We gave it an A-
Winterfell: In the Great Hall, Jon Snow deals with a matter before the Northern lords — what to do with House Umber and Karstark after they betrayed the Starks to side with Ramsay Bolton. Jon declares they will be forgiven since the traitors who made the decision are dead and now they all need to band together to fight the army of the dead. But here comes Sansa, objecting to his judgment like a lawyer for the prosecution, wanting to throw those adorable teen lord-lings out of their castles and into the freezing winter for their relatives’ betrayal. She presses the issue, making Jon look weak. “So there’s no punishment for treason and no reward for loyalty” is a devastating line. But she’s breaking The Godfather’s famous rule for governing siblings: “Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family.” Remember what happened to Fredo.
Jon looks tormented. Well, moreso. And GoT fans who went from vehemently anti-Sansa to totally pro-Sansa over the last couple seasons prepare to sharpen their tweets — How dare she humiliate the King in the North! Jon stands firm and lets the young Karstark and Umber kids remain. I wonder if Lyanna Mormont will have playdates with them.
Littlefinger watches a fuming Sansa during this. He’s lurking in the shadows like an ex-pimp Emperor Palpatine: Yes, let the anger flow through you Sansa! Join me and we’ll rule Westeros as husband and his inappropriately aged wife!
Jon mopes up to Sansa and they have a very natural-feeling chat about his verdict. His leadership is both progressive and traditional. Arming women and sending Wildlings to man The Wall is revolutionary thinking for this country. Yet his handling of the traitors feels like classic Ned Stark. Sansa’s objection is understandable — her hatred of Ramsay still burns so bright that anybody who helped him is automatically her enemy. More logically, she’s learned a bit from Cersei (and presumably from Ramsay too, even if she’d never admit it — he said he’d always be with her, remember?). Both Ramsay and Cersei annihilate any perceived enemies. Sansa’s correct that Jon needs to avoid the naive mistakes of Ned and Robb, but in this I side with him anyway — he needs a united North, and his decision in the Great Hall is the type of move that makes people love their leader. Still, Jon could have avoided all this if he spoke to Sansa about his decision in advance.
Later, in the courtyard, Tormund leers at Brienne as he prepares to leave for Eastwatch, because that’s what he does. Meanwhile, Baelish sidles up to Sansa, trying to play on her fears and aspirations. “Why aren’t you happy?” he whispers. She’s totally onto him and doesn’t want to hear it. I love her line as she dismisses him: “No need to seize the last word; I’ll assume it was something clever.”
Castle Black: Briefly at the gate, Bran meets Dolorous Edd and gives him a quick Sherlock-esque mind-freak cold reading. He doesn’t say anything to prove he’s a Stark, like Edd asked, but does prove he creepily knows a bunch of things he shouldn’t, so they decide to bring him in. (Next: MasterChef)