This episode was one of the few mistakes this show has made in my opinion. Do not get me wrong, I liked the episode. I thought that, like Blackwater, this was great that they kept the entire episode at the Wall, instead of jumping to different story lines.
The problem was not really with this episode, but instead with how the season handled the happenings at the Wall. The never really gave us reason to fear the Wildling army. Hell, the only scenes at the Wall were basically Jon being told he was wrong about how big the army was and them going to Craster’s to kill Karl.
We barely know any of the people at the Wall and ones we do know are mostly dicks. Ser Alliser Thorne is a complete jerk and we hate him. Janos Slynt? A complete schmuck. Jon Snow’s little group is okay, but do we really give two shits about them? I never felt like they were important. So what I am saying is, if they could do it again, maybe visit the Wall more often and give us a sense that:
1) Some of the men of the Night’s Watch are not complete assholes.
2) The Night’s Watch actually care and take their vows seriously. I finally got that sense toward the end about Thorne.
3) That Jon Snow is not a whiny loser. Most of the series he has been moping around crying about how he is a bastard and blah blah blah.
Also, I think there needed to be some more shots of Mance’s army. 100,000 is a huge number, you have to show that so people can get the full scope of what is coming. Show the army, but also the fact that they are bringing families. This is not an army attacking the Wall, this is an invasion. People are running from something. You know, the White Walkers, the scarey monsters we see rarely? Make them a more visible threat so we remember why the Wall is important.
Some of the really cool stuff:
-“I need him more than I need you.”-Jon Snow to Sam. I had no clue who he was talking about and then Sam frees Ghost. The POV from Ghost while he attacks a Thenn.
-I loved the battle between Jon and and the Thenn leader. I thought for sure that Ygritte would shoot the Thenn (since she told him that Jon Snow was her’s to kill) and that was going to piss me off. How many times can Jon be saved by someone stepping in when he is about to die? Instead, Jon finds a hammer. Hell yeah! This was that rare time when we got to see Jon being a badass. I liked it.
-Ygritte’s death was sad. I guess. I mean, book readers knew it was coming, so it did not shock or surprise me at all. I also knew that kid would be the one to kill her. He said he was good with a bow…
-The giant scythe on the Wall! How the hell did Mance fail to remember that thing up there? He was in the Night’s Watch! Granted he has plenty of men to spare, but still, seems like a bad idea to try to climb up there with that thing waiting.
-I thought the mammoths and giants looked fantastic. I found it funny that Thorne and the men keep so many men at the top of the Wall. Umm, it is 700 feet high, right? It would take awhile to climb it. Protecting the gate would be the most important thing, especially since Thorne did not listen to Jon about closing it off. I loved how Alliser acknowledged this and how he does not like Lord Snow. That was the one moment where you realize he takes his vows seriously and then fighting below, you realize he is a badass. I hope he is not dead.
-They really changed the Janos Slynt story. I am guessing they will not be doing the whole election of new Lord Commander.
-The big thing that bothered me was that we did not see Stannis arrive. It makes sense. What was the point of having Stannis and Davos in this season at all? I am guessing Stannis will show up next week, but it would have made just as much sense to do it now.
Alright, here is a prediction for next week’s episode. If you have not read the books, DO NOT READ ANYMORE! Seriously. Stop reading.
I think that the episode will end with Brienne and Pod being captured by the Brotherhood. They will be escorted to the new leader and the final reveal will be of Lady Stoneheart.