Game of Thrones is, inarguably, one of the most batshit television shows of all time. Trying to discern what the fuck is ever happening on this show is like staring at a swarm of fire ants descending upon a summer picnic and trying to discern which one was the instigator and which one is the cutest. GoT's ceaseless obfuscation has several roots:
1. Every single white man on this show looks exactly the same, and has one of three names (Padley, Renley, or Gadfly).
2. There are approximately 126 main characters, all of whom are either related to one another or having sex with one another or killing one another, or all three.
3. This show is based on a series of books made up of thousands and thousands of pages, thousands and thousands of rapes, and then, when you think there couldn't possibly be any more rapes, the TV writers add more rapes.
That said, I've been known to begrudgingly enjoy and accept Game of Thrones for what it is (ridiculous) and what it isn't (coherent, absent of gratuitous rapes). Game of Thrones has become something like a sibling to me: Sometimes I hate it, sometimes I love it, sometimes I want to have sex and bear three towheaded children with it. Incredibly, these tepid, twisted sentiments about the show have qualified me to be its recapper for MTV News. Please join me for the next several weeks as I attempt to digest, comprehend, react to, and survive what's happening on HBO's weekly stabby fuckfest. Occasionally, as a way to convey emotion that cannot be put into words, I will interject photos of my little sister from a years-old professional photo shoot gone very wrong.
"The Red Woman"
At the end of last season, Jon Snow died. He was stabbed multiple times by multiple people. Still, the majority of the Internet spent almost a full year trying to convince themselves that Jon Snow did not die, or that HBO would resurrect him within the first several minutes with the help of Melisandre's dark magic or that thing in Peter Pan where they bring Tinkerbell back to life by screaming. Jon Snow's resurrection became a temporary national obsession, like Jesus or Dippin' Dots. While all of us were poring over photos of Kit Harington in Belfast, the ice caps melted, the coral bleached, and every talented artist we ever loved actually died in real life. Still, we did not shut up about Jon Snow. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss probably thought this was cute at first, but now, nearly one year later, want nothing more than for us to knock it off. As such, they kicked off this season by getting right to the good shit: Jon Snow's dead body.
Jon Snow has been left to freeze and bleed overnight. This cute lil' tush is dead. Ghost — Jon Snow's direwolf, who is not dead, just confusingly named — knows he's dead. We know he's dead (please can we just). But apparently, everyone at Castle Black who was not directly involved in Jon Snow's murder remains totally unaware of Jon Snow's death. They all just casually missed Jon Snow being stabbed to death. Suspicious! Does everyone at Castle Black have amazing white-noise machines? Or is this, like, a Kitty Genovese thing?
Hearing the howls and door-chewing of Ghost, Ser Davos runs out of his ice hovel and sees Jon Snow's body lying in the snow. He races down the stairs quickly but gracefully, like a Disney princess, then inexplicably slows down and gets real chill as he approaches the body. Suddenly and for no apparent reason, he is joined by several members of the Night's Watch, all of whom missed the Let's All Stab Jon Snow To Death By The Traitor Sign memo. They take their sweet time staring at Jon's dead body. I get it; that ass. Years go by. Finally, Ser Davos is like, "Let's get him inside." As the others ferry Jon's sweet booty away, Davos hangs back and gawks at Jon's bloody outline for a minute.
We're inside now, and Jon is looking pretty waxy, though still fabulous. One of the millions of white men on this show announces that Thorne, another white man, did this. "I can't trust anybody," says the white man we were talking about at first. Probably because they all look the same and it's hard to tell who is on whose side. The Night's Whites discuss murdering Thorne, because that's how people deal with problems on Game of Thrones, they just murder each other.
Melisandre knocks on the door and they let her in, even though she is a full sociopath. Her immediate reaction to Jon's death is a sort of low-key confusion. So far, nobody really seems that upset about Jon's death; mostly, everyone's like, "But what does this mean for ME?" "But I saw Jon in the flames, fighting at Winterfell," says Melisandre. O RLY, Melisandre? Those same flames that told you to burn a small child at the stake last season? Sounds like some great flames. You should definitely keep listening to those flames.
