The dust from the explosive battle in ‘The Spoils of War’ started to settle this week, giving us some space to breathe before we head into the final stretch of Season 7. Everyone is getting pretty desperate at this point, with the key players trying to stock up on allies before the entire continent erupts into the inevitable bloodbath.
Jaime sympathisers rejoice—his fate that was left up in the air in last week’s episode is immediately addressed in ‘Eastwatch’. Against all odds he has resurfaced in Bronn’s grip, and is promptly berated for his poor decision-making skills. Unfortunately for him, it is clear now that this Targaryen monarch will be a lot harder to slay than the last one.
Meanwhile, Daenerys is addressing the remaining Lannister soldiers, demanding their immediate defection. Their betrayal in favour of their conqueror is hauntingly reminiscent of the army of the dead, and the visual composition of this scene emphasises this even further in their dull colour palette and slow shambling movement. There are some scary parallels being drawn between Daenerys and the Night King right now.
Tyrion is truly mournful for those who were killed fighting for his sister, recognising that the innocent deaths are starting to stack up in this war for the throne. Randyll and Dickon Tarly’s refusal to bend the knee touches a nerve with him, and he even goes so far as to beg Dany for their lives. She remains steadfast, and so it is with sadness we see the patriarch and heir of House Tarly destroyed in a burst of flames.
Props to Bran for proving his usefulness this week and helping keep an eye on the White Walkers. Warging into a raven, he observes the army of the dead marching closer towards Eastwatch and immediately relays this information to everyone who matters.
Sansa’s command over Winterfell is going almost too well. Jon’s sudden departure has put a dent in his reputation among his men, and Sansa’s competence is giving them cause to proclaim her as their true leader. She is quietly relishing this new power, but Arya is there to call her out on it right to her face.
Arya’s suspicion that Littlefinger is getting inside her sister’s head grows, and to find evidence of his meddling she does a bit of snooping around in his personal chambers. Inside, Arya finds a letter—a very particular letter written by Sansa back in Season 1, requesting that Robb pledges fealty to Joffrey. Spying on Arya from the shadows, Littlefinger smirks. He has very much intended for this letter to wind up in her hands, and it is sure to drive a wedge between the sisters.
Jon greets Daenerys as she victoriously flies back into Dragonstone, and some not-so-subtle foreshadowing sees Jon successfully bonding with her favourite dragon. In the middle of their sly flirting, Jorah Mormont, Prince of the Friendzone, makes his timely return to Dany’s side.
Away from the ears of their superiors, Tyrion and Varys have a one on one. Tyrion has been wrestling with his conscience since letting Dany burn the Tarly’s alive, and he has decided it is best to simply accept that he is powerless.
I am her hand, not her head. I cannot make her decisions for her.
Varys was in a similar position years ago when he served under the Mad King. He tells Tyrion that even when those who you are loyal to act out of cruelty, a line still has to be drawn somewhere.
In the strategy room, Jon has received Bran’s letter. Previously believing Bran and Arya to be dead, this should be a joyous occasion for him. Unfortunately, this is dulled by the unfortunate news of the imminent White Walker threat.
Together, everyone works together to come up with a brilliantly stupid idea to send Jon, Jorah, and Tormund beyond the Wall to find a wight, abduct it, take it to King’s Landing and prove to Cersei that the threat is real. They make it sound so easy. But first, Tyrion must sneak into King’s Landing to inform Jaime of this plan and make sure Cersei is a-ok with this.
After the events in Highgarden, Jaime’s spirit has been broken. He brings Cersei the news of Olenna’s confession, and as expected she is furious that her son’s murderer was given a peaceful death. Jaime is terrified of Cersei—it is a relationship that is beyond saving, and yet both parties are still tragically attempting to find some sort of reconciliation.
Down in a secluded area of Blackwater Bay, Davos and Tyrion row ashore. As Davos heads off to seek out a certain someone in Flea Bottom, Tyrion secretly meets up with a very unhappy Jaime Lannister. Both have done wrong by each other, and both have the right to be angry – and yet there are still lingering traces of brotherly love. As such, their reunion is bittersweet, but mostly bitter. Regardless of past misgivings, Jaime is willing to listen to Tyrion’s wight-capturing plan.
Finally, the rumoured return of Gendry takes place. Even though the reunion with him technically belongs to Davos, it feels more like it belongs to us, the viewers. A nod to the jokes that Gendry never stopped rowing since his last appearance doesn’t go unnoticed, but we mostly spend time getting to know the new Gendry—a man who wants to be part of the fight.
Narrowly escaping a couple of Lannister guards, Davos and Tyrion leave with their new companion and head back to Dragonstone.
Jaime relays the offer of a temporary truce to Cersei. She seems keen to accept the armistice given her recent losses, but she makes it clear that she is not backing down. Instead, this is her doing anything she can to protect her loved ones – and the fetus now growing in her womb.
So, Cersei is pregnant now, or at least she says she is. This plot development feels like a soap opera twist straight from Season 2 or 3, so how exactly will it fit in with the heavy war themes of Season 7? The answer will surely be worth the wait.
Seeing a group of dusty old men talk exclusively amongst themselves to reaffirm outdated ideas makes for an amusingly familiar scene that satirises our own world’s political structure. A lack of diversity in powerful circles of people often leads to poor decision-making, and Sam’s interaction with the Maesters makes this evident.
Despite receiving warning from Bran that the army of the dead is closer than ever, the Maesters refuse to offer any assistance, believing it to be too far outside the realm of possibility. Even Sam’s endorsement of Bran does not sway them, leaving him frustrated and angry at the restrictions constantly being forced upon him.
Meanwhile, Gilly has been flexing her reading skills in the Citadel and has come across a piece of information with huge ramifications… Prince Rhaeger’s previous marriage to Elia Martell was annulled. If we are correct in assuming that this was to marry Lyanna Stark, then not only would this mean that Jon Snow is not a bastard after all, but also that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne—even before Daenerys.
Sam doesn’t have time for these apparently irrelevant musings. He is officially done with living a menial life in the Citadel, and so with Gilly and a few forbidden books, he leaves in the dead of night.
After nipping down to King’s Landing, Tyrion, Davos and Gendry are already back in Dragonstone (people seem to be getting around a lot faster these days). Jon and Gendry bond over their respective fathers’ friendship, and the camaraderie is instant. Gendry even manages to worm his way into Jon’s new wight-capturing crew, proving that he is more than capable of wielding a nasty looking warhammer. So along with Jon and Jorah, the trio farewell Queen Dany and sail north towards Eastwatch.
Arriving at the castle, the team meets up with Tormund. He has had a run-in with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and they have made themselves comfortable in the Eastwatch prison cells. They are truly all in the same boat here—a bunch of eclectic outliers with a single mission to destroy the White Walker army. Many of them recognise each other as previously sworn enemies, and yet with this common goal, all those petty conflicts are in the past.
So Jon, Gendry, Jorah, Thoros, Beric, Tormund, the Hound, and a bunch of expendables head out beyond the Wall. They are on a mission, and it is improbable that they will all come back alive.
Despite some minor inconsistencies, this episode was decent enough for its few flaws to be mostly forgivable. Some very unlikely alliances are being made to combat the White Walker army, and they may be some of the wisest choices anyone has made so far. All of this has come together to set up our first White Walker battle of the year, and if nothing else, ‘Eastwatch’ at least does a brilliant job of raising anticipation for the oncoming conflicts.
What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below!