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Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 3: The Long Night

Posted by MD Weems on April 28, 2019

***WARNING: SPOILERS. If you haven’t watched it yet, read on at your own risk***

I don’t know about you, but I am just emotionally wrecked right now. I feel like I’ve just been through the most insane, sad, amazing, tear up your guts, clench your butt so hard your legs hurt kind of emotional roller coaster to ever exist. In true GoT fashion, the middle of the road for the final season of Game of Thrones did not disappoint, and proved to be one of the most horrifically amazing episodes ever. I’m not sure they can top this episode… but I’m sure I’m going to be proven wrong. So, to get you on the same page, let’s dive right into the perfect emotional mess that was episode 3!

We start off with Sam, obviously nervous, shuttering himself through the courtyard of Winterfell: gathering his weapons and then hustling on. The camera pans to Tyrion, who is in the same boat, although it’s a little less obvious that he’s nervous. As the camera follows him, we see Bran being wheeled into the gardens by Theon. Then we move up to the walls, where Sansa is standing firm with Arya as the two remaining dragons fly overhead with Jon and Dany at the ready. We’re moved throughout the entire defending force, from Doth’raki to Unsullied, Brienne to Jorah, and everyone in between. The overall tone just tells you in your gut that some of your favorites are not going to make it through this episode and you just already start to get a knot in your stomach. Dany and Jon are with the dragons up on a high cliff to watch everything below.

As we end on Jorah, waiting with the Doth’raki forces, we see a figure ride out of the snowy night. Davos recognizes it immediately. It’s the red woman. She approaches the Doth’raki and asks Jorah to tell them to lift their swords. She goes to one and holds onto his raised weapon, chants a spell, and after a moment of this, his weapon lights on fire – followed by every other Doth’raki weapon.

We watch from the walls as the fire weapons sweep across the whole of the Doth’raki army, much to Davos’ surprise. We get to see everyone’s reaction, including Eddison as Sam finally finds his place at his side at the front of the line. In true Eddison fashion, he ribs Sam about being late. After she’s finished, the Red Woman rides to the gates and Davos gives the order to open the gate for her. She rides inside and ends up meeting Davos on the catwalks leading up to the walls. She tells him that he doesn’t need to execute her, that she’ll be dead before dawn anyway. He then simply let’s her walk by.

The order is given for the Doth’raki to charge and away they go, lifting their flaming weapons as they ride. They charge off into the darkness as the others watch hopefully.

However, hopes are quickly dashed as we see the flames of their swords go out over the far off battlefield. The camera pans to different characters as they realize what they are watching: the obliteration of the Doth’raki army.

A few lone horses ride back, along with a few Doth’raki on foot. Jorah rides by, wounded, and gives Tormund a spooked look that resonates on the large wildling’s face.

On the ridge above, Dany realizes that her beloved Doth’raki are dying, and she strays from the plan, getting on her dragon to attack now instead of waiting for the Night King. Jon has no choice but to follow her. Everyone is now severely spooked as they know that whatever just obliterated the Doth’raki is coming their way.

In something straight out of a zombie horror flick, the horde arrives in a wave of dead on the remaining forces.

The battle is on throughout all of the different areas and our heroes are quickly overwhelmed.

Podrick goes down.

Brienne goes down.

Jaime comes to her rescue. As he’s slicing the dead off of her, the dragon’s come to his rescue this time – searing the land, and the dead, in dragon fire.

Dany and Jon cross over the battlefield, killing hordes of the dead and giving everyone a bit of hope. Arya and Sansa watch from the wall above the battle.

As they ride through the sky, Jon sees the Night King’s Knights and they swerve to get a better look. Just as they do, a massive wave of cold, cloudy, snowy mess hits them and disorients the dragons, Dany and Jon. The cold swallows up the dragon fire on the ground and begins to spread across Winterfell’s forces quickly.

Up on the wall, Arya almost forces Sansa to go into the crypt and hands her a dragonglass dagger.

Sansa says that she doesn’t know how to use it and Arya is able to spit out what Jon said to her so long ago: “Stick ’em with the pointy end.” Sansa retreats into the crypts with the women as the cold washes over the armies below and the archers on the wall get ready.

In the gardens, Theon and the Iron Born watch with Bran as the cold sweeps over Winterfell.

Jorah is riding through the battle, slicing everything he can. We pan through all of our heroes as they fight for their lives. Edd goes down as as Sam is about to help him, Sam goes down. Edd comes to Sam’s rescue just as a dead thing is about to drive a dagger through Sam’s eye. From the ground, Sam sees everything around him in slow mo, until Edd screams at him to get up and yanks him to his feet.

And Edd is cut down from behind by a dead thing.

I screamed out loud.

The thing lets out a gurgly sound at Sam, who turns and runs as he has no weapon.

Then to the crypt, where Sansa is joining Tyrion, Varys, and the women and children. Tyrion knows that if Sansa has been sent down already, things are not going well upstairs.

Up in the sky, Jon’s dragon is disoriented and ends up slicing through the trees and almost running into Dany. They finally get a little control as the see hordes of more dead running toward the battle.

On the battlefield, the orders are given to fall back as their numbers are being just overrun by the dead.

Inside Winterfell, Lyanna Mormont screams out the orders to open the gates. The Unsullied move to help protect the retreat.

In the garden, Bran watches the dragons as they fly past. Jon lands on the wall, looking out over the battlefield as the remaining soldiers are retreating inside. The dead are getting caught up on the obstacles and taken down by some arrows as they chase the retreating soldiers. The dead are bursting through the defenses. As those retreating run, the Hound is about taken down by a dead, yet Arya saves him.

As the last of the retreating soldiers are through the gate, Grey Worm runs across the bridge and is getting ready to blow the bridge. We get to watch as his Unsullied are swallowed up by the waves of the dead. He finally has to make the decision to blow the bridge and leave the rest of the Unsullied out there. Once he does, the order is given to light the trench. However, the massive winds and cold blow the flames out as soon as they hit the trenches.

On the wall, Davos is desperately trying to give Dany and Jon the signal to let them know where Winterfell is – but they can’t see.

Hordes and hordes of the dead are running toward Winterfell as they desperately try to light the trenches. Grey Worm watches helplessly and finally catches the eye of the Red Woman. She approaches the trenches with the Unsullied to protect her so that she can light the trenches. The dead are attacking all around them, and several almost get her.

She holds a piece of the trench defenses and chants as she watches the horror and those around her cut down.

Finally, the trenches light – just as a white walker launches itself at her.

Dany and Jon see the fire and come to the rescue, much to the relief of everyone fighting. Arya and Davos watch from the wall as the dragons light up the night with burning dead.

