Monday, June 9, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x09 The Watchers on the Wall

By Sati. Monday, June 9, 2014 ,
You know how I wrote in every single Rambling Friday how I hope that the showrunners won't screw up one of my two favorite moments in book 3? See I wasn't afraid they would - I thought to myself no one can possibly be this stupid.

Oh, they proved me wrong.

It's not that the big ending to the battle was screwed up. The big ending to the battle? It didn't even happen. The battle episode did not end with the ending of the battle. It ended on a cliffhanger. And in that moment my soul died.

That opening credits thing? It doesn't matter. They didn't do it. For they aborted my dreams.

Also my will to write is gone for the time being- no Rambling Friday this week. And my will to watch finale live also disappeared. I'm just gonna see it loaded in the evening on the next day. I stayed up to watch this one. Now I'm tired and incredibly pissed off. I've been awake for about 28h now and the anger is keeping m awake.

You know how at the end of the Mhysa I felt like someone slapped me across the face because something that I was anticipating didn't happen? The thing I was anticipating would technically be an addition as the scene was not written, just mentioned in the books.

But here it was all there. The source material. The set up. The resources. And instead of making it a badass awesome ending that people would talk about for entire week it's going to be one of the many scenes in the finale, filled with twists so mind blowing people will forget about the big wonderful scene by the time the episode ends.

The Watchers on the Wall ripped my heart out and crushed it.

And to quote Ron Swanson after he was shot in the head - yeah, I'm just gonna stay angry.

I think part of my excitement for the show died with that ending. I will never again defend the writers. There is no excuse and I'm not interested in looking for one. They killed that part of me that always believed whatever happens they will do the big moments in the book justice. What they did last night was as if they ended Rains of Castamere when Catelyn heard the music. Or if they ended Purple Wedding after the joust.

They gave an entire episode to the battle. They didn't even give entire episode to Red Wedding. And they didn't even have the whole battle in it. They could have easily fit the first 15 minutes of the episode in previous ones and they would have enough time to pull it off. But they didn't. This is what pisses me off - this episode was like 50 minutes of build up with no pay off. Had this and finale aired back to back it would be fine. People would still remember the tension, the hype, the danger.

But leaving people with this after making the whole episode about the Wall? 7 days of waiting? Having build up in one episode and climax in another? What?
What makes the battle into game changing event is its ending. What is the point of stand alone episode if the most important thing about the battle is not even shown and gets delayed to be in episode with at least 4 other mind blowing developments?

Another thing is the battle itself. It was a far cry from Blackwater - the fire had nothing on Wildfire, the combat scenes while more realistic didn't have the same impact because I cared more about people in Blackwater. The whole episode was emotionally powerful and the ending was the final punch. The ending is the most important part. And it was gutted and spat on in front of me.

Also - big battle apparently constitutes 2 giants, 1 mammoth and 5 climbers. Oh my.
This will be short.

I'm gonna give a quick rundown of things I liked:
  • the music was fantastic
  • Sam was the highlight of the episode - he was so convincing and was the emotional core of the whole thing, the scene were he held his dying friend was very good
  • the shots of Wall were epic
  • The wallers chanting their vows as the giant was approaching
  • Slynt being a pathetic coward he is
  • The whole Ygritte/Jon scene - the final shot of the scene with him holding her body as the others fight in slow motion was gorgeous
  • I liked the CGI on mammoth and giants
  • Thorne's scenes were great. His speech was my favorite moment of the episode.
  • the cinematography was lovely and that tracking shot was very good
That's it.
slight spoilers in this paragraph though at this point, who gives a fuck anymore - Next week I'm sure Dany flies over to Westeros on one of her dragons, makes a stop at King's Landing and rescues Tyrion and then they burn Stannis alive. Off screen because if Stephen Dillane actually got screentime THE WORLD WOULD FUCKING END.

You'd think I'm joking but I wouldn't be surprised if that happened.

