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Frances Bean Corbray

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  1. Without the success of the shadowbaby, Stannis dies in battle, Renly's Stormland/Reach coalition remains together and largely intact and besieges the capital. Tywin has no choice but to surrender to save Cersei and Tommen's (and Tyrion's and Jaime's) lives [Joffrey's goose is probably cooked regardless]. He could maybe beg Balon to save his ass, but Balon would only (correctly) read that as a sign of weakness and start raiding the Westerland Coast instead of/in addition to the North. If Cersei doesn't do anything stupid with Sansa's life while besieged it might even work. But she might. And losing Arya might screw her anyway. House Lannister gets ground to dust between Robb & Renly with Tyrion probably being the only survivor. Bolton and Frey don't dare double cross Robb without Tywin providing insurance, thus a Northern reconquest of Winterfell and re-expulsion of the Ironborn becomes inevitable And then it's just Robb and Renly haggling over how independent the North gets to be.
  2. MODIFIED MCSHANE SCORING SYSTEM PRESENTS: GAME OF THRONES S8 EP6 AKA PART 73 OF 73 AKA "....um, okay" Were there dragons? Was there a dragon? Yes and it was arguably the highlight of the episode? Were there there tits? No. Edmure Tully IS a tit, yes its true, but that's not the kind of tits we're talking about here and besides he'd only be one even if he did count. STARTING BASELINE: 5 out of 10 In honor of Seasons 7 & 8 and their alacritous pace, I am going to RUSH THROUGH THIS Peter Dinklage puts his Emmy Pants on one last time as he excuses himself [refusing Jon's offer of an armed escort] to go through the rubble of the keep, past the floor map and the hand's chambers, down through the secret pathways, past the dragon skulls, and into the depths and the rubble, and he breaks down when he sees a glimpse of Jaime's metal hand. He unearths just enough rubble to confirm both his siblings are dead, and has a nice breakdown. +1 GREAT shot of Drogon's wings flapping behind Dany that makes it look like they're her wings as she addresses her conquering army, exclusively in High Valyrian, getting everyone hype to stay on the conquering warpath and spreading THE REVOLUTION (fuck this staying and ruling shit). I'm quite cool with this. It's about the best path to take now that they're committed to rushing through to this end point and making Dany as nutso as possible. Going all High Valyrian and leaning into the foreign conqueror and not really caring much about the Iron Throne now that she's actually got it, and also implicitly threatening Winterfell & The North as part of her upcoming Burn It Down World Tour 300AC. Tyrion resigns as hand dramatically as Dany has him arrested for treason. Jon lurks around being a dour wallflower. Arya shows up and informs Jon re: Dany that "I know a killer when I see one" and tries to get Jon to leave, or at least not go off on another classic Jon Snow Heroic Suicide Mission, but you know our boy Jon. +1 Jon and Tyrion have a chit chat in Tyrion's cell where Jon tries to give Dany the benefit of the doubt but Tyrion breaks it down and does his best to tell in one 4 minute speech what the show could have shown us about Dany's descent into believing in her own manifest destiny and fanaticism. Jon quotes Maester Aemon ["Love is the death of duty"] which is nice. Jon know what the right thing to do is, he just knew he needed to have Tyrion talk him into it. +1 for more Dinklage Emmy Pants It really is too bad that we got such a late, such a fast-tracked, and such an abrupt heel turn for Dany because Clarke is really, really good as delusional wingnut Dany. Especially considering how much the interviews she's done lately seem to imply she personally didn't enjoy the Season 8 script. Really good stuff from her, wish she'd gotten to do more of it. Dany stands in the ruined throne room, staring at the Iron Throne [never actually sitting on it btw, which I like given she's already got her mind on the next conquest], and immediately rambling to Jon when he shows up about Viserys, and everything she's heard about the swords melted to make the throne, and breaking the wheel and making the world a better place and it's okay because they (inc. Jon but mostly it's a she) actually do know what's right. So it's okay for her. Y'know, every authoritarian's rationalization ever. Anyway Jon says "you will always be my queen" for the 500th time and FINALLY our boy Jon has learned some deceit, as he shanks Dany while hugging her, and lets her down to the ground gently as she bleeds out and dies with nary a whimper. +1 for Clarke selling Fanatic Dany as best as one could given the time constraints. -1 for the TV stab and easy death, like humans die on contact with a blade as easily as White Walkers. Remember Season 3? How slow and bloody and violent Jeor Mormont's death was when he got stabbed? Yeah. Microcosm of how the tone of the show has completely shifted once past the source material. DROGON MVP. WONDERFUL JOB depicting a make believe CGI animal's rage and grief. The bit where it tried to nudge Dany's body to make her move again was gorgeous. Drogon melts the Iron Throne completely (yay), grabs Dany's body in one talon (the left one, if you care about such things) and flies off to Parts Unknown with her. Great Shit, even though they wasted a little time trying to get us to buy into Drogon attacking Jon. Once it didn't happen right away you knew it wasn't (and besides, he's a Targaryen too). +2 for Drogon being so real. Stop me if you've heard this one before, but like the whole of the show itself, the first half is way better than the latter half. Most internal logic flew out of here in Drogon's other claw w.r.t. The Council Of Lords to pick a new king. We follow still-imprisoned Tyrion as Grey Worm leads him to the Dragon Pit where the convention is going down. Grey Worm yells at Tyrion to not talk anymore. Tyrion goes on to do quite a lot of talking anymore. (-1) Jon's absence is immediately raised as an issue and then quickly dismissed as an issue by some hasty handwaving. Sansa reminds Grey Worm that hurting Jon would be a bad idea given that the city is surrounded by Northmen. So I guess Jon confessed and the Unsullied arrested him alive rather than just killing him (or Tyrion for that matter?) on the spot. "Hey yeah uh Dany flew off on Drogon I dunno where she is but she totally left me in charge until she gets back" is the easiest lie in the world to tell here. Not that our boy Jon lies. But he did finally learn to sneak attack, so maybe? This should have been SHOWN, either way. Grey Worm could use a little explaining here instead of just looking like RRRGH HATE YOU NOW BUT NOT KILLING YOU FOR I DUNNO. -1 -1 LOL THE DOTHRAKI SPONTANEOUSLY DESPAWNED APPARENTLY. I do love how "everybody" came back for the council of lords. It was nice to hear Royce get to speak, the Generic Prince of Dorne looked suitably Dornish, Little Robin Arryn was there and he ain't so little no more. Yara is there being angry and getting a token pro-Dany statement. Would've been nice to have her mention her little brother, either resentful that he died for The Starks or being more pro-Stark out of respect for his memory. Arya threatens to silence her for good if she keeps talking shit. Boy we're off to a good start aren't we? Sam is there, Brienne and Davos are there, I think Gendry is there but the camera never focuses on him for long enough for me to be sure, some unnamed other lords are there, EDMURE TULLY IS HERE HOLY SHIT Y'ALL. And he gets to start the proceedings with a rambling, pointless speech puffing himself up that goes nowhere and never gets to the point because Sansa tactfully gets him to sit down and shut up. +2 for Edmure being back and as much of a dingus as ever. Episode needed the laugh. Meera Reed is NOT here, which seems a glaring omission considering this scene eventually becomes All About Bran (-1). After Edmure, Sam stands up and proposes Democracy. Everyone laughs him out of the room (well not literally but he's done talking). Eventually Tyrion, talking despite Grey Worm saying he can't talk anymore, suggests Bran, bringing up the whole stories and memories and wisdom thing that got dropped (along with Bran) after the Night King's early and ignominious exit. Sansa gives no fucks and straight up spoils that Bran can't have children. Tyrion says this is good because bloodline kings suck and we should do this council shit to elect a king from here on anyway. Bran is elected more or less unanimously though Sansa is all NORTHERN INDEPENDENCE YO. Yara and Generic Dornish Prince sitting over here like "wait, that was an option? Dang." Tyrion is named hand, which Bran frames as punishment/atonement "he'll spend the rest of his life fixing his mistakes" to placate Grey Worm. And along those lines, Jon is exiled to The Night's Watch which somehow exists again, and everyone just ignores that The Wall has a big ol irrepairable hole in it (also there's no White Walkers it needs to keep out anymore). Grey Worm is just whatever because he's on the plot rails and wants to get out of here. The last we see of him is scowling one last time at Jon and loading up all the Unsullied on a voyage to Naath. -2, one for each water bottle on the set. SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK. It's the last week of school and everyone's on summer vacation already. Teary