Every Tuesday this season, a few of us here at The Comeback will gather to reflect on the previous episode of Game of Thrones and predict what might happen next week and beyond.
Last week, we looked back at episode four, “The Spoils of War,” and talked about how cool dragons are. Now it’s time to discuss episode five, “Eastwatch.” Also, a warning: if you did not watch the trailer for episode six and don’t plan on it, avoid the last two questions of this discussion.
1. Grade the episode.
David Lauterbach: At first, I wanted to give this a B+ for similar reasons to Alex (travel time), but then I remembered how big certain plot developments were and how well they were done and it pushed me up to an A-.
Sam Blazer: This is an A- episode for me. It was another episode setting the stage for the big battle and big decisions to come. The action episodes always get the publicity, but the politics and relationship episodes can show you where the series is going if you look hard enough.
Andrew Bucholtz: This was a B+ for me. It’s a piece-moving episode, but a well-done one with plenty of interesting moments (the Tarlys getting burned alive, Gilly reading the scrolls, Arya spying on Littlefinger, and the Magnificent Westerosi Seven) making it stand out above some other setup episodes.
Alex Putterman: This might be an unpopular opinion, but I give it a C+. All season, the showrunners have risked moving too quickly, and this episode that problem boiled over. Davos and Tyrion dipped in and out of King’s Landing in 10 minutes. Gendry went from absent to essential in the swing of a hammer. And Jon traversed an continent as if Eastwatch were next door. Everything felt too convenient, too clean. I understand moving quickly, but this verged on sloppy.
Phillip Bupp: I would say it’s a solid A. In terms of what was revealed, as well as setting up what’s to come, it was a great mix.
Matt Clapp: 9.1/10. It was a great episode, and still basically a set-up episode. It’s unfair to have these *expectations*, but I do think the next two episodes will be even better (as Episode 4 was last week).
Taylor Nigrelli: It occurred to me that letter grades are too restrictive. I’ll go with a 90. Very well-done, but nothing too remarkable.
Jeff Snyder: A-. There were so many fan-serving moments (in a good way) to be loved, but this was very clearly a set-up episode. We’re getting a lot of exposition so that our next episode can be all action.
2. Let’s start with bombshell No. 1, casually dropped by Gilly: Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark were married. Is this the biggest bombshell of the series so far, even more so than finding out they are Jon’s parents? Also, when will the rest of the major characters find out this big news Sam basically passed off as nothing?
DL: This was HUGE because it gives Jon a legit claim to the throne. The only issue with that claim, however, is if people will believe what the Maester wrote in his book. As for when other characters will find out? I think either the very end of this season (i.e., one of the last scenes) or next season. Here’s how I picture it more specifically: Jon, Bran, and Sam are all at Winterfell and Bran wants to break the news about Jon’s parents to Jon and Sam wants to break the news about Lyanna Stark. From there, Bran and Sam jointly tell Jon who he really is.
SB: I think Sam is going to head north and hopefully take his scrolls with him. Bran and Sam feel like a natural group to team up together. They could reveal the knowledge to a small group of people. I feel like the news won’t come until next season, but the pieces will come together before that.
AB: This is a big bombshell, but there have been a lot of them in this series. In some ways, Cersei and Jaime sleeping together is even bigger than either of these, as it led to Bran’s fall, Robert’s death, Ned’s execution, and so much more. But it’s absolutely interesting to hear that the “Rhaegar dragged Lyanna off!” story isn’t quite true, and it certainly has implications for Jon and his potential claim to the Iron Throne. I was disappointed at how Sam overlooked this, but I do think we’ll see it make a reappearance before too long, and I imagine Jon at least will eventually find out about it.
AP: This combines with Jon’s parentage to make for the biggest revelation of the show. Jon is the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms! Holy shit! Now I have absolutely no clue how everyone will find out.
PB: In terms of the rest of the storyline, I would say it’s the biggest bombshell right now. It’s going to be a while for this to come out to the rest of the characters, but it seems like it would be something that would have a payoff for next season.
MC: Gilly’s discovery is basically an extension of what we learned about Jon to end last season, but this is obviously a massive revelation giving Jon a more legit claim to the Iron Throne. I’ll say more characters find out about this news in the season finale.
TN: Yeah, that was shocking and brilliantly-done. I’m sure this information will be vital at some point. I don’t see it being mentioned for no reason. My guess would be Bran will uncover more about this and tell Jon.
JS: It’s definitely the biggest bombshell. Jon Snow 1) isn’t a bastard and 2) is the rightful heir to the throne, and 3) since he’s legitimate, his birth name probably isn’t even Jon. I’m betting on Aemon or Jaehaerys (though I’ve seen Aegon thrown around, which wouldn’t make sense since Rhaegar already had a son named Aegon). I have a feeling Bran already knows, but the news won’t be known by most of the characters until next season. We need something to break the momentum of the “good guys,” and what better than the revelation that Jon’s claim to the throne is better than Dany’s.
3. Bombshell No. 2: Cersei is pregnant! What will this mean for the twin’s relationship going forward and do you think Cersei may be lying to keep Jaime by her side?
DL: At first, I thought Cersei was lying here, but then how would she explain away the miscarriage? I think this will bring them closer in the short term, but ultimately drive them apart in the long term. Cersei is hoping this will be enough to keep Jaime close, but as Cersei descends further into madness, it may actually driveJaime away.
SB: At first glance, the timing seems peculiar. How could she really be pregnant considering multiple factors like timing and age. But I think trying to fake a pregnancy wouldn’t be in her collective best interest. It feels like if she is pregnant, there will be a twist ending to it. Considering her hate for Tyrion, could she give birth to a dwarf? What about a miscarriage? This plot line could go many, many ways.
AB: I think this is real on Cersei’s part. Although she’s certainly capable of lying, having Qyburn examine her feels like a point in favor of an actual pregnancy. And her slight shift towards a survival strategy from a fight at all costs one feels appropriate if she is, in fact, pregnant. But she’s certainly someone who could lie to keep Jaime in line. And real or imagined, it does seem that this might strengthen Jaime’s potentially-wavering loyalty.
AP: I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a miscarriage or a stillbirth down the road here. From a storytelling perspective, we don’t really need to go through the whole Cersei-loves-her-kids thing again, especially with Dany’s army bearing down. From a physiological perspective, Cersei is pretty old, right?
PB: It’s certainly a plan by Cersei. If I had to guess, I would say she’s lying to keep Jaime loyal. And at some point, Jaime will find out she’s lying. And maybe my previous prediction of Cersei killing Jaime will actually happen.
MC: I’d say there’s a very good chance she’s lying. And remember the prophecy telling her she’d have three children (which has already happened, of course).
TN: Hear me out, though: is she? She’s been awfully manipulative lately and clearly didn’t see eye-to-eye with Jaime regarding the war. It feels like this could be a ploy of some kind.
JS: I’m not sure Cersei is pregnant, and if she is, I fear for the baby. It doesn’t make sense for her to deal with a long pregnancy. There isn’t enough time in the show. Also, we know Cersei is going to die, and killing a pregnant woman is dark, even for Game of Thrones. Oh wait, the Red Wedding. Also, what would be the point of her being pregnant, beyond keeping Jaime closer to her?
In the books, Jaime
has already emotionally split from Cersei, so we know that’s where Jaime is heading eventually. This is either a lie or, sadly, she’ll lose the baby soon. I’m leaning towards lie, because of the “never betray me again.”
4. The whole plan of bringing a wight from North of the wall to King’s Landing is pretty wild. Will this work?
DL: I think it’s crazy, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’ll work. If this doesn’t happen, the only way for Westeros to focus on the army of the dead is for Dany or Jon to overthrow Cersei, and it doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon.
SB: On paper, I don’t think it should work. But it has to work, right? If they are trying to parlay this into an accord of some sort they have to grab one. How many get sacrificed in the process is the question.
AB: This seems like a crazy plan to me, as I don’t think even a wight would convince Cersei to abandon her war with Dany. (And what sort of terms could the two ever agree on? Dany wants the Iron Throne, and Cersei doesn’t want to give it up.) Bringing a wight south also seems fraught with peril, considering what we’ve previously seen from wights, and trying to isolate a wight from the main army also feels like a bad idea. But hey, it gives us the Magnificent Westerosi Seven.
AP: That whole storyline seems awfully bizarre. So once Jon shows Cersei a wight she’s just going to drop everything and turn North? And then what? She’ll join the righteous cause of going after the White Walkers? That doesn’t sound particularly characteristic. It seems that Cersei would agree to a detente with or without a wight corpse.
PB: I’m not sure if it will work or not, but I feel it was probably their best idea. They were right. You can’t bring King’s Landing to the White Walkers, so bring one of the wights to King’s Landing.
MC: Well, it’s not going to go smoothly, but ultimately I’d guess it will happen.
TN: Probably not as well as they hope. Wights don’t seem to travel alone too often and they’re slippery when you do get near one. And, like, where are they gonna store it? How are they gonna stop it from constantly trying to kill them?
JS: I think it will, but with casualties. It’s too late in the season to conclude the war between Dany and Cersei, so it makes sense that an armistice will be struck, for now, so that next season can be spent on the White Walkers.
5. Arya read a pretty important letter from Sansa that was written back in Season 1 when Cersei threatened Sansa into writing a letter to Robb asking him to bend the knee. Will this drive a wedge between the Stark sisters?
DL: I think it will in the short term, but only until Sansa realizes that Littlefinger is using her for her power and doesn’t really care about her in the long run. At that point, the Starks will come together and Arya will kill Littlefinger as I’ve predicted a billion times by now.
SB: The intention is that Littlefinger will try to cause chaos for the Stark family and put the most moldable person in charge. The plant is a smart one and something the Stark family would likely fall for in the past. Too much experience from the entire family makes me think this won’t go well for them.
AB: I think we may initially get a bit of a wedge between them, but Arya and Sansa both seem smart enough to figure out what Littlefinger is really up to here. Arya may well be upset at first, but I think Sansa can explain her actions.
AP: That does seem to be where this is going. Arya already thinks Sansa is weak, and now she’ll think her older sister is weaker. But ultimately, Sansa has a pretty good cover story, given that she was under considerable duress when she wrote the scroll.
PB: It sure seems like it’ll drive a wedge between them. I don’t think he would do this, but I would think Bran could help straighten things out given his innate ability to see everything.
MC: Probably for at least a bit, but it’s only a matter of time before Sansa wakes up and stops putting up with Littlefinger’s ways.
TN: This will certainly cause problems in Winterfell, especially if the other Northern lords find out about it. But if Arya finds out Littlefinger was manipulating her, it’s gonna cause some problems for him too.
JS: For a bit. I still predict that Sansa will lead to the death of Littlefinger, and that’ll only happen if the sisters stick together. I mean, all Sansa has to say is “hey, I was forced by Cersei. I was captured.” Also, it’d be helpful if they had someone who can see everywhere and everything. Oh, yeah. Bran.
6. Speaking of the letter, Littlefinger seems to be trying to divide the three Starks at Winterfell. Do you think this will work?
DL: As I said in my last answer, I think it’ll work in the short term, but not the long term. Remember that quote from one of the Season 7 trailers from Sansa? “The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
SB: No. I think this is the beginning of the end of Littlefinger. He doesn’t know the forces at play here. Only two episodes are left so maybe they’ll hold off till next season, but Littlefinger will be killed at Winterfell for his role in the Starks’ lives.
AB: I don’t think so. Littlefinger has some skillful moves, but ultimately, Arya, Sansa and Bran seem likely to trust each other rather than him.
AP: I wouldn’t be surprised if Arya winds up storming out of Winterfell. She’s not going to be able to cross people off her list up there.
PB: It’ll work temporarily, but I can’t see it working for long. Maybe it works past the end of the season, but I can’t see how this ends without Arya killing Littlefinger.
MC: This goes back to my last answer, and it may work for a bit, but ultimately I doubt it pays off.
TN: Everything Littlefinger does seems to work, but this is a tough one. While the Starks don’t get along all the time, they certainly won’t be quick to turn on each other. I don’t think this will end well for him.
JS: I think there’ll be tension, but yeah, Bran already sees through his bull, as does Sansa. I think he’s overplayed his hand, and is about to get what’s been coming to him for seasons.
