Summary: Chandler starts going out with Joanna again and they have sex. Rachel isn't pleased and wants Chandler to break up with her. Monica is asked to make food for a gathering by her mother and Phoebe helps her. Joey is visited by a man who is selling encyclopedias.
The Good: Chandler's story is fantastic here. There are tons of laughs and the character is played to perfection here by Matthew Perry, with very few hints of the over-acting which plagued him last season. I also love that Chandler and Rachel got a storyline together as they haven't had the chance to interact one on one very much. It was fresh and led to some unique and funny moments. I really liked the opening scene too as Rachel, Chandler and Joey were terrific and in-character to make organic laughs. It's a sign of improved writing this season. Monica's story was good too and had a genuine emotional edge to it as Monica proved herself to her mother while Phoebe showed her caring side through some well-times jokes. Joey's story was fine for a few odd laughs too.
The Bad: Joey buying the encyclopedia was a bit too cartoony which detracted from some of the scenes.
Best Moment: Chandler calling Rachel into the office and their subsequent conversation was hilarious.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: This was a fresh and fantastic episode, which is the best episode in a very long while. Top-tier comedy again from "Friends".
Summary: Lord Commander Mormont survives the White Walker assault and he leads his men back to The Wall. Jon meets with Mance Rayder and declares he wants to become a wildling. Tyrion meets with Tywin and tries to assume his rights to Casterly Rock but Tywin denies it. Margaery outsmarts Cersei and gains Joffrey's support. Davos is alive and he is reunited with Stannis. He defies Melisandre and is put in a cell. Dany arrives in Astapor and finds a man selling 8000 Unsullied warriors. She is attacked by a warlock but is saved by Barristan.
The Good: This was a strong premiere episode which had very good set-up with a few standout scenes of character interaction. It was a certain step up from the season 2 premiere as this season already has a sense of forward momentum.
Jon meeting with Mance Rayder was a good development. It was good to finally see Mance after he had been built up for so long and his scene with Jon was well done. The tension was created well since we knew that Jon had to earn Mance's trust in order to survive. He successfully lied in a great way as he played off of his one experience of doubting the Night's Watch and it led to him characteristically spouting a believable lie. I also liked seeing a giant, as the show appears to be doubling down on its fantastical elements.
Tyrion had a couple of tremendous scenes in this episode. I loved the follow-up on Cersei's attempt to kill Tyrion last season. Tyrion and Cersei's scene was tense as Tyrion felt in some sort of danger considering Cersei's hate for him. I enjoyed their conversations as they threw jabs at each other while trying to figure out what the other wanted. Their interactions have been great and were a highlight of the last season, so naturally it creates strong television to see more of them.
But stronger than his scene with Cersei was Tyrion's scene with Tywin. Tywin is a fantastic character as he opposes Tyrion, our hero, yet he manages to be logical and understandable in his motives, and he is simply fascinating to watch. The scene with Tyrionw as executed really well. Tyrion came in with a logical power play to attempt to get some of his power back after being stripped of his position. Tywin responds fairly, willing to reward Tyrion, but the mention of Tyrion taking control of Casterly Rock is too much for him. Tywin then goes on a fantastic rant, downplaying all of Tyrion's accomplishments and showing just how little Tyrion matters to him. It was brutal yet enjoyable to watch.
Margaery was another stand-out character in this episode. She is smart and power-hungry, making her an exciting character to watch. I enjoyed seeing her be an actual Queen, befriending the poor population, but moreso I enjoyed seeing her outdo Cersei in manipulating Joffrey and gaining his respect.
Dany started her storyline with much more momentum than last time. I enjoyed her scenes on Astapor, and I especially liked the man who was selling her the Unsullied. He was vile in a perfect way while he worked on his business. The Unsullied were very cool as well and it's evident that Dany has her eyes set on them. Furthermore, I liked the re-emergence of Barristan, and going to Dany was a logical next step for his character to take after he was retired by Joffrey.
I was happy to see Davos survive. I liked his short scene of conflict when he was put on the spot to declare for a king, knowing that saying the wrong name would cause him to be killed. It was a nice little scene.
The Bad: It was disappointing to not see the White Walker assault on the Fist of the First Men. It was a central cliff-hanger last season, so I expected something to follow up on that in this episode. It also did hurt the story a little bit since we never got to see the actual threat and brutality of the White Walkers. It detracted from Mormont's urgency to go back to The Wall and failed to truly establish the importance of defending The Wall.
I thought it was awkward that Ygritte assumed Jon would join the wildlings without him saying so.
The Unknown: Why did the White Walkers leave the dead bodies so strangely? What is the meaning of that?
What are Littlefinger's motives as he talks with Sansa? I don't buy that he genuinely wants to save her.
How does Dany plan to afford the Unsullied? Will she take all of them?
Who was the warlock that attacked Dany? Who did she work for?
Best Moment: Tyrion and Tywin take it for this episode.
