…the pieces are moving. One thing Game of Thrones usually gets right is making its filler episodes feel satisfying. Take this episode: everything that happened was a preface to the coming weeks, laying the groundwork for what’s to come. And yet the information we were given felt like necessary clues to the bigger puzzle. Everyone’s story seems to be balancing on a fence, ready to fall at any second on either side. The question is, who will fall on the winning side?

Jon Snow knows his history

Jon and his Wildling crew are trekking over green fields. How excited must these people be, having seen nothing but white their whole lives? As a Canadian, I can tell you: very. Ygritte wants to know how much longer they’ll be trekking before reaching Castle Black, and Jon guesses about a week. Ygritte: “You think? You don’t know?” Girl, I think it’s been well established how much Jon Snow knows (nothing). The sourpuss Wildling Orell backs up that sentiment.

Later, Orell tries to woo Ygritte away from Jon, like he has a chance. Ygritte admits to loving Jon, which Orell doesn’t take well. “Cause he’s pretty, is that it?” He asks, “You like his pretty hair and his pretty eyes.” Well, yeah. He implies that Jon’s a traitor and then stomps off.

While hiking along, Ygritte spots a broken windmill and asks if it’s a palace. Jon looks at her like “girl are you serious right now.” After some serious flirtation—when did Jon get so saucy?—he ruins the mood by explaining exactly how hard her people are going to fail at attacking the south. They’ve tried six times before. Ygritte doesn’t care, though, as long as Jon goes down with her. “You’re mine,” she says, “as I am yours.” This scene written, of course, by the incomparable Bill Compton.

Distracted by the sexy

Talisa towels off Robb’s hair like he’s a toddler while everyone else complains about what an ass Walder Frey is. Catelyn says he’s not going to be happy about the marriage downgrade. Instead of the King in the North, he’s getting the king’s flop uncle. After getting it on, Robb puts on a robe while Talisa lounges around totally nude, because HBO. She writes a letter to her mother—or so she says; it’s written in Valyrian so we (and Robb) have no idea what it says. Hmmm. Talisa slyly tells him that her mother would like to meet her son-in-law and grandchild. Robb’s like “yeah, probably” and then ten minutes later is like “WHAT?” They get all schmoopy about the baby, with Robb telling her, “I love you. Do you hear me? I love you.” Good Lord. After I pick myself up off the floor, I start to get worried. Is there something sinister about this girl? I kind of hope there is. She’s so boring.

Sansa and Shae the Funny Whore

Sansa cries to Margaery about being a “stupid little girl.” Margaery reminds her that hey, at least she’s marrying the nice Lannister! But Sansa’s grossed out by their future sex life. “And Loras…” she says wistfully. Can someone just tell this poor girl that Loras is gay and put her out of her misery? Instead, Margaery cheerfully tells her that Tyrion is sure to know what he’s doing, since he’s crazy experienced in the lady department.

Meanwhile, Tyrion confides in Bronn, which is about as fruitful as it ever is. He then tries to smooth things over with Shae, but she’s mega pissed about this Sansa problem. Tyrion pulls the standard Lannister “my daddy wah wah wah” and Shae’s like “he doesn’t rule the world!” Uh, he kind of does, though. Tyrion doesn’t relent; he will marry Sansa, as his Lannister duty demands. He tells Shae they’ll make it work and that she’ll always be his baby, but mega pissed she remains.

The Great Gendry

Melisandre and her captive Gendry sail through the Blackwater wreckage, bonding over being lowborn. Melisandre points up at the Red Keep and tells Gendry that his father lived there. His father being King Robert Baratheon, of course. Gendry’s all “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me” but Melisandre insists that he’s got powerful king’s blood in him. The awesome Baratheon theme song plays quietly while Gendry marvels.

In a less magnificent setting, Arya gives the coldest of shoulders to the Brotherhood. She blows her nose at their stupid Lord of Light, and when Beric asks who her god is, she gets all dark: “Death.” Ah, so she’s hit the emo phase. When the men decide to go hunting Lannisters instead of heading towards Riverrun, Arya bolts right out of there but is quickly captured by The Hound. Oh no!

The agony and the ecstasy

Theon is taken down off his cross by two women, like an uncomfortable porn version of The Passion of the Christ. The women lay him down and wait about 2.5 seconds before getting naked and harassing him. So this is either a dehydration-induced hallucination or a new mode of torture. Crazy Eyes, who spends his time randomly blowing horns and then apologizing, walks in and confirms that it’s the latter. He takes out a knife and gets ready to cut off Theon’s most prized appendage. When will this end?!

Osha’s story

Bran and co. are still out there, camping away. Osha can’t hold in her poor manners anymore and demands to know what black magic lies Jojen is feeding Bran. But he’s just explaining “what’s happening to him, and what that means.” Puberty? Jojen says Bran needs to find the raven beyond the Wall, and Osha’s all “like hell he does!” She tells the boys the horror story of her fella, who went beyond the Wall and came back a White Walker.

Joffrey vs Tywin

Joffrey has summoned his grandfather Tywin to discuss why he’s been holding small council meetings in the Tower of the Hand, instead of its designated chamber. He wants to attend these meetings, you see, but he’s not here for climbing all those stairs. When Tywin advances towards him, Joffrey looks terrified and it is glorious. He changes the subject to Daenerys. He thinks they should maybe take care of the dragon issue, but Tywin’s just like “dragons schmagons!” Wait a minute, is Joffrey actually right?

Daenerys Unchained

Daenerys almost passes a city called Yunkai by without laying siege until she learns that they have at least 200,000 slaves. She holds a meeting with a Yunkai nobleman, who tries to bribe her into leaving his city alone. She threatens serious damage if Yunkai doesn’t free its slaves, but the nobleman is like “NEVER!” So her dragons get uppity and she swipes the gold he offers. He leaves in a huff. While I admire Daenerys’s abolitionism, she seems to be getting a little sidetracked from her main goal of reclaiming a throne on a different continent. Also, she might want to stop making enemies.

Brienne and Jaime and bears, oh my

Before heading home to King’s Landing, Jaime makes sure to say goodbye to Brienne. He promises her that he’ll release Arya and Sansa. Then they stand around awkwardly, staring at each other and not saying the things they want to say, while I yell “just kiss, you fools!” at my screen. But no such luck.

While out on the road, Jaime finds out that the Bolton men have no intention of returning Brienne safely to her father. He immediately puts his Lannister wiles to use, turning the party around to head back to Harrenhal. Once there, he takes off running to find Brienne and I flail excitedly. He finds her in a bear pit, where she is fighting a bear. A BEAR. Jaime jumps in and they help each other out of the pit. When they’re both safe, he informs Bolton’s worst henchman that he’s taking Brienne to King’s Landing with him, and that’s final.