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Needless to say, none of this episode went down the way a man expected.
Welcome to the Unsullied, village idiot, unversed, non-book reader recap of epic proportions. Your friendly neighborhood Oz has returned from hiatus. But more importantly, so have a host of other long-lost characters that many may have believed to be gone for good.
Strap on your feather helmets, oh ye loyal Wallbies. Let’s talk about Blood.
Last week while putting my body through completely unnecessary and unhealthy practices, Clare stepped in and did an outstanding job of recapping “The Door” (I always seem to unintentionally stick her with the emotionally charged installments). Sorry Clare.
But today a man is back and for a Cogman-penned episode no less. Let us jump in, fluffy headgear first…
Door on Hold
We pick up where we left off with poor Meera doing her damnedest to drag Bran’s heavy ass through the snow. After hitting a snag, it appears the two are finished and wait for the dead to arrive.
But as luck would have it, a mysterious hooded rider would come to the rescue, slinging wights left and right. Honestly, there was no doubt in my mind who the rider was as soon as he pulled up. Even Ozzette picked it up immediately… “that’s _________!”
More on that later.
The big thing here seemed to be the visions Bran continued having as Meera trudged through the snow, most notably the Mad King yelling, “burn them all.”
Although the significance of everything he envisioned is unclear, the show runners may have been using this as an opportunity to help Bran understand more about the Targaryens and why Jaime Lannister killed the Mad King, among other things. After all, a portion of this episode was directed toward Jaime’s story arc right before he is to begin traveling north.
We shall see.
Dinner with the Tarlys
For those viewers who have not been paying close attention, every indication was that Sam’s return home was not going to be a joyful occasion.
We have heard Randyll Tarly’s name in Game of Thrones since Season 1 when Robert boasted about him to Ned. We also heard about the disdain Randyll had for Sam, which is how he ended up at Castle Black to begin with.
Sam and Gilly are on the road to Horn Hill and devise a story about where Gilly was from (as Randyll hates Wildlings), and that little Sam is his real son (blood of his blood, yes?).
The initial greeting with mom and sister are pleasant, as expected from the conversation on the boat earlier in the season. But when Daddy and Dickon Tarly turn up for dinner, the venison gets sours quickly. In the process of taking up for Sam, Gilly accidentally reveals that she is from north of the Wall.
Later, Sam visits Gilly and baby Sam to say goodbye and abruptly leaves the room. But shortly thereafter, Sam reenters and tells Gilly that they should all be together and that they are leaving Horn Hill.
In an obvious display of defiance, Sam takes the coveted household Valyrian sword, Heartsbane, which almost certainly guarantees that we haven’t seen the last of Randyll Tarly.
Arya Gonna Kill Her?
We catch up with Arya taking in her third viewing of “Game of Thrones on Broadway” and sneaking backstage as the cast go out for their curtain calls. Arya poisons Lady Crane’s rum but is stopped as she exits the area by the actress where they engage in pleasant conversation.
After Arya leaves, Lady Crane starts to take a sip of the concoction. But Arya reemerges to knock the cup from her mouth and tells her that the young actress wants her dead.
This was somewhat of a surprising move considering how much she had endured and the level of respect she held for Jaqen. But at the end of the day, maybe the play hit a little too close to home and Arya had to seriously consider who she truly was and how she wanted to exist in her future. Arya realizes that Lady Crane is a good woman and that murdering her under any circumstances is not the right thing to do.
As she goes to retrieve Needle, the Waif tells Jaqen of her actions and sets out to kill Arya. Jaqen tells her to not make her suffer. This is obviously troubling as Arya most certainly will be confronted by the Waif before getting out of town… and the Waif has kicked her ass before.
I’ll admit, it was hard to imagine Arya only doing the bidding of the Faceless God forever and not being involved in the wars to come. The question, assuming Arya survives the Waif, is will there be further punishment from Jaqen?
Back in KL, the Sparrow continues his manipulation of the naïve Tommen and using Margaery to accelerate his efforts. And it works.
Margaery acts as if she has bought into the whole “sparrow and pony” show, utterly confusing an already bewildered puppy in Tommen. But Margaery is much too smart to be so easily manipulated. I believe she feels as if she must play this whole game differently in order to get a positive outcome for her and Loras.
As Margaery looks to be facing her own fun-filled “shame” walk, the peacock infantry arrives with a scathing speech led by “Motivational Mace.” But as Jaime rides up the staircase and confronts the Sparrow, the doors of the Sept open to reveal King Tommen and a new alliance is announced between the militant and the realm.
It was enough to make a man want to throw his laptop at the television.
