Perhaps the most unusually paced Game of Thrones episode of the season, "No One" turns Arya's plot into a chase sequence out of a horror film and reunites two doomed almost-lovers, but still saves its big moments for off-screen, including all three of its major deaths. However much it varied between clunky and delightful, there was one thing this hour made clear: for the next two episodes, the show will be choosing violence, and lots of it. Warning: spoilers for the most recent episode of Game of Thrones ahead.
Arya kills no one.
Ugh, Essie Davis was great and I wanted her to be Arya's new mom. Instead, she's brutally murdered by the Waif, who chases Arya through Braavos in a long, stunningly directed sequence... only for Arya to finally kill the Waif offscreen.
I wanted to see that fight.
Imagine: Arya extinguishes the candle because she spent the first half of the season blind; she can fight without sight, and she's not sure that the Waif has the same advantage. Still, she's injured; imagine the kind of cunning she'd have to use to outsmart this girl. Maybe she could even make the Waif feel fear. Maybe she could even make the Waif admit her real name; admit that she is not no one, that no one is no one.
Instead, Arya just goes back to the House of Black and White to put the Waif's face in the Hall of Faces. She's lucky that Jaqen H'ghar didn't kill her, which would have made sense.
Brienne and Jaime, sitting in a tree.
Apart from, like, Sam and Gilly, the tentative love story between Jaime and Brienne is one of the few plotlines in the show that actually seems kind of romantic, and it was nice to see them yearn again—even Bronn knows they want to f*ck each other, though, and tells Pod as much. Still, as Brienne reminds Jaime, they're on opposing sides now; whatever is between them is likely as doomed as Brienne's Blackfish recruitment effort.
Luckily, the pair didn't have to kill each other right this episode. As the Lannisters and Freys overtake Riverrun, Jaime allows Brienne to escape. Still, this is sure shaping up to be another season in which everyone's favorite character doesn't do much! To make up for this, I hope the last episode is just Brienne personally throwing Ramsay Bolton off The Wall.
Also, nice reminder that Pod has a magic penis.
Is Cersei doomed?
With Jaime away making eyes at Brienne, Cersei is more powerless than ever in King's Landing; her only allies are Qyburn and Qyburn's monster Mountain. But as impressive as the Mountain is (he makes another head explode with his bare hands this episode, with even greater ease than he exploded the head of Oberyn Martell), the ace up Cersei's sleeve may prove completely useless after Tommen outlaws trial by combat (RIP Cleganebowl, what is hype may never die). To Tommen and the people of King's Landing, this almost certainly means Cersei will be found guilty.
But do you even remember what Cersei is on trial for?
Cersei confessed to having sex with Lancel last season; that's why she did her walk of shame to atone. But her infidelity with Lancel was only one part of the trial. She's also accused of plotting to murder King Robert—and of having an incestuous affair with her brother Jaime, resulting in the birth of her three children. Both of these claims true, of course. But if Cersei is found guilty of both, then Tommen will also be guilty of being a bastard. He will lose his claim to the crown. By outlawing trial by combat, Tommen didn't just potentially create his mother's downfall; he also may have created his own.
My least favorite TV thing is when characters talk in coded speech about secret plans and that happened twice this episode. First, Varys is headed off on some secret mission (to get ships? Is he going to the Iron Islands? Heading to King's Landing like he does in the books?). Then, Qyburn confirms an unknown rumor for Cersei (I have zero speculation about what this might be. Zero. Did I miss something?).
Thankfully, Daenerys and Tyrion will have scenes together again. But not before Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm have a lovely conversation together about wine and jokes. Between that nice moment and Tyrion wistfully admitting that he wanted to own a vineyard someday, I fully expected them to be brutally murdered by the end of the episode.
Rory McCann is amazing as The Hound, and he's clearly, along with Bronn, one of the showrunners' favorite ancillary characters—they wrote a moment where he takes the boots off of someone while he's being asphyxiated and puts them on his own feet.
I might be crazy, but I am not convinced this episode rules out a return of Lady Stoneheart, despite the fact that Beric Dondarrion is apparently still alive. It sure seems like there is some kind of splinter group of the Brotherhood out there and there is still lots of talk about Catelyn Stark this season.
But I'll be honest: my persistence here is mostly just because I find it completely inexplicable that the show creators would not adapt one of the biggest, most surprising, and most emotional plot twists from the books. Cleganebowl not happening is one thing, because that was just a theory; Lady Stoneheart is actually canon. If Catelyn Stark isn't resurrected in the show like she is in the books, that is a weird adaptation decision, and when the series is over I would like to hear why David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided not to include it. (Not to mention Young Griff, but that's a different discussion and I'm sleepy.)
The episode is called "The Battle of the Bastards." Presumably, this is referring to Gendry and Ellaria Sand coming to blows. [Edited to add: I am trolling you, I know what it's really referring to, come on.]