Welcome back to our Game of Thrones nudity roundup! This week's episode was T&A free, but that doesn't mean we can't chat about it. Remember, though: As is the case with any recap, the night is dark and full of spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Last night's episode, titled "First of His Name," saw many of this wily band of GoT scamps coming so close to what they most desire — Daenerys finally has a fleet big enough to embark on Westeros, Bran was in shouting distance of his brother Jon, Arya got to take a literal stab at the Hound and Sansa finally escaped King's Landing — but as is always the case in this show, happiness remains out of the characters' reaches, sometimes by choice, other times by diminished expectations.
Dany — out of her distressed Diesel jeans for the first time all season — has been liberating slave populations and conquering new kingdoms left and right, and all with relative ease. One problem, though. While she might be leaving these places free, they're not staying that way. The governments she's instated have turned corrupt and the slaves she's freed have been returned to their shackles. Now she must decide whether to stick around, fix what she's broken and prove she can actually rule or set sail to attack King's Landing in its weakened post-Joffrey state. She decides on the former. King's Landing can wait, but the trust of her people once lost is lost forever. Jorah Mormont gives her the thumbs up of approval — or he would if he were a little bit chiller of a dude.
Bran Stark also ends up choosing duty over his desire. Imprisoned at Craster's Keep alongside Hodor, Meera, Jojen and the group of women who've spent their lives being brutalized north of the wall (not that their victimization is location specific — "Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls," Cersei points out earlier), he comes so close to having a Stark family reunion as Jon Snow and his fellow crows raid the Keep to take out Karl and the other Night's Watch turncoats. Ultimately, under Jojen's urging, Bran decides that their little brotherly catch up can wait because he and his visions have bigger shit to fry. Oh, and Hodor kills Locke with a good hard shake. Fuck you, Roose Bolton. Hodor forever. Hodor Hodor Hodor.
None the wiser, Jon goes about the slaughter, ultimately taking out Karl with a sword through the mouth. While it's Snow who deals that final blow, he couldn't have done it on his own. One of Craster's daughters — a woman who Karl has spent the last however many months raping and torturing — sinks a dagger in between her rapist's shoulder blades, saving Jon's ass in a major time of need. After the fight, the Night's Watch offer to take the women back to the Wall for their own protection, but at that point, they're all like "No fucking thank you." Whether it was with Craster or Karl's gang, they've lived their entire lives under the control of men and all it's brought them is pain and suffering. It brings back Cersei's point that no where in the world is truly safe for women, so at this point they'd rather head out on their own. Good luck, ladies — I genuinely hope that you live out your days in the peaceful woman's collective that I imagine you forming.
Speaking of life sucking complete butt for women (an alternative name for Jezebel, coincidentally), Sansa's circumstances have not improved much since being moved to the Eyrie and put in her aunt's care. Turns out that Lysa, sister to her mother Catelyn, is so THIRSTY for Petyr Baelish's D that she's hostile towards just about anything that comes between her and Littlefinger's little finger (I know, I'm disappointed in me, too). This applies both to Sansa (who Littlefinger has always been obsessed with) or her own husband, leading to the episode's biggest reveal: LYSA KILLED JON ARRYN. ON LITTLEFINGER'S INSTRUCTION.
While no one ever doubted the extent of Littlefinger's deviousness, it still comes as quite a shock that he's the one who put this entire war — the one that's claimed the lives of half the Starks, a couple Baratheon kings, Joffrey and many others — into motion. Of course, his masterful manipulation of the seven kingdoms comes at a pretty high cost. I mean, he has to marry Lysa after all and that bitch is standout crazy (which, considering how out of their gourds everyone is Westeros seems to be, is really fucking saying something).
Any delusions on Sansa's part about whether or not her life had improved since leaving King's Landing are quickly shattered after Lysa unleashes the full extent of disfunction all over her through a terrifying rant in which she accuses Sansa of seducing Littlefinger and trying to take him away from her. I guess it's not so strange that a woman who has a vaguely Oedipal relationship with her own son (a son she announces that Sansa — lucky girl — will one day marry) would get sexually competitive with her own niece, but that doesn't make it anymore easy to watch. What can you say? Baelish has her wrapped around his finger-er-er-er. Now she has to, now she has to, now she has to Littlefiiiiiiiiinger.
I leave the rest of the episode (like Brienne's blossoming friendship with Podrick or Arya most recent sword lesson) for you fine people to discuss on your own.