EASTWATCH (GOT RECAP)
After last week’s barn burner of an episode, we’re back to the business of moving the pieces across the board to set up for the last act, but I’m not mad. This hour was more of a slow burn similar to episodes from earlier seasons, back to politics, side-taking, and strategizing. We saw less fire breathing and more of people standing around talking while wearing fur-lined coats (I’m digging the winter trends in Westeros btw and would love to know where I can find Sansa’s wardrobe off the rack, though sadly I don’t have any upcoming house showdowns I could wear them to).
As the whole internet expected, Jaime Lannister survived the Loot Train battle and is rescued by Bronn, who pulled his armor-laden ass out of the river. Jaime is alive but shook; now that he’s seen a Dothraki horde in action and one of three dragons unleashed, he knows there’s no way Cersei will win this war. When he tells her this, her reply is “So we fight and die, or submit and die. I know my choice,” which kind of makes me love her even though she’s evil and terrible; at least she’s consistent.
Post-battle, Daenerys has her soldiers gather up the surviving Lannisters and gives them the choice to either bend the knee or die. Randyll and Dickon Tarly are too proud to change their loyalties even though they barely tolerate Cersei, so Dany executes them by dragonfire. Tyrion is uneasy with the amount of deaths he’s witnessed, and asks Dany to consider letting them take the black, but she is an all-or-nothing kinda queen and we’re getting a glimpse of what Dany will be like as a ruler. “You need to find a way to make her listen,” Varys tells him later. At this point in the series, every character decision can be taken as foreshadowing.
In Winterfell, Sansa has to answer to the North folk who are growing fidgety while Jon’s gone. “The North won’t sit and wait like Ghost,” she says, reminding us that Jon’s dire wolf is still around somewhere, hunting and napping in more budget-friendly offscreen pastures. Arya picks a fight, accusing Sansa of secretly loving the attention and hoping that she’ll get the crown for herself, and Sansa is all ugh! I have no time for you and your weird habit of always bringing up beheadings. You know, sister stuff. Concurrently, Arya and Littlefinger have fallen into a pattern of sneaking around and spying on each other. Arya breaks into Littlefinger’s room to find a note hidden in his mattress; it’s the scroll that Sansa was forced to write to Robb Stark back in season 1 after Ned was imprisoned as a traitor, wherein she pleaded with her brother to come south to bend the knee to Joffrey. We as the audience know that Cersei made Sansa do it, but Arya doesn’t. Though whether she sees through the trap Littlefinger laid out for her remains to be seen.
Daenerys and Drogon return to Dragonstone where a broody Jon Snow awaits. At first, Drogon screeches and flaps his wings at the sight of him, but when the King of the North reaches out his hand in a peaceful offering, the dragon calms down and lets Jon pet him. Dany watches this interaction with interest, like when you bring home a date and your cat really likes him and you think to yourself MARRIAGE POTENTIAL.
While Dany is Having Feelings, another competitor for her affections washes up on the beach and it’s Jorah Mormont. “I return to your service, if you’ll have me.” Ugh Jorah, this again.
Meanwhile, Bran Stark has a vision of the White Walker army marching towards the wall,
so he sends a mass raven out to let everyone know. Upon the arrival of the message in Dragonstone, a meeting is called to order. Daenerys now believes that the Night King and his army exist, but doesn’t think Cersei will listen. They’re gonna need some proof, and the best way to get someone to believe in wights is for them to see one in person. Hence, a plan is concocted. Tyrion knows that the only person in King’s Landing who may actually listen to him is Jaime, so he decides to sneak into King’s Landing to talk to him. In order to get into the castle, he needs some good old-fashioned smuggling skills, which is where Davos comes in. From this point out, it’s pretty much a Westerosi version of the A-Team. Jorah and Jon will head north of the wall and enlist the help of Tormund and the free folk to capture a wight, take it hostage, travel back south to King’s Landing, and present it to Cersei in full view of as many witnesses as possible. It all seems so crazy that it just might work! (I don’t think it’s gonna work.)
