Arya decides if she’ll be No One or meet her true destiny
Despite the loss of three relatively significant supporting characters, No One was oddly low key. For a series that’s thrived on vivid, gruesome character deaths this episode did the opposite and kept most off screen. In at least one instance that was somewhat disappointing given the extended buildup.
Let’s start off with the big fallout from this week’s episode. Arya is not no one. She’s Arya Stark! Barely surviving her last encounter with The Waif, Arya seeks aid with the one person in Braavos who would help her — Lady Crane. Saving someone from being poisoned does put red on their ledger and obligate them to at least mend your wounds. Lady Crane took Arya’s advice and made some script revisions to the War of the Five Kings play resulting in her best audience response yet. If that wasn’t enough of a warning that Lady Crane wasn’t going to survive this episode the random stranger arriving sealed the deal.
Arya woke up and found Lady Crane dead at the hands of The Waif, who broke out into Terminator pursuit mode to kill Arya. In a prolonged chase, Arya stumbled back to her room in the House of Black and White. She grabbed Needle and killed the lights.
OK, Jaqen finding The Waif’s bloody face was amazing. It played out like a nice horror movie scene, but I had some issues with it. This was one of those fights we needed to see play out. And not just because The Waif was a mean-spirited jerk whose death was worth seeing. Arya was constantly getting owned by The Waif when healthy so how could she suddenly overcome her when she’s injured? Jaqen seemed pleased with Arya’s declaration that she is Arya Stark. Maybe it was some weird test all along, but why would Jaqen sacrifice his padawan to help motivate Arya?
Arya’s old running mate, The Hound quickly rediscovers his purpose as well. He tracks down the outlaw members of the Brotherhood Without Banner that killed the sept and the congregation. The Hound found the remaining members of the outlaws being strung up by Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and the rest of the Brotherhood. After they hang the trio, Beric tries to recruit the Hound to join their crew to battle a threat up north. Presumably, the white walkers. The Hound vs the walkers sounds like fun.
The Meereen subplot continues to just exist. Varys goes off on a secret mission while Tyrion plays Mr. Bad Influence and gets Grey Worm and Missandei drinking. Meereenhas been largely uneventful, but at least there were some nice moments with Tyrion getting the uptight duo laughing and cracking jokes.
The fun gets ruined when The Masters return to destroy the city. Their motive was very unclear since Tyrion gave them seven more years to continue their slave trade. That doesn’t matter though since Daenerys returns with her dragon ready to save the day. I wish this Meereen subplot was more interesting to make this big moment matter.
At the Red Keep, some of the Faith Militant learn Cersei and The Mountain don’t take well to orders. The Mountain no sold a spike to the chest and proceeded to rip the jaw off one of them. At Kings Landing, Tommen drops a bombshell. He’s abolished the barbaric trial by combat eliminating Cersei’s surefire way to win her trial. While that’s bad news for her, it’s still hard to work up any sympathy for Cersei. She worked hard to make all this happen.
In the night’s other big subplot Jaime resumed control of Riverrun without swinging his sword. The episode’s best moment featured a pair of reunions. Brienne and Pod came to the outskirts of the Lannister camp and was taken to Jaime. They had a heartfelt conversation about their duties. Brienne suggested a peaceful resolution to the conflict with the Tullys. She would speak with the Blackfish who would see the letter from Sansa requesting aid and Jaime could take the castle back without any bloodshed. Naturally, the Blackfish wasn’t going for that, which was more than a little frustrating. Jon and Sansa need help killing Ramsey, Uncle Blackfish!
While not as vital to the land, Bronn reconnecting with Pod was a fun scene. It’s been a while since Tyrion’s entourage was together and they didn’t disappoint.
Jaime tried another peaceful tactic threatening the captive Edmure’s wife and son if he didn’t turn over the castle to his army. We have no real connection to Edmure, but it’s hard to see him willingly surrendering the Riverrun for a wife and son that might not even still be alive. Besides Ned Stark, Edmure might be the only family man that dedicated in the entire show. With Edmure assuming command of Riverrun only to promptly turn it over, the Blackfish had an out. He could go with Brienne and Pod and help Sansa or stay behind and fight a losing battle. Again given the buildup, having the Blackfish die off camera in such lackluster fashion was disappointing. And with his ancestral home lost, what was his incentive in not going to help Sansa at that point?
We’re down to two more episodes this season and next week needs to recover strongly as the momentum is heading the wrong direction. Subplots that have taken seasons to play out disappointingly get resolved with little fanfare leading to the first underwhelming episode this season.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO