Last week Game of Thrones provided a spectacular episode with a jaw-dropping finale. It also left viewers on a cliffhanger. Who survived and would live to fight another day? We didn’t have to wait long to find out as ‘Eastwatch’ picked up exactly where ‘The Spoils of War’ left off.

Game of Thrones: Eastwatch – Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) (c) HBO

Unsurprisingly Bronn, the eternal survivor, emerges from the river, breaking the early silence. Joining him from the water is Jaime Lannister, to the joy of fans across the world no doubt. The reality of the situation is beginning to dawn on him. He is quickly becoming the only hope of any form of conscience to his sister. His confrontation with Cersei provides chilling realism. I missed the small detail that the the Tyrell gold had made it to King’s Landing last week. Even with the Iron Bank and money to buy mercenaries, Jaime is realistic. It is a war that the Lannisters cannot win. Despite her brother’s words Cersei is determined to fight and die. Later in the episode she hints to Jaime that she is carrying his baby. Perhaps this will change her attitude? Probably not. Lena Headey is terrific in her scenes during this episode. She’s so coldly calm and measured but with the expected fiery flashes.

Game of Thrones: Eastwatch – Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) (c) HBO

Unlike other battles ‘Eastwatch’ provides a glimpse of the aftermath. The shots of Tyrion walking amongst the ash and smouldering remnants of the wagon trail are sobering. His face is a picture of regret. Tyrion’s thirst for bloodshed diminishes further as Daenerys addresses the survivors of the battle. This is where I do have one small gripe. Daenerys clearly states, “I’m not here to murder.” But then she follows this by threatening to kill those who do not bend the knee. She then instructs Drogon to burn Randyll and Dickon Tarly. Sounds like murder to me.

Elsewhere in Westros

To say that this is the dud of Season 7 is a little unfair. There is no doubt that ‘Eastwatch’ doesn’t match the heights of ‘The Spoils of War’. Frankly, few television episodes do. Despite a lack of big action set pieces and battle sequences there is still plenty going on. As has become customary, debates in Winterfell are ongoing. Littlefinger is up to no good, as usual. Jorah Mormont returns to Daenerys’ side. Gendry reappears. Samwell reaches the end of his tether and leaves The Citadel. But the highlight of the episode is probably Tyrion returning to King’s Landing to chat with his brother Jaime. Dedicated viewers of Game of Thrones know to expect the unexpected. This has been proved on several occasions already this season. However even I was surprised to see a deviation from the battle for the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones: Eastwatch – Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) (c) HBO

Instead of capitalising on a tactical victory for Daenerys, things slow back down again. This is Bran’s fault of course. Attention shifts to the Night King and the Army of the Dead. This is a little frustrating as it requires a pause in hostilities to be brokered between Daenerys and Cersei’s armies. It seems that rather than resolve one storyline the remainder of ‘Game of Thrones’ will see both run simultaneously. As Season 7 begins to draw to a conclusion the White Walkers are being drawn to the forefront once more. Nothing wrong with that at all. The remainder of August might get a little chilly it seems as Winter comes early.

After a sedate episode with ‘Eastwatch’ I do anticipate a bolder episode next week. With Jon and his entourage heading beyond the wall to capture a White Walker expect a similar confrontation as seen in ‘Hardhome’ for instance. But this is ‘Game of Thrones’ and anything could happen. With the penultimate episode of Season 7 next week that statement could prove to be particularly accurate.

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