Previously on Game of Thrones: Tyrion and Varys set out for Meereen, unaware that Dany was already losing her grasp there. Sansa and Petyr are on the move, with Brienne trying to track them, and Arya boarded a ship for Braavos.
Arya sails up to Braavos, passing beneath the massive statue, which the captain of the ship says is said to protect the city in times of duress. Braavos itself looks a lot like Venice, if you took out all the embarrassing tourists and ugly overpriced Murano glass. So, a bearable version of Venice. The captain rows her to a large, square building: the House of Black and White. He tells her this is where she’ll find the man she seeks. She thanks him for his help as she disembarks and he waves her off.
She walks up to the door, knocks a couple of times, and then tells the man who answers that Jaqen sent her, showing the man her coin. He tells her that there’s no one there by that name. She hurriedly explains that she has nowhere else to go. ‘You have everywhere else to go,’ he responds. Heh. He slams the door in her face and she camps out on the steps, repeating her death list over and over again. That list is getting shorter, I think. She stays there for quite a while, then gets up and walks away, taking a moment to toss the coin into the water.
Bree and Pod arrive at a fairly crowded inn and sit down to have some dinner. Pod notices some knights guarding what must be some VIPs over in a private area. They’re guarding Petyr and Sansa. Sansa’s asking him what was in the scroll he received before they got on the road last episode. He tells her that his marriage proposal has been accepted. They’re offered ale, and Sansa asks for some. Pod sees her and tells Bree that Sansa’s basically right behind her. Bree tells him to ready the horse, and steal one for himself while he’s at it.
He leaves and Bree approaches the table, stopped by the knights. Petyr recognizes her and allows her to come into the VIP area. She bows to Sansa and tells her that she was Catelyn’s sworn sword and promised to protect Sansa. Petyr brings up Renly and asks what happened there. Brienne has no choice but to tell them about the shadow baby, which goes over as well as one might expect. Petyr points out that Brienne has a terrible track record: everyone she’s sworn to protect has died. He’s not willing to entrust Sansa to her, and Sansa doesn’t want her either. Petyr suggests that Brienne travel with them, which gets Bree’s danger radar going, and she rushes out of the inn, freeing all the horses in the yard to give herself a head start. She and Pod mount up as Petyr’s knights come pouring out of the inn in pursuit. She takes a couple of them out as she passes.
In the forest, she and Pod get separated (because he can’t control his horse). The knights mostly go after her, but she manages to evade them and doubles back in time to see Petyr and Sansa riding off down the road. Pod manages to stop his horse when the animal runs into a river. It rears and throws him, then trots off. He gets back to the road and is found by one of the knights. He’s saved by the timely arrival of Bree, who’s seriously kicking ass with Oathkeeper. She dispatches the knight and tells Podrick to retrieve his horse so they can follow Sansa. Podrick points out that both the Stark girls have refused her help, so maybe she’s free of that vow? Bree begs to differ.
Cersei summons Jaime to show him a gift she’s received from Dorne: a dead snake with her daughter, Myrcella’s, necklace in its mouth. Not the greatest mother’s day gift, I grant you, but maybe they do these things differently in Dorne. She sees it as a threat and she starts shrieking about what she’ll do if she’s harmed. Jaime tells her to calm down and offers to go to Dorne and retrieve her. Cersei reminds him that she’s engaged to the son of Prince Doran, so they’re not just going to hand her over. Jaime has other plans, though and promises to find her. She asks what he can achieve, with his one hand. He tells her he’s planning to bring some backup.
Bronn is walking along the shore with his fiancée, Lollys, who’s kind of an idiot. He admires her family home and she informs him they won’t be living there, because her older sister will inherit, and the sister hates her and calls her mean names and pulls her hair. Man, Lollys is totally the Edith of this family. Bronn tells her that she’s a good person, and her sister’s mean and mean people generally get their comeuppance.
He then sees Jaime waiting for him and goes over to see what’s up. Lollys is introduced before being sent away, and Bronn shortly asks Jaime what he wants. Jaime tells him that Lollys is to be married to someone else, but that when they return, Jaime will find him a much better girl and castle. Buddy trip to Dorne!
Speaking of Dorne, we go there now, to join Ellaria as she inwardly rages and watches Myrcella stroll through the gardens. Ellaria goes to complain about this to Doran and remind him that his brother was murdered and he’s doing nothing. Doran says that Oberyn died in a trial by combat, which is not a murder, and he’s not interested in going to war. She tells him that the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s illegitimate daughters, are with her and want their father avenged. She tries to whip up some rage against the Lannisters and persuade him to let her torture Myrcella a bit, but he won’t have it, because that’s not how they do things. She threatens to try and have him deposed and swirls out.
In Meereen, Grey Worm and Daario arrive at the hideout of a Son of the Harpy, whom they find hiding behind a false wall.
The Son is taken into custody and Dany asks her advisors what she should do with him. One of them—a former slave—wants the man killed immediately, while Barristan councils restraint and a fair trial, so she can show the citizens a better way of doing things. The former slave doubts a fair trial is even possible and tells her that the people only understand blood. She thanks them all for their advice and dismisses them. Barristan remains behind and warns her against becoming a crazy despot, like her father. Because we all know how that ended up. She agrees to give the Son a trial.
Varys and Tyrion are on the road in a very large, comfortable carriage, not that that makes Tyrion happy at all. He’s still drinking all of his calories and complains about being trapped inside. Varys informs him that Cersei has offered a lordship to whomever brings her Tyrion’s head. Varys comments that Tyrion was good at ruling, back when he was the Hand. Tyrion just grumbles that he got a lot of people killed and got to like the power too much. Varys muses that people will never follow them, because they find them repulsive, and people like Varys and Tyrion find other people repulsive, so they surround themselves with big, comfy boxes to keep everyone out. But sometimes those boxes get tiresome. Tyrion suggests they get out and go for a walk, because surely Cersei can’t have every dwarf in the Seven Kingdoms killed?
