The third episode of this 'Game of Thrones' season is all about people quittin’. Jon Snow quits death, then his job as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (but not before hanging Ser Allister Thorne and that little shit Ollie). Indeed, after sentencing them both to death, with Thorne justifying what he did and Ollie kind of wheezing and wilting, Jon Snow peaces out of the Night’s Watch, handing his awesome furry coat to his bud, and walking away.
At the beginning of the episode we see Davos Seaworth, eyes a-bulge at what he’s seeing: Jon Snow is alive, open wounds be damned. Probably the biggest disappointment is what Jon says next, to Melisandre — that he saw nothing after dying. So still no confirmation on the Lord of Light’s actual existence, other than the part where Jon Snow is back from the dead.
Bran, still stuck in a tree, branches his mind back into the past. He sees his father Ned duel with some chap named Arthur Dayne, who wielded two swords with the grace of an atrophied Anakin Skywalker circa 'Clones.' Bran is disappointed to find out that all the stories about his dad winning this fight were pretty much hype: a wounded buddy stabs Dayne in the back of the neck, causing him to choke on his own blood, giving ol’ Ned a slight advantage. Bummer for Bran, because then his vision quest ends rather abruptly, right before Ned can storm the castle and rescue the wailing damsel. If there’s one way to space out a subplot, a wise sage saying “Too much! More next week” is as solid a plot device as they come.
Guess who’s back this week? Samwell Tarly. He’s on a boat, taking Gilly to his parents house, a nominal safe space while Sam goes off to become a Maester. Gilly calls Sam her child’s father, which is a baby step in their relationship's progress — but Samlooks legitimately happy while puking his guts out on the ship.
On to Meereen, where nothing much is happening. Varys bribes a Sons of the Harpy operative with a ticket outta that shithole, and she presumptively gives Varys the names of who’s funding the insurgents: Pretty much everyone. Ah, well. Backs to be scratched, bribes to be made. But Tyrion’s got the right idea — let’s just play a drinking game and wait for bad news.
Varys’ replacement in King’s Landing is creepy as hell, giving candy to homeless kids in exchange for information. Cersei is out for intel on who’s been talking shit about her, and why, and she wants names, addresses, and DOBs — a tall order for poor homeless kids. Meanwhile, The Mountain, freshly monster-fide, stands around breathing (breathing?) heavily, and waits for someone to smash into a wall.
There was a curious lack of violence in this episode; it felt more A to B than even the last episode. Khaleesi was taken to the widows of dead Khals (RIP Drogo), stripped naked, and told she would stand trial for running off. King Tommen and the Grand Septon trade words on sin and mothers, and Arya has improved her stick game enough to get her eyesight back. As an aside, I never understood the relationship between the Faith and the Crown. Here’s how I think these exchanges should have gone down:
Tommen: "I’d like to see my wife, the Queen, please."
Septon: "I’m afraid not, she hasn’t atoned for her sins."
Tommen: "Aight. I hear you, but you need to release her."
Septon: "I’m sorry, my King, but she must atone and walk around naked in shame before we can release her."
Tommen: "OK, I see what you’re saying, and I’m sorry that you feel that way. Guards, please carve out the Grand Septon’s eyes with a spoon and put his head on a pike because I’m the King. Then open my wife’s cell."
Aside from Jon Snow giving his sudden notice, the other big news from this episode is that Rickon is now in the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Oy. You can tell by the music how bad this news is. Lord Umber gifts the new Lord of the North with Rickon and his direwolf’s head on a hook, and judging by Theon’s forays with Ramsay, we can surmise how Rickon, the character, will turn out. Probably hereafter named “Rick.”
Seriously, though, where will Jon Snow go? He doesn’t have a ton of career options, and he’s been out of the loop for so long that he has no idea who rules the North. I’m sure he’ll come up again, and soon — that Red Woman is persistent in this series, bordering on pest—and he’ll find his true calling as the Prince of Light or whatever Stannis Baratheon never was. Poor Jon. Escaping death and all, he still can’t escape broadcasted plot points.