-- Bloody showdowns and tense confrontations dominated Sunday night's episode of "Game of Thrones." But perhaps most important, we found out Arya's fate after her brutal stabbing in last week's episode. Plus, we got that long-awaited reunion between Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. Here's what went down:
Remember those nasty stab wounds Arya suffered last week at the hands of the Waif? Well, you can all breathe a sigh of relief, because Arya not only survives her trauma but ends the episode stronger than ever.
The Lady Crane, the actress whose life Arya spared in an earlier episode, finds Arya bleeding and tends to her wounds. But her rest and recovery are short-lived. The Waif catches up with her, kills Lady Crane and chases Arya through the streets of Braavos. Just when you think it is all over for Arya, she springs her trap and puts her time as a blind sword fighter to good use against the Waif.
In the last few moments of the episode, with the Waif the latest addition to the Hall of Faces, Arya confronts Jaqen H'ghar, who tells her, "Finally, a girl is no one" — earning a spot among the Faceless Men. "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I'm going home," she replies.
In the Woods
After last week's massacre of the innocent villagers by men from the outlaw Brotherhood Without Banners, the Hound sets off in search of the men to get his vengeance. He butchers four of them with an ax and later finds his old foe Beric Dondarrion and other Brotherhood members about to hang the remaining three for the unsanctioned slaughter. Beric invites the Hound to join the Brotherhood — winter is coming — but he responds that he just wants something to eat.
Varys heads out on a mission to bring ships and allies back to Meereen. Tyrion continues his own very important mission of trying to get Grey Worm and Missandei to loosen up. Just as the superserious former slaves began drinking wine and telling jokes, the city comes under fire by the Masters, seeking to reclaim what Daenerys has taken from them.
But their siege may not be as successful as they anticipated, because Daenerys finally returns from her time with the Dothraki — dragon in tow.
Cersei defies orders from the High Septon and, given a choice between capitulation and violence, chooses the latter. A Sparrow — zealously or foolishly — sets upon her massive armored undead bodyguard, the Mountain, who tears off the Sparrow's head. The other Sparrows stand down.
Later, King Tommen announces the time and place of Cersei and Loras Tyrell's trials, as well as the prohibition of trial by combat, so it looks as if Cersei won't be having the Mountain defend her name. Meanwhile, Qyburn, the former maester of the Citadel, tells Cersei he has found information on the undisclosed rumor she had him investigate, so she must have a backup plan already in the works.
Jaime and his old pal Brienne reunite at Riverrun, but they are in town for very different purposes. Jaime intends to take Riverrun from Brynden "the Blackfish" Tully and reclaim it for the Freys, while Brienne is there to persuade the Tully men to join Sansa in the fight to reclaim Winterfell.
In the end, Jaime comes out on top. He makes a deal with the Blackfish's nephew — and the true lord of Riverrun — Edmure Tully, who orders the Tully men to surrender the castle and put the Blackfish in irons. A stubborn man to the end, the Blackfish refuses to go quietly and dies fighting.
Brienne leaves Riverrun, having failed Sansa. Jaime and Brienne wave goodbye from a distance as Podrick rows her away. And for the record, Jaime let her keep his sword — 'cause that's what friends are for.