TV Review: Game of Thrones, Season 7, Episode 3 "The Queen's Justice"

EPISODE 1: The Queen's Justice

PLOT: Daenerys holds court; Cersei returns a gift; Jaime learns from his mistakes.


A lot went down in episode two, particularly with the capture of Yara Greyjoy and the Sand Snakes, as well as Jon Snow being summoned to Dragonstone and deciding to do so. Episode three picks up right from there, as Jon Snow and Davos Seaworth land at Dragonstone, greeted by Tyrion and Missandre. "It's been a long road, but we're both still here" says Tyrion, as they reminisce over their initial meeting and journey to the wall in the first season. There's a nice familiarity between Jon and Tyrion and it's good to have them back, this time on shaky ground as potential allies. Jon and Davos hand over their weapons when asked, but are naturally suspicious. "This place has changed" says Davos, who was last there serving under Stannis Baratheon and we all saw how that turned out.

Jon and Tyrion continue to walk and talk with Tyrion addressing the current state of Sansa, how once forced bride in King's Landing. "A sham marriage. And unconsumated" Tyrion says, then pointing out that "At some point I want to hear how a Knight's Watch recruit became the King of the North." Jon equally wants to know how Tyrion became The Hand of the King. They have truly both come along way. "General rule of thumb; Stark men don't fare well when they travel South," Tyrion says. Jon agrees, saying "True, but I'm not a Stark." Oh, if he only knew. They get buzzed by the dragons, the first time Jon has encountered them. Both he and Davos stare in wonderment. The Red Queen watches from above, distant. Lord Varys questions why she doesn't greet him. "I've brought Fire and Ice Together. I've done my part." Melisandre talks about "terrible mistakes" she made while advising Jon Snow. Varys recommends that she leave Westeros and never come back, but she protests, seemingly with more prophetic wisdom. "I have to die in this strange country. Just like you."

After some lengthy introductions, both Daenerys and Jon square off about who will "bend the knee". Daenerys, in a surprise move, asks forgiveness for the sins of her father, which takes Jon off balance. It's unexpected and a tell that she's certainly better than Cersei. Jon asks why they haven't taken King's Landing yet and says he can only surmise that she doesn't want to kill innocents in doing so. He says that he needs her help and that she needs his. "I am the last Targaryan" she says, asking Jon to bend the knee and be named Warden of the North in return. Jon is stubborn and steadfast, however, but not pompously so; it's simply not in his character. He is a reluctant King, while Daenerys, as well intentioned as she may be, feels entitled to her rule as Queen.

After a lenghty speech about how her "faith" has guided her to this place, she ends with "I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. And I will." It's a posturing move and meant to intimidate Jon, but she simply doesn't know what she's dealing with until Jon reminds her.

"You'll be ruling over a graveyard if we don't defeat the Night King." he says. They squabble some more over Jon swearing allegiance to them, but Jon is practical; he wants nothing more than to defeat the Night King and The Army of the Dead, having been the closest living person to experience their power and the only one who really knows the real threat they pose. It's evident that although Jon's character is trusted, believing in an Army of the Dead is far less convincing, even to a Mother of Dragons. As Jon and Davos are excorted out to their "rooms", Varys enters to tell Daenerys the news of the Greyjoy defeat and capture of the Sunspear girls. Dire news indeed as she began negotiating with Jon Snow originally with those Houses on her side. How quickly the tide turns, eh?

We then see Euron Greyjoy marching into King's Landing on horseback, Ellaria, her daughter and Yara Greyjoy tied behind him, headed to the Iron Throne, where Cersei awaits. Marching through King's Landing is just never a good thing, am I right? Euron presents his promised "gift" to Cersei, which he proclaims as "justice" for her murdered daughter (Myrcella, who was poisoned by the Sand Snakes). Cersei promises Euron his heart's desire (her hand in marriage), but only AFTER the war is won, making him the leader of their Navy. Euron, ever the charmer, asks Jamie for some advice on Cersei's sexual preferences, which clearly rattles him. I expect we'll see both Euron and Jamie butt heads more and more this season and Euron is becoming my new favorite character to hate on this show (amazing how quickly they are easily replaced, no?)

