Game Of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 8 Recap: A Girl Is Someone

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
Warning: spoilers ahead!

"No One" is a misnomer. This episode is all about identity. As we inch closer to the season finale (only two more episodes to go!), characters are firming up their convictions and coming to terms with themselves.

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First up: Arya. The episode opens with Lady Crane's emotional monologue as Cersei mourning the death of Joffrey. Her words in this scene, and the way she cradles his golden head, only reinforce my belief that another boy king is about to meet a frightful end. After a standing ovation, Lady Crane goes backstage, only to find a bleeding Arya hiding behind a curtain of hanging costumes. In a tender moment, the actress tends to her wounds. It's almost strange to see Arya being mothered. She's spent so much time fighting for her independence and survival that it's nicely emotional to see her being taken care of for once. Lady Crane offers her a place in the company. "Come with us. What's left for you here?" Arya turns her down. She's got unfinished business. After some awful soup and milk of the poppy to wash it down, Arya goes to sleep. We'll see her again soon.
As I Lay Dying.

In the forest, a bunch of dudes crowd around a campfire boasting about their romantic conquests. It could be the Brotherhood Without Banners, or a deleted scene from Wet Hot American Summer. Unfortunately for these dude-bros, the Hound has found them. With his ax. He swings it. A lot. There is so much blood. But at least he's still got his sense of humor. A man who tells him to go fuck himself gets treated to one last Cleganeism: "Those are your last words, 'Fuck you'? Come on, you can do better." Once a Hound, always a Hound.
Friends 4Eva Across the Narrow Sea, in Meereen, a red priestess is preaching for Daenerys. Tyrion is pleased. His big brain strikes again! Varys isn't convinced."You made a pact with fanatics," he warns. Don't be such a killjoy, Varys. The city is orderly, people aren't trying to kill their overlords. All is well. Tyrion is certain he made the right call. (Which in Game of Thrones, can only mean it's about to go horribly awry.) As for Varys, he's off on a secret mission to Westeros. And so, he must take his leave. After all, he points out, "I can't go off on a secret mission in the company of the most famous dwarf in the city." Tyrion is sad to see him go, but can't help himself: "The most famous dwarf in the world," he adds. These two.
"I Choose Violence." Cersei's encounter with the Faith Militant goes pretty much as expected. The High Sparrow requires her presence. She doesn't much feel like moving. Objections? Address them to The Mountain. Lancel Lannister, her cousin and once-lover turned Sparrow-follower, threatens her. "Order your man to step aside or there will be violence." Predictably (if you've seen the trailer for this episode), her answer comes: "I choose violence." The Mountain does his thing, which in this situation means snapping a man's head off. Cersei smiles. "Please tell his high holiness he's always welcome to visit."
The Kingslayer & I Brienne and Pod arrive at Riverrun. "Looks like a siege milady." Thank you Pod, Captain Obvious. This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Jaime and Brienne, face to face. The two share a heart-to-heart, while outside, Bron expresses what everyone is thinking: "You think they're fucking?" Brienne explains that she fulfilled her oath and found Sansa. She proposes a compromise. If she can get the Blackfish to surrender, Jaime will let him lead the Tully army north to help Sansa reclaim Winterfell. He is skeptical, but agrees. With a pause, she tries to return Oathkeeper, the sword he gave her when she set off to find the Stark girls. "You gave it to me for a purpose," she says, handing him the weapon. "I have achieved that purpose." He refuses. "It's yours. It will always be yours." The touching moment comes to a screeching end when Brienne drops a truthbomb: should she fail to persuade the Blackfish, there will be fighting. And she must fight alongside Sansa's kin. Against Jaime. (This does not actually come to pass, which is a disappointing moment in an episode full of disappointing moments.) As expected, the Blackfish is not down for this plan. Sighing, Brienne tells Pod to send a raven to Sansa. "Tell her I failed."
A Little Birdie Told Me Tommen is quickly following in his older brother Joffrey's footsteps on the dislikeablilty scale. After relegating Cersei to the gallery, he announces that henceforth, all trials by combat will be outlawed. Cersei and Loras, therefore, will be judged by seven septons, as in the olden days. So much for Cercei's genius plan. As she stares at Tommen's back exiting the hall, there is the sense that something has permanently ruptured within her. Her son has betrayed her once again. How many times will she allow him to do so? Master Qyburn approaches. Their peculiar exchange goes as follows: Q: "The old rumor you told me about. My little birds investigated." C: "And? Is it just a rumor or something more?" Q: "More. Much More." Theory: Based on Bran's visions, we know that there will be a big explosion of what looks like wildfire in the bowels of the Red Keep. We also know that the Mad King reportedly had wildfire stashed throughout the bowels of the castle as a last minute defense against his enemies. You do the math.
Knock, Knock Oh goody. Another scene with Tyrion trying to teach Grey Worm and Missandei how to be humans. This session is about jokes. It is ridiculous and boring. Luckily, a well-timed invasion saves us from having to listen to any more of Missandei's wine-fueled ditties about translators. "The masters have come for their property," she says. Have they? Or have one of the Greyjoy factions finally reached Meereen? TBD.
"The Things We Do For Love."

