Good television makes you feel things. And don’t make any mistakes, not just good things. Good TV should make you feel a little bit of everything. From elation to hopelessness and everything in between. A good television show is a ride where you can’t see the turns coming. That would also be the best way to sum up Game of Thrones in general. A show that manipulates your emotions in such a way where you KNOW if you are happy one second, something very bad will be happening within the next second. That is also the best way to sum up last night’s season finale episode of this show. There were betrayals (like always), there was some sex (like always), there was some destruction on a massive scale (like always) and at the end, you were left with an utterly hopeless feeling in your gut (like ALWAYS), so yes, this was a Game of Thrones season finale, and it is setting up some really bad odds for some of our favorite people still left. Here is my review of The Dragon and The Wolf.
AVAST YE, SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Meetup/Reunion/Treaty/Impending Betrayal...
A couple really cool moments I want to mention right off the bat as they happened early and were not monumental, but were great for some fan service. To see the Hound meet back up with Brienne (after she was under the belief that she killed him a few seasons back) was a funny little moment where a very humbled Hound made his new demeanor known to Brienne, who essentially apologized for killing him (with him implying he would NEVER mess with her again).
It was like seeing Arya’s unofficial, adoptive parents reunite for a moment. It was oddly endearing for a show that normally dodges the endearing.
But then shit got tense because this was it, the big meet-up of the bad half of the Lannisters with all the heroes we have been routing for. Just to see Tyrion approaching his sister Cersei (Dare I say, the mad queen?) was incredibly tense as she was wanted him dead since he shot their father dead on the shitter.
But what really ended up happening was kind of shocking.
Once our crew of makeshift heroes showed Cersei one of the undead army, she (and everyone else who saw it) were visibly shaken (some of these are characters we NEVER see shaken, like Cersei herself), and though she resisted a short-term peace treaty that they ALL TEAM UP and fight the White Walker army together or they are all inevitably dead was rather shocking, she did give in once she saw the creature. But this was tough to watch because how Can Jon Snow team up with the woman who has brought his family so much loss and pain and grief (and still intends to)?
But of course, this is Game of Thrones so come to find out, Cersei plans on breaking the treaty (something you just don’t do, period) and turn against her enemies when they least expect it so she can kill them and reign over the seven kingdoms. Oh, and in case no one told you, Cersei is pregnant with her brother’s baby. Yup, another incest Lannister baby is coming. (*Vomits in own mouth).
Dany was admittedly quiet and subdued when compared to Cersei, flashing her dragons but letting the Lannisters know they are all, indeed, dead meat if they don’t team up, including herself.
This merge also lead to a the moment later in the episode many of us were secretly fearing. The Jon Snow and Mother of Dragons hook-up. Bran kept saying “we need to tell him” but no one did anything and sure enough, he pulled some incest (that we know from past visions will end with another incest baby set to eventually rule the 7 kingdoms) and as much as we know Jon and Khaleesi (I hate typing out her real name, sorry) needed to pair off, we were really hoping the incest would not happen, and especially not this fast (as they had NO chemistry up to this point).
Will be curious to see what happens next in that aspect of the story.
I will also begrudgingly admit, the Tyrion/Cersei reunion was not nearly as tense or as well-written as it could or should have been. Underwhelming at best for what could have been an amazingly tense moment and interaction. They had a three minute scene and she agreed to it all (off-screen). Pretty lame for the huge build-up, but just grateful Tyrion is still in the game, pun intended.
What we have now is the rest of Game of Thrones being set up to be a massive fight, every house against and near endless crew of zombies, which is a bit of a tonal change for the show, but one I am curious to see play out.
Now onto other shores….
Meanwhile, Back at the Castle…..
So you have Sansa now seemingly a little freaked out by Arya’s dark side, which she had never seen before last week. We see her talking to Littlefinger, with him trying to plant the subconscious seed that Arya wants to kill Sansa to become “Lady Stark”. We see Sansa dwell on this for a moment and then have her sister called into the great hall. It seems like Sansa is calling out Arya for treason and backstabbing, but then they turn (literally) to Littlefinger and ask him how he plees. Just seeing the utter shock on his face was such a huge moment of validation for all of us who have seen him manipulate the Starks from the very start of this show. The “Who, ME?” look on his face was worth all the pain we have taken up to this moment.
We then see, in the middle of him pleading, begging, almost crying, Arya slash his throat with the very dagger that once belonged to him.
Littlefinger, the master manipulator, was finally out of the picture, and making us think Arya was going to die was a nice misdirection on the writer’s part.
We also see Theon talk to Jon about how he’s sorry for how much he let the family (Starks) down after all they did for him, then he told Jon he was going to save his sister, who we all learned IS still alive at his crazy uncle’s hand.
We even got a cool little “Family Fight Club” scene where, without spoiling too much, let’s just say Theon having no cock and balls essentially becomes his superpower and we see him finally step up and (hopefully) become the man he has always had the potential to be (when he wasn’t watching his sister get raped or leaping off boats instead of saving his OTHER sister).
The Great Fall of a Great Wall…
Of course, we all knew after Viserion the dragon got speared and came back as a nasty White-Walker dragon last week that this was gonna mean bad things for our heroes, but I don’t think we had any idea of just how bad until the finale.
Viserion, now looking more and more like a White-Walker itself, just laid utter waste to the wall with little-to-no-effort, completely razing it in a minute’s time with its searing blue-flame.
And yes, there were characters we genuinely liked on that wall in that moment, and though we may not have SEEN any literal deaths (Tormund, I am gazing at THEE!), anyone walking away from that NOT a White-Walker would be nothing short of miraculous. I know the old rule, you don’t see them die on-screen, they aren’t dead. But come on, did you see that wall come down? No one could survive that, seriously.
Not even someone nicknamed “The Brave.” By the way, having him yell RUN before the thing came down was kind of sad and funny. I say that because when the bravest of the brave tells you to run, you know you are generally fucked, and they were genuinely fucked.
This led to the closing shot (which was visually stunning) of the army of the dead, led by the White-Walkers, continuing their journey right through the rubble where the wall used to be standing.
They undead army are but miles away now, and with Cersei planning on sabotaging the treaty between houses, as much as it seems like things might be getting more hopeful, they clearly aren’t.
And isn’t that WHY we watch Game of Thrones in the first place? Because you never truly know what’s coming, which is what makes it all work so damn perfectly.
I will say with confidence that this was not the best season finale the show’s had (season two’s finale was DOPE and all but unbeatable), but it put a lot of the chess pieces into the places they needed to be, and we wound up some storylines (bye bye Littlefinger), and started out a new one (war of the undead), and it all made for extremely compelling television, if not a little vapid at times.
Only problem is, we know the next few episodes are the LAST, and that is casting a bit of a grey cloud because this show has rocked most of our worlds for six years and counting now.
Saying goodbye to that is gonna suck. But at least we have a little left to enjoy, so here’s hoping the good guys win and this doesn’t turn into a medieval The Walking Dead.