The bulk of this episode revolves around the recently de-virginized Jon Snow and his now-girlfriend (I guess?) Ygritte. They're just as flirty as always, with her throwing insults at him just to see if they stick. It's pretty cute, in that way where you know this temporary happiness has to be some sort of rouse. He's still faithful to his black brothers, after all, and Ygritte knows it. As their fraction of the Wildlings plan to mount and cross the Wall, his true purposes will soon be known, and the pressure is weighing hard on him. But Ygrtite urges him to be faithful to her - now that they've slept together, he has legitimate stakes in something, at long last.
And they do cross the Wall, after a super close call (a shaft of ice falls and Orell almost cuts Jon and Ygritte loose because they're dragging down their attached rope - but Jon saves the day, duh). Once they're finally up there, on top of the world, they look out - first at the land they've just left, and then over at Westeros - and then share a very romantic and passionate kiss while the sun sets around them. In any other show, this would be sweeping and hopeful. But on "Game of Thrones," it leaves the bitter taste of "what now?"
Further south, Robb finally meets up with the Freys, who are upset that he broke his marriage vow to one of their own, but are willing to participate so long as somebody marries the sister they've selected. They want it to be Robb's uncle Edmure, who openly protests. He's pissed that he has to subject himself to a loveless marriage so that Robb can be victorious, but Robb reminds him that he has no choice - if someone doesn't marry this girl, they're all doomed. It's ironic, to say the least, that Robb is preaching about duty vs. love when he's the one who got them into this pickle in the first place. The shadow of Talisa lays heavy over their deliberation. Edmure eventually concedes, but still isn't happy about it. Lady Catelyn sits on silently, as is typical this season (and not to my liking - Catelyn is a favorite of mine and her lessened role drives me a little bonkers).
Back in King's Landing, some pretty serious business is going down. Tywin and Olenna have a FANTASTIC deliberation about Loras and Cersei's hypothetical nupituals. Olenna isn't down with the pairing. Tywin reminds her that rumors of Loras's homosexuality have tainted his image and that of his family. But Olenna reminds Tywin that the same could be said of Cersei and Jaime's relationship. After some apt bickering (seriously, Charles Dance and Diana Rigg OWN these roles and it's such a pleasure to watch), they finally agree.
Sansa and Loras have a touching scene by some pretty fountain, daydreaming about their upcoming wedding. Loras is excited for the music and dancing and outfits... and the bride, of course. Sansa is pleased that she's finally getting exactly what she wants: a handsome husband of high birth, a family that appreciates her, a place to call home. But, alas, those dreams are moot, for Cersei and Tyrion watch this meeting from a balcony and remind us all that the waves are about to come crashing down. "I wonder which of the four of us is getting the worst deal?" Tyrion wonders aloud. Cersei reminds him that they're all pawns in their father's master plan. It's a sad day when you feel bad for Cersei, but I finally do. I feel way worse for Sansa and Shae, however, especially after Tyrion goes to deliver the bad news to the both of them. "This is awkward," he says, before the scene cuts away. We don't see the girls' reactions until later, when they stand on the dock and look out at the ships. Sansa is weeping, Shae looks out, dead-eyed. Remember that thing about happy endings basically not existing here? Yeah...
The episode closes with a chilling monologue from Littlefinger, who's chatting with Varys about his various misdeeds. Varys reminds him that everything he does is for the good of the realm, but Littlefinger isn't buying it. He goes on and on about how chaos breeds true leaders (or whatever) - his last big talk before he leaves King's Landing. As he speaks, we see that he turned Ros over to Joffrey, who shot her to death with his crossbow. It's a sick moment in a show full of sick moments, but I worry that it might forever taint the good graces the show has built up this season. Ros doesn't exist in the books, and therefore her death doesn't exist in the books, so adding such a despicable scene just to shock audiences seems in bad taste. Let's hope Ros's death serves more of a purpose going forward.