Back in the crypt, those waiting down there can hear a little of the battle above them. Varys makes the comment that at least they are already in a crypt. Tyrion voices his concern that if he were out there he could help with strategy. Varys reminds him that he got hurt in previous battles. Sansa tells him that he would die if he were up there and then resigns herself to the truth that there is nothing she can do. Tyrion says maybe they should have stayed married, to which Sansa replies “You were the best of them.” And, in true Tyrion fashion, he replies “What a terrifying thought.” Which elicits a smile from Sansa as the two share a moment together in the middle of everyone else. She tells him it wouldn’t work between them and he asks why, to which she responds “The dragon queen.” After a few moments of talking about where Tyrion’s loyalties would lie, Melissandre gets mad and says how everything would be great if Dany weren’t there – and they’d all be dead already.

In the gardens, Theon and Bran speak for a moment. Theon apologizes for everything he’s done. Bran tells him that everything he’s done has brought him here now, brought him home. And then says he’s going to go now and wargs out. All we see from here are tons of ravens flying off across the battlefield, across the waves of dead being burned by the dragons, and up into the night sky where the Night King waits on his dragon. He reaches out as the ravens fly by and the dead below on the battlefield pause.

Then, to the horror of everyone watching, the dead begin to lay themselves on the flames of the trenches, forming a bridge and smothering the flames in certain areas for the rest of the horde to get across. Quickly, they break through areas of the trench and flood across to the walls of Winterfell.

This part totally reminded me of World War Z, where the zombies just pile on top of each other like ants to get up and over the walls of Jerusalem. It’s exactly what they do here as well.

All too soon, Winterfell is crawling with dead that have burst over the walls. We see all of our favorite heroes trying to fight them off.

Down by the gates, Lyanna Mormont is watching almost helplessly as people are being cut down around her. As she looks around, the gate is obliterated by a dead giant, who slams her to the side and then just thrashes the soldiers around her.

Arya is almost trapped on the ramparts, and finally is able to get away by doing a slick roll over the tops of a stairwell of dead. As she’s trying to escape a really crazy dead, he hits her from behind and she falls, smacking the shit out of her head on a stone wall.

Dazed, she turns to look up at the mass of dead that are stuck in the doorway, trying to get to her. She scrambles backwards as they break through.

Back to the skeletal giant in the courtyard, who is just flinging people right and left, smashing them to bits. Lyanna gets up and sees what is going on. The giant is throwing some of the defensive posts at the soldiers.

Then back up to the ramparts. The Hound freezes and everyone is yelling at him to help. Beric finally gets in his face and tells him to help. The Hound says it doesn’t matter, that they are all dead anyway. Beric points to a valiant Arya Stark, who has been just absolutely savagely slaughtering the dead, and says “Tell her that.” The Hound rushes off to help her.

Back to Lyanna, who is on her feet now and lets out just an insane battle scream and charges the giant.

The giant sees her coming and just snatches her up, lifting her to his face, and absolutely crushing her bones.

We hear the bones breaking and snapping. As she struggles to continue breathing, the life draining out of her, the giant lifts her to his face as if to eat her.

Lyanna screams and stabs the bastard in the freakin’ eye – taking down the giant – as she dies. He falls to the ground, slamming her down along with him.

I let out a yell of triumph as she killed that huge thing, as I was bawling like a baby. She got one of the most heroic deaths ever, and I feel she absolutely deserved one for the warrior she was. Even writing this part right now, I’m fighting back tears.

Ok, ok, back to it – So, now, we see the dragons go up into the mess of the storm, and finally break above the clouds.

Dany and Jon look at each other and then the Night King bursts through the clouds below them, barely missing Dany with the icy blue flames of his dragon. A crazy fight ensues, where Jon’s dragon attacks the dead dragon. It is a crazy fight for several minutes.

Arya has managed to escape and is inside Winterfell’s halls, where dead are roaming. She carefully hides and quietly keeps herself out of their sight as she moves through the library, trying to escape them.

The Hound and Beric are also going through Winterfell’s hallways, trying to find her. She finally takes a book and throws it to get their attention and get them away so she can escape. But they hear the door closing and throw themselves against it, just as the door behind her bursts open with more dead. She takes off running down the hallways.

Back down in the crypt, everyone can hear the sounds of the battle upstairs. Then bangs on the door and men screaming for them to let them in. Begging, pleading, screaming for them to let them in – as the dead scream. Then it is silent.

The Hound and Beric are still stalking through Winterfell’s halls, looking for Arya. They hear noises and get prepared for a fight. Arya bursts through a door, a dead on top of her. Beric throws his sword and kills it and jerks her up off the floor. As he spins her out of the way, one of the dead bit him on the leg. The Hound is fighting off more of the horde. Arya runs toward the Hound, Beric right behind her, and they rush through the halls. As they round a corner, dead burst out and hit Beric. Arya turns to help, but the Hound is dragging her off to help her. Beric is fighting a horde of the dead and breaks through to run with them. Just as it looks like they are almost to a safe spot, several dead burst into an alcove.

Beric rushes them, slamming one into the wall as another attacks him from the side. Arya watches in horror as Beric is stabbed and she picks up an axe to help. The Hound finishes fighting the dead he had as more come toward them. He rushes to where Arya and Beric are, picking Arya up and pulling her away as she screams “no!” since she was helping Beric.

Beric stands and places himself in a doorway, holding off the dead so Arya and the Hound can escape. He is stabbed repeatedly by the dead behind him. I mean it is just horrific.

Finally, the Hound, Arya, and Beric make it through into the great hall. Beric dies in Arya’s arms as a voice behind her tells Arya that he was brought back by the Lord of Light for a purpose and now he has served it. It’s the Red Woman. Her and Arya speak for a moment, with Arya remembering the things that the Red Woman told her – such as she would close many eyes. The Red Woman says yes, brown, green – and blue. This tells Arya what she needs to know and Arya runs out of the hall.

Back outside, the dead have overrun the garden and the Iron Born are doing all they can.

The Night King attacks Winterfell’s walls and Jon comes up, slamming into him on his dragon. In the garden, they watch the dragon fight above them. Dragon flesh on both is ripped and the Night King attempts to kill Jon with his sword. The Night King is flung off his dragon and crashes to the ground. The dragons continue to fight, Jon barely hanging on, and Dany follows the Night King down. Jon’s dragon is seriously wounded and crashes, appearing to be dead – but it doesn’t quite show it, so I’m not going to believe it yet.

The dead have almost overrun Winterfell at this point. Somehow, our favorite heroes, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Grey Worm, Jorah and Davos are still standing, still fighting. Jorah hears the dragons and takes off outside.

The Night King stands in front of Dany on her dragon. She gives the order to burn him.

Jon rushes toward them. Both stare in horror as the Night King is untouched.

