This week's episode of Game of Thrones, titled "Oathbreaker," opens on Ser Davos staring at Jon Snow's naked body, panting loudly, pupils dilated, rocking slightly back and forth. Totally normal and completely understandable. Almost immediately, we get an answer to last week's most important question: What is the state of Jon Snow's tush?
Ser Davos continues to stare at Jon's naked body. Just, like, not even pretending not to. Unfortunately, Jon is less into it.
But honestly, can you blame Davos? This man was just dead for ... days? A week? And his ass still juicier than a Christmas ham hurled by a Real Housewife at another Real Housewife. Even Ghost can't get enough.
As he comes to, Jon appears confused and upset by his stab wounds; overcome with fear and desperation, he hurls his naked body into Ser Davos's waiting arms. Mhm. No complaints over here. Did somebody say Broke-Black Castle?! If not, I'll say it. Then Melisandre walks in and completely destroys the homoerotic tension. The two begin to pepper Jon with questions. "What do you remember? What's death like? What's everyone's name on this show? Seriously, can you help, because not only are they all made up, but they have these weird spellings!" After he gets over the shock of remembering he was stabbed to death by his coworkers (this takes roughly 0.5 seconds), Jon's like, "There's nothing at all on the other side. Life is meaningless and death is a void. Also everyone's name is Padfree. Spelled phonetically."
After Melisandre wonders aloud whether Jon may be the One True Prince that Stannis was not, Davos kicks her out in hopes of getting another moment alone with Jon. Jon and Davos proceed to engage in a bit of flirtatious banter about how awkward it is to come back from the dead and realize you were murdered by the people you trusted (extremely awkward). "I did what I thought was right," says Jon. "And I got murdered for it. And now I'm back. WHY?!" Davos's advice quickly devolves into Lululemon-bag wisdom. "Go fail again. Go for the gold. Fight for your rights. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Dance like nobody's watching. Live, laugh, love. Keep calm and carry on. Live every day like it's your last. Because it was. Last time. When you died."
Somehow, this metaphorical deluge of yoga pants convinces Jon to face his brothers. He appears before them resplendent in his ASOS Outlet fur and very flattering man bun. The Night's Whites all look surprised — but, like, not that surprised? — to see Jon back from the dead. Tormund Giantsbane makes a crack about Jon's dick, which he claims is small. I'll have to see it to really make a judgment call here. Edd asks him if it's "still him in there." Jon makes a joke about waiting to burn his body. Nobody says anything about the man bun. It's true that the trend has, for all intents and purposes, come to pass, and Jon is late to the game, but in his defense, he was dead.
Gilly and Sam and Baby Sam are on the boat from The Perfect Storm. She is smiling wildly and inexplicably, because she is extremely dumb. A brave choice on the writers' part, to make Gilly this consistently dumb. Sam is vomiting into a bucket because Sam's entire thing is looking weak and nerdy at all times. Nobody ever lets Sam forget that he is a weak nerd. Even when he's having sex, the writers are still like, "Look at this weak nerd having sex. LOL." This scene primarily exists to remind us of two things: (1) Gilly is a simple idiot; (2) Sam is a weak nerd.
Gilly says she thought the sea was called the "see" because never mind just remember Gilly is dumb. Sam vomits green and sweats profusely (weak) as he tells Gilly he tricked her into coming on this nightmare ship, and he's actually going to pawn her off on his family before he heads to the Citadel to become a maester (nerd). Gilly forgives him very quickly because he says he's concerned for her safety (dumb).
We've time-traveled to the past now, alongside a particularly pouty Ariana Grande and the Three-Eyed Raven. A random white man is sharpening his sword, which is the most on-the-nose harbinger of a stabby duel, the kind of lazy "foreshadowing" that this show is absolutely never above. Really excited to finally watch white men stab each other on Game of Thrones.
It's soon revealed that among the seemingly countless white men preparing for said stabby duel are Ned Stark, Meera's dad (why not make things even more confusing, right?), and a bunch of dudes who are helping Rhaegar Targaryen keep Lyanna Stark hostage in a tower. Young Ned — who has already mastered his permanent half-pony — tells these dudes he plans on rescuing his sister. These dudes are like, "How ‘bout stabs instead?" They all proceed to stab.
This particular stabby fight is even more boring than usual, because it is happening in the past, and we know that Ned survives it. Likely sensing this, the writers shoehorn in a confusing thing where Bran's recollection of Ned's recollection of this stabby conflict does not match up with the actual events of the stabby conflict. Either way, a lot of people get stabbed. Meanwhile, Lyanna — or is it? — is screaming in the tower. We do not find out why or if it is in fact Lyanna. We probably won't for five more episodes because Game of Thrones.
Despite being informed over and over again that he should not scream things at people during his time-traveling lessons, Bran screams "Father!" at Ned as he trudges up the tower to save Lyanna. Ned looks momentarily befuddled, like a recapper who's been watching Game of Thrones for six goddamn seasons for reasons she cannot fully comprehend.
The Three-Eyed Raven pulls Bran back into their crazy-ass tree home and Bran, naturally, begins to whine. He wastes no time going straight for the jugular, calling the old man in a tree an "old man in a tree." Somebody call USA Network, because it's time to revive Burn Notice!!! The Old Man In The Tree informs Bran that he is going to have to stay inside said tree until he "learns everything." Watching Game of Thrones, we are all Bran: crippled, powerless, forced to watch people we don't recognize or care about slice each other's throats open with regularity, wrenched from scenes before we can even comprehend what's happening, privy only to an old white man's version of events and imprisoned inside an old tree.