Character of the Episode: Tywin.
Conclusion: Aside from the disappointment of not seeing the White Walker assault, this was a really strong premiere that opens season 3 on a strong note.
Summary: Joey and Chandler try to sell the entertainment centre. Phoebe finds a cat and thinks it is the spirit of her mother but Ross doesn't think so. Monica dates Chip, a guy from her high school to live the high school dream.
The Good: This was a strong episode. Ross and Rachel were great here as they throw small jabs at each other to humiliate each other, leading to several funny scenes, like Rachel calling Chip and Ross apologizing to a cat. Joey and Chandler were really funny in the selling of the entertainment unit. I loved Joey's attachment to it and Chandler's annoyance at Joey's childish behaviour. It fit both of the characters and led to a lot of funny lines. I also loved that the people with the canoe were purposely made to be similar to Joey and Chandler, making for a neat little joke and a hilarious ending scene where they get the canoe to replace their stolen furniture. I also loved the joke of Joey getting trapped int he unit again and being robbed. It was a great callback and delivered a terrific joke. Monica's story was really good too as it highlighted her change in character since high school. While it wasn't the funniest, it was still a good story. Phoebe's story was the weakest but it had a few good moments of comedy.
The Bad: I didn't like that we were supposed to sympathize so much with Phoebe for being obsessed with a cat. It was funny but it was never meant to be something we can seriously sympathize with. I found myself sympathizing with Ross more than Phoebe in those moments.
Best Moment: Joey getting trapped in the entertainment centre was a great moment that had me laughing.
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This was a great episode with a lot of great jokes. Whiel there were some problems with Phoebe's story, the episode was the funniest we have gotten in a while.
Summary: Jimmy takes a new job at a cell phone retailer to avoid Kim's request for him to see a shrink. He finds himself bored at his new job. Kim observes a case at court. Mike lashes out at Henry during group therapy, as he learns that Henry has been lying about his grief. Nacho joins the cousins in attacking the Espinosas who Gus has framed for attacking Nacho. The three of them kill everyone. Gus tells Nacho to rest so he goes back to his father's place. Gus calls Mike since he has a job for him.
The Good: Mike's storyline was the strongest here as he seemingly cuts his ties with everyone at the group therapy. I liked seeing him finally crack and accept that he doesn't belong in group therapy just because of who he is. Mike has always been to himself, so it was only a matter of time until he felt alienated by the depressing and open nature of the group therapy. It's just who he is. Stacey starting to get past Matty and Henry's phony stories don't help Mike either and just fuel his anger until he snaps in a scene which was somewhat reminiscent of Jesse's rant in "Problem Dog" though it doesn't quite have the same impact.
Mike has shown desires to live a normal life in season 3, but now that he has it with the Madrigal job and group therapy, he doesn't seem happy. Not only does he snap at group therapy, but his relationship with Stacey worsens and he even mouths off to Gus when they meet at the end of the episode. It seems that he is calling for a life that suits him better, one that helps him deal with the grief of losing his son in the only way that suits him: ignoring the pain inside of him by doing a difficult and dangerous job.
Nacho's story was the other stand-out of this episode. Nacho has been the highlight of this season as his struggle has been the clearest out of any of the other characters (see: The Bad). Nacho is trying to be free of cartel life, but he is unable to escape as he has no friends and only enemies who are forcing him to do their bidding. The shootout in this episode was terrific as it demonstrates how dangerous Nacho's current life is as he fights through his injuries to try to fight with the cousins and accomplish what Gus has asked of him. And his reward for his hard work? He gets to rest for a little bit before he gets his next job. Nacho is the easiest character to sympathize with this season and that makes his storyline the strongest and most enjoyable to watch. I hope that he and his father get to make it out of the show alive, though it's hard to see how that could happen at this point.
Jimmy's story was pretty good again. With his desire to hustle returning again, the only thing preventing him from going full-on Saul Goodman is his relationship with Kim. Jimmy didn't need to find a new job as he hustles to get his money, but he knows that to keep his credibility with Kim he needs to get a job. Unfortunately for him, the job is a total bore. In the end I presume Jimmy may find himself at a crossroads weighing his pros and cons. Should he pursue his desires as Saul Goodman or pursue a life with Kim? One of these will have to be sacrificed, and sadly we know which one Jimmy will choose. This episode provided some good set-up for this storyline in the season.
I liked Kim's story for what it was. In "Lantern" we have learned that Kim always wanted to be a heroic lawyer like Atticus Finch, so logically she is going to try to pursue her desires. Faced with what could be a lifetime of work at Mesa Verde, she now has to discover if that is what she really wants to do.
The Bad: This season's drama hasn't been as clear as previous seasons. Characters react and make decisions based off of reasons we don't totally understand and usually have to speculate about. This is because there are always multiple reasons. While this can be a good storytelling device, and I praised it a few episodes ago, this season is relying too much on it. Jimmy, Mike and Kim's storylines all featured this device in this episode and that is too much. We need more normal storytelling like in Nacho's story for the season to fully engage our emotions.
