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Game of Thrones



Episode 5 - Eastwatch

17 August 2017

I enjoyed this, I promise you. I like seeing the good guys band together and there were a number of nice scenes. I'm not even going to complain about the rampant "jet packing" and contraction of time. I understand that Benioff and Weiss want to give each major battle its own space and not have them going on simultaneously.

BUT I still think they could use more imagination in getting from A to B. Their solution, since they parted company from the books, is simply to have characters meet one another and discuss things. Ludicrous distortions of time and space aside this usually involves fairly implausible decision making (e.g. Jon placing himself in Dany's care). There is nothing more implausible to me than Tyrion going all the way to the Red Keep for a chat with Jaime. I won't even bother discussing all the impracticalities and dangers of that. The fact that Cersei knew about it doesn't make it better. That's just a wave of the convenience wand.

I would even be willing to forgive that choice if it were in service of a sensible plan. But bringing back one dead man to show Cersei makes no sense. Surely Tyrion knows that Cersei won't care and will use any delay to strengthen her position? Plus if you take time and space seriously it will take months to transport one zombie to King's Landing by which time the Army of the Dead will probably have scaled the Wall. It wasn't really explained why Dany couldn't take an excursion north to help out. Other than Dragonstone she has no base to protect. Or Dany could just besiege King's Landing now and hope to make it to the Wall soon after the city surrenders.

Dany just learnt not to invest in cute plans but to be decisive instead. Now she backslides completely to serve the needs of two Showrunners who are out of their depth in attempting to finish this story in a logical manner. For those reading this who are slowly becoming more angry: I'm not criticising the source material. Nor am I saying this ruins the show or should stop anyone from enjoying it. I am looking forward to some exciting action next episode. But I don't see how anyone could defend this as satisfying storytelling.

In passing I can't help but say that it was silly for Jon to trust the Brotherhood without a longer conversation.

Here's a prediction for you: Benioff and Weiss think that surprise is the key to good TV. And their method is to show us events in a deliberately misleading way to ensure that we are surprised. So, I think Sansa and Arya are setting up Little Finger. I think Arya has marked him for death for his past crimes. We are being led to believe that there is a feud between Sansa and Jon brewing and that Baelish is stirring the pot. But just when it looks like the Stark's are going to fall out the truth about Petyr will be exposed and someone will chop his head off. That's certainly where I hope this is going. I have no interest in seeing the Stark's fight.

I did enjoy Dany telling Jon about her three children from a previous relationship and how he needs to lie about how pretty they are if he wants to be King-consort one day.



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  • @Aaronic yeah I think that's why Seasons 5&6 came across so poorly to me. Because D&D were finishing stories that hadn't been completed in the book. I strongly felt complex stories were being dumbed down.

    Whereas this season the stories feel simpler and more direct. Still dumb, some of them. But I no longer feel I'm seeing good material mangled. It just feels like an average TV show. The reason I'm going easy on it is because I do care about the characters and I enjoy seeing them head toward a happy ending (assuming we get one).

    Posted by The TV Critic, 17/08/2017 4:12am (3 years ago)

  • If you enjoyed the episode, a score as low as 45 doesn't really seem to reflect that lol. Or did you mean that you enjoyed where the story is going but you aren't a fan of the execution?

    I'm surprised to see that you were okay with the time logic flaws, but I suppose there were other more important flaws with this episode.

    Good point about implausible decisions and the use of conversations between characters to solve problems. It does seem to be a bit of a pattern now that I think about it.

    Great point about the plan to capture a wight being inefficient as well. Though I am convinced that the undead army is moving at the pace of a melting stick of butter going down a hill so at this point it seems unlikely that they will EVER make it to The Wall.

    Great prediction as well. After reading that I honestly think you are dead on about it. It seems like the kind of thing you would see in this show. I expect that the storyline will conclude in this season's finale.

