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TV Review: This Week on Game of Thrones (S4 Episode 9/ June 8, 2014)

06.08.2014

NOTE: Join us every MONDAY as we review the latest episode...

EPISODE 9: The Watchers on the Wall

THE PLOT : The long summer is at an end, winter truly is coming and with it the cold winds of war as five self proclaimed Kings claim dominance over Westeros, but there can be only one winner when you play the game of thrones.

THE LOWDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode). Now that was a battle! One of the minor complaints throughout the seasons of this show has been the battles, or rather, their lack of substance. In the beginning it was mostly a matter of budget, which I understand, and then we all got so excited for the battle of Blackwater Bay, which had its moments but still felt…lacking. Not tonight. Not this battle. Finally, GAME OF THRONES gets an insane bout of warfare we call all agree was truly epic.

Before the orchestra of violence begins its wail, we’re shown that tonight’s other theme is love. It starts with Jon and Sam atop the wall discussing sex and loopholes in their vows (I love Sam’s interpretation). Jon still loves Ygritte and isn’t looking forward to meeting her on the battlefield. Sam loves Gilly and doesn’t want to lose her again—he even sneaks in a kiss, the sly dog. These two situations you see coming whether you read the books or not, but it was Maester Aemon’s story that I enjoyed the most—I love that guy. We even get a love/hate moment between Jon and Alliser Thorne. It’s cool to hear him admit that Jon was right, and although he’d never do it, you have to wonder if (for even a split second) Jon thought about pushing him off the wall.

When it comes to “epic battles” captured on screen, especially in this genre, we tend to look back at LOTR: THE TWO TOWERS. It was the sheer scale and vast amount of detail that won us over. The same thing can be said here. From “the greatest fire the north has ever seen”, to the advancing of Mance’s men (accompanied by giants and mammoths) across the snow. Everything about this battle looked phenomenal from a visual standpoint. The score went hand in hand with the rising tension as the assault hit the boys simultaneously from the two vantage points. It was captured perfectly with standout moments like the first arrow the giant fires over the wall, impaling some poor bastard and landing on the other side—definitely a “jaw agape” moment. This was easily the greatest battle TV has even seen, but I dare say it rivals even the best movies out there. Bold words, I know, but I was beyond impressed.

GAME OF THRONES SEASON FOUR's ninth episode was all about The Wall, much like the Blackwater Bay episode, only ten times better. It was a heartfelt night for some of our beloved characters though. Ygritte was on fire, she was out for major blood, and she killed Pip—I totally didn’t remember who lived and died tonight other than Ygritte, who would probably have killed Jon had it not been for that kid. Now correct me if I’m wrong (not that I have to worry, you guys live to do it), but I don’t recall Jon witnessing Ygritte’s death in the books. I just remember him finding her with an arrow through her chest. It was obviously more emotional this way, so I can see why they’d change it. We also lose Grenn, a damn shame, considering he, Jon and Pip were the original trio. I’d love to be in the room when they try to question Tormund, can’t see that going well, and it’s a shame we didn’t actually see Mance—I also don’t remember Jon’s sojourn beyond The Wall to find him, but I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. I’d have taken Ghost with me though. One…episode…left.

SEX/NUDITY: None of that tonight, though there’s lots of talk about it.

VIOLENCE: It’s all-out war baby! Arrows are flying, axes and swords are swinging, there’s fire, explosions, a hammer caving in a skull, faces getting eaten. We definitely get our violence fix for the week.

SHARPEST QUIP: : I enjoyed Maester Aemon’s story about love, and his quote at the end made it all the better; “Nothing makes the past a sweeter place to visit than the prospect of imminent death.”

MOST EPIC SCENE: I loved the battle from atop the wall, from the swinging of that hook cutting away sheets of ice, to the lowering of men into a horizontal position to fire arrows. It was all quite epic. But for me, it was the scene with Grenn and his crew as the giant came through the gate and rushed to face them. They knew they were no doubt going to die, but they held their ground and managed to kill the brute. Sure, we didn’t actually see it, but it was still pretty damn cool.

FINAL VERDICT :

TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS EPISODE BELOW!

And, here's a preview of next week's episode "The Children"

Extra Tidbit: There’s a certain something I’m hoping to see happen in the closing moments of next week’s episode, a particular character reveal that non-readers won’t see coming. You’ll know it, if it happens.
Source: JoBlo.com

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10:09AM on 06/09/2014

I'm just going to throw this out there.

