WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones Season 8 episode "The Last of the Starks," which premiered Sunday on HBO.
The main goal of Game of Thrones Season 8 is to finally provide a clear-cut winner for the Iron Throne of Westeros. While Daenerys Targaryen is doing everything and anything within her power to rule, Jon Snow's hesitant to stake his own claim as Aegon Targaryen, Sansa Stark's angling to make a surprise play of her own for the North and Cersei Lannister's partnering with Euron Greyjoy to maintain King's Landing. But there are a couple other impending battles of a more personal nature.
And it's this very notion which actually gives two of the series' most intriguing characters -- Arya Stark and Sandor Clegane (the Hound) -- a mission of their own. In so doing, this odd couple sets off on a journey that, while it may well factor into who sits on the throne, shapes them as the show's own version of the Suicide Squad.
Following the victory over the Night King, Winterfell is in a celebratory mood, honoring the fallen while enjoying the spoils of war. The Hound, however, in an exchange with Sansa, is concerned with the only thing that'll make him happy. And, no, it's not sleeping with maidens or getting drunk with Tormund; he's obsessed with killing his brother, the Mountain, for burning him in their youth. Sansa understands his attitude, as she too can't stop thinking about Cersei's downfall, and at this point, with everyone in drunken stupor, it becomes clear the Hound doesn't belong with them anymore.
While all this is happening, Arya's training with her bow and arrow. Not even Gendry's impromptu proposal is enough to throw her off, as she's simply laser-focused on what comes next for the alliance. Sadly, the next morning, Arya finds out Dany's rushing them into war at King's Landing, only to be left disappointed when Jon indicates they pledged fealty to Dany and will be following her ill-advised orders as Queen of the North.
It comes to a head when she and Sansa confront Jon about his biased and very stupid decision, reminding him that, while he loves the Mother of Dragons, they're family. Upon finding out Jon's true identity, though, it becomes obvious Arya no longer has confidence in him. Now, we don't see the siblings' reactions when Bran spills the secret, but it becomes all too obvious when Arya leaves Winterfell on horseback later on.
Whether or not Jon's army, dragons included, is strong enough to take down the walls of the Red Keep is not really a concern for her. Being the strategist she is, she senses an opportunity, and the brawl to come will certainly be enough of a distraction for her to slip inside, disguise herself and kill Cersei. Either way, she just doesn't trust Jon anymore and figures he'll be too wrapped up with Dany to properly carry out the mission, and we all know Arya's main goal in life is to slit Cersei's throat and avenge her family.
But as she's leaving, she meets the Hound, who's doing the same. Both rekindle their "friendship" through one key denominator -- they tell each other they don't expect to make it back from this quest alive. Revenge is the ultimate thing they've wanted all along in the show, and clearly they think stealth mode is the best way to achieve this while everyone's consumed by the "last war."
Now, they may not have bombs placed in their heads, ready to go off if some mysterious Amanda Waller-esque handler isn't pleased with their services, but the admission this is going to be a suicide mission is more than enough to paint Game of Thrones' most dynamic duo as a two-person squad ready to bring down an entire empire. As they head off, they even joke about how Arya will leave the Hound to die if he gets injured on their trip -- an homage to their last fight -- and it's all too apparent, despite an uneasy past and not really liking each other, they're the heroes, or antiheroes, who might well end up saving the Seven Kingdoms from continued tyranny.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, Game of Thrones stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.