Avengers: Endgame and this episode overloaded just about every emotion I have. While I will admit I was expecting more deaths in this episode, those that did die had very meaningful deaths that really fulfilled some journeys, but I will hit that in my next article. The meaningful part of last night was how Benioff and Weiss kept our attention over an hour of fighting in Episode 3.
Keeping Audience’s Enthralled
The director’s commentary made a great remark. With a show running 82 minutes that is nothing but fighting, how do you keep viewers engaged and from going numb? If the characters do nothing but fight for over an hour, it will get repetitive and boring – not the case here!
This episode was a nerve fryer! We know the war has come to Winterfell, so what do Benioff and Weiss do? They spend the first 10 minutes with no action at all. We see and feel the fear radiating from everyone. They know doom is at hand, but the hammer will not fall.
My one problem with this episode was the background was all black beyond the actors. It made everything more fake. There should have been more detail or white walkers or something.
As the build up intensifies, enter Melisandre. We knew the red witch would return as she foretold her death at Winterfell. Her actions seem to be impressive sorcery as she lights every Dothraki Arakh ablaze. Surely this would help them eliminate zombies faster right? Wrong. It merely enabled a plot device to show how fast the Dothraki were eliminated. The deadliest warriors in the seven kingdoms, and we watch as their fire swords go out in mere minutes. Yeah – they’re screwed.
The snowball of the dead rolls at the castle and from the very beginning there is no doubt our heroes cannot handle what is coming at them no matter how hard they fight. One way or another I knew this fight ended this episode because there was no way our heroes could last til the next.
Shifting the Focus
Benioff and Weiss kept changing the story line, and who we followed. It broke up the pacing, and about the time an audience might get bored with a fight, it shifted. We are following Arya through the book stacks. Then we change back to the hacking and stabbing ferocity on the wall. The tension always remained thick and kept audience on the edge of their seat because they never lingered in one area for too long.
I thought bodies would pile up well beyond eight dead, but with the exception of Dolorous of the Night’s Watch, the death’s stayed meaningful and had purpose. Everyone else got their moment in the spotlight before their light faded for good.
We have had lots of great episodes over the years, but this one is one of the best, not only for what they did, but all the pitfalls they navigated around. An hour long fight could have grown boring. Editting could create a kill, cut and go feeling, but they wove a masterful story that still managed to keep us guessing until the very end.