Summary: Chandler tries to find a way to give Joey some money to help him out now that he's alone. Monica and Rachel argue while packing Rachel's things. Ross makes a fake Ben to get out of helping Rachel pack.
The Good: Ross was really funny here and the fake Ben story is genuinely great for a C-story with perfect laughs. The two main stories have their moments. Fromt he Joey story, I liked the idea of the Cups game and how Joey blew his money playing Ross in Cups. Additionally, the overly dramatic foosball scene was probably the best self-conscious parody scene the show has ever done. Phoebe has some good lines too.
The Bad: This had all of the potential to be great but it falls well short of that. Rachel and Monica are absolutely awful to each other and they say some seriously offensive stuff to each other, stuff that shouldn't just be glossed over. Rachel's comments about Chandler are particularly insensitive and could easily be enough to ruin their friendship. The show is sacrificing any sense of reality in favour of having characters insult each other because the writers think it's funny. It's not. The emotion really wasn't capitalized as well as it should have been aside from one or two moments near the end of the episode. For such an important episode, this didn't hit me as much as it should have. It's a result of the decline in writing this season, and I pray that the writers get back on their A-game after this.
Best Moment: Monica calling Ross about Ben's head falling off was a hilarious moment.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This was really disappointing since I was expecting a really big effort for the last night before such a big change. In the end, weak writing has hurt another episode this season, and it's a shame since the last few episodes were great.
Summary: Shaw escapes from Martine with Root's help but she is forced to lay low and out of sight of camera. Reese contacts Elias and saves him, accompanying him from then. Elias' men have been turned by the Brotherhood so they have to hide in a safe house. The Brotherhood arrive and capture Scarface. Reese escapes with Elias but Elias chooses to go back to trade himself for Scarface. The Brotherhood isolate Elias and want his money, locked in a safe next to Scarface. Elias eventually gives a code to Dominic but the code detonates the safe, killing Scarface and crippling Link. Elias is saved by Reese. Elias looks for vengeance for Scarface.
The Good: Elias is probably my favourite recurring character on the show, so it's no surprise that an episode focused around him would be really great. He was the absolute star of this episode, and Enrico Colantoni gave a terrific performance. What was most surprising was how well this episode humanized Elias. He has been a shady character for a while now, along with his mysterious henchman Scarface. But here he comes off as just another man. He's vulnerable, he shows emotions, mourns his friends and shows an actual respect for human life. It's a surprising turn for the show to explore these aspects of his character, and I'm pleased to say that it was a resounding success.
Elias' relationship with Scarface (he is called Anthony in this episode, but I'll stick with Scarface for old times' sake) is pretty heavily explored in this episode. Even though we don't see any flashbacks, we take a bit of a dive into Elias' past through some subtle and brief lines of dialogue, and it really helps paint a picture of what his relationship with Scarface (and even Moran) was like. Couple that with some excellent acting, and Scarface's death becomes more emotional than I expected. Elias showed so much compassion throughout the episode, so when it came time for him to make that fateful decision, I was invested in his conflict. And Enrico Colantoni was so, so good when Elias chose to give Dominic the code. It brought some real emotion into the scene.
The Brotherhood really improved as villains in this episode. Not because they became more interesting, but because they made things personal with a character we care about. Elias has a drive to get revenge on the Brotherhood, and I will absolutely be rooting him on. While the Brotherhood don't interest me as characters, the show has successfully made me despise them, which turns them into fairly good old-school villains. Furthermore, we had some really good dialogue between Dominic and Elias. I'm craving for more of it.
Elias' interactions with Reese were as fun as ever. Over time, the two of them (and Finch too) have developed a believable bond, and I bought into Reese's desperate attempts to save Elias. Finch also brings up a great point about how valuable Elias is, so there is never a point where I think that sacrificing Elias would be the smart thing to do. As a result, I was really immersed in the episode since Elias was not only somebody that Reese and Finch wanted to survive, but he was also a character that I wanted to survive.
The episode also did a lovely job of building tension. Reese and Elias were quickly stripped of all of their resources throughout the episode, until we were left with them with only each other inside of the building. It gave a sense of impending doom and made me genuinely concerned about how both of them could possibly make it out alive.
The scenes with Shaw and Root were pretty good. The opening shootout was exciting, and I thought it was shot really well (pun not intended). I also loved the clever nature of Root's escape with the moving truck. Satisfyingly, even that escape wasn't enough to fool Samaritan since the truck was tracked down in the end, and that had severe consequences for the characters when Fusco was compromised. The scenes after this were strong too. The show is spending time building up Root and Shaw's relationship, which I like.
The Bad: Root and Shaw's relationship isn't developed in the best way. While Root was very subtle in the past about her feelings for Shaw, she is much more open now and I'm not entirely sure why. I think that there needs to be much more subtlety in Root's dialogue than what we are actually getting.
