Season 2 suffered from being the 'setup'. You are reaping the rewards of book3 which most consider the best, because it is the 'payoff' book, more or less. And Benioff/Weiss deserve the utmost credit...they are tremendous jugglers/editors and last nights episode was masterful.
I really liked when Jamie was talking about Renly and said 'you can't choose who you love' or something to that effect. Yet, and if you are out there Darby...weigh in, there are those who hate him.