Summary: Dany gets control over Meereen after a slave uprising. She cruelly punishes all the masters despite Barristan's advice. Littlefinger reveals his role in Joffrey's death to Sansa. Olenna tells Margaery she killed Joffrey. Margaery visits Tommen. Jaime visits Tyrion and believes he is innocent. Cersei isn't pleased by this. Brienne goes to hunt for Sansa and Jaime gives her his sword, armor and Podrick as gifts. In the North, Jon befriends Locke. Jon's wishes are granted and he takes a group of men to kill the mutineers. Bran continues north but is captured by the mutineers.
The Good: There was a lot of set-up here and I enjoyed it. The best stuff happened in the north as things have moved to an exciting stage where there is potential for a lot to happen. Jon is on a collision course with the mutineers, but there are the outliers in the form of Bran, the wildlings, the white walkers and Locke who all pose a threat. All of these threats were established in this episode and it helped raise the drama as well as my interest in the Night's Watch storyline. I enjoyed most of the individual scenes of set-up. I really liked the escalation of Jon and Alliser's conflict as there is now added drama of Jon possibly being picked as the new Lord Commander since the role is chosen via vote. I also liked the scenes at Craster's Keep as they made the mutineers into full-on nasty villains who we want to see die. Their capture of Bran was dramatic too and I'm excited to see where this development leads.
I liked getting the reveal of Joffrey's killer too. Littlefinger comes off as very smart to do this, but it does feel awkward that he just spills all of this to Sansa. I was ready to dump this in The Bad, but then I realized that Littlefinger wants to be with Sansa due to her resemblance to Catelyn, so he needs her to trust him. And he succeeded in doing that by telling her everything. I love that he worked with Olenna, who is quickly becoming another huge powerful figure in the series. The reveal that she killed Joffrey was great, and it only makes me enjoy her character more. I'm sad that she is going back to Highgarden for now, but hopefully she comes back later on.
Jaime's story continues to be very good. He had great scenes with Cersei and Tyrion, making it easy to understand his conflict. He loves his siblings, but they both despise each other, putting him in a position where he needs to pick a side to fight for. It's an engaging story and it also allows for more of the great dialogue that this series is known for. Jaime's best moments were at the end though as he bids Brienne a very sweet farewell. The work done on their relationship pays off here since I care greatly about these characters. Seeing Jaime give Brienne his Valyrian steel sword was touching, and Brienne naming it "Oathkeeper" was even better. I also loved Brienne getting Pod as a squire, which was both funny and nice.
Of course I have to discuss that terrific final sequence. The appearances of the White Walkers have been few and far in between, so I wasn't expecting a look at them again. I was totally caught off guard by this scene, but I was really pleased by it. The visuals were great as we got a glimpse at the White Walkers' home-world. I also love the reveal that the entire time Craster was living in his keep, he was essentially just growing the numbers of the White Walkers.
There were a few other really good parts to this episode too. Dany punishing the masters was an interesting development and you can't help but feel that her cruelty to her enemies will come back to hurt her at some point. I also enjoyed Margaery visiting Tommen. She puts on her charm once more and does a great job of gaining control of Tommen in the same way she did with Joffrey. Finally, I loved Olenna's story about Luthor. Her character is just so charismatic.
The Bad: Meereen was too easy to capture. The slave uprising went way too smoothly and I'm still annoyed by Dany getting by so easily. It's disappointing because this is the third time Dany has just waltzed through a major conflict.
I was bothered by the fact that Tyrion didn't ask Jaime to talk to Tywin about his situation. He is aware that Tywin is incriminating him, so shouldn't he at least try to ask Jaime to change Tywin's mind? I would have liked this to be addressed in some way.
I didn't like that there was no follow-up on the rape in the last episode. I guess it wasn't intended to be a rape which somehow makes the scene even worse. The lack of self-awareness in that scene got worse due to the fact that both Cersei and Jaime didn't even address what had just happened.
The Unknown: Ramsay sent Locke to find Bran and Rickon. What about Jon though? He befriends Jon, so does he plan to kill him? Or is he just using him as a connection?
What is going to happen to Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen? Will they be discovered by Jon?
Is there a sort of hierarchy or belief system for the White Walkers? The final scene made it clear that they have some sort of system and a leader that they follow. I'm very intrigued and I want more information.
Best Moment: The final sequence was great.
Character of the Episode: Jaime.
Conclusion: This was a good set-up episode which continues the story organically. I enjoyed this and I'm ready for more.
Summary: Ross and Chandler get excited when an old friend Gandalf is coming to New York so they can party. Rachel tries to get Joanna to get her a promotion. Monica and Phoebe start their catering business but Monica gets a job offer as a head chef.
The Good: Monica's story was solid in this episode. Her conflict with wanting the head chef job despite making promises to Phoebe was well fleshed out and led to its organic conclusion. I liked the story. The guys had a nice story too as they were forced to deal with the fact that they have gotten older, and it led to a couple odd laughs. Rachel's story was the funniest, though it had flaws (see: The Bad).
The Bad: Unfortunately the episode wasn't very funny. It was one of the most ordinary episodes of the show so far. Furthermore, a lot of the stories felt like rather generic sitcom stories. While I liked Monica's story, it was resolved in the easiest and most predictable way possible. It wasn't anything special, nor was it particularly funny. Also, Joanna was a bit too excessive in Rachel's interview for my liking. I would have been willing to overlook it if it was the only flaw, but it wasn't. The Joanna story totally lost the plot with one of my least favourite sitcom clichés: the convenient death of a side character. It isn't very funny and I wasn't happy to see "Friends" indulge in a cliché like this.