goodbyes from all The Starks (well, not Bran, he's actually got a little smirk going), and Arya gets on some bullshit about going west of westeros because Okay, I guess? No buildup to this. Just some whatever shit. It's not like you have to write her out of the rest of the episodes, this IS the last one. -1 for Leif Ericsson Arya coming out of left field. Bran's small council convenes. Lord Bronn of Highgardren, Hand Tyrion (still no mention of whether he's Lord Of Casterly Rock or not BTW), Grand Maester Samwell, and Master Of Ships Davos Seaworth. Kingsguard L.C. Brienne is there too. Oh and Pod's in the guard which is kinda whatever considering his whole character now boils down to Magic Dick Man. He wheels Bran in and out. Anyway the council immediately sets to squabbling about what repairs to pay for first and how. I guess that's the bittersweet ending. All that shit and all that death and humanity's back where it was, arguing over petty shit without an existential threat to make everyone come together and focus on the big picture. Oh and Sam busts out Archmaester Ebrose's history of recent events, of course called A Song Of Ice And Fire. The gag being that Tyrion's basically not in it. Eyeroll. Anyway this is just tying up a lot of bows. I DO LIKE that Bran is smirking as Pod wheels him out, giving us just that little hint that maybe he's not so unemotional and detached after all, maybe he was Playing (and Winning) The Game his own way, after all. Hope so, as a lot of stuff makes more sense if he is. +1 Brienne fills out Jaime's entry in the Chronicles Of The Kingsguard. She is tactful and discreet about the whole thing between her, and Jaime, and Cersei. Is faithfully accurate about the rest. Necessary scene, executed competently. Right length, right beats, etc. Completely satisfied with the knot on this loose end. +1 So Jon goes to "The Night's Watch" which of course is actually all Wildlings. Tormund is there and everyone fucks off into the wilderness behind them. Jon's "punishment" isn't a punishment at all; Jon is effectively King-Beyond-The-Wall, which does explain why Goodbye really does seem to be Goodbye with Sansa and Arya. Jon's got what he actually wants (presumably). So basically Bran pulled another fast one on Grey Worm and whatever pro-Dany lords there were out there. Though I'm not so sure, given how fast reliable information travels in Westeros now, that it makes sense that nobody would go "hey, wait a minute, I thought there wasn't a Night's Watch anymore on account of them all getting killed defeating the thing they exist to fight" but whatever. Jon's got Longclaw, HE PET GHOST THIS TIME OMG YES, and he's got BFF Tormund, and I guess Jon's happy ever after. +1 for FINALLY PETTING GHOST Sansa's Crown Of Winter is pretty cool, I guess. BRAN DIDN'T WARG DROGON OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THAT MATTER WTF -1 ARYA DIDN'T STEAL A FACE ALL SEASON LONG WTF -1 House Stark rules the continent though. King Jon Beyond The Wall, Queen in the North Sansa, and King Bran of the southern 6 Kingdoms. But they'll all implicitly never see each other again. Que Triste. FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10 Some good stuff, but could've been a lot better and a lot of potential seems [now forever] untapped. The symptoms of rushed writing manifest just about everywhere. The shit with Arya going west feels transparently and cynically STAY TUNED FOR THE SEQUEL/SPIN OFF, and King Bran feels pretty WTF though it would probably be less so had they not been so stop and start with him all along (really wanted ONE cut to him and his eyes turning blue during the closing Stark Exodus Montage, or even just rolling back white and finding/controlling Drogon. Even a "Ha Ha I won" laugh or smirk or ANYTHING. And as "TV"ish as it is for people to gratuitously call each other by name when they're just talking I really wish they had done more of it during the council of lords since several folks (Edmure, Robin) were showing up for the first time in a long time, and some of those people were entirely new. Who are they, where are they there? One of them being Old Howland Reed would've been a very good touch (and he could've vouched for Bran on his daughter's behalf if they couldn't get the actress to show up and be Meera at the council, though they should have if they could have). Feels weird to have it actually be over. I do want more than we got, even if towards the end I tended to only like about half of what we were getting. If only they'd taken a little more time. Oh well.
  3. MODIFIED MCSHANE SCORING SYSTEM FOR: GAME OF THRONES S8 E5 aka EPISODE 72 OF 73 aka "DING DONG" were there dragons? was there a dragon? Yep. Were there tits? No, not really, unless topless Frankengregor counts. Starting baseline: 5 out of 10 Pour one out for Missandei. It was very bold of the Tits and Dragons show to kill off the best remaining pair of tits on the show. I choose to remember the good times, like when she revealed the gender-neutral nature of Valyrian pronouns in a very forced and ham-fisted way, like the producers were speaking through her and passive-aggressively including one last bit of book content. Or the time Ser Davos randomly started hitting on her and they turned Westeros' favorite Grandpa into Creepy Inappropriate Uncle Man. Or the time they aged her up so the Dany/Missandei bedwarming scene wouldn't be Creepy As Fuck but they ended up chickening out on doing it anyway. Ah well. Moving on... Varys seems resigned to his own death. One of his little birds reports in, and we quickly realize a poisoning attempt has gone awry because Dany is on hunger strike. Varys began this bit with some letter writing and the camera focuses on enough words to let us know that Varys is getting the word out to the whole seven kingdoms about Jon Snow. Welp, he's all in, ain't he? Not sure why the merman is suddenly tired of paddling and the consumate survivor is now gung-ho about dying for the cause, but here we are. Tyrion and Dany. Remember, folks: nothing says "crazy" like a woman no longer wearing makeup. Anyway, Dany's "paranoid" rambling is actually an astute and 100% accurate assessment of the situation: Jon blabbed to Sansa and Sansa blabbed to Tyrion in the hope Tyrion would blab to Varys and others and foment dissent among Dany's ranks and that's exactly what you did you little dummy. It's never spelled out if Dany's not eating because she knows some shit is up of if that's just supposed to be part of the mad with grief over Missandei thing. Anyway, Varys takes his rings off and burns his last letter before being arrested. Astute viewers have pointed out this is so his signet ring will go unmelted and can be used to verify his letters about Jon posthumously. Anyway Tyrion and Varys have a touching tender moment as Tyrion admits he ratted him out to save himself. Varys hopes he's wrong and deserves this, but the tone of his voice says he doubts it. Connleth Hill was a very good Varys and it's such a shame they really stopped giving him stuff to do once they ran out of source material to adapt. Dany asks Varys what time it is while Drogon emerges from the gloom and answers "4:20, time to BLAZE IT." Tyrion and Jon watch Varys burn. +1 for the fond farewell. Jon has shown up and reaffirmed his loyalty to Queen Dany for about the 400th time in the last couple weeks. He comes in on the tail end of a convo between Dany and Grey Worm, conducted in Valyrian, and we're given subtitles and its framed like its significant. Dany bemoans that the people do not love her, only fear her, but they love Jon. So she tries to play Come Into My Castle with her tongue and Jon's mouth one last time, but Jon ain't having it. "You're my queen." "Is that all I am? I guess it's fear then." This was really good, and the often-panned Emilia Clarke is doing a good job of playing broken down and nuts. It's just a shame they waited so long to start doing this and are rushing through to the end result. Game of Thrones, for all its great props and good costuming and wonderful music and even good acting, is still being written like it's a term paper due tomorrow morning. +1 The goodbye scene between Tyrion and Jaime is BEAUTIFUL. Wonderful enough for me to look the other way on the silly TRANSLATION HUMOR between Tyrion and the Unsullied guards to set it up. Oh and Jaime even fucking being here in the first place. Jaime now claims not to give a shit about the people of king's landing even though the whole essence of his character is that he chose their lives over his honor way back when. FAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRT. But laying out Tyrion's emotional motives for putting his own neck in the noose w.r.t. Dany by springing a prisoner is done so well and these actors are so in-tune with their characters after all this time that this scene deserves a +1 anyway. Arya and The Hound join the bum rush and just barely get inside the gates before they close specifically because they pushed a woman and little girl out of their way. HAHAHAHA. Jaime misses the cutoff and has to take the long way around. +1 The battle is on. Dany uses the sunshine as cover (holy shit would you look at that sensible tactics! This show has missed you so much, sensible tactics, never run away from us like that again!). The Ninja Inverse Power Principle applies to dragons and the scorpion ballistas: now that Drogon is solo, dragons are basically invincible again, while the mass number of scorpions makes