Throne room

Review of Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5

HBO.com

There is one episode left of Game of Thrones after Sunday night and the stage is set for an interesting finale. After four lackluster episodes, this was the best of the season. Five quick thoughts on Episode 5:

1) Adios, Varys

Pour one out for the spider. His attempts to back Jon backfired and he wound up getting roasted by Drogon. It was a strange end for a character who did so much behind the scenes for the entire series. It seemed rushed, like a lot of things these past two seasons. Varys seemed to go from trusted advisor to betrayer entirely too quick. His heart was always in the right place, to a fault. It seemed an unsatisfying end for a guy who was always a step ahead until the finish.

2) The mad queen

Varys was not wrong. Dany has gone off the deep end. Her burning of women and children and the war crimes of the Dothraki and Unsullied were over the top. She has become what she sought to defeat, a merciless monster that made even Cersei look sympathetic. She destroyed King's Landing with no compunction whatsoever. She has become the latest in a long line of villains that started with Joffrey, Ramsey, Cersei and now Dany. The last episode should deal specifically with her.

3) Incredible acting

The best thing throughout this series has been the interactions between Jamie and Tyrion. We were treated to one last great scene as Tyrion was able to return the favor and free his brother. They are the two best actors on the show, and they are at their best when on screen together. It was powerful stuff. Tyrion really might be the best of all of the characters and Peter Dinklage's acting is off the charts. Sad that we won't see that again. Jamie met his demise after a tough battle with Euron Greyjoy that saw both of them eventually die. Jamie at least lived long enough for a last few minutes with Cersei.

4) Cersei's overconfidence did her in

The Lannisters had no shot in the actual final battle. Yet Cersei kept thinking someone would kill the dragon, or her forces would prevail. She out thought them the whole way, but in the end, the confidence from all the wins led her to make mistakes. We did finally get the Clegane Bowl, with the long-awaited Mountain vs. Hound battle. It was particularly interesting considering the city was falling down around them. It ended in a tie - both died - but that seemed fitting. That Jamie and Cersei died in each other's arms as the city collapsed around them was a perfect ending to their story as well.

5) Arya and more

Ayra has earned the right to ride off into the sunset, and she appeared to do just that. Jon has begun to realize that Dany is a problem and maybe that is the direction of the last episode. We finally saw several major characters die - Varys, Jamie, Cersei, Mountain, Hound - and it looks like more are to come.

All in all, a terrific episode. The absolute terror of a dragon on the loose was palpable. There was a lot going on in terms of politics, when to use WMDs and more.

It made up for a lot of other things earlier in the season.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans no match for the Ravens

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Texans fell to the Ravens 33-16 in a game they had a shot at winning. Most of you reading this will probably think I'm crazy for saying that. I assure you, I meant what I said. One of the reasons they didn't was because Bill O'Brien made a few questionable decisions that cost this team.

The first was the 4th & 1 decision. Deciding to go for it was bad enough. They were down 3-0 near the end of the first quarter with the ball on their own 34-yard line. This is not a situation that calls for a gamble or statement play. The play call itself was okay I guess: a play action bootleg with two short options. It was read and played perfectly by the Ravens defense. Deshaun Watson had nowhere to go with the ball and had to throw it at Darren Fells' back before getting sacked. That led to a quick Ravens touchdown and an early 10-0 deficit. I seriously think he has PTSD after that playoff loss to the Chiefs when it comes to fourth down calls. Bumbling Bill strikes again!

When they got the ball back, they scored a touchdown thanks to more play action passes and pre-snap motion. It was as if Bumbling Bill realized his offensive line was outmatched by the front seven they're opposing. Sure Watson is mobile and looks like a magician escaping sacks, but misdirection helps throw the defense off and keeps Watson from breaking into 177,000,000 pieces. Oh, and the quick reads were a good idea as well. Too bad Bumbling Bill went away from that and opted for longer developing routes. Or will he blame it on Timid Tim Kelly? Or was Waiting Watson holding onto the ball too long? I blame all three.

Also, can we stop starting drives with the predictable run, run, pass combo please? First down should be play action rollout with Watson having the ability to choose to run if it's there. More run/pass/option plays need to be called as well. Incorporate more things that we saw when Watson was on his way to winning rookie of the year before his knee was sacrificed for the Astros.

Credit where it's due: the end of the first half to get a field goal with a minute and change left was good to see. Typically, these situations tend to make Bumbling Bill come out. I liked the quick slant to Cobb with no timeouts. They were able to spike the ball and get the field goal up.

The game was still within reach at 23-13 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. On a 4th & 1, they gave up a 30 yard touchdown run on a direct snap to Mark Ingram. I saw gaps on both sides of the defensive line pre-snap. Sure enough, Ingram got a lead block from the Ravens human plough of a fullback and that effectively put the nail in the coffin at 30-13. I know the tendency is to quarterback sneak or run up the middle, but don't leave gaps along the defensive line trying to stack the middle. First time defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver will take the L on this one.

Overall, I'll give O'Brien and his coaching staff a C- this game. Mistakes were made that could've cost them a legit shot at winning, but the Keke Coutee fumble return for a touchdown wasn't their fault. The play calling menu was brought to us this week by Craft Pita via the "What's Eric Eating" podcast. Tune in next week for another "Not my job!"

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