It wasn't that great. Of course, the battle was fucking awesome and there were some very nice moments. Sam finally stepping up as a man who takes control. His speech about acting on instinct was perfect. This was a BIG Sam episode. The issues were Ygritte's death was clearly about to happen and I had ZERO doubt that she was going to die in any other way than in Jon Snow's arms. I am also just ten times more invested in the King's Landing storyline right now. Everything else in this show has
It wasn't that great. Of course, the battle was fucking awesome and there were some very nice moments. Sam finally stepping up as a man who takes control. His speech about acting on instinct was perfect. This was a BIG Sam episode. The issues were Ygritte's death was clearly about to happen and I had ZERO doubt that she was going to die in any other way than in Jon Snow's arms. I am also just ten times more invested in the King's Landing storyline right now. Everything else in this show has been carried by that combination of story and acting. I love me some Jon Snow, and want to know how it ends. I like GOT finally just giving us some huge fireworks, but a lot of people are going to overrate this because it was just so different than the norm.
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1:31PM on 06/09/2014
Sam stepping up is actually scaring me, because this means he'll probably get killed soon :(
Sam stepping up is actually scaring me, because this means he'll probably get killed soon :(
10:06AM on 06/09/2014
We look to The Two Towers? What about the Battle of the Pelennor Fields? Oh well.

Glad to see the show is staying strong.
We look to The Two Towers? What about the Battle of the Pelennor Fields? Oh well.

Glad to see the show is staying strong.
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9:46AM on 06/09/2014

Great Episode!!!

I would say my only "problem" with this episode insofar as I had one, was that I was getting ready for Jon Snow to die..
This show has me so conditioned to expect my favorite characters to die I was just kinda waiting for the other sword to drop so to speak...
Also that chick owes Sam AT THE VERY LEAST a hand job by now. He has put in some serious time...
I would say my only "problem" with this episode insofar as I had one, was that I was getting ready for Jon Snow to die..
This show has me so conditioned to expect my favorite characters to die I was just kinda waiting for the other sword to drop so to speak...
Also that chick owes Sam AT THE VERY LEAST a hand job by now. He has put in some serious time...
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6:54AM on 06/09/2014
Burn the bodies.
Burn the bodies.
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3:19AM on 06/09/2014

About Done with this.

