A lot of stuff is happening this season and although there weren't any moments in this episode that were quite as gasp-worthy as when Jaime's hand was cut off, or when Daenerys's dragons set fire to Astapor, or when Jon Snow gave Ygritte oral, this episode was still an amazing example of how well this show works when all the gears are grinding and the plot is moving forward and things are happening and everything, but you are well aware that all the things that are going on are all occurring in service to something else, something bigger. And you know—you just know—that when that bigger thing happens, it's going to leave you with your mouth gaping and your jaw on the floor.
Speaking of gaping mouths, we open up on Sam and Gilly and Gilly's baby, who, even sleeping, has that same perpetually wide-open mouth that she does. Kind of cute, I guess? Sure!
This scene is mainly expository as it reminds us that Sam is highborn. His father hates him, sure, but he comes from a "good home." Sam also shows off a pretty fancy knife that he picked up in his travels behind the Wall. Its blade is like onyx and it looks like it might be important. After all, you don't show a shiny, black knife in episode 6 if you're not going to use it by episode 10. The last bit of info that Sam imparts to Gilly, and to us, is that the Wall is just as impressive as legend has it. Sam tells her, "It's 700 feet high, all made of ice. On a warm day you can see it weeping." Scary! And anthropomorphic!
Ah, but the camera pulls away from the three of them and they are bathed in the one and only spot of light and warmth in the cold, dark woods. Maybe they'll stay safe. I would like them to stay safe. Wouldn't it be nice to think that they can? This show just batters the narrative naïveté right out of you.
Oh, and look! It's Bran and Hodor and Osha and Meera and Jojen Reed. And Rickon. Who can now talk. He points out that Jojen Reed is basically having a seizure in his sleep. He doesn't, like, do anything about it, because he is basically useless, but he does notice it.
Meera helps her brother and explains, "The visions take their toll."
Jojen wakes up finally and tells Bran, "I saw Jon Snow."
"He was at Castle Black?" asks Bran.
No, Jojen explains: "He was on the wrong side of the Wall. He was surrounded by enemies."
And, well, Jon is in fact surrounded by wildlings. But also Ygritte. Who is not an enemy. She got him some fancy spiked shoes to climb the Wall. She stole them from an ex-lover because, she explains, "He wasn't good to me the way you're good to me. He didn't do that thing you do with your tongue." And it is true that women will do lots of things for men who give good oral. Anyway, Ygritte knows that Jon isn't being quite upfront about having transferred loyalties. She doesn't care though, so long as he's loyal to her. She tells him, "Don't ever betray me."
"I won't," he assures her.
"Because I'll cut your pretty cock right off and wear it around my neck." Ahhhh!!! And now I'm loyal to Ygritte.