7. GENDRY IS BACK! Did you expect to see Gendry back at all? Also, was Davos’ “I thought you might still be rowing” one of the best lines of the entire series?
DL: I absolutely loved this for a couple reasons. 1) it gives us a Baratheon back in the fold and 2) Gendry seemed like too good of a character to be simply written off as rowing away. Oh, and Davos’ line was one of the best of the series easily.
SB: It feels a little fan service-y, but it makes some sense that Gendry is back. He brings an interesting perspective to the wars to come. How long he sticks around, though, is where things become sticky. Davos may very well be the best character with his quick wits. He is shooting up the power rankings for me.
AB: It was great to see Gendry’s return. I did expect it at some point, as this is a show that does like to reference its previous seasons (especially recently), but this was well done, made sense in-universe, and had that great line. I also loved how Davos had this whole big speech planned and turned out not to need it. Davos has had some hilarious lines recently, from last episode’s “Fewer” to this episode’s “I thought you might still be rowing,” and we’ve seen many great things from the Onion Knight. And I liked the showcase of Gendry’s warhammer skills.
AP: We knew Gendry would be back, but I expected him to help forge some weapons out of dragon glass, not become Thor.
PB: Wasn’t expecting Gendry coming back. I guess unless they’re dead you never say never. Well, considering Jon Snow came back to life, maybe even if they’re dead you should never say never. But yeah, I wasn’t expecting that.
MC: Fully expected Gendry to be back, but it was a nice surprise in terms of how big of a factor he could play the rest of the way. And that line was great, yes.
TN: Man, I barely remember Gendry. Davos is definitely a top-five funny character, subtly.
JS: I was kidding last week when I said Gendry was coming back for Arya, but it was pretty great. He’s a fun character, and seeing the “bastards” working together was fantastic. The rowing line was funny, but this season has been low-key hilarious. Davos has been really dropping the jokes this year, and I’m loving it.
8. Episode MVP?
DL: It has to be Gilly. That plot bombshell she dropped is massive because after spending six seasons thinking Dany had the best claim to the throne, we now know that it’s actually Jon who has the best claim and is the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms.
SB: You could make a case for a lot of people. Davos always brings levity and now he is bringing people together. Gilly just revealed one of the most important parts of the entire series and was ignored for her troubles. When she talked about bowel movements, Sam may have blocked it out. Jorah coming back adds a dynamic to the Dragonstone clan that will be important to monitor. Too many to pick!
AB: I think Gendry’s the MVP. Without his skull-crushing warhammer, Davos and Tyrion don’t get out of King’s Landing. I enjoyed him being all set and ready to go without a speech. And I loved him ignoring Davos’ advice and just telling Jon who he is. Honorable mention to Bronn for his “You’re fucked,” and both of the Bronn-Jaime segments were awesome.
AP: I’ll say Davos because 1) He pulled off a very quick and successful smuggling expedition. 2) He had a number of amusing one-liners.
PB: I gotta go with Davos for MVP. He was a pivotal part of the entire episode and it was him who was able to get Tyrion to King’s Landing and Gendry back to Dragonstone.
MC: I’ll go with Gendry. He went from being an unknown the rest of the way to potentially being a significant player in the game.
TN: Let’s go with Davos, for his superhuman ability to travel all over the continent in a matter of days.
JS: He’s been in the running for a few weeks, so Davos is finally this week’s MVP for me. He’s been a fun character, brining levity to what could be a very heavy season. He also got a lot of screen time this episode, so maybe he had the most time to chew up, too. Regardless, love me some Davos.
SEMI-SPOILER WARNING: The final two questions discuss the trailer for episode 6. Do not read them if you don’t want to be “spoiled.”
9. First off, I take no credit for this term, but “Seal Team Snow” is made up of a ton of badasses: Jon Snow, Tormund, Jorah, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion, Gendry, and The Hound. So who of that group dies and who survives?
DL: I’ll make this short and easy. Lives: Jon Snow, Gendry, The Hound. Dies: Tormund, Jorah, Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion.
