Game of Thrones S8 E4 Review: Deaths Don't Surprise in This Underwhelming Episode
The Last of Starks isn't Game of Thrones' strongest episode and despite some shocking moments, gets predictable towards the end. The review might contain some spoilers.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4: The Last of the Starks
Showrunners: DB Weiss and David Benioff
Cast: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner
Disclaimer: Review contains minor spoilers but doesn't explicitly describe the events from the episode.
Game of Thrones veteran David Nutter returns to Westeros in the fourth episode of the final season chronicling the aftermath of the battle of Winterfell. From the infamous Red Wedding to Cersei Lannister's brutal Walk of Shame, Nutter has filmed some of the most iconic episodes in several seasons of the Thrones, including the Season 8 premiere.
And he's got more carnage in store.
In the last episode, we saw a bunch of devastating deaths during the Battle of Winterfell as the show finally brought the narrative of the Night King and White Walkers to its conclusion. And we all know who we have to thank for that miraculous victory. But this is, after all, Game of Thrones, no one is ever truly safe in this show.
The latest episode, written by DB Weiss and David Benioff for television, is packed with plenty of shocking moments that leave us staring, open-mouthed at the TV screen, wondering what just happened. Now that the war against the Army of the Dead is done and dusted, Daenerys Targaryen is all set to march south on King's Landing to reclaim the Iron Throne from Cersei, who says some very revealing things this episode after having been missing from the last two episodes of the show.
The latest episode begins with Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Grey Worm, Sansa Stark, Arya Stark and Tormund bearing torches for the pyres of those killed during the battle against the army of the dead while the others watch the funeral proceedings. But since this season everything is happening so head-spinningly fast, even these deaths, which literally occurred a few hours back as per the show's timeline, don't prevent our favourite characters from being in a celebratory mood.
Only the Hound seems to actually care about the people who sacrificed their lives, even as he tells a desperate Gendry looking for his girl Arya Stark — "You can still smell the burning bodies and that's where your head is at." On the other hand, Daenerys is losing her mind over Jon's newly-revealed Targaryen parentage. There are plenty of pieces of evidence in the episode that implies there may be some kind of inciting events during or after the last war (in case, they defeat Cersei) that will truly sour Jon and Dany's relationship.
Amidst all this, Sophie Turner's Sansa makes us realise her epic evolution in the show. Her brief conversation with the Hound is easily one of the best moments in the episode. Since the Season 1 pilot, we have seen Sansa go from one of the most annoying and unwise characters to one with a compelling and sympathetic redemption arc. For instance, when the Hound tells her, "You have changed, Little Bird. None of it would have happened if you'd left King's Landing with me. No Littlefinger, no Ramsay. None of it," Sansa gently holds his hand and smiles, before responding, "Without Littlefinger and Ramsay and the rest, I would have stayed a Little Bird all my life."
Soon after, the queen of the dragon rallies the remaining troops to head to King's Landing as she delivers another "break the wheel" speech, saying, "we have won the great war, now we'll win the last war," without even realising that her forces have been significantly reduced by the onslaught of White Walkers. The Dothraki are almost all dead. Troops from the North, as well as the Unsullied, have also suffered heavy casualties. But it seems the fever of throne has gripped Dany, so much so that she doesn't want to accept the reality.
The makers stick to the fundamentals of a lot of characters in this episode - Sansa, Tyrion, Jon, Arya, Daenerys, and Ser Bronn. He stood by Jaime's side for the past six or so seasons and had even helped arrange a meeting between the two Lannister brothers. He might not be very eager to kill two of his closest friends -- Tyrion and Jaime -- but he also probably isn't too keen on rebelling against the reigning queen of Westeros either.
There are many emotional moments in this one, with the survivors thankful for having lived, and hoping for a more peaceful future under the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. But the episode leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
At 80 minutes, Thrones' The Last of Starks isn't its strongest and even gets terribly predictable towards the end. Maybe a few redemptive deaths set the mood for the coming drama, but other than that, it doesn't really feel like a finale season's episode.
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