Game Of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 3 Recap: “Is That Still You In There?”

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The good news? Jon Snow's alive. The bad news? He still knows nothing. If you were one of the many who hoped that Jon's foray into the afterlife would have some sort of effect on his character or personality, well, I'm sorry to disappoint you. He's still pretty much the same honourable, kind-of-troubled nice guy we knew before Olly stabbed him in the heart. The third episode of the season, forebodingly called "Oathbreaker" (but more on that later), opens with Davos. Staring. For a long time. He's looking at a newly resurrected Jon Snow, who, understandably, is having some trouble grasping the fact that he is alive. He sits up (naked!) and paws at his wounds. Sorry Jon, but there is no time to waste. Melisandre, also in the room, asks that most pressing of questions: "After they stabbed you, after you died, where did you go? What did you see?" The answer is bleak: "Nothing. There was nothing at all." This may be the most significant line spoken in the season thus far. What good is all this talk of old gods, new gods, and lords of light if there is no afterlife? Unfortunately, it doesn't get the impact it deserves. Instead, what follows is a pretty typical conversation between Davos and Jon: Davos: "You were dead. And now you're not."
Jon: "I did what I thought was right. And I got murdered for it. Now, I'm back. Why?" Davos: "You go on. You fight for as long as you can. You clean up as much of the shit as you can." Jon: "I failed." Davos: "Good. Now go fail again." All in all, this is pretty much the most uneventful resurrection scenario, ever. The only indication we get that Jon Snow might be somewhat altered by his experience is a comment by Dolorous Edd: "Your eyes are still brown," he says. "Is that still you in there?" We'll just have to wait and see but for the sake of this story line, I sure hope not.

At Castle Black or on the high seas, Sam is still Sam.

Good news for fans of consistency: Sam and Gilly are still the most boring characters on this show. In this scene, they have stooped to discussing the semantics of "sea" and "see." (You can see the sea as far as the eye can see. Get it?) Sam has some bad news for Gilly: The Citadel doesn't admit women. So instead of taking her to Oldtown, he's dropping her off with his mom at Horn Hill. Because every girl wants a surprise meeting with bae's mother foisted on her with no warning. On the plus side, Gilly now considers Sam the father of her child. It's a sweet moment. Until Sam vomits.

Oh Bran, why do you tease us so?
Since last week's preview teased a moment at the Tower of Joy, fans have been speculating about whether or not this would be the episode to reveal Jon Snow's true parentage. No such luck. What this scene does teach us, however — besides the fact that Ned Stark has worn the same hairstyle for several decades — is that the mantle of honour in which the late Lord of Winterfell wrapped himself throughout his short appearance on the show is just that. A cloak. As Bran, watching this vision courtesy of the Three-Eyed Raven, finds out, the stories lied. Ned Stark did not kill Ser Arthur Dayne, known as the Sword of the Morning. Dayne, like the Mad King Aerys, was stabbed in the back. Ned Stark was dishonourable at the time when it mattered most. Dolorous Edd's question to a newly revived Jon Snow resonates here. Is Ned Stark still Ned Stark now that we know the truth? As Bran reels from the discovery that his father isn't the perfect man he remembers him to be, the Three-Eyed Raven decides that's enough history for the day. Watching this scene, I just pictured Bran as a stand-in for the audience. Bran/Audience/Me: "What's in the tower?" Three-Eyed Raven: "That's enough for one day. Time to go." He pulls Bran back into the gloomy tree-cave he calls his home. Bran/Audience/Me: "Why did you do that? Take me back there! I want to go back!" Good news for Bran, though. Becoming a tree-man is not in his destiny. "You won't be here forever," the raven promises. "You won't be an old man in a tree. But before you leave, you must learn. Everything."

Everything old is new again.

Daenerys is on the road again. True to his promise, Khal Moro is sending her back to Vaes Dothrak, the Dothraki capital, to take her place among all the former khaleesis. Daenerys is dragged into the big tent in the centre of town, where lo and behold, the crones have thrown her a welcome party. Too bad that involves stripping her and taking her down a notch or two. Like Jon Snow, turns out Khaleesi knows nothing. "Why didn't you come to us after Khal Drogo died?" Head Crone asks. Daenerys starts giving her the "I am Daenerys Stormborn, yada yada yada" spiel. But Head Crone has heard this all before. After all, every woman in that room was once a khaleesi, married to "The Great Khal." Until he wasn't so great. This gives new meaning to the old saying, "Behind every man is a strong woman."

