The Bells, the fifth episode of Game of Thrones’ final season, has become the worst reviewed chapter of the hit HBO show’s eight-season run, with just one more episode to go.
Now that the dust has settled on King’s Landing, Game of Thrones’ latest episode, The Bells,has been adjudicated the worst-reviewed chapter of its entire eight season run. The action-packed (and highly controversial) episode has beaten out season five’s Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken – which gained notoriety for featuring a brutal rape scene – with a score of 48% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, The Guardian reports.
The site’s critical consensus, based on 31 reviews, reads, “Death, destruction, and the deterioration of Daenerys’ sanity make The Bells an episode for the ages; but too much plot in too little time muddles the story and may leave some viewers — and maybe Cersei — feeling its conclusions are a little unearned.”
The Atlantic’s David Sims wrote, “In general, this episode was beautifully executed and really well-acted, with a lot of clean action and intelligent cross-cutting between set pieces. But it felt so hollow to me, the narratives stakes entirely obliterated, once Daenerys made her move.”
In the episode, the penultimate of the series, Daenerys Targaryen completes her sudden transformation into a villainous character, as she cold-heartedly massacres the people of King’s Landing, even after they’d surrendered. The episode has been met with much controversy among fans, who’ve complained that the twist wasn’t earned.
Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff wrote, “If you think about most of what happened for more than a couple of seconds, it starts to implode. It’s better in theory than it is in execution, and it’s full of moments that are supposed to pay off years of the series, but fall extremely flat.”
The Hindustan Times review called it the worst episode of the season, and awarded it one-and-a-half stars out of five. Season eight, one of the most highly anticipated seasons in television history, is the worst-reviewed of the show’s run, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 75%. By comparison, the first season had a 91% score, seasons two and three retain a 96%, season four is the best rated with a 97% score, while seasons five, six and seven have 93%, 94% and 93% score, respectively. “It is now mathematically impossible for the season to be anything but the lowest-scoring season of the series,” Rotten Tomatoes said in an analysis.
The bar keeps lowering this season, on a weekly basis. Episode one, Winterfell, has a 92% score; episode 2, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms has an 88% score; episode three, The Long Night has a 75% score, which was eclipsed by The Last of the Starks’ 57% score, and then by The Bells.
With just one more episode to go, fans have started to call out showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss for mishandling the beloved show, often counted among the best programmes in TV history, and certainly among the best of the last decade.