Summary: Jaime is taken to Dany, Jon and Sansa to be judged but Brienne stands up for him. Sansa and Jona re willing to give him a chance, so Dany agrees as well. Tyrion and Jaime speak again and reminisce on the past. Jaime asks to serve under Brienne when the battle starts. Dany goes to Sansa to relieve tensions without success. Theon arrives and reunites with Sansa. Beric, Tormund and Edd arrive and warn that the White Walkers are almost there. Everyone enjoys some time to relax before the great battle. Arya and Gendry have sex. Jaime makes Brienne a knight. Sam gives Heartsbane to Jorah. Jon tells Dany who he really is. The White Walkers arrive at Winterfell.
The Good: I loved this. It's like the episode writers read my review and decided to correct all of the issues I had with the season premiere. The dialogue was back up to the show's lofty standards, the scenes were given time to breathe and develop that spark, and the threat of the White Walkers loomed over every single scene, giving this episode the atmosphere and urgency that I was expecting from the last episode. Each of these improvements made this episode substantially more enjoyable than the first.
Jaime is one of the show's best characters and he shone here. It was refreshing to separate him from Cersei and he ended up being terrific in this episode. I really liked the scenes early in the episode where Jaime is forced to confront everything he has done and face up to it as a better person. I liked him standing up to Sansa accusing him of attacking the Starks, and even more than that, I liked him apologizing to Bran for the one truly terrible thing he actually did.
Jaime and Brienne's relationship was developed heavily throughout the episode which was great. They have had one of the best relationships in the show, so it isn't a surprise that an episode centered around them is so successful. They had a number of great scenes outside of Brienne standing up for Jaime. Jaime wanting to serve under her in the battle was a wonderful moment, showing how much respect the both of them have for each other. Better yet was Jaime knighting Brienne, finally giving her the recognition that she has been craving for so long. It was fantastic to see her so happy afterwards, providing a sweet culmination to her story. It's a shame that certain death is looming over everyone right now.
The threat of the White Walkers is what makes this episode so powerful. This episode works so well because it serves as a reminder of how much I care about these characters. Seeing them interacting, resolving storylines and joking around is a perfect way to get the maximum emotion out of reflecting on the show. It's so much sadder when you realize that a whole ton of these characters won't be making it out of the series alive. Knowing that makes me appreciate these scenes a whole lot more and makes the episode stand out in an emotional way.
Arya and Gendry's scenes were really strong in this episode. Their moment in the last episode felt a little strange and only offered some callback lines which made the scene feel a little shallow to me. The dialogue was much better here and it felt like organic talk from two old friends, while also incorporating the threat of the White Walkers. I like the idea of them hooking up but I have some nitpicks about the pacing of this development (see: The Bad).
Sansa and Dany's relationship advanced nicely in this episode. I liked Jorah advising Dany to calm the waters between them and I liked the way that the two of them engaged with clearly forced pleasantries to kick of their conversation. I thought the theme of manipulation throughout their conversation was terrific and it nicely echoed where this conversation was ultimately going. Dany was trying to manipulate Sansa into joining her cause, but Sansa, ever so smart now, refused to give in, exposing the fundamental problem with the Jon/Dany alliance.
I really liked the scenes of everyone waiting out the night, expecting the battle to start any second. Arya sitting briefly with The Hound and Beric was a nice moment. Jon, Edd and Sam reflecting on their time in the Night's Watch was spectacular, and it even allowed a chance for Edd to show some personality (he is allowed much more time to shine in the books, and I'm glad to see that personality coming out in this scene). Plus we saw Ghost for the first time in ages, which I was really glad about. The scenes with Tyrion, Pod, Jaime, Brienne, Davos and Tormund were all excellent. The interactions were fantastic, the jokes were all hilarious and it all culminated wonderfully in Brienne becoming a knight. As a plus, we also got a hilarious backstory from Tormund and a brand new Westerosi song sang by Pod.
I thought that Jon telling the truth to Dany lived up to my expectations of how the scene would go. Dany's surprise made sense and I thought her response fit her character. Even though she loves Jon, she feels immediately threatened and tensions instantly arise. Dany is obsessed with getting the throne now, so the presence of a competitor with a better claim than her makes her feel uneasy and sets up some tensions between Jon and Dany. The timing of the reveal was excellent, since they were interrupted by the White Walkers and it seems that they will have to resolve this after the great battle.
There were a few other smaller scenes that were just as great. Tyrion and Jaime had a few really great moments of reflection together, similar to their great scenes back in season 4. I liked the callback to how Tyrion wants to die. Sam giving Heartsbane to Jorah was another nice scene, paying off of Sam's gratitude towards how Jeor made him a proper man. Davos' scene with the little girl was a sweet reminder of his time with Shireen which I thought was nice. I also loved Theon and Sansa's reunion which was a good way to bring Theon full circle by having him choose the right family this time around. Tormund's jokes were as funny as ever.
The Bad: Bran's reveal that the Night King was coming for him felt really tacked on. He finally got some motives, and it feels so out of left field. This should have been established earlier, perhaps back in season 6 when all of this information was being given out. Furthermore, the development that the Night King can always track Bran makes me question why he didn't kill Bran when he was being pulled by Meera all alone in season 6. If he knows where Bran is, killing him back then should have been easy.
How did Tormund, Edd and Beric get to Winterfell before the White Walkers? These guys are slow as hell, since they take forever to get everywhere for some reason.
Arya and Gendry having sex feels strange for me because they still seem like strangers. Gendry still seems to view Arya as a little girl, and we haven't really seen much about what Arya wants. That makes them hooking up seem a little strange, and I wish that they had reunited a little earlier so that they would have more time to understand each other before this scene.
The Unknown: I'm interested in where Tyrion goes from here after all of his mistakes. The story could just have him redeem himself, but that would seem very anticlimactic since this story has been in the works since season 6. He has had more of a presence this season, so perhaps there is more to his story.
Apparently Cersei's baby is real. So why does she not tell Euron about it?
How will Dany deal with Jon's reveal? Will she turn on him at some point?
What happened to Melisandre? Will we see her again before the end of the series?
Who is going to die in the coming battle? I suspect that a lot of characters will die here. I'm betting that Gendry, Beric, Grey Worm, Jorah, Pod and Edd will die, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them make it out and other characters end up dying instead. This battle is so exciting because it feels like anybody could die.
Best Moment: Jaime knighting Brienne was a fantastic moment.
Character of the Episode: Brienne.
Conclusion: This was an awesome episode which focused on all of my favourite aspects of the show. The episode had several emotional moments while setting up the upcoming battle in terrific fashion. I'm very excited to see how this whole thing wraps up.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.