GAME OF THRONES: S4 – ‘The Watchers On The Wall’ Review
Aaand we’re back to some badass action and epic adventure in Season 4 of GAME OF THRONES. Besides some high tension drama and some brutally brief action sequences and horrible-ness, we’ve been lacking in epic action this season… until tonight that is. The 2nd to last episode of Season 4 focuses only on Jon Snow and the men at the Night’s Watch and it kicks ass at…. literally!
This episode stays away from anyone else in the show except for Jon Snow and the men at the Wall. The imminent march of the Wildlings on the Wall, along with Mance Ryder is upon us! We’ve got 100,000 men coming at the Wall from the North, while Snow’s Wildling girlfriend and that small splinter cell of Wildlings tries to infiltrate Castle Black from the ground. It’s an attack on both fronts and this episode rides high on he action from beginning to end and doesn’t let up! Pure blood, fiery arrows and amazing swordplay is at work as chaos erupts and things finally progress along a storyline set up from last season. Finally!!
Besides Dragons & creepy magic lady & frozen Zombies, this is also the first time in 4 Seasons that we get to experience some other elements of the fantasy genre. The Wildlings north of the wall marching towards it, also happen to be accompanied with something we’ve heard of quite often but never seen: Giants. Giants riding motherfucking Mammoths. I almost had a LORD OF THE RINGS flashback there. The Giants appear on full display this episode as one even makes it past the Gates into the inner tunnels of the Wall and the wait is well worth it. Fighting off intruders on both fronts, while outnumbered 1:1000, the Night’s Watch have their work cut out for them.
In brighter news, the girl that Sam, the fat friend of Jon Snow’s, rescued and has a thing for, is alive and well and comes back to Castle Black for a romantic reunion with Sam. While Jon Snow’s Wildling girl is also looking to be reunited with Snow, but she wants to kill the hell out of him. When face to face however, she hesitates, only to be shot with an arrow by a child. It’s an emotionally bitter-sweet moment to see the two reunited, he smile on Jon’s face, only to be followed by the devastation of her death. But it’s GAME OF THRONES, so epic fuckin’ tragedy in every episode has now become an expectation.
It’s a rough night as the boys hold back the massive army at their gates, defeat the threat inside the Castle, but lose many men in between, including their leader, leaving Jon in charge. After a whiny season spent doing nothing, Jon Snow finally steps up and proclaims his hereditary bad-ass-ness as the only awesome Stark left in this show. Well, kind of Stark. So there is an upside. But it loses ground quickly as he devises a strategy that is basically suicide. He wants to ride out past the wall and meet Mance Ryder, the leader of the Wildling Army, and kill him, in order to make the Army leader-less and scatter them tot he winds. It’s a bold plan, given that the alternative to keep fighting them off every night will eventually fail. The episode ends with Jon Snow, going through the outer gate of the Wall. It’s a ‘holy shit’ moment as there is only 1 episode left and a helluva lot left to be resolved.
I’m going to go ahead and call this episode the best of Season 4. I’ve been complaining about the lack of commitment to every plot line and subplot as the stories and characters grow during this show. So it was very much a change of pace to have an entire episode be dedicated to one of the story lines that’s been neglected so much throughout the season. I would love if GAME OF THRONES did 1 or 2 subplots per episode to better give each set of characters in an arc the screen time they deserved, instead of more to others at the expense of others. I have no predictions for Episode 10 of Season 4, but I’m pretty sure it will death with Tyrion’s impending execution. I have a feeling that Jamie will come to his rescue, against the will of the Kingdom, and the brothers Lannister will become fugitives on the run and end up on the other side of this war.
GAME OF THRONES Season 4 Finale is next Sunday!