The art of conversation.
In Meereen, Varys and Tyrion are still playing detective, trying to solve the mystery of who funds the Sons of the Harpy. Varys, always a smooth operator, manages to threaten and con the answer out of a prostitute who conspired with the Sons to help them kill Unsullied soldiers. While Varys cajoles, Tyrion is attempting to explain the art of conversation to the very uninterested Grey Worm and Missandei. To liven things up, he proposes a game, which he claims to have invented. This is a lie. Tyrion goes on to describe the rules of Never Have I Ever, played by every teenager since the age of the First Men. Varys saves them from this unfortunate diversion. But he bears bad news: The cities of Volantis, Yunkai, and Astapor are all funding the Sons of the Harpy. What to do? According to Missandei, the answer is simple: "The masters speak only one language," she says. "If we want them to hear us, we must speak it back to them. May it be the last thing they ever hear." Tyrion is less convinced. You see, "It's a conversation." Ahhhhh, Tyrion we get it.

A little birdie told me.

In an interesting, if seemingly unimportant scene, we finally find out who has been whispering secrets to Varys all these years. Children, that's who. Creepy maester Qyburn has gathered those very same children to bribe them with sweets. "All I need in return are whispers," he says. And if they were to stray, well... "This is Ser Gregor. He's friends with all my friends." Varys' little birds belong to Cersei now. And she wants them everywhere. "I want little birds in Dorne, in Highgarden, in the North," she tells Qyburn. If anyone is plotting against her or laughing at her shame, "I want to know who they are. I want to know where they are." Now, here's a glimmer of the Cersei we know and love. I just hope she comes back in full force, and soon.
Jaime and Cersei proceed to crash a meeting of the High Council, a scene which would be very boring if not for the return of Lady Olenna and her zingers. Case in point: "You are not the queen because you are not married to the king. I do understand these things can get a bit confusing in your family." Oh, snap.

A girl kicks ass.

When we get to Braavos, Arya is still blind. And surprise! The Waif is still beating her. A lot of "who are yous?" and hard smacks with a stick later, we finally get to the good part. After Arya FINALLY bests the Waif in a fight, the Faceless Man leads the former Stark to the pool in the Hall of Faces and fills a small bowl for her to drink. She pauses. (Probably remembering that last time we saw someone drink from this, they died.) "If a girl is truly no one, she has nothing to fear." She drinks. A girl has eyes. "Who are you?" he asks. All together now: "No one."

Welcome home, Lord Stark.

Over in Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton encounters the only person in the North strong (stupid?) enough to stand up to him, one Lord Umber. Umber is here to ask Ramsay for help, because though he loves fighting wildlings, Jon Snow has let too many of them past the Wall for his taste. Oh, and that story that Lord Bolton was poisoned by his enemies? He buys none of it. In his words: "Your father was a cunt. And that's why you killed him." Umber seems to be asking a lot for someone who refuses to kneel or pay fealty to Ramsay's fragile ego. But it all makes sense, became he has come with a gift. Two gifts, in fact: Osha and a very grown-up Rickon Stark. How do we know this is Rickon Stark? Because Umber, who is rapidly providing stiff competition to Ramsay Bolton for the title of Biggest Asshole in the North, has cut off Shaggydog's head and offers it as proof. (These dire wolves are dying out faster than their masters, and that's saying a lot.) Looks like Ramsay's got his Stark.

And now his watch is ended.

Back at the Wall, the traitors are being hanged, Olly included. Jon allows them last words. One is confused at Jon's sudden reappearance. Another begs him to write to his wife. Alliser Thorne sticks to his line: "I fought. I lost. Now I rest. But you, Lord Snow, you'll be fighting their battles forever." Olly stays silent. After the deed is done, Jon turns to Dolorous Edd, who says they should burn the bodies. "You should," Jon says. He disrobes and hands Edd his crow cloak. "What should I do with this?" "Wear it. Burn it. Whatever you want. You have Castle Black. My watch is ended." Death — his own, and that of the child he has just executed — has broken Jon's oath. He, as the episode's title suggests, is an oathbreaker. Where will he go? What will he do? I await your theories in the comments!
Some random thoughts:
When Arya is asked about her brothers, she initially says "four brothers," and then changes it to "three brothers and a half-brother." Significant? As a fan of the Arya/Hound road trip, I am very pleased to find out that she feels confused (remorseful?) about his death. #BringBackTheHound After last week's breakthrough scene, I really thought Tommen's confrontation with the High Sparrow would be more interesting. It's just more of the same, and it's getting a little old. That female scream we hear during Bran's flashback: Lyanna? Giving birth to a certain J, perhaps? And the trophy for much-needed comic relief goes to Tormund for: "I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?"

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