them all useless. The cannons are cannon fodder. Ha ha, it's irony! Ha ha? Ha? Ugh. Look I tried, okay? Dany makes short work of what's left of the Iron Fleet and the Lannister troops on the ramparts don't fare any better. Meanwhile, The Golden Company starts flexing like they're actually gonna accomplish shit in this show, and lines up outside the city walls. NO, SENSIBLE TACTICS, WHERE ARE YOU GOING PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME AGAIN I'LL BE GOOD THIS TIME I SWEAR! Anyway, Captain Harry Strickland gets his Cosplay Jaime on [I love the idea of Cersei hiring a guy who kinda looks like Jaime, its a good callback to Lancel] one last time before Dany blows out the walls from behind with dragonfire after which Jon & Grey Worm lead the charge. The regenerating Dothraki ride over everybody save for a bloodied and stumbling Strickland, who quickly gets finished off by Grey Worm. I am stunned -- STUNNED, I SAY -- that Captain Strickland did not survive to the end of Game Of Thrones +1 for this battle shaping up to be the one sided ass-whipping it always should've been, though it begs the question of why they bothered having the goodguys fritter away their army in The Battle For The Dawn and several instances of dumb tactics for the sake of plot to make Cersei look like she had a chance. CLEGANEBOWL was pretty good. Having The Mountain lose some of his Darth Vader armor so we could see the grotesque monster underneath was a necessary beat. Sadly, no Nedhead or anything super freaky like that, just some greenish Frankenskin. The best part was Qyburn being oddly fond of Cersei one last time and suddenly, ruthlessly, paying for it with his life when he tries to give Frankengregor an order and gets his head smashed against a wall gruesomely for his effort. Make a mistake and pay for it. Remember when Game Of Thrones was full of that? Anyway we get your standard human vs. zombie fight. There's a torch mounted on a half-broken wall and I _REALLY_ wanted that to play into the finish the way they kept leaving it in the shot. Having Sandor win by burning his brother the way his brother burned him to start this whole mess would've been poetic. But we got a good "stabbing Gregor through the eyeball does nothing" spot and a nice callback spot where Gregor does the same eyegouge that he did when crushing Oberyn's skull. Eventually Sandor makes the decision to tackle Gregor over the edge and send both men plummeting to their deaths, sacrificing himself to take his brother out. We'll call it a draw. I'm good with this. Qyburn's death might have been the highlight of the episode. +1 At one point Arya is running through the carnage and the rubble to give us that Horrors Of War feel and she runs into an extra that kinda looks like Gendry. I think it's the recurring walk-on they used for Alton Lannister way back when. Anyway, having Arya run into a Gendry lookalike is a wonderful touch and does a way better job of what I think they were trying to do with Arya than most of what they ended up doing with her in this episode. +1 for Doppelganger Gendry. Grey Worm eventually says "fuck it" and spears a surrendered Lannister soldier signalling that the rout and rampage is on. I actually kinda like the idea that Dany worked out a deal beforehand with Grey Worm to say Fuck This Surrender Bullshit we wiping these punks off the map, and that this was what their secret Valyrian convo was about. Since for all Tyrion's pleading that "the bell tolling means the city has surrendered to you" Dany treated it with a Yeah Whatever and I think (I should rewatch to confirm) she never quite actually agreed to go along with that. It'd salvage this whole thing if Dany went in never having intent of accepting a surrender. +1 All right. Let's get to the dumb shit. Euron vs Jaime. Jaime karate chopping Euron in the throat with his gold hand was excellent. The rest of this was a stinker. You know, I've been watching "blind" reaction videos on youtube from people who are just now getting into the show and starting with Season 1, so I'm seeing stuff like the Ned/Jaime fight again and boy the contrast between show the and show now is STRIKING. One spear wrecks Ned's knee forever. Now? Jaime gets stabbed in half his organs and it ceases to mean anything once the fight is over. Euron's lines are all clunkers. I really wish this guy had gotten more to work with than the Captain Jack Sparrow shit he got, and if a couple interviews are any indication so does he. -1 for stab wounds not mattering outside of actual combat. Jon stops one northern troop from committing one rape. Ask Mirri Maz Dur what the fuck that's worth. Okay we get it JON GOOD DANY BAD. Stop hitting me over the head with it. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. Arya almost dies but then she doesn't. OKAY WE FUCKING GET IT, SHOW. GEEEZUS. Look, if you stopped at one death fakeout, some people might actually buy into it. Textbook example of Diminishing Returns. The more fakeouts they go for the more obvious it becomes that they don't have the guts to actually pull the trigger on killing Arya off. Which is too bad because actually killing someone who really matters might have been the one way to close the gap and make Dany's rushed heel turn actually take in spite of it all. They also do some dumb shit with A PALE HORSE HAHA GET IT DEATH RIDES A PALE HORSE that takes way too fucking long for Arya to finally get on the thing and ride away. It's like they're stalling just to make this be an 80 minute episode. Also, while having Arya say goodbye and thank you to The Hound by finally calling him by his real name of Sandor was a nice little nugget of warmth, and I dug it as a detail, it's really not enough to offset how dumb and "characters serving the plot" it is to have them wait to have the "don't be like me, save yourself" convo NOW as the Red Keep is crashing around them and it by rights ought to be too late than, say, you know, AT ANY DAMN POINT DURING THE HUNDREDS OF MILES OF RIDING FROM WINTERFELL TO KING'S LANDING. It's not like Sandor didn't know why she started following her in Episode 4 in the first place. They clearly just wanted Arya to be there to run through the rubble but not be a casualty. Arya is _probably_ my favorite of the main characters bookside, and when this show started I was so hype and had Maisie Williams penciled in as the one sure bet among the new/young actors to come out of this Game Of Thrones gig as the superstar of tomorrow. And boy has this show kicked me in the balls repeatedly for having that sentiment. Arya was the first character to get victimized by the dialogue writing getting really bad. She hasn't quite gotten as bad a stinker as "BAD PUSSY" but it has not been for lack of shoddy effort on Benioff and Weiss' parts. Woof. Anyway, Arya suddenly has MATERNAL INSTINCT now and you can probably hear the dull fluttering click of my eyelids trying to do barrel rolls as Arya runs around trying to convince women and children to GET TO THE CHOPPAH! NOW! to little avail. I swear, if this is all just to have Arya be "WAIT I WANT BABIES AND TO BE A MOMMA NOW" and that's her pretext for getting back together with Gendry I'm gonna puke blood, and I hope Woke Feminist Twitter doesn't blow it's wad on Dany and has some outrage left in the barrel for _that_ rough beast lumbering towards Bethlehem to be born next week because I have a bad feeling they're gonna need it. -3 for all sorts of irritating shit. Jaime and Cersei run to the escape dinghy but the rubble has cut them off. They're stuck. They die together as shit collapses all around and on top of them. That sound you hear is the mother of all Wet Farts rumbling its way through a mummer's intestinal tract. NOW, if the result of this is nobody finds the bodies and Dany concludes they escaped, AND she resolves to hunt them and their baby in a mirror of King Robert's hateboner for her and Viserys back when we started, I can dig this. If Dany does the math and decides this is Tyrion's final straw and she has him killed, or even just tries to have him killed, that'd be cool. The show needs to go all in on selling the Dany heel turn and anything that can be used to sell it should be. But, on it's own, there's just something underwhelming about this, and maybe that's the point but man it just seems that so much of what they did with Jaime ended up not mattering and it really sucks that such an effective acting performance got squandered on what became such an inconsistently written character. And I don't mean inconsistent so much in terms of behavior but, like, inconsistent in the sense of they changed their mind on their vision for the character constantly, and it got dragged along for a bumpy ride on Plot Beat Road as a result. If book Jaime matters as much to you as book Arya does to me I bet you're PISSED right about now. And you should be. And boy does Brienne look like a chump now too. Knighting was the perfect denouemont. 'Shipping them was a mistake. One of them should've died against the White Walkers and this all would've been better (and then the Walkers would've had an actual effect too, wouldn't THAT be nice?). -1 But, really, this whole episode is about Dany, and hoping you the audience buy into the sudden heel turn. All the eggs are going in this basket. And unfortunately, the basket was placed half-hanging over the edge of a really large table and all this weight caused it to fall over and now we've got a bunch of cracked eggs and cleaning the carpet is going to be a chore and a half. Why didn't we put the basket in the middle of this big ass table? We had the room! There's lots of reasons to rationalize Dany going over the deep end. There is, theoretically, a lot of hints even going back to watching her brother die and not giving a fuck that Dany has had this in her all along. But, here's the problem. Everything from Viserys to Mirri Maz Dur to Pyat Pree to Xaro Ducksauce & Doreah to Kraznys to The Slavers Of Astapor to the Second Sons not named Daario to crucifying the slavers of Yunkai and Mereen to feeding that one dude to her dragons to melting The Tarlys was always framed as "WOO HOO BADASS!", contrary to the spirit of the books w.r.t. "righteous" vengeance. Also, they all Had It Coming. Even Varys at the start of the episode. They all crossed her first. The framing of the show has always presented this stuff as COOL. We've been expected to cheer Dany for roasting people even as Stannis' burning people was [rightly] cast as Pretty Fucked Up, man. But now we're expected to think The Tarlys and Varys were A Bridge Too Far and now we're supposed to boo her, even though Arya fucking up the Freys and doing morbid shit like baking Lothar and Black Walder into a pie is still presented as COOL. So, no, it hasn't really been hinted at since Season 1 because the hints weren't framed as such. Maybe if she'd killed Varys earlier on. Maybe if Dickon hadn't volunteered but Dany roasted him anyway. Maybe if Barristan had lasted longer and been able to give more WTF looks at some of this shit. Maybe if she'd never forgiven Jorah, channeled some Stannis, and gone like "yes you did all this great emotional journey to come back to me and you are doubtlessly 100% loyal to me now, and I appreciate it, but you did double cross me once and that must never be forgotten. DIE." Like, just imagine if Jorah had survived the white walker battle only to get executed in a fit of paranoia NOW when everyone else is turning on her and she decides "well he did it once, best not give him a chance to do it again, the Mormonts have always loved the Starks". Maybe if she'd tried to "accidentally" kill Jon during the White Walker battle. Maybe, even, if she'd gone straight for the Red Keep and nuked Cersei along with it, and that had set off the wildfire caches and made the first wave of civilian casualties accidental. And have her initially disgusted but frantically shifting blame and denying culpability (and responding to that criticism by doubling down, lashing out, and killing more.) Instead, it was framed like Dany flips out when she hears bells, specifically, and she started actively targeting civilians (when even Dany at her most furious has _never_ done before) and consciously avoiding The Red Keep [so that Cersei has time to run away]. This deserved to be set up better, and to have a slower, better paved road taken to it. Clarke is actually a lot of fun as Crazy Dany and it's just too bad we didn't get more of a chance to savor the descent. Maybe one great expository speech next week from Dany will pull us out of this nosedive. But it's gonna take a lot. Waiting until the penultimate episode to rush the turn is really hurting what could've been one of the most memorable TV moments ever. I want to love the Dany heel turn. I want to revel in the horror of it, see it coming a couple episodes away. It should be the last top level gut punch, like Ned's beheading or The Red Wedding. Reaction videos should be people screaming and crying and calling GRRM a sadist. Instead it's more "oh well they finally did it" and the reaction videos are "WTF". Like Stannis suddenly being in an eager hurry to burn Shireen because that was his next plot point, Dany going trigger happy on civilian targets without a sufficient explanation because She Needs To Be A Badguy Before The Last Episode is a really jarring shift and the foundation work wasn't adequately done, and it doesn't feel earned. And it's worse here because at least Stannis' extremes were always framed by the show as "hey this is actually a pretty bad dude" but with Dany the show has repeatedly framed her as a sympathetic hardass but NOW says "yeah all that stuff we told you to cheer? You should've been booing actually." And it underscores just how rushed and contrived the plot has been in the last couple seasons. Big -3 for not sticking the landing. FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 10 Stop me if you've heard this one before, but it looked and sounded gorgeous but made little sense if you forgot to turn your brain off before viewing. There were good nuggets here and there but the continued frustration of this show being so close to still being good yet deliberately not taking that last step, not paying that bit more attention to detail, just rushing through the plot points and not caring to stop do the homework that makes them cogent and emotionally gratifying. There's a dozen little things that could've been done in this episode, or even in the last couple, or even a couple years go, and the big punch would've landed. But they weren't and they didn't. And that's way more frustrating than if the show were just straight trash from top to bottom. I mean, even these goofy reviews of mine are actually starting to feel like work [and I'm cutting the corner of a second viewing] What does that tell you? NEXT WEEK: It's finally over.
  4. Strickland being Cosplay Jaime was a tremendous little touch. Euron's blood eye logo on the scorpions [which I didn't notice first time around] too.
  5. Man. I really thought Captain Harry Strickland was gonna make it.
  6. MODIFIED MCSHANE SCORING SYSTEM PRESENTS GAME OF THRONES, SEASON 8 EPISODE 4, "Last of the Starks" aka "Who left the fucking Starbucks cup on Dany's table?" Were there tits? ALMOST but not quite. Were there Dragons? Yes, although it appears we'll have to change this category to "was there a dragon" going forward. Starting Baseline: 5 out of 10 The funeral was some good shit. Dany crying and whispering to Jorah's corpse one last time. SANSA CRYING AND PINNING A DIREWOLF PIN ON THEON look if you didn't get at least a trickle of tear over that then you need to sense a raven to your therapist. Similar shots of Sam at Edd, Arya at Beric, and Jon at little lady Mormont. Jon gives a solid and dare I say kingly sounding modification of The Night's Watch eulogy. Then they torch everyone which I'm not sure is absolutely imperative now that the Walkers are gone for good (and Theon in particular should've gotten buried at sea?) but whatever, it looks cool and it is too many people to bury and there's the whole contaminated ground thing not that toxic air is that much better and the dead do deserve a bit more respect than to be dragon chow I GUESS. Anyway, +1.5 for Jon sounding like a king and Sansa making Theon an honorary Stark. [6.5] Now it's fuckin PARTY TIME! Leave no character interaction box unticked. Gendry, with a little needling from Sandor, goes off to find Arya but walks into a lordship instead as Dany catches him, cuts him off, declares him legitimate and makes him Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm's End. Saw it coming because it makes all the sense in the world. Would've been a good time to throw out a few more titles, actually: Tyrion being anointed Lord Lannister of Casterly Rock + Lord Paramount of the West with Ser Jaime as Warden would've been a nice move. Officially giving Sam the Tarly holdings (which now would also presumably include L.P. of the reach and Warden of The South) would make sense too, as Dany continues to shore up every section of the kingdom outside the actual capital [it would also be interesting to watch her conspicuously leave Sam out because he's Jon's Guy, more on that later] Tyrion talks to Davos about being unhappy because there's still more shit to deal with after all this. Tyrion tries to talk to Bran but Bran's more interested in being weird, as usual. Tormund affirms both his crushes, talking about what a maniac and cool guy Jon Snow is for coming back from the dead all other assorted awesome shit. GREAT shot of Dany getting insecure and jelly because everybody LOVES Jon and nobody at the party is really talking to her. Too bad there's a fucking Starbucks cup on screen. No, seriously. Fuck, man. Tormund makes another bid at his other crush, Brienne, who we are seeing DRUNK and SMILING for basically the first time ever and it's fantastic (because Gwen Christie is in serious running for Best Actor On The Show especially now that Iain Glen and Alfie Allen have finished up. More on this later) because she's playing a drinking game with Pod and The Brothers Lannister. Brienne eventually excuses herself to take a piss on the Blackfish Memorial Tree. Jaime follows. Tormund is adorably heartbroken for a few seconds before consoling himself with an implied whore because after all this IS still Game Of Thrones on HBO. She's no Ros. Neither is her teammate who Sandor roughly gives the brushoff too. We get a Sandor/Sansa moment that FORTUNATELY does not end in 'shipping but they do have a nice chat. Sansa is at last in proper Shake Hands & Kiss Babies mode. UNFORTUNATELY her clunker of an end line, "everything I've been through has made me who I am" is in context a little too close to ITS GOOD THAT RAMSAY RAPED ME BECAUSE IT MADE ME STRONGER and any time I have to be reminded of perhaps the worst Adaptation Change in the history of the show specifically, or Poochie in general, I'm going to be a tad