Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5 review: The good, bad and so-so from 'Eastwatch'

Rohini Nair

Aug,14 2017 11:30 30 IST

After the fire and devastation that was Game of Thrones' season 7 episode 4 (The Spoils of War), episode 5 (Eastwatch) was more of a slow burn.

All through Eastwatch (which except for the very end wasn't really set at the dank Northern holdfast for which it was named), there was a sense of events being set into motion, the consequences of which will lead to a major conflagration. Of course, with only two episodes left this season, the conflagration won't be a long time coming, and it's probably going to take a far less literal form than the blowing up of the Sept of Baelor that marked the finale of season 6.

(A moment of silence for all those written-out actors lost souls.)

A quick recap: the Battle of Tumbleton (or the 'loot train attack' as DB Weiss and David Benioff insist on calling it) had ended with Jaime rushing full tilt at Daenerys (who descended on the battlefield to tend to the spear in Drogon's breast) only to have a full burst of dragonfire directed in his way. Bronn knocked him out of harm's way and into the nearby river.

(Spoilers ahead.)

Eastwatch was all about answering some questions that viewers of Game of Thrones have had for a while now. There were at least a couple of 'break the fourth wall' moments when the makers directly referenced fan grouses/musings regarding the happenings on GoT. Here's a non-linear review of the good, bad and the so-so that episode 5 brought us:

Dany and Jon trade meaningful stares. Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

Dany and Jon trade meaningful stares. Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

The Good

>> As we hurtle towards the conclusion of Game of Thrones, more and more characters who've had disparate storylines thus far are coming together. Some of them, like Jon and Dany, haven't met before, while others are old friends (or foes). Eastwatch set up at least four major meet-and-greets (or what passes for them in the GoTverse).

1. Jorah and Dany

Jorah, having being cured of greyscale, has made his way to Dragonstone. His khaleesi is happy to see him and the duo have an emotional reunion. By the end of the episode, however, Jorah's off with Jon to fight those zombies white walkers marching to Eastwatch.

2. Ser Davos and Gendry

Gendry has been the butt of the 'still rowing' joke for a while now, and Ser Davos teased him about it when they were reunited in Flea Bottom. Fans have theorised for a while now that Gendry (if he wasn't still rowing) would be invaluable in the effort against the Night King, trained as he is in working with Valyrian steel. However, he ends up taking on a far more active role, heading beyond the Wall with Jon and his party. Oh, and Gendry's learnt to wield Robert Baratheon's war hammer.

3. Gendry and Jon

Their fathers were best friends. (Well neither of the duo knows that Ned Stark is not really Jon's father.) So it made for a nice moment when Davos introduced Gendry to Jon. Will their partnership achieve as much as Robert and Ned's did?

4. Gendry and The Hound, Ser Beric Dondarrion

Last he encountered them, the Brotherhood — Ser Beric Dondarrion, Thoros the priest — had sold Gendry to Melisandre, who wanted to you know, sacrifice Robert Baratheon's bastard son to prop up Stannis' chances in the Great War. So you can imagine Gendry was none too pleased about coming face to face with Ser Beric et al at Eastwatch, where Tormund had placed them in a cell when they attempted to cross the Wall (because of the Hound seeing the vision in the flames etc). Anyway, Jon's words soothe the animosities away and everyone decides to play nice fight together against the white walkers.

5. Tyrion and Jaime

After preventing him from becoming a pile of charred flesh, Bronn did Jaime another favour, by setting up a meeting with Tyrion. Tyrion has a proposal for an armistice with Jaime: a ceasing of open war with Cersei while Dany helps Jon fight the Night King. On a scale of Jon-Sansa, Sansa-Arya, Sansa-Bran, Arya-Bran, this sibling meeting scored... somewhere in between? The brothers met in the basements of the Red Keep (where all the dragon skulls are) which made us think it might go the Sansa-Arya way, but there was no hug! Jaime didn't even tell Tyrion he knows his little bother had no role to play on Joffrey's death! And when Tyrion starts to explain how his killing Tywin was a response to his father wanting him executed for a crime he didn't commit, Jaime is all — 'I got more important things to do brother'. Still, they're talking, which we suppose is a step in the right direction. Now if only they'd hug and make up.

6. Tyrion and Jorah
Tyrion tells Jorah he's missed his 'glower'. Jorah glowers back. All is peace and bliss.

>>The Dany and Jon romance has progressed from knee-bending injunctions and subterranean dates to wistful glances and dragon nuzzling (no, not a form of foreplay, literal dragon nuzzling). It was only in the last episode that we heard Ser Davos gently rib Jon about staring at Dany's 'good heart'. Now, we get to witness some of that staring. He stares at her when she watches her dragons fly and speaks fondly of them as their children. This is right after Jon pats Drogon like he would a horse (or Ghost, if someone would reunite them) and Drogon goes all mushy and 'I-love-Jon' about it. This is perhaps also the right moment to bring up who else got away with patting one of the dragons — Tyrion! Which could either be conclusive proof that A+J=T is true — or that Dany's dragons are just suckers for some good, old-fashioned petting. Anyhow, back to Jon and Dany — we see some reciprocal staring happening when he heads off for Eastwatch. When will the pair meet again? Soon, is the hope. Maybe Dany can pet Jon Ghost if she goes to the North.

