Summary: Ross reveals that his wedding will take place in a month and Rachel starts to freak out. Chandler gets annoyed when Joey starts snoring loudly in his sleep. Monica and Phoebe have fun wearing wedding dresses.
The Good: There was some really good stuff here. Rachel is always spectacular when she is overreacting and that was the same here. Watching her estrange Joshua was really entertaining and it was written fairly well throughout. I really liked the final joke with Rachel answering the door in her dress only for it to be Joshua instead of Chandler. I really liked how the central Rachel storyline tied into the Monica/Phoebe and Chandler/Joey storylines too. The best moments from those four characters came when they were interacting with Rachel.
The Bad: The side stories felt like bland filler and didn't accomplish much. They weren't very funny on their own either. Joey talking in his sleep looked really bad and Chandler came off as an asshole at some parts of the episode.
Best Moment: The "woopah" joke was really funny and was the best interaction in the episode.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: This was another solid but unspectacular episode. It had funny moments but nothing in particular stuck with me after watching it. It seems like every season of "Friends" after the first is destined to have a stretch of weaker episodes in its back half. Hopefully this season can end on a high point.
Summary: Arya returns to Winterfell and meets with Sansa and Bran. Littlefinger tries to win Bran's trust but Bran reveals he knows the things that Littlefinger has done. Bran thanks Meera and she leaves. Dany and Jon grow closer as Jon shows her some cave paintings of White Walkers. Theon returns to Dragonstone and reunites with Jon who is suitably angry. Dany takes Drogon and her army and attacks Jaime and Bronn's group on the Roseroad. Bronn injures Drogon with Qyburn's scorpion. Jaime tries to attack Dany and is nearly killed. Bronn saves him and throws him into a lake.
The Good: This was an outstanding episode. There were a number of strong scenes throughout the episode culminating in one of the show's very best battles.
The scenes at Winterfell were all extremely strong. Arya's return was genuinely emotional especially since she had spent 3 entire seasons wandering Westeros in an attempt to go home. Now she is finally back and it feels really good. I love the callback to season 1 with Arya having to get past two guards who don't believe that she is who she says he is. It was a nice way to bring everything together. The reunion with Sansa was a lovely moment. I love that they were both able to cast aside the past where they always bickered with each other and viewed each other as fully grown women, and most importantly, as family. I also love Arya mentioning her kill list which Sansa didn't believe only for Bran to reveal the truth.
Speaking of Bran, he's more interesting than he has ever been. I thought the scene with Littlefigner was terrific. I really like the idea of Littlefinger trying to win over Bran since he is the technical heir to Winterfell now. I was intrigued by the scene all the way through, and I was genuinely surprised when Bran quoted "chaos is a ladder". Bran is a total wildcard now and I'm excited to see what else he knows. The ensuing scene with Meera was terrific too. His cold goodbye to her was sad and did a good job of demonstrating how much Bran has lost himself after last season. I also really liked Bran's awkward attempt at kindness when he gave Arya the dagger.
Arya and Brienne's spar was really enjoyable. It was choreographed nicely and was a good way to show us how much better Arya has gotten at fighting after her training in Braavos. It also helped present a very real threat to Littlefinger, who may have to do something out of the ordinary to survive (see: The Unknown).
The scenes at Dragonstone were also very good. I'm interested by this apparent Jon and Dany romance which was slightly hinted at last episode but I wasn't sure that they were heading in that direction. Now it seems very apparent that they are heading towards a romance. I thought the cave scene was done very well and it was nice to get the characters to bond. The reunion between Jon and Theon was very good. This season has been filled with reunions and they are all great. This one wasn't a heartfelt one but was instead very tense. Jon had plenty of reasons to be angry at Theon and it was good to see him let out the anger.
I also liked Davos talking with Jon about his relationship with Dany. The "good heart" joke was funny as he is very clearly attracted to Missandei.
This takes things to the battle at the end of the episode. And what a battle it was. First of all, it looked spectacular as expected. The dragon assault was awesome and the CGI looked absolutely incredible. The cinematography was wonderful too throughout the episode. I especially liked the longshot with Bronn as he struggled to get to the scorpion. It was like Jon's longshot only even more intense and chaotic.
The battle works so well because there are tons of characters we care about involved. I was extremely worried that Dany, Bronn or Jaime were about to take heavy losses or even die in this battle. It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and ratcheted up the tension to an insane level. Bronn firing at Drogon and Jaime charging at Dany had me speechless and completely invested. I also thought the emotions of the battle were really well done. Bronn deciding to risk his life, Tyrion watching his men die and Jaime make a foolish decision and Dany fearfully riding the wounded Drogon were all powerful moments that got a reaction out of me through all of the intense action.
The Bad: I forgot to mention this in my last review, but it doesn't feel right that Tyrion was outsmarted by his siblings. After all, he has always been the smart one while Cersei has been positively stupid at times and Jaime is no genius tactician.
The ending cliffhanger is a bit annoying with Jaime sinking. It's obvious he won't die from drowning.
Like every battle, there were a few logic gaps here. I don't have an issue with Dany finding the army. After all they are travelling in a long line from Highgarden to King's Landing. She would be hard-pressed to miss them. The issue I do have is on how she got her army to the mainland. Yara's fleet just got decimated by Euron. So how did Dany transport an army to the mainland without boats? That makes no sense. The next major issue comes from the battle itself. I thought it was incredibly stupid that Dany burned all of the gold and the food. Logically, she would take it for herself and use it, but instead she burns perfectly good supplies. If she attacked with only a dragon, burning the supplies would be smart. But since she totally outmatched the Lannisters army, surely she would just kill them and take the food for herself.