cranky. I'm keeping an eye out to see if Alys Karstark actually survived or not but all I see is that damn Starbucks cup. Dany quietly ducking out due to Harshed Vibe and Varys reading the room and following was a fun touch. Back on the 'shipping front, Gendry, freshly minted as a lord, proposes to Arya complete with anachronistic kneeling. Arya rebuffs him as she is No Lady [and she's still got A LIST to work through]. Gendry, who admits to not knowing anything about being a lord, is appropriately sad. Lesson #1 In Lordship, Gendry: marrying for love ain't a thing that happens. Poor guy. I'd hope Ser Davos takes it upon himself to help Gendry out. Still on the shipping front, Brienne and Jaime. I don't HATE this and it's well done for what it is but I don't think it's even necessary for them to hook up, kinda pales in comparison to the emotion of him knighting her a couple episodes back. But it's good for what it was. That was some party, wasn't it? +1 for Gendry getting legitimized and Storm's End. +1 for Sansa/Sandor interaction that does not end in 'shipping. -1 for that interaction calling up the Ramsay shit and feeling a bit like another defense of the dumbest thing the show's ever done. a big MINUS THREE (-3) for the fucking Starbucks cup: -1 for missing it when filming, -1 for missing it again in editing/post production, and -1 for viral product placement advertising for a corporation that doesn't need the damn advertising. Seriously fuck this bullshit. Dolorous Edd did not die and briefly come back as a wight (Cadaverous Deadd?) in defense of the realms of men to let shit like this threaten it. God. Damn It. +1 for great acting from Gwen Christie. +.5 for Arya kinda letting Gendry down easy. +1 for Dany being jealous of Jon's charisma and being followed out of love & admiration. -.5 for I still can't tell if Karstark is dead or not. [6.5] Jon and Dany try a little 'shipping of their own but Jon's not into banging his aunt and, really, who can fault a guy for that. Dany, who now seems to believe Jon's lineage claim [why?] wants him to swear to secrecy, even from his family, because that's the only way for it not to become an issue. Jon swears he doesn't want the crown. Dany astutely points out that it's going to be a headache whether he wants it or not, because other people are going to want him to want it. She hints at marriage as a solution as she leaves. -.5 for Dany suddenly believing Jon's claim now when she was skeptical about it before. +1 for Dany's [justified] paranoia about Jon's lineage coming to bear. Jon has repeatedly chosen to give up his crown for his realm. Cersei has repeatedly chosen her crown at the expense of her realm (and basically doesn't have the latter anymore). Jon's true lineage causes Dany to face that dilemma. Just wish the show had more time to watch her struggle with that dilemma more slowly and believably (and in a better written fashion), unfortunately I'm remembering the rushed hatchet job that was Stannis' path to burning Shireen for all the wrong reasons. [7] Strategy session is pretty straightforward, Alys Karstark was in the previous episodes and it doesn't look like she's there now so I'm back to thinking she Died Off Camera but it's hard to tell because the camera is naturally focused on the characters who matter more. We tick the "Sansa and Dany disagree" box and the "Jon tries to smooth it over and appease Dany" box and as far as military plans go its decent enough, if you accept the hastily adopted premise that Dany needs the throne specifically and that she cannot abide Cersei being on the chair and thus "being able to call herself king of the seven kingdoms" when Dany's advisors should be pointing out to her that it's actually the other way around; Cersei has the throne but almost nothing else, ergo Dany has effectively already won. It's announced that Yara has retaken the Iron Islands off camera and a generic "New Prince Of Dorne" has pledged fealty as well. Dany's got the whole ball of wax outside the capital. Or at least she will once she names Tyrion Lord Paramount Lannister Warden Of The West from Casterly Rock and makes Sam likewise in the South/Reach from Horn Hill. Or, again, have her hesitate to give Sam that because Sam is Jon's Guy and she doesn't quite trust Sam. That'd do a good job of driving the wedge between Dany & Jon and selling Dany's paranoia if they really are going the Mad Queen Reborn route with her like it looks like they are doing. But smart tactics in this case don't make for good TV so strap yourself in for some Dumb For The Sake Of Plot as Dany decides to have Jon march on KL while Dany sails from White Harbor to Dragonstone to blockade the capital, expecting to handle Euron's fleet. Why is Dany in such a hurry? Does she only have 4 seconds left on the shot clock or something? Oh, yeah, there's just 2 episodes. Eh. It'd be nice if they did a better job of selling the idea that Dany's need to take the capital immediately is rash, that she is queen of 6.75 of the 7 kingdoms and could get that last .25 in due time by starving Cersei out and having all the taxes and levies from everything else coming to her instead of Cersei, and at least wait until Cersei can't afford to pay the Golden Company anymore. But no, everyone thinks the plan is fine. Oh well. -1 for a missed opportunity to do what I think they're trying to do with Dany more artfully and instead just letting the bolts and nuts of the plot rail shine through. -1 for Continued Alys Karstark Ambiguity. +1 for continuing to play with the Warhammer miniatures. +1 for the battle plan being competent. -1 for the battle plan being an unnecessary rush. +.5 for Sansa trying to stem the tide of video game battle logic by pointing out the Northern Army could use a little time to recoup from the whole surviving Ragnarok thing. [6.5] "We need to talk" Sansa says at the end of the above scene, and the surviving Stark kids have a pow wow in which Arya is actually the voice of reason rather than Sansa, acknowledging that Jon did what he had to do to get Dany here to beat the WW, but that doesn't mean you have to keep blindly trusting her now. Jon makes the sisters pinky swear to keep a secret, which Sansa balks at initially but she's finally on board, then we cut away as Jon tells Bran to tell them. HAHA. The actors have good chemistry with each other but that's the only good thing about the Bronn scene. How did an enemy knight sneak through a castle full of people with a loaded crossbow? Why are crossbow bolts reloading as fast as bullets in a clip? Why is Bronn faffing about with warning shots? Why does he believe Cersei will give him Riverrun? Does this mean Edmure Tully is canonically alive or not? Why does he believe Tyrion will give him Highgarden? Why did this scene even happen when it didn't advance anything? We already knew Tyrion would make a counter-offer if Bronn was ever paid to kill him. -1 point for wasting everyone's time. [5.5] Sansa immediately reveals she had her fingers crossed behind her back when pinky swearing to Jon and drops a "what if there were another option?" on Tyrion, to let him do with as he will. I actually really like this. From Sansa's perspective, Jon is walking south into a deathtrap like Ned, and he doesn't see it coming because he's dick-blind like Robb. And like any good Tully daughter knows [not that this is mentioned], it's Family Duty Honor. In that order. Family, then Duty, then Honor. So it's Sansa's job to do what she can to keep Jon alive despite himself, and in this case it's trying to erode Dany's coalition of brain trust. Either Tyrion gets on board with helping Jon or just giving him something else to think about will lead to erosion of trust between Dany and Tyrion and Dany will take it out on Tyrion instead of Jon. Jon helped, and one less ex-husband for Sansa to have to worry about. Littlefinger would be proud if he wasn't so busy being dead. +1 [6.5] Tyrion immediately tells Varys. Sansa's plan is working and Dany's dire prediction that Jon's lineage wouldn't stay secret for long is accurate. Varys reminds us He Serves The Realm and seems all in on switching horses to Jon. Tyrion has reservations. Gotta figure he officially flips and dies for it next week now. +1 [7.5] Sandor rides away. Arya joins him. They both have unfinished business in the capital. There's a fine line between being a badass and simply being an ass and who ever is in charge of writing lines for Arya lost sight of that line a long time ago. But they're off to King's Landing for Unfinished Business and, pointedly, neither expects to come back. Hmmm. Tormund says he will take the Free Folk back north as soon as the land thaws back out and invites Jon to come back up to The Real North with him to be bros forever. Adorable. Jon of course refuses because he's got business. JON TELLS TORMUND TO TAKE GHOST WITH HIM WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK. Ghost, looking all the world like they forgot to include him until post production, is clumsily and lazily written out with some mealy mouthed bullshit excuse. Remember how The Stark boys separating from or ignoring their direwolves used to be a big fucking deal and a huge warning sign that shit was about to go wrong? What could be a great way to hint at Jon walking into PERIL goes down as a massive wasted opportunity because D&D hate the direwolves and have given them depressingly short shrift for the entire series. Instead of "oh shit Jon's separating from Ghost this is bad" it's "filming the Direwolves is TOO HARD waaah waaah waaah so we're just getting rid of them." Jon doesn't even pet Ghost goodbye what is this horseshit. Jon Snow further cements his claim to the Dickhead Crown by hugging Gilly goodbye and telling her he hopes she has a girl in reaction to her telling him she wants to name the baby Jon if it's a boy. Dude, come on. At least the brohug and teary goodbye between Jon and Sam is nice. Presumably Sam is off to Horn Hill to become Lord Tarly but who knows, really. WE'RE SLASHING THE CAST. EVERYONE MUST GO. You get a write out and you get a write out and you get a write out. A big -2 for doing the direwolves dirty one last time. +.5 for the good teary goodbyes from Tormund and Sam. [6] Dany chillin in the air with her dwaggins as her fleet sails to Dragonstone when suddenly Klingon Greyjoy de-powers his Cloaking Device and just like that Rhaegal is shot out of the sky. The "scorpions" hit like cannons for some reason as the flagship carrying our named characters is blasted to bits and we get a fun shot of a mast (not of the fat pink variety) dropping down on Tyrion. Cut to a beach where our named characters wash ashore. Varys is secretly a Merman so of course he's fine. Tyrion and Grey Worm survive as well, but Missandei is nowhere to be seen. +1 for catching me off guard with Rhaegal's quick demise. [7] So Missandei is of course captured and Team Dany shows up for a parlay on the premise that Dany wants the PR of giving Cersei one last chance to surrender/avoid bloodshed so it's not Dany's fault when she has Drogon burninate the peasants hiding inside the walls of King's Landing. In fairness, I don't think any of them, certainly not Dany, expected negotiating with Cersei to actually work. They do trust Cersei to observe the rules of parlay, however, and that's a bit of a stretch, especially given the recurring theme in Game Of Thrones/ASOIAF about how the old system of honor and chivalry is breaking. But as D&D have repeatedly told us themes are for children and the Red Wedding was just about filming as much blood and guts as possible, nothing more. So the parlay starts. Never mind CleganeBowl, give me HAND-OFF! Tyrion and Qyburn exchange terms and talk about the screams of dying children ["it's not a pleasant sound" LOL Qyburn is fantastic as the face of Banal Evil] and it goes about as well as you'd expect, i.e. not at all. Tyrion walks past Qyburn and appeals to Cersei and her maternal instincts directly. But Cersei, and this show, have choosen violence. Cersei gives Missandei a chance for last words, Missandei says "DRACARYS" and the only black woman on the show promptly gets stuffed in the fridge courtesy of Frankengregor's big ass claymore. Whatever, I'm sure it'll make Grey Worm stronger and it'll all be worth it. Dany is MAD. I'm sure next week she'll "go overboard" but the problem is if they're trying to sell Dany going off the rails it doesn't work that well when the people she's going off the rails against Pretty Much Have It Coming. When people pull your punk card you have to check them. Besides, remember when Arya poisoned every male Frey and it was framed as KICKIN' RAD instead of Arya going overboard? Anyway, +.5 for HAND-OFF~! -1 for Cersei, the woman who blew up The Vactican to wipe out her rivals and most of her family in one swoop, suddenly caring about the rules of engagement, and another -1 for the unimaginative route to fridging Missandei. [5.5] Jaime bails on Brienne. Brienne is distraught. I'm mostly okay with this scene, though it suggests they had Jaime and Brienne bang just to make this more "sad" and I think this could've worked anyway without that. Might even have been stronger to have Jaime remain a near miss for Brienne and THEN bail, taking her one chance at action with him. Anyway, I think it's pretty clear Jaime is off to kill Cersei, doesn't expect to come back from the mission, and doesn't want Brienne to follow him into death nor does he want her to miss him when he's gone. So he's being a dick to chase her away. Like Arya throwing rocks at Nymeria way back when. But this seems to have been less clear to the audience at large? Lotta folks think Jaime is falling off the wagon and going back to her? I guess it's an effective enough cliffhanger then. I still think Jaime and Brienne banging is almost a step down after Jaime knighted her and this scene could've worked without it but this is by far the best bit of the last half of the episode. +.5 FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10 First half of the episode was much more enjoyable than the second. Props and costumes department are still bringing their A-game, music is fantastic, and there's good acting to be found, but the plot writing is leaving money on the table left and right and the dialogue is, to paraphrase the late Melisandre, The Script Is Dumb and Full Of Clunkers. The end is in sight and the producers seem content to limp to the finish line so they can move on to some dumb show about What If The South Won The Civil War or whatever the fuck garbage they've got in the can. Strong start, underwhelming finish, much like the entire run of the show itself. I keep ending up saying what I've said about a dozen times before, because nothing's changed much lately. We all know what the show was and what it is now, and what it could have been. And whether the little nuggets of gold it still manages to drop are enough to keep you around is pretty much up to you. But seriously, the fucking Starbucks cup. God.
  7. Tyrion will get Casterly Rock as a gratifying final Fuck You to Tywin. Gendry is highly likely to get legitimized as a Baratheon eliminating The Wall, the Night's Watch, House Tyrell, and Randyll & Dickon Tarly clears Sam's path to be Lord Tarly of Horn Hill and Warden Of The South
  8. Yeah, that was Sansa's line. Faint praise for Tyrion, given the character of Joffrey, Ramsay, and even Robin Arryn, but praise nonetheless.
  9. I'm still not over how Cersei was validated for continuing to play the game of thrones and disregarding the existential threat in the hopes that it would never get to her/only wreck her rivals' shit. Underwhelming that the Walkers ended up only ever being the "Northern Problem" the south always wrote them and all Wall drama as.
  10. MODIFIED MCSHANE SCORING SYSTEM PRESENTS: GAME OF THRONES S8 E3 (episode 70) No Tits, Just Dragons, base line of 5. no "previously on" segment before the episode, and I like this because that usually functions as the cliff notes of foreshadowing and I like the idea of nope we're not giving you clues this time, just guess. Tonight's episode will be broadcast in SPOOOOOOOOOOKYVISION which means its too dark to see what's actually going on and who's dead or not. I respect the whole wanting to have fog of war and terrifying confusion and all but it's a television show, let us watch the television show. Minus 2 points [3/10] I've said before and I'll say again that I dig it when this show shuts the fuck up and lets its cinematography breathe. Again we start with an extended stretch of no [coherent] dialogue as last minute preparations are underway and we follow Sam's path through them. Varys and Tyrion heading towards the crypt, Theon marching off at Bran's side and I think the lineless Alys Karstark is with them for reasons unknown but it could just be an extra [not that Alys isn't one herself at this point] portraying a female Ironborn warrior, contradiction of lore though that is. Either way it's hard to tell in the gloom. +1 point for focusing on the show's strength and hiding its weakness (the dialogue lol). [4/10] Melisandre shows up at the last minute to cast a couple AOE cleric buffs on the party, then promises both Ser Davos and the audience that she will die before morning. SPOILERS, Mel, geeeez. Glad she's here. +1 [5/10] Dothraki death charge was a wonderful visual as the lights of their flaming arakhs gradually, silently, went out. Possibly the best visual of the episode. It's ALMOST enough to make me forgive and forget the terminal case of Dumb For The Sake Of Plot that went into this happening. Especially considering Mel showed up at the last second so the plan was to do this without even flaming arakhs. Having the first sortee be a catastrophic failure is fine (and like I said the visual was great and the "oh shit" of Jorah coming back from it alone was wonderful too). But what even was success supposed to look like with this? Did Jon and Dany think they had this in the bag, feel bad for The Night King, and want to spot him a couple touchdowns to start the game? Also, the timing of the trebuchet volley basically amounted to shelling their own men, and not even the most tactically bereft WWI generals were that cavalier about killing their own men (they considered it much more gentlemanly to let the enemy do it). There had to have been a smarter and more character-consistent way to get this disastrous start achieved and create this feeling of peril. Battle of the Bastards had a dumb early cavalry charge too but at least there they admitted it was dumb but did it anyway for plausible emotional reasons. Also way to summon Ghost back to his home planet in the middle of this charge. +1 for the visual of the lights dying, -1.5 for basically giving the NK their cavalry in a way that makes our heroes look like idiots. [4.5/10] The crush of the wights hitting the unsullied spear wall really felt like a crushing wave. That was good shit. Soon after, we have our first confirmed