Last week's episode of Game of Thrones, which saw the destruction of the Night King, sent fans reeling. After all, as Daniel D'Addario puts it for Variety, "Killing off your main villain with three episodes to go is a weird thing to do." He also thinks Sunday night's show did it "doubly well," with both a huge feast "in which every member of the Winterfell team worked out or worked through their feelings," followed by the establishment of what lies ahead. Those feelings, revealed both during and after a rather bacchanalian party, included an abrupt romance between Jaime and Brienne, a rejected proposal from Gendry to Arya, and even a tender moment between Sansa and the Hound. The episode, D'Addario writes, was "proof of Thrones' ability, still, to toggle between plotlines and tones elegantly even as the story winnows down to a few key characters." Reaction across the rest of the board, however, is decidedly mixed:
- All over the place. Siding with D'Addario is Erik Kain, who calls the episode "incredible" for Forbes: "a dense, at times funny, at times horrifying episode." Still, he found plenty that was problematic, including a "superfluous" scene with Bronn, the too-quick death of Rheagal the dragon, and the fact that we don't get to see Arya and Sansa's reaction to Jon Snow's lineage revelation.
- 'Disappointing.' Todd VanDerWerff isn't on board, noting for Vox that the script was a "mess" for what he calls "the weakest episode of the final season so far." He also notes four winners and six losers from Sunday night's "mildly chaotic" antics.
- Script struggles. Stephen Kelly also has issues with Sunday's episode—notably, "bizarre pacing" (the sudden ambush of Daenerys' dragons, as one example) and a fizzle between Daenerys and Jon Snow. "A couple hasn't lacked this much chemistry since Anakin and Padme in the Star Wars prequels," he writes for the BBC.
- Not a fan. In USA Today, Kelly Lawler piles on, writing that "the episode was filled with lapses in logic that were too irritating to ignore," "a plague of idiocy on the part of most of its supposed heroes," and the setup for an ending that may bring Daenerys to a Mad Queen fate: "predictable, boring, and disappointing after all this time."
- Jaime's 'baffling choice.' The first shocker for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's character last night was his hookup with Brienne; the second was dumping her to head back to Cersei, though for what purpose we're not yet sure. Joanna Robinson writes in Vanity Fair that this is "almost certainly the beginning of the end for the Kingslayer"—and Coster-Waldau himself offers some insight. "The core of him has always been Cersei," he notes of Jaime. "When that's taken away, what are you then?"
- Hmmm. Alicia Lutes poses 14 big questions for Vulture, including why Lyanna Mormont wasn't turned into a wight after the last episode, whether we'll see Tormund ever again, and, agreeing with Lawler's idiocy take: "When did everyone get so dumb?"
- Cersei's demise—not Arya, Jaime, or Daenerys? With pundits speculating on who will be the one to ultimately take on the wicked queen, Lauren Sarner thinks Sansa's our gal. Writing for the New York Post, Sarner notes that "Sansa is the one Cersei won't see coming—because she accidentally helped bring it about, in shaping Sansa to be this cunning. It's all very Oedipus Rex."
- Whoops. Anachronism hunters would have been richly rewarded for their efforts last night, thanks to a seeming slip noticed by Vlad Savov (and lots of other eagle-eyed watchers) for the Verge. As Winterfell celebrated its victory over the White Walkers, what appears to be a Starbucks cup appears in the frame in front of Jon Snow's seat—which Savov says could have been a mistake, or maybe a "deliberate tongue-in-cheek insertion to get people riled up and talking about the show even more." Check out the pic here.
- Family ties. In an episode featuring plenty of action on the sexual front, it may be for the best that Jon Snow and Daenerys didn't get their turn between the sheets, at least for Emilia Clarke. That's due to an "awkward" fact pointed out by Mehera Bonner for Cosmopolitan: Clarke recently revealed to Jimmy Kimmel that her brother is one of the show's cameramen. "There are some days when he's like, 'Oh, I'll swing by,' because he's ... filming next door," she said. "And I'll go, 'No, it's good. I'm good, you can stay there."
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