Game of Thrones’ latest episode, “Beyond The Wall,” was an explosion of action and drama after the tension that had been so carefully built up over this and past seasons, writes Daniel D’Addario of Time. In an epic battle between the dead and the living, the show took a further step towards the huge and inevitable conclusions that await. Characters have both grown and declined as Jon Snow grows in heroism and leadership while Arya Stark’s mistrusting personality came to the fore. Thrilling victories were aplenty, but it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones if it didn’t involve optimism-sapping losses too.
“Beyond The Wall” was a low point in Game of Thrones’ growingly flimsy storytelling, asserts Lili Loofbourow of The Week. Characters zig-zagging across Westeros at mind-boggling speeds to accelerate certain narratives was just one such frustrating defect. The high quality of writing one has come to expect deteriorated, resulting in frustrating plot holes and many of the cast behaving out of character. The episode’s crux, the expedition beyond the Wall by several protagonists, was incredibly risky and un-calculated. The show staked too much on its large battles, allowing other aspects to suffer too much.