Eastwatch was a strange episode. In the moment I thought it was mostly brilliant, but yet the more time I’ve had to mull it over the more niggling problems begin to nag at me. I’ve made many excuses and forgiven the rampant speed and corner cutting the show has been taking this year, but I felt it finally started to badly affect proceedings here. I know it must be an absurdly expensive show to make, but I do feel the lack of those three extra episodes is costing the quality of the writing. With conversations not happening and many important, emotionally charged scenes not being given enough time to breath, if they make it to the screen at all.
Plus, naming it Eastwatch and having fuck all really happen at Eastwatch was a little underwhelming.
Regardless, there was a loooooot to love in this episode so let’s get stuck in.
So we begin and THE FUCKING CREDITS SPOIL THE BLOODY BIG REVEAL. At least I was half right, eh?
We begin with the first strange writing decision of the show as Bronn and Jaime surface from the river some several miles away from where they entered. You know? Directly in front of the dragon. It makes little sense and also neglects the point the ‘cliff hanger’ which ended The Spoils of War. We all knew Jaime would survive, so the cliffhanger wasn’t supposed to keep us guessing over that, but it did feel as though we should have been in suspense about how he got out of a precarious situation and we didn’t see it. At least Bronn’s intentions are still purely self serving. He says he’s off before the dragons arrive at King’s Landing, wonder where he’ll go?
Tyrion walks through the ash and the horror, which looks like a combination of the aftermath of the nuclear bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the molten remains of Pompeii.
The survivors are stumbling towards Dani and Drogon. A simply amazing shot. Our platinum princess gives the singed survivors a choice: bend that bloody knee she’s so fond of or perish in flames. A few immediately kneel but some standfast, big Randyl Tarly and Dickon chief among them. Randyl walks forward and gives his reasoning. It’s somewhat flawed as Dani was born in Westeros and clearly does have ties to the land but yet remains understandable. It is, however, absolutely ridiculous that it doesn’t come up that Randyl was the only person who defeated Robert in the rebellion and remained loyal to her father.
Tyrion desperately tries to compromise, but Randyl refuses taking the black, too.
As he’s taken away Dickon says that he must be killed as well, which is perhaps the only time in his life that Randyl ever wished his favourite son was more like his hated son. Tyrion again tries for mercy but Dani says she gave them a choice and she did to be fair. I don’t really have an issue with the killing, but the fire is a bit much. At least she didn’t do it with madness or glee though, she seemed pretty nonplus about it all as Randyl and his son hold each other as they perish in the searing flames. It’s a shame that Tom Hopper has been killed off so quickly, as he was brilliant and it’s also a little unsatisfying that Randyl and Sam will never be able to talk about the stolen family sword. Everyone else quickly bends the knee.
Jaime and Cersei meet and the former is looking rather defeated. Cersei says once more that Tyrion murdered their son and then Jaime drops the bombshell. She refuses to believe at first, but the realisation dawns on her and her face drops from amusement to sad rage. She hardens once more and knows she’d rather fight and die than go out meekly, and guilt trips Jaime into thinking similarly.
Big boy Drogon lands back on the windy Dragonstone cliff and stomps like peak Jurassic Park T-Rex towards Jon. It’s pretty scary. Jon stands his ground and though he’s shaking he raises his hand strokes the dragon. Not the one he wanted to, though. Drogon looks absolute money, the detail in his teeth and eyes and nostrils is just… breathtaking. Drogon sure knows who Jon really is.
Dani is thrilled that Jon is good with kids and rushes to talk with the potential step-dad. She asks about him taking a knife to the heart but Jon plays it down. They’re clearly building towards a big reveal here, I wonder how Dani will react to the news? Then Jorah turns up! He’s introduced to Jon who obvs drops the Jeor bomb, but Jorah doesn’t tell him he was saved by Sam!!!! He defo thinks he’s getting a kiss but plummets back to the friend zone in the comfortable embrace of a hug.
Bran wargs into several crows which fly to the nifty looking Eastwatch-by-the-Sea – speaking of, Stannis’ fleet of ships are nowhere to be seen, does feel like the show are forgetting a lot of little details at times – and beyond the wall. They fly over a ridge and see the massive army of the dead, though I couldn’t spot any giants among them. The Night King spots the birds and then Bran is forced out. Is this an example of what is to come, Bran and the Night King battling out in their minds? In the Green sight? Over a dragon perhaps? Also, as he comes back to reality Bran looks very intact with his emotions. Is he still in there?