The money that the Brotherhood required was a very convenient MacGuffin. It really had no value to the show whatsoever, and I didn't really care if Dominic would have obtained it or not.
The Unknown: What does Elias plan to do for revenge? Will he be able to reform alliances? What will the Brotherhood do about him?
What can Shaw do now? Will she just help Finch? If she so much as leaves, she will be tracked down, so I can't imagine this situation persisting for much longer. Perhaps her story will develop as soon as next episode, seeing how it's the mid-season finale.
Best Moment: Elias and Scarface speaking over the phone was surprisingly powerful and it humanized Elias to show a new side of him we have only gotten tiny hints as before.
Character of the Episode: Elias.
Conclusion: This was an awesome episode with a devoted focus. The story was a lot of fun and there was also a surprising amount of emotion by the episode's end.
Summary: The next POI is a girl named Silva. Reese thinks she is planning to kill someone but Finch discovers she is an undercover cop who has discovered a mole from the Brotherhood trying to work in the police. The Brotherhood try to kill her but Reese saves her. Reese and Finch realize that Mini is Dominic. Martine investigates on Shaw and tracks down Katya and Romeo. Her investigation leads to her finding Shaw and they face off. Finch gets the next POI and it's Elias.
The Good: This was a fine story and I had a good time watching it. Moments like Shaw and Fusco on the stakeout and Reese having to deal with Dr. Campbell are both examples of some fun bits of this episode. I also liked the scenes with Dominic who is showing more and more personality with each passing episode.
The strongest storyline came from Martine. It was fascinating to watch her search for Shaw and I thought that the two scenes with Katya and Romeo were very fun. Both showed different aspects of her character. The scene with Katya showed the calm, assertive and manipulative aspects of her character, whereas the scene with Romeo shows her smart, violent and cunning she is. These two scenes were perfect at building up a new villain character and I find myself really excited to see what goes down between her and Shaw in the next episode.
The ending of this episode was pretty awesome. This isn't a show which uses cliffhangers very much, but when it does, they are quite good. I can't wait to tune in for the next episode to find out what happens with Martine and Shaw, or what is going to happen to Elias now that his number has popped up.
The Bad: The story is rather generic though and it doesn't hit any memorable emotional beats. It's very by-the-numbers with some of the usual strange moments. For example, Reese blowing up a grenade int he swimming pool for a convenient escape (which we aren't even shown) was pretty stupid. I also didn't care much for Finch conveniently figuring out the connection between Mini and Dominic.
I didn't like that Reese brought up Carter and who he was before to Silva. We saw him go through something similar in the last couple of episodes, so it's redundant to see it again. Plus it makes Reese spilling his guts feel less special if he does it all the time.
The Unknown: What will Martine do with Shaw? Can Shaw get away? Will she be able to get any help?
Who is threatening Elias? Presumably the Brotherhood. What could they be planning for him?
Best Moment: The scene with Martine and Katya was great. Martine was the perfect mixture of kind and cold which made he seem like a genuinely scary and intimidating person. Cara Buono played her to perfection.
Character of the Episode: Martine.
Conclusion: This episode was your usual effort, bolstered up a bit by the great Martine storyline. I presume that next episode is going to be a big one.
Summary: Shaw quits her job as a thief. The next POI is a thief named Tomas. Shaw infiltrates the group and helps them out with a heist. They steal a virus and Tomas' crew turns on him, stealing the virus. Reese finds them later on, dead. Shaw and Tomas work to recover the virus. Finch and Root infiltrate a building and burn files that Samaritan was going to use to give personalized tablets to all children in schools. Shaw is able to escape with the virus but she is recognized by Grice, a government operative sent to destroy the virus. Grice lets her go but Samaritan notices and works to uncover Shaw's identity.
The Good: The start of the episode is decent fun with Shaw infiltrating the gang and both Root and Finch doing work investigating Wilkins. There were decent moments throughout and some fun lines of dialogue. I especially liked Root dropping in on Shaw while she was talking with Tomas and offering her comments.
The episode really took off with the dual missions going on in the second half. The main story with Shaw and Tomas was fairly enjoyable. The villain of the episode was terrible (so bad I forgot his name), but thankfully he had limited screentime and was overshadowed by a number of other factors. The arrival of Grice and Brooks added some immediate stakes to the story and made the episode more about Shaw trying to stay hidden from Samaritan, instead of focusing the conflict on the villain. The villain was just an extra obstacle to overcome, which was a good call and added to the drama.
The other mission with Root and Finch was just as great with the main threat once again being Samaritan. A pattern of this season is that it's always at its strongest when Samaritan is the primary threat, for obvious reasons. Furthermore, I thought the cinematography was outstanding for this heist and there were a number of excellent details added in. I particularly liked how we were frequently taken to the Samaritan overlay so we can actually see Samaritan's "thought process" as it watched Root infiltrating the building.
