The Wall: Davos and Melisandre
The creators, wisely, pick up right where the Season 5 finale left off. Ghost’s whines over Jon’s death draw Davos and Jon’s allies, few that they are, amounting to Eddison Tollet and three Night’s Watch nobodies. There’s no ambiguity; Thorne did this (he even left the Traitor sign there as a victory marker). The next day, he makes his case to his brothers in the dining hall (hilariously preaching loyalty), saying Jon dangerously endangered the Watch by letting the Wildlings in (conveniently forgetting he’s the one who also allowed it).
In the Inside the Episode, showrunner D.B. Weiss characterized it as a “clear power-grab” and honestly, it’s disappointing. The book version was far more ambiguous. As the preview for next week’s episode showed, the Boltons’ eyes are on Castle Black as a potential Sansa refuge. In the books, the actual inciting incident for Jon’s assassination was him declaring he would fight the Boltons rather than submit to blackmail, thus breaking the Watch’s vow of political neutrality, rather than pure hatred of Wildlings. The adaptation induced plot holes by trying to hit episode benchmarks, I think. It’s one of the signs I see as a book reader of the difficulty in translating Martin’s complex tomes to screen.
Davos, ever the thinker, tells Edd that the Wildlings could help them out of loyalty to Jon so he gets him to go to them. While he’s gone, Thorne issues an ultimatum to them all: abandon Jon’s body or be killed and Davos suggests the depressed Melisandre could be a secret weapon.
The episode’s ending gives a big reveal about the titular Red Woman: she’s a frail old lady underneath her magical necklace she wears, “several centuries old” according to showrunner David Benioff and George R.R. Martin. While interesting and thematic, seeing Melisandre’s before-and-after in front of the mirror, it was underwhelming as the episode’s ending. I though the Wildlings would give a Big Heroes! moment (Wun Wun kicks down the door of Castle Black in the trailers. I wanted that tonight). However, I got my desire for heroes filled elsewhere . . .