This week’s episode wasn’t firing on all cylinders the way last week’s was, but it was still an okay episode overall.
In particular, I thought Jon’s storyline was well-handled. Kudos to Kit Harrington for that initial scene, because it really was one of his better pieces of acting. He did an excellent job of portraying how unsettling and unnerving it would be to return from the dead remembering your own murder. Likewise, Melisandre was also strong in that scene, with her desperate questioning of Jon about the afterlife and fervent urging that someone must be Azor Ahai (pretty clearly Jon at this point).
The concluding execution scene was probably my favorite of the episode. I really like what the show has done with Alliser Thorne; far from the straight-up jerk he was in the books, Show!Alliser has been portrayed in the last few seasons as a short-sighted but principled man who disagrees with Jon and acts on it. His final words were a perfect conclusion to that arc and very satisfying overall. I was scared for a moment that Jon was going to have mercy and cut Olly down. I’m glad he didn’t – we needed to see that death has changed Jon. And like many have speculated in the past few months, Jon’s watch has ended.
The next-best scene was the long-awaited (and sadly incomplete) Tower of Joy scene. I wish they had kept the dialogue from the books between Ned and the Kingsguard, but on the whole the scene was still satisfying. Arthur Dayne was fun to watch, and Bran’s commentary made the scene more enjoyable, in my eyes – there’s nothing this show does better than strip away innocence. I should have known better than to think that we’d get to see the inside of the Tower of Joy, but it was still enjoyable.
The rest of the episode was varying degrees of interesting:
- I’m really over Cersei trying to be Tywin, though I did love Kevan just up and leaving her when she tried to force her way into the Small Council meeting.
- Relatedly, Dorne got mentioned and now I’m terrified that Dorne is not over.
- As much as I love Tyrion, the extended scene between him, Grey Worm and Missandei was wholly unnecessary.
- After showing some promising signs of growing a backbone, Tommen almost immediately caved to the High Sparrow in conversation – I don’t see this ending well.
- I asked where Sam and Gilly were last week, and now I regret it.
- Poor Shaggydog. I’m sure I don’t like where the North is headed.
- Arya is one “Eye of the Tiger” short of a training montage. But she has her sight back now, so that’s something.
Other than Jon’s scenes and the Tower of Joy, the only other scene I can say I definitely enjoyed was watching Varys in action. We’ve known for a while that Varys wields a lot of power and leverage, but I really liked him in action. I found him quite threatening and ominous in this scene, and I look forward to more like it.
To be honest, I was hoping for more Sansa/Brienne this week, but was disappointed. Thankfully, it looks like she’ll be back next week – along with Baelish (finally!). I’m ready to put this episode behind me as the first truly mediocre one of the season and get excited for whatever we’re about to see in episode four.