The episode opens on the fiery graveyard that is the Reach and luckily for all of us, the show runners didn’t even decide to further entertain the thought of Jaime or Bronn’s death. They come crawling out of the lake on the opposite end of the shore, away from where Daenerys and company have set up camp.
The first, wholly ungrateful words out of Jaime’s mouth: You could have killed me.
Bronn: And honestly I SHOULD have.
Bronn is not here for Jaime dying before he gets his now-much-deserved castle. He’s also not here to fuck with three dragons after watching the havoc that one just managed to cause. Jaime, it would appear, isn’t too crazy about the idea either.
Jaime: This is fucking insane.
Jaime: THREE DRAGONS.
Jaime: I have to tell Cersei.
Bronn: How far away can I get before you do that.
Across the way, Tyrion is surveying the wreckage from their clearly victorious battle. It’s, uh, pretty bleak to say the least. It’s obvious he’s highly conflicted about everything that just happened, and that’s before we even get to the (literal) firing squad.
The Dothraki have lined up the surviving members of the Lannister army, who are about to receive their first ever momentous speech from the Queen of Dragons herself. Honestly, I’m jealous.
Dany: I know Cersei has talked a lot of shit, but I’m not here kill you all or burn Westeros to the ground.
Men who are quite literally covered in the ashes of their fallen brothers: Yes, we can definitely see that.
She gives them all a simple choice: either bend the knee and help her free Westeros from the tyranny of Cersei Lannister and those like her, or die. For the most part, they’re all quick to kneel. Except of course for Lordy Tarly, the righteous curmudgeon.
Tyrion tries to reason with Tarly, citing the fact that he was quick to switch allegiances from the Tyrells to the Lannisters, but it’s no use. He even opts for mercy, sending Tarly to the Wall where he can glare the White Walkers into oblivion, but neither Daenerys or Tarly are having it. Then Dickon steps in and Tyrion fucking loses it.
Dickon: You’ll have to kill me to.
Tyrion: No you don’t understand; we’ll need jaws like yours to rebuild this country once the war is done.
Even though Tyrion is suffering a severe internal struggle, Dany does not budge. These men made their choice and while honorable, she’s not going to allow dissenters to live, not even in chains. She sentences them both to death with one quick Dracarys, at which point every other survivor who may have been on the fence immediately drops to their knees.
RIP Dickon. The strongest jaw and dumbest name that Westeros ever did see.
Jaime returns to King’s Landing for the second most traumatic interaction of his week: letting Cersei know that they are, for all intents and purposes, royally fucked.
As we’ve come to expect, Cersei keeps her cool in the face of devastating news. She knows their odds, but also knows that there is no scenario in which Daenerys lets them live. Jaime killed her father. Cersei has been rising armies against her. There can only be one hot blonde family in King’s Landing. It’s just not looking good for the Lannisters.
To make an already highly tense conversation even worse, Jaime then breaks the news about Olenna’s role in Joffrey’s death, at which point we actually see Cersei’s stone cold façade crack a bit.
Jaime: She’s dead. Her whole family is dead. You won.
Olenna, from the grave:
Cersei’s anger solidifies her resolve: either they submit and die or fight and die. It’s obvious which choice she’s going to make, but the same can’t be said for Jaime.
Jon’s daily cliffside brooding is interrupted by the return of Dany and Drogon, who land close enough for Jon to have his first real interaction with a dragon. I’m not crying. It’s fine.
Dany watching Drogon snuggle up to Jon is the equivalent of any girl seeing a hot guy with a puppy. It doesn’t matter if she knows it yet, she’s already in. Science is against her, there’s no fighting it.
Dany: They’re beautiful aren’t they.
Jon: yoU’RE BEAUTIFUL—I MEAN, yeah they’re alright.
They discuss the battle at the Reach and Daenerys can tell that Jon is also conflicted about her so casually lighting the Lannister army up. Not because he cares about the Lannisters, but because he cares about men burning to death. Plus, that means less people to help in the war against the White Walkers.
Dany changes the topic and finally gets around to asking Jon about Davos’ comment RE: taking a literal knife to the heart. This could have been a great moment for the two of them if, in a move we all should have seen coming, Jorah didn’t arrive to RUIN THE GOD DAMN MOMENT.
Jorah, with his urgent fucking whispers and his “I just returned from a semester in Thailand” haircut, is finally back and Daenerys is actually choked up about it. She hugs him, swerving what looked like a potential kiss in the process, which puts Jon on high alert. Move over, White Walkers, enemy number one is now this old guy with the obvious boner for a teenage girl.
Somewhere inside near the alcohol reserves, Tyrion is chugging wine and trying to rationalize Daenerys’ decision to roast the Tarly’s and hundreds of other men he’s likely known his entire life. Varys isn’t helping, sharing his very similar experiences with Dany’s father and the role he played there.
