The creators of Game of Thrones know when not to draw out a cliffhanger and they're certainly not lacking for dramatic fodder these days, so it should come as no surprise that we were brought up to date on the fates of Jaime and Bronn at the start of this week's episode.
They're alive - but as their banter indicates, death is very much on their minds.
"Only I get to kill you," Bronn tells Jaime, who seems amazed that he survived.
"She has two more," says Jaime, marveling at the size and strength of Daenerys' dragon.
From there, a Lannister reunion is foreshadowed, as Tyrion surveys the aftermath, no doubt wondering what he's gotten himself into
The Khaleesi does what she does best - delivers a stirring speech to the peasants she just conquered, but this time, there's a twist.
As she has all season, Daenerys a more ominous tone with her rhetoric, and along with all the promises to make Westeros great again, she informs her new subjects that if they refuse to bend the knee, they'll be killed.
Predictably Randall Tarley refuses to pledge allegiance.
He's joined by Dickon Tarley, who survived a fierce battle only to sacrifice himself to his father's stubbornness.
Tyrion begs the Khaleesi to show some mercy, but she's in righteous, Old Testament God mode these days, and she orders the show's first executions by dragon.
Absolute power is doing a number on Dany's psyche.
Back in King's Landing, Jaime impresses upon Cersei the severity of the situation
In turn, she reminds him that suing for peace isn't exactly an option.
Jaime finally tells Cersei that Olenna Tyrrell confessed to murdering Joffrey, and of course, her desire for vengeance is then ratcheted up to 14.
In Drgonstone, Jon attempts to make nice with Drogon, and more importantly, the Khaleesi
He also downplays the whole being killed by his own people and coming back to life thing
Continuing the breakneck pacing of this season, Jorah shows up on cue, and is welcomed back into the Khaleesi's service.
With that, it's back to the more mystical side of the story as Bran's ravens survey a massive army of White Walkers before being repelled by the Night's King
The elderly maesters of the Citadel are less than enthralled by Bran's visions, but an impassioned plea (there are quite a few of those this episode) delivered by Sam convinces them to at least look into his claims.
One would think that as one of the few people who's seen and killed a White Walker, Sam would be taken a bit more seriously on the subject.
But apparently, the maesters have bigger matters on their minds.
The recent deaths of Sam's father and brother aren't weighing on them too heavily, as they fail to inform their errand boy that his family members were just roasted like disobedient marshmallows
Speaking of the Tarleys, Varys is clearly more troubled by Dany's savagery than Tyrion.
Jon, meanwhile, decides that the whole zombie army business requires his immediate attention.
Tyrion proposes a plan to capture a Walker to put his dead ass on display for Cersei.
Davos agrees to smuggle him into King's Landing, while Jorah decides he's the best man to capture an undead soldier.
Jon convinces Daenerys to turn him loose, but he may have already lost the loyalty of his men in the North, who apparently wish they'd chosen Sansa as their ruler.
Arya is pissed that Sansa didn't stand up for Jon, and she implores her sister to take a harder stance.
"Not if they lose their heads first" argues Arya, in her usual badass mode, when Sansa worries about losing Jon's subjects.
Arya accuses Sansa of desiring greater power, a tense standoff ensues, and we're reminded that amicable relationships among the Stark children are no more guaranteed than Dany's status as a wise and benevolent ruler
Elsewhere, Tyrion and Jaime come face-to-face for the first time since the former fled King's Landing.
The meeting is tense and emotionally fraught, but it seems Tyrion's gamble may have paid off
Meanhwile, Davos prowls Fleabottom in search of a familiar face
The showrunners didn't do such a splendid job of keeping his return a secret, but it's still a delight to see that Gendry's back.
And this time, he has a badass new weapon - a head-cracking hammer that he quickly puts to good use.
Davos tires to get some Goldcloaks off his ass with a little medieval Viagra, but even that can't keep them from interfering when they see the famous Lannister dwarf piling into his boat
Fortunately, the encounter offers Gendry an opportunity to reclaim his place as a fan favorite who's not to be effed with.
It turns out Cersei knew about Jaime's meeting with Tyrion, but she's surprisingly unbothered.
"Dead men, dragons, and dragon queens ... whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it," she tells her brother/lover/
And it's then that Cersei reveals the source of her newfound determination - she's pregnant.
As a reminder that she's still queen, she leaves Jaime with a reminder to "never betray me again."
In Dragonstone, Gendry reveals himself to Jon against Davos' wishes.
The two bond over being the bastard sons of great men
Davos tries to talk Gendry out of entering the war effort, but his arguments fall on deaf ears
Jon and Dany have exchange a surprisingly affectionate farewell, and he sets sail for the North.
Meanwhile, inspired by his readings about some dead guy's bowel movements, Sam decides to peace out from the Citadel in order to put his talents to use saving the world.
In keeping with what we learned about Jon's past last season, Gilly casually mentions that Rhaegar Targaryen was married a second time.
As usual, Littlefinger is up to some shady business as usual, but this time, he has Arya on his ass
Of course, it's hard to out-shady Littlefinger, so naturally, he's one step ahead of her
A less than cheery reunion takes place at the Wall, as Hound, the Brotherhood, Gendry, Jon, and so forth, all exchange grizzled war stories.
Jon's empathy for Beric Dondarrion is sure to bolster fan theories that they're both of the same mystical persuasion ("fire wights," as George R.R. Martin recently revealed in an interview).
And with that they set out to capture a Walker.
Thus concludes another breakneck-paced episode of TV's most jam-packed drama.
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