While the first two episodes were solid, it looks like Game of Thrones Season 8 is destined to go down as the most controversial season of the entire show, especially after ‘The Bells‘ dropped itself into an echo chamber of wildly different opinions. The fifth episode of the final season had just as many fans as it did outspoken detractors — there are those who are hate-watching the hell out of a show that they used to love, and those who still love it regardless.
We fall somewhere in the middle of the opinion spectrum. While certainly not a perfect bit of storytelling, ‘The Bells’ was an absolute spectacle that may not be matched by anything on TV for years to come. The image of The Hound and The Mountain squaring off as Drogon wreaked havoc in the background? Perfection.
But if we’re talking about what we didn’t love so much about the latest episode, five things instantly sprung to mind from ‘The Bells’.
1. Arya’s insane plot armour
Look, nobody wants Arya to die — not a single soul. But that she could survive all of the absolute madness going on around her in King’s Landing? That’s some Level 99 enchanted elven plot armour right there. To recap, she evaded Daenerys’ rampaging soldiers, avoiding dragon fire, did a Prometheus with a massive falling object and survived, and somehow also did not get burnt despite coming close a few times. She was a good device to get the view down into the action rather than simply focusing on Jon’s mournful face (more on you later, you big idiot), but the lucky escapes just kept piling up. That being said, she is owed a favour by the Lord of Light, so maybe it was divine intervention?
2. One dragon is better than two apparently
If the Scorpion users were John Wick last episode, they were definitely Mr. Magoo this time out. Despite them having just one fairly large target to aim for and having ample more opportunities to take Drogon down than they did last episode, they couldn’t land a single shot. Either they were extremely lucky to land three successive and deadly shots on Rhaegal (rest in peace), or he had magnets hidden somewhere in his body. While you may argue that Daenerys learned a lesson, this is the same Daenerys that also just “forgot” about the Iron Fleet.
3. A pirate and a one-handed man meet on a beach
Euron has always been a bit of a pantomime villain compared to his book counterpart, but him appearing at the exact moment was making his way to the Red Keep was straight out of your local theater production of Aladdin. It was a decent fight, but one that couldn’t help utterly fantastical — was Euron swimming for like half an hour? The shore wasn’t even that far away — and like it was jammed in to let Drogon catch his breath. Plus, it should have been Yara who faced Euron, not Jaime.
4. The heel turn
This one’s a 50/50, because while it was definitely coming throughout the course of the show, Daenerys’ full-blown descent into madness could have been built up to a little more consistently throughout the season rather than at the eleventh hour. We’re fans of the heel turn, but just like Austin teaming with McMahon, there needs to be some more logic behind it once the initial shock factor wears off. The writers later explained that it’s because she feels “empty” after her victory, but she doesn’t show that in the episode, or at least enough.
While his humility was a large part of why he won so many fans in previous seasons, it’s just proving to be his — and everyone else’s — undoing in Season 8. Jon is loyal and honourable to an admirable degree, but his loyalty to (and love for) Daenerys is relegating him to the role of a glorified extra who is too meek to be a leader for anyone. All he’s done in the last two episodes is refuse to have sex with his aunt and parrot his dedication to her. With one episode to go, there’s only one man who should handle the show’s new big bad. And if he says “she’s my queen” one more time, he is going in the sea.