This season is also being hurt by having too many storylines. This show is already slow paced, but when we have four different storylines in a single episode which all hardly move forward, things get a bit frustrating. I don't have a problem with each of the individual stories, but when they are all cluttered in a single episode like this, it makes for less satisfying viewing. It was fine when there were only two or three storylines in season 2, but four is too many and it is taking away screen time from Jimmy, who we need to see more of this season.
The Unknown: Why was Henry at the group meetings? Was he just really lonely? I presume that Mike won't be going back to the meetings now. What will happen with his relationships with Anita and Stacey?
What is Gus' next job for Nacho? And what is his job for Mike? Could he be asking Mike to kill Nacho? I'm curious to see what Gus' next moves are and how both Mike and Nacho factor into this.
Was Ira's mentioning of getting a new phone for a new job a backstory of Saul's infamous drawer of phones in "Breaking Bad"? That's a nice little detail.
Best Moment: Mike's outburst was the best moment emotionally, but I really enjoyed the sequence of Nacho attacking the compound with the cousins. I appreciate that the show never tried to be bigger than it is as the focus was never on the Salamancas killing everyone, but instead on Nacho trying to help out and survive. The scene was shot beautifully and I loved the Nacho POV coverage of the scene, as it played out almost like reading a book in terms of how we got attached to a single character for an entire sequence. It was classic "Better Call Saul" in terms of directing.
Character of the Episode: Mike.
Conclusion: This episode had great storytelling as expected, but it was the least satisfying episode in a while.
Summary: Beth goes into shock after what happened. Hershel goes to a bar to drink. He wants Shane off the farm. Rick goes with Glenn to bring Hershel back. Lori gets impatient and goes herself but gets in a car accident. Rick talks with Hershel who is still upset. Two men, Dave and Tony walk in and want to find a place to stay. Rick doesn't trust them and he ultimately kills both of them.
The Good: This was another slower episode, but this one had more of a purpose as it explored the fallout from Shane's assault on the barn in the previous episode. The pacing worked as we got to explore very different reactions from the three central characters, Rick, Hershel and Shane.
Shane's reaction was the least explored, but I still liked it a lot. There is a lot of discussion surrounding Shane's actions and the camp is torn on whether what he did was right. I like this idea as it doesn't paint Shane as just another villain and instead proves that what he is doing is just a harsher way of surviving, and judging by how Rick changes in this episode, it's even possible that Shane is somewhat in the right here. Where he isn't in the right however is with how hot-headed he is as he continues to attack Hershel, evidently not caring about Hershel allowing them to stay on the farm.
I liked Hershel's reaction to learning the truth about the walkers. It felt real that he accepted how foolish he was being, and it also helps endear us to him by having him seem less like a moronic and stubborn old man. I enjoyed his arguments with Rick as well as they highlighted his grieving and how angry he is with himself for all of the mistakes he has made and how much he has failed his remaining daughters by hiding the truths of the world from them.
Rick's reaction to what happened was terrific as well. He has embraced the darker part of himself a little more after realizing that Sophia was gone the entire time and Shane was right. It opens his eyes and he realizes that he has been a poor leader for wasting so much of the group's time. While Shane certainly isn't the perfect leader, Rick needs to add some of Shane's philosophy to his leadership and by the end of the episode he does exactly that, transforming his character to a more interesting and aggressive leader.
The final sequence of the episode was tremendous and was easily the best part of the episode. The show has struggled with character in the past, but drama has never been an issue. This episode featured some of the best tension-based drama yet as Rick converses with Dave and Tony. The presence of guns adds the tension and the obviously crude nature of Dave and Tony proves to us that they can't be allowed on the farm at all. I love the way that Dave and Tony find their way to the truth by exposing Rick and Hershel's on-the-spot lies to get what they want. It was fascinating to watch and featured some of the very best dialogue that the show has ever produced. I also loved that we got to learn more about the rest of the world. I loved hearing about things like the islands which could be safe and Nebraska which just deepens our understanding of the world.
The final moments of the episode were great though. The sheer sudden nature of Rick shooting both men in cold blood, undoubtedly murdering them, was a great way to establish his change in character. It was a terrific moment for character as well as drama, making it the perfect climax for the episode.
The Bad: Lori is the worst character on the show and I don't like her at all. Here she makes what is probably the stupidest decision ever to go after Rick. To put into perspective how dumb this was, Rick and Glenn didn't even have enough time to reach Hershel, and Lori is already asking people to go after them. Yes, she is so awful she doesn't even do anything herself and only asks others to do her work. Furthermore, she is going after Rick to tell him to bring Hershel back... which is the reason he went out to begin with! So Lori leaving has no purpose whatsoever. And to make matters worse, she actually leaves on her own. She leaves Carl alone and just drives, doesn't even know where she is going because she needs a map, and then she gets into a car accident like a total fool. This is hardly compelling and is frustrating to watch. Then add on the fact that Lori insults Daryl for not wanting to go through with her idiotic plan. Seriously, I don't think you could make a more detestable character if you tried. I don't blame Daryl for getting frustrated at her because I have had enough of her by this point.
