TV Review: Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5. “The Bells”.

Spoilers follow.

I’m not going to go in to too much detail with this review, mainly due to the fact I simply do not have time to rant as much as I could about the choices that the showrunners have made in regards to this final season…

The Bells is proof that it doesn’t matter how incredible your production values are, without a good script, it can still be a failure. Everything, apart from the writing, is brilliant in this episode. The score, the visual effects, the acting, the scale, it’s all absolutely fantastic… But it is let down by a script that often makes little sense, and completely betrays certain character arcs and plot threads. The most painful part of all? These are things that probably could have worked if they were given attention and time, rather than being fast-tracked by two showrunners who clearly can’t wait to be rid of the show.

Take the key example, Dany’s descent into madness and becoming the Mad Queen, decimating King’s Landing and slaughtering innocents. It’s something that has been speculated for a long time, yet it still feels like it has come completely out of nowhere in this episode, it doesn’t feel earned and there simply wasn’t enough build-up to this moment which would allow the audience to care. I mean, come on, two episodes earlier Dany is fighting alongside the living against the Army of the Dead, an act she committed to to help protect innocents. Yet, two episodes later, she’s slaughtering them in cold blood? Why? Because she’s lost people? Seems like a bit of an overreaction, to be honest. This arc needed time to develop, Dany needed more time to stew on her losses, become more paranoid about not being accepted, and the fact that Jon has a better claim than her. She was clearly a ticking time bomb, but that bomb exploded way too early and the end result feels forced and horribly rushed. It’s a shame, because this could have been a moment akin to the Red Wedding had it been executed correctly, instead, we’re left with a scenario that is hard to get behind, and thus the episode resorts to showing horrific scenes of mass murder for the rest of it’s runtime in an attempt to make us dislike her. It felt like an out of nowhere wrestling heel turn, that’s the best way I can describe it. This stuff works in the WWE, but it shouldn’t be a technique used in Game of Thrones.

Don’t even get me started on the butchery of Jaime Lannister’s arc, after years of build up and hinting at him turning on Cersei, alongside a prophecy that suggests that he is in fact going to be the one that ends her, having him just return to her really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and as of this writing it’s been a couple of weeks since this episode aired! I can’t believe that this is the route they went down, and if it is in fact a plot point taken from the books, I really hope George RR Martin executes it better than it was executed here, because in regards to TV Jaime, this is a complete betrayal of his character.

As for Jon Snow, well, Kit Harington has stolen a living this season, being paid thousands to be a glorified extra who can only say three phrases. It’s sad to see such a huge character fizzle out like this!

Overall, The Bells was a disappointment, and it’s all down to horrific writing that completely contradicts episodes that have come before, it’s horribly rushed, (justice for The Golden Company, please!) and it relies on conveniences and Hollywood plot armour to drive it forward. (Euron, who had just been essentially blown up earlier, washes up on the beach at the exact same place and the exact same time as Jaime? Come on!) It’s a shame, because every other aspect of this episode was great. But it just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how good your production values are, if you’ve got a poor script and a bad story, then you are likely to fail and frustrate fans around the world.

I give The Bells a 5/10. 


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