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Game of Thrones Review: Unsullied, Undeterred

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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
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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+.

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OMG OMG OMGGGGGG !!!!! THIS WAS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO AWESOME !!!! The end, priceless ! Who dared question the True Dragon !!!! Finally, she burned that asshole !! When she spoke the language I felt sooo proud ! All these days of pretending, finally over !! The performance was just astounding !
Theon's plot didn't shock me much, why? Because it felt weird from the start... If this is their way of torturing someone, it is damn twisted !
Pod...I kinda thought it had to with his size... Damn the way Varys and the girl was talking about it made me laugh !!
Btw, Matt, you forgot Nana !!!! She was brilliant ! "Seduce away" had me laghing so hard I had to rewind ! But, Margaery...I still don't like her with Sansa... I cannot trust her, simply because of how she can manipulate Joffrey... And why want to marry Sansa with a gay guy... I don't get it.
Craster is FINALLY DEAD !!!!!!! Man I couldn't wait for that moment ! Though, the Lord Commander too, that was a suprise, especially by one of his own... So Jon Snow, when u coming back? didn't miss him much though. Sam, run !!!!! To where, I don't know ! Lol.
Arya and The Bros with the Hound, very interesting !!!!
Tyrion and Varys, loved that scene just because the man gets to act on his revenge against the man who castrated him. Perfect !
Finally, Jamie and Brienne's scene was interesting. Just because I've never liked the man, but now, we get to see a different side of him and I actually might like him after that !
I just finished watching the episode, and I wanna watch it again ! Amazing !

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@kamarra
Re Theon - all will be revealed!!

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WOW Sure I expected something, but this was wonderful...

Fatin

Okay, Margaery needs to have more screen time. I'm loving the way she's twisting Joffrey. She's the only one that can put a leash on him and not even have him notice it's there. (I almost wish they would change the book's storyline.) Did not see the Wall treachery coming. LOVED Dany. I knew it was going to happen, but my God, the strength in her performance, and the smiles of her companions. Wow. Brienne and Jaime are perfect. I'm enjoying Jaime's character development. I have to say, it's quite a surprise I enjoyed an episode so much that had so little of Tyrion.

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I've been waiting for the moment when Danerys would turn the Unsullied against the masters! I knew this would be my favourite episode, as Dany is still my favourite character tied with Tyrion. My only issue was the Theon storyline. Why did that guy rescue Theon, twice, only to bring him back? Was that part of the torture or something?

Fortyseven

I still don't care about Theon, Jaime or Bran. The sacking of Astapor was expected though I'd have liked more time devoted to it. I'm glad Craster's dead. Great scenes by Dany, Varys, Olenna, Margaery, Sansa, Cersei and Tywin.

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waiting for the sack of astapor for a long time...and gotta say it was a little underwhelming. oh well. it is a tv show and not $200 million lord of the rings production.

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Awesome, awesome episode. Every big moment I thought would be shown was, along with the added bonus of knowing that Varys will take his revenge from the sorcerer who castrated him. I just noticed this upon rewatching it, look at the level of detail on the statues of the 7 in the Sept of Baelor. Unbelievably stunning. And now the TV viewers have a better sense of why the book readers actually do like Jaime as a character overall.