I don't like how inconsistent the show is with how walkers behave. Apparently Beth's mom wasn't dead as she attacked Beth in this episode, so why was she lying around and not moving? Why and how do walkers do that? Lou didn't just collapse and stop moving, yet Beth's mom did for whatever reason.
The Unknown: Dave and Tony said they had a camp. Where is this camp? Will we be seeing them later?
Best Moment: The ending sequence was one of the show's best scenes so far.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: While Lori's stupidity hurts this episode, this was very strong overall and did well to follow up on the major events in the mid-season finale.
Summary: Joffrey chooses to marry Margaery, relieving Sansa of marrying him. Theon is surrounded by Stark men and his troops turn on him so they can go home. Winterfell is sacked by unknown people. Luwin is killed. Tyrion loses his position as hand and falls back down the hierarchy. Dany goes to the House of the Undying and has a vision of snow. She finds her dragons and kills Pyatt Pree and then she leaves Xaro for dead. Jon kills Qhorin. White Walkers arrive at the Fist of the First Men.
The Good: Tyrion's story was very good here. I enjoyed seeing him as Hand of the King but now he has been stripped of that title and we get to learn that he enjoyed the role too. His emotions come out in a terrific scene with Shae as he reflects on how much he enjoyed having some power for once. It's easy to understand his sadness as he has fallen to the bottom of the totem pole again, established by him no longer having any friends with power, and Pycelle's rediscovered confidence when speaking to Tyrion.
I enjoyed Joffrey awarding heroics to Tywin after the battle. The whole scene felt consistent to the time period and also established some important new plot points, notably Tywin's confidence in his new role and Joffrey's new wife. Regarding the latter, it was good follow-up for Sansa as she gets rewarded for choosing to stay in King's Landing. I loved seeing her smile in joy afterwards only to fake sorrow when Littlefinger goes to talk with her. That scene with Littlefinger added a lot too as it sets up another potential partnership while also assuring us that Sansa still isn't safe and will never be safe as long as she is in King's Landing.
The conclusion of Theon's story was very strong, just like the rest of his story. I loved seeing his frustrations when he realizes that he is trapped and almost certainly dead. The horn-blower was also a funny way to focus on Theon's anger and displeasure towards his current situation. I loved his conversation with Luwin where his regrets all come pouring out as he realizes all of the mistakes he has made by siding with the Greyjoys and wanting to prove himself. It would be easy to hate Theon for all he has done, but it's a testament to how good the writing has been that I actually sympathize with him and everything he stands for. The final moments in Winterfell were terrific as well. Theon's speech was awesome and he did very well to be inspiring, but he failed to give the Ironborn a reason to throw away their lives, and in return they knocked him out and appeared to have given him over to the Boltons who were outside.
Dany's story came to a good conclusion in the House of the Undying. The way these scenes were put together was fantastic and the entire vision sequence was a spectacle to witness. I loved the way everything fit together thematically as it highlighted the final confrontation between ice and fire while also signalling the threat of the White Walkers which will likely descend on King's Landing. I also enjoyed seeing Dany take vengeance on Pyatt Pree and Xaro as she gives us another glimpse of her ruthlessness which hasn't been seen at all this season (see: The Bad).
I enjoyed Jaime and Brienne once more. Their dynamic is very good and we get to learn more about them in scenes like the one we saw in this episode. The confrontation with the three Stark men was really well done and allowed Brienne to demonstrate to Jaime and to us how she is loyal to Catelyn and not all of the Starks. As a side note, I really liked the way that the man set up Brienne and Jaime to reveal the truth by asking them to both say Jaime's name at the same time.
I liked Stannis' scene too. Stannis' anger at Melisandre was warranted as he has lost literally everything and didn't end up getting what he was promised to get by her. He has lost his friends, his fleet, his brother and his end-goal of being king, making it easy to understand how he feels.
The ending scene with the White Walkers was a great cliff-hanger to make me excited for season 3. The surprise of a third horn was great and the tension was palpable as Sam was left alone within the incoming army.
The Bad: Unfortunately the final scene was hurt by the fact that the White Walker just left Sam alive. It's hard to feel threatened by them if they don't kill, so that was a pretty weak moment.
Luwin's death lacked impact since he has hardly done anything of note. Bran and Rickon's reactions also did nothing since they have done nothing to make me care about either of them as characters.
The Qarth storyline accomplished nothing and felt like a means to stall Dany for a season. She has made no progress since the end of last season which is frustrating.
