“Love is the death of duty” -Maester Aemon keeping it real
This weeks installment of violence, lack of hope, and gratuitous nudity we took a break from the 75 plots happening all around the world and instead got to focus purely on a great battle at Castle Black. Sure we’re all extremely curious about other things (i.e.: Tyrion’s impending death sentence) but much like an earlier episode with the same director, Neil Marshall, (S2 E9 ‘Battle of the Blackwater’), it was sort of refreshing to just relax and enjoy one epic battle. Plus, we got to do something we hardly ever have time to do: Show Jon Snow some love when he gets to be the leader/warrior he is while encompassing just an honest art of war battle. Seriously it all feels like a fresh breath of air compared to the insanity constantly circling around Kings Landing. One last fun fact before we jump into the reviewcap: This episode is the most expensive to date and I believe it. Between the wall itself, the “biggest fire the North has ever seen”, and other seamless CGI (Seriously I never call CGI seamless nor praise it but this weeks deserves it) this episode was a marvel of technical genius. Seriously who is going to forget about that long ass tracking shot? Anyway lets get into the recap of an episode in which tons happened while nothing really changed – other than mass death to friends of Jon Snow.
THAT TIME WE REALIZED JON STILL CAN’T TALK ABOUT SEX
Samwell, still thinking Gilly dead and possibly awaiting his own, just has to ask Jon Snow something very important… So how was having sex/being in love with Ygritte? Haha. Jon however is still super shy and “not a poet” so his answer is poor. However, later on Maester Aemon catches Sam wasting candles reading about the actions of the Wildlings at night and can help satisfy Sam’s wonder about love. According to this ex-Targaryen “Love is the death of duty”. This echoes in my head as I picture tonights couples: The tragic Jon and Ygritte and the cute Sam and Gilly. Sigh. Also must share the love of Sam pointing out that his vows don’t literally ask for celibacy. Haha.
THAT TIME YGRITTE DIDN’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THE BEAR TORMUND NEVER FUCKED
Ygritte, Tormund, and the other northern flank of Wildlings are waiting for a signal while Tormund talks sex to all who will listen. I love this red headed hairy monstrosity. Ygritte looks super annoyed as he begins a tale he has most definitely told to her numerous times. This leads to an altercation between her and the bald can dude and this entire scene fades from memory because NONE of the wildlings saw Gilly and her baby jauntily walking by them heading toward Castle Black. Maybe Gilly is a ninja. Who knows.
THAT TIME SAM SAID THE FUCK WORD
Sam thankfully happens upon Pip not letting Gilly in the gate and drops his first F-bomb to let Pip know he better let her the fuck in. Haha. She is let in and aww. “From now on, wherever you go, I go too,” Sam tells her before he hides her and the baby in a storage room. Of course he hides her because this is also when the horn starts sounding siting the Wildlings. Sam also has a great character building line concerning why he isn’t hiding with her: he said he was going back outside because “Thats what men do”. Then epic moment alert. They smooch and its as sweet as I imagined.
THAT TIME WITH THE BIGGEST FIRE THE NORTH HAS EVER SEEN
“It’s time” A wildling warg informs Team Ygritte and they stand up and see the sky on the horizon lighting up from the massive fire Mance Rayder promised way back in season two. Three? Two? Whatever. Its a huge god damn fire. Cue the boys of the Nights Watch sprinting into action attempting to prepare for the coming storm of death. Jon Snow informs Lord Commander Alliser Thorne that their barrels of oil (To be seen later) are loaded and we get a very unexpected change of form from petty Alliser. He is totally fine with Jon saying a big “I told you so” concerning the massive army they are facing. Props to Jon for not actually saying it. Then we get a moving speech about leadership and suddenly I like this tall asshole. He jumps into action truly leading the men willing into the face of inevitable death. This new side is much more enjoyable than his one sided insult match with Jon.
THAT TIME SAM WAS NOTHING AT ALL BECAUSE HE WAS NOTHING AT ALL
Poor Pip is not prepared for this and it actually takes some wise words from Sam to help his hands to stop shaking a least a little. Cue the actual Wildling attack from both sides. I also want to mention there was a quick sick moment when Ygritte was charging the gates. She was firing her flaming arrows and she neatly dodges one shot back at her. This is officially the only time someone has been seen trying to kill her. Thousands of people come out of the forest and OMG there are giants riding mammoths. AHH! This shit is getting real. Commander Alliser decides to go where he can fight them face to face and leaves Janos Slynt in charge on top of the wall. Time to discuss another new side of a character we’ve all loved to hate. Janos Slynt is fucking terrified and immediately becomes the punchline of the episode (literally he actually runs to immediately hide in the same room as Gilly showing the true coward he is after Grenn loudly says he is needed somewhere else). On the ground level fight Alliser and Tormund set their sights on each other and we are gifted to a great fight between. Go Giantsbane! Go Alliser! Tormund wins the match but Alliser is only wounded and immediately secured in some kind of secret hidey hole. Seriously where did he go?
THAT TIME WITH FIGHTING AND FIGHTS AND STABBY STABBY
Jon is finally in charge by default on top of the wall and we see some more pretty cool stuff. Wildlings are beginning to try to climb the wall so how do the men fight that? Rudimentary pulleys to slightly lower them over the side of the wall of course. Thankfully the Nights Watch doesn’t have to worry about Wildlings shooting arrows at them from that side because it was far too high… never mind Apparently Archer giants can totally make that length with their crazy spear-like arrows. Crazy. One of them actually connects with a man and sends his lifeless body hurling off the wall and lands in the middle of the fight happening in the Castle below. Ha.
