Game of Thrones, Season 7 Episode 5 Review
In the aftermath of one of the coolest endings of any episode of any show fucking EVER, Eastwatch held it’s own. It lacked the flashiness of a dragon incinerating an entire army, obviously, but was jam-packed with reunions, conflict resolution, and more hardheadedness from the big hitters. Spoilers below, you know the drill.
Bronn and Jaime emerge from the surface of the lake they nearly died in during the Lannister’s one-sided battle with Daenerys and the Dothraki. Bronn very bluntly tells Jaime he’s fucked, and Jaime’s not hard-pressed to argue. On the other side of the bank, the remaining Lannister men are left to listen to Daenerys speak. She informs them that she “is not Cersei”, and offers them a very simple proposition: bend the knee, and live. A few oblige immediately, and Drogon’s menacing presence persuades a majority of the rest. Standing proudly are Randyll and Dickon Tarly (I couldn’t get a clear shot of Noah Syndergaard in this one, by the way). Sourpuss tells Daenerys that he “already has a queen”, which, as Tyrion points out, wasn’t always the case. Tyrion’s desperate to make Daenerys see the side of mercy, even suggesting she send the Tarly’s to the Wall (Randyll shuns that idea pretty quickly, though). Daenerys maintains she gave them a choice, they made it, and that’s the end of it. Randyll gives his son a pitiful look that plainly says “goddammit, Sam now has claim to the head of the household”, right before both are burnt to a crisp.
Jaime returns to King’s Landing to tell Cersei about how fucked they are, and that Olenna killed Joffrey. Cersei’s, of course, unconcerned about losing the war. She’s thoroughly convinced that the soon-to-be hired sellswords will be sufficient against the Dothraki. On the topic of her dead son, Cersei lambasts Jaime for his merciful way of killing Olenna. She feels betrayed by her brother/lover.
Daenerys returns to Dragonstone, and we got to see a peak into Jon’s Targaryan lineage when Drogon lets him get close and pet him. Dany’s impressed by Jon. She begins to ask about Davos’ faux pas about his men stabbing him, but is interrupted by a few Dothraki bringing her “an old friend”, Jorah! After all the shit Jorah’s been through, it was actually really nice seeing him meet back up with his Khaleesi. Side note, it’s hilarious to me that the “savage” Dothraki were super chill about a stranger coming up and saying “oh hey, bring me to your queen, please. We go way back,” when the two idiots guarding Winterfell gave Arya a bunch of shit comparatively.
In Winterfell, Bran has a disturbing image through the lens of ravens flying overhead a sea of White Walkers. He immediately has a raven sent to the Citadel. Once received, Sam overhears the Maesters discussing the letter and dismissing it as insignificant. Sam interjects, swearing the legitimacy of the White Walkers, as well as Bran’s Sight abilities. This, of course, is also dismissed as insignificant. The Maesters are the “All Lives Matter” faction of the show. They stay as milquetoast as possible on crucial matters when their voice would actually carry a lot of weight around the Seven Kingdoms. Sam knows this and it infuriates him, so much that he actually snaps at Gilly (who drops a BOMB of a revelation when she reads about Rheagar Targaryan’s marriage annulment, and secret second marriage in Dorne, aka JON’S FUCKING LINEAGE, SAM). Later in the episode he packs his shit, a few books and Gilly, and leaves the Citadel in the middle of the night.
Another raven containing Bran’s vision was sent to Jon, and received by Varys. He discusses first with Tyrion, mostly about Daenerys’ cold approach to Randyll and Dickon’s refusal of compliance. Both agree that Daenerys is not her father, and she will not be, “with the right council”. It was another strong scene from Varys, who’s role has expanded from snarky banter-mate with Tyrion to legitimate advisor.
Jon’s panics after reading Bran’s letter, and hastily says he’s going home to fight the Dead. Daenerys reminds him that he doesn’t have the numbers, and he shoots back that she’s more than welcome to lend help. After working with each other for a while now, Daenerys is not explicitly opposed to the idea, but she can’t simply abandon Dragonstone after a big win and let Cersei regain her footing. Tyrion’s clever, albeit very, very difficult resolution is to “bring the Dead to Cersei”. He suggests literally bringing a White Walker/Wight to show her the threat. Everyone is skeptical, of course, as Cersei wants all of her enemies to be dead immediately, making holding council with her nearly impossible. Davos says he’d be able to smuggle Tyrion in to meet with Jaime, the only person Cersei listens to, and the only Lannister left who doesn’t want to kill him. Jon says he’ll head to Eastwatch to lead a party of men to find a Walker, and Jorah will join him to “serve his queen”.