He smiles up at her and throws his sword at Dany, barely missing her, causing her to take off. Then he stalks toward Winterfell. Jon draws his sword and gives chase. The Night King hears Jon coming up behind him and pauses, turning to stare Jon down. Jon begins to run toward him as the Night King raises his hands slightly.

All around Jon and the Night King, all around Winterfell, the dead – from both sides – begin to rise.

Jon runs, but ends up surrounded by the dead.

In Winterfell, those who are still alive watch in horror as all of the dead are resurrected. We even have to watch as Edd and Lyanna are resurrected as white walkers.

The Night King strolls into Winterfell with his knights.

In the crypt, all of those buried there begin to rise too. Everyone panics and the dead do take some of them as they are running.

Jon is about overrun, then Dany comes to his rescue so he can get inside Winterfell to save Bran. She makes the mistake of landing and a horde of dead come up behind her, attacking, stabbing, her dragon. She’s knocked off and the dragon takes off, trying to shake off the dead. She finds herself alone in the middle of reanimated warriors – saved just in time by Jorah.

Jon slices his way through Winterfell and the mobs of dead. He sees Tormund and Gendry fighting valiantly, Jaime, Brienne and Podrick backed against a wall, doing the same, Sam is knocked down on a pile of dead, killing those he can. He keeps on trying to fight his way into the garden.

Theon and the Iron Born run out of arrows and are overrun. Bran is still warged. Eventually, it’s just Theon left.

Dany picks up a sword and her and Jorah defend themselves.

In the crypt, women and children are being cut down.

Sansa and Tyrion take cover behind a crypt and have another moment between them as they decide to run to where Varys and some women and kids are hiding.

Jon is rushing through Winterfell, trying to keep away from the dragon.

An eerie, slow piano music begins to play as we are taken around Winterfell. We watch as our heroes are overrun again, left on the edge, wondering who will live.

Jorah is stabbed right in front of Dany.

And she kills the dead who stabs him. Jorah continues to fight.

Those in the crypt are being killed by the dead.

Jon tries in vain to make to make it to Bran.

Theon is still defending Bran on his own as the Night King approaches.

Jorah fights and is sliced and stabbed again.

Tormund goes down.

Jaime and Podrick fight against the wall.

Brienne is hurt.

Sam is in a pile of bodies, crying.

Theon is still fighting. Then the dead pause and he turns to Bran. Bran tells him thank for for being there as the Night King stares them both down. Theon knows he’s going to die. He turns to the Night King and charges him.

The Night King catches Theon’s spear, breaks it and stabs Theon through the gut with it. The Night King looks up at Bran as Theon falls to the ground at his feet. Bran looks down as Theon is dying.

Jon is trapped by the dragon and cannot get past.

The Night King approaches Bran.

Jorah is stabbed again several times trying to defend Dany. He still gets up. Dany is terrified seeing his condition.

The Night King approaches Bran.

Jon is still trapped.

The Night King reaches Bran and the two share a couple of interesting looks.

Jon stands up and faces down the dragon – screaming at it.

The Night King reaches for his sword to kill Bran.

A slight wind passes by the Knights who are watching.

As we see the Night King again, Arya flies up behind him.

He turns and catches her by the throat.

She loosens her hand and drops her dagger, making him look up at her hand and the dagger.

The dagger drops and she catches it in her other hand in one swift move, and then stabs the damn Night King in the gut – in the same place the children of the forest placed the blade that created him.

Immediately, he turns to ice and explodes.

Arya falls to her knees. The Knights explode behind her.

As the dragon is about to attack Jon, it explodes.

The dead everywhere falls to the earth.

Jorah falls as well.

Jon gives a tiny smile up at the few who are alive around him in the courtyard.

In the crypt, they gather together and stare out at the dead.

Arya looks at Bran and smiles slightly.

Dany helps Jorah on to his back.

She’s devastated as he tries to talk to her and dies in her arms.

As she is crying over him, her dragon comes down and curls around her and Jorah.

The Hound and the Red Woman appear and head out into the courtyard. She walks past the Hound and toward the front gate, dropping her cape off. As she walks, Davos comes up with his sword to kill her, but pauses.

She takes off her necklace, which quits glowing as it hits the ground. She continues to walk out into the icy field as Davos watched. Before his eyes, she turns to an old woman, then crumples to the ground, dead.

Game of Thrones: Season 8, Episode 2: 69

Posted by MD Weems on April 21, 2019

We survived the first episode without one shred of a white walker or the Night King, and here we are at episode 2. Are we to see the dead attack finally? Does Jon actually tell Dany who is truly is? Do Sansa and Dany go at each other’s throats? Man, so many questions. So little time. Let’s get right into Season 8, Episode 2’s recap!

The episode starts out with the amazing inner views of the broken wall, Last Hearth, and an in depth look at Winterfell that we’ve never seen in an opening sequence before, letting us know this is where we will be for this episode. It’s a new look at the amazing opening sequence that shows us a few sigils that we’ve never seen before on the opening sequence as well.

We start out with Jaime standing in front of a very angry Daenerys who is seated at a table with Sansa and Jon. Dany tells Jaime about the stories that her brother told about the man who killed their dad – and what they would do to him when they ruled. Jaime gives the bad news that they have all been lied to by Cersei, who isn’t coming with her army and instead is planning to attack the survivors. Sansa then talks about not trusting Jaime either. When even Tyrion fails to persuade anyone to trust him, Lady Brienne comes to his rescue. She stands up and speaks out for Jaime, vouching for him to Sansa, who trusts her completely. Sansa takes Brienne’s word and walks out of the hall, leaving Jaime standing in front of Dany and Jon and the rest of the crowd. Jon gets up and leaves, and Dany follows. Tyrion follows Dany and she berates him for his mistake about trusting Cersei. He owns up to his mistake, yet she continues to tell him how many mistakes he’s made and that she’s tired of it. This leaves Varys, Tyrion and Jorah standing in the hallway.

Then we go to the forge at Winterfell, where Gendry is busy making weapons alongside the other weaponsmiths. Arya comes in and is watching him work. She asks about her weapon and is told he’ll make it eventually. He tries to tell her that it will be safer in the crypt and she asks if he’s going to be down there. He replies that he’ll be fighting. She asks him about fighting the dead and he tells her that the dead are truly ‘very bad’ to fight. She’s a bit amused at this until she realizes that he is serious about fighting them. He picks a bit at her about fighting and she picks up a few shards of dragon glass that have been made into blades. She throws one, then another, then a third with extreme precision, proving her point that she’s a fighter and will defend her home. She again asks about her weapon and he tells her he’ll get right on it.

Now we go to the garden where Bran is sitting under the red tree. Jaime comes up and they have a small chat about who they are now and what they have done in their lives. Bran reveals that he is not Brandon stark any longer, but instead he is something else.