Now it's ... morning? Is it ever clear what time of day it is on Game of Thrones? Do they even know? Everyone at Castle Black is freaking out at Thorne, who admits to orchestrating the Jon Snow Stab Sesh. But somehow, he turns the whole thing into a propagandic speech about Making The Wall Great Again. "Jon Snow was my Lord Commander. I had no love for him," says Thorne. "But I never once disobeyed an order. Loyalty is the foundation on which the Night's Watch is built, and the Watch means everything to me. Jon Snow was going to destroy the Night's Watch." The men nod thoughtfully, like, "Hm, OK! Seems fine to us. Let's carry on eating duck legs and masturbating into furs."
But the Night's Whites aren't so easily swayed. Like recalcitrant sorority girls who think they're too good for rush, they skip the meeting so they can sit around and talk shit. Naturally, the subject of the shit-talking is "how and who should we murder?" "Jon was my friend, and those dicks butchered him. Now we return the favor," says The One With The Fu Manchu. Again, nobody seems as much sad about Jon's death as they are personally offended by it.
Meanwhile, across town, Ramsay is caressing the face of Dead Myranda, who used to be Alive Myranda, his deeply bitchy fuck buddy who did unspeakable things to Sansa and let him put it anywhere. "She smelled of dog," he says, by way of memorializing her. Appropriately, he orders his lackey to feed her body to some dogs. Game of Thrones is nothing if not generous to its dog characters.
Dead Myranda instantly forgotten, Ramsay engages in a light hallway chat with his father, Roose (not to be confused with Stannis Baratheon, who has his same exact face), who informs Ramsay that his "victory" over Stannis Baratheon wasn't really that cool and that he messed up bad by losing Sansa and Theon. Roose also casually reminds Ramsay that his stepmother is pregnant with a possible new heir to the Bolton throne (Troy Bolton from High School Musical), and that he hasn't even read all of Infinite Jest, so he can't call himself a real man.
Sansa and Theon are racing across the set of The Revenant, having survived their jump off of the Bolton castle into a pile of marshmallows. They approach an icy river, and Theon tells Sansa they have to choose between jumping in and freezing to death or staying normal-freezing but dry and risking being eaten by the dogs that the Boltons have sent after them. In other words, it is just another Tuesday in Sansa's life. Hearing the growls of the Boltons' hounds, the two decide to jump in; Theon, who can no longer feel anything I guess, seems totally fine once they emerge, but Sansa is giving off Jack-in-Titanic vibes. Where is that dead horse carcass that Alejandro Iñárritu left here?
The hounds catch up with them anyway. Theon says he'll lure the dogs away so Sansa can run north, but that doesn't work, either, because the dogs are still hungry after eating Small Dead Myranda. Just as the hounds lunge for Sansa's throat, BRIENNE SHOWS UP AND SLICES ALL THE BAD GUYS' THROATS. It's so, so cool when a woman shows up on Game of Thrones and nobody rapes her. What a nice time for women, this scene. Podrick helps too. Brienne then swears herself to Sansa, and Sansa accepts. I ship Sansa and Brienne.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei appears to be getting used to her new hair by touching it a lot and reminding herself that it's just hair and it will grow back. Jaime's ship approaches from Dorne, and all Cersei has to do is look at his face and the dead body covered by a golden tarp behind him to know that Myrcella is dead. I guess that's what happens when you’re screwing your brother. Jaime and Cersei — who, by the way, is much more chill than I expected her to be about the whole "daughter being dead" thing — have a flirty chat about their dead mom, their dead daughter, and what both corpses looks like. They agree that nobody else matters except them and that they will kill everyone. Everyone is killing everyone, to recap.
For a brief moment, we visit Margaery in prison. She's getting a lecture from the Game of Thrones version of a nun and begging for the chance to see her brother, Loras, who's been locked up for being gay because this is Trump's Westeros. The nun is like, "Nah." The High Sparrow pops by to tell Margaery that her child-husband misses her, but she has "months" left before she can even think about leaving prison. Natalie Dormer has clearly pissed off the Game of Thrones writers.
Over in Dorne, more people are stabbing other people to death by way of solving conflict. This time, it's Ellaria Sand, the late Prince Oberyn's bereft girlfriend, stabbing Prince Doran for being a weak-ass hipster who hates war. Meanwhile, Ellaria's daughters show up on the ship that's taking Doran's newly single son Trystane to Panama City for spring break, and stab him directly through the face from behind, which is a new and exciting way to die on Game of Thrones.
