With just three episodes left this season, Game of Thrones is truly starting to heat up as tonight's "Hardhome", delivered what some are calling the best episode of this season. "Hardhome" was devoid of any rape scenes or any of the other reprehensible behavior that have spawned online outrage from several fans, but it did feature a terrific meeting between Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) meeting Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), which hasn't even happened in the books yet, Cersei (Lena Headey) rotting away in jail, Arya (Maisie Williams) finally becomes "someone else," and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) seeks the wildlings' help.
The episode starts off in Meereen, as Danerys grants an audience with Mormont (Iain Glen) and Tyrion. He tells Dany that he's the greatest Lannister killer of all and that Varys sold him on her becoming a great ruler. Tyrion says that he wants to advise Dany since he did a fine job as Hand of the King. She asks what she should do with Mormont, because she vowed to kill him if she ever seen him again. Tyrion gives Dany the hard sell on why Mormont should be kept alive. She says he had several opportunities to confess his betrayal, but he only did so when he was forced to. Tyrion says he shouldn't be killed, but he shouldn't be by her side when she goes to Westeros. Dany orders that Jorah should be removed from the city as guards walk him out of the palace. Once outside, he checks the grey scale on his arm, which seems to be worse. What's intriguing is that we haven't seen Varys since Jorah Mormont pulled off his kidnapping of Tyrion, but since he was mentioned a few times in this episode, he may surface in the last two episodes.
We go back to King's Landing, where an older woman comes in to Cersei's cell, asking her to confess. Still thinking she has any semblance of power, she tells the woman that her face will be the last thing she sees, as the woman slaps her with a stick thing, before leaving.
At the House of Black and White, Arya is telling Jaquen H'gar (Tom Wlaschiha) about her new identity. When she messes up one of the lines, Jaquen slaps her with a stick. He tells her that she should go to the harbor, where she will see something, but he won't tell her what it is. At the harbor, she wheels her cart of wares down the street. An old man asks to try one of her clams and buys four of them. Some random man comes up to him, but the old man denies him... something, as the random guy starts screaming that he has three kids. It's never quite clear what this exchange is all about, but it certainly does intrigue Arya. Jaquen tells her she will go back to the docks and learn as much about the Thin Man as she can, then presents her with a gift to give the Thin Man. After Arya leaves, The Waif (Faye Marsay) approaches Jaquen, telling her she's not ready yet.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei is visited by Qyburn (Anton Lesser), saying she will be charged with treason, incest, the murder of King Robert, and some other crimes. She asks if there's been any word from Jamie, but there has not. He tells her that Kevan has been summoned back from Casterly Rock, to head up the small council, but he won't visit Cersei. When Cersei says she can't stay here, he says that there is a way out, which is to confess to the High Sparrow. She isn't too happy with this idea though, saying she will not bow to the High Sparrow.
In Winterfell, Theon/Reek (Alfie Allen) brings Sansa (Sophie Turner) some food, and Sansa asks why he betrayed her. He says there is no escape, ever and the master knows everything. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) cut away piece after piece until there was no Theon left, only Reek. Sansa says he'd do exactly what Ramsay did to him if she got the chance. Theon finally confesses to Sansa that the boys he killed weren't Bran and Rickon, because he couldn't find them. They were just two farm boys. He killed them and burned them so nobody would know. When Sansa asks where her brothers may be, Theon rushes out. We then check in on the Bolton's discussing strategy when Stannis Baratheon comes to Winterfell. Ramsay thinks they should take the fight to Stannis, saying he doesn't need an army, just 20 good men. We don't see where Ramsay's suggestion goes from here, but it's possible that he will lead a small army to meet Stannis and his troops and try to ambush them. How successful it
Back in Meereen, Tyrion and Dany are chatting over tea, or whatever. She asks why he killed his father, and he says he'll tell her if she decides he will stick around. Tyrion suspects that Varys may be the only man he trusts in life. He says that Varys convinced him that Dany would be worth living for. She says that he won't be killed, but he will now advise her. He tries to talk her out of seizing the Iron Throne, saying she may be best needed in Meereen. Tyrion says that he doesn't think any of the families will back him, but she says that she basically wants to crush the whole system. Mormont goes back to the guy who bought him for the fighting pits. He says he wants to fight for her but belong to this guy.