Then we move to Tyrion, strolling through the lanes of Winterfell. He comes upon Jaime and the two chat, laughing a bit about the last time they were in Winterfell. They also talk about Dany and how the Northerners will finally accept Dany. Jaime asks if Tyrion is sure that Dany is different than her father and Tyrion tells him that he’s sure she’s a good person. Of course, then they have to talk about their sister and what a liar she is. The pair head up to the ramparts and talk about death and how they pictured themselves dying. As Tyrion is talking, Jaime walks off a bit when something catches his eye. Tyrion turns to find Jaime staring down at Lady Brienne who is watching some soldiers train.

Down on the field, we see Grey Worm checking the defenses while Brienne watches the training. The pair talk for a moment and finally Brienne asks what is going on as Jaime hasn’t insulted her at all yet. Finally Jaime asks if he can serve under her command, even if he cannot fight as he once used to. She agrees and then tells him she has to get back to training and walks off.

Back inside the keep at Winterfell, Jorah comes to Dany and speaks to her on Tyrion’s behalf. She reminds him that Tyrion basically took his job only because she thought she’d never see him again. But, Jorah tells her that Tyrion is a great hand and she needs to forgive him for his mistakes because he owns up to the mistakes. He really speaks up on forgiving him and then leaves the ending of their conversation open with a suggestion that we never hear.

Then we see Dany going into a room where Sansa and her adviser are talking. They talk about Sansa agreeing with her on Jaime and Sansa tells her that she truly trusts Brienne with her life. Then they talk about Tyrion as well. Finally, Dany softens up a bit and they sit and begin to have a good chat. Sansa tells Dany that Jon truly loves her. Dany puts her hand on top of Sansa’s and it appears that there might be something finally that softens their relationship. They even giggle a little bit. Until Sansa asks about what happens to the North after they win and defeat Cersei. Sansa pushes with the fact that the North said they’d never bow to anyone again. Then they are interrupted and brought into the great hall.

There, before them, is Theon, who Sansa hasn’t seen since they escaped. Theon tells Dany that Yara couldn’t get all of the ships but that Yara is taking back the Iron Islands for Dany. Theon asks to fight for Winterfell with Sansa’s permission. Sansa goes to him and they hug tightly with tears in their eyes.

Outside, there are men who are about to be soldiers who are kind of scared and ask Devros what they should do. He gives them some good advice and a pep talk about fighting. He tells them where to go to get their weapons. And we see Gilly showing the women where to go to be safe. As Devros is watching Gilly, a young girl, who looks and sounds a lot like the princess who was burned at the stake, asks where she should go to defend Winterfell. Gilly comes up and tells the girl that she would feel safer if the girl was in the crypt defending the women and children down there. The girl agrees and Devros thanks Gilly.

Now we see Jon, who hears a call that some one is arriving and he goes into the courtyard to see his friends from the Night’s Watch and Tormund come up. He’s thrilled to see them and hugs them all. They tell him that the Last Hearth is gone and that those who aren’t at Winterfell now are with the dead. Tormund tells Jon that the dead will be there before morning. Then, in true Tormund style, looks around and asks “Is the big woman still here?”

We then see the whole of Winterfell preparing as Jon is talking about how they are outnumbered by the dead. Inside Winterfell, Jon is addressing those who are commanding the soldiers. The others ask what to do since there are too many and Jon tells them that if they can get to the Night King, maybe they can take him down and defeat the army that way. They realize there’s no real way to do this, until Bran speaks up that the Night King will come for him. He shows them the mark on his arm. Bran basically says that he will be bait in the garden and Theon and the Ironborn offer to protect Bran while the others fight. After everyone leaves, Tyrion and Bran are left. Tyrion tells Bran that he would like to hear what Bran has been through and pulls up a chair.

Outside, Grey Worm is inspecting weapons as Melisandre is walking out of the keep. She says hi to a couple of girls, who don’t say a word back, but instead walk off. Grey Worm tells her they don’t belong up there and asks where she wants to go afterward. She says that she wants to see the beaches of her homeland again but tells him that her people are peaceful and cannot defend themselves. He says his people are not peaceful and they will defend hers.

Up on the ramparts, Jon and Sam are joined by Fergus. Jon tells Sam that he can be in the crypt with Gilly, to which Sam gets pissed about. Then they make a few jokes about life and where they are now. Until Sam starts to talk about where they all started out. Fergus says that the last of the three of them should burn the rest of them.

Inside the keep, Jaime and Tyrion are sitting by the fire, drinking wine. As they sit, they are joined by Brienne and Podrick. Then they are joined by Davros and Tormund. They all sit and talk a bit and pour some wine.

Up on the ramparts, Arya finds the Hound. She asks why he’s there and the two start to talk a bit until they are interrupted. Arya gets up and tells the two men that she doesn’t want to spend her last few hours with their sorry asses.

We then see Arya downstairs, practicing with a bow and arrow. Gendry comes up and gives her the weapon she requested. She tests it out a bit and then begins to ask how many girls he’s been with in King’s Landing. He finally tells her 3. She tells him that she wants to know what it’s like before she dies and kisses him. In GoT fashion, they quickly strip and get with it right there on top of some hay and other stores.

Back around the hearth inside, Tyrion talks about how everyone there has fought the Starks at one time or another. After some jokes and wine, they talk about knights and Tormund asks why Brienne isn’t one. She tells him it’s just tradition and there’s no king right now to change that. Jaime says that any knight can create another knight. So, he stands away from the others and tells her to come kneel. In front of the others, he knights Brienne and gives her what she’s always wanted. I won’t lie, I cheered a bit here. I love Brienne and I’m glad that she finally became a knight.

Outside, we see Sam come upon Jorah who is talking to his younger cousin about fighting in the battle. Sam presents him with his family’s sword, which is valerian steel. He asks Jorah to carry it in battle and Jorah agrees to do so with honor.

Back inside, Tyrion is asking who in there knows a song or two. Everyone says no. Finally, Podrick starts singing a sad song about a girl who dances with ghosts. The eerie song continues as we see Sam, Gilly and little Sam lying in bed, Sansa and Theon having a warm drink by the fire outside with the soldiers, Arya lying beside a sleeping Gendry, Grey Worm and Melisandre walking to the marching unsullied ranks and their parting kiss, and Jorah on horseback looking out over the darkened snow field outside Winterfell.

Then we see Dany walking carefully into the crypt where Jon is in front of the statue of his mother, Lianna. Dany asks who she is and Jon tells her. Dany talks about her brother and how she was told he was such a good guy, yet he raped her. Jon tells her that’s not true and that they were actually married. He tells her that before she died on her childbirth bed, she made her brother promise to take care of their son and hide him from Robert Baratheon. He then tells Dany that he is that child, that he is the heir to the Targaryen throne. Dany is horrified when she realizes that he’s telling the truth and tells him that makes him the last living male heir to the throne.

But before she can do anything about her being his aunt, the alarm is sounded outside and they rush up to the ramparts where we see that everyone is preparing for battle.

The episode ends with the Night King’s commanders on horseback staring at Winterfell.

GoT: Season 8, Episode 1: Winterfell – The Final Season Premier

Posted by MD Weems on April 21, 2019

Well, if you’re like me, then you’ve been waiting not so patiently on the return of GoT. Finally – after what seemed like forever – we are finally here. So, let’s get right into the recap of Season 8, Episode 1 of Game of Thrones: Winterfell.

The episode starts off with a kid chasing the view of a marching army, right past where Arya Stark stands – much like how Arya chased the view of the incoming arrival of the King and his family in the first episode of the show. As thousands of unsullied march past, we finally get a glimpse of Jon and Daenerys – followed by the Hound and Gendry. Of course, what procession would be complete without Tyrion and Varys, who are riding in a carriage behind the procession. As the procession marches past, the Northerners look on in distrust, whispering, until the dragons fly overhead. This sight causes the majority of the Northerners to flee, while others who know the importance of the dragons, smile slightly. The procession arrives at Winterfell where they are met by Bran and Sansa. Jon, overjoyed to see his sister and brother, immediately goes to Bran and hugs him. As he is greeting Sansa, Bran and Daenerys share an odd look. Jon then presents Daenerys to Sansa and the others standing around. While Daenerys tries to exchange pleasantries with Sansa, Bran tells them “We don’t have time for this…” and tells them all that the dead are on the march this way.

Inside Winterfell, the lords of the North meet up and Jon is confronted by his people who now have lost trust in him since he brought Daenerys back here. He tries to explain that he brought the allies they needed to save the North, but no one seems to be buying it. Tyrion then tries to come to Jon’s aid, much to the horror of the others, he even tells them that the Lanister army will be marching North to join them.

Outside, Gendry is overseeing the arrival of wagons of dragonglass that are to be made into weapons. Tyrion, looking on, sees Sansa and goes to speak with her. They reminisce about the last royal wedding they attended – with a few jokes about Joffrey thrown in. They then exchange a few words about how Cersei will come to help, but Sansa doesn’t buy it.

In the garden at Winterfell, Jon stands at the red tree where he’s snuck upon by Arya. The two have a wonderfully warm reunion, complete with a huge hug and then Jon noticing she still has Needle. When asked if she’s ever used it, she replies “Once or twice.” Arya tells Jon that Sansa is the smartest person she’s ever met and that she’s just defending her family. Jon tells Arya that he’s family too, and Arya tells him “Don’t forget that.”

Now we go down South to King’s Landing, where Cersei is standing on a large landing, staring out over the ocean below. Her hand comes up to tell her that the dead have broken through the wall, to which she replies “Good.” Out on the water in front of them wait hundreds of ships from the Iron Fleet, led by Euron Greyjoy.-

On the main ship, we see Euron who smiles up at King’s Landing then goes down below deck, where Yara is being held prisoner. Yara asks why he doesn’t kill her and he replies “Then who would I talk to?” She asks if they are at King’s Landing, and he smiles and shrugs, to which she replies “You picked the losing side.” He tells her that he’ll just sail to the other side, after he screws the queen.

And now we go into the Red Keep, where Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. Before her are Euron and the leader of the Golden Company of mercenaries. They are talking about troops that are on the ships and she finds out there are no elephants, which really disappoints her. The leader heads off to check on his men, while Euron stays and talks to Cersei. He basically asks when he gets to sleep with her and she tells him that he has to earn a queen. He reminds her that he has brought her so much already. Finally, she gives him a look, allowing him to follow her into her chambers. As he’s moving up the steps to follow her, the Mountain steps forward and stares him down. In true Euron style, he just smiles and walks past.

Somewhere in King’s Landing, in a brothel, Bron is about to enjoy the company of three ladies. However, they won’t shut up about men that they have known who were burned to death or came back horribly disfigured after meeting up with the dragons. He tries to impress them by saying that he shot a dragon and they don’t seem to care. Then the queen’s hand, Qyburn, appears and interrupts them saying that the queen has a proposition for Bron. He tells Bron that the queen wants to pay in advance for his services – with seven chests of gold waiting outside for him. Qyburn then tells Bron that Cersei wants him to kill Jaime with a special crossbow that looks exactly like the large bow he shot the dragon with. Bron is talking about how messed up that family is and Qyburn tells him that Cersei is the one who saved him from a life of poverty after he was kicked out of the Citadel and made him her hand just for his knowledge. He tempts Bron by asking what Cersei would do for the man who rid her of her treasonous brothers.

Cersei, still made about the elephants, is having a glass of wine as we see Euron getting dressed behind her. Euron asks how he compares to the ‘fat’ king, Cersei at first tries to act offended, but Euron doesn’t buy it. Then Cersei tells him that the late king had a different whore every night yet still didn’t know his way around a woman. Then Euron asks about how the Kingslayer compares to him, giving him immediate dagger eyes from Cersei. She comments about how he enjoys risking his neck. He goes to her and asks if he pleases her, to which she tells him he might be the most arrogant man she’s ever met – and says she likes it. He places a hand on her stomach and tells her he’s going to put a prince in there.

Back on Euron’s ship, we begin to see men being shot with arrows, dropping quickly. We follow the bodies down to the captain’s quarters, where Yara is held, and we finally see that it is Theon who is there to save her. She headbutts him and knocks him on his ass, then helps him up and they steal a few ships and sail off. She tells Theon that Euron can’t defend the Iron Islands if Euron and the fleet are at King’s Landing. Yara tells him they can take back their home and give Daenerys a place to go if they can’t hold off the dead at Winterfell or in the North, somewhere the dead can’t go. Theon tells her that he’ll go where she commands. She realizes that he wants to go to Winterfell to fight and tells him to go.

Now we see some of the survivors of the North coming into Winterfell. Tyrion, Davos and Varys are walking around, talking about what all is going on and how the Northmen are loyal to Jon. They cook up a plan of getting Jon to marry Daenerys. They see Jon and Daenerys down below them, talking together very closely.

Jon and Daenerys are walking around the grounds where the army is outside of the castle walls. Daenerys states that Sansa doesn’t like her and tries to put down a hard line about how Sansa needs to respect her. She’s interrupted by a trio of Dothraki riders. They tell her the dragons aren’t eating well. So, Daenerys and Jon go to check on the dragons. Here we see, once again, that the dragons respect Jon just like they do Daenerys. She climbs on the back of one and tells him to do the same. He’s hesitant but gets on the back of the other dragon. She tells him to hold on to whatever he can and they take off into the sky. Jon is barely hanging on as they fly over Winterfell, where people can see Jon is riding a dragon.

