Game of Thrones leaves no stone unturned. Episode five, Eastwatch, was filled with long awaited reunions, dark foreshadowing, and a new alliance that may be a game changer. Cersei (Lena Headey) continues to play by her own rules. She and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) have another incestuous bun in the oven. The Tarly's stand tall in defeat, but two become a fiery example for Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) makes it to back to his beloved Queen, but volunteers for the most dangerous mission yet. Jon (Kit Harington) needs proof of the white walkers to rally Westeros. The only way to get one is beyond the Wall.
Eastwatch opens with Bronn (Jerome Flynn) dragging Jaime from the river. He curses him for attacking Daenerys. Jaime is not allowed to die until he pays him back. Jaime comes to the realization that they cannot defeat the Mother of Dragons. They just got a taste of one of her children. Imagine what three of them would do to Kings Landing.
Meanwhile on the riverbank, Daenerys offers the Lannister survivors a choice. Bend the knee or die. Most of the men drop immediately, but Lord Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) refuses. He will never serve under her rule. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) castigates him for his foolhardy bravery, but he's made his choice. Before Daenerys issues her sentence, Dickon (Freddie Stroma) joins his father's side. They are both roasted alive by Drogon.
Jaime returns to see Cersei at Kings Landing. She is not concerned by their losses. They have the Tyrell gold, have repaid the Iron Bank, and can hire a mercenary army. Jaime says the Dothraki will destroy them too. They cannot fight Daenerys armies and dragons. Jaime then tells her that Lady Tyrell poisoned Joffrey, not Tyrion. Cersei is undeterred. Her fierce reply, "We will fight and die, or submit and die".
Daenerys returns to Dragonstone. She lands Drogon on a cliff in front of Jon Snow. To her astonishment, Drogon let's Jon touch him. It can sense that he is a Targaryen. Daenerys informs him of her easy victory. She begins to question him about "taking a knife in the heart for his people". Their meeting is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. Ser Jorah has returned to his queen. They share a warm embrace.
Under the Weirwood Tree, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has taken control of a flock of ravens. He flies beyond the Wall at Eastwatch Castle. He sees the army of the dead approaching. The Night King feels the birds and disrupts Bran's warging ability. Bran comes out of the trance alarmed. He immediately sends out an alert.
At the Citadel, the Archmaester (Jim Broadbent) and others discuss the message received from Brandon Stark. They discount it as folly, but Sam (John Bradley) pleads with them. He's seen the walkers and knows Brandon Stark. He implores the maesters to heed the warning by issuing a call to reinforce the Wall. Sam is ignored. The maesters pass it off as a possible ruse by Daenerys Targaryen to split the South. The Archmaester didn't have the heart to tell Sam that his father and brother had been burned to death.
At Dragonstone, Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill) are disturbed by Daenerys actions. Tyrion replies she is not her father, but Varys reminds him of the Mad King's penchant for immolation. Everyone has gathered for a war council. Jon recounts the raven from Winterfell. He is stunned that Arya and Bran are alive. But the news of the approaching white walkers takes precedent. Tyrion deduces that they must bring back a white walker to convince Cersei of the threat. She may not listen, but Jaime will. Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) will sneak him into Kings Landing for the meeting. Jorah volunteers to go north to capture the undead specimen. Jon will lead them to Eastwatch. He's the only one who has faced the walkers before. He doesn't need Daenerys permission to leave. He is the King in the North. She is visibly upset by Jon's imminent departure.
At Winterfell, Arya (Maisie Williams) watches as the north lords grumble to Sansa (Sophie Turner) about Jon's absence. She coolly responds that Jon is doing what he thinks is right. Arya follows Sansa to her room. She is upset that Sansa has taken their parent's chamber, and allowed Jon to be insulted. Arya accuses Sansa of wanting power, luxury. Sansa is unnerved by her sister. She calmly responds that the north lords helped them win back Winterfell. Arya leaves in a huff.
Tyrion and Davos arrive discreetly to Kings Landing. Bronn lures Jaime into the dungeon for a training match. It is a ploy to bring Jaime to Tyrion. The two brother's have a frosty reunion. Tyrion explains why he murdered their father. Jaime doesn't want to hear it. Why is Tyrion here? Meanwhile on Steel Street, Davos finds a character not seen since season three. It is Gendry (Joe Dempsie), the bastard son of Robert Baratheon. He's been hiding in plain sight from Cersei. Gendry has been itching to get into the fight. He grabs his hammer and joins Davos without a second thought.
At the Kings Landing shore, Gendry and Davos are getting the boat ready. Two gold cloaks stop them, but are quickly bribed by Davos. The scene turns to carnage when Tyrion returns to the boat. Gendry smashes the gold cloaks faces to allow their escape. In the Red Keep, Jaime tells Cersei of Tyrion's offer. She sees an advantage to an armistice, but wonders if he will punish Bronn for setting up the meeting. Jaime is surprised she let it happen. Cersei replies she knows everything happening in Kings Landing. She then drops the bombshell news. She is pregnant with their fourth child. This time the world will know that it is his.
At Dragonstone, Davos takes Gendry to meet Jon. Gendry ignores Davos advice and tells Jon that he is Robert's bastard. Their father's were best friends and allies. He will join them for the trip to Eastwatch. Jon's men prepare their boats to leave. Loading them with crates of Dragonglass weapons. Tyrion gives Ser Jorah a coin for good luck. Daenerys hugs him goodbye again. She shares a short, but tension filled farewell with Jon. She watches wistfully as they row away.
At the Citadel, Sam is still copying scrolls as punishment. Gilly (Hannah Murray) reads the methodical scrolls of the High Septon Maynard. She casually mentions an annulment he granted to Rhaegar Targaryen, followed by a marriage in Dorne. Sam has had enough of being on the sidelines. He enters the locked section of the library and takes a few scrolls. That night, he packs up baby Sam and Gilly. They leave Olde Towne under the cloak of darkness.
At Winterfell, Arya has been spying on Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). She watches as he gives a message to a stable girl, whispers to several lords, and then gets an important scroll from Maester Wolkon (Richard Rycroft). Arya breaks into Littlefinger's room. She finds the scroll hidden under his bed. It is the letter that Cersei forced Sansa to write in season one. Littlefinger watches from the shadows as Arya slinks out of his room. He is expertly driving a wedge between the Stark sisters.
Jon and company arrive at Eastwatch by the Sea. Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) is wary of their plan. But he does have a few volunteers who'll come along. The Hound (Rory McCann) is with the Brotherhood without Banners in the dungeon. Beric (Richard Dormer) starts to wax poetic about the Lord of Light. The Hound shuts him up, "Are we coming or not?" Jon agrees, despite Gendry's objections. They are allies because they're breathing. Eastwatch ends with Jon, Gendry, the Hound, Jorah, and the Brotherhood walking north into a snowstorm.
Eastwatch didn't have the action of previous episodes, but was chock full of plot development. I think Gendry returning to the show is a major event. He also has the blood of a king, which Melissandre saw as critical. His alliance with Jon could be as formidable as their fathers. Both men, along with Daenerys, and Cersei have blood roots to the Iron Throne. That little nugget about Rhaegar secretly marrying Lyanna Stark is huge in this regard. Cersei's pregnancy has made her even more dangerous. She's becoming a wily tactician like her father. She will protect this child at all costs, even warning Jaime never to betray her again. I find it hard to believe that Littlefinger can so easily manipulate Sansa and Arya. I'm hoping they see through his machinations and deliver him the justice he deserves. All this is just a precursor to the main event beyond the Wall. The Night King looms. We'll see if they capture the undead, next week on HBO's Game of Thrones.