Sundays 10:00 PM on HBO
Game-of-thrones

Game of Thrones Review: Unsullied, Undeterred

by at . Comments

Well, that was awesome.

While the opening trio of Game of Thrones Season 3 episodes have been solid, they all suffered from this show's enviable curse: too many great characters, too many intriguing storylines.

As a result, the installments mostly just dropped in here and there, providing us with updates on the whereabouts/actions of Jon Snow (slowly integrating himself with Mance Rayder), Robb Stark (still frustrated by the lack of any real battles), Tyrion (still being awesome) and company.

But, man, "And Now His Watch is Ended" managed to do a lot more than merely spend time with these residents of Westeros and beyond. It delivered action after action after unbelievably cool and surprising action.

Daenerys Targaryen on Season 3

We must start with Dany.

Following the deal she struck on last Sunday's "Walk of Punishment," it wasn't hard to predict this general outcome. There was simply no way Dany was simply trading one of her dragons - one of her children! - for a contingent of slaves. I don't care how well they can take a nipple slice.

But still - thanks to the production, the edits, the performance of Emilia Clarke - watching it play out was simply mesmerizing. Dany has always been a fascinating character, someone evolving into a leader, someone learning to control her rage and unleash it only at the proper times... but she's also felt very far away from the machinations and plans surrounding King's Landing. Her journey there is taking quite the circuitous route.

Now she has her army, though. Eight-thousand strong and ready to serve their Khaleesi. I fear the show will once again abandon her trek for a couple weeks, but at least we'll have this outstanding closing scene to hold us over until then.

Elsewhere... Craster is dead! And Jeor Mormont! And holy snowballs I didn't not see any of that coming.

It's almost as if the show had purposely been lulling viewers to sleep with (non) action beyond The Wall until now. The momentum of each episode simply slowed down every time Jon Snow talked to Mance or Sam struggled with each step home.

But it's safe to say that all changed with a mutiny that took out both friend and foe. Sam, Gilly and baby are now on the run to... who knows where? However, unlike past storylines involving these characters, I can finally say I'm fully invested in finding out.

I'm also more invested than I ever imagined being in the relationship between Brienne and Jaime Lannister. It may have taken over two seasons, and it may have taken him losing a hand, but the vulnerability of the King Slayer has finally come through. This is a man who pushed someone off a ledge because he feared people would learn he was banging his sister... and yet now I find myself feeling sorry for him.

It's obviously a theme on Game of Thrones that people are complex and that no one can be pained in black or white. But heading into this season, I would have pegged Jaime as one of the most clearly defined. He's pure egotistical evil, right? Or maybe he's actually a lot like his smaller brother, someone who has lived a life of luxury, who relies on wit and charm when in danger, and who is finally facing a world where his last name only gets him in trouble.

We've seen how Tyrion has responded to these circumstances. He's grown into a legitimate hero. He uses his brains instead of his brawn. Does Jaime have it in him to do the same? And, heck, will he even have a choice now that Brienne is in his corner and not about to take any BS or whining?

Also of note:

  • Margaery remains a mystery. She knows exactly how to manipulate Joffrey and now she's trying to line up Sansa with a husband. A husband she knows to be gay, of course. She's making a good impression on the poor, she certainly seems to have nothing but good intentions... yet it's hard to imagine there isn't some game afoot here. Cersei can see it, just sucks for her that Tywin can't see her as anything other than an overconfident nuisance.
  • Arya is awesome. That's pretty much it. We didn't spend a lot of time with her and The Brotherhood Without Banners and the Hound, but the interrogation of the latter was a fun scene.

Easily the best episode of a young season and one of my favorite overall to date. What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (192 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Game of Thrones?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Aria-investigates-radley

Pretty Little Liars Review: Hanna-bal Rising

Aria finds some interesting clues as she begins volunteering at Radley while Hanna continues to struggle with Alison's return.
Without-maura

Rizzoli & Isles Review: Deadly Dioramas

With Maura away, Jane must rely on Susie's help to solve the perfect murder on Rizzoli & Isles.
Hank-the-dj

Royal Pains Review: How to Have It All

Royal Pains Season 6 Episode 7 When Jeremiah helps out one of her burlesque friends, he grows closer to Vivianna. Paige learns something...
Seeking-advice

Chasing Life Review: Truth is Hard

April misses an opportunity on Chasing Life, but can another make up for it? Brenna learns about Natalia Ortiz, which sends her into Greer's arms. Read the review for more.

Avatar

You think mormont dying is sad see what happens to robb at edmures wedding at the twins!

Geelightning

Also, I never thought I'd ever feel bad for Theon. Plus, this episode had some hilarious moments. Like talking about Podrick and of course, Olenna Tyrell. Agh! So many moments I love!

Geelightning

I think I shit my pants at how badass the final scenes of Dany were. Goosebumps all over. This is also easily my favorite so far this season, and one of my favorites in the entire thing. Love the action that was happening on all fronts.

Beverly-brooks

Love Dany. I knew she was strong.

Fifty

We'll see some of Jon Snow next episode for sure. His storyline was by far the best in books for me. Dany's scene was awesome.. again brilliant when portraying action by season creators.

Avatar

"This is a man who pushed someone off a ledge because he feared people would learn he was banging his sister... and yet now I find myself feeling sorry for him."
I strongly disagree with this : Jaime pushed an unknown children to his death to prevent the murder of his 3 children and the love of his life.
Would you act differently in his stead ? You would save an unknown person instead of your whole family?

Avatar

One thing that is great about both the books and show, is how even the most despicable characters can bring out sympathy. Authors scope is amazing. Loved this episode and things are going to keep going faster and faster. In response to other viewers about Sansa; she is naive to the point of blindly stupid. She lived in an imaginary world of her own creation. Consider, she combines love with Littlefinger's interest, that Loras wants her. Besides being gay, he is a member of Kings Guard; thus, he can not marry. Her delusions and lies, killed her own father and wolf.

Avatar

Amaaazing episode!!! I have read the books many years ago, and knew the scene with Danaerys was coming, but seeing it played out Visually was breathtaking!!!! She really looked like a Warrior leader when she spoke in High Valyrian and she lead her men out of the enclosure!! My God!!!
You didn't have a chance to mention the story with Theon and... I don't know if we are told who he is yet! This is so terrifying!! Poor Theon, he has done some stupid and evil things but I feel so sorry for him, everything always goes wrong.
I love all the Lannisters and the many shades of their person... Arya is still a little Hero!! Both Sansa and Margaey looked breathtaking this episode!!

Avatar

Someone made an interesting observation elsewhere: While I think all of us clearly saw the episode as one that had themes of revenge, it even more strongly had themes of captivity and freedom. In every single situation we saw, this week, we had people who were, in some manner, captives and trying to reconcile that:
1. Jaimie and Brienne, with Brienne having to show him a better way than giving up.
2. The Night's Watch were, in a sense, captives of Craster. They lashed out with complete violence.
3. Arya a captive of the Brotherhood Without Banners, as well as the Hound, who she gives up to them as a murderer.
4. Sansa, as always, a prisoner of the Lannisters but given a way out. And many others, actually. And that, I think, is why Dany's story strikes so powerfully at the end. She is not the captive, she is the captor. And with that power she gives freedom, she destroys a slaver's city, but without harming innocents. This episode went a long, long way to showing just what kind of leader Dany is, and just why I think she is the Queen that Westeros needs.

Avatar

Pod's prowess may very well become the greatest mystery of the show. Looking forward to see if it ever gets resolved.