Just like most of the penultimate episodes, “Beyond the Wall” has game-changing event and loss, and this is perhaps the most devastating one yet: A dragon is killed by the Night King. However, unlike most penultimate episodes, this one suffers greatly on story-pacing, resulting into a mediocre episode.
Don’t get me wrong though, the episode still has some incredible action sequences and solid performances from the stars, but it glosses over important plot line and character developments in a way that I don’t feel the weight until it is over. I’m not even sure which dragon is killed until later.
It’s a major blow to lose Viserion, but it’s even more terrifying to have the Night King resurrects him and adds it to his ever-growing army of dead. Now that he has a dragon in his army, what’s stopping him from flying over the wall into Westeroes right away? This is also the firs time I’ve seen Dany so scared in a long while. Dany’s ego has been carried for the last episodes, so while I’m not a fan at all with her dragon being killed, maybe this is what she needs to humble down a bit. However, this also brings back to the pacing issue I mentioned before, as the shortened season didn’t really give us a chance to fully experience Dany’s transformation, other than a short conversation between her and Tyrion in the episode.
At least Viserion’s death finally brings the union between Dany and Jon. After seeing Dany’s sacrifices to save him, Jon finally agrees Dany to be her Queen. While not able to physically “bend the knee,” he’s definitely swearing loyalty to her after everything that happens. Also, the sacrifices here means there’s enough evidence to convince Cersei the threat is real right? The Westeros is going to unite as one to fight the army of dead will be awesome to look at. However, with only seven episodes left in the show, I wonder how rush the remaining show is going to be.
Let’s talk about the actual journey beyond the wall. A lot happened here, but due to the strange pacing of the story, I’m not sure if I weight everything in correctly. The Suicide Squad seems to develop some sort of bond during the journey, but it’s hard to understnad what really happened, and a member is already dead (rest in peace Thoros). This is really strange for fans, especially after seasons of slow plotting. In one way, I’m happy with the show gaining momentum towards the end of the series, but at the same time, it’s kind of disjunction as it’s not clear how much time has actually passed.
I mean, Gendry actually ran back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Dany, and to have her flying to rescue all the way from Dragonstone is just crazy. The world of Game of Thrones is suddenly so much smaller.
Despite the strange pacing, it’s cool we get some interactions between characters we usually don’t get to see. Jon and Jorah’s conversation about Longclaw and the Mormont legacy is a moving one, and I had a lot of fun watching The Hound and Tormund talking about Brienne. However, after all the character moments, I’m surprised to see that none of them are killed. I could have swear Jorah giving up the sword to Jon means his end is near, but it doesn’t seem to be the case at all. This is not the Game of Thrones I’m used to, as it’s a show where no one is supposed to be safe. But I guess that’s not the case anymore since the show is coming to an end.
Let’s talk about the drama in Winterfell. The scene between Arya and Sansa is really intense, and I’m almost sure that Arya will take Sansa’s face (almost). This is the beauty of this season’s Game of Thrones. After long seasons of seeing these characters apart, it’s fun to see them interacting in one place without knowing what each other has been through. The misunderstanding is understandable, but it still doesn’t justified how they can both fall into Littlefinger’s trap so easily! The situation in Winterfell is taking a bad turn, and I truly hope the best for the Stark sisters.
But I just can’t stress enough how the pacing issue is starting to show plot holes. Characters are missing, and storylines are being left out. For example, where is Euron this whole time, and wasn’t Theon supposed to rescue her sister? Also, where is Bran this whole time? This is just to show that “Beyond the Wall” is not a powerful episode as we expected, and a lot of important character moments are overlooked. This also includes the tender moment between Jon and Dany towards the end of the episode. This is an important moment as it’s the first we’ve seen Dany being vulnerable in the longest time, but I don’t think we have enough weight on it.
Overall, “Beyond the Wall” is an episode full of actions, important game-changing events and revelations. However, fast-pacing storyline gloss over important characters moments, and the episode ends up not being as weighted as expected. It’s the season finale next week, and with a wight ready to present to Cersei, hopefully we get to see an awesome Westeros union ready to fight the dead.
p.s. How (terrifying) awesome will it be if the season ends with the Night Kind flying into King’s Landing on Viserion’s back.
p.p.s. Uncle Benjen is dead too. See how fast the episode moves I forgot about it?