The Unknown: What happens to Jaime and Bronn now? Will they be prisoners? Perhaps Bronn will be executed?
Will this Dany and Jon romance become a full-on storyline?
What does Littlefinger do next? I suspect we may be hearing that he has some urgent business in The Vale that he must attend to now that he is surrounded by threats in Arya and Bran.
Best Moment: There are so many moments to pick in this episode. I'll go with Jaime's final charge towards Dany. I really feared that he was about to die there.
Character of the Episode: Dany.
Conclusion: This episode was excellent. Tons of powerful moments capped off with a spectacular battle made this a true series highlight. Even though the way this show works has changed over the past few seasons, this episode proves that this series can still be incredible.
Summary: Andrea and Michonne see a helicopter crash and investigate. A group comes by and the two hide but they are found by Merle. The two are taken to a community called Woodbury which is run by a man called The Governor. Both women are distrustful but The Governor convinces them to stay for a little bit. There is a survivor from the helicopter crash who leads The Governor to his group of survivors. The Governor kills all of them and takes their supplies.
The Good: This was solid for the most part. It may not have been the most exciting episode to watch (see: The Bad), but the direction that the show has chosen to go is potentially extremely interesting.
I thought the scene at the site of the helicopter crash was very tense, and was the most exciting moment of the episode. I was on the edge of my seat as I was nervous that The Governor's group would discover Michonne and Andrea while also being nervous that Andrea and Michonne would do something rash since they weren't aware that everyone is infected. The ending reveal of Merle being with the group was terrific and got me pretty excited for the upcoming scenes in the episode.
The reintroduction of Merle was well done and his character remains as vile and obtuse as ever, which is a certain improvement on most of the other bland characters in this show. The new characters were pretty solid too, with the highlight being The Governor. I thought David Morrissey was a good casting choice and he helped bring The Governor's complexity to light. Evidently, The Governor appears to be a sort of mirror for Rick who is another man doing his best to lead his people. But like Rick, The Governor is still living in this world and is forced to make tough choices, like the one to kill the military group to take all of their supplies. I like that The Governor has been portrayed as a grey character, and judging by the final scene, he has many more layers to him that we have yet to see.
The community of Woodbury is really good. I like that the show is exploring the potential of a new community being formed in the wreckage of the world. I appreciated the small size of the community, as it felt very realistic and it didn't at all feel like a stretch that this place could exist. It makes sense for survivors to flock to a leader, and The Governor happened to be placed in charge of this community.
I was pleased to learn that the walkers don't need to eat. I hope that Milton can be used to provide us some more information about walkers in the future.
The Bad: This show still struggles with its characters. We have known Andrea for over 2 seasons and yet she hardly has a character. Spending an hour with an underdeveloped character like her is really dull and that hurt my enjoyment of this episode. The show also failed to meaningfully develop anyone aside from The Governor which meant that there was no character journey to make this episode a little more enjoyable. I tend to really enjoy episodes which focus on one single character and storyline, but there needs to be an emotional journey for the episode to succeed.
Michonne's character was awful in this episode. We hardly know her, so this was the opportune time for us to get more acquainted with her and so we can care for her character. yet we only get one scene to characterize her which hardly tells us anything about her. So far, she is boring, unimaginative and dull. That can't be the result of a character who just had an entire episode to grow and develop. Her decision to not trust The Governor is totally unearned. Why doesn't she just agree to sit around for one day to figure out more? Surely she is smart enough to understand that if he was going to kill them, they would already be dead.
The Unknown: I see some huge potential for this story. The idea that there are characters in two different communities being developed can be a really good one and it can lead to some complex emotions if both groups come into conflict. But I'm nervous that The Governor will simply be portrayed as evil for the sake of it which will sacrifice these emotions. Also, I don't trust this show to have capable enough character development to make this story work, which is a red flag. With 16 episodes in the season, I hope to see better character development, but these first three episodes haven't delivered in that regard. Let's hope for the best with this story.
What other secrets are there in Woodbury? What else is The Governor hiding? What happened to his family? Why does he keep a collection of walker heads?
Best Moment: Merle's return was a delightful moment.
Character of the Episode: The Governor.
Conclusion: This episode did a good job of introducing a new community and that was interesting. Unfortunately it didn't do much else and lacked in character development which made this a rather dull hour to watch. I like the direction this episode went, but the actual episode left a lot to be desired.
Summary: Jon arrives on Dragonstone and meets with Dany. Dany doesn't believe Jon's claims and Jon refuses to bend the knee. News arrives of the destruction of Yara's fleet. Euron returns to King's Landing and gifts Cersei her vengeance on Ellaria. Bran returns to Winterfell and reunites with Sansa. Jorah is cured and leaves while Sam is allowed to stay. The Unsullied attack Casterly Rock but the Lannister army is gone. Euron's fleet attacks them. The Lannister army takes Highgarden. Jaime allows Olenna to die through a painless poison and in exchange Olenna reveals that she murdered Joffrey.
The Good: This was a very strong episode with a number of great scenes.
The big one was Jon and Dany's first meeting. The moment felt appropriately significant and was very fun to watch. The initial introduction was hilarious as Missandei spewed Dany's 500 titles and Davos responded with "this is Jon Snow... he's King in the North". The ensuing conversation was really strong and both characters stuck to their morals while conversing. Both went in with their own ideals, Dany wanted Jon's loyalty and Jon wanted Dany to fight the dead. Dany pleasingly didn't believe Jon's claims as they do sound rather insane and Jon pleasingly did not kneel to somebody he didn't even know. Both characters are asking for things we want to see happen, but thankfully the writers show restraint and now we have to see both Dany and Jon win each other's trust.