Best Moment: Nothing really stands out. I guess I'll go with Joanna telling Sophie she's completely useless as it was the funniest moment for me.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: This episode was pretty ordinary. The stories were fine but the comedy was sorely lacking.
Summary: The consensus is to kill Randall but Dale begs for a day for him to convince others to see reason. He goes to everyone, but they don't listen. The consensus is still to kill Randall. Carl goes rogue and tries to kill a walker. He fails and the walker escapes. Rick goes to kill Randall but is unable to do it when Carl arrives and tells him to do it. Dale walks away on his own but is attacked and killed by the walker that Carl was unable to kill.
The Good: This episode was another one focused on the Randall story, and because of that it felt stronger and more enjoyable. The focus on Randall paid off from the first moment when Daryl was interrogating Randall with violence. It was dramatic and effective, and I enjoyed it.
The Randall focus provided a good conflict to examine an important theme: the remains of civilization in an apocalypse. This episode becomes emotionally affecting and memorable because of this exploration and the conclusion it reaches: that civilization is dead. This is such a dark and depressing direction to take the show, and it works for the most part.
The exploration stems from Dale who tries to fight for Randall's life. While I had my problems with that, (see: The Bad), I thought it was a solid storyline. I particularly liked that Dale's conversations allowed us to see how a lot of the other characters are dealing with the Randall situation, also giving us insight on where their current morals and relationships lie. I thought this was particularly effective with Daryl and Hershel who both got good lines to make them more likeable and show more of their personality without being annoying. This was much better character development than what was happening in the first half of the season.
This does build to a great climax too. I enjoyed the group discussion as everyone felt in character as they discussed, but it never really stood out as a particularly great scene of drama. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't special and at first I was underwhelmed with how simple it was, as it didn't feel like a proper emotional pay-off. But thankfully, the story was much stronger than that. First there was a great scene where Rick finds he can't pull the trigger after he saw what the new world is doing to Carl, which was a strong scene carried by Andrew Lincoln's great performance. It was a good piece of storytelling and it seems to have made Rick pull back on his Shane-like instincts which I imagine will reopen the conflict between him and Shane as Shane has most certainly noticed Rick's current weakness.
But then it all led to Dale's death scene at the end. While that scene was flawed as well (see: The Bad), it felt like a huge deal and a significant moment, one which I wasn't expecting. It will likely be a cataclysmic event with a greater significance than Sophia's death since Dale stands for the humanity in the group, yet now he is dead. Carl will already be facing the consequences of his actions now that he has noticed the walker that killed Dale was the one he encountered, so that's already one significant development. I imagine we will be seeing more in the next episode, which will likely build up something big for the season finale.
Lastly, I really liked the Glenn and Hershel scene. It was a nice little scene which I appreciated.
The Bad: Unfortunately Dale bugging everyone got annoying and repetitive fast. I mentioned how all the other characters got good development, but Dale did not. He was a broken record for the whole episode and I really wish that they had saved his arguments for the big argument scene to make that moment feel more important. Sadly, by making Dale annoying, it also hurt the emotion I felt when he died.
Carl's story wasn't very good either. While it is hard to demonstrate what a young kid would feel during an apocalypse, I feel like what we got wasn't very good. For one, it's hard to relate to Carl and sympathize with him, making his story feel very awkward. If I can't get emotionally engaged, the story is already not working. Furthermore, Chandler Riggs isn't doing a good job of playing Carl, and poor acting takes away a lot of the story being told. Also, where the hell are Lori and Rick? Do they never watch their kid ever? Every single episode Carl goes off alone and these two never seem to learn. It's awfully convenient that they are such awful parents and it is already becoming a plot device. What makes this worse is that Rick is presented as a good father, considering the lectures he gives Carl, and yet he doesn't seem to take care of him. It's worse for Lori though who literally does nothing for an entire episode and yet she still can't watch her son for more than 15 seconds.
Dale's death wasn't staged very well. He was walking in an open field where he should be able to see and hear everything. There's no way a walker can just sneak up on him like that. Furthermore, I find it tough to believe that the hands of a walker could just rip him open the way that they did. Sure, it was dramatic, gruesome and affecting, but it does stretch believability.
This episode was dark, brutal and depressing. While it certainly did do its job of making me feel something, it has left me feeling hopeless and depressed. The problem with this is that I don't care about many of the characters or stories in the show, mostly just a select few. This show has been relying on brutal misery to keep us invested and I don't think that makes for a great TV show. That's how this episode affected me more than anything else, and I don't think that's a good thing because I'm not properly invested in the story. If this keeps up, emotions like these are more than capable of driving me away from a story if I'm not completely invested in what's happening.
The Unknown: How will Carl react to Dale's death? What will his guilt be like? He is certainly a very unpredictable character at the moment.
What was the significance of Andrea siding with Dale about Randall's fate?
What happens to Randall now? I don't imagine that Shane takes too kindly with Rick's decision. Could they be heading towards a huge confrontation in the season finale?
Best Moment: Rick choosing not to kill Randall and being forced to face who he has become was a great moment. It was surprisingly subtle and I really enjoyed it.
