This week's Game of Thrones kicked off with a cameo from our pushed-out-of-a-window pal Bran and ended with the revival of previously dead person Jon Snow, bookend plot points that reiterate Game of Thrones's central thesis: Most white guys will be OK and all women are dead forever. Let's get straight to the recap, because what I am learning from this show is that I may be eaten by dogs at literally any moment.
Episode 2 begins with an appearance from Bran, who took a full season out of the harsh glare of the spotlight to chill in the woods with Max von Sydow and learn how to warg his way into the past. I don't know about y'all, but I'm not thrilled about Bran's reappearance. This is because Bran is mad whiny. When he isn't being pushed out of windows, sweating up his bed with his raven dreams, or being dragged about the wilderness by Hodor, Bran is, invariably, whining about something. This is in spite of the fact that everyone around Bran literally lives just to serve him. All anyone cares about is Bran's well-being and happiness and making sure he is dressed in the most plush furs. But all Bran can do is bitch and moan and generally act like a human SpaghettiO. This first scene demonstrates that, even though Bran is ostensibly older and wiser, he will still be goddamn whining all season long.
With the help of Season 6's favorite prop — milky white contacts — Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven have traveled back in time to Bran's father Ned Stark's childhood. They're watching young Ned (R.I.P., Ned, we hardly knew ye and your little half-pony) duel with Bran's uncle. This is what children did for fun back in the Good Old Days, before everyone began indiscriminately stabbing each other. (Make Westeros Great Again.) Lyanna Stark — about whom we've heard a lot, but to whom we haven't yet been introduced on the show — gallops around on a horse, unaware that one day she will merely be Game of Thrones Rape Victim 4,567 and Crypt Statue 7. "They were all so happy," says Bran. "So were you, once," says the Three-Eyed Raven.
Bran — who is looking a lot like a young Winona Ryder these days, which endears him to me ever so slightly — walks down to the duel pit to hang out with all of his dead relatives and spies a young Hodor. Apparently, Hodor was once named Willis and was able to talk. The writers make it a point here to show that Willis's mom turned him into a sissy boy who isn't allowed to have fun duels like the other lads; in other words, whatever happens to Willis to turn him into Hodor is going to be his mom's fault. Lame, Hodor's mom.
Bran is pulled abruptly from his reverie and begins to whine. "You finally show me something I care about, and then you drag me away," he says to the Three-Eyed Raven, who is, again, giving him thousands of dollars' worth of time-traveling lessons, plus room and board inside a crazy-ass tree, for free. Somehow, the Three-Eyed Raven does not punch him. Bored, Bran obstinately wanders outside to ruin Meera Reed's day. Meera is sitting outside sulking, as is her right, now that her entire life is devoted to following Bran around in a climate/setting that can only be described as The Opposite Of Coachella. Bran tries to engage her in conversation about Hodor, but she's like
Hodor takes the hint where Bran doesn't and brings Bran back inside, where he will surely order everything on the room-service menu, then passive-aggressively refuse to eat it. A Child Of The Forest who looks suspiciously like Iggy Azalea (is this Coachella?) reminds Meera that Bran "needs" her. Unfortunately, Meera has nothing better to do, as she has lost her wristband and can't get back into the festival. She stays.
Back at Castle Black, Alliser Thorne is still trying to Big Bad Wolf Ser Davos out of his ice hovel, where he and the Night's Whites have been hanging out with Jon Snow's fine-ass dead bod for ... days? It's unclear and unsanitary. But sexy! Thorne & Co. begin to chop down the door, which is the surest way to declare peaceful intentions, but before they can go full "Wheeeeere's Johnny?," the main giant who is always stomping around but is not given an interior life leads a group of wildlings into the camp to shut it all down. This brings me to a question I regularly have while watching this show: Why doesn't the giant just stomp on everyone? What, exactly, is stopping him? He could have it all, this empire of dirt. Just a few days of stomping. That's all it would take. But whatever. It's his life.
After a lot of "you're a traitor," "no, YOU'RE the traitor," the wildlings and the Night's Whites gain control of the Wall. Tormund Giantsbane spies Jon Snow's hot li'l corpse and is like, "Burn him." Everybody strips off their furs and makes out.