I realize the books are most likely the same way, but Martins need for ' I am going to kill this character they will never expect it' is starting to wear thin. Personally I am just expecting the worse outcome and becoming right. You have to mix it up with a few wins otherwise you will just lose your audience. If the series just becomes loss after nut stomping loss you lose interest in the story and characters. I Like to call this Sons of Anarchy syndrome.
I realize the books are most likely the same way, but Martins need for ' I am going to kill this character they will never expect it' is starting to wear thin. Personally I am just expecting the worse outcome and becoming right. You have to mix it up with a few wins otherwise you will just lose your audience. If the series just becomes loss after nut stomping loss you lose interest in the story and characters. I Like to call this Sons of Anarchy syndrome.
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3:21AM on 06/09/2014
P.S. I am also about done with our one scene at the end of the season of Frost Walkers. Yeah we get it ' winter is coming ' but apparently extremely slowly.
P.S. I am also about done with our one scene at the end of the season of Frost Walkers. Yeah we get it ' winter is coming ' but apparently extremely slowly.
3:09AM on 06/09/2014
Tormund, man that norwgeian is one tough berserker. Full of arrows and no healing power but he still aint quitting.
Tormund, man that norwgeian is one tough berserker. Full of arrows and no healing power but he still aint quitting.
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2:14AM on 06/09/2014
Never have I felt regret in seeing a character I hate die until I watched Ygritte die
Never have I felt regret in seeing a character I hate die until I watched Ygritte die
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2:27AM on 06/09/2014
Why would you possibly hate Ygritte? She was feisty warrior girl, pretty, tough and a mighty fine shot. She's just fighting for her people, what's not to like?
Why would you possibly hate Ygritte? She was feisty warrior girl, pretty, tough and a mighty fine shot. She's just fighting for her people, what's not to like?
2:44AM on 06/09/2014
Thats all well and good if she was fighting Crows but she was participating in the slaughter of villagers and I wasn't exactly seeing much regret or hesitation. It was justice that that kid got to put the arrow though her heart for what she did to his father...I may have talked myself out of feeling regret for her death
Thats all well and good if she was fighting Crows but she was participating in the slaughter of villagers and I wasn't exactly seeing much regret or hesitation. It was justice that that kid got to put the arrow though her heart for what she did to his father...I may have talked myself out of feeling regret for her death
3:03AM on 06/09/2014
Oh. I had forgotten about the innocents. I guess all the mayhem is making me callous. Still, at least compared to the cannibal bastards, the other wildlings are nice guys.
Oh. I had forgotten about the innocents. I guess all the mayhem is making me callous. Still, at least compared to the cannibal bastards, the other wildlings are nice guys.
-4
2:12AM on 06/09/2014
Disappointed in the ending. A whole episode and it's still going into the season finale? Especially with all the other shit that needs focus? Ugh. The book did it soooo much better. Not trying to be an ass, but it did. That's all I guess.
Disappointed in the ending. A whole episode and it's still going into the season finale? Especially with all the other shit that needs focus? Ugh. The book did it soooo much better. Not trying to be an ass, but it did. That's all I guess.
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10:08AM on 06/09/2014
Of course the book is better. The books are masterful, and the show is "merely" very good. Still, it's not worth comparing the two in that way.
Of course the book is better. The books are masterful, and the show is "merely" very good. Still, it's not worth comparing the two in that way.
10:15AM on 06/09/2014
I'm not trying to compare them. I just don't know why they didn't end the battle in one episode. And I hope that what happens in the book in the north happens in the show. If not, it'll change soooo many things.
I'm not trying to compare them. I just don't know why they didn't end the battle in one episode. And I hope that what happens in the book in the north happens in the show. If not, it'll change soooo many things.
+9
1:56AM on 06/09/2014
10 episodes is just not enough, seriously.
10 episodes is just not enough, seriously.
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1:15AM on 06/09/2014
Yeah, I'm gonna have a lot of downvotes for this, but this was one of the worst episodes of the series for me... Sure, there was a lot of well-choreographed action, but for some reason, it was boring as hell for me. Maybe because I like the series for the interactions between the characters and how the actors play off on each other (like the beetle scene from last week) and we had almost nothing like that this week... A big let down for me as far as "episodes 9" go...
Yeah, I'm gonna have a lot of downvotes for this, but this was one of the worst episodes of the series for me... Sure, there was a lot of well-choreographed action, but for some reason, it was boring as hell for me. Maybe because I like the series for the interactions between the characters and how the actors play off on each other (like the beetle scene from last week) and we had almost nothing like that this week... A big let down for me as far as "episodes 9" go...
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1:36AM on 06/09/2014
I fully and 100% agree with your statement... It's no surprise that they chose the penultimate episode to focus on what I must assume is an integral battle in the books but like you I am far more interested in the interpersonal relationships and machinations of men... The battles are fun for 5-10 minuted tops but it started as a genre show so I can't really be mad that they stay true to that aspect of the show i.e. epic battles must be EPIC battles. Still, least we've got the final to look
I fully and 100% agree with your statement... It's no surprise that they chose the penultimate episode to focus on what I must assume is an integral battle in the books but like you I am far more interested in the interpersonal relationships and machinations of men... The battles are fun for 5-10 minuted tops but it started as a genre show so I can't really be mad that they stay true to that aspect of the show i.e. epic battles must be EPIC battles. Still, least we've got the final to look forward to.
2:06AM on 06/09/2014
I agree to an extent, I was disappointed there was nothing from the other story lines as well, but to use the "beetle" scene as an example was testament to just how differently people view this show. I thought the "beetle" scene was overly long and boring enough that on my second viewing, I fast forwarded through it (which I rarely do). Hopefully next week is at least the full 60 minutes and not the ripoff 51-53 we've gotten more than a few times.
I agree to an extent, I was disappointed there was nothing from the other story lines as well, but to use the "beetle" scene as an example was testament to just how differently people view this show. I thought the "beetle" scene was overly long and boring enough that on my second viewing, I fast forwarded through it (which I rarely do). Hopefully next week is at least the full 60 minutes and not the ripoff 51-53 we've gotten more than a few times.
11:33AM on 06/09/2014
i have to agree. Stanis vs King's Landing had more story woven in. This was kind of a boring battle and that's it.
i have to agree. Stanis vs King's Landing had more story woven in. This was kind of a boring battle and that's it.
12:45AM on 06/09/2014
Great episode..not sure if it's a 10/10, but it was great.
Great episode..not sure if it's a 10/10, but it was great.
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12:36AM on 06/09/2014

Great episode, but

I've been looking forward to seeing this chapter on the show, but for me what stood out from how it was depicted in the book was the prep work and strategy that went into winning the battle. If I recall correctly, Jon returns to Castle Black closer to when the battle takes place, and there's not really anyone else to command and very few men to fight. He sets about telling everyone what they need to do at each key location to have a chance at defending the wall. The winch elevator plays a key
I've been looking forward to seeing this chapter on the show, but for me what stood out from how it was depicted in the book was the prep work and strategy that went into winning the battle. If I recall correctly, Jon returns to Castle Black closer to when the battle takes place, and there's not really anyone else to command and very few men to fight. He sets about telling everyone what they need to do at each key location to have a chance at defending the wall. The winch elevator plays a key role in that.

