"Game of Thrones" Season 5, episode 7, "The Gift," had a tough task ahead of it before it even aired Sunday. The controversial rape scene that ended last week's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" has been discussed all week and viewers were going to scrutinize how the show handled the aftermath of Sansa Stark's rape. Fans may be a bit disappointed by "The Gift" as it mostly serves to set up the final three episodes of the season.
Warning: "Game of Thrones" Season 5 spoilers.
Status Quo For Sansa Stark
Fans seeking an immediate response to last week's rape will be disappointed by the lack of developments with Sansa's storyline. Sansa is covered in bruises and at the mercy of Ramsay Bolton. She pleads for Theon's help, and reminds him of his family and what he was before he was tortured by Ramsay. It appears as though the candle could be a signal for Brienne to rescue Sansa.
Ramsay's words of love and newlywed bliss ring hollow, and he's focused on the upcoming war with Stannis Baratheon. Sansa takes the opportunity to poke at Ramsay' insecurities and the possibility his claim as the Bolton heir could be taken away with the birth of a baby boy. It's a minor victory that's quickly taken away after Theon/Reek disappoints once again. This time by giving Ramsay the candle and revealing the plot to free Sansa. The elderly woman has been flayed, and Sansa is sent to her room, but she did pick up a possible weapon during her walk with Ramsay. Here's hoping a vengeful Sansa takes matters into her own hands and kills Ramsay.
Heading To Hardhome
The mission to save the remaining Wildlings at Hardhome has Tormund and Jon together as unlikely allies while Alliser Thorne takes over as interim Lord Commander while Jon is away. Of course, Alliser quickly reminds viewers of just how pleasant he can be by telling Jon he's making a terrible mistake.
Samwell, Gilly and Maester Aemon are a ray of light in "Game of Thrones" Season 5. Aemon is not well, but he takes comfort in hearing Gilly's baby before he dies. Maester Aemon was an interesting and underrated character that served as the heart of the Night's Watch. He will be missed for his compassion, but Alliser takes the time to remind Sam he lost another ally during Aemon's funeral.
Another scene involving the potential rape of a woman gets stopped before it gets too uncomfortable after "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken." Gilly is threatened by two members of the Night's Watch, but Samwell is there to stop them before they rape her. Sam is beaten, but resilient and continues to try and protect Gilly. Ghost arrives and the two men flee quickly at the sight of Jon's white direwolf. Gilly and Sam become lovers in a sweet scene. She's gentle with her bruised champion.
Ser Davos tries to give Stannis some advice, but he remains stubborn despite a storm that could be an even bigger adversary than House Bolton's army. Melisandre tries a different approach that involves sacrificing Stannis' daughter, Shireen. Aside from his claim to the Iron Throne, the only thing Stannis seems to care about is Shireen.
Jorah Returns To His Queen
Across the Narrow Sea, Jorah is sold at auction and Tyrion is quick to get himself sold to the same slave master. The fighting pits are open and, as luck has it, Daenerys is visiting the very arena where Jorah is being held as a fighting slave. The reunion does not go well, but Jorah's gift of Tyrion is an unexpected development.
We're pretty sure Daenerys will not kill every master that could fit inside Meereen's fighting pit, but you can't blame Daario for offering that piece of advice.
Oleanna Tyrell and the High Sparrow have an interesting war of words. The two can trade jokes while discussing a deadly serious topic. Oleanna Tyrell makes a good point while defending Margaery and Loras: Of all the injustices and crimes, Ser Loras' and Margaery's are pretty far down the list when there are murderers, rapists and thieves living freely in King's Landing.
Tommen is completely ineffectual and his anger is that of a spoiled boy. Cersei acts as a doting mother to her baby boy, but we all know she has ulterior motives. We all know Cersei will not try too hard to free Margaery. With all the lies and deception, Cersei is telling the truth when it comes to her children. She will do everything in her power to protect Tommen and Myrcella while keeping the Lannisters in power.
The Queen of Thorns receives a letter from Littlefinger that leads to a meeting between the two at his destroyed brothel. The two have quite the history -- including the murder of Joffrey -- and that leads to Oleanna getting a valuable bit of information that could the turn the tables on Cersei.
Cersei visits Margaery in her cell to revel in her victory. High Septon talks about vanity and keeping faith pure, and his words carry a deadly weight. Cersei's elation quickly dies away after the High Sparrow reveals Lancel has confessed to his affair with Cersei. She is locked up in her own cell as she awaits her fate. It looks like some walking will be in Cersei's future.
Down And Out In Dorne
Jaime and Myrcella share a very brief scene that's a bit heartbreaking. Jaime can never reveal he's Myrcella's father, and she treats him like an annoying uncle.
Bronn and the Sand Snakes are stuck in cells and the former sellsword is biding time by singing a tune. While Tyene is seducing him, the poison is running its course and Bronn's health quickly deteriorates. She's playing a game with Bronn and is nice enough to give him the antidote. "Game of Thrones" is in dire need of a new relationship and the evenly matched Bronn and Tyene would be a perfect couple.