Varys: You need to find a way to make her listen before she goes crazy.
Tyrion: * chugs entire bottle of wine *
Jon receives a raven with news that Arya and Brann are alive and that Brann saw the army of the dead marching for Eastwatch. He’s ready to pack up and head home, with or without Daenerys’s army.
Dany says she can’t abandon her position and let Cersei waltz in, so Tyrion suggests bringing the threat to Cersei to make her believe. He proposes capturing one wight and bringing it to King’s Landing, to convince Cersei that this is something worth putting their differences aside for. In order for Cersei to even entertain the idea, Davos is going to smuggle Tyrion inside so that he can try and convince Jaime to make it all happen.
Let’s move past every logistical issue that this idea presents really quick to imagine Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion, Dany, and Jon all in one room trying to strategize against an army of zombies, with a very nervous Davos in the background. I get that this is the goal we’ve been working towards for a few years now, but it’s taken until this moment for that to seem even remotely real. Can you imagine the amount of wine that would require?
Jorah volunteers to go North to capture the wight, which means Jon immediately signs up as well. It makes sense, he’s the only one with any experience in the area, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to like it, especially Daenerys. The face she makes when Jon announces his plan honestly belongs on the cover of a Nicholas Sparks novel. JUST MAKE OUT ALREADY.
After warging into a flock of ravens and seeing the growing army of the dead, Brann decides it’s time to reach out to the Citadel for help. If only he knew that his letter would be read aloud to a table of catty old men in burlap sacks while Sam filed scrolls in the background.
While the Maesters laughed at the idea of a crippled boy seeing the White Walkers through a bird, Sam comes to his defense. He makes the valid point that a crippled kid who managed to survive on his own beyond the wall for years is someone they might want to listen to, even if what he has to say sounds insane.
Sam: If all you well-respected assholes were to, I don’t know, warn everyone about the White Walkers, we might be able to actually survive.
It takes Sam breaking out his big boy voice, one that is three octaves lower than we’ve ever heard from him for the Maesters, to listen. They decide to reach out to Bran for clarification before moving forward. Good fucking luck with that one.
Later, Sam is starting to regret teaching Gilly how to read as she recites every inane fact that she can find while he goes through his first career-based existential crisis. Welcome to the club, my dude.
Gilly: What’s an annulment?
Sam: A really good fucking idea is what it is.
But she didn’t just ask for any reason. Gilly just so happened to find a passage about a secret annulment for none other than Rhaegar Targaryen that took place in Dorne. I’m sorry, did Sam just completely gloss over the part where Rhaegar’s marriage was annulled and he was remarried in secret in Dorne?? Is he so busy pouting over his job that he’s just going to ignore that Gilly likely found proof of Jon’s parentage?? COOL.
Instead of listening to the one tidbit of information that the internet has been clamoring for, Sam marches down to the restricted section of the library to steal some scrolls before packing up his family and busting out of the Citadel under the cover of darkness. Thank God. I could not have handled one more scene in this boring building full of crusty old men.
There appears to be some unrest at Winterfell, where the Lords of the North are suggesting that Sansa should be leading the North. She placates them for the time being, but Arya is suspicious. She follows Sansa back to her room, their parents’ old room in fact, to accuse her of hoping that Jon never returns.
Realistically, Arya and Sansa will never see eye to eye on these things. One of them is a political strategist and the other is an assassin and these aren’t typically the kind of people who approach situations with the same mindset. Sansa wants diplomacy and Arya wants wrath and I just want everyone to calm the fuck down.
Davos and Tyrion arrive on the shores of King’s Landing a mere five minutes after deciding to move forward with their plan. God bless this shortened season and its lack of patience for long travel montages.
Tyrion: Last time I was here, I killed my dad.
Davos: Last time I was here, you killed my son.
Tyrion: Honestly that was like two seasons ago. No one even cares anymore.
Bronn drags Jaime into the dragon skeleton basement of King’s Landing under the pretense of training, but instead brings him face to face with Tyrion. Last time Jaime saw Tyrion was right after he murdered their dad and yet this is still a slightly less uncomfortable reunion than Sansa and Bran’s.
Tyrion: Man. You look good. So good. Not even a little charred.
Jaime: What did I do to deserve two siblings who bring me nothing but suffering.
While Tyrion makes his plea to Jaime, Davos takes a stroll through Flea Bottom to find our long-lost second-favorite bastard. That’s right, GENDRY IS BACK. With a quick throwaway reference to the fact that this poor kid has been rowing for the past five or so years, Davos gets right to the point.
Davos: Nothing fucks you harder than time.
Gendry: Weird way to start a conversation but okay.