There is no way at least half of the seven don’t die and Jon Snow is too important to die now. Meanwhile, Gendry just came back, so why kill him off so quickly and The Hound still has a lot of story left, I believe.
SB: Just trying to use some sense here for the deaths. Jon, Tormund, Jorah, and The Hound are much too important for them to die during an initial White Walker battle. That leaves Thoros, Beric and Gendry. You have to assume one of Thoros or Beric dies. Thoros would be a big one to lose. Gendry feels like another that could go, but being just introduced again feels like fans are being short changed. Not that the creators care much about that.
AB: It seems unlikely they kill Jon off at this point, and it also seems unlikely Gendry came back just to die in the next episode. Thoros and Beric seem like the most plausible casualties, but Tormond, Jorah or The Hound could also be casualties. And it’s worth noting that the Brotherhood’s vision didn’t include their survival.
AP: My guess is Beric dies (for good this time), along with Thoros. And I think Jorah’s time has probably come as well. I thought maybe The Hound, but then it was pointed out that he seems destined for a clash with his brother at some point. The only two I’m fairly confident will survive next episode are Jon and Gendry. Jon for obvious reasons and Gendry because there was no reason to bring him back just to have him die.
MC: I’ll say that Jon and Gendry survive for sure. Everyone else is a coin flip.
TN: Lives: Jon, Jorah, Beric, Gendry, The Hound. Dies: Tormund, Thoros
JS: Okay, so let’s get the survivors out of the way. Jon Snow, Jorah, and Gendry are surviving. I am certain of that. They wouldn’t reintroduce Gendry and Jorah just to kill them off here. I have a feeling both the Hound and Tormund survive as well.
The Hound will survive because he needs to still see Arya and Sansa again.
Tormund can’t die, because he’s one of my favorite characters and they can’t keep doing this to us! Besides, he’s one of the few named Wildlings, so he needs to represent them. That leaves Beric and Thoros. One of them will die, though I’m not sure which one. I hope not Beric, because he and Jon need to talk about coming back from the dead. That would be fascinating.
10. We have had a ton of great battle scenes this season, will the battle between Seal Team Snow and the Army of the Dead be the best of the season? The penultimate episode of every GoT season is usually the biggest and next week is the penultimate episode of Season 7.
DL: I think it depends on a couple things, first being how many people die of that group of seven and who. If only Thoros of Myr dies, there isn’t a massive character loss to draw us into the battle. If Jorah dies, now we’re talking. The second factor is how does Jon escape. There is no way Jon dies during the battle, so it’ll be interesting to see how he makes it out. Ultimately, I think it’ll end up right next to the Loot Train attack as the best this season (so far).
SB: I think it will be. A thought I have considered is that this small group is trying to take on the white walkers. They need back-up, which makes me think Dany comes into the picture with the dragons. She has too many important people to just let them go alone. The interactions of the dragons and White Walkers would be enough to vault it to one of the best episodes ever.
AB: It’s going to be hard to top “The Spoils of War” for letting us see what a dragon and a horde of Dothraki can do, and this would seem to be much smaller-scale in general. But I’m really looking forward to seeing what Jon’s ragtag group can do. The Fellowship of the Dragonglass is an awesome plot development, even if it isn’t a great strategic plan, and it should be fun.
AP: I doubt this battle will be an all-timer for the simple reason that there are only seven dudes on one of the sides. But obviously there’s going to be some badass sword-wielding, so we’ve got plenty to look forward to.
MC: It will be hard to top the dragons vs. Lannisters, which I thought was maybe the second-best battle on the show. But, I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this upcoming White Walkers battle tops it, and it’s going to be absolutely awesome whatever the case. Sunday can’t come soon enough.
TN: I’m not sure if the battle will be able to top watching thousands of Lannisters get burned alive, but it should be pretty awesome.
JS: I hope so. Jon has gotten the best battles for the last few seasons, and with so many characters we care about, you better believe it’ll be impactful. Beyond that, you have a small band of warriors coming up against an unstoppable hoard. It’s going to be great. Oh God, this is going to be like the Last Hero from the books, isn’t it? If they kill Ghost… I swear. I stand by my answer to the last question, but I’m a little uneasy now.
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