Emrbose and the other Archmaesters are discussing Bran’s raven and they aren’t taking it all too seriously. Sam speaks up and vouches for Bran, though his reasoning is shite cause wildlings do survive beyond the wall, obviously. Sam pleads with them to tell everyone the threat is real and do some research in all them books they’ve got lying about. Embrose considers it, but also considers that it could be a ploy by Dani, which I think is reasonable and shows that these fellas must all be neutral just like the Watch. They say they will write back to Winterfell, but I doubt we’ll ever know if they get the confirmation they’re looking for.
Tyrion is back on the booze and he’s trying to come to terms with what he’s seen with Varys. The Big V talks about how he justified letting the Mad King burning folk alive to himself and how he lived with letting it slide. Perhaps there could be unrest in Dani’s small council? Tyrion enquires who the note is for and Tyrion asks if he’s read it. Varys makes a show of saying that he hasn’t and I’m sure I wasn’t alone in expecting him to then say “of course I’ve read it”. Which he of course has.
In the war room they discuss plans as Jon says he needs to go home. Tyrion devises a plan to bring a Whyte south to prove to everyone that it’s real and to get everyone to unite together. This is a FUCKING RIDICULOUS IDEA. Right? Surely it would be easier to just go for a ride on one of those dragons you have and go have a quick gander? Tyrion decides he needs to meet Jamie and it’s agreed that Davos will smuggle him in. Jorah volunteers to go North and Jon says he must go too. Dani, not particularly seriously, I think, says he hasn’t been given permission to leave, but Jon stands up to her with another cracking speech. She nods. I think Dani is so clearly falling for Jon because she’s never met anyone who so honestly stands up to her and tells her what’s what.
We go up North and there is unrest in Winterfell as these fickle fuckers are already turning against Jon. Glover and Royce pledge their allegiance to Sansa, but she defends Jon. Her and her sister chat and Arya doesn’t like that Sansa is in mum and dad’s room. Then Arya comes on strong. She goes in on Sansa for liking nice stuff and not defending Jon (though she did) and Sansa rightfully sticks up for herself too. It’s clear where each of these characters was made, one in court one in the wild, but it’s a bit frustrating as Arya comes across as a bit of a bitch and a little stupid here. She goes on about beheading and it’s ridiculous. Arya implies Sansa wants to be ruler (does she?) and she’s hurt by it. Why oh why can’t we just have nice things for once?
Davos and Tyrion have already arrived at King’s Landing and thus commences my favourite scenes of the episode. Mostly because Davos is da real MVP.
Davos shows off his smuggling knowledge and sends Tyrion a usually unmanned staircase, while he goes to Fleabottom. “Then we’re fucked, best hurry!” is the first of several cracking lines Davos comes out with.
Bronn and Jaime are in the dungeons, under the vale of training when out springs Tyrion. This scene is the one that especially stood out because it should have been a lot longer. We didn’t even get to see Bronn and Tyrion meet again and the heart-to-heart with Jaime is short lived. Despite the lack of time both actors are incredible and Tyrion breaking down is heart wrenching.
We’re back on the Street of Steel and who do we find but none other than FUCKING GENDRY. I predicted last week that he would be back and while I didn’t quite get the method, the result is the same! I’ve actually been rewatching earlier seasons recently and Davos does tell Gendry to row to King’s Landing when he sets him free, so him being there isn’t all that surprising at all. Davos, once again the bearer of great lines, knocks out the most eye rollingly brilliant fan service line ever: “Thought you might still be rowing”. Gendry has no reservations, he’s ready to be off. HE HAS A FUCKING WAR HAMMER WITH A STAG ON IT JUST LIKE HIS AULD DA. My heart was fluttering here, it must be said.
They get to the beach and Davos gets a chance to truly shine, the cute little Han Solo of Westeros. He has the gift of gab and shows his experience of handling guards. He happily bribes them and is disgusted at inflation. You and me both brother. He further shows his smarts with the fermented crabs ploy and pulls lots of shagging gags. He sees them off with a laugh but as they leave, good ol’ Tyrion arrives. Things are getting tense when Gendry proves he does in fact know his way about a hammer and deftly knocks their blocks off. “He’ll do”.
