I’m reminded once again how much my mood affects how I take in what I watch. I’ve had one of those weeks. You know the kind where you wonder why you continue to get out of bed and I’ve had to come up with a reason each and every day to get me moving out the door to work. So when I finished this episode and had a very ‘meh’ impression I had to think long and hard about whether the episode really failed to deliver or whether I’d just become a little bit numb after everything else. The answer I came to was probably a bit of both.
The inevitable fall of the castle came during episode 11. The castle we knew was too large with too few defenders. The castle that last episode was surrounded by an overly large Mongol army. The only real question was how many would die when the castle would fall and somehow they managed to make the answer much bigger than anticipated because despite each exile saying they were just going to kill a few Mongols and then leave, the majority of them hung around long enough to face their death, as did the vast majority of the islanders.
I mentioned this on Twitter but I definitely feel this episode would have had far more impact if any of these characters had really been properly developed. I struggled even as I watched them die to remember their names or to summon up even a shred of care about their demise. And that kind of is a problem with this series. The events have been interesting and the conflict reasonably compelling but the cast never have been and now with the dramatic final moments playing out I’m failing to really get the emotional impact that these scenes deserve.
There’s also a little bit of eye-roll worthiness as characters stay overly long to make a hopeless last stand and then just as they decide its time to go they get cut down. There’s only so many times you can repeat this sequence of people lingering just that fraction too long before you realise everyone on the mountain is pretty much stuffed.
Still, with an episode to go, I guess we’re at a good point to finish the series. Most of the cast are already dead, the Mongols are swarming, and they just blew a main character off a cliff (though I assume since he landed in the ocean, and because we haven’t seen the scene from episode one, that he’ll survive that), so I guess this is climactic. I’m curious as to what the end will be and whether anyone will live, but at the same time I feel I’m just not very emotionally invested either way. Whether they live or die, I’m curious but not caught up in it.
- Episodes 1 + 2: Okay, You Got My Attention
- Episode 3: Ugly Filter Aside, This Is Pretty Compelling
- Episode 4: War is Ugly
- Episode 5: A Reason To Fight
- Episode 6: Division
- Episode 7: Safety?
- Episode 8: The Price of Betrayal
- Episode 9: Battle at the Castle
- Episode 10: Things Are Going About As Well As You Would Expect
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