I'm not entirely sure how I should comment on the Jaime and Cersei storyline change, because I think it's pretty clear from fan reactions how unnecessary and disappointing and angering it was. I had heard the rumors and saw the little changes from the previous two episodes of their characters, but I didn't expect it to actually be true in what they planned on doing with that scene.
Like, it makes absolutely no sense why they would have him basically rape her when it never happens like that in the book. Yes, they do have sex at the alter right where Joffrey's body is, but it was seen as consensual. In the books this is when Jaime returns to King's Landing and it's their reunion after being away from each other for so long, which the show changed, but regardless that shouldn't mean everything involving their characterizations should have changed as well. Cersei is supposed to still be clinging to Jaime, whereas Jaime is supposed to slowly start unraveling from his attachment to his sister, which thus becomes part of his character development. And now the show basically fucked all that up. And for what? Just to have an unnecessary rape scene included? Why? I don't understand.
Furthermore, not only did they ruin that aspect of the Jaime and Cersei relationship, they also really ruined Jaime's characterization in general by altering that scene entirely. Jaime is one of the few men in the series that actually respects women, that doesn't do or condone violence, especially sexual violence, towards them. It's against his conscience, his moral code. It's just not who he is and not what he stands for. So having him do that completely and utterly demolished everything about his character.
I'm just so sorry for all the book fans who have been waiting and looking forward to the alter sex scene, only to have it completely ruined by the show, and for Jaime fans having to witness the assassination of his characterization right before their eyes.
(Just get back to Brienne, Jaime, at least they're doing something right there.)
With that rant out of the way, here are some of the other things in the episode that I actually did enjoy:
** I loved how we see Sansa escaping King's Landing right away as the episode opens, pretty much continuing from where we left off in the last episode. Here is where her story begins to shift, and it's quite exciting. But of course, as soon as Littlefinger shows up I'm like, oh right. I won't spoil it for anyone who is unaware, but there is going to be some interesting things coming up.
** Arya and the Hound's Amazing Adventure. I really enjoy their scenes together. I also think that Maisie is growing to be a fine young actress. Perhaps it's the way she portrays Arya as her story progresses, but I like the strength in the way she says her lines, the way she interacts with the Hound.
** There were some nice conversation pieces and interactions in this episode, as well. Tywin with Tommen, discussing his future as the next young king and learning from the mistakes from the previous kings before him. The fact that it was taken place right right in front of Cersei mourning her dead son who was right before them was fascinating, because you knew it wasn't the time or place for such a conversation to take place, and yet it was amazing to watch. It's the same with Tywin and Oberyn, interrupting the brothel scene in order to discuss politics with him. Both settings were quite strange to have such conversations in, and yet they managed to focus on the characters and their interaction. I think it's a Charles Dance thing, he manages to focus your attention on the screen whenever he appears and talks with another actor in a scene, no matter what is happening.
** The Martells continue to be magnificent. I just want character moments with Oberyn and Ellaria that aren't necessarily in an orgy scene, but for the brief moments we get of them are worth savoring. They have a warm, loving relationship, they understand each other and I love seeing that. More of that, please.
** Well, we finally saw some penis in this episode, which is nice. But a brief shot of cock (with a blurred out part of one in another scene) doesn't make up for all the lingering shots of women. There is a difference.
** The cinematography in this episode was outstanding.
** Loved Dany's scene, of course. My khaleesi dominating. ♥ And also that little moment between her and Jorah, omg. ♥ ♥ ♥ My heart cannot handle it.
Overall: Aside from the glaringly stupidly stupid thing the show did, I thought it was a pretty decent enough episode. I'm looking forward to Tyrion's trial, his and Jaime's bonding moments that come from that, and everything else in between with other characters.