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« "Endgame" breaks all the records. Is counterprogramming dead? | Main | A new series on auditions begins with "Audition" »
Monday
Apr292019

Game of Thrones "The Long Night" (S08E03)

 

previously

by Ben Miller

This weekend culminated with two of the most anticipated entertainment events in recent history.  While Avengers:Endgame was watched by everyone on the planet, Game of Thrones finally reached the Battle of Winterfell against the army of the dead...

The battle was so anticipated and the final payoff so worthwhile and fulfilling, that you forget how nonsensical the entire endeavor was.  The beginning scenes were almost a carryover from last week, but instead of everyone feeling that it might be the last night of their lives, the mostly wordless opening 10 minutes were the preparation and anxiety before a mighty battle.  Sam is super nervous, Tyrion wants to get involved, and such.

All the sudden, Melisandre (a consistently underutilized Carice van Houten) shows up, brings some magic with her and gives the audience a little hope in a victory.  With Dothraki swords ablaze, the charge is on. In the distance, all the flames go out and very few people on horses come back. This sets the tone for how things are going to go.

Medieval battles abound in a near-unending Braveheart-style battle.  Everything was messy, overly dark and discombobulated.  I can only assume the directors were hoping the insanity that we were watching was just as insane as what would actually be happening.  One of the best parts of the episode occurred during the initial dragon fight, Danerys and Jon taking their dragons above the clouds to understand what's happening below them. A brief moment of clarity (visual and aural), before diving back down into the chaos.

It doesn’t really matter how the battle was going, because all of our favorite characters kept slicing away at the never-ending pile of dead bodies coming at them.  If someone took a tumble and was about to be overwhelmed, another character would swoop in and save the day. Even the ones who died saved important characters or acted heroically before being killed.

Arya might have been the MVP of this episode even before the last five minutes as she recreated the velociraptor kitchen scene from Jurassic Park in the library of Winterfell.  It seems so long ago that we had Arya act as the silent assassin that you forget how good she is at it.  It was also a welcome reprieve from the relentless grunting, hissing and screaming of the warfare.

Following Theon’s “heroic” charge and just when we think the Night King is ready to kill Bran and win the day, Arya flies in and performs a Rey-in-The-Last-Jedi move to obliterate the Night King and end the army of the dead.  Despite the messiness and a lack of clarity throughout the episode, Arya’s heroics nearly make up for all of it.

Big shout out to Maisie Williams for not only saving the day, but having the raw physicality to seem right in line with everyone else swinging axes and swords.  At no point do you feel she doesn't belong there in the midst of the fight.

Game of Thrones has given us memorable battles before with the Blackwater, Hardhome and The Battle of the Bastards but the Battle of Winterfell is not quite among them. In the end we lost Edd, Lyanna, Beric, Theon, Ser Jorah, the Night King, Viserion, the army of the dead, and Melisandre. Considering everyone who was teed up for impending doom from last week, it was underwhelming. Maybe the hype was too great, or maybe it’s an example of the show thinking they can do this on cruise control. Either way, I’m glad the undead madness is over so we can focus on the dynamics back in King’s Landing.

Where does everyone stand now?  Is Sansa sticking with her declaration of Northern independence? Can Jaime really join the fight against his sister?  Will Jon try to claim the throne as his own? Is Tormund ever going to be able to get with Brienne? How big will Arya’s statue be when they realize she single-handedly saved the day?  All questions will hopefully be answered in the upcoming episodes.

Three episodes to go and next week we finally return to the actual “game” of thrones.  Eric will be here to guide you along the way. 

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Reader Comments (12)

For me this totally redeemed Arya's narrative arc.

I have mixed feelings about how they disposed of the Dothraki. It was a magnificent, haunting visual—but are we really supposed to believe an army that snuffed out thousands of Dothraki in 30 seconds, could be held at bay by the survivors, apparently for hours? I wish we could have seen some of them fighting alongside the others.

I thought Melisandre was the most captivating part of the episode. The camera loves Carice. The directors love her. The story is fascinated with her character. It all showed last night, in the best way imaginable. She should be eligible for a Guest Actress Emmy and she deserves to win! Mesmerizing work.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterF

Boring episode, just grunts and screaming. Very little character and a lot of ex machina. The worst direction of this entire series. I simply can’t believe people actually liked it. I think it is a case of Stockholm syndrome, when you watch a series for so long that you cant admit that it got bad. Like really bad garbage waste of time

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBotoazul

episode was thrilling. NO ONE has ever done big budget spectacle on TV like GoT, and that was on full display last night. Craftsman, costumes, acting and score (wowza last night) was all on exhilaratingly on point.


at the same time this episode wrapped up some huge storylines (some going all the way back to Season 1) in a fairly bungled and disappointing fashion and had several incredibly silly and stupid moments. If I were a die-hard fan, I’d never forgive the writers (just ask the makers on battle-star Galactica -fuck them to hell.) But I am not and do not expect tight writing from GoT (and final seasons are notoriously hard to get right). last night’s episode was beyond thrilling and held my utter attention from start to finish.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

We went from one of the best GOT episodes ever to one of the most disappointing. It was thrilling to watch for sure but lacked the emotional depth of Hardhomme or Battle of the Bastards.

Sophie Turner continues to be the non-villain MVP of the last 2 seasons.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

hey partner, enjoyed reading! the episode is immaculate from a technical standpoint. insanely difficult episode to shoot, like off-the-charts ambitious.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEricB

I love Arya, but this was so-so for me. I realize it's unimaginable to deal with an army of the dead, but all the main characters seemed to magically survive (the camera suddenly cuts to them standing against a wall and lo and behold, they survived!). It also was shot in a really dark, grainy stock that made it hard to follow what was happening utter than total mayhem.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSRB

Better than all the Marvel movies combined.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I found it suspenseful, appropriate, and hugely entertaining.
Arya saving the day was perfect.
I can't deal with the cynical bored takes

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

It's a fantasy but yes, how on earth would Jaime survive with his left hand against hundreds of zombies? Ditto the female knight. That part made no sense. Too bad Daenrys did not get the boot.

April 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCersei

Hahaha. I literally texted my family during the episode that the library scene gave me serious Jurassic Park kitchen vibes. Where were the raptors?!

April 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGinny

Shit up author this episode was great. Bye

April 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAni

Fantastic score. Some amazing cinematography. Great payoff for Arya's storylines, which have been trying at times.
Personally I got a bit frustrated at how dark it often was, it made it hard to follow what was going on.
I need more answers re: the Night King though, I'll be really disappointed if that's it for that storyline, and a big zombie battle will feel like a waste of time.

April 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJWB

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