Then, they fly around until Jon realizes that he can control the dragon’s movements. As they soar over parts of the North around Winterfell, and over and huge canyon, he lands the dragon in a beautiful spot where he used to hunt as a kid. Daenerys is impressed with the beauty of the place and the fact that Jon can control the dragon. He tells her that she’s completely ruined horses for him now. After a few sweet words about running away where no one would find them, Jon and Daenerys embrace and kiss. Jon notices the dragons staring at him as they do so.

Then we go back to Winterfell, where Gendry is creating weapons from the dragonglass that was brought in. As he is doing so, the Hound comes in to pick up his axe that Gendry made him. Arya comes in and tells the Hound to leave Gendry alone after the Hound is giving him a hard time. He says that Arys left him to die and comes to tower over her. After he leaves, Arya flirts with Gendry a bit and it’s obvious that he likes her too. She gives him a drawing of a weapon that she wants. He starts to ask her what the weapon is for and she just wants to know if he can make it or not.

Now we see Sansa reading a scroll when Jon comes in. She tells him the Glovers are not coming to help them. Sansa accuses him of abandoning the North for Daenerys. Jon asks her if she thinks they can beat the army of the dead without Daenerys and the dragons. Before she can answer, he tells her he’s fought the dead twice and it doesn’t matter what title people hold – the dead don’t care. He says without Daenerys they don’t stand a chance. Then he asks if she has faith in him, and she says yes, to which he builds up Daenerys to Sansa. She asks if he bent the knee to save the North or if it was because he loves her.

At this same time, Daenerys and Jorah are down in the crypt looking for Sam. She asks if Sam is the one who saved Jorah. She keeps reigning praise on him and tells him that she wants to give him something. He asks for a pardon for stealing books from the citadel and a sword from his father. She asks about his father’s name and then tells him that she killed his father and his brother. This truly upsets Sam, who manages to barely keep it together without crying. We watch poor Sam try to deal with the news of their death and then he leaves. Daenerys doesn’t show much emotion at all as Sam stalks out.

Outside, Sam is almost ran over by a wagon and then he sees Bran across the courtyard. He asks why Bran is out there and Bran says he’s waiting for an old friend. He tells Sam that it’s time to tell Jon the truth and Sam says that Bran should tell him because Bran is his brother. Bran says he’s not Jon’s brother and that Sam should tell him since Jon trusts Sam more than anyone and that Jon needs to know now.

We then go into the crypt below Winterfell where Jon is lighting candles for Ned Stark. Sam interrupts him and Jon is thrilled to see him. Sam apologizes for being down there. Sam tells him that Daenerys killed his dad and brother. Jon didn’t know. Then, Sam lays it on Jon that he is the true king, and has always been. Jon tells him he’s not the king and Sam says he’s the king of the seven kingdoms. Jon freezes and then Sam tells him that Bran and he discovered that Jon is the son of Lianna Stark (Ned’s sister) and his real father is Raegar Targaryen. He tells Jon he’s never been a bastard, and that he is actually the true heir to the throne. Jon has a hard time believing that Ned would lie to him all these years. Sam tells him that he would have been killed as a baby if anyone had known. Jon tries to tell him that Daenerys is the queen, but Sam says that she shouldn’t be. He asks if Jon thinks that Daenerys would give up her crown as he gave up his.

Up in the North by the remains of the wall, a small group of wildings and other soldiers are looking for survivors of the battle. They are going through the dark buildings with a flaming sword lighting the way. Blood spots are everywhere on the snow and all around them. Then they hear a noise and are ready to attack – when they find out it’s the remains of the Night’s Watch. They are thrilled to see the survivors. The survivors take them down into the main hall where the kid who helped kill Jon is tacked up to the wall with a bunch of body parts. As they are talking, the kid opens his eyes and tries to attack them. The flaming sword is plunged into the kid and the kid and the body parts create a flaming circle pattern on the wall. Tormund is a bit freaked out.

Then we see a large, hooded figure riding into Winterfell. When he gets off his horse, we see it’s Jaime Lanister. He looks around the place and smiles slightly, until he sees Bran sitting across the courtyard from him. He realizes who Bran is and a look of horror crosses his face. The episode is left there… giving our minds time to run wild with all of the information that we just soaked up.

KillStar Cat Lady Apparel

Posted by Gothic.net on March 12, 2019

KillStar has a fun new series of lace-up tunics with cat themes. I love that they have sizes ranging from XS all the way through 4XL. The whole collection is made of black soft jersey, which is a sort of T-shirt material. The long tunic style can be worn with jeans or leggings or stockings for the more daring. Or just lounge around the house in it. The lace up back and low neckline combine to allow you to adjust how fitted you’d like to wear it and how much cleavage you’d like to show. Keep your feline’s tastes in mind.

KillStar Black Cat Lace-Up Tunic

KillStar Black Cat Lace-Up Tunic

KillStar Black Cat Lace-Up Tunic

New Gothic Men’s Coat from Punk Rave

Posted by Edwina Caustic on March 11, 2019

The incredible designers at Punk Rave have struck again. Their newest item of men’s apparel is a three quarter length black coat. This fitted piece is made of polyester in varying textures, with a few cleverly placed appliques and edges with a bit of a military-inspired feel. The dark-haired gothic gent they have modeling the coat shows it off to elegant effect.

PunkRave Goth Men's Coat

PunkRave Goth Men's Coat PunkRave Goth Men's Coat PunkRave Goth Men's Coat

Happy D Day 2U Releases Today

Posted by Edwina Caustic on February 14, 2019

Releasing this film the day before Valentines Day has that certain je ne sais quois sense of humor which I expect from its creative team. Is it date movie or a forget VDay flick? You’ll have to decide. I’m predicting it will be both creepy and funny.

Jessica Rothe leads the returning cast of Happy Death Day 2U, the follow-up to Blumhouse’s (Split, Get Out, The Purge series) surprise 2017 smash hit of riveting, repeating twists and comic turns. This time, our hero Tree (Rothe) discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.

Jason Blum once again produces and Christopher Landon returns to write and direct this next chapter, while Happy Death Day executive producers Angela Mancuso and John Baldecchi are newly joined by EP Samson Mucke (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse).

happy death day 2u

Sharp Objects Dirt

Posted by Gothic.net on July 16, 2018

So far, HBO does not disappoint in their adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects book. The second episode is called Dirt and dives into a funeral for a murdered girl and Camille Preaker, played by Amy Adams, working on overcoming the pains and contradictions of the small town life she escaped and is now forced to confront again. Also, Elizabeth Perkins looks marvelous.

HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt HBO Sharp Objects Episode 2 Dirt

HBO Adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects

Posted by Gothic.net on July 9, 2018

I always recommend reading the book, so I’m going to recommend you read all of deliciously dark writer Gillian Flynn’s oevre. That said, who couldn’t be excited about Sharp Objects being adapted into an HBO miniseries starring Amy Addams Adams. I love the way Amy Adams emotes as an actress, so I always want to spell her last name Addams, but that is not correct. Here are some sneak peek images from episode one. Tune in to HBO to see it all.

HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish HBO Sharp Objects Episode 1 Vanish

Speculating Saw: Deep Deconstruction of the SAW Franchise

Posted by Cat Voleur on September 20, 2017

saw movies

The infamous Saw franchise started back in 2004 and was immediately met with mixed reviews. For the most part, they’re the sort of movies that you love, hate, or love to hate, and people usually form pretty strong opinions about them. Regardless of personal views about the films, it’s hard to deny the massive impact that they made in the horror community, as this is possibly the most influential modern horror franchise in current existence.

What this article is going to do is take a look at each of the Saw installations as both individual movies and as part of the series, and then highlight some of the key points which will include a synopsis and then the strengths and weaknesses of that particular feature. I will warn you now of course, that this will reflect my own personal views on the series as the writer of the article, and there will be more than a little editorializing. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion, and I think it’s the different opinions about this franchise that make it one of the most interesting horror topics to discuss. That being said, let me tell you right now that I love each and every single one of the seven Saw movies, because even in the films that for whatever reason(s) didn’t work, they all had concepts that made you think, which is something I look for not just in my cinema, but in all entertainment. A strong, intriguing concept is one of the most important elements in a movie to me, and that puts me solidly on the side of loving these films. So, as a fan, I’m pretty excited to tear these apart analytically.

SPOILER WARNING: This article is an analysis of the Saw series, both in its parts and in its entirety and there are a ton of spoilers. If you haven’t seen them and are intending to, you should go watch them right now before reading any further.


My biggest problem with the first movie was, believe it or not, advertising. When I first started seeing previews for this back in 2004, I was already an avid horror fan, and this looked like the stupidest concept for a movie in the whole world. Between the trailers I had seen that were just random clips of a man trying to saw his foot off, and the posters with the phrase “He doesn’t kill his victims; he makes his victims kill themselves.” I was convinced that this had to be one of the worst horror movies ever, and I vowed never to see it. It wasn’t until a year later when trailers started coming out for the second one that my interest was piqued, and even then I was hesitant to watch the first one.

I am so glad that I did, because it was not at all what I was expecting. Due to its reputation for being the goriest movie of the year, I was surprised at how mild the violence was. The concepts were chillingly graphic, but very little of that was actually shown in the film. In fact, this movie plays out almost more like a psychological thriller than like a horror movie. The slogan that had given me so many doubts about the film was actually derived from one of Dr. Gordon’s quotes in the movie: “Technically, he’s not a killer. He’s never killed anyone. He finds ways for his victims to kill themselves.” In the scene, Dr. Gordon is trying to explain Jigsaw’s motives with the limited information he has on the subject. In the movie it makes sense and is a fine quote, but when paraphrased and then taken out of context, it just sounds terrible.

The motive behind Jigsaw’s games is so much more intriguing than a deranged man forcing his victims into violent suicides, and is in fact one of the more interesting aspects of the series. In each installment we get to find out a little bit more of his reasoning behind putting people through these “games” “tests” or “traps” depending on how you prefer to view them. We’ll get into more of that later of course, but for right now let’s take a closer look at the first movie in particular.

The movie shows two men in a room, each of them chained to opposite walls, with the corpse of a man in the center. One man (Adam) we learn, had been hired to take pictures of the other (Dr. Lawrence Gordon) and neither of them have any recollection of how they got there. As the movie progresses, we learn more about the situation at hand. This is part of a test. To win his personal game, Dr. Gordon has to kill Adam before 6:00, or he will be left for dead and his wife and daughter will be killed. Through flashbacks and conversation, we learn more about the previous victims of the “Jigsaw Killer.”

A lot happens in between the beginning and end of the film, it takes a few twists, but the biggest of course is at the end when the “corpse” in the center of the room stands up, pulls off his makeup, and reveals himself to be Jigsaw. This had to be one of my favorite movies of all time, because there was just this moment where it all clicked in. We had seen that man in the flashbacks, as he was Dr. Gordon’s patient. Zep, (who is assisting Jigsaw as part of his own test) has already brought up how interesting he was, and they also mention in one of the crime scene investigations how he likes to get front row seats to see his games play out in person. All the hints are there if you’re paying attention, but they were written in subtly enough so as to not be obvious.

The movie doesn’t spell out his motives for you, but you’re left with the impression that he simply wants people to appreciate their lives, as he’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer. You’re left not knowing the ultimate fate of either Adam or Lawrence (who we get to watch saw off his own foot in order to escape the room and get help.)

This movie worked. It worked as the start of a series, it worked on it’s own, and I can honestly say I think it’s one of the most underrated horror films of all time. The writing was incredible, it was paced excellently, and it was so much more than I ever expected it to be. The lighting and the scenery were outstanding, and even though it barely scratched the surface of the concept, it was captivating enough that I was hooked right away.


Saw II:

The man being testing in this movie is our main protagonist, Eric Matthews, whose son has been missing for a number of days. He successfully tracks down Jigsaw, who we now know to be Jon Kramer, but can’t take him into custody because he sees that his own son is in one of Jigsaw’s traps, and continues to watch him through the monitors that Jon has set up for the occasion. He notices in short order that all of the people in the group test with his son, are people who he has sentenced to prison under false pretenses.

Jigsaw tells him straight at the beginning that his son is in a safe place, and all Eric has to do to pass his test is talk to him for long enough, which gives us a real insight into the nature of some of Jon’s less obvious games. Of course, Eric has a tough time doing that as he watches people getting picked off one at a time on the monitors.

We also get to see the test that Eric is watching on the monitors. It features 8 people who are all locked in a house. They will be released from the house in 3 hours, but are breathing a deadly toxin that will kill them within two hours unless they find an antidote. There are antidotes hidden around the house, but of course they will all come at a price. Among the victims of this trap is not only Eric’s son Daniel, but also Amanda (who we were introduced to in one of the flashbacks in the first movie. She was one of the first people to survive one of Jigsaw’s games.)

Eric eventually snaps, not being able to take it anymore, and he forces Jigsaw to take him to the house on the monitors. When he gets there, it’s revealed that the house is already empty, Daniel isn’t there, and the game that he had been watching on the monitors was pre-recorded. We learn that Daniel was in a safe back in the room where Eric and Jon had been talking. All Eric would have had to do was just talk to Jon for long enough, exactly like he was told.

