What is dead may never quite die the first time on "Game of Thrones."

If ever an episode needed an extra 10 minutes, it's "Game of Thrones" Season 6, Episode 7, "The Broken Man." The June 5 episode was only 51 minutes, the shortest episode of Season 6 since the 50-minute premiere, just starting the Riverrun siege storyline, stabbing Arya Stark, and introducing (then immediately eliminating) an awesome new character.

The good news is that the next three episodes are much longer, including a super-sized finale. But the bad news is the season is already wrapping up right when it's just starting to pick up.

"Deadwood" alum Ian McShane returned to HBO for the one-off episode he spoiled himself as bringing back Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound. His peace-loving septon character, Brother Ray, was like a cross between Septon Meribald and the Elder Brother of the book. In "A Storm of Swords," Septon Meribald gave a great speech about broken men, but this week the direct "broken" man reference was from Yara Greyjoy to her brother Theon.

Still, the episode message boiled down to the same thing for everyone -- this is no time to hide and hope for the best, there are wars to be won and everyone needs to grab an axe and get in the fight.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video with McShane and Rory McCann talking about the Hound's big return:

There were a few twists from the books this week, including a decent (if truncated) match for Jaime Lannister's Riverrun siege speech with Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully.Since the synopsis included "The North is reminded" there was thought that maybe we'd get some version of Wyman Manderly's The North Remembers speech to Ser Davos, but instead we got Davos making a recruitment pitch to that badass mini queen Lyanna Mormont, but still not getting Team Stark enough warriors to battle Ramsay Bolton. But Sansa Stark has a plan, and we have to see what happens with her letters.


Speaking of Starks, Arya got herself stabbed by that smug brat The Waif, and we have to see how she can get out of Braavos alive. There's a ship that should be leaving at dawn, but that doesn't change the fact that she is possibly bleeding to death. What is dead may never die, but what is alive may definitely die. Good luck, Arya.

We only have three episodes left this year, and next season only has seven episodes total. So basically this will be the finale point next year. How depressing is that?


Read on for a recap of Episode 7:

COLD OPEN
No map intro! There's a cold open this week with builders, led by Ian McShane's septon character. Here he is for the one-off role he teased, to bring back a beloved character everyone thought was dead. We first see the man's legs, then the camera pans up to show The Hound. Alive and just plain fine!

THE MAP
After that, we get the map in King's Landing, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos, Meereen.


THE HOUND
Ian McShane's character (Elder Brother/Septon Meribald?) asks how many men it took to take down Sandor Clegane. It was a woman. McShane laughs, but he wouldn't if he saw Brienne. This is quite an expansion of the book, to actually have a scene showing The Hound fully alive. What kept The Hound going? "Hate." McShane's Brother Ray wears a star and they talk about gods. Whoever is God has a plan for Sandor Clegane.

Later in the episode, we see Brother Ray giving a speech, talking about past deeds and his shame. He can't bring back the dead, but he can start bringing good into the world. "It's never too late to come back." On that note, three riders approach. They are not friendly, and they remind the group the night is dark and full of terrors. Hmmm. (The Brotherhood?) The Hound didn't appreciate the septon saying "Seven save you, friends" to guys who were clear threats to the group. But Brother Ray says violence is a disease, you don't cure a disease by spreading it to more people. The Hound says you don't cure it by dying either.

Later, we see The Hound return to the campsite and see everyone slaughtered -- women, children, everyone. They were peaceful people in a violent land. Brother Ray was hanged. No more bringing good into the world, but at least he tried. The Hound grabs his axe and prepares for ... what -- revenge? He has to kill his brother at some point. #CleganeBowl.


KING'S LANDING
Margaery tries to impress the High Sparrow with her quick knowledge of the Seven-Pointed Star. But it sounds like he's not quite sure yet whether he can trust her or if she's putting on an act. They have an awkward conversation about Margaery not entering Tommen's bed. She said she has no desire for him (can't blame her, he's a weak child) but the High Sparrow barfs up the mansplain that sex doesn't need desire on the woman's part, her job is to produce an heir. The Faith needs an heir to maintain their hold. Margaery doesn't really want that. The High Sparrow also adds a threat to Lady Olenna. We next see the Queen of Thorns mocking Septa Unella (does it move or talk?) who is basically a spy for the High Sparrow. Margaery says Loras has to confess and renounce his title, then he can be free. Would she say all of this if Unella wasn't there to spy? Margaery tells Olenna she should leave, her place is at home. Ah. She does give her a warning/rose sign of loyalty, while telling her to find comfort and prayer in good works. "The Mother watches over us all." Yeah, a real mofo. Margaery knows what she's doing, she's not a real convert. She remains the most savvy person in King's Landing.

Olenna and Cersei have a little chat, where Olenna blames Cersei for bringing the Faith there and Cersei agrees it was her fault. She lives with it every day ... then says they need to work together to fight the Faith. The Queen of Thorns wonders if Cersei is the worst person she's ever met. Don't forget Joff! And you haven't met Ramsay. Cersei refuses to leave her son behind, but Olenna makes the good point that she doesn't have a lot of options. "You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy I can find in all this misery." Yikes. So much for being on the same side in this fight.


