‘Game of Thrones’ Breakdown: “The Watchers on the Wall”

June 10, 2014 4:33 PM

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And then there were two. The penultimate episode in Game of Thrones’ season four is very much cut from the same cloth as a fan-favorite from a couple years ago: season two’s “Blackwater.” Both were directed by Neil Marshall (they’re the only two episodes he’s done in the series), and, like “Blackwater,” this week’s showing focuses entirely on a single major event — the attack on the Wall by Mance Rayder’s Wildling army. And, man, do they hit hard. Huge set pieces and dazzling special effects permeate the battles on each side of the Wall, while calmer, more character-driven moments fit snugly between the gaps of big-budget action. The resulting episode is as cohesive and entertaining as any we’ve seen so far in the series.

Jon Snow is one of my favorite characters in the series, mostly because of his growth as a person. Right from the beginning, his story arc has featured isolation and the hope for acceptance (in his case, one begets the other) as its central themes. Even the way his adventures at Castle Black have be...

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