There were a few good character moments too. I liked the crew having to briefly debate going through with Shaw's operation due to the big risk it poses them. I liked that this dilemma occurred very quickly. We have seen conflicts like this very frequently in the show, and to have the characters make their decisions quickly shows that they have learned and mature from their prior experiences. Furthermore, I think it's great that their decision to push through with the mission led to some consequences with Shaw potentially having her cover blown. I also liked the scene at the end with Root and Shaw. The show is definitely leading to them hooking up, and like I said in a previous episode, I'm fine with this.
The Bad: The dialogue and comedy in the episode is a bit hit or miss. The Shaw and Tomas relationship is pretty dull and their chemistry sucks. It wasn't very interesting to watch.
I was surprised that Shaw's stint with Romeo was over so suddenly and quickly. It makes me question why that story was introduced to begin with. Furthermore, I thought it was odd that Shaw quit so suddenly. She enjoyed thieving because it was so much better than her other job. Why quit thieving so suddenly if her new cover job will inevitably be something much more dull?
The Unknown: Will Shaw's cover be blown after this? Or will Samaritan still be unable to identify her?
What will happen to Grice now? Is Samaritan aware that he didn't do his job? Will he be punished for it?
Best Moment: There wasn't any scene that stood out, so I'll give it to the final moment with Shaw being examined. It suggests that there will be a huge change in the stakes going into the midseason finale.
Character of the Episode: Shaw.
Conclusion: This was a solid episode which was fun to watch, and also set up the main story in a nice way.
Summary: The next POI is a man named Walter. Shaw and Reese investigate and discover him snooping around a case involving a man who committed suicide named Abel. Walter is pretending to be a detective and gets involved in a dangerous situation. Reese learns that Abel was killed and was involved in smuggling in dangerous weapons. Walter has Abel's phone and the men want it because it will reveal the location of some missing weapons. Elias is also linked to the case so Reese inquires more information. Together, they take out the dangerous man who is known as the Armorer. Walter is safe. Elias realizes that the Brotherhood was behind everything so he meets with Dominic. Finch uploads a malware on the computer of Beth Bridges, who Samaritan is interested in.
The Good: This was an interesting episode. This show has been really good at slightly changing up its formula with new methods of storytelling from time to time. Last season, the show frequently introduced multiple storylines which were completely separate before uniting them by the end of the episode. This season has found a new pattern of starting off episodes with an unimportant feeling which will follow with an increase in stakes and importance as the episode goes on. This episode follows that new pattern, and as a result, I liked it.
The episode had a good sense of levity to it as well. There were a number of great lines of dialogue which made me smile, and some of the jokes were great enough to make me laugh. Walter in particular became a fun, quirky character by the end of the episode and I enjoyed seeing his antics throughout the episode. In particular, I thought the superhero joke was really well done, and I laughed at how the show made Shaw and Fusco's entrance so overly epic. The ensuing interactions between Reese/Fusco/Shaw and Walter were very fun, and I really liked things like Walter pointing out Reese's discount Batman voice and wondering why he and Shaw aren't dating.
The plot became really excellent by the end of the episode. I predicted that the Brotherhood would be involved with this plot, but I don't think it took away from the episode. Rather it kept my interest because I wanted to see if I was correct, and that made Dominic's arrival near the end of the episode much more satisfying. I've been critical of the Brotherhood so far, but if any show can make a great story out of something that feels lackluster, it's "Person of Interest". Just look at the outstanding conclusion to the HR story. I'm hoping that the Brotherhood storyline will go somewhere worthwhile, and with this new feud brewing with Elias, I have faith in the writers.
Speaking of Elias, his role in this episode is wonderful. I'm like a broken record by this point, but I'll say it again: Elias' involvement in the episode made me much more interested in the story. The character of Elias is so good because what he will do next is so unpredictable. He is more or less one of the heroes, yet he still has this mysterious darkness surrounding him which makes me believe that he could turn on Reese and Finch in the blink of an eye. His scenes are so interesting as a result. The highlight for me was his scene with Dominic which had some really terrific dialogue.
I liked that Reese actually got shot in this episode. Little things like this can add a lot of drama to the story since it makes Reese feel less invincible.
There were some obvious parallels to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" with the character of Walter who was a super cool detective in his head. I thought that was a neat little nod.
The Bad: The first 15 minutes or so were ridiculously bland. I suppose that's bound to happen with the new format that season 4 is testing, but I just wasn't entertained in the opening parts of the episode. The pacing was slow, the stakes were non-existent and I was struggling to care. Furthermore, I felt that the episode just didn't click in its first half. The dialogue felt very obtrusive and poor in the first half of the episode, and a lot of the writing felt convenient and dull. Even the acting felt off at times. It's quite odd that the first half of this episode was so poor, especially considering how strong the back half of this episode was.