The episode was entertaining in a Helm's Deep sort of way, but I think we missed out on watching a plan truly come together A-Team style.
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9:56AM on 06/09/2014
Haha, down votes from the anti-reading crowd? I'm glad I gave to that Reading Rainbow Kickstarter :)
Haha, down votes from the anti-reading crowd? I'm glad I gave to that Reading Rainbow Kickstarter :)
12:11AM on 06/09/2014
Although I had hoped for a bit more this episode (book readers will know what I mean), I still really liked it. The battle was suitably epic with a few standout moments (scythe, one-on-ones, THAT tracking shot, etc.). It perhaps proved itself superior to the Blackwater episode in that the quieter moments flowed more smoothly into the narrative than the Cersei interruptions did, even though I enjoyed those scenes too. And of course the "tearjerker moment" was well-done (loved the use of slow-mo,
Although I had hoped for a bit more this episode (book readers will know what I mean), I still really liked it. The battle was suitably epic with a few standout moments (scythe, one-on-ones, THAT tracking shot, etc.). It perhaps proved itself superior to the Blackwater episode in that the quieter moments flowed more smoothly into the narrative than the Cersei interruptions did, even though I enjoyed those scenes too. And of course the "tearjerker moment" was well-done (loved the use of slow-mo, score, echoed SFX and the fire in the background).

That being said, I think next week's finale could easily be the best episode of the entire series, as long as they are able to fit everything in…especially what you hinted at in the Extra Tidbit.
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12:08AM on 06/09/2014
One of the series finest hours to date. Absolutely flawless television and one of the best episodes of any television series to come out this year.
One of the series finest hours to date. Absolutely flawless television and one of the best episodes of any television series to come out this year.
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+4
11:41PM on 06/08/2014

Yep, that was a huge step up.....

No more Ramsay & Reek with their roadshow, no more silly excuses to keep Tyrion in danger, and no more Littlefinger trying to prove that Chris Hanson needs to spend a few days on set. Just a battle that involved strategy, numbers, brute force, and (most importantly) soldiers willing to die for what's right (and their brothers).

Loved every minute of it. The giants were incredibly well done, and everyone felt like they could die at any moment. Can't wait for next week......hope they
No more Ramsay & Reek with their roadshow, no more silly excuses to keep Tyrion in danger, and no more Littlefinger trying to prove that Chris Hanson needs to spend a few days on set. Just a battle that involved strategy, numbers, brute force, and (most importantly) soldiers willing to die for what's right (and their brothers).

Loved every minute of it. The giants were incredibly well done, and everyone felt like they could die at any moment. Can't wait for next week......hope they actually resolve something instead of just pushing it off until next year.

BTW.....is it just me, or did Jon Snow get epically better with a sword in this episode? He looked positively useless a couple of weeks ago (when he had to be saved by the inbred girl), now he looks like Aragorn......
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-2
11:39PM on 06/08/2014

Next Week

A dickhead friend spoiled it for me and it sounds too stupid to be true, however everyone who's read the books has told me it's actually great.
A dickhead friend spoiled it for me and it sounds too stupid to be true, however everyone who's read the books has told me it's actually great.
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2:06AM on 06/09/2014
Ha ha your right but it is pretty sweet!
Ha ha your right but it is pretty sweet!
2:47AM on 06/09/2014
A certain woman coming back for revenge?
A certain woman coming back for revenge?
12:05PM on 06/09/2014
@Ocelot_Snake maybe….
@Ocelot_Snake maybe….
3:52PM on 06/09/2014
yeah its pretty great. I can see how your dickhead friend could have made it sound stupid if he didn't get too in-depth has to HOW it happens. We've seen similar things happen in the series already.

hahaha this sucks trying to be this vague. Don't want to spoil anything for anyone.
yeah its pretty great. I can see how your dickhead friend could have made it sound stupid if he didn't get too in-depth has to HOW it happens. We've seen similar things happen in the series already.

hahaha this sucks trying to be this vague. Don't want to spoil anything for anyone.
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