Season: 8 / Episode: 5, “The Bells” / HBO
Spoilers be ignoring white flags and sayin’ “fuck yo future.” Check the rest of our recaps here.
A 4-Page Letter
Maaaaaaan, listen. We start this off with Varys writing that Dear John letter to start. that’s that pen mightier than the sword shit right here. Varys gets one of his little spiders to come give him some intel. The Queen ain’t eatin’. Varys is like, we’ll try again at supper. Um…try again to do what good sir? Man, all kinds of machinations going down right now.
Varys meets Jon “Don’t Call Me Aegon” Snow on the shore as he arrives. Tyrion gotta be watching this like, man, he better not say shit. Varys starts sewing those doubts into Not-Jon about how Mad Manifest Daenerys isn’t fit to rule. He let that mess slide that Not-Jon should be on the Iron Throne, and you know Not-Jon is pissed. It’s like when you in a group chat with people but you learn they in another group chat without you. Sansa been in the alt-chat talking across the table like she don’t know this a spades game.
Not-Jon keep talkin’ about he don’t want it, but let’s have Varys be like the fourth person to tell him that it don’t really matter.
Tyrion goes to see Dany, who looks a fucking mess. I mean, yes, she lost another dragon and yes, she lost her best servant-friend. But also she lost her hairdresser which might be as crucial as the previous ones. You ever have a big event coming up, ya know, like war for the Iron Throne and your hairdresser cancel on you? Sheeeiiiiit.
Tyrion comes in to tell her that she’s been betrayed. Ok, we all family, so we can all finally admit that ever since Tyrion took an axe to the face, he’s basically been trash. He screwed up in Mereen with the masters. He was gullible enough to believe Cersei even when she’s never shown any compassion for doing “the right thing.” And he let Sansa manipulate him, which now got muthafuckas so bold that they discussing open treason on the gotdamn beach. Short of Tyrion shoving a knife into Cersei while riding a dragon and making some epic mac and cheese for the post victory banquet, I’m not sure how dude is coming back from this.
We’ve Come to the End of the Road
Varys out here still writing these sonnets to folks and the seven knows who. He hears the footsteps coming and you can hear “End of the Road” playing in the background. Greyworm comes to collect that past due balance and walks his ass to the cliffside. This is pretty fucked up, no? Like Varys has survived a lot of rulers and because Tyrion is…a punk, he bout to die right here. Everybody and their bastard knows Daenerys is an ill fit for this shit and bout to get so many people killed. But nah, Varys gotta get the Dracarys.
Also, is Drogon like…a stealth dragon? The lighting was super dope for this season, but also, how the hell we not know a fucking dragon was standing behind Dany this whole time? Cuz if he can avoid radar, that might be useful for the upcoming war.
So, Varys is J’s fried chicken (no peanut oil). Now Dany is talking to Greyworm and giving him Missandei’s only possession. My dude is like, fuck that. EVERYTHING GETS THE FIRE INCLUDING NOSTALGIA.
Not-Jon comes to speak with Auntie D, and Auntie D trying to let him know there’s a penalty for people TELLING THE FUCKING TRUTH. She blames Varys’ death on Sansa. Not-Jon is still trying to protest that he loves her and that she will always be his Aunt Queen. Then…I dunno, is there any other way than to say that Dany tried to coerce Not-Jon into some inter-family pre-war coitus? She’s disappointed that dude no longer wants to sleep with his family.
Listen, I know we don’t always have the language for what we feel, but Not-Jon couldn’t be like, so, I love you, and I will serve you as my queen, but I did grow up in the North, and I gotta be honest, sexing up my dad’s sister is weirding me out. Doesn’t matter now. Auntie D is like, they got no love for Tupac? Aiight then, fine, let it be fear.
