Episode 72: "The Bells"
The episode opens up with Uncle Fester giving a paper message to a little girl, and tells her the greater the risk, the greater the reward. She tells him that the queen won't eat. He sends her away.
We then see the Queen, and she looks 20 years older. I'm assuming this was "no makeup" scene, and Daenerys's actress, Emilia Clarke, really sells this as she's sold everything this series. Tyrion talks to her and basically rats out Uncle Fester. That takes her out of her moping and brings her into fury mode. She's mad at everyone for betraying her.
So Jon Snow comes to Dragonstone and Uncle Fester talks to him just like he talked to Ned Stark, begging him to take his claim on the throne. He refuses.
Of course, Grey Worm comes and arrests Uncle Fester, and Daenerys executes him with her one remaining dragon. She later reminisces with Grey Worm over Missandei's death, with the one possession she had, which is either a yoke or...something. They toss is it into the fire. Oh, and Jon Snow comes in, and rejects Daenerys' advances again.
The next day, in Daenerys's throne room, Tyrion urges mercy of his queen and she agrees. Good thing, too, because Incest Queen is packing her section of the city with more "refugees."
Meanwhile, in the advancing army, there is a prisoner. It turns out the prisoner is Incest Charming, who was headed down south to rescue his sister from herself. Tyrion frees his brother and tells him of the secret way to reach her in her tower. They both say goodbye to each other.
Oh, and Arya and Scarface are headed to King's Landing, too, going past their own northern forces to head to the capital.
It isn't long before the invading armies are at the city gates, both Daenerys armies facing the mercenaries that Incest Queen bough. The mercenaries...are slaughtered. Daenerys, though, comes riding on a dragon against Uncle Captain and his fleet. She avoids their dragon-slaying crossbows and burns them up...but Uncle Captain survives!
Once the fighting starts, the guards close the inner city gates, so Incest Charming, unable to go through the front entrance, sneaks up the back entrance. Of course, that's where he meets Uncle Captain and the two of them tussle.
Meanwhile, Kieben urges Incest Queen to leave, but she refuses.
Back on the front lines, Jon Snow and his northern troops have caught up with the Dothraki and the Unsullied. The city guards stand up against the invading armies...then surrender. The bells ring. Game over.
But Daenerys is looking at that tower and instead begins to act like those "cute" alien creatures from the Galaxy Quest gag. Yep, she takes on the mantra, "Never give up! Never surrender! " and takes it in the most vengeful manner possible. She takes off and begins to fly through the city, burning everyone and everything. Grey Worm takes his cue and leads his attack on the city guards, and the Dothraki and Unsullied follow along.
Then the northern armies join in on the slaughter. Yes, the people of Westeros and not just the Dothraki or the Unsullied decide to kill people just for the heck of it in a frenzy out of Kingsman. Jon Snow cannot stop his own men from deciding to go crazy and hacking people. He has to kill one of his own soldiers to prevent him from raping a random civilian. He and CrabMan can't stop their people from being bad, and Daenerys flies on the dragon, alternating between roasting random civilians and focusing her attacks on the tower Incest Queen is in.
Incest Charming and Uncle Captain continue their scuffle. Uncle Captain clearly has the upper hand and seriously wounds Incest Charming, but he keeps toying with his opponent, which allows Incest Charming to grab a sword and run it though. And Uncle Captain dies, he laughs with the satisfaction of knowing he was the one to kill Incest Charming, as he knows that man will either succumb to his wounds or will succumb to the chaos.
Eventually, Incest Queen realizes she has to leave, and so she does.
Somehow, Arya and Scarface make it into the tower. However, as they make it to the top, Scarface stops Arya, saying that she's young, she has a chance to live, and that he doesn't want her to end up like him. She'll die if she comes with him. For one of the few times in her life...she listens and gives up on her revenge.
Good thing, too, because Scarface runs smack into Incest Queen, her guards, Kieben, and the Mountain. Arya's highly skilled at killing people...but she would be no match for the Mountain. Scarface is able to dispatch the guards. The Mountain disobeys Kieben's orders to protect the queen and kills Kieben, and Incest Queen gets out of there. The Mountain's helmet comes off and his discolored, distorted face is shown. He and Scarface fight in this ugly, brutal battle as Daenerys passes the keep on her dragon and fire is burning all around. The Mountain started to use his signature eye-gouge move, but Scarface is able to stab the Mountain through the eye, then charges into him, breaking the wall and sending the two tumbling off the side of the grumbling tower and into the fire!
However, in touching moment, Incest Queen and Incest Charming reunite and both are happy to see each other. She sees that he's bleeding, but he leads her down the secret entrance he used...only to find that the way out was covered by rubble, and the tower is collapsing on top of them. She's scared, saying she doesn't want to die and she doesn't want their baby die, and he comforts her as everything collapses on top of them, killing them.
But we still have Arya, who is trying to escape, running through dust-covered streets filled with injured, wounded, and helpless. She tries to help people, but can't, once again showing that she's a hero. She dodges collapsing walls and buildings, and the imagery is really evocative of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. But eventually she finds a horse, and I guess she is going to ride it...but to where?
Anyway, this episode was a lot better than the last one, even though it's not great.
- For the longest time, I hoped that the Dothraki would just lay siege to the city. Now that they did, this episode showed precisely why the impulse to just burn everything to the ground because of bad leaders is a bad idea. Innocent people suffer as a result. This preys on the audience's sociopathy. Pretty powerful, actually.
- The scenes of chaos on the ground were so well done and a great break from the standard set by this show. We hear people talk about the common people, but we rarely see things from their point of view.
- Arya is the hero of this show. This girl, who started out as a brat, then went on a quest to reunite with her family, learned how to be a moral person. She gave up on her revenge...and immediately started helping people.
- Daenerys' "heel turn" was not only foreshadowed this season, but for most of the series. Remember when Daenerys locked a man who betrayed her in a crypt then stole his gold? Remember when she burned as tent full of Dothraki leaders alive? Or, like all of Season 7 when she won't help Jon Snow stave off the army of the dead until he pledged loyalty to her? Yeah, she's not a good person, and out of her element she did not want to go through the work to become a good person.
- Incest Queen got an easy, disappointing death. She did NOT deserve to die in the arms of Incest Charming and for them to die so easily and in such a bittersweet manner is miles better than either of them deserve. It would have been so much better if they died as they saw each other, but were forever out of each other's reach.