Character of the Episode: Rick.
Conclusion: This was a big and eventful episode for the show and it has provided the most difficult mixture of good and bad to base a score off of. The episode was memorable and powerful, but was also poorly executed at times and unrelentingly miserable. Its strengths managed to also be its weaknesses and I'm left rather confused by how I feel about the episode and the show as a whole. I do feel more positive emotions than negative ones though, so I will give this episode a solid score, and I hope that the series finds a way to build off of this in a good way.
Summary: Sansa escapes King's Landing with Littlefinger. Tywin preps Tommen for his new role as king. Jaime rapes Cersei next to Joffrey's dead body. Tyrion is imprisoned for Joffrey's murder. He tells Pod to leave King's Landing for his safety. Tywin assigns himself, Mace Tyrell and Oberyn as the judges for Tyrion's trial. The Hound robs an innocent man who decided to let him and Arya stay the night. Arya is angered. Sam takes Gilly to Molestown. The wildlings attack and slaughter a village. Davos comes up with a way to pay for troops. Dany arrives outside Meereen.
The Good: This was a solid episode with several good developments. Nothing stood out too much, but as a whole, I thought it was an effective follow-up to the chaos in the last episode.
The return of Littlefinger was a terrific moment which managed to be both surprising and unsurprising. Of course Littlefinger would have something to do with Joffrey's death, and I'm interested to find out exactly how involved he is. I also liked the way that Littlefinger manipulated Sansa in this episode. He is an untrustworthy man, but he makes Sansa trust him by painting everyone else as worse than him. It's brilliant to see, and I always thought that Littlefinger was written better in small scenes like this.
Tywin was great in this episode. He got over Joffrey's death extremely quickly, suspiciously quickly, which makes me believe that he may have had a role in Joffrey's death. I really liked the way he prepped Tommen for a kingly role while coldly saying how bad of a king Joffrey was, as it showed how straightforward this character is, and how he takes advantage of every situation to better his position. Tywin is fascinating, and this entire situation has been shockingly favourable for him. He even goes to Oberyn in an attempt to befriend Dorne, knowing that he needs them as allies. And now Tyrion is in prison too, and you would have to believe that Tywin would be happy to have the public believe that Tyrion is guilty. Everything is working out for Tywin and it is engaging to watch him do his job.
Tyrion's final conversation with Pod was great. The scene did a great job of illustrating exactly how much trouble Tyrion is due to certain circumstances. Sansa's disappearance only worsens his situation and brings up even more questions about who was responsible for this (see: The Unknown). Of course it's easy to sympathize with Tyrion and I'm excited to see how he will try to get out of this situation. Furthermore, the goodbye to Pod was a genuinely touching moment. Even though we don't know Pod very well, we understand his relationship with Tyrion, making the scene meaningful and emotional.
Tyrion's isn't the only situation that feels dire. Everything involving the Night's Watch feels like a big deal since the battle against the wildlings will be 100 vs 10,000. Their desperation is believable and I enjoyed seeing them strategize to prepare for battle. I also love that the mutineers have come back into the story in an organic way. The reasoning to go kill them makes perfect sense and it should make for some more exciting storytelling before what I can only assume will be a huge battle between the wildlings and the Night's Watch.
A few other scenes were quite good. I want to get more attention on Oberyn and Tywin's scene. There were great tensions throughout the scene due to Oberyn's hatred towards Tywin, but I love how Tywin did everything he could to befriend Oberyn. It's an interesting development but I definitely don't see it sticking. Also, I enjoyed the brief scene of Daario killing the Meereen representative. It was appropriately quick and Daario did get to show more of his personality which is good for his character. I also enjoyed Cersei and Jaime's scene for the most part. Cersei was appropriately resentful towards Tyrion and I love the callback to when Tyrion told Cersei he will take her happiness away when she least suspects it. It felt very real and I liked it.
The Bad: But the Jaime/Cersei scene was totally ruined by the end. Cersei was hateful and relenting while Jaime was fair and relatable. Evidently, Jaime was more of a hero and Cersei was more of a villain. But then these character arcs were destroyed when Jaime raped Cersei. Jaime gets a major setback after all of the terrific character work and Cersei for whatever reason is meant to garner sympathy, despite her having been called a "hateful woman" a second ago. This reversal of roles is awkward and doesn't benefit either character, damaging all of the storylines involved. It's frustrating to see something so poor in what was otherwise a very good episode.
Dany's storyline is lacking once more. I can't help but fear that Dany is about to reach another easy victory and that is rather annoying. I want something more interesting for her. Additionally, the storyline about Jorah, Barristan, Daario and Grey worm all fighting for Dany's affections feels extremely dull and pointless. I have no reason to care and it's already getting repetitive and annoying.
The Unknown: What does Littlefinger have planned for Sansa? I can't imagine it's anything good. Furthermore, what was his exact involvement with Joffrey's murder? Could he have orchestrated the whole thing to create chaos? Could Littlefinger have been in cohorts with Tywin about this to help set up a more ideal king for a reign? This all seems to have worked remarkably well for both Tywin and Littlefinger, so I have my suspicions. It also worked well for Olenna, who never liked the idea of Joffrey marrying Margaery. Could she have been involved too?
How does Davos plan to get the iron bank to fund Stannis? That should be an engaging storyline.
How does Tyrion plan to get out of his situation?