Tyrion was excellent in this episode and had several strong moments of dialogue. Tyrion and Jon's scenes were terrifically written and served as a strong reunion between two friends. I appreciated Tyrion honestly telling Jon what he thinks about the White Walkers threat, and it does a good job of making me anticipate a team-up from these characters.
I enjoyed the scenes in King's Landing. Euron feels incredibly out of place in this show but I enjoy his charismatic personality too much to be bothered by it. He had some great moments in this episode too and has been one of my favourite aspects of this season. Cersei's vengeance on Ellaria was really good. I'm pleased that we weren't given any gratuitous violence surrounding how Cersei tortures Ellaria and we instead got to focus on the emotions of the scene. Cersei enjoyed getting revenge and Ellaria suffered watching her daughter get a death sentence and those were thankfully the moments we focused on.
The ending strategy sequence was conveyed pretty well. I liked Tyrion talking through the plan to take Casterly Rock as it happened and the sequence was crafted well. The twist that it was the trap was pretty good and caught me by surprise. I was surprised to see Dany lose practically all of her allies in two back to back episodes but I think it is a good development overall. This forces Dany to respect Jon and win over his trust as he is her only hope for an ally now.
The final scene with Jaime and Olenna was awesome (see: Best Moment). I thought Olenna's last scene was executed very well as she got a death fitting of the title "Queen of Thorns", pricking Jaime for showing her a little bit of mercy. I also appreciate the irony of Olenna dying via poison, the same way she murdered Joffrey.
A few other scenes were done very well too. I was really happy with Sansa and Bran's reunion. It was a sweet moment, but it was quickly spoiled by the fact that Bran isn't himself anymore. His scene with Sansa at the Weirwood was really creepy and did a great job of making Bran feel like a more interesting character. He has been stale for a long time so this new change actually feels refreshing. The Archmaester's reaction to Sam's operation was good too. I appreciate that he gave Sam credit for performing an extremely tough operation but still punished him for breaking the rules.
The Bad: Dany is too rude to Jon for my liking. Surely she understands that he is a King and should be treated with more respect than he is. Yet for some reason she slanders him at every opportunity and he sometimes does the same to her. Robb was much better at the young king business because at least he tried to carry himself like royalty while also respecting his allies.
Jorah's Greyscale ended up being a bit pointless. It accomplished nothing important and only served to be a delaying tactic so he doesn't get back with Dany so quick. It's a shame as I saw some potential in that storyline.
This episode really suffered from the 7 episode season. The developments all felt extremely rushed and a whole ton happened here with little time to breathe. The ending sequence felt like it could have happened over two episodes but we got it all in under ten minutes which is crazy. It wasn't a huge problem since this episode was very good overall but it could lead to issues later on. Also, Highgarden was weirdly easy to take. No siege or anything and Jaime practically just walked right inside. The excuse that Tyrells suck at fighting is nowhere near good enough to explain this.
A bunch of nitpicks again with the writing. How did Euron know the method of Myrcella's death which he referenced to Cersei? There is no way he would have received word about it. Tyrion's reference to Bronn felt like blatant and unnecessary fanservice. Euron made it to Casterly Rock at a shockingly fast rate which shouldn't be possible. I was confused why everyone at King's Landing were cheering on Euron. I thought they hated Cersei. Did they already forget that she blew up the Sept?
The Unknown: Has Melisandre seen her own death? Apparently she has seen Varys' too. How do they die? Will it be significant?
Will Dany and Jon end up forming an aliance?
Best Moment: Jaime is a good man and he showed mercy to Olenna. A kindness that Cersei never would have given. And despite that, he still ended up suffering as Olenna thanked him in the most brutal way possible. I guess showing mercy will be another mistake for Jaime to learn from.
Character of the Episode: Olenna.
Conclusion: This was very good. There were a lot of good scenes and the story progressed in good ways even if it felt a little rushed. This was a good return to form after the previous episode.
Summary: Monica and Rachel try to get Joey and Chandler to trade their apartment back to them. Ross is continually upset that Emily has to go back to London and searches for a way to get to stay with her.
The Good: I thought this was pretty solid. The Ross story was the best one here. I thought his relationship with Emily came off very well and I bought into their love. The decision to marry was a big development and it had a nice comedic atmosphere to it. There were some funny moments in the other storyline too, mostly provided by Chandler and Joey.
The Bad: This wasn't a particularly funny or memorable episode. It just existed. Also, the way that Monica and Rachel reclaimed their apartment was pretty silly and unrealistic even if it was moderately funny. Joey also bordered on excessively stupid, so much so that he wasn't really himself anymore in certain scenes.
Best Moment: Joey telling Ross that Rachel and Monica kissed was pretty great.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was an average episode with some good moments.
Summary: Dany decides to trust Varys but lets him know that she will kill him if he betrays her. Dany meets with Ellaria and Olenna and prepares a strategy. Grey Worm and Missandei openly admit their feelings. Yara and Theon take Ellaria back to Dorne on their fleet. Sam realizes that Jorah is a Mormont so he decides to help him cure the Greyscale by performing a forbidden operation. Arya runs into Hot Pie who tells her that Jon took Winterfell. Arya heads North instead and she briefly encounters Nymeria. Jon receives an invitation from Dany who wants him to bend the knee. Jon decides to go meet her and leaves Sansa in charge. Yara's fleet is attacked by Euron. The Sand Snakes are killed and both Yara and Ellaria are taken captive. Theon escapes.
