And THAT ladies and gentlemen is how you get a dragon to snap. After a massive battle for the lives of all in Westeros and beyond, the question now was, how would they handle Cersei? This episode brought that question to bare while also giving a memorable aftermath to the Battle Of Winterfell. Despite its faults, this Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Review will show you why this was my favorite episode of the season so far.
Honestly, I’m not sure where to start this review, there’s so much to unpack! But I’ll do my best. Let’s start at the beginning. I loved that they started out with the North mourning the losses of life after the Battle of Winterfell. We all knew it was coming, but how they did it was very touching.
Dany mourning Jorah, Sansa mourning Theon, certain characters looking at members they’ve connected with before burning them, and Jon giving a modified version of the “And Now Their Watch Has Ended” speech was very good stuff. As was the feast afterwards, as it went from a very somber and mourning affair, to a lively party! Gendry because a naturalized Baratheon and ruler of Storm’s End. Brienne loosened up, and then got with Jaime! Tormund…well he got his heart broken, but he got another girl! And so on and so forth.
Eventually though, the night had to end, and all eyes had to be on the next important thing. Taking King’s Landing, and taking out Cersei.
In the back of our minds, we were all wondering how Game Of Thrones was going to make the war with Cersei as entertaining and jaw-dropping as the battle with the Night King was going to be. And dear gosh, they made it entertaining, on multiple levels! But the biggest one was the shocking attack upon the return to Dragonstone where Rhaegal died in absolutely brutal fashion. I literally swore out of shock for what happened. Now only Drogon is left.
It was already tragic to see Dany starting to snap, but now she’s lost her second child, her fleet is basically destroyed, and Missandei was captured because of the attack. Not bad for a stretch of five minutes, eh?
But it was more than just the major battles and excitement that made this episode compelling. The other reason was that the “wheels within wheels” aspect of Game of Thrones returned. As politics rose up once again to start to twist and turn everyone.
The big thing being that now multiple important people know about who Jon really is. And that “information” is what is causing many wheels to turn and grind. Tyrion doesn’t want it to be an issue, Varys thinks that Jon might be a better leader, as does Sansa (who I’ll get to later), and Dany desperately wants everyone to love her like they love Jon. And she wants Jon, and for a minute, you thought they were honestly going to go that route! Which I actually appreciate, because there is history there, but then Jon heard the “HELLO!!!!” in his head and snapped to. Which lead to Dany’s psyche further bending.
I’ve noted in the past that I don’t think Dany will survive the season and make it to the throne, but now they’re making it look like one of her allies might take her out after she kills Cersei, which would be a legendary twist depending on how it’s done.
And then, there was that scene with Missandei at the end. You all knew that she was going to die, we all knew it. The question was how, and how it would be done, and would there be a last-minute reprieve or something of that nature.
I give them credit for ingenuity, have the two Hands talk to try and save things, only for Tyrion to put himself in harms way (which almost gave me a heart attack when I saw Cersei’s hand rise up) was very dramatic. And for a moment, you wondered if his talk of a future for Cersei would ring through. But we all knew better, and sure enough, The Mountain killed her, as Grey Worm, Tyrion, and Dany watched. It was sad, it tragic, and Dany freaking broke. No mercy, no more chances. Cersei will die, and King’s Landing is likely going to burn.
The question is, how many will she let burn before the end?
As I noted earlier, this is my favorite episode of the season. And at first, I was going to give it a perfect score. But there were some oddities that I remembered, and others pointed out to me, that did have to lower it a bit in my eyes.
First off, Sansa (sorry Tyler!), who made a big B-word move by revealing to Tyrion that Jon was the true heir to the Iron Throne. And as the showrunners noted, she did this because she knew he would tell Varys and it would throw division in the ranks. She was right, but that’s the problem. From the word “go” she’s hated Dany, and it’s never been expressed why. If she SAID it was because of her teachings by Littlefinger to distrust someone like her, I would understand. If she SAID it was because she didn’t like that Jon bent the knee without telling her and she resented her because of that, I would understand. But what is her motivation here? Especially after Dany risked EVERYTHING to try and save the North and all of Westeros, only for Sansa to say, “Arya killed the Night King!” So what? She wouldn’t have gotten the chance if they were all overrun! But apparently, Sansa hates Dany too much to care about that.
Which brings me to Jamie and Brienne. To be clear, I LOVE that they finally got together. It was a seasons-long payoff. And him deciding to stay in the North to be with her was great! And then…he hears about the attack and…suddenly he needs to go be with Cersei? Because…he’s hateful? Um…what? The only benefit of that scene was the great acting job by Gwendoline Christie. Seriously, give her an Emmy!
What’s that? There was another relationship blooming? Oh yeah! Arya and Gendry! Who you remember I loathed in the leadup to “The Long Night” because of how rushed it was. Sure enough, Gendry gets promoted, he confesses his “love” for Arya, and she shoots him down because of the “That’s not me” mentality. Umm…what? I get that she doesn’t want to be a lady, but he never said she had to be that. She could be his wife. And as the North has shown, women warriors happen quite often without being “ladies”. Like…oh…Lyana Mormount? Or her mother who died fighting for Robb? And if “that’s not me”, why did she feel the need to get with Gendry “just to know how it feels”? That sounds like something a lady-like person would say. I’m just saying.
Also, despite it being only episode 4 of the season, there were an awful lot of farewells. Such as Tormund leaving with the Wildlings to back beyond the Wall. I actually like this move, because with the White Walkers gone, the “truth North” was open to them once again. Plus, the Night Watch is disbanded as there’s no need for it really. So I liked that Tormund gets to live out his days with his people getting the freedom they truly deserve.
But, did we really need that Sam farewell? As well as finding out him and Gilly are having a kid? Seems convenient now that the Night Watch is disbanded…just saying.
Oh, and the Ghost scene? OR LACK THEREOF?!? I know it was a budget thing, but Jon didn’t even say goodbye to Ghost! What the heck???
Finally, while I loved Tyrion’s speech to Cersei, to hear him say that she’s “not a monster”? Really? That’s one of the dumbest things he’s ever said. She betrayed them to the Night King, she rigged a trial to get him killed for Joffrey’s murder, and she blew up the Baelor to get rid of her enemies! She’s a monster, and he knows it.
There were other little things too that made this episode hard to swallow at times. But despite these gripes, this was a magnificent episode with plenty of twists and turns and magnificent setup for what’s coming.
Two episodes left. What else can this show possibly throw at us?
P.S. be sure to vote in the poll I set up to talk about how Cersei should die! WE ALL KNOW SHE WILL!!!
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Review
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 showed us why it’s wrong to rest on the “Last War”, and proved that the series has a few more shocks left in store for us. Some missteps aside, this was the best episode of the season.