It’s a wight-hunting party and we’ll cry if we want to!
There were quite a few moments in Beyond The Wall that struck a chord: sisters plotting against sisters, mothers losing children, and aunts having naughty thoughts about their nephews.
How are fans supposed to feel about all this? Read the recap of the latest hour (below) to find out!
The episode kicked off with the Fellowship of The White (that’s Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion, Tormund, The Hound, Gendry, and a few disposable extras) trudging their way North of the wall on their impossibly dangerous mission to capture a wight to prove to Cersei the Army of the Dead is real.
The party gets a lot of fun bonding screen time as they trek through the tundra. Gendry complains about how cold AF the North is. Tormund suggests that Jon get over his pride and bend the knee to Dany. Gendry complains some more about Thoros and Beric selling him off to Melisandre. The Hound tells Gendry to stop his whinging.
Jon and Jorah discuss their daddy issues and swords and honor but don’t bring up how they’re both in love with Dany.
Still With This Letter?
Back at Winterfell, Littlefinger’s plan to drive a wedge between the Stark sisters is going smoothly. Too smoothly, in fact, because Arya (Maisie Williams) is kind of being a Faceless drag about that raven-letter Sansa was forced to write when she was in the Lannister’s hold back in season 2.
Arya concludes that Sansa (Sophie Turner) is worried she’ll show the letter to the lords of the North and destroy her image as Lady of the North. Sansa’s all, “you wouldn’t dare,” and Arya’s like “bitch, I just might.” We cut through the subtext to save you from another long winded chat overlooking the courtyard. (Get to the point, Arya, there’s only one episode left this season!)
Meanwhile at Dragonstone, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Dany (Emilia Clarke) discuss their upcoming meeting with Cersei. After the Hand tells the Dragon Queen she kind of overreacted when she impulsively decided to fry both Tarlys last week, Tyrion reminds Dany that she wanted to “break the wheel” of merciless rulers.
Tyrion then pushes his luck by bringing up the subject of Dany’s successor, reminding her that she can’t have children (read the room, Tyrion.) Dany will only discuss this matter after she sits on the Iron Throne.
Beary Close Call
Up North, the men continue to bond (it’s a long trip!) — Tormund tells The Hound how he plans to have giant warrior babies with Brienne of Tarth. The Hound makes a subtle comment about Brienne almost(?) killing him for fans to giggle over.
Beric and Jon discuss the meaning of life and why they were brought back from death. Beric tells Jon the Lord of the Light chose them to stay alive to protect and save lives — an answer that seems to satisfy the always-brooding King in the North.
The bonding gets put on pause when the party gets attacked by an undead polar bear. One of the extras is killed, and the bear begins to maul Thoros sort of like that scene in The Revenant. Except this time, there are flaming swords that kill the bear before Thoros becomes totally useless for the mission. He’s really a good sport about it.
After this encounter, the band of brothers finally sets sight on a white walker and his clan of backup wights. A brief battle filled with zombie gurgle SFX ends up with Jon taking out the lead walker — which effectively incinerates all of the wights except one. This special wight they capture, but not before he summons the rest of the army with a zombie screech.
Run, Gendry, Run!
Knowing trouble is on the way, Jon orders Gendry to run back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Daenerys — because he’s the fastest, and because we all want to see the Hound use Gendry’s hammer. Gendry reluctantly dashes off as the wights appear — prompting Jon’s party to run across a frozen lake to a small island.
The wights close in on the humans until the ice breaks and a good chunk of them fall into the water. Our heroes are now trapped in a frozen wasteland surrounded by the army of the dead.
Night passes, and the band of brothers realizes they will soon freeze to death. Oh wait, Thoros already froze to death. Awkward. Pour one out for the homie.
Jorah and Jon deduce that killing a white walker will also kill all the wights they’ve created. Beric concludes that killing the Night King, who is stoically watching them from a snowy bank, will kill them all. Good to know!
Gendry makes it back to Eastwatch and collapses before the gate. The guards come out and he gasps about sending ravens to Dany. You done good, kid.
More Bad Ideas
After receiving an invitation to King’s Landing, Sansa sends a reluctant Brienne on her behalf. Brienne is worried about leaving the Lady with Littlefinger — who, earlier in the episode, reminded her that Brienne would be the only one to stand in the way if either Stark sister conspired to harm the other.
Clearly, Sansa’s more worried about Arya. Oh, just you wait, Lady…
At Dragonstone, Dany climbs aboard Drogon against Tyrion’s advice. Putting her own life at risk, she takes off for the North on a rescue mission with Rhaegal and Viserion in tow.
Jon and his iced comrades are in trouble. After the Hound starts throwing rocks at the wights, they learn the water around them has finally frozen solid again. This causes the wights to advance, and an epic fight ensues.
Wights close in on every corner, and it’s a dire situation for our heros. Tormund almost gets ripped apart, but is saved by the Hound at the (very) last second. Nice! The last extra in their party isn’t so lucky, and falls into a pack of snow-zombies who do what zombies do best. All while their captured wight lies on the ground making zombie hisses.
It’s looking grim for the comrades, until Dany comes flying in to save them with her dragons! The place is then LIT THE FUCK UP with fire. Skeleton warriors are set ablaze! Drogon swoops down and everyone climbs aboard! Except motherfucking Jon Snow, who is still fighting.
Meanwhile, the Night King reaches for his mystical ice-spear and launches it javelin style. No, not at Jon — at Viserion flying in the sky! Yeah, this fucker has impressive upper body strength — because that ice-spear travels hundreds of feet in the air and fatally hits Viserion right in his dragon heart. Close up of heartbroken Dany as one of her children (albeit, the one named after her evil brother) sinks into the icy waters. Sad!
The Night King readies another ice-spear as Jon is overtaken by some wights and falls below the ice. Too slow, Jon Snow. Dany takes off, and the second ice-spear BARELY misses a fleeing Drogon.
Seconds later, Jon surfaces. The wights notice and savagely dash towards him, but he’s saved at the last second by — who else? — Uncle Benjen! The sort-of-undead Stark slaps Jon on a horse and sends him back to the Wall before proceeding to take down the oncoming horde with that fiery skull thing he likes to whip around.
Thankfully, Jon makes it back to Eastwatch. He’s loaded onto a Targaryen ship, where Dany marvels over his heroic stabwounds/even more heroic abs. Consider her fire lit.
At Winterfell, Sansa sneaks into Arya’s room and finds her genuinely unsettling bag of faces. Then things get even creepier when Arya basically manifests in a puff of smoke and slowly creeps toward her sister with her hands behind her back.
Arya reveals the deadly skills she picked up at the House of Black and White and threatens to chop of Sansa’s face so she can finally feel what it’s like to wear those pretty dresses. Um… or you can just, like, borrow one, Arya? Sansa is left feeling unsafe and creeped out.
Fire and Ice
On the ship, Jon wakes up to find Dany at his bedside. He apologizes on behalf of her reptilian loss, and she swears to help him defeat the Night King. Jon then one ups her and agrees to bend the knee, calling her “my queen.” Heavy hand holding and sexy eyes follows. Dany leaves all flustered. This is happening, people!
Back up north, the wights work together to carry Viserion’s giant corpse out of the lake with chains. The Night king comes over and delivers a game changing blow with the touch of his mystically cursed, undead hands: the dragon opens his now-blue eye, officially resurrected as a white
Yup, we finally got our long-rumored ice dragon!
Now for that season finale….
[Image via HBO.]