Davos came to recruit Gendry into their war. Not sure how psyched Daenerys will be to have a Baratheon in her ranks, but I’m here for her collecting every attractive bastard that Westeros has to offer. Davos has a similar thought and warns him to keep his bloodlines to himself.
They may their way back to their boat on the shore where some guards happen upon them. Davos managed to trick them with some gold and Westerosi Viagra, which could have made for a clean getaway if Tyrion hadn’t arrived at that very moment. As the most famous and wanted dwarf in the country, he’s kind of hard to miss.
Gendry knocks the guards out before any trouble can start, and the three of them start their journey back to Dragonstone. With Gendry’s experience, they’ll be back in about 15 minutes.
Jaime makes his way back to Cersei’s rooms for his second life-ruining conversation this episode. I don’t know when this poor guy became the most relatable person on this show, but as a middle child, perpetual meddler and someone who constantly finds herself mediating fights that she has no right having any part in, I feel for him.
Jaime: So Tyrion was here.
Cersei: Bitch I know.
Jaime: Why do I even try?
Now in possession of Qyburn’s many little birds, Cersei already knew that Tyrion was in the city and that Bronn had facilitated a meeting. She’s open to meeting with Daenerys, not because she’s afraid of the White Walkers, but because she knows that in times of war it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Cersei: Never betray me again
Jaime: * flashes back to his nightly fantasy of smothering her in her sleep * Of course not.
Back on the shores of Dragonstone, Davos is prepping Gendry for his first meeting with Jon.
Davos: Whatever you do, do not tell him that you are the bastard son of Robert Baratheon.
Gendry: For sure.
*Two minutes later*
Gendry: Hello your Grace, I am Gendry, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon.
Gendry thinks that since their fathers were close friends, he and Jon should trust each other as well. He wants to fight for Jon, who accepts him in spite his total lack of fighting experience or really any experience in something that isn’t rowing a boat.
Gendry: I want to fight zombies.
Jon: Dude, I also want to fight zombies.
Gendry: Did we just become best friends?
Davos: Fuck me right? The only guy in all of Westeros with survival skills. It’s cool, no one listen to me.
Everyone makes their way down to the beach to bid farewell to the crew headed out to catch zombies. Is it a coincidence that the team is led by two men who spend 98% of their time glaring into the distance? Probably not.
Back for revenge, it’s now Jon’s turn to ruin a tender moment between Jorah and Dany as he strides up in the middle of their goodbye. Jorah manages a quick kiss on the hand before Jon steals the show with his own special kind of sentimentality.
Jon: Well hey, at least if I die you won’t have to worry about me refusing to bow to you.
Dany: Not a kiss, but I’ll take it.
Like, could Daenerys look any more love struck as they push their boat out into the surf? Jorah feels it. Tyrion feels it. Every angry commenter who will point out that I’m advocating for incest feels it. We all know this is happening. WE KNOW.
Our last stop this episode, Jon and his merry crew of wildling hunters have landed at Eastwatch, where Tormund is less than excited to hear about their new plan.
Tormund: You want to go back out there?
Tormund: And you didn’t even bring my warrior queen to try and convince me? Fake friend.
Despite his misgivings, Tormund is obviously on board with the plan because he’s a day one Jon Snow ride or die bitch. What makes things even more interesting is the group he presents to Jon as potential recruits. The Hound, Beric, and Thoros were picked up just south of Eastwatch while attempting to travel beyond the wall and are absolutely game to join Jon’s potential suicide mission. Let’s do a quick breakdown of the group here.
Jorah’s father, the previous Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, hunted Tormund and the wildlings. In turn, Tormund fucked him and his men up. They hated each other. Jorah and his father also weren’t fond of each other, but that’s not going to stop Jorah and Tormund from getting into it.
The last time Gendry ran into Beric and the Brotherhood, they sold him to Melisandre who tried to sacrifice him to the Lord of Light. Needless to say, also not fans of each other.
Then there’s the Hound, who hates fucking everyone, and Jon, who also likely hates everyone but really just wants to stop the White Walkers and maybe relax for once in his cursed life.
Together, this motley crew is heading out into a frozen wasteland to try and catch a wight and save Westeros from disaster. It’s like an Armageddon sequel. Take all my money and give me one hundred spinoffs.
All in all, not the most exhilarating episode this season. But to be fair, we probably didn’t need much more excitement after last week. Maybe I’ll actually be able to fall asleep before dawn tonight without all that post-dragon battle adrenaline pumping through my veins.
What will next week hold? A coup in the North? Peace between two warring queens? More cryptic mumblings from Brann? A montage in which Daenerys tries and fails to write love letters to Jon? Only time will tell.
Dany when Jon finally sails back into Dragonstone: