I absolutely love everything about this episode. In fact, it might be one of my all-time favorite Game of Thrones hours.
Let’s start with that mindblowing chase sequence throughout Braavos. From Arya crashing down the stairs (as the oranges fall down) to that stunning shot of the Waif running across rooftops and landing behind the young Stark, everything about this high-octane thrill-fest is incredible. The showdown is particularly memorable because when all hope is lost, we realize that Arya had led her target to her home where she retrieves Needle and slices a candle like a badass. I remember the first time I watched this, it took me a few seconds to realize that Arya can now fight in the dark thanks to the Waif’s training (when she was blind). Watching Arya turn her training against her former mentor makes this climax all the more satisfying after so much buildup. In addition, Arya’s Braavos journey comes to an end in the most blood-pumping manner possible: she holds a sword to Jaqen, denounces his “no one” shtick, and announces that she’s going home (as Arya Stark no less). It’s goosebump-inducing in every way. Bravo show!
No One is also home to one of my favorite scenes in the entire show, and that’s Cersei’s “I choose violence” slaughter-fest. The Faith Militant have pissed me off for over a season now, so watching Cersei casually give the Mountain the go-ahead to rip a lackey’s head right out of his spine is a glorious sight to behold. The cinematography and music in this sequence also do a bang-up job of framing the ominous Mountain in a terrifying manner, effectively making the scene all the more horrifying. More revenge please!
This hour is also a turning point because Cersei has to watch her son betray her as he abolishes Trial by Combat and basically sends her to her death. It’s especially gutwrenching, particularly as she tries to approach him and he walks away after the announcement. Nevertheless, we all know Cersei always has something up her sleeves, as evidenced by Qyburn and the “rumor” she had him research. Something big is coming people!
It’s also worth noting that No One reunites Jaime and Brienne after several seasons. The chemistry between these two has always been electric, and they manage to convey so much with very little dialogue. The Blackfish debacle isn’t the most captivating of storylines, but it’s worth it just to see Jaime and Brienne wave at each other across the river as she makes her escape. I wonder if the show might actually pair these two together in the end, or will Cersei have Brienne’s head?
Bits & Beheadings
– I love that Lady Crane plays Joffrey’s death with a vengeful twist as Arya suggested a while back.
– It’s amazing really that I grew to love Lady Crane and her relationship with Arya in the span of a few episodes. I guess it’s because Arya hasn’t had a mother figure in so long? That’s what makes Crane’s death all the more heartbreaking.
– It’s always fun to watch The Hound massacre everybody in sight. But will he join the Brotherhood in their fight against the White Walkers?
– Even more continuity: the red priests are still spreading the good word about Dany thanks to Tyrion’s deal.
– So Varys is leaving to Westeros now?
– The fact that Qyburn smiles so proudly as The Mountain kills is hilarious. #ProudDaddy.
– Love that Jaime tells Brienne to keep the sword he gave her.
– Another amusing reunion: Podrick and Bronn! The latter even mentions the squire’s “magic cock” (remember the threesome that Tyrion arranged?)
– Love the way Cersei makes her way through the crowds with The Mountain by her side as they all scatter away.
– The fact that Tyrion wants to make his own wine and call it The Imp’s Delight is just perfect.
– More fun with the trio: Tyrion begging Missandei and Grey Worm to try wine and tell jokes. He says a joke about the Starks but it’s not in very good taste seeing as how they’re all dead! Missandei’s joke about the translator is cuter.
– A gem of a sequence: Jaime threatening to kill Edmure and his family while the latter calls him an genuinely “evil” man. It’s a particularly powerful scene because it really made me think: why am I rooting for such a horrible character? Layers!
– Loved Jaime bringing up Catelyn and how similar she is to Cersei.
– Notice that Jaime says “the things we do for love” – the same line he said in the pilot before pushing Bran out the window.
– The Blackfish dies fighting for his castle. Can’t say I’ll miss him!
– Epic shot of the Masters firing at Meereen from their ships. Very apocalyptic. And look, Dany’s back! I can’t believe she hasn’t been in Meereen all season long.
– Too funny: The Hound steals the boots off one of the murders as he’s still choking.
– Can’t say I missed Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. But watching them banter with Clegane could be fun.
– Did we really need to see the Hound pissing with full front nudity no less?
– A case could be made that Arya is way too wounded to slide under things and jump across buildings but I choose to assume that Lady Crane’s milk of the poppy healed her and she was knocked out for days.
– I didn’t notice the first time, but Arya has gouged out the Waif’s eyes before hanging her face in the hall. Seems fair if you ask me!
Kings & Quips
Arya: You’re good at that. Where did you learn?
Crane: I’m a jealous woman. I’ve always liked bad men and they’ve always liked me. They’d come home wherever home was that night stinking of some whore’s perfume. So we’d fight and I’d put a hole in them. And then I’d feel terrible, so I’d patch them up. I got good at patching them up.
Arya: And good at putting holes in them.
Crane: And that.
The Hound: You’re shit at dying, you know that?
Varys: You made a pact with fanatics.
Tyrion: I did and it worked.
Varys: If you shaved your beard with a straight razor, you’d say the razor worked. That doesn’t mean it won’t cut your throat.
Tyrion: Spoken like a man who has never had to shave.
Lancel: Order your man to step aside or there will be violence.
Cersei: I choose violence.
Bronn: You think they’re fucking?
Podrick: What? No.
Bronn: Why not? I’d fuck her. You’d fuck her, wouldn’t you?
Podrick: I’m her squire.
Bronn: Oh. Well, he’d fuck her, that’s for sure. And she’d fuck him, don’t you think? The way she looks at him. The way all women look at him is frankly irritating. I preferred working with the little brother on that account.
Bronn: Lesson number one, assume everyone wants to hit you. ‘Cause they do, Pod. Everyone wants to hit a fucking squire.
Qyburn: Your Grace… that old rumor you told me about. My little birds investigated.
Cersei: And? Was it just a rumor or something more?
Qyburn: More. Much more.
Edmure: (to Jaime) You’re a fine-looking fellow, aren’t you? Your square jaw, your golden armor. Tell me, I want to know. I truly do. How do you live with yourself? All of us have to believe that we’re decent, don’t we? You have to sleep at night. How do you tell yourself that you’re decent after everything that you’ve done?
Jaime: I suppose all mothers do, but Catelyn and Cersei, there’s a fierceness you don’t often see. They’d do anything to protect their babies. Start a war. Burn cities to ash. Free their worst enemies. The things we do for love.
Jaime: I love Cersei. You can laugh at that if you want. You can sneer. Doesn’t matter. She needs me. And to get back to her, I have to take Riverrun. I’ll send for your baby boy. And I’ll launch him into Riverrun with a catapult. Because you don’t matter to me, Lord Edmure. Your son doesn’t matter to me. The people in the castle don’t matter to me. Only Cersei. And if I have to slaughter every Tully who ever lived to get back to her, that’s what I’ll do.
The Hound: Drop that arrow, you bloody girl. Tougher girls than you have tried to kill me.
Arya: You told her to kill me.
Jaqen: Yes. But here you are. And there she is. Finally a girl is no one.
Arya: A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I’m going home.
The somewhat dull Blackfish subplot prevents the hour from being truly perfect. Otherwise, this is a masterful episode.