The Good: I enjoyed Dany's conversation with Varys. Varys' true loyalties have always been murky and I'm glad that Dany didn't just blindly trust him. While she decides to let him live and serve her, she certainly doesn't trust him. The conversation was really strong. I also liked seeing Dany form her strategy with Olenna and Ellaria, as it was necessary to understand what she plans to do next. I appreciate that Dany doesn't intend to play to Cersei's game by attacking King's Landing and having the people of Westeros turn on her. And on the other side of that, I appreciate that Cersei and Jaime are using the foreigner card on Dany to get the people of Westeros to remain loyal.
I enjoyed Sam's story on the surface. His interactions with the Archmaester remain fun and I like that the Archmaester sticks to his beliefs despite what Sam wants. I also appreciate that the Archmaester is aware of everything Sam brings up, which makes sense considering his title. I liked the idea of Sam deciding to help Jorah upon discovering his family name as Sam is still loyal to Jeor. Also, the cut from the operation to pie was terrific.
Arya's storyline was really good. I was glad to see her run into Hot Pie again and it served as a good way for her to set her sights towards Winterfell instead with the intentions of reuniting with her siblings. Let's hope they aren't dead when she arrives like everyone else. The ensuing reunion with Nymeria was also great. I really liked the storytelling. After Nymeria rejected Arya, she realized that Nymeria has changed. The irony is that Nymeria likely rejected Arya because she knew she had changed as well.
I am pleased with the development of Jon going to meet Dany, which should be a fantastic moment to behold even if the way to get there is a bit illogical (see: The Bad).
The Sand Snakes are dead! Thank god for that, and also thank you Euron. I continue to like him and taking out the show's worst characters certainly helps with that.
The Bad: Unfortunately the sea battle was very poor in my eyes. Not only did it subject us to more Sand Snakes, but the action was no good. It was hard to get engaged since we could never focus on characters we care about. And since everything was so dark and the camera cut too much, it was nearly impossible to figure out what was actually going on. Which of course makes this entire battle illogical anyways. Euron being able to locate Yara's fleet in the pitch black is simply ridiculous and a battle like this would never happen at night.
It's a bit convenient that Sam can learn an advanced procedure to cure Greyscale over night with no medical experience whatsoever. Also, I wish we could learn more about what Sam is putting on the line by doing this. Has he learned enough at the Citadel? Does he care if he's thrown out, which he probably will be? We need to know what kind of consequences Sam will be facing for his decision to do this to have any drama.
I wasn't happy with the Grey Worm and Missandei scene either. With only 7 episodes in this season, it feels like we really shouldn't be spending so much time with these two. If they provided something more than the required quota of nudity I would be fine with it, but there really wasn't much to see here.
There were some other illogical moments here as well. So Dany decided not to talk with Varys about his loyalties until arriving in Westeros. Why wait so long? Also, Dany's plan is a little odd. Apparently she is sending her men to Casterly Rock by boat. If you look at a map, this makes no sense and a fleet would take ages to get all the way over there. I could buy into Euron getting to King's Landing if only because there was a notable timeskip between seasons, but this will take forever. Lastly, Jon's decision to meet Dany in person makes no sense. A King would never go to a meeting himself and would usually send somebody else. Jon has Davos who is literally made for a job like this, but instead he is going himself for some reason.
Jon already approached Sansa about questioning him in front of everyone and yet she does it here again. To make matters worse, she stops talking once Jon gives her power like it's all she wanted by questioning him. It is actually annoying how much she pesters Jon and it doesn't fit with her character at all to behave like this. Sansa has been a character I always sympathized with, and the show is making me dislike her. Furthermore, it isn't only Sansa who is being treated poorly as a character but Littlefinger too. His conversation with Jon was so stupid and I can't imagine what he thought to accomplish by telling Jon he loves Sansa. For a master manipulator, he is uncharacteristically poor at getting people to trust him.
The Unknown: Will Randyll choose to join with Jaime or will he remain with Olenna?
How will Theon survive now that he is stranded in the water?
Was Euron's attack intentional or did he just happen to run into Yara's fleet after leaving King's Landing? If it was intentional (which makes no sense since he wouldn't know where Yara was), does he plan to use his hostages as Cersei's gift?
Best Moment: I'll go with Arya reuniting with Nymeria for its story value.
Character of the Episode: Euron.
Conclusion: This was an average episode with ups and downs until the final battle which condemned this episode as a weak one. But despite that, this episode feels more like a bump in the road than something genuinely concerning.
Summary: Arya uses Walder's face and poisons all of the Freys, destroying their house. Arya heads towards King's Landing next. Bran passes through Castle Black. Jon Cersei forges an alliance with Euron, who Jaime doesn't trust. Sam adjusts to life at the Citadel which isn't treating him well. Sam sneaks into the restricted section to read books about the White Walkers. Jorah is in the Citadel. The Hound and the Brotherhood seek shelter at a house. The Hound recognizes the location from his time with Arya and is disheartened to see the family dead. Thoros shows The Hound a vision in the fire. Dany arrives on Dragonstone.
The Good: This was a solid season premiere which set up the story for the season really nicely with some welcome developments and strong moments. While this episode wasn't as skillfully written as most of the series and had inconsistencies, there were no major problems.
Arya's storyline was pretty solid here. I really enjoyed the opening scene as it was a more enjoyable version of Arya's revenge on the Freys that what we got last season. It was a strong way to kick off the season and I appreciated the twist that Arya used Walder's face to kill the Freys instead of it being a flashback like I had initially expected. Arya's scene with the soldiers was a good way to give us more insight on what is on her mind now. We got a nice moment of her reflecting about Ned, while also showing how she has grown and letting us know that her current plan is to murder Cersei. It was a great showcase for Maisie Williams who conveyed these emotions spectacularly.
