Later, Lysa becomes unhinged during a chat with Sansa. She accuses Sansa of sleeping with Littlefinger and being secretly pregnant. Lysa knows something isn't quite right about Sansa's presence here. Like many before her, she can't figure out Littlefinger's true motive, and that makes her nervous.
Sansa swears she's a virgin repeatedly until she's in tears and Lysa pulls her into her bosom. For a moment we're afraid she's going to whip out her boob like she does with Robin. Then she reveals that Sansa will marry Robin. And Sansa's expression is priceless -- what, WHAT, what?
Poor Sansa. Again. She's going from being engaged to a psychopath, to marrying a dwarf member of the Lannister family, to being promised to a mentally unwell child. Once again, Sansa is headed toward a marital fate that even lemon cakes cannot improve. This might be the first Westeros wedding where somebody simply kills themselves.
Riverlands: Arya travels with The Hound. She's going over her bedtime death prayer. The Hound largely approves of the idea of a death list in general, though he's a tad startled to discover his name is on it. Be a lot easier if she just wrote all this down. They bicker. Ayra does some rad sword dancing.
Elsewhere, Brienne and Podrick travel too. We find out Pod isn't very good at doing squire things, like cooking and riding a horse. Even without Tyrion having required such skills, you would think he would have learned this stuff just growing up in Westeros -- or perhaps at squire school. Of course, we know Pod has secret other skills, but it's a fair assumption Brienne would not be interested in them.
Craster's: Back at the rape shack. This final sequence is unpleasant for a couple reasons -- the menace of mutineer Karl threatening Meera and the agony of wondering of whether Bran and Jon will reunite.
Karl terrorizes his captives. This isn't a villain you love to hate, this is a villain you simply hate. Outside, Jon and his group of Night's Watch brothers wait to attack. Locke scouted ahead, spotted Bran and lied to Jon to keep him away from the shed where his brother was being held. Between Karl's villainy, lying Locke and the whole band of evil mutineers, a lot of people we want to die are in this scene. Luckily, Thrones isn't in the mood to disappoint.
Jon leads the attack, as Locke sneakily kidnaps Bran. Then Bran takes psychic control of Hodor (!), and uses him to Hodor-Smash Locke, which is pretty cool. This is another deviation from the books that will provoke fan chatter. This scene will also do nothing to stop speculation that Bran might be destined to take control of Dany's dragons.
Bran tries to crawl toward Jon and for a fleeting moment we think Thrones is actually going to reunite them. I imagine somewhere in New Mexico that George R.R. Martin is watching the show and learning forward on his couch. But no. Jojen convinces Bran to remain silent, that if he alerts his brother that Jon will never let him continue north.
The logic of this is sound, I suppose, though we don't like it very much. We've had a lot of frustrating near-miss reunions on this show among the Stark family.
Jon fights Karl, who does the classic villain move of taunting the hero for being too moral in his fighting. Jon is outmatched, but one of Craster's daughters stabs Karl from behind. He rounds on her and Jon plunges his sword through the back of his head.
This is a shift for Jon, and represents the ongoing coarsening of our heroes. Arya takes pleasure in killing Polliver. Dany crucified the masters. Now Jon fought dirty to win -- a lesson his father never learned. They're all starting to figure out, for better or worse, that to survive and thrive you must get your hands dirty.
Jon offers Craster's daughters the opportunity to come back to Castle Black, but at this point they rather understandably say no. They're polite about it, but you know what they're thinking: We would rather wander in the snow and freeze to death than risk hanging out with more bros with swords. They relish in Craster's hut being burned to the ground.
This episode was admittedly less eventful than other hours this season. We got Littlefinger's big reveal, true. But when you think about the storylines, most scenes were either meetings or prodding some minor story and character development -- there was conversation in King's Landing (though no Peter Dinklage, which is rare), conversation on the road, conversation in Meereen. There was action at Craster's, but it amounted to an "up and back" -- we're presumably now right back where we were a couple episodes ago, with Bran headed North with his friends and Jon at Castle Black (assuming he makes it to the castle without a detour). Such is the strength of the story execution that we're all fine with this -- none of the scenes actually lagged.
Say, have you been curious why the showrunners have been silent about certain week-to-week fandom controversies? See our interview with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss where they talk about how they're ignoring your online comments for the sake of their productivity and sanity.