Game Of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 5 Recap: “Hold The Door!”

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
"Hodor!" Let's start with the end. This episode, aptly titled "The Door," finally explains how Hodor became monosyllabic. And it's more awful than anyone could have imagined. Here's the short version: Having gone into a solo vision sans the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran comes face to face with the Night King. He touches him and Bran wakes up screaming. "He saw me," Bran pants. "He touched you," the Three-Eyed Raven counters. "He knows you're here, he'll come for you." No biggie, Bran says. He can't come into the cave, right? At least that's what they told us two seasons ago. No such luck. "He can now, his mark is on you. You must leave, all of you." the Three-Eyed Raven pauses. "The time has come for you to become me."
Bran: "Am I ready?" Three-Eyed Raven: "No." And boy, was he right.
A little while later, Meera and Hodor reminisce about food that is not moss, while the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran go on a little vision trip. Suddenly, she runs outside. An army of the undead have the cave surrounded. The Night King is here. While the undead swarm the cave, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are back at Winterfell in a vision. Suddenly, the vision overlaps with real time. Meera is yelling at Bran to wake up, they need him to warg Hodor (take control of his mind), so they can use his strength to escape the White Walkers. Back at Winterfell, Bran looks at young Wyllis, whole and sane, whose life is about to change forever. Suddenly, Bran wargs into real-time Hodor while still in the vision. They all manage to flee the cave, and Hodor shuts the door against the massive undead army. Meera screams for him to "Hold the door!" while she gets Bran safely away. Those words echo and echo as she repeats them. Suddenly, vision Wyllis collapses and yells "Hold the door!" over and over again, until the syllables merge and the gut-wrenching realization hits: "Hodor" literally means "Hold the door." Bran has the ability to manipulate the past, and created the Hodor we've known the whole series. He's also the one to destroy him. Just when you thought Game of Thrones couldn't break your heart any more. In Which Littlefinger Gets Schooled. Hard.
We begin this episode with Sansa, who has received a letter from Littlefinger requesting to see her. To say that this is a tense confrontation is the understatement of the century. Sansa, steely underneath her calm demeanor, doesn't give him an inch. "Did you know about Ramsay?" she asks. "If you didn't know, you're an idiot; if you did know, you're my enemy. Would you like to know about our wedding night?" It's clear that she's not really asking. He wouldn't mess up her Stark face, she explains. "He did what he liked with the rest of me, as long as I could still give him an heir. What do you think he did?" Littlefinger can't begin to contemplate. Too bad, he still has to guess. "What do you think he did to me?" Littlefinger: "He beat you?" "Yes, he enjoyed that. What else do you think he did?" Littlefinger: "Did he cut you?"
Baelish tries to defend himself, but Sansa doesn't yield. "I don't believe you anymore. I don't need you anymore. You can't protect me. You won't even be able to protect yourself if I tell Brienne to cut you down." His promises mean nothing. He freed her from the monsters who murdered her family and gave her to other monsters who murdered her family. Littlefinger finally accepts that Sansa is no longer the weak girl he left at Ramsay's mercy, and chooses to give her one last piece of advice. The Tullys have retaken Riverrun. She should seek them out. "I have an army," she answers. "Your brother's army," he says. "Half-brother." Even when he's down, Littlefinger is still the puppet master.

A Girl Gets A Second Chance
In Braavos, Arya is STILL getting her ass kicked by the Waif, who is pulling serious Matrix moves. (Enough already!) The Faceless Man rescues Arya from the whooping. After telling her the origin story of the Faceless Men, founders of the free city of Braavos, he gives her a task. She has an actress to kill.
"A girl has been given a second chance," he warns. "There will not be a third. One way or another, a face will be added to the hall." During the play, based on Robert Baratheon's death and the subsequent war of succession, an actor struts onstage as the silliest, crudest Ned Stark who ever lived. Arya's face during this scene is a sharp reminder that no matter how many times she claims to have no name, she is still Arya Stark, mourning her father. Her reaction to Sansa recalls two episodes back, when Sansa and Brienne discussed the warrior's brief meeting with Arya. It occurs to me here that Arya probably has no idea about everything that her sister has been through at this point. Sad. After the most gratuitous of dick shots in the history of dick shots, we meet the actress Arya is to kill. She seems pretty nice, something Arya brings up to the Faceless Man. "She seems like a decent woman," she says. He counters: "Does death only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind?" (Given that we just relived Ned Stark's execution onstage, I would venture a no.) Is Arya going to serve the Many-Faced God? Well then, "a servant does not ask questions." From what we know of her, Arya isn't so good at that.