Jaime and Cersei's scene was really good as it finally allowed Jaime to face the person Cersei has become. Cersei's lack of regard for Tommen's death was unsettling and was what I expected from her now that she has seemingly lost sight of the person she used to be. I liked the use of the floor map to serve as a quick recap of Cersei's position, and it showed that Cersei has a serious disadvantage despite being Queen. I thought the desperation of Cersei's situation was conveyed well and I bought into the idea that Cersei would turn to Euron for help.
As for Euron, I really liked him in this episode. He didn't get a chance to show off his personality much last season, but here he was given the opportunity. He seems like a fun character with little regard for others and a hidden agenda of his own. I got a good laugh out of some of his taunts to Jaime. I'm very excited to see what kind of a role he will play in the show as his motives remain mostly unclear for the moment.
I really liked Sam's time at the Citadel. The poop montage that opened up his storyline was tremendous with some great editing to give us an idea of what training to become a Maester is like. I also liked Jim Broadbent as the Archmaester and I like the possibly intentional Harry Potter reference with Jim Broadbent being asked about the restricted section in the library. I did like Sam making the decision to put matters into his own hands when he realized that the Maesters were not going to be of any help to his cause. Now it remains to be seen if Sam will be caught and ejected. I also loved the addition of Jorah to the storyline as it seems logical that Jorah would go to the Citadel in an attempt to find a cure to his Greyscale.
The Hound's storyline was the strongest here. I loved the callback to season 4 when he encountered the father and daughter who he declared would be dead by the winter. Now he gets to see that they actually did die and in a very depressing way. It was powerful and served as a good way to show us how The Hound has matured from his time with Septon Ray. I also really enjoyed his ensuing conversation with Beric and Thoros. Beric revealing that he still has no idea why he is being brought back over and over is really good and helps put us into the mind of this seemingly immortal man. Also, Thoros introducing The Hound to the wonders of R'hllor was awesome. The Hound has always been a very pragmatic individual so to confront him with definitive proof of the supernatural in the presence of his one true fear was very smart and I thought Rory McCann did a stellar job of showing the surprise that The Hound was feeling.
I also really enjoyed the artful final sequence of Dany arriving in Westeros. The sequence appropriately captured the emotions Dany would be feeling as she is finally back to her home and also did a great job of making the moment feel as important as it is. It was a great showcase of the visual production of the show too. Back in season 2 the production was never budgeted enough to showcase the beauty of Dragonstone, but now the budget is there and I really enjoyed seeing the brilliance of Dragonstone.
The Bad: Most of the issues I had with this episode were just little nitpicks and inconsistencies with every storyline. First up, I was annoyed by Edd asking if Bran was a wildling, as if he wasn't going to let him through if he was. There is peace now between the Night's Watch and wildlings, so this was an illogical bit of dialogue to add unnecessary drama. I wasn't a fan of Sansa questioning Jon in the middle of everyone. Surely she would at least talk to him in private about this instead of undermining him. Having lived in King's Landing, she should certainly understand that having your men believe in you is important, yet she encourages Jon's men to question his leadership through her actions. The dragonglass discovery that Sam makes is stupid and certainly shouldn't be of any use. Why? Because Jon is with Davos who has lived on Dragonstone for years and most certainly knows about the cache of dragonglass! Also, I forgot to mention this in "The Winds of Winter" but how is Varys with Dany again when he was just in Dorne like two minutes ago? He can teleport! Finally, showing the Lannister soldiers as kind was a bit odd since all soldiers in this show have been portrayed as
Some people will certainly take big issue with Ed Sheeran in this episode. Personally I don't mind it too much since he didn't really detract from my experience watching the show. Ed Sheeran was treated as just another guy and never took the focus away from the story being told. If that is the case, then it is a relatively harmless addition to the show that I certainly won't oppose in its entirety. But, I don't like the idea of celebrities being placed into TV dramas like this, regardless of what their role is. Even though Ed Sheeran didn't detract from the story, he became a major factor of discussion which is annoying. When discussing "Game of Thrones" I want to talk about the show, not Ed Sheeran.
The Unknown: How do Arya's abilities work exactly? Apparently wearing a face actually gives you their vocal ability which is interesting. I would like to learn more about how these powers work but I don't think we will get an answer.
I was about to put this next part in The Bad, but I had second thoughts as this may be an intentional detail. Apparently Cersei knows that Tyrion has been named as Dany's Hand. How? This may be another story inconsistency, but perhaps there is a proper answer to this. Does Cersei have a spy in Dany's group? Could Varys be loyal to her somehow? I'm not sure how that would make sense but it's possible. Who else could it be?
What gift does Euron intend to bring Cersei?
What does The Hound's vision mean? Will the White Walkers simply walk around The Wall? That is certainly a possibility if they freeze the sea and walk over the ice. Does that arrowhead mountain have any significance?
Will Jorah find a cure in the Citadel? Will his interactions with Sam go somewhere?
Best Moment: The Hound seeing the family dead in the corner was really powerful. Great storytelling.
Character of the Episode: The Hound.
Conclusion: While the show has certainly changed over the past few seasons, I can't deny that it is still compelling. This episode provided some very strong set-up for the season while having some powerful moments to boast as well.
Summary: The High Sparrow, Kevan and the Tyrells gather in the Sept of Baelor for Cersei's trial. Cersei blows up the Sept and kills all of them. Tommen commits suicide in grief. Sam arrives in Oldtown. Davos reveals what Melisandre has done and Jon banishes her. Jon is declared King in the North. Bran visits the past and discovers that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar. Dany secures allegiances with Dorne and Olenna. Tyrion is named Hand of the Queen. Dany finally heads towards Westeros.