She’s Your Queeeen to Beeeee
Aiight, Tyrion getting on my last nerve, yo. He ratted out Varys who didn’t want to serve a tyrant queen. And now, Tyrion is frustrated because he can’t convince the queen to not be a fucking tyrant. She readies for war while Tyrion tries to convince her to not attack the city if she hears the bells, meaning they surrender. I’d love to know the plan he thinks would signal surrender considering they just tried that, and it resulted in Missandei’s getting the high and tight fade. Also, they caught Jamie’s sneaking ass at the border. Auntie D giving Tyrion more chances than…well, actually, the analogy is pretty standard. Cishet white dudes get all the chances anyway.
They letting civies into the Red Keep in King’s Landing while everybody getting to their battle stations. Tyrion meets up with Ser Davos and asks him to go back to his Onion Knight days.
Gotta love that Clegane & Arya buddy cop energy. This is like having another Bad Boys sequel except Clegane & Arya don’t look completely washed up. They approach one of the city guards and hit that dude with zero deception. She hands dude her business card:
I’m Arya Stark. I’m here to kill Queen Cersei.
Winter is Coming, Inc.
Tyrion goes to the Unsullied to talk to Jaime. Again, full on white dude on display as he tries to speak High Valeryain and butchering it instead of asking if they spoke the common (aka barbarians’) tongue. Ask a Spanish speaking individual you know, and they have probably experienced this once a week for their entire life in America.
Jamie chained up by his neck, similar to how he was when the Starks captured him. Except he wasn’t going to Cersei’s barber, and he had two hands at the time. This is a good scene. I usually love anything with the Casterly Rock Bottom Boys, but have I mentioned Tyrion been getting on my fucking nerves. So now, he’s like, go save Cersei and escape. First off, WHY DOES TYRION STILL THINK THIS IS POSSIBLE? Two, Cersei ain’t never, in her natural life, slummed off through some dirty ass musty caves…to run from a fight? Man, maybe Tywin was right, maybe this dude Tyrion was adopted. He don’t seem to know the Lannister at all. Also, Cersei put out a hit on these two, even if Cersei wanted to “escape,” why would she trust Jaime who literally defected to her enemy. You know what, I’m tired.
Buttttttt, this scene does close gloriously. That heartfelt, ok, we really never seeing each other again moment was great. Now Jaime got an (impossible) job to do.
Knuck if you Buck
Iron Fleet preparing for battle. Soldiers on the gate. Archers checking their quivers. Shit. About. to Go. Down. And Clegane and Arya just rolling through the square like they pay taxes here. Daenerys’ army is here. A lot of Unsullied, a lot of Northerners and like 12 Dothraki. Cersei looking over the city, and she basically giddy that this shit bout to be a bloodbath.
Clegane & Arya make it into the Red Keep, literally pushing a mother and child out of the way to do it. Jaime gets left out too and not even his golden hand/ticket is enough to get him in, so he gotta find another way. Shit is mad calm and the wind starts kicking up around the Iron Fleet. The Winds of Winter, if you will. Look man, I still remember the books even if the showrunners don’t.
Euron shielding his eyes like he an outfielder looking into the sun, but that ain’t no fly ball playboy. That’s muthafuckin’ DROGON. They out here shootin’ but ain’t hittin nothin like the opening scene of Pulp Fiction, and Drogon makes them pay. He out here dropping the hottest verse of 2019. Every ship becoming firewood, including the one Euron was on (even though he very clearly jumped from the ship while it went en fuego.)
And like…that was easy. So now Drogon and Auntie D moving on to city walls. Fam, Drogon been out here getting his agility drills in! Your boy out here shadow stepping on these fools like Killua.
Soldiers on the wall trying to gun Danerys and Drogon aka D&D down, but nah. They getting air crossed over left and right. My dude yelled fire for the scorpion but got set ablaze instead. Like, yo, that’s not the fire we were looking for.
We still got the standoff near the front gate. Golden Company staring down Not-Jon, Greyworm, all these dudes. They start hearing shit pop off somewhere, but nobody knows from where.
Commander of the Golden Company lookin’ mad nervous and then the gates explode behind him. Drogon was like, oh, y’all locked the front door? That’s cool, I’ll go in through the back. I know ya’ll keep the key in the fake rock by the patio.
