Beware! The night is dark and full of terrors, and this review will have spoilers. Which could be a scarier prospect. If you need a briefing for this season, DO NOT READ ON. But go here instead.
This week: Dany, meet Jon
It's a week of reunions and grudges being settled this week, with the episode roughly following the same structure as last week – a lot of chat, then a swift but still impressive battle near the end. Two, actually, though what we see of the Lannisters taking the Tyrell stronghold of Highgarden hardly qualifies, since Jaime is almost able to just amble in and start telling Lady Olenna what's going to happen next. Turns out, she'll suffer death by poison, but then going out drinking is probably what she'd want. Before that, though, there's the first, iconic meeting of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen, which largely involves her demanding his loyalty (and recognition of her claim to rule the world) and his talk of the Army of the Dead. Suffice to say, they're talking at cross-purposes, so thank goodness for the wit and wisdom of Tyrion Lannister, who, you'll recall, has had dealings with Jon before. Peter Dinklage naturally runs away with the scenes, asking after Sansa "does she miss me terribly?" and passing off his own advice as ancient knowledge. We've missed the truly funny side of Tyrion. And while some of his tactics haven't quite worked out – whoops on the Iron Islands fleet front – his craftiness about Casterly Rock's sewer design certainly comes in handy for Grey Worm and the Unsullied. Even if that might end up being a pyrrhic victory, given the Lannisters' own smart thinking in battle.
While we were treated to the sight of Snow brooding while staring at the ocean (someone's preparing for their moody indie rock album cover, we see), the scenes at Dragonstone did at least move things along, as clever Tyrion figured out that offering the olive branch of Dragonglass would help make Jon more conducive to a potential alliance. And top marks for following up Dany's list of titles with Davos' simple, "This is Jon Snow. He's the King in the North." Oh, and the dragons showed up! We were worried that Jeff Goldblum would wander into shot and exclaim, "Eventually you might have dragons on your, on your Dragonstone, right? Hello? Yes?"
For those who don't want their episodes to just be people standing around chatting, we also got the titular Queen's Justice, as Cersei (via Euron's "gift") got to exact revenge on Ellaria for the death of Myrcella. Poor Tyrene became the latest Sand Snake to crumble, and the entire family must be wishing that they'd never made the trip. As for Ellaria, she faces a harrowing prison stay watching her remaining daughter rot. Euron, meanwhile, continues to jockey for the position of New Joffrey, by which we mean his attitude to life, not his relationship with Cersei. Because, again... Yeuch.
Jamie was probably not feeling great either, listening to all that talk, but at least he's still the focus of his sister's affections. And his march on Highgarden, plus his idea to effectively empty Casterly Rock and leave it for Dany's forces to claim showed he's still got it where it counts. We have to admit we're looking forward to the day that he's able to put Euron back in his place.
Elsewhere, we got other reunions, including Sansa and Bran, where the former learned that the latter is the Three-Eyed Raven and replied, "I don't know what that means." Welcome to the club, Sansa, we're having jackets made with question marks on them. But it's weirdly prescient that Littlefinger suggests that she play out all eventualities in her mind right before someone who can actually do that (to some degree) comes back into her life.
As for Sam, the poor lad worked wonders with Jorah (who is off to pledge himself to Dany again, clearly not having learned that she's Just Not That Into Him), and was briefly given some praise before Jim Broadbent's Archmaester Ebrose put him back to work on another terrible task.
And in slightly more expositional terms, we had Cersei receiving a visit from Tycho Nestoris (Mark Gatiss), representative of the Iron Bank. Turns out the Lannisters debts are coming due (take a swig because Cersei trots out the family catchphrase), and she's concerned that the bankers might switch their funding to Dany. Still, she has a plan to pay off the loans within two weeks. The sacking of Highgarden will help with that, no doubt.
With the shorter season requiring events to move on a little quicker, we were treated to plenty of moves this week, most of them courtesy of Cersei and co. She really is shoring up her forces and proving to be dangerous, and while Dany certainly has a dragon-shaped advantage, even with Tyrion at her side she can't seem to outthink the Lannisters.
The Queen's Justice was an episode that explored the devious levels both sexes will stoop to in battle and for revenge, and looked at the attitude of those who never sit on thrones, with Euron cannily noting "they just like severed heads". Could that also describe some of the show's viewers? And there was also the right blend of humour, drama and emotion this week. Who didn't enjoy seeing Sansa and Bran reunited? Or cheer at the fleeting glimpse of Jerome Flynn's Bronn? Maybe he'll actually get to say something next week.
Highlight: Tyrion and Jon's reunion.
Lowlight: Euron all the way.
Kill of the week: Both Tyrene and Olenna feel poison's kiss, only one of them literally.
Quote of the week: "To be honest, I was drunk for most of it." - Tyrion, dropping truth.
MVP: Olenna getting in a few last digs at Jaime and co. even while she's being poisoned.
Random thought: Euron's fleet really is the quickest around.
- Will Sam discover something useful in those mite-infested tomes?
You never know. He's stumbled upon key information before, so there's precedent.
- Why did Jon downplay his resurrection?
One bit of seemingly unbelievable information at a time, people.
- Does Brandon Stark display the worst social skills ever?
"I'll explain my mysterious mystical power by commenting on how good you looked on your marriage day, sis? You know, to Ramsay." Er... Thanks?
---Season 7 Episode Review Guide
Game Of Thrones airs Sunday evenings on HBO in the States, with a simulcast on Sky Atlantic and Now TV in the early hours of Monday and a repeat Monday evenings at 9pm.