Jamie brings Tyrion’s proposal to Cersei – who’s already clued in. She wants to fight Dani smartly, like Tywin, and my skin continues to crawl. She then reveals she’s preggers. Is it true or just another way to keep Jaime by her side? Either way, she makes it pretty clear that if he betrays her again then he’s fucked.
On Dragonstone, Davos tells Gendry to keep quiet, but upon meeting Jon he spills the beans immediately. It’s very cool that the bastard sons of best mates Robert and Ned could now have a blossoming bromance. We can but hope they haven’t brought Gendry back just to die again. Though there’s recent precedent for that. Why didn’t he mention Arya??? :(:( REUNION PLS. Davos once again has a pearler when he says: “No body mind me, all I’ve ever done is live to a ripe old age.” Best guy.
TYRION GIVES JORAH THE THING HE NEEDS TO GIVE HIM BACK WHEN HE RETURNS WHICH SIGNIFIES HE ISN’T RETURNING. A nice farewell and the lads are away.
Sam is busy being grumpy as Gilly is fascinated with useless information. He gets Vietnam style flashbacks when bowel movements are mentioned. Sam gets to the end of his tether when she then goes and drops the bomb that JON SNOW IS NOT A BASTARD AND IS ACTUALLY A LEGIT TRUE BORN TARGARYEN. A theory that has been debated for decades, one that could have serious ramification because now Jon is in fact the rightful heir to the seven kingdoms. Would he even want it? How would Dani react to hearing such news, considering it turns her entire claim to ash? Hopefully not by turning Jon to ash. The zoom in here was great as Sam gets angry and he’s low-key been top this season. He’s making a habit of leaving in the middle of the night after stealing valuables. We can only presume he’s headed back up to the Wall. Sam foregoes his dreams and leaves the Citadel, fittingly becoming what his father always wanted.
In Winterfell Arya is tailing Littlefinger. Watching him pay spies, connive with Glover and Royce, receiving a raven off Wokan and then leaving his room. Arya enters and finds the scroll, which is the one Sansa was forced to write to Rob in Season One. Will she understand the context or will she fall hook, line and sinker? She leaves and Baelish is lurking like the creepy geezer he is. The subtle nods to Little Finger’s plan, the look after hearing about the scrolls and the cawing of Ravens last week, were really good and we really shouldn’t have underestimated his scheming little mind. He’s clearly trying to drive a wedge between the sisters so he can control Sansa. The question is will it work? I really hope not. Hopefully either Arya is playing double bluff because if she falls so easily for this then has she really learned anything at all? Or the pair of them just bloody talk about it. Sansa citing the old Stark adage: “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives” gives me hope that they will not be pried apart.
The lads arrive at Eastwatch. Tormund rightly points out it’s a fucking stupid plan, and it really is. Tormund asks for “the big woman” but alas she did not come. We go to the dungeon where we meet the Hound, Beric and Thoros. I’m a bit gutted Anguy, the snappy archer, isn’t still with them. We soon see that all these folk are aware of each other in one way or another. Gendry hates the brotherhood, Thoros and Jorah were the first to breach the walls at the siege of Pyke and Tormund hates Mormonts. Lest we forget that Jon has Jorah’s family sword, Thoros and Jorah fought together and that Gendry, Beric, Thoros and Sandro all spent time with Arya unbeknownst to Jon. But they’re all on team breathing, my fear is that all these characters which I really like won’t be on it for too much longer.
Thus the most badass squad ever assembled on this show ventures out into the ice on a suicide mission. You could even call em some sort of suicide squad. The magnificent seven and a bunch of nameless fellas who will undoubtedly be slaughtered leave Eastwatch.
Will Benjen join them? Who returns? Who dies? Will one of them be the very whyte they bring back? Is this how The Hound gets sent back to King’s Landing? As a deadman in a crate? Forced to fight as a zombie against his zombie brother? Is this how we get the BOWL? I hope not, as I don’t want him to die and it would be an awfully sad way for his redemption to come.
There are plenty of questions and we won’t have to wait long for the answers. We haven’t had heart break yet this season, but I think we’ll all be reeling in a week’s time.