Auntie D’s army takes their cue and starts attacking…whatever’s left. D&D done flame broiled all these dudes. Last Supper of Dothraki leading the charge, and this shit ain’t even a contest. They running’ through the Lannister army like some late night White Castle.
Eye of the Tiger….er, um Dragon
Cersei watching the dragon just laying the city low, and she can’t do shit about it. Qyburn comes to retrieve the queen. She keeps listing reasons they could still win, and Qyburn keeps fact checking her in real time. After all the fake news is done, Cersei makes it plain that she ain’t leaving cuz the Lannister army will fight hard for their queen. Yeah…about that.
Cersei: The Red Keep has never fallen.
Drogon: *sings Faith Evans* “As Soon As I get hooooooome…..”
Dany’s army finally comes to a point where they are face to face with the bulk of the Lannister army. The Lannister army look like they do NOT want to be here, fam. These dudes look like they all collectively left the stove on at home. Although, it’s probably a moot point, because there’s a good chance D&D already burned their home and their stove.
Tyrion walking the battlefield and seeing the wholesale destruction that Drogon has wrought. He looks up at the bell but that muthafucka ain’t ringing. Jaime still trying to make his way to the queen but dude might get killed on sight with Cersei’s mood right now.
D&D perches up on the wall like, what y’all trying to get into. Lannister captain is like, you know what, nope. He sounds like Jay-Z at the end of “What More Can I Say.” All the swords get dropped and folks are yelling to ring the bells. Everybody getting mad impatient until finally someone gets that beat knocking. The war…should be over. But nah b. Mad Manifest Daenerys ain’t satisfied. She lookin’ at the Red Keep like: I DON’T LIKE PEOPLE PLAYIN ON MY PHONE.
She coming right at Cersei, b. And…we back on that fire shit. Just surrender yo. And innocent people getting killed. Now the army gotta slaughter these men that had just given up. This shit is past honor. Not-Jon is like, fuck that. Northerners ain’t on that shit. Don’t matter though cuz war is fucking war, and if you ain’t fighting you dying right now. Greyworm done hit his rage meter too. He don’t appreciate how Not-Jon tried to halt the assault.
We Are Going Up in Flames
Meanwhile, D&D just setting fire to everything man. We talkin’ soldiers, civilians, small businesses, the spa. Don’t matter. Everybody is getting an early exit. Northerners killing mothers trying to shield their children. Meanwhile, Not-Jon and Tyrion seeing if they can get expressed shipping on their Varys Was Right shirts.
Jaime is taking the super scenic route. He on the secret path when Euron’s smelling like the river ass catches him. He starts puffing out his chest about sleeping with Cersei and being a King. Bruh. Like…you know what, I can’t even right now. They start getting into it while D&D are firing warning shots around Cersei.
It takes about ¾ of the fight before Jaime remembers that he has a golden fucking hand to smack Euron in the face with. Euron stabs Jaime in the side which leaves your dude gasping for his last breaths.
Qyburn finally convinces Cersei to leave, and they start to depart the Red Keep. Jaime takes at least one more stab before Jaime finally grabs a sword and runs Euron all the way through. Jaime finally stumbles off, but Euron dies feeling pretty confident that Jaime will depart soon after him.
Our favorite buddy cop adventures continue with Clegane & Arya closing in on Cersei. Clegane is like, look fam, you don’t need this shit. Go home. Cersei gonna be dragon food soon enough. Arya thanks him, and Clegane goes on ahead.
I would say, well shit, your boy could’ve at least used some help with the Queens Guard escorting Cersei, but D&D done took care of that. They coming down the stairs, and the whole ceiling collapsing on them from dragon fire. Everybody crushed except the Mountain who shields Cersei from the sky literally falling on them. Well, there’s four soldiers left besides the Mountain, Cersei & Qyburn. But then Sandor Clegane shows up. And now there are no soldiers left besides the Mountain, Cersei & Qyburn.