But, it only took one additional scene for me to hate someone familiar; Cersei. Showing, once again, the true breadth of her evil vengeance, Cersei has both Ellaria and her daughter gagged and chained up in the dungeon. A captive audience is always something she enjoys, especially when she can dish out some revenge, this time for the death of her daughter Myrcella, who was to be married to the Dorne Kingdom as a show of allegience, but was quickly cut short when Myrcella was poisoned by the Sand Snakes (Ellia and her daughters). So, while Cersei certainly has the right to revenge, her methodology is sadistic as hell. First she taunts Ellia with the very presence of The Mountain, who killed her lover, Oberyn, by crushing his skull in one of the most brutally savage episodes to date. Cersei lists off the various ways she dreamed of dispatching Ellia, from rape to a crushed skull, before finally enacting what she planned all along; a poisonous kiss to Ellia's daughter's lips, condemning her to a slow death. Cersei explains that Ellia will witness her daughter die and rot for the rest of her days in the dungeon and, hot damn, Cersei is once again on my "can't-wait-to-see-you-die" list.

Cersei, obviously feeling victorious, enters Jamie's chambers and proceeds to bed him, something we haven't seen transpire in a while. The next morning a knock comes to the door and Cersei, still high on her power, decides to just open the door, even with Jamie still naked in bed. She is the "Queen" now and thereby doesn't feel the need to hide her relationship to Jamie any longer. Later, Cersei is visited by a representative of The Iron Bank who seems to be calling her current state of debt into question, especially as this new war kicks off. But, Cersei is most certainly her father's daughter and exercises the same kind of maneuvering that the late ruler did, making it clear that the Lannisters have the advantage, even if that's not entirely true. Still, when the bank comes calling it's never a good thing and it's now a problem she will have to deal with.

Later, Jon Snow and Tyrion meet on the cliff banks outside of Dragonstone, both there to stand and brood (especially Jon, who is essentially held captive at this point) Jon once again tries to convince Tyrion of the existence of The Army of the Dead and Tyrion admits that he believes Jon. "I trust the eyes of an honest man more than I trust what everybody knows." Jon, as always, remains desperate to convince Tyrion of the importance of the coming war. You have to admire this. His dedication to this cause is honorable and the fact that he isn't corrupted by the power of being a king is commendable. Tyrion asks if there's anything he can do to help, aside from setting him free and this is where Jon asks about the dragonglass at Dragonstone.

Tyrion confronts Daenerys about this, even as he tries to convince her that he may be correct, spouting out a new quotable line of wisdom: "You should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it." Daenerys, however, is onto him, questioning whether that was from an old wise man or if it's Tyrion trying to pass off his own wisdom as that of an old wise man's. I love the dynamic these two characters have and, in truth, had been hoping to see it the second that we first saw how good Tyrion was at being Hand of the King in season two. He advises Daenerys to allow Jon to mine the dragonglass and give it to him, showing good faith and keeping Jon occupied, while they focus on their plan of taking Casterly Rock.

Next, we see Jon and Daenerys outside the castle at sunrise, watching the dragons fly around freely. It feels like we've been waiting for this type of moment since we first met these characters and now that it's here the whole thing feels like walking on eggshells. Daenerys tells Jon that she will allow him to mine the dragonglass and forge weapons. Jon is thankful and asks if she believes him about the Night King. She won't admit it, but tells him "You better get to work, Jon Snow." He walks off and she watches after him and leaves us all wondering just what's going on in her head. With so much left to uncover, is there a real possibility that these characters could potentially end up together, even as both being Targaryans? Either way, I anxiously await the next step with them. If it were any other show, I'd go ahead and assume that this is the blossoming of a beautiful new relationship. But, this is Game of Thrones, man.

We then see Sansa at Winterfell, walking with her advisors as she prepares the castle for winter (and for war), Littlefinger close behind to whisper in her ear and try to help serve his own good even as he projects that it's for hers. But, a surprise awaits as she's called to the front of the castle where another reunion takes place; Brandon Stark is wheeled in and the Stark family adds another log to the fire of their growing family reunion. Later, Sansa and Bran sit by the Weirwood Tree that was frequented by their father, Ned, so long ago. Brandon tries to explain that he is now the Three-Eyed Raven and how that works, but it mostly comes off as him being a big loony and you can see that Sansa is conflicted by this. It's a lot to take in, but certainly another link in the chain of armor that will be needed in the coming battle(s).