Best Moment: I'll pick Tyrion and Pod's last conversation. A genuinely touching scene.
Character of the Episode: Tywin.
Conclusion: This was a strong episode, following up on one of the biggest moments of the show. I enjoyed this a lot, but the poor Jaime/Cersei rape scene drags the score down because of how detrimental it was.
Summary: Roose arrives in Winterfell, which Ramsay has occupied. Theon completely obeys Ramsay now. Roose is upset that Theon is so mutilated since Roose had hoped to use Theon as a hostage. Varys informs Tyrion that Shae has been discovered. Tyrion forces her to leave by pretending he doesn't want her anymore. Shae leaves. At Joffrey's wedding, tensions rise between many of the guests. Joffrey continues to be an asshole. Tyrion subtly insults Joffrey, so Joffrey takes it upon himself to terrorize Tyrion to everyone's displeasure. Margaery tries to direct attention elsewhere but it doesn't work. Joffrey drinks wine but suddenly starts choking and eventually dies. Cersei has her guard arrest Tyrion as the prime suspect.
The Good: This was a fantastic episode with so much executed well. This episode delivered way past my expectations, and was one of the best episodes of the show with ease.
The wedding was a masterclass in tension. After the red wedding, this wedding had me on the edge of my seat, as I was expecting something crazy to happen at any second. I thought perhaps something would happen to Tyrion, Oberyn may cause some major trouble, or something else which is just as crazy. I was scared all the way through, and by the end, that crazy event happened, and it still managed to shock and impress me on a huge level (see: Best Moment).
Joffrey was awful in this episode, and I say that in the best possible way. He was such a sociopathic prick in this episode and was horrendous to just about everyone. From his rude dismissal of the talented singers to him slicing up Tyrion's book with his new sword, he managed to offend just about everyone. The midgets demonstrating the War of Five Kings is pretty good because it's so tasteless and yet Joffrey finds it to be the funniest thing ever. Seeing him laughing so hard as everyone else sits uncomfortably was terrific storytelling, and even Margaery seemed to be miserable in this episode as she couldn't even rein Joffrey in and prevent him from harassing Tyrion.
But by making Joffrey worse than ever made the final scene a thing of beauty to anyone watching this show. I don't think I've ever been so elated after watching a character die, but I couldn't stop smiling during that final scene as Joffrey finally got what was coming to him as he died a painful death at his own wedding. Furthermore, the scene works on an even bigger level as Joffrey's death has thrown the show into chaos and it seems that the dynamic of the show will be changing drastically, and all of this has happened just three episodes after the red wedding, an event just as massive as this one. It's great to see the plot taking such daring and satisfying moves, and it makes for some terrific pay-off for all of us who have gone through the patient pace that this show operates at.
Joffrey's death has propelled the story in an extremely interesting direction. Now there is a tempting mystery of who killed him, and the best part is that I don't know the answer. It seems like everyone in the Seven Kingdoms wants Joffrey's head on a spike, so pretty much every character barring Cersei and Jaime seem likely to be responsible for his death. Could it have actually been Tyrion? Sansa? Margaery? Tywin? Oberyn? Melisandre? Dontos? Varys? Littlefinger? Olenna? All of these characters do have legitimate reasons to kill Joffrey, and it should be excited to see who is actually responsible. But for now Tyrion is taking the fall for Joffrey's death, and I think that is a great idea for a story as Tyrion is the character we sympathize most with, so it should be compelling to see him try to get out of this pickle.
The other scenes at the wedding were very good as well and I thought there were some terrific character moments. Cersei is on her final day with power so she is appropriately glum, but she also decides to prey on the weak to try to assert dominance somehow by threatening Pycelle and Brienne and also screwing over Tyrion by telling Tywin about Shae. Loras and Jaime sparring about Cersei was great too and I loved some of the dialogue they shared. I also loved seeing Loras and Oberyn making eyes at each other, a lovely little bit of character.
The other major storyline in this episode was Tyrion being forced to get rid of Shae so she isn't killed. Their scene together was really sad and powerful as Tyrion has to lie through his teeth to make Shae hate him just so she can escape King's Landing alive. The scene is so tragic and it's genuinely heartbreaking seeing Shae cry and Tyrion being forced to keep his cold demeanor.
I liked Roose and Ramsay's scenes too. It was good to get an idea of what their relationship is as both of them are key villains in the story now. I like that Ramsay's sadism doesn't exactly impress Roose, as Roose is just angry that Theon has been defiled and is no longer useful as a hostage. I also appreciate that Ramsay was smart enough to try to use Theon to make a deal with the Greyjoys but simply didn't value an agreement as much as Roose did. It's a good contrast between the two characters. As an aside, it was good to see Theon react to Robb's death as it was both heartbreaking and painful to see him lose all hope and continue to serve Ramsay.
There were a few other scenes which I liked. Jaime training his left hand with Bronn was fun, and I really like the idea behind that pairing. I hope we get to see them together again. I was also very happy to learn more about Selyse and her relationship with Shireen compared to how Stannis deals with her.
The Bad: Nothing was bad. This was a consistent episode.
The Unknown: Who was the woman that Ramsay was torturing early in the episode? Was she anyone significant, or just somebody random to entertain Ramsay?
What was Bran's vision about? It seemed much more significant than his previous visions. What awaits him when he goes north?
Does Brienne actually love Jaime? I don't think so, but it is possible.