Night King Rising

Bran's first vision in this episode brings him to a stone circle, which includes a big weirwood tree. The stones are in the same spiral pattern we saw in the very first episode of the series and again when the Night's Watch finds hundreds of slaughtered wildlings during their trek North. The Children of the Forest are there. We see a man tied to the tree, obviously terrified. Leaf stabs him and his eyes turn ice-blue. The first White Walker. "It was you," Bran says, back in the conscious world. "You made the White Walkers."
"We needed to defend ourselves," Leaf says. From whom? "From you, from men." Men! Always at fault. What Is Dead Can Kind Of Drown
In Pyke, the Ironborn are holding their kingsmoot, which honestly smacks of the Democratic presidential primaries. Yara makes her claim and her case. She wants to build a giant fleet so the Ironborn can make their mark on the world.
She gets man-terrupted by some guy who thinks Theon, as Balon's only son, is the rightful heir. Theon uses this opportunity to deliver a rousing speech in favor of his sister. He is Reek no more. "I am Theon Greyjoy, last living son of Balon Greyjoy, and she is your rightful ruler. You know what she is. She is a leader, she is a warrior, she is Ironborn. We will find no better leader. This is our queen." The cheers are interrupted by Euron Greyjoy, Balon's brother and murderer who looks surprisingly like Joshua Jackson. Somehow, Euron manages to use his brother's murder to his advantage and delivers his campaign strategy: He will ally with Daenerys. (Did he burn the Meereen fleet? That would certainly explain a lot.) The Ironborn are swayed, and Euron is anointed king, which in Pyke involves dunking the ruler in the sea until he drowns and then waiting around to see if he manages to wake up. (He does.) While the others are distracted, Theon and Yara steal all of Euron's best ships. This doesn't really faze him, though. "Build me a thousand ships, and I will give you this world!" Make the Ironborn great again!

"Love Me, Love Me, Say That You Love Me"

If you were wondering when Jorah was going to tell Daenerys that he is slowly turning gray and scaly, well this is it. Daenerys is torn about what to do with him. He is basically that ex who just won't take no for an answer. "I banished you, twice. You came back, twice. And you saved my life. So, I can't take you back and I can't send you away." He shows her the grayscale (it's gotten really bad) and explains that he plans on ending his life before it spreads too far. All words that lead to this cringe-worthy confession: "Tyrion Lannister was right. I love you. I'll always love you." Oh Jorah, when will you learn? He starts walking away but Daenerys calls him back. "Do not walk away from your queen, Jorah the Andal. You have not been dismissed." This is where I find myself wanting to remind Daenerys that she shouldn't play with her food before eating it. "I command you to find the cure, wherever it is in this world. I command you to heal yourself. And then return to me. When I take the seven kingdoms, I need you by my side." (This might not actually be so impossible — remember that Stannis hired just about every healer in the world to help cure the daughter whom he subsequently murdered.) Jorah smiles, but this still smacks of the friend zone to me.
A New Red Woman
Tyrion's pact with the masters seems to be holding up. No one has been killed in weeks. But it's not enough. He wants everyone to know that Daenerys is responsible for the stability. To help with that, he announces that he has recruited some new blood. Cue the new Red Woman you've seen in the trailers: Kinvara, High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. "Daenerys is the one who was promised," she says. "Her dragons are fire made flesh. A gift from the Lord of Light." With Melisandre now claiming that Jon Snow is the prince who was promised, it seems that these two red ladies are going to have to duke it out to put their chosen one on the Iron Throne. This is a fight that I very much look forward to. Kinvara proposes terms to Tyrion. She will summon her priests and instruct them to spread the word that Daenerys has been sent to lead the people against the darkness. Varys is not on board. He remembers Melisandre saying very similar things to one Stannis Baratheon. Why should they trust her? But Varys, it seems, has met his match. (A theme this season — all these smooth talkers are finding their female counterparts.) She brings up his childhood castration via sorcery. "Everyone is what they are and where they are for a reason. Terrible things happen for a reason." (Hodor?) She continues: "Knowledge has made you powerful, but there's still so much you don't know." Kinvara: 1. Varys: 0. That's a first.

Liar, Liar

Back at Castle Black, Sansa and Jon are having a strategy meeting with Davos, Dolorous Edd, Brienne, and Tormund. They're counting the number of northern houses still loyal to the Starks, and things do not look optimistic. The Umbers gave Rickon to Ramsay, and Robb Stark killed the current Lord Karstark's father. But Sansa doesn't want to hear it. Others will come. "The North remembers," she says. "They remember the Stark name." Davos man-splains: "I don't doubt it, but Jon doesn't have the Stark name." "No, but I do." (Boom!) She tells them about the Tullys taking back Riverrun but leaves out a crucial detail. When asked how she knows about this, Sansa lies and claims she saw a raven deliver the news to Ramsay before she escaped. Post-meeting, Sansa asks Brienne to go to her uncle and ask him to help them retake Winterfell. In perhaps one of the best scenes in an episode full of great ones, Brienne hesitates to leave Sansa alone with all these men. Jon is okay, "He seems trustworthy, a bit brooding perhaps." (HA!) But who knows what "that wildling fellow with the beard" would do. You're not fooling anyone, Brienne. Give in to the beard. We know you want to. "Jon is my brother," Sansa replies. "He will keep me safe." "Then why did you lie to him when he asked you how you learned about Riverrun?" Brienne is no fool. In the end, Jon, Sansa, Pod, Melisandre, Davos, Brienne, and Tormund get ready to leave. In a touching moment, Sansa hands Jon a wolf-lined cloak just like Ned used to wear. (Interesting, since he's already sporting the Robb Stark uniform.) Dolorous Edd is left to rule Castle Black. And the dead are coming. Some Random Thoughts
No Cersei or Jaime this week. According to next week's preview, it looks like we'll finally be seeing Margaery's walk of shame. Will it be the end of the High Sparrow? Or has Cersei underestimated him once again?

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