In King's Landing, an old woman keeps asking Cersei to confess, but she won't say anything. The woman dumps out water on the ground, as Cersei goes down to lick it off the floor. At The Wall, Gilly (Hannah Murray) tends to Samell's (John Bradley) wounds. The young servant kid Olly (Brenock O'Connor) brings him some food and says that he needs to ask him something. Gilly leaves to tend to the baby. The kid says that wildlings kill his family, so why is Jon Snow saving the wildlings? He says the bearded guy lead the raid on his village. Samwell says he's seen the white walkers, and they're going to come for the living, and when they do, they'll need every man they can get. Samwell says that sometimes a man must make hard choices in life.
We go to North of the Wall where Jon, Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and some others in a few different boats head into Hardhome. The Wildlings all stare them down as Tormund meets with the Lord of Bones. Jon snow says he's allies with Tormund, and Lord of Bones calls him a traitor. When Lord of Bones makes a lewd suggestion, Tormund beats him (to death?) with his own large walking stick thing. Tormund tells the rest to gather the others and they'll talk. Jon meets with the wildlings leaders, tells them that together they can beat the white walkers. Jon gives them a gift of a piece of dragon glass, which is what they used to kill a while walker. He says they'll give them all lands south of the wall, if they promise to join them and fight when the real war begins. Jon says that Mance is dead, and he put an arrow through his heart, which pisses the Free Folk off. Tormund tells them what really happened, and that Snow's arrow was an act of mercy. Jon says their children will never have children of their own if they don't join forces. Tormund vouches for him, saying that they need him. The wildling woman says she'll never trust a man in black, but she trusts Tormund and that she's with them.
At the harbor, several of the wildlings are getting on their boats. Jonn says they're leaving too many behind, but Tormund says they're running out of food and there's nothing to hunt, so the rest will probably join them soon. Out of nowhere, some of the dogs start barking, and they realize that the white walkers are coming from the mountains. They rush to seal the gates, leaving a few people behind, who are pounding on the gate until they just disappear. The Walkers start trying to break down the gate. All of the boats start taking off frantically. Chaos emerges, Jon and Tormund grab their swords and rush to the gate, which is getting breached left and right. Jon goes back to look for the dragon glass in the building which is now on fire. We see who may be one of the white walker leaders, and just before Jon gets to the dragon glass, this white walker chucks him aside. Jon's getting his ass kicked by the huge white walker, but just before the white walker looks to strike the death blow, Jon raises his sword dubbed Longclaw, and it actually blocks the attack and moments later, he kills the white walker, causing him to disintegrate. Dragon's glass was previously established as the only substance that can kill the white walkers, but we know that his sword is made of Valyrian steel, which is apparently the second thing that can kill a white walker. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of swords made of Valyrian steel in all of Westeros, and the art of making swords from this fine metal was eventually lost throughout the ages. Of course, it isn't immediately clear why Valyrian steel kills white walkers, but hopefully we'll find out why in the last two episodes. After Jon kills the white walker, one of the mysterious white walker leaders is seen watching this scene unfold on a cliff.
The episode ends as we see hundreds of white walkers pile off a cliff, and they all start to take down the gate as Jon and Tormund retreats to the sea into one of the boats. This white walker leader guy, with blue skin and eyes, comes to the port and shows Jon Snow that every deceased fighter has been turned into a white walker instantly, as mystery blue-skinned guy's army grows exponentially. It's a truly chilling ending to a stunning and fantastic episode. HBO has also debuted a preview for next week's penultimate Season 5 episode, "The Dance of Dragons", airing Sunday, June 7 at 9 PM ET on HBO. The trailer shows Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) being put to a decision from Prince Doran Martell (Alexander Siddig), saying Jamie can swear his allegiance to him, or die. We also see more of Arya's interactions with The Thin Man and Dany watching as the fighting pits are reopened. 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.