The said “gift” in this episode refers to a surprise for Dany, but the real gift is that the season is finally picking up the pace and getting really interesting.
After teasing us all season with promises of the Sand Snakes making their debut in the series, we finally see just how clever and lethal they can be. Ramsay is his usual sick-f*** self, and Sam demonstrates his sword skills – in more ways than one.
After much talk about getting the Wildlings to join Stannis’ army, Jon leaves the Night’s Watch to travel North and convince the Wildlings himself to fight with him. This leaves Sam in an especially vulnerable position, because as soon as Jon leaves, Aemon, Sam’s last remaining friend and ally, dies peacefully – a bit of a miracle on this show. With no one to protect him, some of the brothers go after Gilly. Sam, fortunately, is there to defend her. Unfortunately, he does a poor job of defending anyone. After beating him mercilessly, the two men go after Gilly again, until Ghost, Jon’s direwolf, arrives and scares them off. Later, Gilly makes Sam promise to take care of little Sam if anything happens, then has him break his no sexual relations vow. He deserved it, though.
Sansa, we discover, is in poor condition. Bruised and alone, we find her confined to her bedroom, where Ramsay rapes her every night and neglects her in the day. She manages to convince Theon to help her. She tells him about the candle/S.O.S. plan. However, when he goes to light it in the tower, he finds Ramsay there, as if he already knew what they were planning. He’s immersed in pure glee when he shows Sansa what her plans have done to the woman Brienne enlisted to tell Sansa about the candle – skinned alive and nailed upright for all to see. Sansa is sent back to her room, but not before Ramsay plants a kiss on his wife’s cheek to add further insult.
Stannis is having a few second thoughts about his plans to take over the north. Melisandre tells him everything will be okay and he is destined to be King and what not. She tells him her visions confirm this. However, he’s not on board when she tells him they will need blood, a sacrifice from his daughter. This he is unwilling to do.
Malko, the slavetrader who captured Jorah and Tyrion takes them to Slaver’s Bay where they have to fight in front of Queen Daenerys and her husband-to-be. Earlier she tells Daario it’s just a political thing. She knows being Queen isn’t easy, but that there are sacrifices to be made if she wants the throne. Sick of the carnage going on in front of her, despite her approval of reinstating the fighting pits, she gets up to leave, but stays long enough to see Jorah kill all the men in the pit. She tells the guards to take him away. Jorah tells her he brought a gift. Tyrion comes out and introduces himself to Dany.
In Dorne, Jaime tries to convince Myrcella to come back home. She doesn’t want to. She’s engaged to Trystane and won’t leave. Bronn and the Sand Snakes are locked up in cells across from each other. Tyene decides to play a wicked game with Bronn. She asks him if she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. He makes his playboy-ness known, saying he’s seen more beautiful women than her. She asks about his wound she inflicted with her dagger. He says he’s fine, curious about her concern. She starts undressing until he gets dizzy. She tells her daggers were laced with poison and the antidote is in her necklace pendant. She gives it to Bronn on the condition he tell her she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. The Sand Snakes are as lethal as they sound.
In Kings Landing, Littlefinger is upset over the state of his brothel, trashed by the Sparrows. Lady Olenna meets him there to talk about Cersei, which plays nicely into the next scene. Tommen is torn up about Margaery, who, he proclaims to his mother, he loves. She and her son have a very intimate, rare moment together. We’ve known all along why Cersei is the way she is, especially in matters concerning her family, her children, at least. After losing one son, she will do anything to protect her last two children, which means bringing Myrcella back and locking up a Queen who only married her youngest son for matters pertaining to power. She goes to visit Margaery who knows Cersei is the reason she’s locked up. The High Septon tells Cersei Margaery and her brother will have a trial to determine their fate. That’s when things go down hill for Cersei. The Septon has her locked up, we can only take a guess as to why: infidelity, lying, immorality, greed, conspiracy of any number of things. With the Sparrows taking over King’s Landing, there’s very few to take them down, especially when they can’t be bought or bribed.