I’ll be blunt: As most of you know, I’m over the faith militant shit. But I’m always intrigued by the dynamic of the players in KL. If this turn of events leads to the culmination of an epic battle that churns the capital into chaos, then count me in. It’s apparently going to lead to Jaime coming face to face with the Blackfish. But it will most likely lead to the death of Tommen as well.
Speaking of the Blackfish…
I’m convinced that Walder Frey will live forever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. David Bradley has played this guy perfectly. And no matter how much time passes, he somehow gets right back into character as if he’s just been sitting there with the same outfit on waiting for D&D to roll the cameras back on the set.
Walder is understandably pissed that his men have lost Riverrun to the Blackfish and orders them to take it back immediately. When the men explain that they are outmanned, Walder brings in his ace in the hole, Tobias Menzies (all hail Edmure!).
The Man in the Black Hood
As Bran and Meera rest, the man that saved them indeed reveals himself as long-lost Benjen Stark played by Joseph Mawle (last seen in Season 1 Episode 3).
Benjen tells Bran that he was injured by a white walker with his ice spear but was saved by the children in the same manner that the children created the white walkers (dragonglass in the heart). This also explains Benjen’s icy appearance.
As to the coincidental timing, Benjen also explains that he was summoned by the Three-Eyed Raven and that it is now Bran’s title. At the end of the scene, Benjen tells Bran that he must learn to control before the Night King comes.
Now, where are you Gendry?
Dany, Daario and Drogon
I was more impressed with Mace’s speech. See more below.
Episode 606 Personal Awards
“I’m so sorry.” –Meera. The way she said it made me feel like at least one of them was about to go.
“The gods have a plan for us all.” –Marg
“Not fat enough already?” –Randyll Tarly
“You dishonor yourself.” – Melessa Tarly
“I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it.” –Gilly
“I don’t have the authority to give them to you. And you don’t have the authority to take them.” –Sparrow
“For 300 years we kissed Tully boots, swore oaths to them and their stinking fish banners. Not again. Riverrun is ours. Take it back.” –Walder
“You must learn to control it before the Night King comes.” -Benjen
Best Return Character: This one is completely subjective (as they all are), so take your pick and sound off below. Benjen has been gone the longest, but it was damn good to see Edmure and Walder back as well.
Owning it like a Badass Award: Jaime riding up the steps on horseback and the shot of him with the crowd behind was pretty powerful.
Ow, That Shit Hurts Award: Walder slapping any young girl on the ass has always been painful to watch.
“Holy Shit” Moment Award: Benjen, of course. But seeing a vision of the infamous Mad King was pretty epic.
Jackass Award: Close call, but Randyll Tarly takes it, and in his first on-screen appearance no less. Walder Frey gets an honorable mention for the ever-present child-wife he keeps close by.
Overall Thoughts: I absolutely loved this episode, right up until the end.
The character returns were well done and surprising, especially with so many in one episode. Whether or not we would ever see Benjen again was always in question, but I really doubted whether we would ever see the return of Edmure. I always thought the story would leave him rotting in the Frey dungeons for eternity.
The information in the episode was deep and the dialogue was arguably the best of the season thus far. We even got a mention of the Brotherhood Without Banners! Great job by Cogman and the team on this part.
My only real complaint was the ending and it encompasses a number of issues.
There was no true segue into Dany’s story. Instead, it seemed like an abrupt jump from an exciting, mysterious character reveal to monotonous Dany on horseback.
The motivational speech to the Dothraki seemed entirely out of place and, for lack of a better term, odd. If she had given it right before loading the ships headed to Westeros and to a larger group of Dothraki, perhaps it would not have come across as forced.
And to be honest, the inclusion of the scene felt forced altogether. Maybe this was by design and is important for events in ep. 7. Or maybe they simply needed to add a scene to get this episode over the 50-minute mark. Regardless, it felt completely out of place. Even the CGI looked weird.
This is not Dany-hating by any means. I simply felt that it was an odd ending to what had been a flowing, naturally progressing episode. But as per the norm, the positives far outweighed the one negative and next week looks quite intriguing.
Thank you all for enduring this edition of Unsullied thoughts. Please share yours below and let’s discuss and if you are in the States, then Happy Memorial Day to you and yours.
Until next week, hang out and stay awhile. Invite an Unsullied to join us. And may there always be peace in your realm. –Oz
Find Oz on Twitter.
**SPOILER NOTE: The Management of this fine site would like to remind you that spoilers (book or leak) are not allowed in Unsullied posts. This includes spoilers that may be covered by code or otherwise. Personally, I appreciate feedback from Sullied and Unsullied alike, so long as they do not include any type of hinting or conversation related to the written verse. However, spoiler coded comments do tend to lead to further Sullied conversation and for that reason, we ask that you please refrain from posting any SPOILERY content whatsoever in Unsullied posts. Thank you for the coop. -Oz