Synopsis: The Twins is on fire. A slaughter still wages in the streets. A shell-shocked Arya looks on as her brother, Robb, decapitated with his Grey Wind’s head attached, is paraded through the streets. The Hound rushes her out of town. Sansa and her new husband, Tyrion, walk in the garden to snickers and sneers of passersby. They joke over options for revenge when Podrick interrupts: Twyin has called an urgent meeting of the small council. When Tyrion arrives, Joffrey has a full-on sadism boner when they share news of the deaths of Robb and Catelyn. Tyrion threatens Joffrey and when he lashes back, Tywin puts a stop to it. Joffrey snipes at his grandfather and is abruptly put to bed. As the others leave, Tywin and Tyrion continue to argue about Tywin’s machinations. The north will never forget this, Tyrion warns. Tywin urges Tyrion to put a baby in Sansa as soon as possible so that their son can rule the North, until then Roose Bolton is named Warden of the North. As the men argue, Tywin tells his son a happy little memory about how he wanted to drown him the day he was born, but opted to let him live, to his daily regret. When Tyrion returns to his chambers, Sansa is in tears. She’s heard the news. Probably aren’t making that baby any time soon. Meera, Hodor, Jojen, Summer and Bran take shelter in an abandoned fort. Bran tells the other a story he heard about a cook that fed the king his sons and the gods turned him into a rat. Apparently, the gods frown upon murdering a guest under your own roof. Speaking of Walder Frey, he gloats to Roose about the slaughter. Edmure is in a dungeon, but the Blackfish got away Roose reminds him. Roose tells Frey that his son has taken Winterfell and turned the Iron Born against Theon.
Ramsey taunts the freshly eunuched Theon by eating a plump and juicy sausage. Theon begs Ramsey to kill but he says that Theon is no good to him dead. Ramsay renames Theon “Reek” and abuses him until he accepts his new moniker. Bran awakens and pushes the others awake. Someone is in the fort. Meera jumps forward when Samwell and Gilly enter. Sam puts it together that Bran is Jon’s brother and offers his help to Bran. Bran asks to go north of the wall, but Sam cautions him against it. He says he will take him to Castle Black where Jon will be. Bran pleads to go north. At Castle Greyjoy, Balon and Yara get a missive requiring them to move all Iron Born men out of the north, or all remaining men will be flayed alive. Along with the note is Theon’s dick in a box, to drive home the sadism. Balon says he’s not going to do anything, Theon disobeyed him and can obviously no longer further the line. Yara says she’s going to take a ship and find her brother and bring him home. Sam shows Bran the dagger that he used to killed a White Walker. One hasn’t been killed in thousands of years, Meera says, but Sam says he just got lucky and that there’s millions more. Again, Sam asks Bran to go with them to Castle Black, but Bran and his crew take leave to continue North. Davos visits Gendry in the dungeon. They bond over their lowborn status. Gendry says he’d never been with a woman, which is why he was so easily seduced by Melisandre. Varys tells Shae that she’s been a good influence on Tyrion. He gives her a bag of diamonds and urges her to take off because her presence confuses and endangers Tyrion. She tosses the riches back to Varys and says if Tyrion wants her to leave he can ask her himself. Cersei interrupts a drunken Tyrion to taunt him about his new marriage. He throws it back at her about her pending nuptials to Loras but she says she will not be marrying him. She talks of her love of her children, even Joffrey, and tells Tyrion if he wants Sansa to have any sort of happiness he should give her a child. The Hound and Arya happen upon a group of knights who are bragging about killing the Starks. Arya jumps off the horse and goes a little stabby stabby with them while the Hound finishes the others. He asks if that’s the first man she’s killed. Ygritte finds Jon and she holds an arrow on him. He tells her he didn’t have a choice, but says he loves her. She shoots him, but he takes off as she starts to cry. Sam and Gilly make their way to Castle Black and Sam explains himself to Maester Aemon. Gilly tells Aemon that she’s named the baby Sam, but the elder Sam says it’s not his baby. He swears he’s kept his oath. Aemon says Gilly and baby Sam can be their guests. He asks Sam to take a letter, and says they will be sending a lot of ravens out.