Mama Said Knock you Out
Clegane Bowl II! (I guess, if we count the first season at the tournament. That shit was a draw). Cersei commands him to stay by her side, and he’s like, yo, this shit is donnnnne. At least I’m getting this Fratricide on. He straight up ignoring the Queen and Qyburn’s ass thought he was doing something. Well, Qyburn got tossed like salads you get in the grocery store, where you just add dressing and then shake that shit in the plastic container. Except with a lot more cranial bleeding.
Cersei is like, welp, this don’t concern me and prances her way right past Sandor.
You knew Sandor was about that action cuz D&D flew overhead spitting that fire, and he didn’t even flinch. I mean, this shit didn’t look good for Sandor at first considering The Mountain fought the first half of this battle without his sword drawn.
Cersei making her way through the Keep, all gingerly and shit. She walking across the map room as cracks surface through it (nice symbolism there). Enter Jaime, who look half dead and stumbles into the room with her.
Cersei breaks all the way down fam. They embrace at what looks like the end of the world.
Sandor fighting his zombie brother and runs his sword straight through him. But yo…that don’t really work no more. That didn’t really work when Oberyn did it except for the poison. Now, it’s just death time for Sandor as his brother starts tossing him around.
Arya in these streets seeing the straight up carnage. Folks stabbed. Folks burnt alive. Every manner of death is here. Also…what else is there for Drogon to set on fire. Like, anybody that could raise a sword is dead yo. This just carnage for carnage sake.
Arya trying not to get trampled while Sandor is getting the brakes, exhaust, spoiler and hood ornaments beat off of him. Zombie Mountain starts to poke his eyes out too, but Sandor manages to stab him in the eye to get some breathing room. Seeing dude as unbeatable, he tackles his brother through the crumbling ruins all the way down a 20-story drop into a lake of fire. And so ends the Clegane house.
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Arya wakes up bloodied and covered in castle remains. I’d say she gotta have at least a concussion if she wasn’t bleeding from like seven different parts on her head. She sees people cowering in a building and is like, yeah, you ain’t gots to go home but you gotta get the hell up outta here. All for not. Folks that left there either got run down by Dothraki or turned into pot roast.
Jaime and Cersei still trying to escape, but now their exit route is blocked off. And if she hasn’t done it already, Cersei starts losing now. NOW, she don’t wanna die. Not when she blew up a whole set of folks. Or when she welcomed war and invited folks into the Red Keep. Or when she ordered Missandei’s death. Now, she scared to die. Yeah, Happy Mother’s Day Queen Cersei. Her and Jaime huddle together as the entire crypt falls down on top of them.
Arya is fucking shook. Shooketh. She might be the only person still alive near the Red Keep. Everything is either on fire or just got done burning. There’s one white horse wandering in the middle of the keep (um…sure?). She rides off through all the wreckage.
So…who’s still a Daenerys stan? Or did we cancel those remaining flights like three episodes ago. Now, there literally is no Iron Throne. Not-Jon finally fucking gets it. The Queen is dead, but like, can we not long live this queen? I mean, keep Obama accountable, but at least he was a buffer. Imagine going straight from George W. to Trump.
We at the end yo. And still: Things are as bad as they’ve ever been.
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Evil Ninja (@EvilNinjaX24)
When the bells started ringing, you could see any cinder of decency slowly get extinguished before Dany was all like, “Nah, fam… I’m hungry, and barbecued motherfucker sounds especially tasty right now.” WE SAW THIS COMING – why in the Wide, Wide World of Sports did this come as a surprise to people? Damn, folks just stay letting their biases get in the way of common sense.
Anyway, aside from the questionable plotting that made this episode less than it could have been, this episode was beautifully shot. The cinematography has been ON POINT this season for real.
…A queen who’ll do whatever…
Thank you for making this sloppy-ass mess of a season more enjoyable.
Love your writing, so poetic. Really gonna miss it, when show ends. I’m not into comics, so I’d be lost with your other posts.
Love, love, Love your interpretation of Game of Thrones. You have me laughing my ass off
Your commentary is better than the show.
Reading these is the only thing that keeps be from going insane watching this season. Also, I really hope you don’t hold back after the finale. Literally the worst season-ender of television history other than maybe, How I Met Your Mother.