In the greatest Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead crossover episode ever, we simultaneously learn Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) purpose and lose him all at once. Season 6 seems to have finally found its footing in a strong follow-up to last week’s episode. A fair piece of the story is focused on the great Arya (Maisie Williams) as she seeks to become “No One” and serve the Many-Faced God while making her enigmatic master, Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) happy. Her travels take her to an outdoor theater where she is tasked with poisoning one of the actresses. Her story is a strong and fascinating one and Williams, who was once a promising young actress, is now the most engaging performer in the series, minus Peter Dinklage.
Speaking of Tyrion (Dinklage), it is clear that in this season he is a minor character. This does not work well for a talent such as Dinklage OR for the bombastically wise “imp” of King’s Landing. This episode’s best, and most obvious line, goes to Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen): “Tyrion Lannister was right.” When is he not? Nevertheless, Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill) confront a new Red Priestess, Kinvara (Ania Bukstein). Apparently there is more than one of these priestesses of the Lord of Light, and they are all stunning. While Melisandre (Carice von Houten) has moved her sights from the now dead Stannis Baratheon to the resurrected Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) as the Lord of Light’s “chosen one,” Kinvara has her sights set on Danaerys (Emilia Clarke). I smell trouble brewing.
Bran, who remains a completely uninteresting character, has been commanded to take the Three-Eyed Raven’s (Max von Sydow) place as grand psychic Jedi master. He discovers, following one of his psychic seizures, that The Night’s King (Vladimir Furdik), the evil monarch of the White Walkers, was created by The Children, the ancient tree people who serve the Three-Eyed Raven. This takes an interesting turn when it is revealed that The Night’s King has the power to enter Bran’s psychic visions and mark him as a dead man. What follows is the iciest encounter with the White Walkers since the conclusion of the fourth season.
In a rather moving sequence, Dany (Clarke) forgives the hopeless Ser Jorah (Glen) for betraying her and weeps as he, finally, confesses his love for her (duh!). She commands him to “find the cure” for his disgusting and very contagious skin disease because when she rules the Seven Kingdoms she wants him “by her side.”
Aside from Arya, the most impressive narrative in this episode took me by surprise. Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) is home in the Iron Islands and heart-wrenchingly supports his badass sister, Yara (Gemma Whalen), as his Queen, but, in a wicked turn of events, Yara and Theon are challenged by their haughty Uncle Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek). He is, clearly, a grade A douche bag, but he complicates things in a substantive way. Theon feels like a character with purpose, and his story is, suddenly, exciting to watch again.
Do you remember in Season One, Episode One when long dead Ned Stark (Sean Bean) said, for the first time, “Winter is coming?” Well, apparently, he meant it. Five years later, winter is finally making its way to Westeros.
Josiah Richard Armstrong is a hospital chaplain from Western New York. He is also a playwright and amateur cartoonist. Follow him on Twitter @JosiahArmstrong and Medium, where he writes more reviews for film and television.