Contains spoilers, so do not read if you haven’t seen the episode. Half this review will cover the episode itself, and the other half will cover what I think the episode did for the series.
The Other Scenes
I’ll cover the not-beyond-the-wall scenes first. My opinion about those scenes is fairly the same as how I felt about the non-battle scenes from episode 4. Meh.
The plotline of Arya not trusting Sansa got stale as soon as it began. Arya should still have at least some love for her sister, and that love should make her understand she outright admitted in this episode: Sansa was a child and foolish when she wrote that letter. Bam! That proves Arya understands why Sansa did it, so how is this an issue? She could ask Sansa questions, such as, “So what have you been through since you wrote this letter, exactly?” And Sansa would explain, and then problem solved. My point is, this entire subplot is contrived. It’s filler. The sisters have no reason to be against each other in any way. Perhaps Arya should keep a watch on Sansa to not seize power away from Jon, but other than that, there’s no legitimate issue here. That last scene with Arya threatening Sansa was pointless, because it ends with nothing happening. What was that for? Sansa already knows that Arya is a skilled killer now. Everyone saw Arya fight Brienne a few episodes back… So pointless.
The other subplot of this episode were even more filler than Sansa vs. Arya. Yes, we know Dany can be ruthless and she only cares about winning. Whatever.
I’m no fan of filler, in case that wasn’t clear.
Beyond The Wall
I honestly thought we were going to get some kind of giant revelation this episode. In the preview, we saw the Night King walking slowly toward something. I thought perhaps the Fellowship of the North was going to be defeated, but spared, and then the Night King was going to come up and be like, “Jon, I am your father” or something. (Okay, not really, but you get my point. In all truth, I thought Jon was going to learn something huge about the White Walkers and end up joining their side, willingly.) But instead, it was just more fighting. That’s fine and all, but we’ve already had plenty of that. I thought this franchise was supposed to be more in-depth than other mainstream fantasies… I’m sure the remaining books will be. The show …, not so much anymore, apparently.
Cinematically, though, it was great. The interactions between the fellowship was a little stale, but not completely filler. Then, when the fighting started, I started getting very confused.
Jon kills a White Walker (again), and all his wights drop dead instantly, except one. Why just that one? That was sure convenient, wasn’t it?
Then all the other wights show up, and since the fellowship stands in the middle of a frozen lake, the wights patiently wait for the broken ice to freeze over again. I liked Thoros of Myr, and I’m sad that he died, but I honestly expected half the entire gang to die. That’s how the franchise (book and show alike) has been so far. Important people die all the time. But no, just Thoros. Even Tormund lived.
And then begins where I really have some issues with this episode…
Dany shows up to save the fellowship, and the Night King spears her dragon Viserion Olympic-style. But Viserion was 1) further away than Dany and Drogon, the bigger dragon, and 2), Viserion wasn’t even an important target. Why aim for a lesser dragon first? He could’ve gotten Drogon, the biggest of the three, on his side instead.
Then, there’s Jon Snow’s uncle Benjen, who reappears for all but one minute and then dies by giving Jon his horse. Why not share the horse with Jon? Benjen can’t cross through the Wall, but he can still escape the battle at least…
All in all, I did enjoy the episode more than I was annoyed with it. Exceptional filming, and mediocre everything else. It wasn’t bad, but was far from great. I wasn’t as emotionally invested in it as I was the Dothraki vs. Lannister battle in episode 4. It had ridiculous parts, but wasn’t stupid.
The last episode of the season will be out next week, unless there’s a leak again. If there’s a leak, I will still wait until it is properly released, and I will give a review then as well.
I will review the entire season after the seventh episode is released. After that, I will review seasons 1-6 in depth. You can support me through Patreon at patreon.com/ThinkingMichael. All my contributors get to choose what I review in the future, and their support helps get new articles out sooner.