Cut to a dwarf’s head being dumped onto a table in front of Cersei and Qyburn, the shady man who brought the Mountain back to life. Oh, hey, he’s played by the same actor who played Thomas More in Wolf Hall. With that, and Jonathan Pryce apparently taking a role this series, and Natalie Dormer already in the cast, it’s getting rather Tudor-rific here. Cersei tells the men they got the wrong dwarf. Qyburn asks to hold onto the head to experiment with and Cersei tells him to help himself.
She and Qyburn head into a meeting of the Small Council, where she takes the Hand’s chair. Her uncle, Kevan, asks if she is the new Hand and she says no, because that would be inappropriate for a mere woman. She’s just filling in as regent until her son’s of age. Margaery’s dad offers to serve as the Hand but Cersei says he’ll be too busy serving as Master of Ships and Master of Coin. He’s flattered. She also announces that Qyburn will be the new Master of Whispers. The other maesters are aghast and speak up against it, but she dismisses them and asks her uncle to be the Master of War. He wants to hear this from the actual king and says he should be there, learning to rule. She shortly says that he is learning, just not today. Kevan clearly knows his niece well and says he didn’t come back to the capital to serve as her puppet and watch her stack the Small Council with sycophants. If they want him to serve, Tommen will have to send for him personally.
At the Wall, Shireen is teaching Gilly to read while Sam looks up the history of Lord Commanders, finding one who was appointed at the age of 10. He was a Stark, to boot. Gilly and Shireen talk about the illness that left Shireen scarred. Gilly had two sisters who had it, and they basically went insane and were taken off into the woods by their father.
Selyse arrives, sends the others away, and tells Shireen to stay away from Gilly, because she’s a wildling and could try to strike at Stannis by striking at Shireen. Shireen doesn’t believe Gilly would do that.
Jon, meanwhile, is being scolded by Stannis for showing mercy to Mance. He warns Jon that too much kindness means people won’t follow you. Jon informs him that the Free Folk will never follow the man who burned their king alive. Stannis shows him a note he received from a ten-year-old girl in charge of Bear Island. He asked her to join his cause and she replied that Bear Island only knows of the King in the North, whose name is Stark. Pretty ballsy for a preteen. I like this girl. She’s gonna do just fine in this world. Jon says that northerners tend to be loyal to their own. Stannis understands this, which is why he offers to make Jon a legitimate Stark and the master of Winterfell. It’s a pretty sweet deal: he’s always wanted to be a true Stark, and when Alliser is named Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch life will get pretty unpleasant for Jon.
Jon brings the news to Sam, who’s happy for him, but Jon is loyal to a fault and says he’s going to turn this down, because he’s sworn to remain loyal to the Night’s Watch.
Aemon calls everyone to attention so they can vote for a new Commander. Alliser’s crony, Slynt, gives a speech in support of his man. Then the other candidate’s man does the same. As Aemon calls for the vote to begin, Sam speaks up and calls out Slynt for pissing himself during the battle, while Jon took command. And before that, he led a mission to avenge Mormont. Sure, he’s young, but he was the man they turned to when the night was darkest. The others all applaud, but Alliser calls Jon’s loyalty into question, reminding everyone that he’s shown a soft spot for the Wildlings. Aemon calls for a vote and the men all get up. Once the votes have been cast, they’re counted up. Jon and Alliser seem to have tied. Aemon casts the deciding vote…for Jon. Yay!
Arya neatly beheads a pigeon down some alleyway. As she’s walking away, some local hoods try to steal her sword. She warns them to turn around and go away. They’re about to make their move when the man from the House of Black and White appears behind her. The hoods flee, and Arya is taken back to the house. The man tosses her back her coin, and then reveals himself to be Jaqen. Hurray! Glad to see he’s back. She asks who he is and he tells her he’s no one, and that’s who she must become as well.
The former slave is allowed into the Son’s cell. Son says that Dnay doesn’t belong there, and she’ll never be the freed slaves’ mother.
His body is found the next day, and the former slave is brought to Dany. He tells her he did this for her, because she wanted the man dead but her hands were tied. She says he had no right to do that, because the man was awaiting trial. He reminds her that he was amongst the first to take up arms in her cause, that he lost his father in the fighting, and the Sons want to return the city to the old ways. She’s sympathetic, but the law is the law. She orders him taken away.
The city gathers, freed slaves cheering wildly for Dany as she climbs onto a raised platform. She tells everyone that she promised freedom and justice, which must exist together. The former slave is brought forth in chains, and the people begin calling to him. He begs Dany for forgiveness. She explains to the crowd that he committed murder, and the punishment is death. The others shout for mercy, but she doesn’t grant it. Daario steps forward and prepares to take his head off. Dany waits a veeeery long time, listening to the crowd chant for mercy, before giving Daario the nod. The crowd immediately falls silent for a moment, and then they all begin hissing at her. Not a good sign. Stones are thrown, and Dany is bundled away as things begin to get rough.
That night, things seem a little quieter. Barristan and Grey Worm offer to stand guard outside her door, but she sends them all away. Once she’s alone, she goes out onto the balcony and finds Drogon, her missing dragon, relaxing on the roof of the palace. She’s delighted to see him and reaches towards him, but he takes a look at her, then decides he’s not interested in joining his siblings in a horrible dungeon, and flies away.