This wasn't my favorite episode, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.
What I liked:
1. Tyrion, Jon, Daenerys and Littlefinger were all stellar portrayals this week. Still satisfied-to-thrilled with the casting to this point. These four have stepped their game up the most since their first appearances. Arya, Jorah, Varys & others solid as ever in slightly smaller roles this week.
2. Loved the way they handled the 3-eyed crow by removing the complexity of Bran's book dreams while retaining the air of mystery. It was a quick, memorable "WTF?" moment that planted a seed. Couldn't have been done any better IMHO.
3. Hodor! I think Nairn will do a great job in the role. The grey hair understandably threw some folks but I wasn't bothered by it. He doesn't look "old," to me, but like a 30-something dude with grey hair (they exist). A few years older than book Hodor (20s) but that's consistent with the other characters.
4. Samwell Tarly wasn't quite what I was expecting looks wise but was well-played enough for me not to mind. He and Jon already have a good chemistry going.
5. Tyrion's capture was wonderfully executed. I would've preferred the house sigils easier to spot, but everything else in that scene was perfect.
6. Tyrion/Theon exchange was excellent and book-worthy (though not taken from the book) I dug the reference to Theon's uncles being responsible for destroying the Lannister fleet.
7. Many other nice little references to please book readers (Jaime & Jory talking about Thoros at Pyke, Doreah's faceless man, Targaryens riding dragons from Valyria, Jorah calling Rhaegar the "last Dragon").
8. It was nice to see Ghost & Grey Wind. Hopefully we'll see more of both in future episodes.
What I didn't like
1. Disappointed they didn't manage to fit all the tournament scenes into this week (or at least fit in something extra. Archery? Thoros vs. Beric?). The tournament was something a lot of people were looking forward to and it felt kind of rushed and underwhelming. Tons of people think that one scene is all we're going to see of this grand Hand's Tourney that costs 80,000 gold. I didn't mind the exclusivity of the bleachers but the standing-room crowd of smallfolk looked much too sparse.
2. Viserys/Doreah bathtub scene had some good moments but was too damn long. The interminable dragon-naming crap was just not necessary and felt like filler. We already know Viserys is pompous, cruel ass - no need to reestablish it in a 4-minute scene that should have been cut to about 2 minutes.
3. Sansa/Septa Mordane was acted well enough and was OK as a character building scene, but sort of felt unnecessary in the grand sceme. We didn't discover much except that Sansa doesn't know why her grandfather & uncle were put to death, and is still pissed at Ned. Okey doke. I'm hoping this sets up something more substantial in a future episode.
4. I didn't mind LF getting the Hound's lines...but the timing felt a bit wrong. Here's Sansa (and the audience) still seconds into recovering from the shock of Ser Hugh's forced tracheotomy, and BAM - LF launches into this story about Sandor & Gregor. I dunno, it just seemed sloppy and forced. And, as someone else has already pointed out, the extras on this show are horrendously bad. Bunch of folks sitting there looking bored to death mere moments after a dude gets a lance to the throat. ACT, people!
5. Too much exposition all around, although for the most part it was well-done. A show this complex obviously needs a lot of expository content but they sort of overdid it this week. I think this is an issue that will resolve itself in the coming weeks as the more action-oriented plotlines begin to take shape in earnest.