Warning: Spoilers ahead if you have not yet watched Season 6, Episode 8.
Giving new meaning to a lights-out match, Arya Stark proved yet again that she’s the most badass female character on TV right now with Sunday night’s showdown on Game of Thrones.
Season 6, Episode 8, “No One”:
Starting the hour off strong, we picked up in Braavos where we last saw Arya stumbling through the streets, still bleeding from her brutal stabbing by the Waif. We weren’t sure where she was planning on hiding, so we were pleasantly surprised to see her seeking refuge with Lady Crane, the actress whose life Arya saved a couple of episodes ago. Turns out, Lady Crane has mad nursing skills and returns the favor by sewing Arya’s stomach wounds lickedy split and prescribing Milk of the Poppy (remember that?). Now, call us crazy, but if we were Arya, we wouldn’t trust anyone and we sure as heck wouldn’t drink any mystery elixirs. But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to survive.
While Arya drifts off to sleep, we get another glimpse at The Hound. He’s back in full axe-murderer mode and he’s on the hunt for the men who killed his pacifist buddies last week. Quickly enough, he finds them and exacts his revenge in a why-are-we-laughing-this-shouldn’t-be-funny kinda way: the men are set to be hanged by the Brotherhood Without Banners, whom they betrayed by pillaging the peaceful village. The bros agree to let The Hound kill two of the men as retribution for his loss, but have to first explain to him that he can only hang the men, not “butcher” them. The Hound is slightly confused and visibly bummed. (We got our fair share of dark GoT humor last night.)
Over in Meereen, Tyrion Lannister and Lord Varys are out for a stroll. Varys is apparently heading off on a covert mission. He makes a comment about not being able to hide when he’s with the most famous dwarf in Meereen. To which Tyrion quickly corrects: “The most famous dwarf in the world.” Their goodbye is actually a bit sentimental and we get the impression that Tyrion is going to miss Varys. Friends are pretty hard to come by in this world so we get it.
Speaking of friends, in King’s Landing Cersei and her new sidekick The Mountain are out for some air when up walks Cersei’s cousin Lancel, who is now part of the Faith Militant. Lancel demands that Cersei come with him and his men to see the High Sparrow. She refuses. He insists that she must, otherwise, there will be violence. “I choose violence,” Cersei snickers confidently. This is the perfect time to show the Faith what The Mountain is made of: Frankenstein blood. A brutal display follows, and Cersei says to the men: “Please tell his holiness he’s always welcome to visit.” Of course, this proves to have been a bad move later in the episode, when Cersei’s son, poor little brainwashed King Tommen announces that they are doing away with the whole trial by combat thing, and his own mom will now face judgment by the Faith. Uh oh. But does Cersei have another trick up her sleeve? What is this rumor she’s whispering with Qyburn about? And when did GoT turn into Days of Our Lives? This soapy scene, complete with dramatic music, was a bit out of place so we can only hope it’s leading up to something really, really big.
Onto the next Lannister: Jaime. He’s still camping outside of Riverrun with the Frey forces when—finally!—Brienne of Tarth rides up and we get a much anticipated Jaime and Brienne reunion. Thier unlikely friendship fills our hearts with joy for so many reasons and their interactions last night did not disappoint. First, Jaime tells Brienne he’s proud of her. Then, Jamie goes so far as to relate Brienne to Cersei, the love of his life (OK, so this is actually quite creepy but we know he means it in a good way). Brienne always sees the good in Jaime and tells him, “I know there is honor in you.” It’s all very sweet in GoT terms. Brienne and Jaime broker a deal where she is allowed to meet with the Blackfish in Riverrun to deliver a message from Sansa and try to get him to leave Riverrun peacefully to join the Starks in the North. They make this deal knowing full well that if it goes sour Jaime and Brienne will have to fight on opposite sides—maybe even go head to head. It’s scary and sad but both sides actually honor their words. It’s one of the few true friendships in all of GoT. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Jaime says. And it doesn’t. At least not for now.
Blackfish won’t budge or go with Brienne but Jaime works out his own plan in the meantime. Much smarter than the Freys, Jaime negotiates with his captive, Edmure Tully, the rightful heir to Riverrun. The two men have a brutally honest exchange in which Edmure tells Jaime he’s downright despicable, which Jaime doesn’t dispute. Instead, Jaime lays down his love of Cersei and willingness to kill everyone who gets in the way of his returning to her. Edmure surrenders to this truth and is sent into Riverrun to essentially take it back just to hand it over to Jaime. Bad news for the Blackfish, who is killed in the ensuing takeover. Luckily, he sends Brienne and Pod off in a boat first, and Jaime is the only one who sees them escape. He lets them go, of course, because his bond with Brienne is deeper than with almost anyone else (save Cersei).
Back in Meereen, Tyrion is trying to make new friends by peer pressuring Grey Worm and Missandei to drink wine. “Anyone not drinking is disrespecting our queen,” he proclaims before telling them about his secret dream of moving to Napa, owning a vineyard and making his own wine called “The Imp’s Delight,” which only his close friends can drink. Then Tyrion starts in on the jokes: three men walk into a bar ... Too bad they first need to explain the whole concept of humor to Grey Worm. Their games are interrupted though when a team of ships appear in the bay and begin bombing the city. Just as suddenly, the pyramid doors open and in strolls ... Dany! She flew in on her dragon just in time. Phew!
Finally, we get back to Arya. She’s been sleeping off her wounds thanks to all that Milk of the Poppy. While she’s snoozing, the Waif sneaks into Lady Crane’s apartment and murders her. Arya wakes up just in time to realize what's happening and decides the best thing to do is leap out the window. An intense chase scene ensues, and Arya continues to jump off every bridge she finds—and go crashing down dozens of stone steps. This, of course, leaves a bloody trail for the Waif to follow. Arya slips into the deep, dark room where she’s been hiding her sword Needle. The room is lit with just one lonely candle. Waif closes the door behind them. Arya pulls out Needle. Waif scoffs. And—cut the lights. Arya snuffs the candle. She still remembers how to fight blind. Hey, thanks for the training, Waify. Just like that, there’s a fresh face in the Hall of Faces. Jaqen H'ghar, Arya’s one-time mentor, seems almost pleased by this development. Our theory is he’s been rooting for Arya all along. “Finally, a girl is no one,” he says to her. “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home,” she corrects him. Boom.
Arya has settled her score with the Many-Faced God and she’s not afraid anymore. Winterfell or bust!