Shireen is helping Davos read when he happens on the letter from the Night’s Watch. Before he can finish, they hear the sounding of the bells and Davos runs off to Stannis. Stannis tells him that Stark is dead. Melisandre is happy, but says she takes no credit, merely that she prayed for it. Davos cautions Stannis on winning the kingdom by uniting magic and evil, because he doesn’t think Stannis is evil. Stannis says that they need to sacrifice Gendry but Davos tries to talk him out of it. Davos sneaks out to the dungeon and frees Genry. He puts him on a boat and sets him off. Jon makes it back to Castle Black, riddled with arrows, falling off his horse, but he’s alive. They take him inside. Jaime, Brienne, and Qyburn arrive at King’s Landing. He finds Cersei, and she is surprised by how disheveled and handless he is. Davos admits to Stannis and Melisandre that he let Gendry go. Stannis sentences Davos to death, but before they can take him away he tells Stannis about the White Walkers. Melisandre says the true war is to the North and agrees with Davos, saying he has a part to play. Dany, Jorah, and the others await the arrival of the Yunkai from the city. Dany addresses her new army and they call her “Mhysa,” meaning mother. Dany welcomes her new armada, crowdsurfing through them as they praise her.
Comments: A bit of a comedown after last week’s brutality. The Dany story is just a quick button to the episode but underlines her as a growing threat that the kingdom isn’t paying much attention to. She continues to be so isolated from the rest of the story that I keep wishing that she would get woven in sooner, but the anticipation and the long wait only serve to make it stronger when she finally does. The Lannisters celebrate their latest win, but Joffrey’s a growing problem that everyone can see, mostly Tywin, whom no one crosses. Cersei can’t readily admit that though, certainly not to Tyrion, but it’s obvious she had a stronger affection for her son when she was better at manipulating him. Gendry’s story was built up all season, only to see him off, rowing down the water and off the canvas for the next few seasons. The problems with the White Walkers grow for the men of the Night’s Watch, and Stannis and his storyline get pulled in that direction as well. The ease at which Arya makes her first kill suggest it might be something she’s decent at. It’s clear that the biggest weakness of the season was the side story with Ramsay and Theon. While the scenes themselves were well done, the too-long reveal of Ramsay’s true character and how little relevance on the greater story until the very end could’ve been truncated to one or two episodes max and had a stronger effect. Still, the sadistic Ramsay shines in a show where sadists don’t easily stand out. I wish there was more than just a brief moment with Sam and Bran, as this show has so many isolated plots, there’s an enormous energy when characters that haven’t met and thrown together. No real cliffhanger for the season, which is good because that always adds to the interminable wait, which isn’t present when you binge.
Joffrey: Everyone is mine to torment!
Tyrion: Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies.
Tywin: Any man who must say “I am the king,” is no true king.
Tyrion: You just sent the most powerful man in Westeros to bed without his supper.
Bran: He killed a guest beneath his roof. That’s something the gods can’t forgive.
Ramsay (to Theon as he eats a sausage): Well, the girls weren’t lying, you had a good-sized cock.
Davos: Why is there a “g” in night?
Cersei: If it weren’t for my children, I would have thrown myself from the highest tower in the Red Keep. They’re the reason I’m alive.
Tyrion: Even Joffrey?
Cersei: Even Joffrey.
Tyrion: It’s not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy.
Foreshadowing: Bran’s story comes dangerously close to specificity about Walder Frey. What does that make Arya. Speaking of Arya, she notches her first kill, but it won’t be her last.
Title: Meaning “mother,” as explained by Missandei to Daenerys, but first spoken by the freed Yunkai slaves.
Deaths: Arya has her first kill with the knights bragging about killing Robb and Cat. The Hound also finishes a few.