The Finch and Bridges story wasn't very interesting to me until the end (see: The Unknown). Their early scenes together dragged like crazy and were totally... boring. I understand the writers were trying to build up the story, but surely there was a more interesting way to do this. The only people who could possibly be entertained by Finch's discussions with Bridges are fellow professors and scientists. I couldn't care less about what they were talking about, so I was just drop-dead bored during their scenes, and I'm sure that many others will feel this way. Their scenes should have been written much better.
It's a bit odd to see Reese getting back into shootouts one episode after he had to visit a therapist over this problem. Did the police just choose to let him do his thing anyways? What happened to the threat of him losing his job?
The Unknown: What was that malware that Finch uploaded to Bridges' laptop? Is he preparing for an attack on Samaritan? Or something else? Why is Samaritan interested in Bridges anyways?
What is Elias planning to do? How will it conflict with the Brotherhood's goals? I'm very interested to see where this goes.
Best Moment: Elias and Dominic vaguely threatening each other in a great meeting.
Character of the Episode: Elias.
Conclusion: This episode was a story of two halves. The first half was weak, boring, and badly written. But the second half was intense, epic and funny. In the end this is a middling episode, but still fairly good.
Summary: Rachel forces Ross to get a divorce. Joey pretends that he is the owner of a parked Porsche. Phoebe enlists Chandler and Monica to help her babysit her triplets.
The Good: This was another strong, funny episode. Ross and Rachel arguing never gets old and they entertained me thoroughly. The episode goes the extra mile and also throws in a great scene where they make up at the end which was both sweet and funny. It felt very real and I loved it. The story worked on nearly every level. Add in a fun cameo from the judge and it's the best we have gotten this season. The other two stories are fine too and they have their moments.
The Bad: Unfortunately, the side stories just aren't that interesting overall. The Porsche story is fairly dull and the Phoebe/Monica/Chandler story isn't as funny as I was hoping (though some moments are excellent).
Best Moment: The opening scene when Ross confesses that he and Rachel are still married. There were tons of great laughs.
Character of the Episode: Rachel.
Conclusion: This was another really funny episode, led by an awesome main storyline while the other stories added some extra comedy too. This season is recovering from a weak start.
Summary: Reese continues to get in shoot-outs and is put in therapy to keep him in check, with his job in danger. Finch encourages him to do the time and keep his job. The next number is Simon, a man who predicts election results. He is wrong for the first time and is convicned the election was rigged. It was, by Samaritan. Simon gets himself in danger by investigating and he is stalked by Martine, a Samaritan operative. Root, Shaw and Finch try to save Simon without letting Samaritan track them or him. Martine finds Simon and Root engages in a shootout with her. Simon is saved and gives up his investigation, ensuring his safety. Root dons a new identity afterwards but Samaritan is actively hunting for the Machine now.
The Good: Reese's story here was really strong. It was refreshing to see him deal with a personal conflict, forcing him to hold back on his naturally heroic behaviour to ensure he remains safe and keeps his job. It was enjoyable to watch Reese deal with this conflict and his therapy sessions were quite good. The show has excelled at having characters go through a catharsis by indirectly speaking about an emotional moment in their life. This episode, we see Reese go through this catharsis as he talks about Carter's death to the therapist in an excellent scene.
The main POI story was very good too. Samaritan's involvement once more increased my investment significantly and the main story from then on was an absolute blast. The cat and mouse game between Simon and Samaritan was awesome to watch and there were creative ways that the show used suspense to keep my interest. The idea of hiding from surveillance is a ton of fun and I loved seeing Root/Finch/Shaw attempt to hide Simon from the cameras without giving themselves away. It was very creative and there was evidently lots of thought put into these sequences, due to how detailed and logical they are. The final shootout between Martine and Root was excellent, a very clever piece of action which carried the atmosphere of two gods doing battle. It was a hell of a spectacle, and was the first of (hopefully) many Machine vs Samaritan battles.
What I liked most about the structure of this episode was how different it felt. Going into season 4, I had expected a big change in the storytelling, as I mentioned a few episodes ago. This episode finally showed the change I was expecting. Samaritan's presence is constantly felt and it is a huge threat the entire episode. In response, the crew can't use all of their normal techniques and have to change things up, which is really fun to watch.
What was really great about this was how the characters remained in focus throughout these epic action sequences. Root and Finch both had a wonderful episode as their relationship got some extra focus to it with some brilliant conversations regarding the Machine. Finch's fear of his creation is a wonderful development and really adds to the swinging emotions he has had in the past 10ish episodes. It's not that he is no longer interested in saving lives; he is just afraid of the consequences of listening to the Machine now that it's free. This also nicely tied into the excellent flashbacks (great to see Ingram again by the way), which showed us the struggle of making an AI that can be both useful and trusted. The flashbacks also seem to ominously suggest the route that Samaritan may take with Greer in the near future.