The Unknown: What will become of Varys partnering with Ros?
What did Stannis see in the flames?
Jaqen is very interesting. How does he have all of these mysterious, almost god-like powers? I presume Arya will go to Braavos at a later point in the story. What will she find there?
What happened to Winterfell? Who burned it down? It doesn't make sense for the Boltons to do it, but they must have as the Ironborn surely couldn't have. What happened to the Ironborn anyways? WHat happened to Theon?
Best Moment: I'll pick Tyrion's sadness at being relegated to the bottom again after losing his position.
Character of the Episode: Theon.
Conclusion: This was a very good season finale with good closure and some strong moments to make it stand out more. The set-up for next season was good, though it didn't live up to the excellence of the season 1 finale.
The second season as a whole was a bit of a step down from season 1 but it was still pretty good. Like season 1, it started slow and picked up a lot of momentum towards the end of the season with good storytelling, powerful moments and epic twists. My one major complaint is how familiar the show still feels after this season. Through season 1, the show took a massive change in direction and every character was at a different place than they were at the beginning. I don't think that the same could be said about this season as many characters find themselves in the same position as season 1, or in similar positions, with Stannis and Dany standing out in this regard. I hope that the next season is a little more ambitious with what it wants to do so we don't end up with another season which felt like it was stalling for lengthy periods of time.
Summary: Both Stannis' and Joffrey's sides prepare for the impending battle. Stannis' ships arrive but Tyrion blows up a good portion of them with wildfire, including Davos' ships. Stannis lands anyways and assaults the walls. The Hound fearfully leaves the battleground after seeing fire. Joffrey flees the battlefield too leaving Tyrion in charge of the defenses. Lancel provides updates to Cersei who is hidden in the city with Sansa. Cersei gets drunk and prepares to kill her son so he doesn't have to suffer. Tyrion is attacked by Ser Mandon and critically wounded. Tywin and the Tyrells arrive to rout Stannis' forces, winning the battle. The Hound offers to take Sansa north and out of the city.
The Good: The build-up to the battle was fantastic. The whole season has been slowly building up to this massive confrontation, and the early goings of the episode made it clear that this episode would deliver the battle in full. I respect that we didn't have a single scene outside of King's Landing in this episode as it allowed for there to be full focus on this battle, which had been hyped up to be pivotal for the fate of Westeros. The first 15 to 20 minutes were great as both sides prepared for the upcoming war, putting over how deadly the consequences would be for the loser. This gave the episode a huge sense of importance and tension.
I enjoyed a lot of small things in the build-up too. Sansa continuing to mouth off Joffrey, Tyrion having funny interactions with Bronn and Joffrey and Varys continuing to be a fascinating character (see: The Unknown) were all great scenes.
With all of the hype, there was massive pressure on the battle to deliver. While I did have some big issues (see: The Bad), I thought that a lot of this was terrific. The opening few minutes in particular were some of the most tense, impressive and exhilarating minutes of television that this show has produced. The wildfire explosion was an incredible moment and opened up the battle on an exciting note, killing many of Stannis' men and presenting that Tyrion may have a chance of overcoming here. It was up to the rest of the battle to live up to the opening of this battle and I feel that for the most part they did a good job.
The best parts about this battle were the smaller moments. I loved Tyrion's story here as Varys presented him as the only man who could actually threaten Stannis. He lived up to it as he delivered a spectacular speech late in the battle, playing up to the men's personal desires instead of the honourable desires. It works like a charm and his final line of "there are brave men out there... let's go kill them!" was delivered perfectly and was a satisfying moment. Even more satisfying was watching the Lannisters destroy the portion of Stannis' forces at the gate, earning Tyrion a small victory.
The Hound's story was also really good. I enjoyed seeing him leave the battle due to the fire. It fit his character and adds more levels to him as he may not be quite as tough as he lets on and has some serious weaknesses. I also liked him going to Sansa as it plays off of the relationship they had been building throughout this season. It was interesting to see The Hound be so aggressive to convince Sansa to get out of King's Landing, which makes me interested to learn more about how The Hound feels about her.
The scenes with Cersei and Sansa were well-written as well. I enjoyed their conversations as Cersei slowly got more drunk, feeling the pressure of the battle and being separated from Jaime for so long. I enjoyed getting this new layer to Cersei, her character has been one of the most interesting parts of the show in the last few episodes.
The Bad: Unfortunately I felt disappointed overall by the end of the episode. The battle never lived up to the opening few minutes and it ended rather abruptly without any of the consequences which were hyped up. The Lannisters all win and Stannis still gets to live to fight another day. This is particularly disappointing because this entire season was structured around this massive battle, and yet somehow this large scale battle had less of an effect on the world than the execution of Ned last season. That's very bad and makes what we just watch feel like less of an epic battle and more of just a minor skirmish which can't be right.