Tyrion and Varys are starring in Before Sunrise. The two are cementing their fledgling bond as they walk about the Daenerys-less Meereen, talking strategy, chatting with the locals, and stumbling upon an off-brand Scientology meeting. Varys confirms he is already spying on everyone in Meereen. Tyrion accidentally threatens to eat a woman's offspring and Varys good-naturedly corrects him. They're both amused. Somebody lights all of Meereen's ships on fire, killing the mood.
Old White Dude No. 67 (Jorah Mormont) and Daenerys's sexfriend Daario are starring in Before Midnight, which is the one where the leads hate each other. They're on a quest to find the woman they both want to possess, who's been tragically kidnapped by a horde of rapey Dothraki. They spend a few minutes mansplaining Daenerys to each other ("Maybe she doesn't like being queen"), but demonstrate a brief shred of self-awareness: "There's no escaping men like us," says Jorah. True. That is the truest thing anyone on this show has ever said. Jorah discreetly checks out his greyscale, which is looking #progressed, and makes a subtle threat about Daario dying young that Daario ignores. They stumble upon Daenerys's ring, which she cunningly dropped as a bread crumb, and realize that "they have her."
Indeed, "they" do have Dany, who's glumly walking alongside the Dothraki who've taken her prisoner, and whose dress has turned from white to blue to tie-dye in the span of a few days. How long will she have to wear this dress? It's just not my favorite. The Dothraki discuss D's "white pussy hair," call her an idiot, and discuss "fucking her in the ass" before presenting her to their Khal, who informs Dany that he is going to rape her and force her to bear his kids.
The Khal and his Dothraki frat bros engage in a bit of "banter" that fell off of Daniel Tosh's script truck, arguing over whether it's better to see a beautiful woman naked or to kill a king. But once Dany explains who she is — the widow of Khal Drogo, plus one million additional qualifiers — the Khal is like, "Oh, shit, we gotta take you to the place where all the old widows go to die." This entire scene makes me wish somebody would rhinoceros me.
Arya is blind and homeless on the streets of Braavos, having upset the Many-Faced God and the Faceless Men by killing a known pedophile. Go figure. Her life, like the life of every woman on this show except for Brienne, is hot garbage. To make matters worse, but perhaps more interesting, Arya's would-be coworker from the House of Black and White shows up to beat the shit out of her. She implies that this will be a daily occurrence. At least Arya doesn't have to sell cockles anymore. What is a cockle?
Back at the Wall, everybody is still very cold and making ill-informed stabbing plans. Thorne tries to trick Ser Davos into leaving his ice hovel by telling him he'll be granted "amnesty" if he just pops his little head out and surrenders. Ser Davos is like "... Nah, I'm good for now. Bring me some food?" Thorne begrudgingly heads to White Castle. The Night Whites agree that they are going to be fully slaughtered literally no matter what they do because this is Game of Thrones, but that they shouldn't "make it easy" for Thorne & Co. Ser Davos suggests they call on Melisandre to help them.
Speaking of Melisandre, girl is in her considerably fancier ice hovel, looking pensive. She gets up from her bed, takes off her clothes, and stares at her perky breasts in the world's dirtiest mirror. If I had boobs like that, I would do the same thing, albeit armed with Windex. I would probably do a bit of a dance, too, maybe to Cyndi Lauper. But then something horrifying happens, something that has turned the Internet green with sickness and the seas purple with rage in the hours since. Melisandre — whose whole thing is predicated upon being hot, or else nobody would listen to her religious blathering — removes her necklace and turns into the grossest, most unholy monster Game of Thrones has ever depicted: AN OLD WOMAN. WITH SAGGY BOOBS.
Just to reiterate, Melisandre is no longer young and hot but old and saggy. Her boobs. Are. Gross!! She gets into bed — naked. Gross!! Put some clothes on, you're old! Who is going to wash those old-person sheets? Not me. Not Jon Snow (because he's dead). Not Thorne (he is at White Castle). Not Ser Davos (he is tired, can you give him a break?). Can somebody please kill Melisandre and burn her sheets before she turns all of us old and gross?
Jon Snow is still dead.