Root is similarly excellent as we get the terrific reveal that she actually hasn't gotten any input from the Machine. She is just as alone as the others and just pretends that all is fine. I thought Root's character got a great examination as she gets to release the emotions she hides underneath her charismatic personality. Her potential farewell to Finch near the ending of the episode was poignant and it neatly highlighted the relationship she has built with both Finch and Shaw.
Greer's deal with Dawson is quite interesting. Now Decima has a face to do their bidding, giving them even more control over USA.
The Bad: Some aspects of the story didn't work very well. The great reveal that Root isn't in contact in the Machine was diminished since she got contacted a few minutes later. The impact of the Machine returning to her was lessened because we had very little time to comprehend that Root is just as alone as the others now.
The philosophical conversation about AI between Finch and Root was excellent. But surely this should have been discussed in an earlier scene between them, even during season 2. It feels like something like this should have been addressed much earlier, especially when the Machine was actually being set free.
Simon's story had odd moments. It felt weird that nobody would address his claims that the election was rigged. Additionally, it made no sense that Simon would simply let go of his investigation after Finch talked to him. I feel like anyone would only be more convinced that a higher power is going after him if all of this crazy stuff is happening to him. I can't buy into him simply forgetting about it. Nor can I buy into Samaritan deeming Simon as a non-threat. Surely a machine as logical as Samaritan wouldn't want to leave any loose ends like Simon.
The Unknown: Why did Samaritan feel the need to kill Perez before appointing Dawson? Is there a specific reason he was picked other than he is easy for Decima to manipulate?
Did Root just admit that she loves Shaw? I had suspected it for a little while and I think the show just confirmed it. If so, I like this development.
What are Greer's goals exactly? Or rather, what are Samaritan's goals? What are they both planning to do next, now that they have a government representative?
Will the Machine respond to Finch and set up a talk between them?
Best Moment: Both of the big Finch/Root scenes were awesome. The second one where Finch admits that Root is a friend was the one that stood out most for me.
Character of the Episode: Root, though Finch is a close second.
Conclusion: This was an excellent episode which got me into the season with strong storytelling and exciting drama. Episodes like this are more like what I was expecting with season 4. I would love to get more of this.
Summary: Joey loses his health insurance when he doesn't work enough during the last year and he gets a hernia. Ross gets an opportunity to teach a lecture but gets nervous and starts using an accent. Phoebe is told by her psychic that she will die in the next week.
The Good: This was good fun with good jokes and some clever plot lines. The return of Estelle is really fun (as ever) and she gets some good lines in. Joey's scenes are really funny as he struggles with his hernia and there are quite a few funny lines and visual gags. Ross' story is a blast too, as stupid as it is. Monica and Rachel have good fun in the role and Ross' random accent is stupid, yet very funny. The final scene where Rachel invades on Ross is excellent and works as a perfect punchline.
The Bad: Phoebe's plot is pointless and isn't very funny. As mentioned above, parts of this episode were very dumb and simplistic, but the episode made up for it by being funny.
Best Moment: Ross asking his class to give him another chance only for Rachel to come in and verbally assault him was hilarious. David Schwimmer's face and his relapse into his accent were both perfect and made me laugh.
Character of the Episode: Ross.
Conclusion: This episode had great jokes and memorable stories. While the stupidity of the jokes is still there, this was funny enough to successfully work around it and end up as a great episode.
Summary: Dany takes control of King's Landing and plans to conquer the world. Tyrion quits as Hand and is apprehended. Jon talks with Tyrion who encourages him to kill Dany. Jon eventually kills Dany. Drogon goes into a rage and urns down the iron throne. Drogon leaves with Dany's body. Jon is taken as a prisoner. The lords of the realm and Tyrion meet to appoint a new king. Tyrion suggests Bran and the others all agree. Bran takes over as king and creates a new small council. Tyrion is taken as Hand. Bran sentences Jon to the Night's Watch. Sansa is allowed independence in the North. Arya sails west on a new adventure.
The Good: The episode started off on the right foot. The opening scenes did a brilliant job of establishing a melancholy and desolate atmosphere, creating a near-perfect tone for Dany's new world that she so violently created. Tyrion and Jon walking through the death on the streets was powerful and nicely set up both characters to oppose Dany later.
There were a number of great scenes early in the episode. I thought Dany's break the wheel speech was fantastic and nicely showed us how fractured her mind and goals had become (even if the process to get here wasn't very good at all). Tyrion resigning from his position was a good moment too. Tyrion actually had the best scene of the episode prior to this when he finds the dead bodies of his siblings. It was a sad and tragic end for the Lannisters with Tyrion facing the death of his family.