Back at the Citadel, it's revealed that Samwell's treatment of Jorah Mormount's greyscale affliction was a success. Jorah, now healing and free of the disease, is given freedom to leave. It's a ray of light and hope for Jorah, who vows to return to serve Daenerys, after being given a second chance at life when he felt doomed to death. Samwell is then confronted by the Archmaester for disobeying his orders to treat Jorah, who asks him how it was that he succeeded. His response is priceless: "I read the book and followed the instructions." Samwell is recognized for his success in saving Jorah's life and it's obvious that he will play a great role in the likely success of defeating The Army of the Dead. Not that it won't come at a price, surely, but Samwell's quick skill and tenacity will certainly prove to be useful in the final moments of this tale.

Later, in the war room at Dragonstone, Tyrion and Daenerys go over the plan to infiltrate Casterly Rock, where Tyrion reveals a secret passage he had built long ago, that allows for the Unsullied to take the castle. Greyworm stands atop the walls after a relatively easy victory, but then sees that it was a ruse all along, as the ships he arrived on are attacked by Euron Greyjoy's Navy, trapping them there, while Jamie Lannister leads the Lannister Army to House Martell's castle, Highgarden, taking it over easily. Jaimie confronts Olenna Tyrell in what is one of my new favorite confrontations of the series. Olenna, always the wise old lady, is now bested and knows it, her death imminent. She allows the floodgates of nastiness and honesty to open as a result. She asks if he will kill her with Joffrey's sword, which he now carries.

"What did he call it again?" she asks.

"Widow's Wail."

"He really was a cunt, wasn't he?"

If that doesn't make you laugh out loud, then you just don't know Game of Thrones. There were quite a few moments that had me laughing this episode, even if over some more sadistic humor. But, really, that's where most of Thrones humor comes from, so this was all in good form. The scene continues with more biting back-and-forth, which served as a great "cards on the table" moment, where someone has nothing to lose anymore and nothing to hide. In this case, Olenna reveals her true feelings about Cersei, saying, "She's a monster, you do know that?"

"You love her. You really love her, you poor fool. She'll be the end of you." says Olenna. Jamie doesn't disagree, not that it matters.
"Possibly. Not much to be gained by talking about it with you, is there?" Olenna sees that there's no convincing him, but continues regardless.

"She's a disease. I regret my role in spreading it. You will, too."

Olenna asks how she will be killed, in which Jamie lists off some of Cersei's suggestions, which were all vibrantly brutal. However, Jamie convinced her to go with a simple, painless poison, which he pours in her drink. She drinks it quickly, then confesses that it was she who poisoned his son, Joffrey, although wasn't aware that the poison would make him die so viciously. Jamie tries to contain his anger (as he has a lot of late) and she tells him that she wants Cersei to know it was her. It's Olenna's final act of vengeance on Cersei, even if it would mean very little after she's gone and a terrific final performance from Diana Rigg in the role, who has been so great in this show since her first appearance.

Overall, a really great episode that brought about three key scenes; the vengeance of Cersei on the Sand Snakes, Jon Snow and Deanerys' first meeting and, finally, the confrontation between Jamie and Olenna. While there wasn't much in the way of bloody brutality, they simply weren't needed here as the confrontations alone were more brutal in dialogue than any battle axe to the head. It's a huge part of what makes this such a great show; the balance of shocking violence and shocking confrontations is pure magic. My concern in not knowing George R.R. Martin's ultimate intent as we dive into the penultimate season of the show is easily outweighed by the brilliance of the writing and performances, making it all the easier to enjoy without comparison to a source book (which could be years away still). The stakes are raising, however, and the moves across the chessboard getting more intense.

SEX/NUDITY: Cersei's naked bum.

VIOLENCE: Some bloody battle bits at the assult on Casterly Rock and two poisonings (but more violent in nature than in motion)

BEST SCENE: This is a tough one to call. It was great to finally see Jon Snow and Daenerys together in a scene, but I have to call it a tie between the equally brutal scenes of Cersei in the dungeon with Ellia and Jamie confronting Olenna at Highgarden. Just brilliant, both in writing and performance.



Source: JoBlo.com



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