Despite the title of this episode, nothing is ever black and white in the land of Game of Thrones.
Fans of the books are well aware of this and know that no character goes unchallenged, no matter how powerful or beloved they seem.
Even as the show deviates from George R. R. Martin’s beloved tomes, it’s clear the road remains rocky for all of our protagonists.
It’s a lesson Daenerys Targaryen learns the hard way in this episode.
Although she was down and out when we first met her in season one – at the mercy of her brother and then the Dothraki – the mother of dragons has since come a long way.
Her road to Meereen has been relatively smooth after acquiring three dragons, an army of Unsullied, the Second Sons, a lady in waiting, two trusted military advisors and an entire city.
But all good things must come to an end – a lesson that epitomises the theme of this episode. But more on that later.
We begin as Arya Stark reaches her destination of Braavos in far better shape than Tyrion was when he arrived in Pentos.
Let’s first of all make the point that Arya must be pretty pleased she made friends with that slightly unusual guy in King’s Landing all the way back in season two.
The mysterious Jaqen H’ghar, his iron coin and his catchphrase “Valar morghulis” have gotten her out of some pretty sticky situations.
And here she is again, milking it for all its worth.
“Here” is the House of Black and White, a looming building on the Braavosi waterfront where the captain of the ship she arrived on tells her she will find what she seeks.
Or not. The black and white doors are slammed in little Arya’s face and she’s left to ponder her death list on the steps.
“Cersei, Walder Fray, The Mountain, Meryn Trant,” she chants. You will recall this list previously included Tywin Lannister and Joffrey Baratheon but, thankfully, Tyrion Lannister and Olenna Tyrell took care of that for her.
But Arya doesn’t have to wait long before Jaqen H’ghar – or a version of him – drops his “playing hard to get” act and rescues her from homelessness and pigeon-hunting on the Braavos streets.
We even get a nifty Mission Impossible unmasking moment just before Jaqen ushers Arya inside the monochromatic doors, but not before telling her a girl must become “no one”.
Could Arya be about to ditch her loaded surname? Ned will be rolling in his grave.
Another female character having a right time of it is Brienne of Tarth.
Despite being pretty much the only trustworthy person in Westeros, no one bar Podrick seems to take her seriously. Let’s just call it Jon Snow Syndrome.
Having already had her services rejected by Arya Stark, Brienne sees Sansa Stark in an ale house and takes her chance.
Brienne tells Sansa she was her mother’s “sworn sword”, promising Catelynn she would protect her daughters after her death.
Unfortunately, Lord Petyr Baelish is not going to give up his prized possession that easily and is quick to remind Sansa of all of Brienne’s failings as a human being.
Sansa – whose new brunette hair has apparently imbued her with a cool sense of command – not-so-politely rejects Brienne’s offer, leading to an intense on-horse sword fight.
Brienne leaves empty-handed but not undeterred. Plus, her sword skills are pretty impressive. Littlefinger better watch his … little finger?
Over at the Iron Moan – sorry, Throne – Cersei is moaning again. The lovely citizens of Dorne have sent her a cryptic threat in the form of her beloved daughter Myrcella’s necklace woven around a red viper statuette.
Myrcella, as you will recall, is living the high life in the Spain-esque city of Dorne despite her lovely mum being partly responsible for Prince Oberyn’s death.
It seems the citizens of Dorne have finally cottoned onto this notion and are ready to seek sweet vengeance.
You will also recall, however, Prince Oberyn’s promise to Cersei that Dornishmen “don’t hurt little girls”, a promise his brother Prince Doran is keen to uphold even in the face of Ellaria Sand’s rage.
Regardless, Cersei urges poor beleaguered Jamie (they guy is MISSING A HAND, give him a break) to do something to save “their daughter”.
Anyone else feel the overwhelming urge to dry retch when she puts it like that? We don’t need the reminder, Cersei.
So, off obedient Jamie trots to House Stokeworth, where he lures Bron (our favourite!) away from his betrothed with the promise of better looking women and more money.
Bron doesn’t take much convincing, and the two of them set off for Dorne.
Left behind with no one to answer to, Cersei revamps her Small Council much to their disdain. She also sends her henchmen out to hunt for Tyrion.
Basically, if you’re a dude below a metre in height in the Seven Kingdoms, get out of there. ASAP.
Finally, something good happens at the Wall. After Jon Snow’s display of mercy towards Mance Rayder at the end of last episode, Stannis is not exactly pleased with our curly-haired hero.
He extends the olive branch, however, by encouraging Jon to kneel before him, renounce his Night’s Watch vows and claim his rightful title as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell.
Jon struggles to contain the lust in his eyes.
Of course, however, he must do the honourable, boring thing and turn down Stannis’ offer in favour of his ruddy vows. This is getting a little bit old.
Samwell Tarly is over it too, apparently, because he speaks up and nominates Jon to be the new Lord Commander – a position Ser Alliser Thorne has basically got in the bag.
But wait! Sam’s impressive speech about how Jon is really the true leader of this miserly group seems convincing enough, because the men tie in the vote and good old maester Aemon casts his token on Jon’s pile.
Hurrah! Finally, Jon gets some recognition.
Why do we get the feeling this won’t last long?
While one man triumphs, a queen in a far flung locale loses her footing.
After Daario and Grey Worm track down the man who killed an Unsullied in the whore house (their words, not ours), they bring the guilty Son of the Harpy to their queen’s feet.
Daenerys is not quite sure what to do with her captive, so locks him up so he can face a fair trial.
Unfortunately, loose lips sink ships and the Harpy’s rude comments about Daenerys prompts one of her loyal followers – a former Meereenese slave named Mossador – to kill him.
For reasons unclear to most sane viewers, Dany decides to kill Mossador for his crime in front of a sea of her biggest fans.
As Daario beheads the eminently likeable Mossador, the cries of “Mhysa” (mother) turn to hisses. It’s wildly unsettling.
Dany feels the same because she gets out of there quick smart under a really cool super-shield created by her trusty Unsullied.
It gets worse. Left alone in her bedchamber to reflect, Dany hears a noise outside and goes to her balcony to find her precious dragon, Drogon, has returned.
She’s pretty chuffed, but Drogon couldn’t care less. He sits there and bares his teeth a bit before flying off from his mother without a second glance.
The heartbreak on Dany’s face is palpable – her most powerful ally is gone, her people no longer trust her and she’s beginning to doubt her own decision making.
A few more false steps and she could be teetering on the brink of becoming her father, the mad king.
• Scar-faced Shireen his giving Gilly some reading lessons. Shireen’s mum, Lady Selyse, isn’t too pleased about this, warning her daughter against the dangers of Wildling folk. Pfft, we’re pretty sure little Shireen’s parents are 10 times worse than anyone else she will encounter at Castle Black.
• Ellaria Sand, loyal paramour to the late Oberyn Martell, is pretty peeved her bedroom buddy had his head smooshed in and wants to take it out on Myrcella. Meawhile, Myrcella is oblivious to the bloodlust directed her way and is casually flirting her way through Dorne dressed like a Disney princess. Way to lay low, Myrcy.