Who killed Joffrey then? Clearly Dontos played a role in this, but I don't think he was the killer. Who did it then? This question will likely drive the next few episodes.
Also, I can't stop thinking about Melisandre's blood magic now. Robb and Joffrey have already been killed. Is Balon next? Did Melisandre actually cause this? Or is it just dumb coincidence? What would have happened if Gendry was actually burned?
Best Moment: Joffrey's death was nothing short of incredible. Not only was it an emotionally satisfying moment, but it genuinely shocked me and opens up the story to a ton of new possibilities which really excite me. This is a great way to shake up the show, and has me really excited to see what season 4 has in store for us.
Character of the Episode: Joffrey. He's a jerk, but this was his send-off episode. I would also like to take a moment and mention how good Jack Gleeson played the character. A terrific performance.
Conclusion: This was an outstanding episode. This is how to shock your audience and make unexpectedly huge changes to a story without losing the emotional focus and character development. This episode was executed perfectly and is one of "Game of Thrones" best episodes so far.
Summary: Joey is still angry with Chandler, who is desperate to find a way to make it up to him. Joey tells Chandler to sit in a box for 6 hours as punishment. Monica hurts her eye and goes to see an eye doctor who she thinks is really cute, but it's Richard's son. Ross discovers that Rachel exchanges every gift she receives and is upset about it.
The Good: This was a terrific episode. There were three stories intertwined by Thanksgiving, giving this episode a good flow with plenty of interactions between all of the characters. It helps that every story was enjoyable and had funny moments. The Joey/Chandler story is great and plays off of their relationship very well. I love the callback to when Joey lost all of their furniture, and I think that it led to a funny, reasonable and effective way to get Joey and Chandler back on good terms quickly. Although I do wish we got to see the dynamic of Joey being annoyed a little more, as it led to several great jokes and lines, especially with Chandler in the box. I liked the ending too, as it played off of Joey's good heart by having the sad scene with Kathy make him immediately forgive Chandler. The "happy ending" vibe was good as well and I thought it was a fitting end to the story. Monica's story was very good too. She couldn't help but fall for Richard's son despite everything that's happened, but in the end she knows that she can't go through with it. The story is good, but better yet, it leads to a number of great moments, including one where Monica gets to tell off all of her friends for their flawed lives. The Ross and Rachel story is the most flawed (see: The Bad), but I still really enjoyed it as a C-story which provided the odd few laughs. It was a funny storyline, and the petty dialogue is well-written and leads to a few really good lines.
The Bad: Ross and Rachel being at each other's throats made sense when they had just broken up, but not here. It feels like the writers simply liked the way they insulted each other and decided to continue that despite it not being consistent with what we had learned about these two characters in the last three seasons.
Best Moment: There are a few to choose from. My favourite has to be Chandler, while in the box, asking what happened in the TV only for Joey to respond with "you kissed my girlfriend".
Character of the Episode: Joey.
Conclusion: This was a really strong episode with tons of funny moments and three really great storylines. The Thanksgiving episodes always seem to deliver in this show.
Summary: Jimmy goes on a bus ride and writes postcards the entire time. He returns to Kim and they prepare to enact the plan. Kim is executing a con, as Jimmy will pose as the people of Huell's hometown Coushatta, who all love him and don't want him imprisoned. Kim pressures the attorney and the judge with fake letters and Huell is ultimately allowed to get no jail time. The con rekindles Jimmy and Kim's relationship. Kim gains a desire to do more conning and tells Jimmy that they will do another one. Mike lets his guys go to a strip club. Kai causes trouble again and a drunk Werner reveals too much information to another man. Mike isn't pleased and reports it to Gus but says it won't be a problem. Nacho is running the Salamancas' business himself now but is secretly planning to skip town with his father. However Lalo Salamanca arrives to monitor Nacho's business.
The Good: Much like "Fall" last season, this episode was coated in dread. I was on-edge the entire time watching it and the tension never really diffused as all of the central characters were placed in a position where their plans are setting up for failure and disaster.
Jimmy and Kim's story was the central focus of the episode, fitting after all of the set-up last week, and I think their story was the strongest, unsurprisingly. The con that Kim came up with to get Huell out of his situation was very fun to watch. The scenes were slowly paced but they were extremely well-crafted (again, unsurprisingly), and also just delightful to watch with a lot of fun moments. Jimmy's Cajun accent, Huell being treated as Santa Claus and the return of the film crew were extremely fun and added a lot to the experience. Of course that teaser sequence was classic "Better Call Saul" by showing us a character doing something we don't fully understand with some fun moments and very good scene construction.
But the storyline never feels too happy and pleasant as there is always tension present. With the season nearing its conclusion and Kim and Jimmy's relationship on rocky ground, it felt like something was bound to go wrong. The amount of focus on Ms. Ericsen only increased these feelings as I was constantly nervous that she would figure out something and get both Kim and Jimmy in huge trouble. The story was paced slowly, but with fun moments and tense moments both, it became really engaging.
The best part of the Kim and Jimmy storyline was of course what happened to their relationship. I, along with most of the internet, suspected that Kim and Jimmy's relationship would end soon after Kim saves Jimmy, but surprisingly, "Better Call Saul" swerved in a new direction with Kim and I really love it, but more on that later (see: Best Moment). I do like that the show went with the unexpected and reignited the Jimmy/Kim relationship with a con. This made sense too as their relationship was always the most passionate when these two were conning others as Viktor and Giselle. It's a great call-back and is a logical way to bring them back together. However, this can't possibly be good for Kim, who I am genuinely scared for now. Her career has hit the roof and now she is taking a massive risk by working with Jimmy, so there is genuine fear that she will lose everything because of their relationship, which I think is a much better story than having them just slowly drift apart. Leave it to this show to still surprise and impress me.
