Synopsis: After sitting last season out, Bran is right where we left him in season 4, with the Three-Eyed Raven (although puberty has definitely smacked Isaac Hempstead Wright upside the head). The two jump into the past and witness Winterfell years ago with young Ned and Lyanna Stark in the courtyard, as well as young Wyllis, who Bran recognizes as Hodor, and is amazed that he was once able to talk. Bran wants to play in the past, but the Raven wakes him up. Bran finds Meera outside sitting watch and tells her what he’s learned. Leaf sits by Meera and assures her that Bran needs Meera. Thorne returns to Davos and asks him to surrender. Davos and the others draw their swords as the Night’s Watch bust down the door. Before they make it through, Wun Wun breaks down the door to Castle Black and a herd of Wildlings along with Tollett take over the castle. Thorne and the others are taken prisoner. In King’s Landing, a man speaks ill of Cersei, and afterwards when he’s taking a piss, the Mountain smashes his head in. Cersei and the Mountain prepare to leave the Red Keep, but are barred from doing so from the kingsguard on orders of King Tommen. Tommen and Jaime pay their respects to Myrcella, and Tommen says he thinks it was Cersei who killed Trystane. Jaime asks if Tommen is upset with Cersei, but he denies it, saying he hasn’t seen her because he feels guilty and with his wife and mother locked up, he appears weak. The High Sparrow arrives and Jaime threatens him, but before he can draw his sword an army of Faith Militant arrive. The High Sparrow leaves with a smirk. Tommen finally visits Cersei and apologizes for keeping her locked up and not visiting her sooner. He didn’t want to risk losing her again. Tommen asks for her help in being strong.
Dany’s small council meets without her, with Varys now on board. Missandei tells them that the dragons have stopped eating and Tyrion thinks they need to be freed. Varys and the imp head to the underground dungeon, where Tyrion slowly approaches the beasts and is able to touch them without getting flamed. He successfully removes their chains. The Waif (ugh, the Waif) approaches blind Arya again and beats her with the stick. Arya swings her staff, but it is stopped by Jaqen who tests her again. Arya passes. Ramsay and Roose learn of their men lost in the search for Sansa and debate on how to find her. They need a Stark in Winterfell in order to secure their hold. Roose shoots down Ramsay’s ideas and chastises him for being reckless. The maester enters to announce that Walda has given birth to a boy. Ramsay goes to congratulate Roose, but then stabs him through the gut, and he falls to the ground. Ramsay sends for his stepmom. Ramsay says “hey” to his new baby brother, and takes Walda and the boy to the kennels. Ramsay tells Walda he’s the new Lord and Walda pleads with him to let her go, but Ramsay sics his dogs on them instead. Brienne tells Sansa about her run-in with Arya. Theon doesn’t want to go to the wall, because he knows Jon will put him to death when he arrives. He says goodbye to Sansa and says that he will return home. Back at Theon’s home, Yara snaps at her father who continues to lose ground on land. Balon tells her to get in line or he’ll get another heir. He leaves her behind and as he crosses a bridge, Balon runs into his brother Euron. They have a tense reunion that ends up with Euron tossing his brother overboard. His body is found in the morning and he is laid to rest. Yara vows to find her father’s killer, but she is reminded that she doesn’t automatically inherit the throne, she has to win at a Kingsmoot.
Davos visits Melisandre and he asks her to bring Jon back. She is defeated and weary and doubts her faith, but Davos convinces her to try. She washes Jon’s body, cuts his hair, chants some stuff and …nothing happens. So, she leaves and the others behind her. But, when Jon’s alone, he begins gasping for air. He’s back.
Comments: Jon’s death and return to the living was handled as best the show could, despite the spoiler forces working to ruin it. Without the noise of the internet to accompany the episode and just watching now, it all plays out well. They could’ve dragged out the resurrection for several episodes, but they didn’t. He died. We had an episode to address it, and then in the next episode he’s back. We’ve seen resurrections on this show before so it’s not completely out of nowhere. And they tried to maintain the ruse, as the entire season was shot before it aired, all scripts were changed to not have Jon’s name, and publicly Kit Harrington said he was off the show. Look, I’m all for a show misleading an audience if it’s service to the greater story. We’re witnessing it right now with Avengers: Endgame and a whole slew of actors who I expect to appear in the movie not being on the posters or appearing in any media (and while I wrote this before new posters of the dead appeared, since they are labeled as deceased, I think my argument still stands). The only issue with the entire situation was all the speculation that went along with it and how difficult it was to drown it out. Sure, we all expected Snow to come back, but there was so much discussion in the zeitgeist that it neutered the storytelling a bit. Still, glad he’s back. To go along with the title, we have a lot of characters returning home. Not only do we see the return of Bran, Meera, and Hodor after a year off, but we also get back to Yara who was last seen in season 4, and Balon who hasn’t been seen since season 3. Also, Balon took his last breath with the introduction of Euron, and it looks like we’ve got another villain in our midst. Another flashback as Bran visits a young Ned and his siblings. There wasn’t an issue with taking a year off from Bran, though it does feel a bit weird as if they only just got to the Three-Eyed Raven despite Bran being about a foot taller than when we left him. The short scene with Tyrion and the dragons plays a bit like a horror movie with unbearable tension and complete with jump scares.
Tyrion: That’s what I do. I drink and I know things. (perhaps the greatest line in Game of Thrones history).
Tyrion: I’m here to help. Don’t eat the help.
Tyrion: Next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face.
High Sparrow: We have no names, no family. Every one of us is poor, powerless, and yet together we can overthrow an empire.
Ramsay: I prefer being an only child.
Foreshadowing: I suspect there’s something to the dragons letting Tyrion near them. They haven’t been shown to be accepting of strangers before. Second episode in a row where Ramsay’s dogs get a human-sized treat, gosh I hope he never starves them. The flashbacks to young Ned and Lyanna will lead to something a lot more important, and even learning Hodor could talk at one point will have an emotional payoff.
Title: First spoken by Bran who returns home in more ways than one (the character to the show, to Winterfell in his vision), but also in reference to Jon returning home to life, Theon planning to go home after leaving Sansa, and Arya getting to go back with Jaqen.
Deaths: Ramsay wipes out his entire family, stabbing his dad and feeding Walda and his baby brother to his dogs. Euron knocks Balon into the sea.