The Good: This was a great season finale with a number of stand-out moments which delivered. It's a big step up from the debacle that ended season 5.
The destruction of the Sept was a stellar sequence. As this show has gone on, the production has gotten better and better. With the spectacle of the previous episode and now the fantastically artistic sequence in this episode, it seems hard to imagine any other show ever pulling of cinematic feats like this. I appreciate that so much attention was given to this one moment as it was a massive event which changes the story significantly as Cersei has suddenly put herself in a position where she holds all power, getting sweet revenge on all of her enemies by blowing them up. Except Septa Unella, who she has much "better" plans for. It was in-character for Cersei to do something as crazy as this and it provided a fitting conclusion to the Margaery/Cersei feud. Margaery was great at playing the game, so to beat her Cersei destroyed the game. It's a great bit of storytelling. Also, I thought the musical piece composed specifically for this sequence was superb and darkly beautiful. Finally, I'll spare a thought for Pycelle who died a brutal death which was a long time coming.
The fallout of the explosion was handled well too. I appreciated seeing Jaime come back to Cersei sitting on the iron throne, having murdered many innocents with wildfire. She committed the very crime that Jaime sacrificed his honour to prevent and I'm sure that this will lead to some big conflict between them.
I enjoyed Jon's storyline too. Davos exploding at Melisandre was terrific and I really felt something for him, brought forward by Liam Cunningham's outstanding performance. He was so good here that it makes me genuinely confused why he wasn't given more time to mourn Stannis and Shireen's deaths last season. Hopefully there will be more for Davos to do next season but I'm not too sure where he goes from here. Jon being crowned King in the North was a great moment and a nice callback to Robb earning his men's loyalty back in season 1.
Speaking of Jon, we finally got to know who his mother was! Of course it wasn't a particularly big surprise as many people had already pieced it together, but I still really appreciated the reveal. The cut to Jon's face with a music cue was a tremendous way to give us this reveal without saying a word of expositional dialogue. I have been hard on this show for the past two seasons for being weaker in the details, but I admit that this was exceptionally well done.
I'm glad to see that Dany has made some allies in Westeros. Naturally, Cersei being on the throne has angered some of the kingdoms and so they have thrown in their lot with Dany. Gaining the allegiances of Dorne and the Reach is very big for Dany, and I look forward to the strategies which will be involved in her inevitable clash with Cersei. Also, we got some nice scenes of Olenna being Olenna which I will never complain about. I'm beyond pleased that Dany is finally heading to Westeros, and I can't wait to see what will come next season.
Sam's story was brief but very good. It was nice to finally see Oldtown and the Citadel, plus it gave the show another reason to show off its lovely special effects. I really liked Sam's glee at finally having access to the library and I got a laugh out of him trying to say something to Gilly, only to excitedly shuffle away to the library.
The Bad: I thought Tommen's death was a sad and powerful moment, but it was hurt by a weak follow-up to it. Namely the fact that Cersei didn't really react at all to his death. We know that Cersei values her children above everything, so why didn't we get more? Surely that story warranted a bit more focus as it could have led to a great realization for Cersei as she faces the consequences of her actions. Instead, we have been given the story that she no longer cares and appears to have completely lost it. I am fine with that story, but it needed to be built up in prior episodes, more than just some moments of foreshadowing.
I wasn't happy with Dany making Tyrion her hand. What reason has Tyrion given to her for her to award him this position? Tyrion failed to rule Meereen while she was gone and caused a siege, so why does she put her faith in him? If Tyrion had been more successful and had the two of them shared more than three scenes together, this may have had greater impact. For example, if Jorah was in this scene instead it would be very emotional. Instead, we get Tyrion being made Dany's hand simply because it's a cool moment.
I did not like Walder Frey's death at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see him dead but the way it happened was extremely unsatisfactory. It's very disappointing that the two men responsible for the red wedding, Frey and Roose, both died lame deaths. The problem with this death is that it made no sense. Arya left Braavos two episodes ago. Yet somehow she made it all the way to Westeros and crossed half the continent to get to The Twins. And after that she was able to easily infiltrate the place with her new abilities and murdered the Freys and took out Walder with total ease. Why should we care? This doesn't feel like a character journey for Arya at all. She just killed him and there was nothing to it. No relief, no specific satisfaction for Arya after a executing a tough job. All we are left with is "oh good Walder Frey is dead". That is nowhere near enough for the man responsible for one of the most brutal moments in TV history.
Cersei was told to confess as soon as she was thrown into her cell. Did Loras not get the same option? He was broken a long time ago, so why didn't he just confess back then?
The Unknown: What will Sam learn at the Citadel?
Where will Melisandre go now? To Cersei? Dany? Perhaps she will secure an alliance with Dany.
How will Jaime react to Cersei's actions?
Best Moment: The entire 10 minute sequence of the destruction of the Sept was outstanding. The production made this really feel like one of the great TV moments.
Character of the Episode: Cersei.
Conclusion: This episode delivered an explosive ending to the season which changed the story in big ways and sets up season 7 very nicely. There were some issues with this, but as a whole it was tremendously exciting and exceeded my expectations.
This season was thankfully a big improvement over the last but it still feels like something is missing from the show that was there before. This season was consistent and aside from "No One", there wasn't anything particularly bad about it, except the obvious flaws for each individual episode. However, the show does feel changed. This was perhaps the most eventful season to date, yet it was my second-least favourite. I believe this is because the show has run out of book material to adapt, and without GRRM's impeccable writing, the storylines have become simpler, less poignant and at times rushed. However, none of these flaws feels like they ruin the season. The biggest blessing for this show is that it has already invested me in its characters and storylines. Because of that, I still get a lot of enjoyment from these 10 episodes, and while it doesn't live up to the high standards of season 1-4, I can still say it was a good, fun season. Now with 13 episodes left, its time to see if "Game of Thrones" can have a final act that lives up to the high expectations.