Named Character Death, and the dubious honor goes to Dolorous Edd, shortly after he saves Sam's ass one more time. In the grand scheme of things, Dolorous Edd died unflatteringly early and got rather ignominiously chumped from behind. I think Dolorous Edd would appreciate and even predict going out this way. His last words are "fuck's sake, Sam" which is a fitting epithet for show Edd if not necessarily Book Edd. I'm glad they gave me a clear opportunity to say goodbye last week. +1 point for the infantry crush visual and for giving Edd a good death. [5.5/10] NIGHT'S KING WITH A MAGIC STEALTH BLIZZARD LOL. Killing the visibility would've been more effective if visibility wasn't dead from the start due to SPOOOOOOOOOOOKYVISION but at this point I'm digging the flow of living and dead trading punches. Dothraki cav gets chumped, Dragonrider strafing torches the wight infantry, magic snowstorm kills the visibility and nobody can see Davos' signal to light the trench as the Unsullied retreat. LOVE seeing fire arrows get snuffed out by the cold wind as early attempts to light the trenches fail. Melisandre comes up clutch once again, lighting the trench by hand and by chanting mojo. Boy, how bad does the initial battle plan suck considering it didn't have her in it? She is saving some serious bacon out there. +1 for Mel being all over the place trying to repay the karmic debt for burning Shireen. [6.5/10] Setting Sansa up to be the Anti-Cersei in a replay of Maegor's Holdfast in the Crypts of Winterfell is lovely. Unfortunately the dialogue is up to snuff. Missandei, technically you're right but you're not helping right now. Varys says "at least we're already in a crypt" and Connleth Hill drags that line into acceptably amusing territory by sheer force of actor's will. Doesn't quite stick the landing but I appreciate Sansa and Tyrion having a moment. Didn't expect Little Lady Mormont to get smacked around and especially not to get killed. This is the only death from outside my "probably gonna die" list. I thought they did an acceptable job of establishing that she was making the choice to die because taking out the particularly dangerous Wight Giant was worth it. I suspect this bit was homage to some Lord Of The Rings bit I'm not familiar with, and I appreciate that they made it work even for someone like me who lacks that reference point. +1 [7.5/10] Collapsing the trench as the Unsullied covered everyone else's escape really should've been the moment of Grey Worm's death. I guess White Savior Dany getting all her brown people killed off wastefully was too much of a bad look even for the production team about to bring us the atrocious "Confederate" TV show? This episode is supposed to be a heavy die-off. And you marked this dude for death with the Naath retirement plan. Don't wimp out on me, guys. -1 [6.5/10] Speaking of which, how many times die Jaime Brienne and Pod get near crushed to death only without the dying bit? Pod's expendable and Brienne's knighthood completes her arc with the validation she always deserved. Wouldn't have been a dry eye in the viewership if you'd taken at least one of them out. Or at least don't devalue the fakeout by putting them in it so much? -1 [5.5/10] The Wights stopping at the trench until the Walkers start strategically sacrificing them to snuff out a breach was a nice tactical touch. I also appreciate the Lieutenant White Walkers were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN until they breached the gate, had overcome the walls, and looked like they could plausibly believe they had it in the bag. That's some tactical competence! Though I wish one or two had actually been in position to get got, it would've been a good pendulum swing of false hope before things really started going bad. Also, one other reason that I'm saving for the end. +.5 [6/10] Pretty sure Sandor was kinda over his firephobia as of his flame gazing at the start of Season 7? And they beat the drum a little too hard on Beric yelling at him to come on, over and over and OVER. But I do appreciate that it was Arya's peril that got him over the hump. So I'm only taking a quarter point off. -.25 [5.75/10] Arya stars in a commercial for the upcoming Game Of Thrones video game that hasn't been made yet as she gets her Solid Snake on in a Stealth Level in the Winterfell archives. Anyway she grabs one of Maester Luwin's favorite tomes and throws it, and all the wights spawn exclamation points over their heads and chase the noise, and Arya runs away. Too long and maybe I'm too jaded but I didn't ever think Arya was really in danger here. -.5 [5.25/10] Dwaggin Joust! Jon unhorses The Night's King! Okay that was pretty cool. Would've been nice if we could tell which dragons are which. Thanks SPOOOOOOOKYVISION. +.25 for the battle, it was nice, wish I could've seen it better and would give it more points if I could. [5.5/10] Beric sacrifices himself to cover Arya and The Hound's escape from a pack of wights. To put things absolutely on the nose in case you're too dumb for symbolism, the guy whose whole gimmick is that he's died and been resurrected literally strikes the Jesus Christ Pose to block as much hallway as he can. Later on Arya and The Hound barricade themselves in a room and... ...um, somehow Beric gets away from the wights he's dying to block and catches up with the people whose escape he's covering? So he can have one last look at Arya and die in the room with them? So Mel (oh yeah she's already in the room because why the fuck not) can pontificate on Beric having served his purpose in The Lord Of Light's plan? Okay look. You can do the heroic sacrifice to cover an escape. You can do the "I almost made it oops no I didn't" bleedout after everyone's escaped. Both are valid, both are good, both were even done well here. Except for one problem. YOU CAN'T HAVE THE SAME CHARACTER DO BOTH IN THE SAME SCENE. Shit, man. PICK ONE. There's plenty of other people who can get killed off and pick up either one of these mantles. You can still have Arya cry over Beric dying for her sake and have Mel give her the destiny pep talk without him physically being there. This way either his sacrifice was pointless because they didn't get that far away (he caught up with them) or the wight pack in question was beatable and didn't require a sacrifice to escape. Dumb, dumb, dumb. -2 points. [3.5/10] The Totally Safe Crypts turn out not to be safe. But its a matter of the invading wights breaching it instead of anything amusingly dumb like Headless Ned, Wolfhead Robb, or even Zombie Rickon. Sansa having to actually use that knife Arya gave her would've been a nice moment. Also nobody even died here that I saw. Not even Soup Girl. Though Gilly got the obligatory spot of clawing at the ground as she's dragged away on her belly, screaming. But even she didn't die? I think? Maybe I should re-watch before I do these things. Or I can just blame SPOOOOOOKYVISION instead. Missandei or Varys (or both) could have gotten got here, honestly. Missed opportunity. Dracarys! On The Night King. BUT IT DOESN'T WORK, failing as foreshadowed, and he smirks up at Dany before chasing her off with a death javelin aimed at Drogon. I love this guy. The wrinkle that the White Walkers are not emotionless alien robots but actually cocky motherfuckers who like to psyche the enemy out and taunt and toy with people before killing them is a wonderful wrinkle, both because it reminds us that they used to be human men, and also it's a good lampshade for the old problem of villains not finishing off the heroes when they have the chance. Being cocky all along is way better than only being cocky in response to plot demands, and I'm glad they put the effort into having the White Walkers, particularly the Night King, demonstrate this flaw. +1.5 [5/10] Sansa ALMOST makes the tough decision to gank herself and/or Tyrion to spare themselves agony when it looks hopeless. That would've taken some HUGE stones on the producers' part and I'd have applauded them until the end of time had they dared to do it, even as much as I would ultimately prefer they both stick around (and Tyrion still kinda needs to due to the Bronn thing and the Cersei thing). How "bittersweet ending" would THAT be, especially if the day got saved right after? But they don't. Cheers for getting me to think it for a couple seconds, though. +1 [6/10] I lost track of Gendry and Tormund and I don't think I even saw Lord Royce at all? They could all be dead or all be alive or somewhere in between. Thanks, SPOOOOOOKYVISION Jon rushes the Night King after Dragonfire fails. But he's not nearly in time to stop the Night King from doing his slow dramatic The Undertaker arm raise and, yeah, you knew it was coming. Finally we get it. Cut to a Dothraki with blue eyes. Cut to Edd getting blue eyes. Cut to an Unsullied that looks like Grey Worm [it's not but in the dark its hard to tell] getting blue eyes. Cut to Little Lady Mormont getting blue eyes. They held off on busting this nut for a long, long time. I applaud the patience. +1 [7/10] What I do not applaud is the new wave of wights instantly surrounding Jon and suddenly following Bruce Lee movie rules and coming at him one at a time to fight his way out of it. Also there's one of many cuts to Bran & Theon by the weirwood as Theon's crew start pumping the new wave with fire arrows and when we cut back to Jon he is considerably less surrounded than he was, i.e. nobody's behind him any more. Come. On. Now, of course Dany saves him