Release the confetti, folks: Miguel Sapochnik is back for “The Long Night.” This week we’re treated to 80-ish minutes of Game of Thrones‘ best remaining director choreographing the largest and most complex battle sequence in the show’s history. The results are immediately evident as a striking opening shot of Sam Tarly’s (John Bradley) shaking hands transitions into a scene-setting long take. Lucky for us, this week we had the one and only Diego Crespo of The Waffle Press film and television podcast to help us parse this behemoth episode. His insight answers tough questions like, “Was this episode too dark to see anything?”
The epic conflict of “The Long Night” contrasts expensive spectacle with last week’s slower, more interpersonal tone. But for all of Sapochnik’s considerable talent, he’s still left contending with a story bound up in the bizarre, often deeply silly logic of Game of Thrones. [Update: It turns out he was “visually policed” by David and D.B., as well, as he notes in a recent scathing interview.] For example, we learn this episode that The Night King (Vladimir Furdik) is, in fact, an idiot. He puts his entire army and mission at risk by marching off into battle himself despite being vulnerable to even the slightest abrasion from obsidian or Valyrian steel. This foolishness is borne out by his sudden demise at Arya’s (Maisie Williams) hand.
The episode’s climactic moment also proves J’s prediction. In the season premiere, they predicted that the existential threat of the White Walkers would neatly wrap up just halfway through Season 8. Now here we stand, left with questions about what could possibly matter to viewers with just three long episodes remaining.
Our discussion with Diego takes some bizarre turns. We seesaw from a reflection on composer Ramin Djawadi’s work on System Shock 2 to this week’s useless Inside the Episode segment (see this interview for actual insight from Sapochnik on Arya’s big moment). At one point, we even bring up the cinematic parallels between Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) anguished death scene and the Purifier’s suicide in The Chronicles of Riddick.
Most importantly, we ask what no one else seems willing to: does the final scene of Shrek hold the blueprint to this show’s grand finale?
I’m a believer.
Big thanks to Diego for joining us this week! Don’t forget to check out J’s appearance on Diego’s The Waffle Press discussing Stranger Things. You can find my discussion of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones here.
Next week we’ll be featuring another surprise guest to help us discuss Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4 of “The Last of the Starks.” Don’t miss out!