There were some specific scenes which I really enjoyed. Mrs. Nguyen and Jimmy briefly talking about Jimmy's problems with Kim was a nice scene and I appreciate seeing Mrs. Nguyen help Jimmy out, after all they have known each other for a good while now. Kim has a lot of great scenes in this episode. I liked that she keeps the Zafiro bottle cap in her office, showing how much the exciting cons with Jimmy meant to her. I also liked the scene with Kevin and Paige as it effectively illustrated that Kim is starting to lose interest again, while also letting us understand why as what they are doing is pretty boring.
Mike's story was much better in this episode, as the possibilities have opened up for where his storyline is heading. I initially thought it would just be Kai who is an issue and that Mike may end up killing him as a first kill, but that would have been pretty flat, predictable and inconsistent with what we have seen of Mike so far, as he has always been avoiding the kill option. But now by having not only Kai, but also Werner make a fatal error, it feels like the lives of all of the Germans are in danger here. Mike doesn't want to kill them, but he may be forced to, which is much more interesting for his character, and will likely help him make the big change from BCS Mike to BB Mike. Furthermore, I care about Werner after he got some great scenes to bond with Mike, so I'm more engaged with the story overall.
Lastly, I get to Nacho's story which was excellent. The first sequence with Nacho was an effective way to show us what has changed in his lifestyle since we last saw him. He runs the Salamanca operation now and has everything, a big house, girls and tons of money. But Nacho doesn't enjoy it, as he is still stuck being somebody he doesn't want to be, ripping out earrings and acting touch. When he gets home he feels deflated and can only look at some fake IDs to get some hope, promising an escape and a new life on the horizon. But that all goes out the window at the end of the episode with the introduction of Lalo, another Salamanca for Nacho to contend with, making him feel more trapped than ever, still unable to escape.
Lalo was terrific in his brief scene and immediately has a presence. He is so cheerful and charming in his personality, and yet he is chilling and has a terrifying atmosphere around him, making him an ideal villain for the show. I especially loved the introduction to Lalo as we hear some friendly music inside El Michoacano, but we know something bad has happened. Domingo and the cook are sitting at a table, silent and unmoving, which is chilling in itself as none of them dare to speak a word. It's a great introduction to Lalo and lets us know everything we need to know about who he is.
The Bad: Nothing I would call bad.
The Unknown: Why was Lalo sent to Nacho's operation now? What happened that required his presence? What are his real motives?
What is going to happen to Kim now that she is going to be conning more regularly again? Will her relationship with Jimmy persist? More interestingly, having Kim turn to her darker desires does actually make her fate a little more unclear. I could legitimately see her working alongside "Saul Goodman" now, so perhaps a break-up isn't on the horizon after all. Or this is all just a big red herring. Either way, I know I will be satisfied by what happens.
Best Moment: Kim approaches Jimmy at the end of the episode with a desire to con once more. Jimmy does his usual shtick where he says he won't do anything questionable again. But with Kim joining him, there is nobody around to keep him in line, which could spell disastrous results for everybody. It's a scary and foreboding scene because of that and a lot more effective. Additionally, I loved seeing how turned on Kim was by all of the conning, and her desire to do more felt significant, and it felt genuine. Great storytelling.
Character of the Episode: Kim.
Conclusion: This was a really strong episode, coated with tension, and it also puts all of the central cast in precarious positions for their stories, as it feels that one wrong move will send everything crashing down. This episode was really enjoyable to watch, and did a great job of establishing the show's future.
Summary: Joey starts dating another girl while also dating Kathy. One night he can't make it back for Kathy, and she ends up kissing Chandler. The gang encourages Ross to bust out his keyboard music, but everyone sans Phoebe find it appalling.
The Good: The Chandler and Joey storyline continues to be engaging. Chandler is mostly funny as he keeps spitting out one-liners and his desperation to get out of his situation with Joey was terrific. The blow up at the end with Joey was great, as it's easy to sympathize with the positions that both characters find themselves in and it's understandable that Joey would be angry and Chandler genuinely apologetic. As an aside, I also love scenes when the entire group gathers together. Every character is allowed to infuse their type of comedy into the scene at organic times to make for some quality humour.
The Bad: The Ross story is pretty awful though and it drags down the episode. The idea of Ross being oblivious to his awful music is terrible, and worse yet is Phoebe's love for it. The show then totally losing the plot by having all of the friends be awful people. They allow Ross to humiliate himself in public by playing the keyboards (somehow he doesn't notice that other people hate it!!), and then Monica and Phoebe trash Phoebe by saying she sucks too. It's poor writing and some extremely basic laughs aren't enough to save the story.
Best Moment: The group talking about Chandler kissing Kathy was very funny and I particularly like the reveal that everyone thought Chandler should tell Joey but nobody had the guts to say anything.
Character of the Episode: Chandler.
Conclusion: This was one half of a good episode and one half of the worst "Friends" episode yet. After a hot early run this season, an episode like this feels like a major disappointment.
