Game of Thrones: "A Man With No Motives Is a Man No One Suspects."
At Castle Black, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is doing his best to train the remaining Rangers present to prepare for the Wildlings, that is until acting Lord Commander Thorne (Owen Teale) sends him on his stewardly way. Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) reminds Thorn of the "acting" part of his title, and recommends he send Jon to Craster's and let the mutineers take care of him before they hold a "Choosing" and Jon wins. And look, it's Locke (Noah Taylor), selling a sob story about why he's there. Of course, he's *really* there to a) find and kill Bran and Rickon, and b) kill Jon Snow.
In praise of older women.
There's a nice "Oh captain, my captain" moment when Jon asks for volunteers to attack Craster's. Grenn, Edd, and -- of course -- Locke oblige.
Speaking of Craster's, Karl (Burn Gorman) is certainly having a good time. And in case you were unsure what Bad People these were, Karl drinks wine from Mormont's skull while the rest of his men offhandedly rape Craster's wives in the fore *and* background. We get it: they're evil (what I wouldn't give for Arya and the Hound to show and kill everyone). Alas, it's left to Rast (Luke Barnes) to leave Craster's last son for the White Walkers. And also to feed Jon's direwolf Ghost, because not only are Karl and company pure evil, they're also hilariously stupid.
Team Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is nearby, however, and he wargs into Summer to go check out the crying baby. But Summer gets trapped, and before you can say "Hodor" the entire group is captured by Karl's men.
In a decidedly non-awkward post-Sept sex scene, Cersei (Lena Headey) accuses Jaime of taking Tyrion's side, and threatens to send him hunting for Sansa. She also badgers him about the number of Kingsguard posted outside Tommen's chambers. With good reason, as it turns out, for they do a poor job keeping out Margaery, who's taking Olenna's advice about getting acquainted with the new king before Mommy can intervene. Things stay chaste, for a change, though hopefully Tommen can sleep through that new funny feeling.
Jaime, in spite of his smarm, does appear to want to do the right thing, and gives Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) his Valyrian steel sword (which she christens "Oathkeeper"), a suit of armor, and the probably in mortal danger Podrick (Daniel Portman) and tells her to go find Sansa.
Finally, we get to see what happens to those babies, sort of. Looks like the White Walkers have an arctic Stonehenge where they're making more creepy undead Aryans. Okay.
While setting the table for a number of interesting (and potentially violent scenarios) -- Sansa to the Vale, the Rangers vs. Karl, Brienne and Pod on the road -- we'd barely washed the taste of last week's unpleasantness out of our mouths before confronted with the wholly unnecessary brutality of Craster's. The fact they were treasonous, back-stabbing murderers wasn't enough (and if we still weren't clear, there's the whole drinking from a skull thing), but we had to use multiple rapes as set decoration? I'm not a squeamish person by any means, and Game of Thrones trades plenty on shock and eww, but if Benioff and Weiss don't start dialing back the rapidly escalating atrocity levels, they risk losing the goodwill three seasons of mostly taut action and storytelling have earned them.
Stuff That Will Piss Off Book Purists: Jesus, where to begin? The seige of Meereen took a bit longer; Jaime and Bronn were never buddies and to my knowledge never spoke; likewise, Jaime shows a lot more affection to Brienne in the show; the idea Jon Snow would become Lord Commander wasn't presented this far in advance; Ghost was ranging far afield most of Book Three; Bran et al. never ran afoul of the mutineers, never ended up at Craster's, and certainly never told anybody who he was; and what was that White Walker birthing ground shit?