‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 8 Recap: No One
So it turns out that a girl was someone after all: Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) of Winterfell.
After two seasons of the show spinning her wheels, Arya’s journey in Braavos has come to an anticlimactic end, reaffirming what we already knew: that Arya is Arya. Everything that transpired last week was indeed what it appeared to be (and not some Fight Club-esque split personality disorder, although with the tricky Faceless Men, you can never be too sure). Arya was really wounded, and the Waif (Faye Marsay) was really after her.
The odd behavior we saw last week — Arya strolling about the city as if no one was after her — was just that, and not some inkling at a greater plan in motion. And lamentably Lady Crane did not have a bigger role to play.
Instead the Waif killed the beloved actress in cursory fashion and proceeded to chase Arya throughout the city. They must teach parkour at the House of Black and White because those girls — curiously including one who was severely wounded — really knew how to jump around and defy the laws of physics.
In the end, Arya tritely lured her assassin to her secret hiding spot, where she beat the Waif using the blind fighting skills she mastered during training — not that we saw much of it. Between that and the Blackfish’s off-screen death, it felt as if producers were saving all the action for the bastard brawl next episode.
While Arya’s own battle with the Waif ended with her face on the wall and Jaqen H’ghar’s (Tom Wlaschiha) swift pardon, the situation was underwhelming and felt as if Arya’s time in Braavos was just to buy time until things in Winterfell were ripe enough for her return. What were last week’s events and all those stick beatings for? A girl wonders.
The stalemate at Riverrun was similarly unsatisfying, at least in the big picture, in which Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) took over the castle and the Blackfish (Clive Russell) — who we hardly met and thus did not care about — died in a presumably ham-handed swordfight. It looks like Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is going to be one Tully army short for the Jon-and-Ramsay show.
Despite two armies being in the middle of a siege, the real action was in the tents — and no, Bronn (Jerome Flynn), not that kind of action. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) was reunited with Jaime, albeit under bittersweet circumstances. Despite her passionate longing, she said that she would fight Jaime if she had to. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” he said. Luckily, it didn’t, because after Jaime’s believable threats and incest confessions in the prisoner tent, Lord Edmure (Tobias Menzies) quickly agreed to betray his Uncle Brynden and let the Lannister army redecorate the castle. I guess he didn’t want to see his infant son catapulted into Riverrun. A cherry on top moment came soon after, when Brienne and Jaime shared a GIF-worthy wave as Pod (Daniel Portman) slowly rowed away.
Hopefully, Jaime’s takeover of Riverrun means he can return to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) sooner rather than later, because it’s not going so well for her in King’s Landing. Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman), aka the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), has just prohibited trial by combat, meaning Mountainstein won’t be able to redeem himself from his last dual. He’ll have to satiate his appetite for violence with a Sparrow head for now. Cersei’s foolproof plan was not so foolproof against the High Sparrow, who we suspect convinced Tommen to do away with the traditional barbaric tribunal. But perhaps a secret from Qyburn’s (Anton Lesser) little birds is the key to Plan B?
Her brother, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), is not doing so well in the hot seat either. After what he thought was a clever negotiation with the slave masters, their slaver ships invaded the bay and bombarded the pyramid of Meereen. I guess Tyrion’s complimentary prostitutes didn’t do the trick. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) warned him that this would happen, and they are now left thinking, “I told you so.” Not even a bad joke can lighten up this situation.
Luckily for Tyrion, Queen Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) made her much anticipated return. Drogon flapped away in the distance, and though you might expect him to incinerate the slaver ships in one fell swoop, well, that just seems too easy for Game of Thrones. Perhaps the Greyjoy fleet will show up to save the day and seduce the Mother of Dragons; perhaps not.
It’s a shame Varys (Conleth Hill) has to miss out on all the action after weeks of nothing but long strolls around the city.
Besides Bronn and Pod’s brief training session — “Lesson No. 1,” Bronn said, “assume everyone wants to hit you” — Sandor Clegane’s (Rory McCann) axe wielding was the only comic relief in this episode. “You’re [no good] at dying, you know that?” It was one of many quips during the Hound’s vengeance quest against the Brotherhood pillagers who killed his only friend, Ray. And during his mission who should he run into other than the recurring Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) and Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), his resurrector, who both returned to the story for the first time since the Hound killed Beric, briefly, in Season 3. It turns out that the pillagers had defied their own group by killing the Hound’s bible buddies.
The Hound begrudgingly kicks the bucket out from under two of his enemies — after months away from his axe, he has to make up for lost time. Brother Ray’s non-violent teachings clearly didn’t stick.
“You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed, Clegane,” Beric said. Now the Brotherhood has its own plans for Sandor’s redemption, and it involves “cold winds rising in the north.”
Buck up, Clegane, you may be able to cut down a few White Walkers yet.
Video courtesy of “Game of Thrones.”
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