    Interesting point about D&D relying on surprise to produce good television. It definitely seems like the success of the Red Wedding has driven them to that conclusion which is a shame. Last week I watched a very informative video about D&D regarding the Stannis storyline which really surprised me about D&D's approach to making television. Honestly it makes me surprised that these past 3 seasons haven't been worse than they were. If you have a lot of time on your hands it may be worth a watch. There are some spoilers from Book 5 though. Here's a link:

    Viewer score: 57 / 100

    Posted by Aaronic, 15/08/2017 9:56pm (3 years ago)

  • I don't know what your constant beef with David and Dan's show being considered good tv by a majority of viewers is. I am not even sure that what you are saying about 'surprise' being key to them is even accurate. A lot of these things have been set up since the very beginning of the show, such as the letter that Sansa was forced to write and which Baelish is using to create discord now. I don't care whether and how you criticise the source material or not, we are talking just about the show here and overall I think your assessment of the show has been very flawed because I think you belittle the efforts involved, the acting, the cinematography, and yes the writing. I care about high quality tv criticism and yours does not factor in a lot of elements that make this show enjoyable. It is satisfying to me because it just clarifies what is relevant to the show: that the political squabbling over who gets to sit on that stupid iron chair is completely meaningless and most people who died up until this point died for nothing because that's what war is: selfishly motivated people needlessly sending other people to die for their selfish reasons.

    Some people don't believe in climate change in the US either and some people, like Donald Trump, are not likely to be convinced by factual evidence. Does that mean climate scientists should just stop talking about factual evidence and we should all stop trying to use facts to convince people in authority who don't care about facts? Jon Snow on the show is in a very similar situation here: he knows the wights and white walkers are real but even maesters in the Citadel won't believe the threat even from eyewitness accounts (eyewitnesses like Samwell). So the only way to convince anyone would be to show them physical proof of the existence of the wights, which is, by the way, also something that happened in the second book of the series but by the time the hand of the wight who attacked Jeor Mormont at Castle Black had reached King's Landing, it had decomposed and was dismissed as irrelevant and unconvincing proof. I agree that that in and of itself is no guarantee that the people Jon is trying to convince will act in humanity's best interest but trusting in their self-interest in survival is why Tyrion suggested this plan in the first place. He knows his sister will want to preserve at least her own life and it might also be that he just does not want to see his family completely destroyed by an increasingly meaningless conflict.

    I can see Jon trusting the Brotherhood if he considers that the living can trust each other to fight against the dead because that is how the show has set things up: humanity must band together even though potential for conflict exists between them but that should actually not matter if the fate of humanity is at stake. There is some great potential for Beric and Jon interacting as people who have both come back from the dead as well and for Jon to get someone else's experience and insights about that. Plus, their mission resembles the legend of the Last Hero in the book series (a myth on par with the Prince who was promised or Azor Ahai or other similar legends), a man who, with his companions, went into the heart of winter to find the Children of the Forest and confront the White Walkers. The show is still a fantasy show and I'd rather watch a show whose message is: the only enemy humanity can justify fighting against is a supernatural, imaginary one rather than something like the fascist show 'The Walking Dead' where the philosophy is 'my group's survival trumps your group's survival and violence is justified if it means I and the small group of people I care about get to survive'. At least Jon Snow cares about everybody, including Cersei because he cares about humanity's survival as a whole in the face of possible extinction. Whether or not politically it's a smart move is sort of irrelevant. 3 episodes ago Jon also acknowledged how foolish he was by just going to Dany and how anybody would have advised him to make a different choice so I don't think the show ignores the fact that it was a terrible decision in any other circumstance but the show also demonstrated that in this instance Jon managed to convince someone.

    You can't imagine Tyrion sailing across the bay from Dragonstone to King's Landing? They're not that far away. You can't imagine Cersei being aware of this with Qyburn's little birds running around everywhere? You can't imagine her letting it go? I think the dangers were made pretty clear by the scene on the beach and had they not had Gendry there they would have been captured.

    Do you think Jon was lying when he talked about the dragons being beautiful, fascinating creatures? I think he was really genuine in his admiration for them.

    Viewer score: 85 / 100

    Posted by Beric, 14/08/2017 7:33pm (3 years ago)

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