After a somewhat uneventful first half of the season, last week's episodes of Game of Thrones, "Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken" delivered one of the best episodes all season, complete with a rather shocking ending. Building off of that momentum, tonight's episode, "The Gift", is just as brilliant, setting up what could surely be an incredibly eventful last three episodes of Season 5. So what happens in tonight's episode? One (very old) character dies, one beloved character nearly dies and Cersei's alliance fails brilliantly.
Snow is falling when the episode begins at The Wall, where Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) is brought out as he prepares to go with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) on a mission North of the Wall, which Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) believes is reckless and dangerous. Before he leaves, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) gives Jon the piece of dragon glass that he used to kill the White Walker, saying he hopes he never has to use it. Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan), who appears to be quite ill, is delighted by seeing Gilly's (Hannah Murray) child. He tells Gilly to get the child south, before it's too late.
Back in Winterfell, Theon (Alfie Allen) tends to Sansa (Sophie Turner), who starts to confide in Theon, saying that he hurts her every night. Theon says things can always be worse. Sansa wants to know what Ramsay did to him, but he won't tell her, as he keeps insisting that his name is now Reek. Sansa proudly tells him that he is Theon Greyjoy, as he gives her a candle to leave in the tower, which is what the elderly lady told Sansa to do if she was in trouble, to signal friends of the Stark's. Theon leaves, with more of a sense of purpose than we've seen from him in ages, it seems. While we think he's going to light the candle for Sansa, he actually reports back to Ramsay.
Back at The Wall, Maester Aemon is still delighted about the baby's presence. Gilly asks Samwell to get some rest, but he wants to stay, and he does right up until he dies. Samwell presides over the funeral, delivering a touching eulogy before Alliser Thorne lights his corpse on fire. Menacingly, perhaps, Thorne says, "You're losing all your friends, Tarly." We then head back to Winterell, where snow is falling quite briskly, as Sansa approaches Ramsay outside. Ramsay says how pleased he is that Sansa is his wife, since he expected his arranged marriage to be with an ugly woman. Ramsay says his scouts have spotted Stannis Baratheon approaching Winterfell. Sansa asks what will happen if his stepmother gives birth to a boy, since he will be the true heir. She calls him a bastard, which seems to piss him off, as he says that bastards can rise high in this world, before he shows Sansa her "Northern friend," (the woman who told Sansa that she still has friends in the North), whose head is mounted on a spike. Theon betrayed Sansa, telling Ramsay that Sansa wanted to leave. Now that Ramsay knows that she wants to leave, she seems to be totally screwed, that is, unless Stannis' army manages to kill Ramsay and his father. Not cool, Theon. Keep in mind that Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick (Daniel Portman) are still keeping an eye on this Sansa situation, so perhaps she could be saved by this duo.
We then join up with Davos (Liam Cunningham) who is riding his horse through camp. He tells Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) that the snow storm means they can't get supplies. Davos says that they should go back to Castle Black, because he thinks it's not the right time. Stannis is completely certain that it is the right time, and that they'll either march to victory or to defeat, but they have to move forward. After Davos leaves, Stannis tells Melissandre (Carice van Houten) that he's trusted her visions for years, finally doubting this mystical woman's ridiculous claims. Melissandre says that sacrifices must be made for victory. She says there is only one way, to sacrifice Stannis' own daughter! Disgusted by the idea, he tells her to get out. Could he finally be doubting Melissandre's worth? One can certainly hope so.
We then see two creepy night's watch rangers trapping Gilly, saying they want her to kiss them. Before things get out of hand, Samwell returns, pulling out his sword. A fight ensues as one of them takes Samwell down, calling him a liar, saying there's no way he could have killed a white walker. One of these pricks keeps beating on Samwell, but when they go back to Gilly, he stands back up. Before another fight ensues, the direwolf Ghost comes back and runs these assholes off. Sam says he's all right, but "just a bit woozy," as he passes out.
