Game of Thrones Episode 6.5 “The Door”
Directed by Jack Bender
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Starring Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Carice van Houten, Alfie Allen, Natalie Dormer HBO
Air date: May 22, 2016
WARNING: Spoilers for HBO’s Game Of Thrones….
Last week’s Game Of Thrones saw the very first Stark sibling reunion when Sansa Stark escaped the clutches of her sadist husband Ramsay Bolton to make her way to The Wall, where, unbeknownst to her, her half-brother Jon Snow had just been resurrected. It also saw Daenerys Targaryen torch the Dosh Khaleen temple to the ground with the Khals in it, to emerging Unburnt and leading the Dothraki once again.
This week’s episode, Episode 6.5 “The Door,” was the first time this season where I was left with an unsettling feeling, because once again, our favorite characters are in danger, as are ones who we were just beginning to forgive.
The episode opens powerfully with Sansa Stark at The Wall going off to meet in secret with Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger in nearby Mole’s Town. Littlefinger was not only her protector when she was hiding in her aunt’s kingdom in The Vale, but he was also the person who arranged for her marriage to Ramsay, which turned out horribly. She wants to know if her uncle and former caregiver knew who he was giving her to. Without many words, she reveals to Petyr the abuses her husband made her endure, but he swears he knew nothing about Ramsay’s true character. This is hard for Sansa to believe, considering Littlefinger is someone who knows everyone’s secrets, but in his defense, it’s possible he wasn’t aware of how sadistic Ramsay is, since prior to the arranged marriage, Ramsay was a bastard son, and in this world, bastards aren’t really considered important. Either way, Sansa was put in danger thanks to Littlefinger’s manipulations. She tells him she wants nothing from him, including the help from the Vale, since she has her own army — her brother Jon’s army. Littlefinger gives her a tip that her uncle at Riverrun is reforming his armies and can help her, before reminding her that Jon is her “half-brother.” Later in the episode, when Jon and Davos are talking war strategies, Sansa reveals the tidbit about her uncle’s armies in Riverrun, but lies about how she found out. She doesn’t tell Jon that she met with Littlefinger; instead, she says Ramsay had gotten a message while she was still at Winterfell. Later on, Brienne, her true protector, asks her straight out why she lied to her brother, but we never find out.
Over in Braavos, Arya is still practicing her fighting techniques, and still getting her ass kicked by the Waif. Afterwards, she gets an assassin assignment: Lady Crane, an actress who we see starring as Cersei in a local theater production of the story of King Robert and Ned Stark’s death that Arya watches from the crowd. Arya still wants to be one of the Faceless Men and serve the Many-Faced God, but she has a lot of questions. But, Jaqen H’ghar tells her that servants don’t ask questions; also, that she’s not ready to don one of the Faces.
On the Iron Islands, the time has come for the Kingsmoot, where the next leader will be chosen. Yara Greyjoy, daughter of former king Balon, makes her claim for the Salt Throne, though the people have never had a queen, and most are skeptical, especially since Balon’s son has returned. But Theon supports his sister’s claim, and manages to get them to chant her name in agreement. That is, until Uncle Euron shows up to make his own claim. He full-on admits to killing his brother Balon, and then entices the crowd by revealing his plan to take over Westeros: He’s going to build a massive fleet of 1,000 ships and take them across the sea to Daenerys Targaryen, who he’ll marry and the two of them will conquer the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The fickle Iron Born pricks then back Euron, as Yara and Theon along with their supporters get the fuck out of there! While Euron gets the Kingsmoot dunking in the water, Yara and company take the best ships and flee, which was a smart move, since as soon as their uncle coughs up all that salt water, he asks for his niece and nephew so he can murder them. Time to build more ships! (I wonder how long that will take?)
Speaking of Daenerys, she’s now leading her new khalasar, but before she takes off, she speaks to her former aid Jorah Mormont, who reveals that he must leave because he has contracted greyscale, a contagious disease that will eventually drive him mad and lead to his death. She’s sad to hear of this, and while she had banished him twice before for his betrayals, now, she commands him to find a cure and be healed so that he can return to her side and help her claim the throne in Westeros.
Ruling in her stead over in Meereen is the circle of boring — Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei. These are all great characters, who I’m insanely bored with now that all they do is talk politics while Dany’s away. This time around, they recruit a red priestess to their cause, hoping that her backing with help them out. Much like Melisandre, this new woman seems to have a lot of insight, including details about Varys’s past and how he became a eunuch, which totally throws the man off.
As with each episode this season, the end comes with a bang. Throughout “The Door,” we see Bran having visions guided by the Three-Eyed Raven. In the first one, we see how the White Walkers came to be, specifically what was done to make the Night King: The Children of the Forest created them to defend against Men! Later on, while everyone was sleeping, Bran went on an unguided vision quest, where he faced an army of White Walkers, but the Night King sees him! And also TOUCHES HIM! When he comes to, the Three-Eyed Raven warns that they all must leave now, because the Night King will come for them. And oh shit, he does, along with his army of undead, who attack them. The Children of the Forest help, but things are looking really bad. The Three-Eyed Raven tells Bran, “It’s time to become me,” and they go into a vision, where Bran sees his father Ned as a very young boy at Winterfell going off to be a ward of The Vale. Ned’s father advises him to try to stay out of fights, but then tells him, “But if you have to fight, win.” While this is occurring, Meera is trying to awaken Bran from the vision so they can escape. She keeps telling him to warg into Hodor, but their big man is just cowered in a corner repeating his name, as he does. Eventually, Bran does, and they flee, but the direwolf Summer stays behind and sacrifices himself. But Bran is still in the vision, yet he hears what’s happening in the present. Meanwhile, the Night King breaches the fortifications of the cave and cuts down the Three-Eyed Raven, who in the vision tells Bran to go in a very Obi-Wan “Run, Luke, run!” type of way. Bran, Meera, and Hodor make their way out, thanks to Leaf, who blows herself up to stop the attack. But some still get through, and Hodor is tasked with holding the door. Meera yells “Hold the door!” to him repeatedly which he does, even as his attackers claw and pull at him, killing him. Meanwhile, in the vision, Bran sees young Hodor — then named Wylis — dropped down and start seizing; it looks like Bran has accidentally warged into Wylis. You can still hear Meera yelling “Hold the door,” while vision Wylis starts chanting “Hold the door” then “hold door” which morphs into – HO-DOR!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this some Back to the Figure kind of shit? What the hell? This is insanely trippy. But, it explains how a young, articulate Wylis became the simple-minded Hodor.
Ok, so, it looks like the triumphant streak for our favorite characters is coming to an end now. Theon and Yara are on the run from their murderous uncle; Jorah is still dying of greyscale for the time being; Littlefinger is back and willing use anyone for his own purposes, which means that Sansa has to watch her back; both Sansa and Jon are off to fight the armies of Ramsay Bolton, who will rape and flay them if he defeats them; Bran and Meera are getting away for now, but how far can she get pulling Bran in a snow storm with an army of undead just yards away (!); and poor Hodor, it’s doubtful he’ll survive this encounter.
Oh wait, one fun moment: Wildling leader Tormund once again makes sexy eyes at Brienne of Tarth, who scoffs in distain.
Game of Thrones Season 6: Episode #5 Preview (HBO)