Warning: spoilers ahead for season 6, episode 4 of Game of Thrones, entitled "Book of the Stranger." If you haven't seen the episode yet, turn back now.
This season, I'm going to try to write up some quick thoughts about each episode the day after it airs. I won't get too deep into full-on recaps (you can find those all over the internet, and you've probably already read a few today if you're into that sort of thing) and will instead focus on what I consider to be each episode's best moments. This can be as many or as few as I want, and will likely vary every episode — today, there are only two. I'll also toss in some additional observations that don't fit into the "best moments" category, which you can find at the bottom of the post. For the best moments of the latest episode, click here. Onward!
2. Jon and Sansa's Reunion
It's been so long since the Stark children caught any sort of break, and it was great to see Sansa reunite with Jon in Castle Black. I was afraid they were going to do another one of those "just missed 'em" moments that have happened so many times already, so I was glad to see the two of them back together again (even if they never got along very well back in season one). Kit Harington has said in interviews that Jon comes back from the dead a changed man, but I think the show has done a pretty poor job conveying any sense of real change in the character. He basically feels like the same Jon that we knew before his death, only slightly more exhausted (it's hard to blame him for that one). I'd like to see another scene of Jon actively grappling with what it means to be resurrected in order for that sense of change to come through, but I'm not sure the show is going to make time for that.
1. Dany's Khal BBQ
The buddy procedural of Daario and Jorah continued as they tracked Dany to Vaes Dothrak, but it was the Mother of Dragons herself who took home the episode's best moment by burning the khals alive in the temple of the Dosh Khaleen and emerging unscathed from the flames. I was expecting her to use Drogon and the other dragons to convince the Dothraki to become her army, but it turns out she didn't even need them. It seems like things are finally in motion for her to head to Westeros, and I wouldn't be surprised if the season ended with her making landfall on the continent (to fry that pesky rebellion in Dorne, perhaps?).
I didn't love this episode as I much as I did last week's, but the looks Tormund was throwing Brienne from across the dinner table and her reaction to them were absolutely priceless.
I thought it was a bit strange that Sansa had to work that hard to talk Jon into rescuing Rickon and taking back Winterfell. Jon just reunited with his half-sister, so I figured he'd jump at the chance to reunite with any remaining member of his family — especially considering his hostile feelings toward his surrogate family (the Night's Watch). But he didn't seem very spurred on by Ramsay's threatening letter. Sansa, on the other hand, finally feels like she has some real purpose again and the gumption to see her goals through to the end. She's come a long way from the whiny brat of season one. It's great to see her like this after the horrors she's endured.
I'm glad that Littlefinger is back, mainly because I really enjoy trying to imitate Aidan Gillen's quasi-ridiculous accent. Playing Robin Arryn like a fiddle, he united the Knights of the Vale to help Sansa, and next week's reunion between those two characters has the potential of being very interesting. Did he know about Ramsay's behavior when he sent her there? We'll find out soon. Also: his last line here, "The time has come to join the fray" made me wonder if that was a sly bit of foreshadowing by showrunners Benioff and Weiss (who wrote this episode). Will Littlefinger align himself — or appear to align himself — with the Freys (the people who killed Catelyn and Robb at the Red Wedding), or was that nothing more than a cute play on words?
Robin Arryn = a little lankier nowadays, but still extremely off-putting.
There are two plotlines that have been treading water for a long time: Tyrion, Varys, and the rest of what's happening in Meereen, and the constant prattling (to use a Cersei term) of the High Sparrow. Both moved forward slightly in this episode, as Tyrion used his political savvy and allowed the masters of Slaver's Bay seven years to end the practice, while the High Sparrow gave another long and boring speech about atoning for sins. WE GET IT, DUDE. I'm so sick of scenes of Jonathan Pryce sitting in that room and monologuing at people. It just sucks all of the energy and momentum out of an episode. At least we saw some movement from the Lannisters, seemingly teaming up with the Tyrells with the intention of finally taking power back in King's Landing. But like the politics of Meereen, we all know that the squabbling of King's Landing is going to be ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of the White Walkers vs. Dragons ending that the story seems to be leading toward.
I figured Osha would be a goner by the end of the season, but I didn't guess her death was coming so soon. Did anyone think she'd be the one to bring Ramsay down after all he's done? The show did a valiant job of making us think that was a possibility, but ultimately she got a knife in the neck for her troubles. Here's a list of scenes I never need to see again on this show: Ramsay killing someone in a way that's supposed to be shocking (I've been bored with him as a villain for a long time now), the High Sparrow speaking anything other than his dying words, and Tommen being unsure of what to do. Dany's fire scene mostly redeemed this episode for me in the end, but here's hoping next week's episode picks up the pace a little bit more.