with a strafe of dragonfire and that's FINE but the stall on doing it to let Jon get some Kickin' Rad sword kills in and having the wights suddenly deviate from their rush n' crush pattern (as seen with the Unsullied spear wall early and seen in several hallways of Winterfell at Jaime Brienne and Pod's collective expense) exposes the nuts and bolts of plot armor. Have Dany burn him an escape path and even drag him onto Drogon's back, fine, but do it right away before the wights have a chance to crush him. OR, kill Jon off. I'd prefer not the latter but Dumb For The Sake Of Plot is annoying when the badguys do it, too. -1 [6/10] Drogon lands and gets swarmed. Dany gets un"horsed" and somehow Jorah Mormont is back outside, making a heroic last stand with Heartsbane in a "doomed" effort to keep Khaleesi alive. Daenerys is suddenly and spontaneously competent with a blade in her own right as they sorta fight back to back but mostly fight with Jorah as her (willing) human shield. Dany wielding a sword for the first time in the series is some left field shit but whatever, I wouldn't buy her just cowering and giving up, either. I'm much more contentious over how Jorah got back outside into his Appropriate Dying Position right on schedule. Woof. -1 [5/10] One last cut to the Weirwood and, aw, damn. Theon standing alone beside Bran as the Night King and The Walkers approach. Welp, guess he's not making it after all. Minus Eleventy Jillion points. Just kidding. Theon apologies for not getting Bran out of this. Aww. Bran confirms that destiny is destiny and Theon makes a doomed charge with The Spear Not Of Destiny and of course completely fails to gank the Night King, and gets ganked himself. At least he got to go out against The King, and there's something suitably viking and thus Ironborn about him literally fighting to the last [in his section of the battle, anyway]. being unafraid to die in combat, and at least taking a 1 in a million shot at getting the lucky blow on the Night's King. Theon better get his damn bronze statue on the shores of Pyke. He gets to bleed out and have a death rattle before NK closes on Bran. +1 point for killing off Theon in a way that didn't irritate my inner fanboy, that's not always so easily done. [6/10] Anyway, unless you've completely avoided the internet for the last couple days (and if you're reading this, obviously you haven't), then you know what happens next. Arya comes out of nowhere with a NINJA JUMP and tries to gank the Night King, who catches her by the throat, and she drops the Valyrian Steel Dagger that's been known as Chekov since Season 1 Episode 2 but catches it with her other hand, shanks the Night King with it, and it's SNOW CONES FOR EVERYBODY! Quick cuts to the zombie hordes dropping here and there and everywhere in sheets. Viserion crumbles particularly nicely half way through rearing back to bite Jon. Jorah, having just barely technically made it through the battle, succumbs to his wounds, and Dany bawls like a baby over him, leaving me wishing once again Clarke actually got more chances to emote with this role. +1 for letting Clarke show something being stoic leader robot, and for giving Jorah the ideal death (even though he kinda hopped in the Littlefinger memorial Teleporter to get there) [7/10] Davos watches Melisandre ride off into the sunset except she has no horse and it's actually a sunrise, and instead of disappearing beyond the horizon we watch her cast off her ruby choker, revert to her true impossibly old crone form, and collapse before withering to dust. Davos says nothing. As much as he hated her for burning Shireen I want to think he respected that she showed up to contribute to the greater good and hey, she kept her word and died before morning. I doubt he'll point out how much she did to upgrade their battle plan from Shit to Not Very Good, but I'm hoping he channels some Stannis and says a few words about the good she did along with the bad next week, as everyone's (hopefully) eulogizing the heroic dead. +1 for giving Mel a good enough sendoff for me to overlook the convenience of her last second showing up to die on time. [8/10] Okay but seriously the SPOOOOOKYVISION was a huge damper on this episode and while I still don't have a good feel for who exactly survived and who didn't it's definitely clear that for as epic and grim and final as this was billed and as "hopeless" as it was supposed to be this episode really pulled a lot of punches and chickened out on the meatgrinder front. Nobody who would've left a huge void died, everyone who did die was either expendable or had finished up their character arc cleanly. And even among the expendable casualties were surprisingly light. Almost disappointingly so. And Ghost needs a better agent. Seriously. Appeared to die off camera when he didn't come back from the doomed cav charge but he's still hanging out in the previews for next week? Did Ghost pee in Benioff's cornflakes or something? -2 points [6/10] Final Score: 6 out of 10 fun in parts, fulfilling on some fronts, but room for improvement and they could've done more. Also mildly disappointed not that Arya got the death blow on the Night's King (that's pretty cool actually, even if Mel's pep talk about closing eyes forever and reminding Arya of Syrio's prayer to the God Of Death telegraphed it pretty forcefully) but because they had her go for it in an action movie way that any other show or film could have done, instead of doing something that could be uniquely Game Of Thrones: namely, having her sneak up on the Night's King by wearing a White Walker face. A little contrived and lore breaking for the sake of KICKIN' RAD but look we've already jumped that chasm anyway, might as well go all out with it. But unfortunately that window closed when they had the Lieutenant Walkers do the smart thing and not show themselves at all until things appeared to be well in hand. What they did was fine enough (though if Arya'd shown a little more hustle maybe Theon wouldn't have had to die ) but I feel like they left something on the table. Even sacrificing Bran so that Arya could wear Bran's face and spring up out of the chair to shiv the Night King. How "bittersweet ending" would that be? So much more they could've done here even if what they did was ok. But my main disappointment is a narrative/thematic one: It's entirely personal feeling so I'm not going to deduct points for it but I'm gonna say it anyway. I did not expect the Army of The Dead to get neutralized this early. See, from the very beginning of the show (and the books) we are shown the White Walkers, we have them established as looming in the background, seen sparingly enough that they can be temporarily forgotten about and distracted from, but when they reemerge you're reminded of them and the threat they pose to everything. Like Jeor Mormont says, "do you really think it matters who sits on the throne when the dead are up and walking?" The White Walkers, we're told, are the real battle. The real threat to everything and everyone, and the game of thrones is a dangerous and destructive distraction that further imperils everyone. And yet, in the end, the southern half of Westeros and the royal court's cavalier dismissal of the undead threat and, indeed, every crisis ever centered on The Wall, as mere "northern problems" and things they need not take seriously and can even trust to only inconvenience their nothern political rivals, just another bit of chaos they can spin to their advantage, turned out to be basically correct. The Maesters, The Tarlys, The Boltons, Renly, The Tyrells, Tywin, Littlefinger, Cersei, Euron, everyone who ever said LOL SNARKS AND GRUMPKINS and focused on the petty rivalries of Iron Throne machinations, ended up having the right idea. Cersei's "lol fuck you I'm not helping" got validated. She has been rewarded for making the opposite decision from what Jon Snow has made (i.e. immediately giving up his crown for the greater good of his people). Jon chose the song of ice and fire. Cersei chose the game of thrones. And the show has just said "yeah she's right" and even if Dany and Jon go on to defeat and even kill in the next 3 episodes, they cannot repudiate her. She effectively allied with the Army Of The Dead and it worked out for her. It cost her nothing but Jaime's loyalty. So unless Jaime, specifically, kills her and kills her in a specific way that Jon and/or Dany could not otherwise achieve, then Cersei being petty, selfish, and short sighted was tactically and morally correct. And the White Walkers were one hell of a shaggy dog story line after all. Boy was I wrong about the theme of this whole thing. Ouch. Well, we'll see how the last 3 episodes play out, I guess.
  11. I like how Beric stayed behind to cover Arya's escape (even striking the Jesus Christ Pose to really put it On The Nose) but then caught back up with her group anyway, and before they put the barricade up, so she/Mel could watch him die. Either of these is fine but PICK ONE, otherwise they undercut each other.
  12. Yuuuuup. The southern half of the country never had to deal with the "existential threat" it ignored since the beginning of the story. Wasn't all that much of an existential threat then, was it. Their hubris was morally correct and tactically rewarded. Severely disappointing. But the parts that weren't too dark to see were pretty, at least.
  13. gonna pour one out for The Night King. [On The Rocks, natch]
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