Tyrion and Jon's conversation was quite good too. It was lengthy and I think it was the closest we have gotten to the classic conversations of seasons 1-4 in a long while. Both characters' motives were clear and they had some very good lines. Tyrion finally did something smart for the first time in many seasons, while Jon has finally been given a proper conflict to deal with in this season. There were some good references to the past as well which the show has done well in the last 2 seasons, if a bit too often.
Brienne's story ended up being the only one I was actually satisfied with. Her character's arc this season was the only one that felt earned and emotional with great (though not perfect) closure on her character. Having her finish off Jaime's account in The White Book was a great, and fittingly somber conclusion for her relationship with Jaime.
Jon actually interacted with Ghost! Yay!
The Bad: This ending was underwhelming in a lot of ways and I don't think it captured the essence of the show very much at all. D&D decided to take inspiration from "The Lord of the Rings" for this ending with its many layers and its epic length. I liked it for "Lord of the Rings" because it nicely closed out the characters while offering a very emotional farewell. Yet it failed horribly here because the path to these final scenes was so poor. The scenes dragged on and were more confusing and rushed than anything else. Somehow after years and years of investment, I felt nothing at the end of what used to be one of my favourite TV shows. How has it come to this?
Well I believe I've explained why the show isn't as good as it used to be in my more recent reviews (mostly because of writing) and that is a big reason as to why this finale flopped. My immersion and investment had slowly been chipped away since season 5. The writing of the show had hit such a low that I was falling out of love with the story and its characters. Now after this episode, I think I finally hit that moment where I stopped caring after the many stupidities I had to watch in this episode. The fond farewells did nothing for me and I found myself just eager to get this disappointment over with. Rather than relishing my final moments in this world, I just wanted it to be over. And unlike TV shows like "Lost" or "Breaking Bad" which left me feeling sad at its conclusion due to the need to say goodbye to these characters, "Game of Thrones" just left me feeling sad that the show wasn't better than it was.
The first half of this episode should have been outstanding and emotional. Dany has gone evil and has killed a ton of people. Now our heroes need to come to terms with themselves and murder her. It's a great story idea yet it doesn't work. Why? Once more it fails because of the writing. The way the show got to this position was so contrived that I found it actually difficult to buy into the story being told. It kept my immersion minimal so I wasn't into the emotions that Jon and Tyrion were feeling as they conspired against Dany. That, coupled with a ridiculously rushed pacing, caused my emotional investment to be low and that prevented the episode from impacting me the way that it should have.
Even the Jon/Tyrion scene had issues with it that I immediately noticed. Jon says he won't defend what Dany did, and yet he immediately starts defending her. Why? I can't buy into him still standing beside Dany after this happened. Their romance isn't strong enough of a storyline for this to work. I was upset by Tyrion adding some depth to his decision to kill Varys after the fact. Wouldn't that have been such a great story to watch develop for a few episodes? Instead the show is so rushed that nothing interesting happened when it could have been great. These big problems made me reflect on how disappointing the show has been these past few seasons, rather than reflect on how great the show was. This occurred many more times throughout the episode.
Then we get to Jon killing Dany, and it was... disappointing. The scene was so generic with Jon kissing and killing Dany in such a dull and predictable way. It felt so easy and shockingly anticlimactic. I feel like I should have felt so much more here, but with the lame writing and rushed nature of Jon and Dany's relationship, the scene fell flat for me with little emotion. Drogon burning the iron throne and not killing Jon afterwards felt odd and I was left with more questions than answers. It was yet another case of the writers wanting to go for spectacle rather than actual substance.
So with Dany dead, you would expect absolute chaos to result. I was much more excited to see what happened following her death than anything else in the episode. But the writers made the boneheaded mistake of ignoring the fallout and doing a lazy timeskip. Well what happened? How did the public react? Did the Dothraki go crazy and kill more? Did Jon's men rise up? Did Dany's death cause riots? What happened to everyone after she died? Did King's Landing get rebuilt? Were there enough people to do this? These questions were all skipped over because the writers were too lazy. It's unbelievable. Continuing on the writers' laziness, I thought it was remarkable that we didn't get proper follow-up on the events of last episode. Nobody tries to make sure that Cersei is actually dead. We don't see if any survivors were found and what was done with them. We don't see what everyone thinks about Dany. We don't even get a scene where people confront Dany for killing everyone after the surrender. Hell, Jon doesn't even bring this up when he talks with her! These are important details, and the lack of these details completely killed my immersion. I was too distracted to care about what was happening in the show.
