Very weird. This episode was directed by the same director (Jeremy Podeswa) as the previous one (The Red Woman), but it has much better direction throughout. It looked and felt fantastic from beginning to end. Game of Thrones is back!
Now onto the very heavy *****SPOILERS******, including how the series ends which we now know a big part of with relative certainty:
The R+L=J theory now seems to be the correct theory. In fact, not only is Jon Snow a Targaryen and the son of Ned's sister Lyanna (who died in childbirth, and who Bran sees in this episode in a flashback), it now appears that Meera Reed might be his twin sister. In fact, since Tyrion is so comfortable around dragons, he might be a Targaryen as well. I wouldn't be surprised.
I'm not happy with this even though it's been the most prevalent theory for some time. I really wanted Jon Snow to be resurrected as a White Walker, not by Melisandre. I wanted his mother to be someone north of the wall. But, I'm happy with the episode as a whole. I thought it was terrific. The tone was suspenseful throughout. The acting was brilliant. The effects (the giant slamming the man for example) were awesome (except for some of the dragon shots). The final Jon Snow shot was well done.
I'm just a little disappointed with how the long-term story arc is going, but then again I'm guessing I'm in the minority. I wanted Jon Snow to be the ice that extinguishes the fire which I thought was the blood that was spilled fighting over the Iron Throne. I guess as it turns out, the fire is the dragon fire, and Jon will ascend to the throne as a Targaryen/Stark.
Brilliant episode, and one that has given us more answers than any previous one up to this point.