Gilly then tends to Samwell's wounds. She says he's not a fighter and she doesn't want him to do that again, largely because she's afraid no one will take care of her kid. Sam promises he'll always take care of her and the kid. She wants to get more water, but he asks her to stay, and they kiss. Of course, this goes against the Night Watch brothers' vows, but, then again, we already know that many rangers visit a local brothel regularly. Gilly gets on top of him and kisses him, she asks if she's hurting him, but he says he isn't. Although they're still fully clothed, they start to have sex right there!
We then head to Meereen, where Malko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) presents Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) for bidding, as several guys bid on him to use in the fighting pits. Some guy buys him for 20 gold things, and as he takes him away, Tyrion says that guy has to buy him too. Tyrion says he's a great fighter, which cuases much laughter, but he ends up proving it, beating the kid who's been holding his chain. The buyer guy gives Malko more money, and buys Tyrion. Tyrion starts to tell this guy about how dangerous Meereen could be, but he slaps him to shut him up. Could this be the end of Tyrion's talkative ways? We'll see how long this mystery man ends up owning Jorah and Tyrion.
In Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) castle, she's laying in bed with Daario (Michiel Huisman). Dany says she needs the city of Meereen behind her when enemies come. Daario asks her to marry him. He says she's the queen, she can do what she likes, but she says she cant. She seems to ponder this deeply as Daario asks to make a suggestion, to gather all the masters and slaughter them all when the fighting pits starts. She said shes a queen, not a butcher.
In King's Landing, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) approaches the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), as they exchange witty barbs. She knows he's doing Cersei's dirty work, saying she can spot a fraud from a mile away. She says she's here to retrieve Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones). She asks if he wants gold, she says she'll give him anything he wants. The High Septon obviously can't be bought, saying the Gods demand justice. He says her grandchildren will be punished like anyone else. Olenna says that half the people in King's Landing are guilty of these crimes. She threatens to stop sending food to King's Landing, and she will let everyone know that he's responsible for the people starving. High Sparrow gives no fucks, though. As Olenna leaves, she's given a piece of parchment with a seal.
Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is pissed that his queen is in a prison cell and there's nothing he can do. We start to see bouts of Joffrey-like rage from Tommen as he shouts at his mother. She tries to calm him down, saying there are some things he can't control. Tommen says he'll call in the army and kill all the sparrrows, and he'll start a war. He says he loves her before sitting back down, distraught. He says he will speak with High Sparrow, but Cersei says he'll speak to him on his behalf. She says she'll do everything he can, and anything to keep him from harm, she'll burn cities to the ground. Tommen is all that matters, him and his sister.
Back in Dorne, Areao Hotah (Deobia Oparei) brings Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free) in to see Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She says he looks differently. Jamie says he's come to take her home. Myrcella is far from pleased, saying she didn't want to come there in the first place, but now it's her home. She is going to stay and marry Trystane (Toby Sebastian). Jamie says he doesn't understand, and she says she doesn't because he doesn't know her. We then go to a prison where Bronn (Jerome Flynn) is singing his crazy Dorne wife song. In a nearby cell are the Sand Snakes, as they make small talk. He says Dornish women are the most beautiful in the world. One of the snakes Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) asks Bronn to tell her who the most beautiful woman in the world is. She starts undressing for Bronn, but then Bronn starts to stagger as his nose bleeds. She reveals that her during their fight in last week's episode, her blade was coated with some crazy death potion, and it takes a while to kick in, as Bronn starts to die. She pulls out a pill that's the only antidote, but before she gives it to him, she asks again who he thinks the most beautiful woman in the world is. He says her as she tosses him the antidote. As he comes back to life, she says "I think you're very handsome too."
In King's Landing, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) meets with Olenna in his brothel, which was torn apart after the arrest. Olenna reveals that she was in on the Joffrey killing with Littlefinger, which was hinted at last season when she told Margaery that she wouldn't let her marry Joffrey. She wants to know if he was involved in Loras and Margaery's arrest, he says he came because Cersei asked her. He says he has a gift for Olennna, the same gift he had for Cersei, a "handsome young man." Unfortunately, we don't know who this young man is Littlefinger is gifting to Olenna, or why he is doing so, but hopefully we'll find out next week.