Speaking of below, Pip and Samwell have been working together with arrows and a crossbow with not actual luck but finally Pip kills one and has to celebrate it with Sam. “Oh is it over?” Sam jokes when Pip doesn’t immediately continue fighting. The laughter doesn’t stay as one of Ygritte’s arrows finds its way into Pips neck. Sam holds his dying friend. Meanwhile, Jon has started dropping surprise barrels of violence onto the enemy as they are trying to bust open their ice gate. Smartly, the giants hook the door up to one of their Mammoths and SMASH. Nights Watch have dropped a fire fuck ball barrel on top of them scaring the Mammoth into running and leading to one of the giants getting killed. This completely pisses off another giant. In a move of anger the giant begins to open the gate with his bare god damn hands. Jon rightly fearing them getting through the gate sends his friend Grenn to make this doesn’t happen. It is sad because Jon basically orders his friend to his death. In the tunnels Grenn and five other men begin to recite their vows passionately as a charging angry Giant closes in on them. Aw the feels!
Back in the courtyard, letting Pip rest in peace, Sam begins to fight them on his own and he totally arrows a rushing Thenn right in the head. Nice! Then he heads back up the wall to ask Jon for more men – why ask Jon you say? Why because he is in charge at the moment. Ha. And with wildlings over the gate, and Alliser down the Castle won’t stand much longer so Jon finally gets to be that heroic fighter with gorgeous hair we all want him to be.
THAT TIME WITH THE TRACKING SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD
As Jon Snow literally tuck and rolls out of the elevator in the fight we get an amazing present. There is a fantastic continuous tracking crane shot of the entire fight inside the castle and I’m still recovering from how perfect it was. The shows theme plays but it is tweaked and remixed for the occasion. Talk about a perfect moment. It only gets better as Sam does something Jon asked of him: To get “him”. This mysterious him is none other than Ghost! YAY for Direwolf neck crushing! How could I have forgotten about Ghost? With all the insanity going on I haven’t even gotten a second to remember the handsome red eyed Ghost. That is how much action has been going on – I forgot about the amazing mystical creature.
Meanwhile, in all the mess of gore and death Jon and one of the large bald Thenn dudes start to square off. Jon is actually doing much better than anticipated until he loses his sword and ends up getting his face smashed into an anvil Wiley Coyote style. Ouch. More fighting and Jon is literally stuck in between this monster man and a hard place until he uses a lesson he’s been taught this year and spits his own mouth blood into the guys face giving him enough time to grab a hammer and plant it in the bald mans head. Dead and dead. We have no time to celebrate though as Ygritte has tracked him down and chaos and has her arrow trained on him yet again. Shock. Yes. Happiness? Yes. He smiles in such a genuine way. Is it because he knows she won’t shoot? Is it because he knows she will is glad to go down to her? Is it just to see her still alive? It doesn’t last because suddenly another arrow has found its way into her back. Olly, the poor little boy who has his entire village killed in front of him had decided to fight where he could after a small speech by Sam. He nods to Jon as if to say cheers but Jon isn’t happy. He rushes to a dying Ygritte
You can actually hear the blood entering her lungs. She remembers their time in the cave and wishes they had stayed there. He promises they will return there – giving Ygritte a chance to once again tell him he knows nothing before passing away in his arms in the middle of the ending battle. Sad. Tragic. Poor Jon.
Back on top of the wall they have one more finishing move to show the wildlings called the “scythe” which they use when climbing wildlings get too close. They cut it loose and a huge bladed scythe swings across the ice wall like a windshield wiper batting away their bodies as if they were flies.
They decide the wildlings have had enough for the night but they are warned not to cheer too loud as they are still terribly outnumbered. Back in the courtyard, unexpectedly Tormund Giantsbane is still alive and kicking but he is unfortunately the last wildling on that side of the wall alive. He is also severely littered with arrows but wants to continue to fight but a sad and broken Jon Snow just shoots him one more time and kicks him for good measure. Tormund is led away in chains as he screams that he should have thrown Jon off the top of the wall and Jon agrees with him quietly. Samwell goes to see Gilly and their little reunion is cut short by the already mentioned punchline of the episode: Janos hiding with her in the little room like a child.
THAT TIME JON HAD A BAD PLAN BUT THE ONLY PLAN
In the morning Jon and Sam are chatting again except now Jon is significantly more emotionally broken and truthfully I’m suspecting some sort of concussion because of his bad decision making. Thats right – Jon Snow has decided to go back beyond the wall to meet with Mance/kill Mance without his sword. He sees it as the only possible way to stop the wildling army – by killing Mance or changing something from within their side rather than actually fighting them. Man I don’t know but I sort of can’t wait. Jon exits the outer gate and stares into the bright morning sky and the screen turns white. Love it but am I the only person who is know thinking about Lost finale with the bomb? Is that a spoiler?
Until next week for the season finale!!!
Snow. Bran. THE TREE! Incest. Tyrion. Arya and swords! Mance is going to lill everyone and ZOMG DRAGON KITTIES!
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