If there was ever an episode to redeem the show it's the next one, though. It seems like it will actually have my 2 favorite moments (one of them degraded from awesome ending, never forget, never) and the adaptation of my favorite chapter (Tyrion). But I'm not getting my hopes up.

Here's promo for The Children:
PREVIOUS SEASON 4 RECAPS:


30 comments:

  1. Dumb and Dumber did it again. At least they're writing less episodes next season. This was far worse than I ever imagined. This is by far my least favourite episode adaptationwise.
    SPOILERS
    To think that I waited for this moment ever since the season 3 Stannis character assassination telling myself that it would get better once the Wall scene happened. Nope! Also a battle that'll put the Blackwater to shame my ass Benioff. The "real battle" in episode 10 better deliver Graves.
    PS. As cool Kit has been this season IMO he lacks the voice and the charisma of a leader. For example the way he shouted "loose" sounded less commanding than Janos Slynt. Alliser, Grenn and even Edd evoked more leadership than Jon.

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    1. Same here, the least favorite ep.

      I think Graves' sequence will top that entire lackluster battle. He is fantastic when it comes to action scene

      You're right about his voice, but I was overall very happy with his work this season.

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  2. I wasn't even heavily anticipating where I thought this episode would end beyond it being a cool moment from the book, and I was let down too. I thought with 100% certainty that this episode would end there. Squishing it in next week makes no sense.

    If they started the battle like 5-10 minutes in instead of halfway, it could have been done. They should have had Gilly return last week and they didn't need the scene around the fire with the wildlings. This all was set up enough throughout the season that it wasn't necessary. Didn't need the scene with Jon & Sam talking about ladies. I did like the Aemon scene (which was good enough for explaining Sam's feelings about Gilly).

    I think it would have been very cool to show the perspective of Mance's side of things. Even if it was only a brief 1 scene visit to him giving orders or saying that they would retreat for the night.

    The action was cool and the big sweeping shot over the landscape and the tracking shot around the yard were both great. I liked that they showed Janos wimping out, as it's a great set up to one of my favorite book moments.

    The episode as a whole though clearly lacked the punch of Blackwater.

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    1. It really doesn't. They have gone insane with that ending.

      Yeah some of those scenes were nice but overall it was just a piss poor planning on their part. In terms of constructing the narrative for this season they failed immensely here.

      I love that upcoming moment with Janos! It's fantastic and I hope they do it justice.

      Absolutely, far cry from Blackwater.

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  3. That's a good point about the beginning of this episode. They really could've had all of that in 7, and left The Wall with seeing Mance's fire. It never even occurred to me that they would leave out the end of the battle. I know there were others that saw it coming, but I thought they'd manage to fit it all in.

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    1. I had hope in these people that they realize you just don't end biggest episode, a battle episode at that, without climax.

      I was wrong.

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  4. I am sorry Sati. The Stannis moment would have been a great end capper to the episode. Breaking it up into two, or holding off until next season, the moment loses it's luster. Sadly, I cannot get too worked about the Night's Watch or Mance on the show (easily my favorite part of book 5) because they get such little screen time and development. Imagine if Mance got the development that Oberyn at least got.

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    1. It's in finale, but still, it's such a waste. Mance wouldn't get such development, he doesn't frequent the brothels they love to show us :)

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  5. Oy, your short recap no doubt speaks volumes on how you feel about this episode. That's a bummer that you didn't enjoy this one Sati. Btw, I'm still enjoying the GoT soundtrack every time I come here, so I guess Mr. Djawadi still hasn't disappoint w/ the music.

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    1. My epic tumblr/twitter breakdowns speak even louder :) I'm gonna put this season's soundtrack today it is even better.