Back in Meereen, Mormont is getting ready with a lot of other warriors in the fighting pits. Outside, Dany and Hizdar zo Loraq (Joel Fry) takes her seat to watch the fights. The fighter owner guy is shocked that Dany is there, as he sets up a thing where they say they'll fight for the glory of the queen. Mormont jumps to his feet and goes to the fence, where he sees Dany and looks happier than ever. The fights happen, and Dany seems conflicted about what she's watching. She says she's ready to leave, but Hizdar says its tradition for the queen to stay until a victor has emerged. Mormont then emerges, wearing a helmet that obscures his face, as Dany stays and watches, intrigued. Tyrion is not terribly happy, because he's still shackled to the wall as he tries to get out. Mormont takes out the last few guys and as Tyrion tries to get his chains off, a big guy cuts his chain off and nods at him. When Mormont is revealed, she tells him to get him out of her sight. He says he has brought her a gift, when Tyrion emerges, saying he's the gift. He says he's pleased to meet her, and tells her his name.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei visits Margaery in her prison cell, who has certainly seen better days. Cersei says it's horrible and unacceptable, asking if they're feeding her enough. He brings her vennison, which is quite good. She said they've done everything that they can, and Margaery says she knows Cersei is behind this. She says lying comes easy for her, but honesty doesn't, saying Tommen was quick to cast Cersei aside for her. When Cersei says she's staying in King's landing, Margaery throws a bowl at her, saying "Get out you ungrateful bitch!" Cersei seems quite pleased with herself as she leaves, then visiting the High Sparrow himself. He asks what will happen to her now, he says a trial will be held for each Margaery and Loras. He says seven Septons will preside over the trial. Sparrow says this building is one of the oldest in King's Landing. He says no one knows who built it, because they weren't influenced by vanity. He says the Tyrell's will be stripped of their finery, asking what will happen to the Lannisters once their finery is stripped. He says a young man came to him, unburdening himself of all his family secrets, and he had much to say about Cersei. Then Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon) comes in, as we finally learn that the High Sparrow set her up! When Cersei tries to leave, she's apprehended. She screams, saying she's the Queen! Of course, she's not, but it's clear that she still pines for being the Queen. The mystery woman throws Cersei in a cell. Cersei tells her to look at her face, because it will be the last thing she sees before she dies.
As Olenna Tyrell said during her meeting with High Sparrow, that half of King's Landing could be arrested for their crimes against these religious laws. After they locked Cersei up, will they actually be going after EVERYONE who goes against religion in King's Landing? Will there be enough prison cells to hold them? The Sparrows clearly don't have any problems going after any family, no matter how powerful they may be. Could they actually succeed in cleaning up King's Landing? The Sparrow's actions aside, if Cersei goes to trial, it will surely be revealed that Tommen, and Joffrey before him, is the result of Cersei's incestuous affair with Jamie. This means everyone would know that Tommen is not the true heir, which could set up Season 6 as a war-torn quest for the Iron Throne.
HBO also released a preview for next week's episode, "Hardhome", which unfortunately doesn't immediately address the aftermath of tonight's shocking ending, although we do see Cersei telling someone that she will not beg a "barefoot commonor" and beg for forgiveness. Is this Lancel? High Sparrow? Who knows! We also see Danerys asking Mormont and Tyrion why the people should trust a queen who doesn't keep her promises. We also see Sansa confront a terrified Theon/Reek, saying she would do exactly what Ramsay did to him, and Jon Snow paying the wildlings a visit, who don't seem terribly happy to see him. What do you think about this week's episode? Check out the trailer below, and chime in with your thoughts below, or reach out to me on Twitter at @GallagherMW, and be sure to check back for next week's recap.