Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 was an explosive episode in the way that it made me forget that the story lines in episode three have essentially been set aside. This is the episode 5 review with spoilers ahead. This time around I do not want to retell the episode in a way that is essentially telling what happens in the episode like in the reviews past. So let’s dive in.
One thing that really stuck out to me was that that episode 4 presented was the strength of Drogon. His destruction of all the ballistas right away and the iron fleet completely go against the danger that was presented in the past episode that even lead to the untimely death of Danny’s second dragon. I am ok with this episode’s rendition of the power of a dragon as it reminds me of the loot train episode of last season. But it does further sink episode 4 for me. See that review here. Overall the visuals of Drogon coming out of the sky using the sun to aid in his defense with Danny charging like the episode in the past was pretty sweet.
The Golden Company was essentially cannon fodder. A bunch of red shirts that stood outside the walls of King’s Landing. I am not sure what the point is with all these men always outside the walls of castles in this show. That is not what castles are for. They are literally built to defend from and keep people out. Anyway, since the golden company was shoehorned in this season meeting them on screen for the first time, there was next to zero character development so their deaths just added to the hell that Danny and Drogon rains down on Cerci and Kings Landing. Their use as a plot device was noted, but still allowed for more looks of horror from the main cast.
Tyrion’s character has a sweet goodbye with Jamie and free’s him because he manages to get caught by the front line again. I laughed seeing him almost mirror his capture imagery from the earlier seasons. Tyrion appears to be struggling with his choice of choosing Danny in this episode knowing that he may well die as well because of it and it lost him his friends and his family. His questioning of his decisions intensifies with Vary’s death. His death was expected and happened pretty quickly. I don’t have much else to say about it, his character has been pretty weak since season 5.
Jon Snow leads the charge into Kings Landing and are killing soldiers. The goal from Tyrion was that he set Jamie free to convince her to surrender and ring the bells as a sign. This did not happen by Cerci’s command as far as I am aware, but it does happen. And when Danny loses it and makes the rest of the battle personal, the worst in humanity is realized painting a grey picture of those that won the battle against the dead or our “heroes” of the story. I can appreciate this as the story is suppose to be morally grey. Jon is in horror and attempts to stop his men. He even ends up killing some of his own north men that are acting out. Grey worm sees this and that could mean trouble for Jon in the finale. At the tail end of the episode Jon orders a retreat out of the city. Notably not all Dothraki are dead, there were some in the army here.
Jamie’s arc having reversed itself at the end of the last episode leads to a battle with Euron where they both become mortally wounded. Jamie kills Euron and makes his way into the Red Keep. He meets his sister and they attempt to escape. Down in the dungeons though there is no way out, and they both die in each others arms as the castle comes crashing down on them ending them. This scene was really heart warming in an odd way and I think it was an ok closer for those characters. Where the weight of all their mistakes come crashing down on them both killing them when they had run out of moves to play in the game of thrones, symbolized by the blocked tunnels.
Clegane bowl delivers as Sandor and Zombie Mountain face off. The battle is pretty well cinematically done, but honestly looks nothing like game of thrones has ever been before. Still a very epic fight without a doubt. They both die falling to the fires of Kings Landing below.
Arya, was told by Sandor to turn around and choose life. This was a turning point for Arya where she is no longer a death mongering character. She attempts to flee the city and survives building after building toppling down. She does fail to save many civilians in Kings Landing which is heartbreaking. But she finds a horse after it’s all over and rides off into the sunset with it leaving the city behind. Following her character around in the carnage was really epic and was an excellent choice by the directors.
When Danny snaps and attacks Kings Landing after the surrender, it shows that she is truly alone and that she can only rely on herself at this point. She thinks of everyone now as her enemy decides to rule with fear. I do not think there could have been a better way to create fear than what she did to Kings Landing. The Shots of the civilians running away and the far off shots of the city burning out the windows of Kings Landing were fantastic. There was also a call back to small deposits of wildfire throughout the city being set off by the burning city as green flames would occasionally pop out of the dragon fire like popcorn.
I was very happy with this episode and I think that anyone can appreciate the work that went into it and the well chosen cinematography that went into many of these battle scenes. It makes one question if winning the war of death to fight yet another war of death was even worth it to the characters and that is a question that will loom probably up till the final minutes of the finale next week.
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