Game of Thrones "S7E5: Eastwatch" - Review: The Reunion Special
What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare? No time to stay beneath The Wall or stand as long as Harrenhal. No time to see weirwoods we pass, where Direwolves tread the frozen grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, the armies of the darkest night. No time to turn Brienne’s glance, and counter with a water dance. No time to wait for battle plan, when across the kingdoms war began. A poor Westeros this is if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. That’s right, this week William Henry Davies is getting killed off. Yet aside murdering a classic, there was a point here in the way this season seems to be wasting little time in going anywhere. In some cases, journeys that would previously take half a season are now lasting half an episode as all notions of filler get a solid dracarys..... and that’s a good thing as this season continues to produce outstanding episodes.
Eastwatch – Both sides deal with the aftermath of the supply wagon attack. After Bran sees the army of the dead marching towards Eastwatch, Tyrion hatches a new plan to convince Cersei of their existence. Jon continues to lose political favour to Sansa in his absence while Sam loses patience with the Citdel.
After last week’s blazing glory, this is very much an in-between episode, covering the aftermath of last week while setting up new stories for the final 2 episodes. It still packed some big visual moments though. Bran’s travelling by raven was an excellent sweep through the landscapes but the real money was Jon meeting Drogon. Not only did this look fantastic, giving us a greater level of detail in Drogon via the close ups, but it had clear foreshadowing story purpose. Without doubt, the show is building up to Jon learning the truth of his parentage (remember we know, but he doesn’t) and having Drogon sense the dragon/Targaryen within him is a step towards that. This was even followed by the less subtle moment of Gilly almost spilling beans via an old Maester journal. Another big theme was the tide turning of the war as after seeing what they’re really up against, Jaime and even Cersei understand they cannot win an all-out-war against Daenerys, which brings scheming and diplomacy back to the forefront. This sets up the idea of at least a truce while they deal with the dead if not a full-blown team up. I can’t see Cersei playing ball for a second even if they deliver their discussed proof. Any alliance that does happen will only be a double-cross in waiting.
While it certainly made for a strong visual. I felt like the early Tarly barbeque was a weak point for the episode. The scene had some nice themes of honour, and old Randall Tarly delivered a good monologue but the problem here was the idea of using the events to show Daenerys in danger of becoming a tyrant and of Tyrion being unable to talk her down. It was a real stretch on believability and seemed a tad pointless after the episode undid most of it halfway through the episode. Thankfully, the rest of the character notes were very much on -point, from Bronn’s opening motivations to the awkward Cersei/Jaime meeting and the mass entangling of past encounters at Eastwatch. It seems a little farfetched that Jon wouldn’t at least stop by Winterfell on his way to see Bran and Arya again, not to mention update his Lords on the many developments from Dragonstone. Yet we can let that slide for the sake of urgency and from a meta perspective that it serves the season’s story better to keep Jon moving.
This episode was big on reunions but one above all others stole the show. It’s about bloody time we caught up with Gendry! He was beginning to feel like a discarded plot thread and indeed little of his prior story has been picked up again but it’s difficult not to enjoy this Gendry for all fun, “like father, like son references”. For the purpose of TV-only fans (I can’t recall it being mentioned on the show), when Robert Baratheon was a revered warrior rather than a fat drunk king, he was infamous for wielding a great war hammer in battle. Gendry’s own hammer antics channel this nicely. Then of course, there are the clear attempts to replicate the Rob & Ned friendship between Gendry and Jon Snow as their mutual bastards. This initially impresses and could become enjoyable feature as their journeys continue together. Is Gendry becoming like his father or trying too hard to embody him for a lack of his own identity? That would tie well into all the past significance of his, “kings blood” as over time, he may be wondering who he really is if not Robert Baratheon’s son. Davos was also a surprise MVP of the episode. His bribery scene was hilarious and his blunt humour carried some big punches this week as the events played out.
It may not have matches last week’s thrills but there’s no doubt that the season’s form continues as we head into the final extended episodes. The trailers imply the best will come from the oddballs beyond the wall party. Until then please remember that knees bend back a lot easier than incinerated flesh.