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  6. Yes! This is perfect, and I can totally relate to saying "What the fuck just happened?". I was taking notes and actually chucked my pen on the ground when the episode ended. I attempted to recap this one but my disappointment was palpable. I agree with everything you liked in this episode, there were defiitely some good elements. But as a book reader, I would much prefer to see the books and characters authentically represented on screen. Oh yeah, and apparently it's such a big battle, but it had nowhere near the scope nor the stakes that Blackwater had - because they chopped the best bit out! Why even bother with this, the most expensive episode of the show apparently, if it doesn't represent the actual whole battle? It just doesn't make any sense! Damn you D&D, the flaming poop on your doorstep is inevitable.

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    1. Absolutely I mean where the fuck did the money go? Stannis' fleet looked more impressive than this shit. Was all of this spent on the wide shots? Still there is no replacement for emotional involvement in the episode.

      I'd send them my yorkie's poop daily if they could. Not using the ending to the battle as the ending to the episode is the worst thing they've ever done on the show

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  7. While watching the ending I was sure something was supposed to happen that would make me feel that this was one of those awesome moments from the books.
    If it weren't for you to mention Stephen Dillane in en each one of your post I would forget that there was a Stanis out there, you know, a POV character (I'm not sure he is, but he must be, yes?), that feels to me like an addition from the show that I am not supposed to give a fuck about because he's been in 2 episodes so far. And now that I re-watched episode 10 from last season I can speculate where he should have been so far (don't worry, there is nothing nicer than speculating about the future of the storylines because I've a week after each episode, and I'm sure once you started reading the books the last thing you had time for is trying to guess what's next).
    At least the mammoth and the giants looked really cool.

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    1. No POV, Kings don't get PoVs :)

      Well let's just say that scene in Mhysa is far more important than this season showed you and it showed you nothing about it. I'm gonna comment once the season ends on entire Stannis arc which was handled rather well in s4 until recently.

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  8. Seems to me Sam is somewhat like the Sam of LOTR, kinda bumbling at first, but working up the strength later on. After finding his girl, he goes to battle. Well, sort of.

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    1. Well the whole battle was a lot like Helm's Deep.
      Well not 'was'...'would be' because they aborted the ending.

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  9. Well, I liked this episode very much, maybe because I've never read the book and had no anticipation. It was epic, I mean the battle was something. Maybe it did not end, but I enjoyed every second of those fifty minutes.

    P.S. HBO and producers submitted this episode for directing. I think it has good chances alongside the Laws of Gods and Men

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    1. I think The Children will kick ass of these two, easily :)

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  10. So sorry it was so disappointing for you! I've never been more glad for not having read the books because while it was lacking something really BIG and was filler-y, I only saw the things you liked, and really liked the episode. Ygritte broke my heart and Sam was truly amazing. Really hope next week will make it up to you!!

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    1. I hope so too. It really sucks to know the book story sometimes.

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  11. I have not got to this point in the books yet so I'm not familiar with the scene you're referring to. As someone who hasn't gotten that far in the books, I can still say that the episode left much to be desired. I don't know if the show is trying to slow down for Martin's sake or what? All I know is that I've been growing increasingly disgruntled with the producers and the creators of the show this season for various reasons. I've previously said that I'm absolutely convinced they have at least one pervert working on the show. Now I'm convinced they have a couple of bad writers in the mix.

    I think the show's greatest problem is pacing, which is a writing issue. The powers that be are putting in a multitude of unnecessary scenes throughout the season to give each character "screen time," which takes away from important story archs. Then they get to the point where they're at the end of the season and it's too late. The show is character driven instead of story-driven. I certainly enjoy character development, but the producers/writers of the show seem to have a hard time balancing character versus storyline.

    They also seem to follow up one really awesome episode with a bad one. Rinse, repeat.

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    1. Hopefully the next one will be great it most certainly has potential to be the best.