Meanwhile, across town, Daenerys is heading to the house full of old widows, where she will live out her days in what is likely the only place on Game of Thrones where the threat of rape is less than 50 percent. Unfortunately, the threat of being stripped naked in front of strangers against one's will is still 100 percent. Props to Emilia Clarke for successfully negotiating side-boob-only here. The Head Widow explains to Dany that even though her single braid has held up remarkably well in the desert heat, she will still have to prove herself to the other widows if she wants to hang out with them for the rest of eternity. Watching Game of Thrones, we are all Dany: sweaty, covered in filth, wearing a paper sack as a dress, listening calmly to the rantings of an unhinged person in hopes that the unhinged person will allow us to hang around and continue to be subject to their demented form of reality.
Over in Meereen, Varys is doing his best Jessica Lange, fanning himself on the castle steps and deadpanning about leather. He proceeds to work his particular brand of verbal/psychological magic on Vala, who recently helped the Sons of the Harpy stab (what else) the Unsullied and the Second Sons. Varys tells her she can either give up some intel and escape the city or die. Vala's like,
The next scene is a massive waste of everyone's time, even by Game of Thrones standards. Tyrion talks at Missandei and Grey Worm in order to kill time — when the plot of an entire scene is "let's kill time," you know you are being truly and unabashedly trolled — and tries to get them to play Never Have I Ever. Missandei and Grey Worm don't drink. I do. I'm drinking. Varys walks in and shares that he's learned who's funding the Sons Of The Harpy. Surprise: It is a bunch of men from surrounding cities. Men who love stabbing. The foursome decide to send a message via one of Varys's "birds" to these dudes. "Men can be fickle," says Varys, "but birds I always trust." Same.
Who are these "birds," though? After a mere six seasons of hearing about them, we finally get a glimpse of them in the next scene: They're poor children, little Oliver Twists and Twistettes willing to sell their souls for some shitty fruit. They miss Varys, they tell Qyburn, because he "gave us sweets." (Because this is Game of Thrones, let's all brace ourselves for the inevitable stabby murder and/or sexual abuse scene involving these kids.) Jaime and Cersei tell Qyburn that they want these "birds" all over Westeros, gathering info on the Lannisters' enemies. I want another glass of wine.
Upstairs, the small council — plus Olenna Tyrell, one of four actually interesting people on this show — is meeting to talk about how fucked up it is that there is a reanimated corpse roaming the hallways, smashing skulls indiscriminately. Jaime and Cersei try to crash the meeting, and Olenna reminds Cersei that she isn't the queen, then slides in an extremely sick incest burn, the likes of which shall never be seen again in our lifetime. Somebody call USA and tell them to cancel the Burn Notice reboot!!! Everyone leaves the meeting, annoyed by the presence of Jaime and Cersei, who have become the sort of clueless in-laws who stick around for hours after dinner is over when you're just trying to smoke a bowl and do the dishes.
Tommen is finally confronting the High Sparrow. He musters some unconvincing rage and demands that the Sparrow let Cersei see Myrcella's resting place, and also just leave Cersei alone in general. Instead of doing any of this, the High Sparrow plays and placates Tommen as well as Scooter Braun must a drunk and hubristic Justin Bieber: "I'm sooo jealous of you. It must be dope to be you. Your mom really loves you. Really into the new face tattoo. Glad you're expressing yourself. Maybe next time let's just see what God wants first?"
Arya: still blind, still being tortured and beaten by her would-be coworkers. Jaqen H'ghar: still very bad highlights. After several scenes of Arya bleeding out of her face, recounting the story of her life, and smelling things, she wins a (non-stabby!) duel, and Jaqen gives her back her vision.
Elsewhere, in the North, Ramsay Bolton's reign of terror rages on. A well-bearded man — named Smalljon, because Game of Thrones has officially run out of names — is asking Ramsay to help him beat back the wildlings who are encroaching on his hometown, but refuses to swear allegiance to Ramsay; Ramsay displays admirable restraint and growth by not stabbing him. By way of bartering, Smalljon reveals to Ramsay that he has two "gifts" for him: Rickon Stark and Osha, the wildling who also played Tonks in Harry Potter, a fantasy series that did not once drive me to drink. For funsies, Smalljon has also murdered Rickon's direwolf, Shaggydog (again, this show is out of names). Hopefully Rickon's appearance and subsequent interactions with Ramsay will help us all determine whether Ramsay is a good or bad person. The writers have imbued him with such depth and nuance thus far, and it's been difficult to figure out whether we're supposed to be rooting for him.
Back at Castle Black, Jon is scrolling through Twitter, trying to distract himself from his own mortality (or lack thereof).
He's soon summoned from his social-media coma so that he might hang the men who recently stabbed him to death. He asks for their last words. One, whose name I can only imagine is Fledbay, decides to go with, "You shouldn't be alive." Jon's reply: "Neither was killing me." Welp, time to switch over to meth. Another guy — Smallfledbay — asks Jon to notify his mother re: his passing. That'll be the day, Smallfledbay. Thorne is like, "I stand by what I did." Ollie is too proud to beg. All of them hang in a graphic, lengthy sequence that lingers on their purple, bloated faces. Brave, stunning, elegant, restrained.
Jon, who is very clearly feeling conflicted about all of this hanging, walks up to Edd and hands him his Forever 21 fur coat. Until this moment, I did not realize this coat was an indicator of status; I thought it was a very interesting sort of high/low fashion statement. "What do you want me to do with this?" asks a confused Edd.
It's been more than 30 days, though, so Edd, you should probably just burn it. Or just stand there like that, holding that H&M faux-fur like a carcass. Jon tells Edd that he now has Castle Black, and storms off in his little leather outfit. "My watch has ended!!!" he yells. He shotguns a PBR, then throws a little of it up, but nobody sees.