As with all season premieres, there seemed to be a common agreement that the first episode was slower than most critics would have liked. However, the consensus was almost universal in that this season’s slow start was faster than other seasons’ slow starts. Before I tie myself into a tongue twister, let’s dive into what the critics thought! Obviously there’s our fearless leader Sue’s recap, and our lovable, though deeply Unsullied Oz‘s as well. Additionally, we have some old favorites, plus some new critics we’re excited to add to our weekly roundup!
Alan Sepinwall, UPROXX – In which he accepts that it was a slow but necessary start, and appreciates the good humor and chess-setting along the way.
Alex Mullane, Digital Spy – In which he was underwhelmed by parts of the episode, but thought the edited sequence of Sam going through the motions at the Citadel was among the funniest bits of comedy GOT has ever produced.
Alicia Lutes, Nerdist – In which she marvels at the episode’s ability to juggle so many plotlines and still feel so unified in telling a larger story.
Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post – In which she mulls over how characters need to turn the monsters inside them on and off given the right moment, depending on the situation.
Andrew Snell, Mirror – In which he prods and polks and nitpicks, but realizes, at the end of the day, his gripes are so minor in the grand scheme of things and he loves it anyway.
Brandon Nowalk, The A.V. Club – In which he observes how a failure to adapt to their circumstances lends certain characters to ebb closer to their parents’ same fate.
Christopher Hooton, Independent UK – In which he feels like the show may be going through ‘the motions’ a little too much this late in the game, and wants it to step up sooner.
Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter – In which he proclaims that ‘tablesetting’ should not be considered a negative term when we are entrenched with so many beloved characters.
David Crow, Den of Geek – In which he oggles over the awesometude-ness of
No One Arya Stark for paragraphs on end.
David Malitz, The Washington Post – In which he believes the Hound spent too much time gravedigging, and that Lyanna Mormont’s “shtick is getting old already.” (Please get your pitchforks and ‘Shame’ bells ready.)
David Rosenblatt, SquintyOverAnalyzesThings – Hey wait….That’s mine!! Come enjoy my tour through Westeros, in which I talk about the knowledge that different characters gain, or the previous knowledge banks upon which they expand.
James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly – In which he acknowledges the seamless transition of different tones from one storyline to the next.
Jen Chaney, Vulture – In which she goes gaga over Arya’s murderous rampage of an opening, calling it “the show’s best ever.”
Jess Kelham-Hohler, The Evening Standard – In which she enjoys the episode’s astute observations over the natures of justice vs. injustice.
Joanna Robinson, Vanity Fair – In which she asks 11 questions and proceeds to do her damndest to answer them.
Laura Hudson, WIRED – In which she reflects on how the past informs the present, but it doesn’t mean characters won’t always make the same mistakes over and over again.
Laura Stone, Hey Don’t Judge Me – In which she makes as many Harry Potter references as one can stuff into a recap based on an episode crammed with Argus Filch, Professor Slughorn, and a restricted section of a library.
Melanie McFarland, Salon – In which she thinks the episode’s slowness was outweighed by the sheer excitement of revisiting Westeros.
Mike Bloom, Salon – In which he turns the plots of the week into a series of newspaper clippings, complete with an obituary section. Readers: Amused!
Myles McNutt, The A.V. Club – In which he talks about the pieces a show has to pick up after culling a third of its cast.
Neil Miller, Film School Rejects – In which he points out that all plots will converge at Dragonstone, which will ultimately be vital to the endgame of GOT.
Rob Bricken, io9 – In which he can’t help but reflect how much slower than the season 6 finale this was, but still understands its necessity.
Sarah Hughes, The Guardian – In which she notes the unusual level of ‘quipping’ in the playful banter among the characters.
Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone – In which he examines how the moments we are gifted in this episode do not exist in a vacuum, and that 6 seasons of diverging, then converging plotlines are reaping all the glory.
Sonia Saraiya, Variety – In which she mentions that as a collection of moments, the episode works, but on the grand scale, it was more realistically a place setter for the episodes to come.
TK, Pajiba – In which he gets excited for Dany’s homecoming, Rory McCann’s acting range, and the general aura in the air over the returned-ness of GOT!