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  12. Holy shit. This episode was a spectacular failure! How this is even possible with such great book material?! I'm so freaking appalled with that fucking ending! And calling that battle epic or whatever else it was called by showmakers seems like a joke. Battles in Lord of the Rings, that was epic. I know this is TV bugdet but still it's freaking HBO! I'm sure they could afford something much more spectacular but wait, no! They must end this season with Dany and her dragons so nope.
    Seriously, if we're getting yet another Dany ending, I going to lose it. Looking at Emilia in that trailer makes me think that she looks like she's about to puke. Is it suppose to be dispare or indigestion?

    Back to the episode. The only highlights for me this week were: scene between Jon and Ygritte, must say I liked the way they acted (Kit is still doing good job imo) and Throne's speeches, they were quite powerful, although giving the events that might occur next season (I'm saying might because with those fuckers D&D we can't take anything for granted anymore) I think he stole the show from Jon, he was suppose to be the one who takes the charge and gives all those lines.
    Also I agree with you that the whole thing had a Helm's Deep mark written all over it but unfortunatelly they decided to exclude one "tiny, little" detail - freaking Gandalf!

    I know that the entire season we saw some hints about LS but right now I'm so worried we won't see her. The show lasts 50 minutes and they need to show us Stannis, Jon & Mance,whole King's Landing bit, Bran and of course Dany ;/
    With no LS ending I'm going to look like this: https://p.gr-assets.com/540x540/fit/hostedimages/1380380625/737560.gif

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    1. Blackwater was so much more epic. I just can't justify that ending choice. It's insane to deprive an episode solely at the Wall of the most important event of the battle and move it to a finale with so much shit going down.

      I really freaking hope we won't end with Dany. The book ending is the only I find accaptable.

      He totally stole the show from Jon :) Really fantastic performance by the actor there. 'Now with me, now!' - awesome.

      The finale is 66 minutes long, the longest episode to date so there is some hope....haha same here with the gif it's my single most anticipated event in the books!

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  13. "This is what pisses me off - this episode was like 50 minutes of build up with no pay off. " that is what I felt.. it felt like it was a marathon, and they only showed the beginning and the final applaud worthy end never happened. Which is sad,, cause I haven't even read the books and I didn't like it.. I can only imagine your anger.

    I'm certain that by the time next season begins I'm all caught up with the books, which is when I can start actually commenting on how the show is interpretating the books which is something I currently get from you. I'm not sure if I want to though.. because I have a feeling the show is beginning to disappoint the readers. The first season stayed so true and so honorable to the books and now, season to season, it seems it just steers away from everything for god knows why.

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    1. It only adds to my impression really when non book readers, who have no idea what's coming, felt letdown too. They dropped the ball so bad here.

      Oh, it is. It's not so much usually disappointment as frustration. I swear sometimes they change stuff for no reason, just because they can.

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  14. Ouch. I guess I should be happy to have not read the books at this point. I really liked this episode for one reason: it made me like Jon Snow.

    I never cared for the guy until this point, and I actually was worried about this episode simply because I didn't care about anyone involved. Thankfully I was entertained for the 50+ minutes, even if the ending was a cliffhanger.

    My book-reading friends had similar complaints as you, however. It sounds like they are going to have to cram in A LOT in the finale. I really hope it doesn't disappoint.

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    1. Yeah, reading the books is occasionally the worst thing when watching that show :/

      Glad you liked Jon! I am very impressed with Kit this season.

      I sure hope it's good!

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  15. It feels like I'm in the minority for being a book reader and actually enjoying this episode. I thought it was better than the TV version of the Battle of Blackwater. Sure we didn't get the pay off, but I didn't for once expect we would get that in one episode.

    Thought the battle was well covered in the episode. Enjoyed the fact that there's been mimimal Dany in this season because from here on, IMO, in the books, her storyline is just awful and boring and was painful to read.

    Liked that Jon was finally as much as a bad ass as he's meant to be.

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    1. Better than Blackwater? Well, for me nothing tops that and this certainly didn't in any way. I assumed the writers may be clever here and use it as great ending instead of just a finale scene. I was giving them more credit and benefit of the doubt than they deserve.

      It is still too much Dany this season :P

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