Arya and Sansa Stark bookend “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” a potent but disturbing episode of “Game of Thrones.”

Episode MVPs

The Stark sisters never got along, but the show has been drawing a lot of parallels between them this year, even though they’re continents apart. Arya opened “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” by descending deeper into the House of Black and White, where she’s training to become a face-changing assassin. She was shown into a room with walls covered in human faces, and it was like she was walking into some horrific lost fairy tale.

The same could be said of Sansa, who was wed to the monster Ramsay Bolton in an ethereal sequence at Winterfell before consummating the marriage in a brutal scene destined to be debated for weeks to come. Both Arya and Sansa brushed up against real darkness this week. Arya seemed almost exhilarated, while Sansa just tried to keep her head above water. Her story provided the episode with its bleak, beating heart.

Elsewhere, the various plot threads churned on. Cersei won another battle in her ongoing war against the Tyrells, while Tyrion and Jorah continued their journey to Meereen. To lighten things up, the episode also included a swashbuckling action scene down in Dorne, where Jaime Lannister fought to protect his daughter from the hot-blooded Sand Snakes.

Our watch for next week begins

Stannis was a no-show this week, but continues to march on Winterfell. More and more, it’s looking like the season will come to a head with a battle between him and the Boltons. This would allow the producers to include characters like Sansa and Brienne in the climax, as they’re hanging around the margins of that conflict.

Also, there was a noticeable uptick in snowfall during the Winterfell scenes. If the show follows the books, snow will soon play a big role in the characters’ choices, as winter finally comes and makes its presence felt.

Sean Bean, Jon Snow, and major spoilers.

Of all the mysteries on "Game of Thrones," the most enduring is the one surrounding Jon Snow’s parentage. Sean Bean, who played Jon’s father Ned Stark back in Season 1, recently spoke about the topic to Vulture. "He’s not my child,” Bean said of Jon. “That's what I suspected all along." This season, the show has hinted that it’s building to some sort of revelation, so Bean might soon have his suspicious confirmed.

As the editor in chief for Winter Is Coming, Dan Selcke spends his time writing about the latest Game of Thrones news and preparing for the long night that will have no end. Read more of him at winteriscoming.net.