TEAM STARK WARS
We first head with Jon and company for a recruitment meeting with the free folk. Jon says, if they lose the battle with the North, the Boltons and such will come north for the free folk. We need to beat them if you're going to survive. Tormund steps up to speak for Jon. "He died for us." He's their Jesus -- there are so many gods on this show, they might as well start worshiping Jon. Wun-Wun stands for Jon, just saying, "Snow," which sounds like a good endorsement.

Later, the tour continues with a visit to young Lady Lyanna Mormont on Bear Island. LOVE this girl immediately, she's a sass machine. Like Arya. She wrote that letter saying House Mormont knows no king other than the King in the North whose name is Stark. So they want her allegiance. But, she says, Jon is a Snow and Sansa is a Bolton or a Lannister. Rickon is a Stark, though... Lyanna smacks them down saying she's responsible for the people of Bear Island so why should she sacrifice them for this cause? Jon and Sansa seem stumped, so Davos steps up and argues for them, relating to her as someone who wasn't expecting to be in this position either. Davos says this isn't their war, it's our war. Davos brings up Lord Commander Mormont, who picked Jon as his successor, because he knew the real war is between the living and the dead, "and make no mistake my lady, the dead are coming." He makes a good pitch that they have to fight and need to do it together. Lady Mormont waves off her maester and makes her own decision. House Mormont will stand with House Stark. However, they only have 62 fighters. Haha. "We are not a large house, but we're a proud one." And each one is worth 10 mainlanders.
Next, they visit Robett Glover, who tells them no. He wants to know who else is fighting with them and so far they only have the Mormonts and the wildlings. That just sealed the no for Glover. He hates wildlings, too. Sansa reminds Glover his house is pledged to the Starks, but he gets in her face and asks where was King Robb when the Ironborn attacked Deepwood Motte and brutalized them? Robb was taking up with a foreign whore and getting others killed. Now House Stark is dead. This tour is dead, too. It is not going well.

Later, they tally up the army they have, which is mostly wildlings and not much else. But Jon says they have to march on Winterfell now. Sansa wonders why Ser Davos is Jon's most trusted adviser based on getting 62 men from a 10-year-old and working for Stannis. Sansa says they need more men, but Jon says they have no time. They must fight with the army they have. Sansa sees a raven and starts writing letters, sealing them with the Stark name. That's right -- when in doubt, send a raven. Gently remind the North of their duty, and what's at stake.


RIVERRUN SIEGE
Siege time! Jaime leads the Lannister army across the gorgeous Riverlands to Riverrun. Bronn is by his side again, and they banter like old times. (Bronn is still best with Tyrion, though. We are all best with Tyrion.) Hopefully this trip goes better than the one to Dorne. The Freys threaten to hang poor Edmure Tully, who has a rope around his neck. They are trying to draw out Brynden Tully, aka the Blackfish, so he'll yield the castle. Edmure is probably ready to die at this point. Black Walder holds the knife to Edmure's throat and reminds the Blackfish he was the one who killed Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. As you recall:
But the Blackfish calls his bluff, and tells him to just go ahead and slit Edmure's throat. Jaime tries to take over and restore order to the siege since the Frey's, as usual, are screwing everything up.

Jaime goes to the drawbridge to meet with the Blackfish face to face. Not to be shallow, but Jaime looks damn good this week. Blackfish is a handsome man, too; do you think Richard Gere is ripping his agent a new one for not getting him this part? Jaime and Blackfish give a strong version of their debate speeches from the book. The war is not over to the Blackfish. They have enough provisions for two years. Does the Kingslayer? It's a great verbal smackdown and the win clearly goes to House Tully. For now.

IRON ISLANDS
Theon and Yara are hanging out in Volantis, with Yara making out with a topless woman. (She's straight in the book, but not on TV because straight male showrunners want more naked women and lesbian action?) Yara and Theon know as long as they are alive they are threats to Euron. She makes Theon drink. She's tired of watching him cower like a beat dog. She needs the real Theon, not Reek the pretender. He escaped. He is never going back. They'll get revenge, not justice. She says if he's so broken he's not coming back, just cut your wrists right now. But she needs him. She wants to sail to Meereen and make a pact with the dragon queen, and take back the Iron Islands. Is he really with her? He is. So Theon is the broken man in this episode, and we don't get the "broken men" speech from Septon Meribald in the book.

ARYA IN BRAAVOS
We see Arya approach a Westerosi guy to buy passage home. They leave it two days. She wants a cabin, and to leave at dawn. She's a damn good negotiator, but uh oh. The Waif approaches in a mask, calls Arya "sweet girl" and stabs her. NOOOOOOO. So much for not making her suffer. But Arya is alive, if in terrible pain and bleeding, and falls into the water, then swims to land. She walks the streets, covering the wound in her stomach. Everyone could be The Waif.


NEXT WEEK
Episode 8, "No One" airs Sunday, June 12. Cersei chooses violence and Brienne faces off against Jaime.

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Game of Thrones TV Show Poster
Game of Thrones
HBOTVMAApril 17, 2011
Based on 29 critics

Noble families in the seven kingdoms of Westeros vie for control of the Iron Throne. Read More