There’s a looooooot going on in this scene, and it was the best one of the episode. Jon prioritizes his best interests, and the interests of the Realm, really. He tells Daenerys he “doesn’t need her permission”, which is bold, and respected by the Queen. Jorah’s offer of assistance was very predictable, so was Davos’. Tyrion’s willingness to risk his life by going back to the place he fled years ago illustrates his commitment to the plan. They’re all working together for Daenerys’ cause, which is why she’s as accepting as she is about the entire ordeal.
In King’s Landing, Davos enlists a familiar face: GENDRY. He’s been working right under the Lannisters’ noses in a smith shop. He doesn’t need any convincing about leaving, he’s more than ready to fight against the people that tried to kill him. With the help of Bronn (I’m very annoyed that we didn’t get to see Bronn and Tyrion meet up, by the way), Jaime is brought to the dungeons to meet his estranged brother. It’s not the tender exchange you would have expected; Jaime’s pissed at him for killing their dad. Tyrion reacts frustratingly, but there’s much more sadness in his tone than anger. He convinces Jaime to tell Cersei she should meet with Daenerys. Tyrion rows away with Gendry and Davos, after being recognized by two goldcloaks and sequentially being saved by Gendry’s swift hammer swings. They meet up with Jon and head to Eastwatch.
When Jaime does, Cersei shockingly agrees. She believes that fighting their enemies like their late father used to fight them is the key to winning the war, which is now paramount because, holy shit, she’s pregnant with Jaime’s kid. It’s grossly intended to be a sweet moment for them, but Jaime’s role in this season is becoming increasingly frustrating. He’s getting punked in EVERY episode; by Cersei, by Euron, by Daenerys, even Bronn. He’s gonna get himself killed siding with his sister, and he’s doing it almost willingly. Jaime’s always been one of the most complex characters in the show, it’s a shame that his arc is trending back downward.
Back at Winterfell, the men of the North are, once again, bitching to Sansa about Jon being gone, which she’s seemingly just fine with. Arya’s quick to notice, and confronts her sister. Sansa plays the politician, saying that it’s better to keep everyone calm and that it’s important to have allies. Arya takes that as “I need these people to like me when Jon doesn’t come back”, and grills her for it. She reminds her sister that she liked nice things as a child because it “made her feel superior”, and it’s apparent that she thinks that now by sleeping in their parents’ chambers. Sansa snapped back about “work to do”, and storms off. She’s been doing a lot of storming off this season.
Littlefinger seizes the opportunity to meddle. He purposely makes himself seen by Arya planting a letter in Sansa’s room. Arya of course investigates, and after some digging she finds the very old piece of parchment that Cersei coerced Sansa to scribble on several years ago to Robb. In the letter, she tells her brother to swear allegiance to Joffrey to spare his life, just like her father is about to do. Which, yeah. We know how that went. Arya is now further convinced that her sister is a conniving bitch in cahoots with Cersei to plot against her own family. One of two things will come from that: Arya will confront Sansa and get herself executed because all the Northerners have hard-ons for Sansa and want her to be their queen. OR, which would be the preferred option; Bran steps in like “waaaaait just a second bitch” and explains the situation, revealing Littlefinger’s intentions and maybe hopefully Arya gets to gut him. It’s enthralling stuff, guys. But seriously, fuck the North. The next place Jon goes better be his last place. Dude leaves for a few minutes and suddenly everything goes to shit.
Jon, Jorah, Davos and Gendry arrive at Eastwatch to discuss their plan with Tormund, who’s not thrilled about it. He does inform Jon of three “prisoners” who also wish to go North of the Wall, and we get another sick reunion: The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr. Jon recognizes the Hound from when the Lannisters visited Winterfell years ago, and knows him as the cruel bodyguard he once was. Gendry recognizes Beric Dondarrion as one of the men who tried to burn him alive at the behest of Stannis and Melisandre. Jorah recognizes Thoros from somewhere or other, and Thoros reveals Jorah’s last name ‘Mormont’, infuriating Tormund in regards to Jorah’s fathers’ relentless pursuit of the extermination of the Wildlings. It’s a fucking party. Jon alleviates the hostilities, saying that they’re all on the same side because their side is the one still breathing. And thus, the Suicide Squad sequel is born.