Overall, Eastwatch was all about fan service.
I laughed and yelled and thoroughly enjoyed the episode as events unfolded. But afterwards, as I digested the inplications of each action, I felt like this was a necessary, but terrible, set-up episode, full of ridiculous movie tropes. Here are the show runners’ explanation for the worst offenses:
B&W on the Jamie rescue: We’re going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.
Just like Austin Powers, every James Bond movie has a scene where the villain reveals his plan, so when 007 escapes he can change the outcome of the story. Once Olenna revealed that she killed Joffrey, The Man with the Golden Hand (how’s that for some Ian Fleming symbolism) has to tell Cersei.
This scene was so disappointing.
Jamie was sinking about 50 feet in his armor, while Bronn was sinking as if he was unconscious at the end of episode 4. Open episode 5 and Bronn (the Westerosi Olympic swimming champion according to my son) has somehow saved Jamie, while ending up in some isolated area far from the dragon and the Dothraki. From there, without horses, and in danger of being killed by the Dothraki hordes that are probably pillaging every village in the region because Daenerys burned the entire food train (the loot already passed through the gates of King’s Landing) they easily return to King’s Landing so he can deliver his information.
B&W on the BBQ scene: Every gangster movie requires killing off all the witnesses.
There is no way Randyll Tarly would have allowed his most precious family heirloom, Heartsbane, to go missing without sending his men to kill his son and recover the sword. As Sam leaves the Citadel, he says “I’m tired of reading about the exploits of better men.” With Heartsbane, he can become that man, now that this plot hole has been resolved.
B&W on Davos finding Gendry: Who doesn’t love a buddy movie?
This decision allows fans to revel in Gendry (a) being ready for the call after fans have been making jokes about him still rowing since the end of season three, (b) having a super bad ass weapon just like the father he never knew, (c) showing that he can use it by caving in the heads of two Lannister guards, (d) immediately revealing his identity so he and Jon can immediately form a bond, and (e) go off on the stupidest and most ill-prepared mission imaginable, because that’s what buddies do.
B&W on the Gilly reading scene: Got to give the people, give the people what they want (but only in super small quanities to tease the hell out of the fans).
As we heard Gilly ask “what does annulment mean?” millions of fans (including me) sat up and started shouting, only to slump back down in disappointment. This was such a false tease, because even if Gilly had finished the paragraph, Sam would not know that this refers to Jon Snow. The only purpose was to make fans crazy with the idea that there exists some documentation that could eventually prove Jon is not a bastard, but the true Targaryen heir. Gilly probably left that book in their quarters, so no one will ever look at that page.
My guess is that B&W will find a reason for the Citadel to be destroyed, as the Maesters represent the intellectual cock block that keeps Westeros in the dark ages and in danger of being overwhelmed by the Long Night. Maybe the Night King and the Army of the Dead make it to Old Town and the only thing to use as weapons against them are burning books and scrolls.
B&W on the jail scene in Eastwatch: Road trip!!!!!!
It worked for the Dirty Dozen. It worked for Tarantino. How about the GoT version, “Glorious Bastards?” What could go wrong when you bring a bunch of mortal enemies together and send them on an easily avoidable suicide mission?
Does anyone not remember how a dead guy came back to life and tried to kill Lord Commander Mormont? How easy would it be to take a condemned prisoner, hang him, and let him turn into a wight? If Jon simply turned the channel and watched any one of a thousand Walking Dead episodes he would see how easy this is to do.
Game of Thrones is awesome, and we’re all too invested in the story to turn away at this point, no matter how much B&W try to jump the shark.