The actual logistics of the battle unfortunately disappointed me as well. There were several strange moments in the battle that confused me as to how the battle was working. We had Stannis climb the ramparts, which should be a significant development and yet it doesn't lead anywhere. The ramparts allow easy access into the city and should have been a much more central part to this battle, yet they were totally ignored. Additionally, after Tyrion wiped out a portion of Stannis' men, we had a random horde of them come out from somewhere. I have no clue where they were and why they hadn't engaged in the battle earlier.
Lastly, while I thought the Cersei scenes were good, they detracted from the battle as a whole and ruined the flow. Also, it was tough for me to properly invest in Cersei's scenes because they felt so insignificant when there is a life-or-death war going on outside the walls. I can't be bothered to care about Shae being discovered when Tyrion's life is in danger as he prepares to lead an attack outside the walls.
The Unknown: Varys remains a fascinating character and it seems that there is more to him being a eunuch than expected. What he will have to say about how he was cut?
Is Davos dead? It wouldn't be too much of a stretch for him to survive the battle. If he is dead, it would be tough to care about whatever Stannis does next, so I honestly hope he is alive.
Why did Mandon attack Tyrion and who ordered him to do it? What are the extent of Tyrion's injuries? Will he be okay by the next episode?
How did Tywin get back to King's Landing and why? He said he was going to fight Robb in the last episode, so why didn't he end up going there?
What happened to Salladhor Saan? I was hoping to see him again in this battle but he never appeared.
Will Sansa go with The Hound then? I don't imagine she will want to stay in King's Landing.
Best Moment: The wildfire explosion was a fantastic moment which the episode never topped.
Character of the Episode: I'll pick The Hound because he was more interesting here than ever before.
Conclusion: This episode was an epic spectacle with a lot of really good moments, but it under-delivered in my opinion. While I still really enjoyed it, there should have been more of an impact on the overall story from a seismic event like this and yet it didn't happen. This is a tough episode to score because of that, as it was terrific, yet at the same time disappointing.
Summary: Yara tells Theon to leave Winterfell as it has little strategic advantage for them but Theon doesn't want to. Tyrion plots King's Landings defense against Stannis and realizes they have a massive disadvantage. Catelyn sends Brienne to take Jaime to King's Landing to trade for Sansa and Arya, angering Robb and others in the camp. Robb falls in love with Talisa and sleeps with her. Jon reunites with Qhorin who has also been captured. Dany prepares to go to the House of the Undying.
The Good: Theon's story continued to be very strong in this episode. We got more exploration of his relationship with Yara, which was much needed for him. Yara was really good as her experience puts her on a higher level than Theon in terms of battle strategy and she completely destroys Theon's reputation which is deserved. Yara explains with sound logic why Theon's maneuver was stupid and did nothing in the long run for the Greyjoys yet Theon's immature need to prove himself makes him not listen and still refuse to cooperate. Then the scene takes a better turn as Yara stops humiliating him and speaks with him alone, showing some genuine affection which adds even more to their relationship. I really enjoyed these interactions.
Arya's storyline was pretty good as well. I liked her trying to kill Tywin when she learns of her plans. Some will complain about her not doing this earlier, but she knows that she only has three names and she is still a child who likely isn't thinking far enough into the future to realize how significant it will be to kill Tywin. It also made sense that Jaqen wouldn't be able to kill him since he is still human after all. It's good to get some insight that Jaqen isn't a godly being or a plot device. Additionally, I liked Arya manipulating Jaqen to get out of Harrenhal quickly with her friends.
I loved the scenes which hyped up Stannis' upcoming siege of King's Landing. The build-up was tense and dramatic and makes this upcoming battle feel like a huge deal. Most of this season has been set up, and this episode did a great job of demonstrating that the pay-off is upon us and we will be getting a really satisfying climax soon. To make this better, we were treated to a number of good scenes as this went on. Tyrion's interactions with Bronn are hilarious and fantastic, I love seeing them talk with each other and I'm invested int heir unique friendship. Tyrion and Varys were terrific as usual as they discuss the happenings in the world with great wit and humour. There was also a fantastic scene between Tyrion and Cersei, albeit one with a different tone from the previous episode. This time Cersei is back to being hostile, as she begins to cave under the pressure of Joffrey's awful reign combined with Stannis' looming threat. So she chooses to cement power over Tyrion once more, threatening to kill his whore, though luckily for Tyrions he has the wrong whore.
Robb was very good in this episode too and continues to be a terrific king. His anger at his mother for freeing Jaime (see: The Bad) is certainly warranted as she has embarrassed him in front of all of his men and taken away his advantage. I liked seeing Robb open up more to Talisa as well in these times of pressure. He is still young and thrust in a major role, so it makes sense for him to need to find a way to relieve some pressure. Unfortunately this leads to him breaking his vows to Walder Frey which can't possibly end well. It's a stupid decision, but we understand easily why he chose it, and he further tries to support it by telling himself that since he doesn't need to go south anymore, he didn't really need passage at The Twins anyways. It's dumb but understandable, unlike a similar decision made by Catelyn in this episode (see: The Bad).