In Mission Impossible: King’s Landing, Tyrion is able to sneak into the dungeon, where Bronn sets up Jaime with yet another sibling reunion. Jaime is livid, but listens to Tyrion plead his case. In this scene, there’s so much history and complicated emotions between two characters, and let's hope they just feel all the feels and hug it out and go back to doing dumb brother stuff like swap Playboys and fart on each other’s heads. Tyrion is convincing enough for Jaime to go to Cersei right after and tell her that Daenerys proposed an armistice. Surprisingly Cersei’s not totally against it, but that’s because she’s now acting as tyrant ruler for two--she’s carrying another twincest baby! And she wants the world to know it’s Jaime’s. He embraces her, and his loyalties are once again pulled in the direction of his dickon.
While Tyrion’s off on his mission, Davos tracks down Batman Begins-era Christian Bale--I mean Gendry, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. I never had blacksmith fantasies until Gendry showed up on the scene. He’s a little older and a LOT more fired up about going to war; Davos doesn’t need to twist his arm. Gendry promptly shows off his skills by bashing in the heads of two Lannister guards; he’s going to be an excellent addition to Jon’s ragtag team of scrappy heros with very complicated backstories.
But first, we need to make one more stop at the Citadel with Sam and Gilly. Sam is fed up with the maesters who, upon receiving Bran’s raven, are being too slow and cautious in taking action. At the table, Gilly practices reading historical texts aloud and stumbles upon a reference written by a maester who performed a same-day annulment and wedding for Rhaegar Targaryen in Dorne, but Sam, barely listening, interrupts her to complain about his boss. SAM THIS IS AN IMPORTANT REVELATION ABOUT THE TOWER OF JOY/JON’S TRUE PARENTAGE SO DON’T INTERRUPT GILLY WHILE SHE’S TALKING! Sam is tired of sitting around doing nothing, so he, Gilly and the baby I kinda forgot exists sneak off in the middle of the night along with a wagon-full of stolen texts. Here’s hoping Gilly used a bookmark where she left off in that Rhaegar story; Daenerys is likely going to want receipts when she is told that Jon’s a surprise Targaryen and a competing successor to the Iron Throne.
Over in the Zero Wight Thirty storyline, Jon and Jorah set sail for Eastwatch, a castle located at the wall along the Shivering Sea. But first Dany sees them off, admitting to Jon that she’d “grown used to” him.
Tyrion is witness to their goodbye, and I wonder if his strategic gears are spinning. Last season, Daenerys had broken up with Daario before departing for Westeros, giving him the reason that she’d likely have to marry for political reasons. If she ties the knot with Jon, she’ll gain the allegiance of the wary Northerners plus hold major territories on both sides of King’s Landing (Highgarden and Winterfell). In addition to political gain, she’s been giving Jon lingering glances ever since the cave and really, who can resist a handsome brooding reborn prophecy with great hair? I just wonder if they’ll find out they’re related before or after the ceremony.
Since this is season 7, the wight extraction team gets to Eastwatch in about 3 minutes, where they are received by Tormund Giantsbane. After Tormund gets over his disappointment that Jon didn’t bring Brienne, “the big woman” with him (I will ship these two 4-eva), he says that Jon’s team aren’t the only crazy ones who want to venture north of the wall. He takes them to the cell where he’s holding the Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr. We get several reunions at once: Jon remembers the Hound from King Robert’s visit to Winterfell, Gendry is still pissed at the Brotherhood without Banners for selling him out to Melisandre, and Jorah knows Thoros from the Siege of Pyke, an event that took place before the show but was mentioned in season 3. There’s a lot of tension in the room but Jon quickly reminds them “We’re all on the same side...We’re all breathin’.” In the last scene, we see Jon, Tormund, Jorah, the Hound, Beric, and Thoros bundled up in their IKEA rugs, walking through the gate and into the driving snow.
OMG you guys!! I can’t imagine that the survival rate of this expedition will be very high. At this point, any character who isn’t central to the final act is likely on the chopping block. It also looks like the war for the Iron Throne may happen concurrently with the war with the Night King’s Army, and at this point who knows who will be left to rule whatever is left of Westeros. Will it be Sansa? Cersei’s baby? Ser Pounce? With this show, you never know.