This is probably far more of a personal version of a review than should be allowed for a "critic" but I have to go all out on this one. The Long Night, the third episode in the final season of Game of Thrones, is the best episode of television I have ever seen.
I write that now knowing that in ten years someone is going to pull this review out and say, look here, you said this and I will still stand over this statement.
First of all, let's deal with the big problem - the dark. "I can't see it!!", wailed fans on social media and you know what? You're meant to see about as much as the makers intended. This is a battle, taking place in the dark. The Long Night. The Endless Night looming that the Night King has promised. Was everyone looking for bloody floodlights? You saw what you were meant to see - even the cinematographers who are working on the biggest show of all time stated that. They want you to be as confused as the characters facing the unknown. We've had hints of this coming for months now, even the trailers are kind of difficult to watch.
Secondly, the good old row about the Night King. "He's only here for three episodes and he's gone!" Well, no he's not. He's been here for about eight seasons now, waiting around in the background to launch his attack. He's being pulling those strings for quite a long time. Was he clever about that attack? No, Captain Arrogant was convinced no one could take him on but he didn't expect Arya.
Third, Arya. Every single second of every single episode has led Arya to this point. Needle, her relationship with Jon, protected by the Night's Watch, trained by the Hound (remember he showed her how to kill a man, through the heart?) and by the Faceless Men and good at a game of knife switch-a-roo with Brienne. She's an assassin - fast, quiet, stealth and a dancer. She is the Prince (not necessarily a man, remember) that was promised.
Fourth, not enough people died. Well, that's right now. If there's anything we've learned about watching this series, surely it's that they're not going to give us exactly what we expect. Ned, The Red Wedding, Tyrion, Littlefinger, Joffrey, Cersei and the Sept - the list is endless. Granted, we probably weren't expecting as many people to survive but we definitely all thought half the cast was going to be gone by this week. Hang in there people, we'll all be complaining someone prominent is dead next week probably.
Fifth, Jon screaming at a dragon. Well that... that's just exactly what you're going to do at that stage when all hope is lost, isn't it? Like it's the 10.32am screaming match in McDonald's when you can't get your McMuffin and your hungover to bits. It's not reasonable but it's probably understandable.
Andy Lee, Eoin Sheahan, Tommy Rooney and Sue Murphy will be with you all throughout Season 8; dissecting each moment, guiding you through the deaths and the back-stabbings, and bringing you our theories on the prospects of the living and the dead who are vying to rule Westeros!
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