Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 Review: The Last of the Starks
Slowing down the pace after last week's epic battle, the fourth episode still manages to deliver on the excitement.
Our deep-dive into the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones continues with an in-depth look at the fourth episode. Fans can catch-up with the previous three episodes anytime via the NOW TV Entertainment pass.
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We start this episode on quite a sombre note as we’re shown a sea of funeral pyres surrounding Winterfell.
The camera pans slowly over the faces of the fallen, coming to rest briefly on Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) and Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), as Jon (Kit Harington) gives a short farewell speech. Then everybody’s off to Winterfell’s Great Hall to get very drunk at the afterparty.
Writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss take this opportunity to give us a mix of character building moments. Unfortunately, while what happens here is interesting it does definitely drag on a little too long.
It might just be a case of focusing on the wrong things. For example, we’re made to sit through an annoying scene with Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Jaimie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) where the former is awarded Highgarden in exchange for not killing them.
Then strangely, we don’t get to see Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) and Arya’s (Maisie Willaims) reaction to Jon’s revelation about his true parentage. It’s such a huge secret that it robs the audience of a major moment for both of them.
Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaimie also finally hook up which does feel like pure fanservice, but it’s sweet to see all the same.
The next morning, it’s goodbyes all round. Jon, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) Tyrion, Varys (Conleth Hill) and a huge army depart for King’s Landing to deal with Cersei (Lena Headey) while Tormund (Kristofer Hivju), the wildings and Ghost head back up even further North. Jon doesn’t even pat or hug his adorable direwolf goodbye, the monster.
Now it gets interesting. Cut to Dany flying high in the sky with her two remaining dragons when Rhaegal is suddenly struck with a bolt through the chest. Another rapidly follows impaling him through his neck in a gruesome spray of blood and sending him spiralling dead into the sea.
Its sad, shocking and made all the worse when you see Euron’s (Pilou Asbæk) cheesy pantomime villain-like smile behind the huge mounted arrow canon. He attacks the ships, destroying their fleet and taking the ever loyal Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) prisoner, sending everyone swimming for Dragonstone.
Naturally, Dany wants to storm the city and burn everything to the ground regardless of the thousands of innocent lives she’d be taking but Tyrion and Varys convince her to talk to Cersei first. The two then meet in secret where Varys expresses his concern and says he believes Jon to be a better leader.
It’s been made incredibly clear how much Dany’s paranoia has been growing. This episode alone we’ve seen her angrily demand that Jon keep his parentage a secret from the other Starks and appoint Gendry (Joe Dempsey) Lord of Storm’s End to ensure neither oppose her claim to the Iron Throne.
We’ve also seen here how she’s increasingly being ruled by her emotions. At the War Council in Winterfell, she becomes enraged at Sansa when the latter sensibly points out that they should give what army they’ve got a chance to recuperate before marching on King’s Landing.
Varys witnessed first hand how this caused her Dad to go from beloved ruler to the feared tyrant known as The Mad King, so the fact he’s worried gives greater weight to the theory she’s becoming more dangerous.
Neither Dany or Cersei are keen to surrender so Tyrion steps in to try and talk some sense into his sister. It’s a brilliantly tense exchange with both Dinklage and Headey saying so much with just facial expressions alone.
“Any last words?” Cersei asks Missandei, who’s stood on top of the ramparts in full view of her friends. “Dracarys” she replies defiantly, unfortunately not loud enough for Drogon to hear. Missandei has never been much of a character but as a last moment before she’s beheaded by The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson), it’s pretty cool.
Judging from next week’s teaser, it looks as though we’re in for another incredibly epic battle as Dany, spurred on by the violent death of her close friend, unleashes the full fury of her remaining army onto King’s Landing.
Watch episode 5 on Monday 13th April, 9pm on Sky Atlantic with the Sky Entertainment Package.
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