REVIEW: Game of Thrones S6E7 The Broken Man
GAME of Thrones exploded back to action with news twists, more action and the acceleration of one of the storylines we've watched unfold incredibly slowly.
Just a week after the lowest-rated episode of the sixth season (according to IMDB reviews), The Broken Man sought to re-establish this season as one of the series' best so far.
King Tommen's new alliance with the High Sparrow caused some diplomatic tension as the Lannisters and Tyrells feared for the end of their Houses, while Sansa Stark and Jon Snow worked to regather northern forces to retake Winterfell.
But it was Arya Stark who, after finally deciding to leave her training with the Faceless Men, had a bloody run-in with her former trainer/nemesis Waif.
After escaping via a river she is last seen walking the streets wet and dazed by her injuries.
But if the preview footage from next week's episode is anything to go by, you can't keep a Stark girl down.
A young woman who looks like Arya is seen jumping over a busy Bravos street.
Here are three more key things we took away from today's episode The Broken Man:
Look who's decided to come barking back
The delay of the opening credits was the least surprising part of The Broken Man's opening.
Ian McShane made his debut as one of this season's absentees, another whose fate was left unresolved, made his return.
We last saw the Hound left for dead after a battle with Brienne, and Arya left without putting Sandor Clegane out of his misery.
He survived, and is now working with Ian McShane's Septon Ray.
McShane adds so much to Game of Thrones, and now he is working with The Hound makes for a much more exciting ride ahead.
Septon Ray's appeal to his followers was about how it was never too late to atone for their wrongdoings. Three riders, who look like the Brotherhood Without Banners, appeared, warned for the group to be careful, and look to be making their way back soon.
Whether or not they are good or bad has yet to be revealed, but the Hound could be forced back into action far sooner than expected.
Septon Ray and his followers were butchered in a field, with Ray left hanging. The final scene saw the Hound pick up an axe, presumably to avenge the Septon's death.
Olenna and Margaery Tyrell go toe to toe, but what's the overall plan?
Margaery has performed a remarkable turn-around in the last few weeks.
She was held by the High Sparrow as a prisoner until she repented for her sins, but last week Margaery appeared to have been broken.
She and King Tommen stood side-by-side alongside the High Sparrow, but the young Queen appears to be playing the game.
Accompanied by Septa Unella, Margaery met with her grandmother in an effort to make her "atone for her sins" on the High Sparrow's request.
The two went toe-to-toe for some time, but a drawing of a flower proved to Olenna that it is part of a ruse. What the actual plan is has not be revealed, but Olenna's later meeting with Cersei has shown their alliance is weak.
It is, much like most alliances on Game of Thrones, a means to an end, but to what end?
Jaime Lannister and the returning Bronn (the sellsword turned anointed knight turned sellsword?) are off to meet Brynden "Blackfish" Tully.
The Blackfish is certainly one of the toughest, most seasoned rulers in Westeros. He wasn't intimidated by the Freys, who threatened to kill a captive Edmure Tully ("go ahead," he said. They didn't.), and told Jaime in no uncertain terms that they'd be fine.
He died for us. If we're not willing to do the same for him, we're cowards
That is certainly one way to convince your wildling army to back Jon Snow.
The former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch was literally killed for defending the wildlings, and it is that sacrifice that helped Snow acquire the wildlings' support.
Snow is working with Sansa Stark, who has found a new purpose since their reunion at Castle Black.
After the horrors to which she was subjected, Sansa wants revenge on Ramsay Bolton and the traditional Stark home of Winterfell.
After he gained the wildlings' support, Sansa and Snow visited House Mormont, where they were met by a tough-talking Lady Lyanna Mormont.
Lyanna is amazing.
She looks about 12-years-old but has the mouth of a well-seasoned diplomat used to jousting with Kings, Queens and other ruling parties.
She shot down Sansa by saying she was a "Lannister or Bolton" due to her forced marriages, and wasn't persuaded to add her forces to Snow and Stark's armies until Davos stepped in.
To say Snow was shocked at her supply of only 62 fighters is an understatement but beggars can't exactly be choosers.
The next stop, House Glover, didn't receive Snow too well due to his wildling army but it was Sansa's turn to step up this time. It didn't work out too well this time as House Glover shut her down based on Robb Stark's poor run.
Their attempts seem hopeless, and we are no closer to learning how many Houses will pledge their allegiance to the former Lord Commander.