Summary: Dany attempts to get the masters to surrender. They refuse so Dany unleashes the Dothraki and her dragons on them. Tyrion brokers a peace agreement, killing the 2 head masters in exchange. Dany meets with Yara and Theon. They form an alliance. Jon and Sansa make final plans before battle. Both armies confront each other. Ramsay kills Rickon which infuriates Jon. The battle starts and Ramsay quickly gets the advantage. Littlefinger arrives with his army to turn the tables. Ramsay retreats to Winterfell but the door is broken by Wun Wun who dies. Jon defeats Ramsay and takes Winterfell. Sansa lets Ramsay's hounds eat and kill him.
The Good: Visually speaking, this was the most impressive episode that "Game of Thrones" has ever done. The assault on Meereen and the titular battle were shot spectacularly with gorgeous special effects and cinematography. I have never seen a TV show come as close to producing a movie-quality hour as this one episode. It is a tremendous feat.
The spectacle in Meereen was pretty neat to watch. I will admit that it is extremely satisfying to see Dany finally living up to our expectations and conquering a city with fire and blood, which has been hyped for a long time now. I've been annoyed that Dany has taken so long to start conquering, but the wait has somewhat paid off because the moment feels much sweeter than it would have if it happened back in season 3.
On the other side of the episode, the chaos of the central battle was superbly conveyed. The whole thing was an entertaining and jaw-dropping fight scene which delivered an appropriate amount of thrills and brutality. I especially loved some of the cinematography done in this battle. I really liked the camera following the arrows as they flew through the air into the battle. The sound effects were just as superb as the visuals. Better than that were the artistic shots to take us through the battle. The longshot showing Jon fighting is the battle was incredibly well done and left me really impressed at the co-ordination that it must have taken. The scene itself did a fantastic job of showcasing the brutality of battle by having Jon encounter many close calls while viciously fighting anyone that he could. The other scene I want to point out is when Jon was being trampled by his own army. It was a horrific thought conveyed perfectly as I legitimately felt claustrophobic because of the way the camera constantly showed us the rapidly moving army from the eyes of Jon who was suffering beneath all of it.
The conclusion of the battle was pretty good as well. It was great to see Ramsay get his comeuppance and his brutal death was fitting for his character. It's good to finally be rid of his vile and torturous attitude.
I got a laugh out of Yara subtly hinting at enjoying a wedding with Dany. A lot of the dialogue between Dany and Yara was pretty well written.
The Bad: Unfortunately I found a lot of this episode to be lacking in substance. Sure, it was very pretty and exciting to watch, but there were many gaps underneath the surface.
The first issues come from Meereen. The problem is that I wasn't very invested in Dany conquering Meereen. The set-up to this final confrontation was quite poor and I was never once excited for this big upcoming climax in the previous episodes. It just sort of happened, and then Dany came back to clean it up. It was cool, but what was the purpose of it? No character arcs were furthered and there was no development whatsoever. It was a fun scene but it lacked emotion and depth. Sadly it was not memorable and a few days after watching the episode, the scene has not stuck with me at all. Surely a climax like this ought to have resonated more than it did?
The dealings with Yara and Dany were fine but it had one really dumb moment, and unfortunately that moment is central to the whole scene. That moment was Yara agreeing to abandon her entire way of life to suit Dany's needs. She has lived with the Ironborn her entire life yet for some reasons he thinks they will just agree to stop raiding and pillaging. Has she met them? No way that any of them agree to this. Yara would be kicked off of the salt throne in mere minutes if she goes through with this.
Before I get to my qualms about the battle, I have to address the problem which has plagued this whole season. That problem is that the show has taken a liking for paint-by-the-numbers fantasy cliche scenes. The first four seasons would never have indulged in any generic scenes but this season has been full of them. It's worth noting how extremely basic this season has felt and the show has lost that morally grey feeling it had done such a great job exploring in the first four seasons. This is evidenced in this battle which is more good vs evil than any other human drama the show has done until this point. Where is the complexity of the Battle of the Blackwater or the Battle of Castle Black? I think that complexity helped make those battles feel more pivotal and special than this one. I did appreciate the dichotomy shown between Jon and Ramsay, but things like that have never been the reason why I liked this show. I don't watch this show to see a good vs evil battle, I watch it for the complex human drama conveyed through a variety of different characters in a medieval world.
Speaking of generic scenes, one of the biggest ones in this episode was the Jon/Sansa shouting fight. Instead of staying true to these characters, their scene together features forced drama as both of them argue about the upcoming battle. It's hard to buy into Sansa being the one to do this with Jon considering her character arc and her lack of history in warfare, something the episode even acknowledges. Another generic scene was Sansa telling Ramsay he will die before just riding off. Such basic storytelling. This show is above things like that.
The kick-off of the battle with Rickon dying was really bad. Rickon died and it left me feeling absolutely nothing. They didn't even try to make us sympathize with him or care for him. Hell he didn't even get a single line of dialogue this season! To do that and expect us to care for his death is ridiculous. And I caught the writers resorting to surprise to get a reaction out of us again to try to get us to feel something for Rickon. As I've said for the past season and a half, surprise is not an effective way of getting us to care about the scene that is being presented. We need emotion for that. Of course, Jon reacts very poorly to Rickon's death and stupidly compromises his entire strategy by charging Ramsay alone. What a stupid battle plan.