Then we get to the god-awful scene where the lords of Westeros gather to select a new king. First of all, how did this get organized? What was everyone told? Why did they all gather? Was nobody busy? Did nobody care to bring any of their own men with them? Who sent the messages? Whose side are they on? Are there any threats to be worried about? How many men do each of them have? The "Game of Thrones" of old would never have glossed over these details. I've said before how the world of Westeros feels so empty now, and this is one of the reasons why. None of the details are explored.
The scene itself is horribly written. It's implied that Grey Worm has power over the city. So did he invite everyone here? They are all meeting in the dragonpit after all. There is literally not a single line of dialogue addressing how this was all organized. Grey Worm is so hostile and seems to want to resolve things himself. So why didn't he care to participate in this discussion? Was Tyrion his representative? No way that's right. Why was Tyrion even allowed to attend anyways? None of these details were touched on and it adds to how poorly the scene is written. There is so much more too that I hated. Edmure is openly humiliated again in an unnecessary scene. I hate that the writers chose to give time to this scene rather than focusing on the details of the world. The comedy in this scene was weak and not needed. I did get a kick out of Yara laughing at Sam for suggesting a vote from the people. Did she forget that the ironborn select their next king in the same way?
The decision to make Bran the king was so, so, so stupid. Why would everyone listen to Tyrion, the prisoner, anyways? And why does Tyrion think Bran is a good choice? They have hardly ever talked! Furthermore, Bran's reactions are so bad. Bran has made it clear he doesn't want anymore, yet in this scene he implies that he only came down to King's Landing because he wanted to be king. What awful, awful writing. Plus, why does literally everyone vote for him? Do the others not have their own interests? Plus, half of them have no idea who the hell Bran even is, so why would they vote for him?! It's so dumb. Then Sansa asks for independence, which makes sense. But why didn't anybody else try for independence. How about Yara, who was promised independence back in "The Winds of Winter"? Does she not want it anymore? Or Dorne, who were never ruled by the king to being with? So much for unbowed, unbent, unbroken. Hell, the prince of Dorne didn't say a single word, so clearly he doesn't matter. Also, why is Gendry the official lord of the Stormlands now? Did it only take Dany's word at Winterfell to make it official? Did the people of the Stormlands just accept him without any kind of fight? It's all so unrealistic. The more I think about it, the more holes I am able to poke into the logic of this scene. It's simply pathetic.
I hated how the episode treated Jon after he killed Dany. He had little to no focus on his character after this. Nobody vouched for him to be a king even though he is a Targaryen. Why, I will never know. What's worse is that when you look back at it, Jon's lineage had zero impact on the story. All it did was make Dany mad. That's literally it. Such a big twist with limitless possibilities can't possibly have no ramifications whatsoever. That's just poor storytelling. Furthermore, the decision on what to do with him should surely have been given more time. It's a genuine conflict for Bran. But alas, the writers don't care about Bran and Jon's simply banished in one scene. Why is he banished anyways? The only people who want him dead just went away to Naath. So can't they just free him now?
Plus, why is the Night's Watch even a thing now? What are they defending against? The White Walkers are dead and the wildlings are allies now. Are they hunting for grumpkins and snarks? Also, what about that gaping hole in The Wall? Is anyone going to be able to fix that?
I have several other quibbles. The small council scene was pathetic and just served to remind me of how good the small council scenes were earlier in the series. The patheticness of this scene was just painful for me to experience and it made me crave for the old "Game of Thrones" more than anything. How could it have come to this?
Arya's extended screentime in the last episode was quite pointless. She did nothing whatsoever. Hell, she didn't even have a story arc this season even though she killed the Night King. She was painfully bland. The same can be said for many of the characters this season. They were misused and/or given nothing to do. The best examples are Jon, Dany, Jaime, Cersei and Davos, though many other characters had downright bad storylines this season. I'm honing in on Arya specifically because she had so much time on screen. Yet she did next to nothing the entire time. How hard is it to give her a character arc instead of just making her an unkillable assassin? Furthermore, that convenient horse from last episode didn't even get any pay-off. It wasn't symbolism, it was just a way to make Arya survive King's Landing. And damn it, it doesn't even appear in this episode!
The presence of winter has been so inconsistent. The scenes flash from summer to winter sporadically and it fails to establish a consistent setting. After hyping up that winter will be coming from the first episode, it hardly even came at all. Even the writers don't know if it's winter or not.
Had Jaime or Cersei stood a few feet away from where they were, they would have lived. That's just poor storytelling.
The Unknown: Did King's Landing get rebuilt? Or is it still rubble? How many survivors were there? Is Bran actually ruling anything?
Why does Bran need a master of whisperers when he knows everything? That's kind of pointless, and besides, who would even be up to the task?
Who will be Bran's kingsguard? Will he have any? You would think that the cripple king would need guards more than anyone else.
Where has Drogon gone with Dany's body? Valyria?
Did Jon join up with the wildlings rather than the Night's Watch? That's a neat development.
