‘East Watch,’ the fifth episode Game of Thrones seventh season was light on action, but heavy on plot advancement. While some may complain of ‘too much too fast’ — tonight’s episode delivered the proverbial goods, as well as a bunch surprises.
1. I Thought You Still Might Be Rowing
Hands down one of the best lines in series history.
We’ve all joked about the whereabouts of Gendry Baratheon (Joe Dempsie) for years. In wildest fantasy I always wanted the series to end with a shot of Gendry rowing back to King’s Landing, and either proclaiming “The king is back!” or getting an arrow through the head then cue the Curb Your Enthusiasm music.
No, but in all seriousness, I never thought Gendry would ever come back. So, I was shocked to see Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) return to Flea Bottom, and collect everyone’s second favorite bastard. However, the biggest surprise was Gendry’s willingness to jump into battle. Did anyone expect him to bludgeon those guards in the face? Not me. I figured Gendry was being plucked from hiding to help forge weapons from Dragon Glass. However, he’s now Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) BFF as the two chum it up like Ned and Robert probably did as young men. Now he’s part of Jon Snow’s “inglorious bastard” Magnificent Seven Suicide Squad. Adding characters this late in the game usually would be a bad idea, but the writers have seamlessly added Gendry back in, and made him an integral character.
2. A Bun in the Oven
Did you miss this one? You might have. When Cersei (Lena Headey) starts talking about her and Jamie’s “legacy” and the “future of the house” — I was stunned. She’s pregnant? That changes so much. Now she has even more motivation to win this war. The entire scene was another example of Lena Headey’s excellence in this season. She’s able to convey joy, paranoia, pride, ruthlessness, and hate in every single world, in every single look. Her quick lines about punishing Bronn, and for Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to never betray her were brilliant.
The pregnancy does raise a particular question though — is this how Cersei dies? Remember, her mother passed giving birth to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), and she has had complicated deliveries in the past. We can’t rule out that this is what causes Cersei’s demise, and if she does pass during childbirth, Jamie will not be far behind.
3. Littlefinger Becomes Useful Again
Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen) has been a rather benign character this season. He had that brilliant moments with Sansa two episodes ago, but in ‘East Watch,’ he comes back to full form. Arya (Maisie Williams) is highly suspect of the former Master of Coin, and is “stealthily” following him.
Sorry, Arya, you may have trained with the best, but you can’t fool the ultimate con man. He knows she’s following him (she’s actually pretty blatant about it), and plants a note Sansa (Sophie Turner) sent to Robb asking for him to bend to the knee to Joffrey. Arya has never gotten over Sansa’s attitude when they were at King’s Landing, and this will intensify the tension between the two.
Could this lead Arya to killing Littlefinger, or her bugging out from Winterfell? I think both are strong options. She’s not killing her sister, that’s for sure.
4. Sir Davos as Comic Relief
Sir Davos has been one of the most beloved supporting characters in the series. He posses a cranky charisma, and a genuine honesty about him that make him absolutely lovable. Tonight was easily one of his best performances. He’s had so many emotional high notes — all centered around the loss of a child — but in ‘East Watch’ he was a virtual quip machine. At every turn it was a smartly-delivered one-liner, and a roll of the eyes. In an episode filled with intensity, his light touch was more than needed.
5. Jon Snow’s Suicide Squad
I saved the best for last.
I honestly would have watched an entire season of Jon Snow, Gendry Baratheon, Jorah Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, The Hound, Beric Dondarrion, and Thoros of Myr as a team, with Davos serving as “home base guy.” I think the potential here is through the roof. The chemistry amongst these characters, even from one small scene, is great, and I’d love to watch them grow as a unit over a season.
Sadly, we’ll probably get only one episode of these characters as a unit.
However, I believe this unit’s search to bring a White Walker to Westeros in order to bring The Lannisters to the right side of the fight, will be one of the top episodes in series history. The trailer for next week looks phenomenal, and you can certainly kiss a few of these characters, particularly those unnamed Wildings who are accompanying them, goodbye.
Next week is the penultimate episode of Season 7. Game of Thrones always delivers big episodes in this part of the season? This episode has given us — Hardhomme, Battle of the Bastards, Black Water, siege of the Wall, beheading of Ned Stark, and Red Wedding. It’s always big, and next week should be no different.
East Watch Rating: 9 out of 10