Summary: Tywin creates two Valyrion steel swords by reforging Ice. Tywin gives one to Jaime with hopes that Jaime will become the heir to Casterly Rock but Jaime refuses to resign from the Kingsguard. Cersei is angry that Jaime took so long to arrive. Tyrion welcomes Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne to King's Landing. Oberyn expresses a heavy distaste for Lannisters because The Mountain murdered his sister and her children on orders from Tywin. Brienne intends to protect Sansa who is still grieving her family. Arya and The Hound arrive at a tavern. Arya sees Polliver and goes inside with The Hound. They kill everyone inside and Arya gets Needle back, getting a revenge kill on Polliver. Jon is tried for breaking his oaths but he is spared. He relays information about Mance's impending attack. Dany heads to Meereen but discovers that they have crucified slaves on every mile to the city.
The Good: I appreciated that we finally got a cold open for "Game of Thrones". I liked the intro with Tywin reforging Ned's sword Ice, establishing before the credits roll that Tywin is in control of pretty much all of Westeros.
Aside from that new development, the rest of this episode felt like a recap of where every character currently is, but the content we got was really solid.
Arya and The Hound stole the show during the climactic scene of the episode. Their interactions are really good and we can easily understand why they are still sticking together forming a sort of alliance. The dialogue between them is really good and there are lots of funny lines throughout. I really enjoyed the final action sequence as it was pretty exciting and well-choreographed. It also featured the extremely satisfying moment when Arya stepped into the fight, ruthlessly knocking out and killing the Lannister soldiers before she exacted some vengeance on Polliver by killing him the same way he killed Lommy.
Jaime had a very good story in this episode as he's forced to deal with the changes in his life now that he has returned to King's Landing. Not only has he lost a hand but his life appears to be falling apart. His father despises him for not being a true heir, Cersei is unreasonably angry because he took so long to get back, and now he's being shamed by Joffrey and Meryn Trant for not being good enough in the Kingsguard. His struggles are compelling because of how much I sympathize with Jaime now, and I look forward to seeing what more will be done with his character this season.
I adored the introduction of Oberyn. His introduction tells us everything we need to know about him in a few minutes. He is introduced with great charisma and a strong presence, making him immediately memorable which is necessary for him to stand out amongst the many, many other characters in this show. I really appreciated that we got his backstory and motives as well as he spoke with Tyrion, revealing his resentment of the Lannisters, which will likely lead to some bigger pay-off later on.
The other scenes in King's Landing were good too. Tyrion's scene with Sansa was pretty good. Tyrion was genuine as he tried to help her but Sansa has been through a lot and it's understandable that she wants to be alone. Olenna was terrific as ever as she respects and adores Brienne for being a true woman. I liked the conversation between Brienne and Margaery, as well as Brienne's talk with a frustrated Jaime. Bronn continues to be hilarious and every other line of dialogue he says has me laughing.
I enjoyed Jon's scene as he answered to Alliser and Maester Aemon about breaking his vows by infiltrating a wildling camp. I appreciated his honesty and I like that he was rewarded for it my Aemon. I was pleased to see Janos return as well as he logically will have made it to Castle Black by now after Tyrion sent him away.
Dany's story is fine. There isn't much of note happening in her storyline this episode, but it's easy to watch and the characters are getting more defined. I do appreciate that Grey Worm and Daario are getting more screen time. The new actor playing Daario has a much better presence than the last, so I certainly like it.
The Bad: It would have been nice if the show could have found a similar actor to the previous one playing Daario, or at least explain his change in appearance somehow.
The Unknown: Has Shae just been found by Cersei? That's certainly not good.
What are the Thenns? Are they cannibals? Also, what has happened to Mance? He doesn't seem to be making any movements to assault at the moment. Did something happen in his camp?
Meereen seems like a more threatening place. Can the people in Meereen provide some actual conflict for Dany?
I don't trust Dontos. His appearance seems genuine, but I can't imagine he is working alone.
Best Moment: Arya killing Polliver was satisfying. That's two episodes in a row that Arya killing somebody has been the best moment.
Character of the Episode: Arya.
Conclusion: This was a really good premiere. Not a whole lot happened, but the content was very enjoyable and storylines were introduced in an entertaining way.
Summary: News reaches King's Landing of the red wedding. Tyrion speaks with Tywin and learns of his role in the red wedding. Jaime returns to Cersei. Varys asks Shae to leave. Bran continues heading north and runs into Sam. Ygritte shoots Jon with arrows out of frustration but doesn't kill him. Jon returns to Castle Black. Arya kills her first man after she overhears him talking about the red wedding. Roose Bolton is named Warden of the North. His bastard Ramsay continues torturing Theon. Yara prepares to save him. Davos saves Gendry when he learns that Stannis plans to burn him. Stannis orders Davos to die, but Davos reveals the threat north of The Wall. Melisandre tells Stannis that Davos still has a part to play. Dany is worshipped by the Yunkai slaves she freed.
The Good: This was a quiet finale, but still a strong one, and honestly after the previous episode's events, a quieter episode was certainly necessary.
The direct fallout of the red wedding was pretty good. It was suitably horrific seeing Robb paraded around with Grey Wind's head stitched to his body, and Arya's reaction was heartbreaking as expected. Arya has gone through a lot and she is slowly turning into a cold-blooded killer, and her first steps towards this occurred when she gets her first kill in the episode's best scene (see: Best Moment).