Stannis and Davos had some great development in this episode. It has been hard to care for them too much this season, but this one scene has done an absolute ton for their story. Now we understand their relationship, their backstory and their dynamic together, adding to my investment in them as a whole. This makes the upcoming battle much more interesting, as it's difficult to choose a side to root for. I definitely want Joffrey to be unseated as king more than anything, but Tyrion is my favourite character so I'm pretty torn.
I liked some smaller things in this episode as well. Jaime remains terrific and his scenes with Brienne were witty and well-written. I also liked seeing a brief glimpse of Jon dealing with the consequences of not being able to kill when he needed to. It's a good lesson for him and I doubt that he will make the same mistake again.
The Bad: Catelyn's choice to free Jaime is beyond stupid and nonsensical. I understand that she would do anything to get her daughters back, but I have no idea why she thinks that the Lannisters would just send Sansa and Arya back. She knows they are evil and yet she agrees to a deal which they can either choose to honour or ignore entirely. It's stupid and motherly instincts do not excuse her motivation in the same way that being young and stressed excuses Robb's.
The Unknown: What will Tyrion do to protect King's Landing? He still has that wildfire which he can use.
What was the significance of the dragonglass that Sam and the others found?
Best Moment: Tyrion goes to Shae after fearing that Cersei had captured her. His raw emotion and love for her is on full display and it makes for a genuinely touching scene.
Character of the Episode: Tyrion.
Conclusion: This was another really good episode. While this one was another calm set-up episode, I really enjoyed it overall since it has promised a ton of action in the season's concluding episodes which are coming up next. The only flaw was Catelyn's decision and while that hurts the score slightly, I still have a very positive outlook on this episode as a whole.
Summary: Theon chases down Bran and Rickon. Later he shows the burned bodies of two boys to everyone. Ygritte continues to flirt with Jon and eventually leads him into a trap. Tywin and Arya have another chat. Jaime escapes his cell by killing his cousin but he is reprimanded instantly. Lord Karstark wants him dead but Catelyn protects Jaime. Xaro and Pyatt Pree kill the other thirteen in Qarth. Pyatt reveals that he has Dany's dragons.
The Good: Theon's story was strong once more as he continues to act more villainous s he tries to prove himself. He goes too far here as he tries to kill the Starks and may have actually succeeded, though I don't think so (see: The Unknown). Either way, it's good drama and continues to show us Theon's downfall as a human as he continues to hurt the Starks.
Jon and Ygritte were terrific here. Ygritte flirting is a ton of fun and the dialogue is funny and well written. I love the arguments regarding Jon's freedom as well as they really start to explore what Jon has lost by joining the Night's Watch. They really play into the idea that Jon may forsake his vows to be with Ygritte and that makes for fun and tense viewing all the way until the surprise ending where Jon gets captured by wildlings. I really like this development as well since it will likely allow us to learn more about the wildlings now.
Tywin and Arya stole the show once more with a terrific scene of dialogue. They have great chemistry and their conversations are fascinating and develop the world in interesting ways. "Game of Thrones" has been doing a terrific job of making the story engaging despite not following normal TV conventions. This show s unique because of scenes like this, and the show benefits greatly for it. I can't think of any other TV show which has lengthy scenes of characters simply talking about random things throughout an entire episode that has gripped me this much.
Another example of this conversation is with Jaime and his cousin. The dialogue felt so organic and believable that I felt like I was watching a real life conversation. It was fascinating and both characters came off well, especially Jaime who showed that charming side of himself once more before revealing his true heart as he tricks his cousin into getting close enough to be killed, aiding Jaime in escaping his cell. The whole sequence was terrific to watch and satisfied me a lot.
The rets of Jaime's story was great too. I loved seeing Lord Karstark trying to kill him despite the orders from Robb. I would completely buy that the Starks aren't happy to keep somebody vile like Jaime in the camp and it has caused organic dissension. I also liked seeing Catelyn step up to protect Jaime as she realizes that he is the only way she will get her daughters back.
Cersei had a very good episode as well as she got to show us her experience in motherhood. I appreciated her being honest with Sansa about motherhood, also giving her some advice to help her survive. It was the first hint she gave that she wasn't happy with Joffrey, which paid off a few scenes later with Tyrion. Cersei's emotions about how terrible Joffrey is felt very real and I loved seeing her say all this to Tyrion, who she despises, because he is all that she has. It was touching and it also did well to highlight the danger of Stannis as the two siblings who hate each other are now coming closer in times of desperation.
The Bad: Dany in Qarth wasn't that good. It was hard to care about the execution of the thirteen and both Xaro and Pyatt don't really interest me. The storytelling feels lame and rushed. Furthermore, I wasn't fond of Dany and Jorah's scene. I can understand Dany being angry, but Emilia Clarke's performance isn't really working for me so I struggle to buy into the story, as well as Jorah's love for her.