What ever happened with the Lord of Light? Does he no logner exist? Why did he bring Jon back to life anyways? I find it tough to believe it was just to kill Ramsay and Dany.
Best Moment: Tyrion crying over his dead siblings.
Character of the Episode: Brienne for having the best character conclusion.
Conclusion: This was so disappointing, and I don't think disappointing is a strong enough word to describe what happened here. The finale is enjoyable enough at parts but the writing is so lazy it's absurd. D&D really phoned it in this season and it shows. This is an absolute trainwreck and will go down as one of the worst finales ever. The more I think about this episode, the more painful it gets. At this point I'm not even mad anymore, just in pain. How did such a great story end this way?
Season 8 ended up as a pretty looking, well-acted disaster. Outside of episode 2, no storytelling stood out whatsoever and it was nearly impossible to care about anything that happened in the show. The characters were all handled badly, many questions were left unanswered and the ending proved to be absolutely awful. At this point I really don't want to talk about this season any more than I already have. I've written thousands of words on it, and that will be enough to give you an idea of how weak this was. In retrospect, every episode I rated this season was rated too high and should have been much lower, particularly the battle episodes which are fun on the first watch, but disappointingly stale on rewatch. Even "The Bells" feels so much worse after watching how meaningless it all was following this episode. It's amazing how much stink a bad ending will leave on the rest of the show. "Game of Thrones" didn't deserve to go out this way, and I've already rejected this as a canonical ending. I'll just have to wait until GRRM releases the final two books to get the ending we deserve.
Summary: The next POIs are two kids, Malcolm and Tracie who Finch connects to the Brotherhood. Their mother was arrested for a gun charge and they stole some money from the Brotherhood to help free her. As Reese protects the kids with the help of DEA agent Lennox, Shaw captures Mini, a member of the Brotherhood and tries to use him to find their boss Dominic. Lennox is found to be a Brotherhood mole so Reese has to escape. Malcolm tries to sacrifice himself but Reese saves him by giving himself to them. Shaw frees Mini in exchange for Reese. Mini is revealed to be Dominic and he kills a captured Lennox.
The Good: The involvement of the Brotherhood helped make this episode feel more important than the average episode. After being mentioned in the season premiere, this episode is the one that cemented them as a major force, and I suspect that they will be the main villain of this season, akin to Vigilance from last season.
The Brotherhood had its moments for sure. Link is pretty enjoyable to watch, and I thought the introduction to Dominic was well done. The final scene where he coldly executed Lennox was solid, and I thought that the twist reveal worked pretty well. The Lennox twist was set up well too. It nicely capitalized on the fact that Reese had been making friends as a detective (like his captain in the last episode) to make me not suspect her to be a bad guy. The twist did surprise me and nicely changed the dynamic of the episode.
Elias has been fun this season, and I loved his conversations with Finch on how the world has changed. I would be excited if Elias is brought into the fold as a major character once again, and I like the idea of him becoming aware that something has happened to the world.
The Bad: Unfortunately this episode was disappointingly weak. Vigilance was introduced in perfect manner and they were immediately both threatening and interesting. The Brotherhood has not accomplished this after this episode. I don't know anything about their goals or motives, so I'm finding it tough to be invested in them as villains. They are intimidating, but not much else and I don't know the characters very well yet. Dominic didn't deliver as a villain for me. He was completely owned by Shaw throughout the episode and was helpless against her throughout. It made him look weak and because of that, I don't view him as much of a threat. His vague lines of dialogue with Shaw weren't interesting at all to me and felt ridiculously boring. Dominic doesn't appear to have any of the depth that Collier had, and I hope that this can be rectified in future episodes.
I found the behaviour of the Brotherhood to be confusing as well. I wasn't sure why they would actually consider recruiting Malcolm and Tracie, especially when they mocked the idea earlier in the episode. It left me feeling quite confused. What was also confusing was how the Brotherhood killed Lennox at the end. Why did they do that? What did she do? Perhaps I missed a crucial line of dialogue, but I was left pretty confused and underwhelmed by the pay-off of the Lennox twist..
The main story wasn't very engaging and I found it tough to care. The kid actors who played Malcolm and Tracie were not good at all and I found it difficult to invest in their story because of how fake the acting felt. The dialogue that was written for them was actually even worse and it took me out of the episode.
The Unknown: What are the Brotherhood's motives? How will they stay involved in the series? Do the members of the Brotherhood know who Dominic is or do they think that Mini is just another member of the group?
Will Malcolm return as a member of the Brotherhood?
What will Finch tell Elias? Could he become a more significant member of the crew?
Best Moment: Finch and Elias at the end was quite good.
Character of the Episode: Elias.
Conclusion: This episode made effort to be more than just an average episode. But unfortunately the story was boring and the recurring villains uninteresting. This should have been better than it was.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.