The Hound (Rory McCann) gets the gold star for best line of the episode when he says, “Lots of shitty things have been done in the name of something bigger than ourselves.” He pretty much captured the entirety of GOT in that one sentence. While The Hound hunts for the members of the Red Brotherhood who killed his septon and new community, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and her faithful squire Podrick (Daniel Portman) make their way to Riverrun where Black Fish Tully (Clive Russell) holds the fortress hostage. Brienne and her former prisoner/crush Ser Jamie Lannister (Nikolai Coster-Waldau) are reunited in a scene that both reveals their tenderness for one another and reveals that things at Riverrun are about to get very challenging. It is clear that Jamie is blinded by his incestuous love for his sister Cersei (Lena Headey) and a devious plot is hatched involving the deceased Catelyn Stark’s brother and Black Fish’s nephew Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies). Either way, the conflicted, proud, and crafty Jamie allows for Brienne, who is technically his enemy, to make safe passage with Podrick.
In King’s Landing, the fundamentalist Sparrows have come to confront Cersei and she retaliates with her “Frankenstein” beast and The Hound’s older brother Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafbor Julius Bjornsson). Cersei’s son, the dull and witless King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) orders his mother and Ser Loris Tyrell to a trial by Seven Septons, officially outlawing the traditional Trial by Combat which means Cersei’s precious Mountain is of little use to her.
In Mereen, the dry and crafty Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) boards a ship for Westeros, thus breaking up the Abbott and Costello of Essos. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is left to fend on his own. He drinks wine and, in a rather amusing scene, teaches the solemn Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and lovely Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) how to drink and tell jokes. This light-hearted scene ends with the bells of impending attack, as only GOT could do. Tyrion has put Mereen in jeopardy and we are lead to believe that the city will be safe now that Queen Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) has safely returned with her dragons right at the very last possible second.
It must be said that the episode goes to Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). This episode has proven to be one of her strongest yet, which is saying something, given the fact that she is truly a fan favorite and a delight to watch every second she is on screen. Arya has, thanks be to the Seven, stumbled her way back to the stunning actress Lady Crane (Essie Davis) who, despite the assassination attempt, tends to Arya’s wounds and puts her on bed rest. Arya’s terrifying pursuer known only as Waif (Faye Marsay) murders the innocent Lady Crane and then gives Arya chase. GOT has not made use of chase scenes in their action sequences, thus far, and this is one for the history books. It is a tense, well filmed, and well paced scene that ends with Arya finding the will and strength to survive with cunning and, you guessed it, sword-fighting. Arya’s final conversation with Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) is her most badass scene yet and the episode, although leaving many of our favorite characters in hot water, ends with a triumphant note for Arya. This episode proves, once again, that the day goes to Arya Stark. The day ALWAYS goes to Arya Stark.
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.