're not, but they won't have a moment to breathe before Snow launches into a speech about strategy at a meeting of everybody around. They'll need to slay the Night King if they want to live, Snow tells everyone, and Bran interrupts everyone to remind people he's important, and that the Night King will probably come for him because he hates the 3-Eyed Raven so bad. It's decided that Bran will act as bait with Theon/Reek hanging around him for defense. Good lord, what a team—one creepy eyed teenager and the weirdest fucking coward in all the realms.
Tyrion is told he's there because of his mind (he's got a good one), and it seems like Daenerys is gonna take it easy on him … for now. Questions are thrown around about dragonfire's effectiveness against ice zombies, and Braveheart says something about how dying with friends is slightly less shitty than dying alone on the bullshit other side of the once formidable wall.
Cue Tyrion/Bran bro-down, but we don't actually see that because it's back to the Winterfell courtyard where the one-time slaves from Meereen make googly-eyes at each other—and why wouldn't they? They're both fucking smoke shows! Plans are made to run away after the battle (like they're going to live anyway), and promises are made that'll make it all the more tragic when one of them obviously dies at the end of the season. Le sigh.
From there, we rejoin Snow and Samwise (and yeah, I know his name is actually Samwell, I'm makin' jokes here, shit!) who hang around with a wolf and keep an eye on the horizon rather than discuss Snow's accidental incest.
"Do you want to hide in the basement when the fighting starts?" Snow asks … y'know, like an asshole?
But Samwise has his rejoinder about how he's killed an ice zombie, got married, stole from a library and made out with a bunch of babes in Canada fully locked and loaded; every one of his enemies shuts the hell up forever.
Nearby, Tyrion—who apparently got sick of Bran's gross staring—is back with Jamie, and the Lannister bros talk about the past and drink. Life was so much simpler in those times, back when a dude like Jamie could bone his sister and not feel like an absolute chump. Brienne interrupts the hang, but she won't drink because she's edge as fuck, bro. Davos shows up, too, as does Braveheart, who has a fucking ox horn full of meade or some shit. Everyone discusses the origins of their nicknames. Braveheart, as it happens, killed a giant some years back, posed as his deceased foe's baby and literally spent three months breastfeeding with the lady-giant. What. The. Fucking. Fuck, man??!?!
Out on the castle wall, the moon-faced Arya Stark and Clegane get down to some wine-quaffing and touch on the finer parts of who fights for whom and why. Eyestrap the Bold arrives as well and learns just how close he came to being throat-slashed by Arya not so long ago. So she stands, calls them old and absconds into the night to pursue her merit badge in archery. Gendry (the blacksmith) appears as if from nowhere and has totally made that weapon she requisitioned. Arya plays it off like it's not a pretty cool spear kinda thing, but you can tell she's just so pumped. They flirt and compare bone-down numbers and Arya is like, "Bone down with me because I just want to bone down at least once in case I die in the upcoming fight." It's wildly uncomfortable right up until you ask yourself why that is uncomfortable and all those people she's straight up murdered before just seemed cool.
Back in the castle living room, Braveheart learns that Brienne can't be a knight because of misogyny, which is insane because she's tougher than, like, anyone, and she's straight-up killed so many fools your head'll spin, but Jamie is basically like, "Fuck the old ways! Any knight can knight another knight, so I'll deputize your tall ass right this second!" Oh sure, she looks at him weird and doesn't quite know what to do, but she accepts the knighthood, stands slowly and stares into Jamie's eyes so fucking hard it's all he can do to prevent a hole burning through his stupid face. Everyone claps.
Outside, Jorah's cousin (the young girl leader of I forget where) refuses to hide in the crypt with the other kids, and no one can stop her. Of course, no one tries very hard, but it doesn't matter because Samwise shows up to lend Jorah the family sword, Glamdring the Foe Cleaver (jay kay, that's The Hobbit, but how sick is that for a sword name?!). "Hope you can slash some fools with that thing," Sam offers before disappearing into the cold, black night.
And so, across Winterfell, a song rings out as the various characters get their shit together on this, Ice Zombie Eve. This is particularly difficult for Snow, who hangs out in the underground crypt looking bummed. Dany arrives and completely ignores his obvious pain to tell a story about her family. This pisses Snow off, so he spills the beans about their being related. Daenerys tries to poke holes in it because Snow's got that BDE and because that would mean the iron throne would belong to him. They really should talk about it in greater detail, but wouldn't you know it—the ice zombies have arrived, and they are not fucking around. We pan up the legs of a zombie horse to an entire cadre of ice zombie officers. Cut to black.
Brienne's more knight than pretty much anyone else, so … in your face, tradition!
We know it was supposed to be a "let's check in with everyone" episode, but it would've been cooler to just start the fight now and make it last for the rest of the season.
We get it, it's important to do this stuff, but not a single throat slashing? Ffffine.