Throne room

Review of Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3

Warning: This review is full of spoilers. If you have not watched the episode, please stop reading. Did I mention spoilers?

"What do we say to the god of death?"

"Not today"

1) Not the best start

This was the long awaited battle of Winterfell. Heroes were born and legends were made.

It started with a visual gem. After a slow 15 minutes, the Dothraki charged with flaming swords. They were routed. It set up a battle that it appeared the living could not win; their best warriors lasted only minutes. As for the dragons, once they engaged, they did a lot of damage. They shot the episode all at night, which from a visual perspective made guesswork for the people watching. I get they had to do that, but it required intense concentration as a viewer. For the record, dragons in battle? Badass.

2) The deaths

Most of the battle did not go well for the good guys. The living retreated to Winterfell, while many characters were dying. Jon and Dany rode their dragons, but at night they could not see the enemy, limiting their edge. (Well, none of us could see anything). Except when the red witch (my next ex wife) brought fire to the party, and when the dragons were breathing. The visuals were at times spectacular, but this was the only disappointing part of the episode; too much of the battle was hard to see and thus hard to follow. I had to watch it three times - the last with the room completely dark, to pick up on everything.

Meanwhile, your top deaths:

1) The Night King (see below).

2) Theon Greyjoy. A fitting end to a character that ran the gamut throughout the series. "Theon, you're a good man," says Bran. "Thank you."

3) Melissandre. (Pour one out for the love of my life).

4) Ser Jorah Mormont. This one was pretty predictable.

5) Beric Dondarrion. (No coming back this time, but his death saved Arya).

6) Dolourous Edd. Loyal to the end, he died protecting his brothers.

7) The Ice Dragon. The NK's biggest weapon was late on the scene, and he was killed along with all the wights at the end.

8) Most of the Dothraki. Boy, they did not last long at all.

9) Lyanna Mormont. What a tough kid. She went out like a hero.

Still, none of the main characters were killed, which is a bit of a surprise. We really did not lose any character we cared deeply about.

3) Does anyone understand Bran?

Dude is just a mess. He exonerated Theon, then warged into a bunch of ravens to draw in the Night King. Can we all just say WTF? When the Night King came to him...well, wow. If his whole role in the show was to be bait...he succeeded. I still don't get his character's purpose, or the Night King for that matter. Both have been mysterious, and there just is not enough development of either to know what is going on. Still...

4) What a finish

Holy bleep! Arya whacks the Night King! What an amazing last 20 minutes. Not really sure there is enough story for the last three episodes, but wow. The plan to lure the NK out worked perfectly. Did anyone else get a Kill Bill vibe when the NK and his team were walking toward Bran? And by the way, poor job of defending your boss, white walkers.

5) Wow. Just wow.

The episode dragged for a while, but what a finish. Arya kills the Night King, and his army dies. Just an incredible moment. Who knows what is next, but with three episodes left, we will see Cersei again. The last 20 minutes might be the best of the series so far. It also showed how brilliant Cersei is. Her plan has worked to perfection. Dany's army has been devastated and might no longer be a match for the Lannister's and the Golden Company. Still, those dragons are equalizers, assuming both lived. From the previews, we at least know Drogon is stilll around. Sad that this show is coming to an end, but it is getting a little more confusing. The Great War between living and dead is over, so now we go back to petty fighting over the throne? We will just have to have a little faith that the writers know what they are doing.

As far as battles go, this was probably not as good as the Battle of the Bastards, but it was pretty amazing. I just wish it had not been so dark. It also could have easily taken up two episodes. Yes, there were a lot of the predictable "saved at the last minute" moments, but that's Thrones. I also question the Night King's strategy. Basically he could have just sat back and let his army of the dead destroy everyone, then kill Bran himself. The only way he could possibly lose was to expose himself.

Having said all that, what an entertainment weekend between this and Avengers: Endgame. I don't think it will be topped anytime soon if ever.

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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