House Lannister (or, oathsex and bad news)
Of the two Lannister boys, Jaime had the better week, but also had to admit the core of his character is forever poisoned by Cersei. Things were looking good! They both avoid being shot by Bronn and his Tywin Lannister Memorial Crossbow. Jaime and Brienne get to hook up, thanks to some honesty during a drinking game, and then -- Jaime takes off south because he still loves his sister. What a drag.
Not that our favorite female characters on this show deserve a Disney princess version of happiness, but it does feel a little odd that this season has had not one, but two scenes whose primary text is getting two fan-favorite characters together while also suggesting the writers think dying a virgin is a real tragedy. That out of the way: Did anyone Jaime and Brienne would be the core, tragic love story over the first four episodes of the final season? The other relationship that was consummated this season also gets shot down (see: House Baratheon) and this one has not one, but two concluding notes -- one with Brienne’s knighting in episode 2 and then the bittersweet acceptance of Jaime’s true character. They could have been happy together, but it doesn’t feel like Jaime can have a happy ending without Cersei. That’s the story the show wants to tell while also giving us some levity and Brienne a chance to be open and honest with Jaime before he outlines why he's a horrible person. At least he knows?
Tyrion makes an okay decision in offering Bronn Highgarden to get him to lay off, aka not kill him and Jaime, but otherwise, the Hand of the Queen continues to be outplayed by his sister in King'd Landing. When he and Varys discuss what to do for the good of the realm, it becomes obvious that they have different ideas and Varys is team Jon. Tyrion and Jon might be the last people capable of talking Dany down when she goes full Mad Queen, but given how this week's ending goes, it looks unlikely she'd to listen them anyway, lashing out from her grief and fury.
Then, there's Cersei, next week's big bad villain, who was the only person to accurately predict how the final season of Game of Thrones would play out so far. Last season, when we heard her plan was to wait out the fight with the Night King and the Army of the Dead and finish off whatever was left, it seemed like a dumb move that underestimated the realities of an army of zombies. It seemed like the "great war" was going to swallow up the final season, leading to multiple epic showdowns with magical forces. Whelp -- Cersei knew all she had to do was wait for Daenerys to reposition back from the North, then she'd hit them with Euron and the Golden Company and pack the Red Keep with people. The capturing of Missendei is a great win for her, and in a very Cersei move, it looks like she might have successfully baited Dany into burning a significant number of civilians, poisoning the people against the Dragon Queen. It's a risky move, but she pulled it off. If we're just judging by this episode, Cersei is the best player of the game, even if she's betting it all when she's swinging for the fences.