Game of Thrones seems determined to keep its title as the darkest show in fantasy. The week’s ep is really dark. No, really, as in, can anyone tell me what’s going on? Who just died? Do we have another light in the house we can turn off? Wait, let me adjust the screen settings a little…

On the plus side, the total cast will be easier to track in the remaining episodes.

Title: “The Long Night”

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Based on novels by George R.R. Martin

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Carice van Houten as Melisandre
Vladimir Furdik as the Night King
Bella Ramsey as Lady Lyanna Mormont
John Bradley as Samwell Tarley
Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Marc Rissmann as Harry Strickland
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
Joe Dempsie as Gendry
Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy
Rory McCann as Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
Samantha Spiro as Melessa Florent Tarly
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei
Liam Cunningham as Devos Seaworth
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund
Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion
Anton Lesser as Qyburn
Iain Glen as Jorah
Hannah Murray as Gilly
Staz Nair as Qhono
Conleth Hill as Lord Varys

Premise:

The battle rages. People die. Viewers squint.

High Points:

The story kept us wondering what would happen. We get incredible flights of dragons, a stunning scene of the first charge’s demise, and the heroic death of a little Lady. Her scene with the undead giant ranks among Game of Thrones‘ best kills.

Low Points:

I think many viewers will see my next comment coming, a lot more clearly than they saw some of the action in the episode. I get the significance of setting this battle at night but, even in HD and total darkness, we experienced difficulties figuring out what was happening. It’s challenging enough to follow the show’s vast cast, without following them in darkness. This isn’t a radio adaptation.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6

Effects: 6/6

Story: 5/6 I know Game of Thrones loves violating expectations, but does anyone else feel just a little disappointed by the apparent conclusion to this storyline? They’ve presented the Night King and the Army of the Dead as a threat on par with, well, death itself. After the death of thousands, the swift if impressive delivery of a horror trope appears to end that threat.

Acting: 6/6

Production: 6/6 While I’ve complained about the excessive darkness, the director used it to devastating effect during the first attack. Meanwhile, up in the sky, the aerial battles compare favorably with what we’ve seen in the recent Godzilla trailer.

Emotional Response: 5/6 The show kept the viewers in suspense. I didn’t know how the battle would end until the final cut– which the show foreshadowed, arguably, in the first season.

Overall: 5/6

receives 35/42