>> Another couple that continues to make us go 'aww': Bronn and Jaime. The bromance continues, and we couldn't be happier.

>> Ghost is back — or at least his existence is being acknowledged. A burning question that GoT fans have had is: 'where is Ghost?' As one of the two last surviving direwolves, you'd think he'd get a little more screen time than what he's getting at present — which is zilch. We didn't get to see him, but Sansa made an allusion to him sitting and waiting patiently for Jon to return. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with this vision of Ghost, busy being a direwolf, padding about Winterfell, hoping against hope that Jon doesn't start loving dragons more than his old loyal, furry friend.

Cersei's having a baby! Uh, congratulations? Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

Cersei's having a baby! Uh, congratulations? Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

The Bad

1. Not so much for the viewers, but things definitely went south for the Tarlys, who got roasted early on in episode 5. Dany tells them to do her newest favourite thing in the world (bend the knee), they refuse, and end up in front of flame-spewing Drogon.

2. Arya and Sam! Two of our favourite characters did two of the stupidest thing in recent GoT history. After squabbling with Sansa (Arya thinks older sister is more power-hungry than she lets on), Arya decides to spy on Littlefinger. She lurks in nooks and crannies while he holds secret tête-a-tetes with various folks and then breaks into his room to look for a scroll she saw him hide. The message gets her all bothered, but little does she know that Littlefinger is aware of what she's up to and has planted a fake message for her to get at.

3. Sam, possibly, does worse. After acing his library research game for the past few episodes, Gilly offers him a HUGE piece of information — and Sam doesn't even register it. Sure, he is all riled up about the archmaester not paying attention to Bran's warning about the Night King's army, and he's had a rough few weeks, and Gilly is also feeding him details like 'how many steps are there in the Citadel' and 'how many windows in the Sept of Baelor' — but when the girl starts to talk about, you know, about a marriage being annulled between a Prince Rhaegar (or 'Ragga' as Gilly pronounces the name) and about him marrying another woman, you pay attention Samwell Tarly! Anyhow, Sam has stolen some of those scrolls and tomes from the library's restricted section and left the Citadel with Gilly and the baby.

Sam is offered definitive proof of Jon's parentage — and ignores it. Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

Sam is offered definitive proof of Jon's parentage — and ignores it. Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

4. Did we mention Sansa and Arya are squabbling? All this time apart and you'd think they'd just be more grateful to be together.

5. Meanwhile, Team Dragonstone has come up with the very dumb strange plan of getting a couple of white walkers to King's Landing — to show Cersei the threat beyond the Wall is real. We're still a little iffy on why they reach that decision (Tryion talks so fast!) but this is how it happens: Jon receives a raven from Winterfell that Arya and Bran are alive and home (hooray!) and that the white walkers are marching to Eastwatch, as Bran has seen in a vision (sob!). He tells Dany he needs to go to Eastwatch at once; she says she can't give him manpower because of her ongoing war with Cersei, Tyrion muses aloud that they could negotiate a temporary truce with Cersei while they deal with the Night King, then he realises that she'll never believe in the white walkers — unless! 'What if we brought a couple of white walkers to King's Landing?' they chorus. And so Jon and Jorah Mormont (has he gotten tired of the 'I served with your father, he was a great man' line yet?) set off for Eastwatch, with Gendry and Ser Davos, to bring back a couple of friendly white walkers. Seriously, that's their plan.

The So-So

1. Really? Jon is going to face that massive white walker army with just some seven men in tow? Unless Dany comes flying in on Drogon for back-up, we really don't see how that battle is going to go well for the King in the North.

2. Cersei's having a baby! With Jaime! Uh, congratulations? Jaime was all happy (in a restrained, manly, jaw clenched with emotion way) when Cersei told him the news — this was when they were discussing the armistice Tyrion has proposed on Dany's behalf. But you can bet we were not. If there was any chance that Jaime would see sense and recognise Cersei for the psychopath she is, this little development is going to ensure that never comes to pass. In our fantasy scenario, Jaime would kill Cersei and write a note to Tyrion asking him to bring up their kid to be an honest, decent sort. Who knows? Weiss and Benioff might just give us that seeing the other sops they're throwing us.

What scheme does Varys have in mind? Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

What scheme does Varys have in mind? Still from Game of Thrones season 7 episode 5: Eastwatch. Image via HBO

3. Varys and that whole Dany-is-going-the-way-of-her-father-the-Mad-King, spiel. Now why are we beginning to feel there's some sinister plot afoot where the Spider is concerned?

4. People seem to be going to a lot of trouble to keep things secret in Westeros and not really succeeding. Tyrion thinks he snuck into King's Lading without Cersei knowing. (She knows.) Arya thinks she snuck into Littlefinger's oom without him knowing. (He knows.) Meanwhile the people who really should know a few things are all in the dark — we're not forgiving your faux pas yet, Sam! Tell us you're going to be a bit smarter in episode 6?