Now we're in King's Landing, where a drunk man is talking shit about Cersei's Walk of Shame and also Jaime's penis. He wanders off to take a piss against a wall, an offense punishable by death in New York until very recently. The Mountain, who did not get the memo about the new public urination laws (he was dead), cracks the drunk man's skull against the wall.
Cersei is sulking in her chambers. She wants to go to Myrcella's funeral, but King Tommen isn't having it out of concern for her "safety." As such, Tommen and Jaime are the only ones at Myrcella's funeral. Myrcella was also not given an internal life, and now she has no external life, either. Tommen, though, has angst, dialogue, and inbred weird looks to spare. He expresses to his dad-uncle Jaime that he's upset with himself for being a weak and ineffectual king with greasy, uneven bangs. Same.
The High Sparrow waltzes in, resplendent in the nightgown of an old-timey ghost. He reaffirms that he will not release Margaery (Natalie Dormer may or may not have murdered a family member of one of the writers) but does admit that he is, in fact, afraid of things, like death and very nice shoes. After Jaime sends Tommen away to apologize to Cersei and fix his bangs, Jaime threatens the High Sparrow's life. The High Sparrow is like, "Kill me, bro, I don't even care, plus I have these hundreds of diabolical monks who will avenge my death." This is the ultimate power move from a man dressed like a poor American Girl Doll.
Cersei, still in her chambers, is playing with Myrcella's locket more than I play with my phone during the parts of Homeland that do not feature Mandy Patinkin. Tommen stops by to apologize for barring his own mother from her own daughter's funeral, and also for not getting her out of prison that whole time she was in prison (his bangs are still not fixed). "You raised me to be strong. I wasn't. But I want to be," says Tommen. "Help me."
Over in Meereen, Tyrion and Varys are cosplaying as Joey and Chandler from Friends. Tyrion, drunk, decides he will free Daenerys's dragons from their cave, as they're depressed and haven't been eating. The two descend into the dragons' lair carrying flaming marshmallows. They are going to make a night of it, make s'mores.
Tyrion scampers down into the dragon pit alone, s'mores forgotten. Varys will talk to him about this later. Now's not the time. Tyrion approaches the dragons carefully, and they share an emotional moment: Tyrion tells a story about himself as a rich child, when he expressed that he wanted dragons as a gift, and everybody laughed at him because dragons had been dead for a century. He cried himself to sleep. The dragons, despite having been locked up against their will underground without a family and so deeply unhappy that they cannot consume food, find this to be a very relatable story. They decide to trust Tyrion, allowing him to remove their shackles and not die in the process. Despite everything going extremely well considering dragons, Tyrion races back up the steps and does his best (worst) deadpan Chandler impression: "The next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face."
Arya gets approximately one minute of screen time in this episode, during which she is beaten to shit and then led offscreen by the very man that blinded her. She doesn't even get to take her little begging plate. Very cool times for Arya.
Bolton House. High noon (inasmuch as you ever know what time it is on Game of Thrones). Roose and Ramsay are having their standard passive-aggressive chat about war, rape, stabs, etc. Ramsay wants to murder Jon Snow. Roose says that's stupid. Ramsay says it's not. (It is, though, because Jon Snow is dead.) A man whose sole job it is to announce things walks in to announce that Walda Bolton has had a child, and it's a boy. Ramsay hugs his father, expresses his congratulations, and then stabs him to death. This is the nicest way Ramsay has ever killed anyone. Ramsay sends for the baby and Walda, who has just given birth but appears only mildly sweaty. Good for Walda. I want to ask her about this later, but wait, Ramsay is leading her into his dog stables.
Walda. Run, girl.
Walda and her baby are eaten by Ramsay's dogs. It was really unclear that Ramsay was evil before, so I'm glad that this scene happened. Very illuminating. Somewhere, Bran complains that his tea cooled too much during his facial. Meanwhile, the giant has not stomped on ANYONE.
Brienne and Sansa are talking about Arya as they camp out in the snow on their way to Castle Black. Brienne insults Arya's fashion sense, despite the fact that she is wearing clangy metal separates. Podrick (Godfrey? Blodflee?) tries to light a fire, Theon admonishes him, then spontaneously announces to the crew that he is going to leave their ramshackle operation to go home. Theon's home, in this case, is neither the Bolton household nor the North, but rather the Iron Islands, where he has one sister with whom he almost had sex and one dad who does not give a single fuck about him. Sansa seems upset by this news, even though all she really needs to be worried about is building a beautiful romance with Brienne. (D. B. and David, this is truly the least you can do after forcing us to endure the sounds of a million dogs filleting a newborn baby.)