The other scenes following up on the red wedding were very good too. I really enjoyed the council meeting at King's Landing. Joffrey was suitably elated but he quickly turned to anger after he was pressed by both Tyrion and Tywin to start behaving like a proper king. The scene was very tense and I loved seeing Tywin put Joffrey in his place in an extremely subtle manner. Better yet was the scene between Tywin and Tyrion afterwards as its revealed that Tywin was also heavily responsible for the red wedding, as he orchestrated the entire event. Tyrion's disgust at this is easy to understand, but Tywin's cold dismissal of his criticisms is terrific, and I think the show has done a fantastic job of making us understand both of these characters so that we know why they behave the way they do. And to add on to the scene's quality, both characters can actually be viewed in a sympathetic light depending on your perspective, allowing the show to explore some fascinating grey territory, a necessary development after such a seismic and horrific event took place in the last episode.
The other scenes in King's Landing were solid too. I liked seeing Tyrion and Sansa bond a little more and grow closer only for it to be ruined by news of Robb's death. Sansa's reaction was appropriately sad and necessary as we needed at least a little bit of time for the characters to mourn the losses. Jaime's reunion with Cersei was a good moment too. Had it been a season prior, I wouldn't have cared much, but the excellent handling of Jaime's character this season made that a standout scene. Lastly, I also liked Varys telling Shae to leave. I'm not sure if Tyrion had ordered him to tell her this, and it would be interesting if Varys genuinely does care enough for Tyrion to try to get Shae to safety by his own will.
The scenes with Davos on Dragonstone were very good too. Davos is a fantastic character, and I really loved seeing him continuing to follow his heart to do what's right. He is easily one of the most likable characters on the show, and he brings a sense of reality to Stannis' storyline to make me invested. Without him, I really wouldn't care at all. His decision to help Gendry was great as I easily understood why he would do it despite knowing he would have to face the consequences. Of course, Shireen was as sweet as ever and her friendship with Davos remains really good.
Surprisingly, Bran received a central role in this episode and I believe he got more screen-time than anybody else. I really enjoyed his story about how the gods treated those who killed guests under their roof, as it assured us that vengeance will be coming for the Freys and hopefully the Boltons as well. I'm not sure how long we will have to wait, but I absolutely need to see them die violently before the show ends. Back to Bran though, I liked him running into Sam as it provided us with some fresh interactions, which were much-needed for both the Sam and the Bran storylines. Furthermore, I'm much more intrigued by Bran's mission to the north, and I suspect that he may put on a more important role in future seasons (see: The Unknown).
There were a few other scenes I really enjoyed. Roose and Walder's conversation was great as both remain some of the most hated characters in the show. I was pleased that we got confirmation on Ramsay's identity, and also an explanation on what exactly happened to Winterfell in "Valar Morghulis". I also did enjoy Ramsay taunting Theon after he was castrated as it does give him more personality and charisma. Ygritte shooting Jon repeatedly was a nice scene as well as it highlighted Ygritte's sadness after Jon betrayed her and it was fairly powerful.
The Bad: We haven't seen Yara and Balon at all this season, so for them to suddenly appear and get a lengthy scene doesn't deliver as well as it should. We don't know enough about the Greyjoys to care about them, and I really think that they needed a more thorough introduction last season, or a more interesting storyline this season. The final moment where Yara declared that she was saving Theon fell flat for me.
Unfortunately I have to put Dany's scenes in The Bad as well. While her story is a necessary dose of happiness into a bleak world, it all feels too easy. Everybody is struggling in Westeros but Dany has things so ridiculously easy that it feels inconsistent with the show. The show is trying to give me hope that Dany could prevail, similar to what they did in "Fire and Blood", but the difference between the scene at the end of this episode and the dragon scene in "Fire and Blood" is massive. In season 1, Dany fell to the bottom and had to work her way to getting something resembling hope, whereas this season she has been given everything for free. It's not nearly as satisfying when characters don't earn their fortunes, especially in a show like this where characters often deserve something but don't receive it. Because of this, the show has also backed itself in a corner as a victory for Dany at the end of everything now risks feeling anticlimactic and disappointing.
The Unknown: So Edmure is now in the dungeons at The Twins and Blackfish escaped. With the Tullys in tatters, could this mean that the Freys will target Riverrun to get more power?
Why does Bran think he is going to be able to save Westeros from the White Walkers? How is he going to do that? What can he do to help?
Is Stannis' next plan to go north then? How does he expect this to aid him in reclaiming the throne?
Best Moment: Arya's first kill is the moment which really stuck out to me. A great character moment for Arya who hasn't had very much to do this season.
Character of the Episode: Davos.
Conclusion: This was a good season finale. It didn't produce anything too memorable, but a quieter episode was absolutely necessary after the previous episode in order to set the stage for season 4.
The season as a whole was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. I appreciated that the show went at a better pace early on and it made the season much more engaging all the way through. I also really loved the characterization and development in the first half of the season as all of the storylines were coming together really well and the dialogue in particular was extraordinarily good. The seasons did somewhat lose the plot in its second half however as the momentum stalled and there wasn't really anything particularly memorable from episodes 6 to 8. Every season of "Game of Thrones" has stalled before, but to have it occur this late in the season was something of a disappointment. However the season bounced back in an incredible way with the red wedding, and when it comes down to it, that one scene will be what this season is remembered for.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.