I enjoyed the episode. It wasn't the best ever, but I guess I just like being in the world. Also I usually don't judge the show on an episode-by-episode basis, since it's normally so consistent and congruous, so I have that bias.
The Tywin scene was amazing. (I had been desperately waiting for a scene like that to adequately define that particular dynamic, and good God, it couldn't have been done better.) The Daenerys scene was almost as good. And there was plenty of good teasing of things to come. I guess that was enough for me.
The episode was written by GRRM, interestingly, and I think it reflects his style of storytelling, which is a little more plodding and flowery (and raunchy, apparently) than the show tends to be. I'm okay with an episode like that once in a while.
That said, I think the biggest problems right now are Jaime and Theon. (Obviously I'm not alone.)
Not totally sure what's being accomplished with Theon right now. They're certainly establishing the character of that psychopath, but that's pretty much it. I don't really like Theon, and no amount of torture is going to improve that. That's not what torture does; sympathy is not affection. (Actually I think I do know what they're doing with the Theon business, but it involves a moderate spoiler, so I'll keep quiet.)
While we're on the "sympathy is not affection" topic, note how they've handled Sansa's situation so much better. Obviously we've had sympathy for her since the end of the first season, but they quickly expanded on that. For me, it was the scene on the bridge when she almost pushed Joffrey off, and we could see the sense of injustice burning in her eyes, and this exchange happened:
Joffrey: I'll tell you what. I'm going to give you a present. After I raise my armies and kill your traitor brother, I'll give you his head as well.
Sansa: Or maybe he'll give me yours.
That's how you do it.
Jaime is probably the biggest challenge for me right now. The thing is, his character in all of his complexity makes complete sense EXCEPT (glaringly) for the time he pushed Brann off the tower. I mean, he did it casually, completely without hesitation or remorse, like he pushes kids out of windows all the time. The show has done much to justify his slaying of the king, which works for me, but it hasn't touched Brann.
Jaime only makes sense if you ignore the Brann episode. We have no indication that he regrets it. Jaime is being re-evaluated, not evolved. The difference is crucial.
Does anyone know if the books deal with that better? Please let us know, unless it involves future spoilers.