Speak of the devil: It's Theon's sister Yara, she with whom he almost had sex. Yara is arguing with her dad, Lord Balon, about war strategy. Her strategy is "stop sucking at and losing everything." Balon takes issue with this strategy. Balon storms out of his castle into a pitch-black monsoon, deciding that the weather is perfect for a casual stroll across a rickety bridge dangling by two pieces of dental floss hundreds of yards over the roiling sea.
On this bridge — which looks like it was built by the same drunk Etsy merchant who fashioned Tommen's crown — Balon encounters his brother Euron, who just happens to be doing the same exact thing: teetering around in the middle of a tornado on a bridge made of decaying Lincoln Logs. What are the odds? It's sort of like when you wake up in the middle of the night to make a tuna sandwich and your dad is there, too, and you're like, "You can't sleep, either? We really ARE family." Except instead of sitting side by side enjoying fresh deli fare, Balon's brother hurls him off of the bridge into the ocean.
The next morning, at Balon's funeral, Yara is calm but #motivated. This is probably because she recognized how shitty that bridge was and knew that bridge-related fratricide was inevitable. "I'm going to get justice for my father. I swear it by the Salt Throne," she vows. An extremely stringy-haired white man, also unaware of dry shampoo's benefits, informs her that she will not, in fact, be sitting atop the Salt Throne unless she's chosen by some kind of committee. Probably full of similarly spaghetti-headed white men. Yara looks upset, which means nobody has told her that this is Game of Thrones. Yara. Just go inside and be grateful you are not being fed to dogs.
We're back at Castle Black now, where Melisandre is, thank god, no longer old-boobed. She's pretty again, with smooth skin and the tits of a 19-year-old devil worshipper. Unfortunately, she's letting it all go to waste by sitting sadly in front of a fire, wondering if it's too late to accept that job as a Woman Allowed To Age. Ser Davos walks in and pretends he is not there to ask her the sort of massive favor that could destroy her entire life. "Melisandre! Fancy meeting you at this fire in your room. How's Forever Winter treating you? I love your boobs, I mean, breasts, I mean, vest, haha, it's so hot in here, can we crack a window, just kidding, it's negative 600 outside, haha." Melisandre is too tired and cold (cold!) to do anything but nod depressedly and make sweeping statements about the vacuousness of life. "You were right all along," she says. "The Lord never spoke to me." Davos responds in the worst possible way: "Fuck all of them. The gods are all the same." Oh, cool, Davos. That seems like a really cool, fun thing to say about vengeful, millennia-old spirits.
Death wish sealed, Davos gets to it. "Can you bring Jon Snow back from the dead, or, like, is this awkward to ask? I could Venmo you, or..." Melisandre resists at first, then gives in because what else is she going to do right now? Tinder? The Night's Whites show up, because they also have very little else to attend to. She begins to bathe Jon Snow's stabbed-up torso, which still looks fab. Have you been working out, Dead Jon Snow?
Despite claiming to never have raised someone from the dead before, Melisandre knows the whole spell by heart. This is fine. I accept this fantasy. But when Jon doesn't come back to life within minutes, everyone gets pissed off and leaves. TYPICAL. White men want everything right.the.fuck.now. I'm surprised Bran didn't show up in the middle of the death-raising ceremony, asking if anybody had a spare Xbox controller.
The room's empty now, except for Ghost, who begins to stir. We get several ominous, tension-building aerial shots of Jon Snow's body. We get it, Game of Thrones. Jon Snow has abs like a cement waffle, and he is going to pop up and scare us.
And he does! He does pop up and scare us. Jon Snow's eyes snap open and he gasps loudly, like every single "I just came back from the dead" person has throughout history. It's clichéd, it's stupid, it's predictable, it's silly, it's trash, it's Game of Thrones, it's glorious. Jon Snow is alive. We all knew he would be, even last week, when I kept writing "Jon Snow is dead" over and over again. But at what cost? His soul? His brain? His fine tush? I guess we'll never know, as he did not do us the courtesy of rolling over as soon as he was yanked back to life by a bunch of jerks who couldn't be bothered to see if his ass was left intact. Maybe we'll get a look next week.