Some moments in the battle didn't impress me. I was extremely displeased by Littlefinger's sudden arrival (oh look another "surprise!" moment). I hate the idea that Sansa knew about this yet she didn't tell Jon about it. Why on Earth would she keep it secret? Surely she would tell Jon and they would implement Littlefinger's army into their battle plans. It's a key asset, so use it. But instead we need a surprise, so she keeps it secret. Even dumber is the fact that Littlefinger got to Winterfell undetected. Did Ramsay leave no scouts from Winterfell to Moat Cailin? It's dumb enough for him to leave Moat Cailin unguarded, but to have no scouts whatsoever is the height of stupidity. Why should I fear this man who is a total dunce at strategy? The shield wall was a good visual moment but a very impractical one. Are we supposed to believe that every guy in Jon's group just gathered together and allowed themselves to be surrounded? Something like this would never work in real life. Men on foot would never be quick enough to surround an army.
Ramsay killing Wun Wun with one final arrow was such a cartoony moment. We get it, Ramsay is evil.
The Unknown: Will Yara betray Dany eventually? I sincerely hope her agreeing to Dany's terms is just to secure the alliance and not to actually follow through with it.
Has Davos figured out what happened to Shireen? Maybe we can finally see him express some emotion regarding Stannis and Shireen's deaths.
Best Moment: Jon being trampled by his own army was excellent. The suffocation was conveyed magnificently.
Character of the Episode: Jon.
Conclusion: This was one hell of a spectacle which was extremely enjoying from start to finish. But under the surface of the brilliant action, this was a poor episode filled with dumb moments and a basic layout which dampens the score significantly. Out of respect for the way this episode was put together and the fact that it was pretty fun, I won't give this a bad score but I feel like this could have been much, much better.
Summary: Rick and co. return to the cell block with Hershel. The prisoners follow them and reveal that they have missed the entire outbreak after being locked in a cafeteria. Rick negotiates with them and agrees to help them clear out a cell block. The leader of the prisoners, Tomas, tries to kill Rick so Rick kills him and his friend. The other prisoners are allowed to live. Hershel wakes up and is alive.
The Good: I enjoyed most of this episode. It was pretty fun and continued the exciting pace of season 3, even though it had major flaws (see: The Bad).
I liked the opening moments of the episode. The quick and efficient way that Rick's group dealt with Hershel losing blood and the prisoners was excellent. The pace was exciting and I liked the desperate mannerisms of the group as they struggled to get back to their cell block. The flippant way they treated the prisoners made sense as the prisoners hardly presented a threat to them and the importance of saving Hershel's life.
While I had issues with the nature of the prisoner storyline (see: The Bad), I thought it led to a few terrific moments. I really liked the way that Tomas' violent nature started to slowly become apparent as he became more of a threat. It increased the tension as the episode went on and made the drama between Rick and the prisoners a lot more exciting. I thought Rick's cold murder of Tomas was fantastic and a perfect moment for him, as was him leaving Andrew to die. Rick has been hardened after killing Shane but we never knew how far he has gone. These dual kills showed us exactly how Rick's mind works now and it surprised me in a very good way. With Rick being smarter and more ruthless, it will likely make it tougher to pressure him, meaning that the drama this season should be more enjoyable than the slow and dull drama that occupied much of season 2.
The scenes with Lori and Rick were quite good too. Their changed relationship is much better than what we got last season and I think that Lori's lack of likability actually works here by putting us firmly in Rick's corner and making it clear that Lori deserves what happened to her. This in turn makes us sympathize more with Lori by seeing her suffering so much. While I don't like Lori's character yet, this is an effective start to rehabbing her.
Hershel's story was very good too. I thought Lauren Cohan was outstanding as she cried over Hershel and told him that he can die and be at peace. The acting carried the scene and brought out some genuine emotion regarding Hershel's relationship with Maggie. I also really enjoy the contrasts with how Maggie and Beth respectively dealt with Hershel's condition. The final moments where Hershel woke up and is alive were very good and I'm glad that we got a little bit of hope in this miserable world to keep the survivors going. We need moments like these for the depressing nature of the story to not get too grating.
I liked the idea of Carol practicing surgeries on walker bodies. It was a fittingly grim moment that blends perfectly into the show.
The Bad: The idea that the prisoners lived in that cafeteria for a year, not knowing that the world ended is a massive reach which I don't buy at all. It's a stupid idea that removes a lot of credibility from this world. Furthermore, it's frustrating how long it takes Rick and co. to tell the prisoners what happened to the world. It's not interesting and feels like stalling. Also, the dialogue from the prisoners is quite bad and does a very poor job of characterizing them. Yes, even though this season got off to a good start, the show is still failing to do characterization and character development. It's disappointing and I get the sense that the show may still fail to hit the next level without good character work.
How dumb was it when the prisoners attacked the walkers? They had been told several times to aim for the heads, yet none of them listened. This was way too unbelievable, especially since every prisoner did this, and since Rick must have told them three or four times to go for the head.
Lori is seriously still not watching over Carl. Man, I'm with Carl on this, because Lori really needed to discipline the kid so he wouldn't just go off whenever he feels like it. She is still a terrible parent. Sure she admits to it, but at least make her try to improve her parenting skill.
The Unknown: Can we trust the two surviving prisoners?
Who was watching Carol from the forest? Is it a new threat?
Best Moment: Maggie crying over Hershel was a great scene.
Character of the Episode: Maggie.
Conclusion: In terms of pacing and excitement, this was a good follow-up to the season premiere. But the prisoner storyline is built on a really weak foundation and fails to provide enough emotion and character development to justify its existence. While this episode doesn't mean that the rest of this season will be poor, it's definitely a worrying sign.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.