Back in the Riverlands, Jaime plays his trump card. That card's name is Edmure, Lord of Riverrun, who has been held prisoner by the Freys since the Red Wedding. At first, Jaime tries to cajole Edmure into cooperating. He has a son he's never met and a wife he hasn't laid eyes on since their wedding night. If he helps, he might see both of them. But Edmure is more interested in talking about Jaime's true nature. "All of us have to believe that we're decent, don't we?" he asks. "How do you tell yourself that you're decent? After everything that you've done?" Jaime takes the bait. It's quite simple really: Cersei. "The things we do for love," he says, recalling the words he spoke before pushing Bran out the window back in the first season, "I love Cersei. You can laugh at that if you want. You can sneer. It doesn't matter. She needs me. And to get back to her, I have to take Riverrun. "You don't matter to me," he continues. "Your son doesn't matter to me. The people in the castle don't matter to me. Only Cersei. And if I have to slaughter every Tully who ever lived to get back to her, that's what I'll do." Finally, Jaime has come to terms with his true nature. He will lie, cheat, slaughter, betray — all in the service of the woman he loves. She is his identity. Without her, he is nothing.
Welcome Home Jaime's speech obviously makes an impression on Edmure, who is next seen demanding entry into his castle. The Blackfish sees right through this, and refuses. Unfortunately, bureaucracy prevails and the guard lets him in, because: "He's my lord, my lord." What must happen happens: Edmure orders the Tully soldiers to surrender and hand over Blackfish. The latter is busy helping Pod and Brienne escape. They plead with him to join their fight up North, but he won't hear of it. He's got a fight waiting for him right here. (He loses.) Our last glimpse of Brienne and Pod is as two specs in the night rowing away from the castle. Jaime spots them from the ramparts and raises his hand in salute. She does the same. Cuties.
Never Too Late

The only time you hear Beric Dondarrion's name these days is as a justification for Jon Snow's resurrection. Yet here he is, in the flesh. The one-eyed head of the Brotherhood Without Banners and his red priest, Thoros of Myr, are about to execute the men who killed Brother Ray when the Hound catches up to them. It is decided that the Hound will get to hang two out of the three. Compromise! "There was a time I would have killed all seven of you just to gut these three," he points out. The Hound has come a long way. Another campfire conversation reveals that the Brotherhood is aware of what's brewing in the North. They want the Hound to join them. This, it seems, will be the Hound's new purpose. As Dondarrion puts it: "You can still help a lot more than you've harmed, Clegane. It's not too late for you." Brother Ray said it first. He has robbed, he has killed, but the Hound can still be redeemed. Watch out, Night King.
No One No Longer The episode comes full circle in the last scene. We left Arya falling asleep. We return to her waking up. She leaps out of bed to find Lady Crane crumpled in a heap, dead. The Waif has found her, as we knew she would. "If you'd have done your job, she'd have died painlessly," she baits Arya.
The Faceless God always gets what he was promised. "And now he's been promised another name." What follows is a violent game of hide and seek through the streets of Braavos, which reaches its conclusion in a dimly lit room. "It'll all be over soon," the Waif cooes. "On your knees, or on your feet." Arya rises. She's holding Needle. After an Obi-Wan-Kenobi-facing-Darth-Vader-meditation-pause, she slices the burning wick off of a single burning candle in the room. Everything goes dark. I was just about to give up on Game of Thrones, when suddenly, we shift scenes. The Faceless Man walks into the Hall of Faces. He sees blood on the ground. He follows the trail, which leads him to a face. It's the Waif's. What happened? Well, remember that whole time Arya was blind? She learned to fight in the dark. The Waif did not. (Side note: Although, the narrative flow makes sense, not showing the fight seems like cheating. It's pretty anti-climactic after the countless scenes of excruciating Waif vs. Arya training we had to endure this season. Not cool.)
The Faceless Man turns to see a Needle-wielding Arya. "Finally, a girl is no one," he says. (Is he trying to pretend this was the plan all along?) Wrong again, Faceless Man. "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I am going home." FINALLY. Random Thought: When is Daenerys going to get going to Westeros? I'm getting fed up with her deus ex-machina dragon scenes.

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