I’ve decided, since almost no one in my inner circle is able to catch new episodes on the regular, and I have to talk about this with someone, I’m going to talk about it with all of you. Because this episode was so awesome! Where has this show been?! With how slow or plodding some episodes lately have been, it’s nice to see this series stepping up to the plate this way. Ever since the last three episodes of last season, I haven’t been this stoked. This isn’t one of my technical reviews, so I’m going to skip my formula. It’s just me talking about what I thought about the stuff in this episode. Just so you know, spoilers ahoy! Let’s break this down by plot
First, we’ve got the Hound! He’s back! They introduce him in a segment before the intro, so you know that this is important. Him being back is significant. I knew that he would be back on the show. After all, there’s a golden rule when it comes to this series – a character isn’t dead until you see them dead. Granted, we know that Stannis is dead, but that’s just because the actor made no secret of being done with the series and moving on. It’s all good. He was cool. But we’ve got the Hound back! This episode was mostly about his story. But he wasn’t the only broken man in this. After his round with Brienne of Tarth, he’s now trying to ditch his violent side and start over. We get to see him and Ian McShane’s character bonding. How great was that?! McShane was only in this episode, and he left such an impact. After the Hound realizes that he is unable to truly leave behind what he’s done and who he’s become, it’s off to get violent, bloody vengeance against the Brotherhood Without Banners. They better say their prayers right about now.
Next up, there’s all the stuff in King’s Landing. I honestly had gotten pretty tired of seeing stuff going on there. It has seemed to be going nowhere. But now the gloves are off. Margery is able to secretly pass a note to Lady Olenna, telling her that it’s time to go, and that she has everything in hand. Trusting her granddaughter, the Queen of Badass Bitch makes ready to go. But not before putting Cersei in her place in a way that was so awesome that you got to see Cersei have a “I fucking hate you so much look,” know that she can’t do a damn thing in reprisal. After all, the Tyrell food and army is all that’s holding the city together. Now Olenna is about to leave, and I figure she’s taking her forces with her. Cersei is all alone, and now shit’s about to get real.
Speaking of badass queens, we get Lady Lyanna Mormont, Queen of Sass. That little kid is nine kinds of awesome. Watching her shut down Jon and Sansa was just priceless. I like how the series is going back to some of the casualties of the War of Five Kings. The houses in the North are pretty done with House Stark. Robb left them all very bitter, and most of their troops very dead. However, we get to see Ser Davos, the child whisperer, give it to her pretty straight that the Boltons aren’t the real enemy. It’s the army of the dead. The Long Night is coming, and the know that the only way to save their skins is to unite as one. Still, that kid is great.
However, all does not go so well with the other houses of the North. One of the lords shuts them down so hard that you can practically hear the door slam. But it’s all good. Jon Snow got to talk to the Wildlings. They are critical. But the conversation ends when One-One stands up and says “Snow.” That means that the Freefolk are with Jon, to the end. Feels.
Still, the fact is that their army is shit, and they are no match for their enemies. Sansa is no fool. She realizes that they can’t win with their numbers. So, in a move showing just how desperate she is, she prepares a message to be sent with a raven to Baelish to get the Lords of the Vale to come fight. The Battle of the Bastards is on, and it’s going to be epic!
Next up, we got Yara and Theon with the Iron-born in Volantis. Yara’s having herself some fun with a pretty whore, while Theon is very mopey about his lost meat and potatoes. But we then get to see Yara have a very human moment with him, telling him that it’s time for him to come back to her. She forces him to drink some ale, fighting to get past all that Ramsay had done to him. It works. He’s back. The two then say that they are going to go to Mereen and meet with Daenerys, getting her help to take back the Iron Islands in exchange for letting them use her ships. That was pretty nice. Very feel-good scene. Plus, it’s nice to see that Yara is just as much a Reaver as the rest of the Ironborn.
Then we get to probably the best scene in the entire show. One of the best in the series. Jaime goes to Riverrun to try and get the castle back for the Frey’s. However, first he has to get rid of Bryden Tully, the Blackfish. The two have a face-off where they parley, and it’s a battle of wills. But Blackfish owns Jaime SO hard! I fucking love that scene. When you see Blackfish just ripping apart Jaime in every way he can. He didn’t keep his oath to Catelyn. He lost his honor killing his King. He has been kicked out of the Kingsguard. Jaime walked away from that exchange feeling like a gutless coward who hadn’t accomplished anything. That look on his face when Blackfish is walking away says it all. Jaime is another broken man. He’s lost pretty much everything. He can’t even keep the last of his children safe anymore. What does he have?
But here is where we get to speculate. The next episode promo has him facing off with Brienne. She’s there to get Blackfish and his army to fight for Sansa. Jaime is obviously going to try and stop her. The two are having an argument, and we get to see, once and for all, if Jaime is going to step up and do the right thing. I am so hoping he does. We’ve seen that he has it in him. He doesn’t want to be in this fight. Now’s the time for him to do the right thing and join with the woman he bonded with on their journey. We’ve had Theon getting his redemption. Maybe Jaime can get it too?
Finally, there’s my second-favorite part of the series. Arya is looking to leave Braavos. She’s gotten all she can from that city, and now it’s time to head back to Westeros and scratch names off her list. However, just as things appear to be going well, the Waif appears and guts her like a fish. The girl narrowly escapes immediate death, but now she’s left making her way through the city, bleeding out, scared to death of the fact that anyone could be the Waif, looking to pounce. Part of me was hoping to see Gendry make a comeback. It would have made for a nice close to her part in the episode. Since now Arya is very much in need of allies. However, the series has never been that nice to her. Why change it now?
But as we see in the next episode promo, it is on! The showdown that we’ve all been waiting for. Arya and the Waif are about to go head-to-head. There’s an Internet term that I think describes this so well – Guile’s Theme goes with everything. Watching the fight between these two is going to be awesome.
This episode had it all. Everything is building. It finally feels like we are about to get some payoff. Characters are being reintroduced and now we have the big showdowns of the season upon us. The next episodes are going to be so good.
9 out of 10