We, like most of the Thrones obsessed, predicted the Hound's return. Based on setup in both the show and the books, fans postulated that the Hound survived his infected wounds and would bounce back for a trial-by-combat fight sequence dubbed "Cleganebowl" that would pit Joffrey's former bodyguard against Cersei's champion, Gregor Clegane, a.k.a. the Mountain, a.k.a. his brother. The first part is paid off: the Hound is alive. And by the end of "The Broken Man," he's certainly angry and looking for revenge.
After a run-in with the Brotherhood Without Banners, an outlaw group screwing with anyone camped out in the Riverlands, Sandor's perfect life is fractured beyond repair. "There's a reason you're still here," Ray tells Sandor during a powwow. "The gods aren't done with you yet." Certainly not. Discovering his new mentor's neck in a noose, Sandor picks up an axe and, as Weiss put it the post-show annotations, goes "full throttle back into what he is: a killer."
But will the Hound actually compete in Cleganebowl?
Game of Thrones may have too much on its mind for something so brutish and so pat. There'll be violence, no doubt; expect a few bannerless-bro heads to fly in the next episode. But making it all the way back to King's Landing for trial by combat seems less plausible. After the Hound exacts his revenge on the Brotherhood, he'll be close to Jaime's neck of the woods, a location where, as we learned in the teaser for next week's episode, Brienne also winds up. Reunion! But unlike the Friends reunion, Sandor's would undoubtedly involve more swordplay. Clearly, the defeat ("he was a woman," Sandor reminds Ray) still stings.
But this is the new Hound! He has seen the light, and there's a chance everyone hugs it out and joins forces against the Freys, a rare moment of unification and understanding. Or maybe our scarfaced old friend goes completely rogue, reconnecting with an on-the-run Arya to give us the road-movie duo we longed. We can dream.