The Unknown: The Brotherhood Without Banners has been mentioned again. Who are they?
Where did Barristan end up going? He was mentioned again and we haven't seen him in 10 episodes now. Surely he will reappear somewhere.
Best Moment: Arya and Tywin's conversation was really good. I am enjoying their interactions a lot.
Character of the Episode: Jaime.
Conclusion: This was a really good episode, though it was a rather quiet one. Despite that, I thought that storylines progressed nicely and there was some great character development and exploration. A much stronger episode to build the story than the others ones we have seen earlier in the season.
Summary: Theon takes over Winterfell and kills Ser Rodrik. Osha has sex with him and then sneaks out and frees Bran, Rickon and Hodor. Robb is angry at what Theon did and wants him dead. Tywin is visited by Littlefinger who is sent to make an alliance with the Tyrells. Joffrey goes through the city to see off Myrcella who is going to Dorne but a riot breaks out when Joffrey threatens to kill everyone. Sansa is nearly raped but The Hound saves her. Dany doesn't get any help from Qarth and her dragons are taken. Jon ventures with Qhorin and they ambush a wildling camp. Jon stays behind to kill a wildling, Ygritte, but he can't go through with it and is separated from the group with Ygritte.
The Good: This was a lot better and had genuine emotion and conflict in almost all of the storylines. Theon's was the best here as his character is forced to officially commit to siding with the Greyjoys over the Starks, needing to even go as far as kill Ser Rodrick to prove his commitment to being a Greyjoy. Impressively, the show does a terrific job of showing Theon's inner conflict through these scenes and the stakes are always clear about the significance of his actions. Theon has turned on his family, and soon he will likely have to face the consequences of this decision.
The other storylines are similarly great. The riot sequence was frightening and intense, increasing the tension and conflict at King's Landing while also furthering how much of a threat Stannis is since Joffrey is widely hated by everyone. The riot was intense and frightening, especially for Sansa who had no protection until The Hound arrived to viciously kill her attackers. Scenes like these work very well in "Game of Thrones" because they have a very real sense of consequence. After all, a major character did just die last episode so it feels like somebody can die at any time. Additionally, Tyrion had a great scene as he completely lost control of his emotions when talking to Joffrey. It felt like an earned moment because Joffrey has caused total chaos once more, and Tyrion has been doing everything possible to repair the damage Joffrey has already done. This time it was too much and Tyrion had enough, making for a strong moment which is satisfying for me (and probably everyone else as well) because I despise Joffrey.
Jon's story was pretty good too. It nicely establishes his honour and how he is still a young man with little experience, which was touched on by Qhorin already. It was good to see Jon's inexperience hurt him as he discovers he can't kill Ygritte and he is then totally lost. On the other hand, Ygritte was terrific as she was flirtatious and funny at great times as she tries to make the most out of her position as Jon' captive. I enjoyed their interactions and I want to see more about where their story goes.
The Tywin and Arya scenes were terrific once more as their interactions remain strong. This episode had 2 terrific sequences of tension too. For the first, Littlefinger arrives and eyes Arya as he takes care of business with Tywin. It's extremely tense because we don't know if Littlefinger will discover her and the scene is shot superbly well to aid the feelings of tension. Furthermore, we get more exciting dialogue as Littlefigner and Tywin plan out the Lannisters next moves which are very important for us to know to keep following the politics of the show. The next sequence was when Amory Lorch discovered Arya stealing the letter which was even more tense since Arya was on a ticking clock to have him dead. The final moment of Lorch opening TYwin's door and falling dead was simultaneously funny and relieving which is very impressive. If a scene can make me feel two different emotions at once, that is a sign of strong storytelling and emotional engagement.
I am really enjoying the Spice King in Qarth. The way he dismissively ignores Dany is great to watch and his retorts to her passion are great and hard to argue. The dialogue is extremely well written which I love.
The Bad: Qarth isn't working for me despite all of the dialogue. the story feels like it is stagnant and stalling to stretch Qarth out an entire season which is pretty annoying. I want to see Dany start moving towards conquering Westeros, I have no interest in her accomplishing nothing in Qarth.
The Unknown: Does Littlefinger know about Arya? He was eying her so perhaps he did figure it out and didn't say anything to pursue his own goals. Will that come into play later this season?
Who took Dany's dragons?
Best Moment: Theon executing Rodrik was very powerful and a fitting moment to put Theon on the spot to prove that he is a traitor to the Starks, nothing more. The rest of the scene was terrific too, particularly Theon's interactins with Bran who was still treating Theon as a friend at first only to realize harshly that he has changed.
Character of the Episode: Theon.
Conclusion: This was a great episode with terrific moments in every storyline. There was powerful stuff, tense stuff and fun stuff all mixed together into what I think is the series' best episode so far.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.