Again, this movie worked. The directing was incredible, as was the writing, and again, the shock value was great. We also get some very interesting information for the overall story that the series is telling. Amanda was not just in the trap because of self harm, as she originally claims. She is working as Jon’s apprentice, and the end of the movie ends on her capturing Eric, and explaining how she will take over for Jon when he dies to carry on his legacy, which of course has strong implications for the upcoming installments.

I also need to take a moment to note the interesting backstory information that we get here in regards to Jon’s inspiration for his “tests” and how he got his name. After being diagnosed with the terminal cancer we learned about in the last movie, Jon drives himself off a cliff in a suicide attempt. He gets impaled, yet he still manages to survive. He’s baffled at how his body is simultaneously dying and still strong enough to survive an injury like that. After surviving, he vows to spend whatever days remain to him “testing the fabric of human nature.”

I think this is just beyond fascinating. Normally in movies, the killer is either motivated by a self-righteous sense of purpose, or is curious about how humans react under extreme situations. Jon Kramer, or “Jigsaw”, is both. Yes, he wants to help people in his own sick way, and yes he wants people to survive his games and come out the better for it, but it’s a morbid curiosity that makes him take each test to such an extreme. He simply wants to know what people are made out of.

We also get a more clear idea of how he gets the title “Jigsaw Killer.” This refers to the fact that he cuts a puzzle piece out of all of the deceased test subjects, to symbolize that they were missing what he views as the “most important piece of the human puzzle; the survival instinct.”


Saw III: This was my personal favorite out of all seven. I think the writing was phenomenal, it was gross, it was shocking, and it definitely made me think, which I already mentioned is a huge selling point for me.

Early on, the topic of Amanda’s traps gets talked about in the film. Her traps are designed in a way that the people being tested cannot survive, even if they manage to do what the challenges ask of them. This goes against Jon’s mission statement of giving people a new life.

The movie then transitions into the tests of Lynn and Jeff who are playing through their games simultaneously. Lynn is charged with the task of keeping Jigsaw alive while Jeff (though she’s not told who he is at the time) gets through his tests. Amanda locks a collar on her neck that will detonate if Jon’s heart rate monitor flatlines, so if Jon dies, she dies. Jeff on the other hand is charged with numerous tasks of forgiveness, where he must endure a personal loss to help save the life of someone who was involved in the drunk driving accident responsible for the death of his son.

We see Amanda’s tension grow higher and higher as the movie progresses and she comes ever closer to the reality of living without Jon. Toward the end, she kills Lynn, just as Jeff is reaching the end of his tests and coming into the room. It is then that we learn Jeff and Lynn are husband and wife. Jeff kills Amanda instantly for shooting his wife, and then we get to the big twist ending, where we learn that the whole thing was actually Amanda’s test, not Lynn’s. Jon wanted to test her again before he died to see if she could follow the rules of the game no matter what, to see if she was worthy to carry on his work after he died. Of course, by shooting Lynn who completed her challenge, she broke the rules, failing her challenge and paying for it with her life.

Jeff has then gotten to his final test. Jon tells him that all he has to do to pass is forgive him for the pain that he has caused Jeff’s family that night. Jeff kills Jon which in turn detonates Lynn’s collar. We then find that Jeff’s daughter has also been taken, and Jon was allegedly the only person who know where she was at, leaving another cliffhanger aspect to the film.

This movie was a turning point in the series for two main reasons. The first is obviously in regards to plot. With Jon and Amanda both dead, it left it’s audience wondering how the series would be continued. The second is a bit more subtle in that it didn’t affect the story of the franchise, but rather the tone of it.

The Saw movies already had a reputation for being overly gory, which I’ve already mentioned, was misleading since neither of the first two were particularly graphic. That can not be said for the third installation, which was definitely not a film for anyone with a weak stomach. Three is arguably the most graphic film in the series, but from this point on in the series, they all earn their title of “gory”, leaving nothing to the imagination. Whether this was a good or a bad change is up for debate, but I have to say that I’m glad it happened here.

The continuity in the films falters after the first three, and I’m glad that they at least brought in the excessive gore before all the changes in the story, because otherwise continuity would be have been an even bigger issue. That being said, I think they might have gone overboard a couple of times trying to gross out the audience. (Particularly in three, which I believe was the biggest drawback of the movie.)

Still, this movie worked. It was a good film, as I already mentioned I adore the writing, the visual effects were disgusting, but even when the gore was over the top the special effects team really pulled it off. The story had the definite shock factor that I had at this point come to expect from the Saw films, and I was very pleased with this installment overall.


Saw IV: This was the film where the series started to fall in part in my opinion. It pains me to say this not only because I think the storyline for this one had a lot of potential, but also because like the previous two Saw installations it was done by Darren Lynn Bousman, who is one of my favorite directors. I still love most of his work to pieces, but this movie was a trainwreck, and is without a doubt my least favorite of the series.

Part of my problem with this movie (and the fifth movie for that matter) was casting. Normally I do my best to overlook things like that, which have so little to do with the story, but it really got to me in this case. Agent Mark Hoffman (played by Costas Mandylor) and Special Agent Peter Strahm (played by Scott Patterson) simply looked too much alike. They had drastically different rolls in the film, yet it I often got them confused. This actually bothered me a little more in the fifth one than it did here, but this movie was the hardest to follow on its own, so the extra confusion was just unwelcome.

Confusion is also the reason that I disliked the editing in this movie. The story is complex, which is a staple of the films in this series, but unlike with the previous (and in fact later movies) the information is not presented in a way where you necessarily understand it the first time watching. I had to watch it multiple times before it really sank in and made sense, and even then it required a lot of thought.

The movie opens on Jigsaw’s autopsy, which is chronologically the last thing to happen in the film. While that’s supposed to be part of the big twist (that and of course the identity of the new Jigsaw) what it actually does is make the already complex timeline of the film more confusing.

While overall the film was the biggest let down of the series, it did have a lot of really interesting information that despite not being presented well, was vital to the series and very important to Jigsaw’s history. It’s in this film that we learn his terminal cancer and experience with suicide were not the only things fueling his desire to test the fabric of human nature in such a violent and disturbing way. He was also motivated by his wife miscarrying his son, Giddian. We also learn of Jon’s fascination with the Chinese Zodiac which explains some of the symbolism in the previous films. The pig mask that we see most often worn by Amanda, was to honor his son (who should have been born in the year of the pig.) This also became part of the ritual, as his first victim was abducted at a Year of the Pig Festival. I think it was really interesting to see Jon abduct someone in a decorative pig mask in this film after seeing him work with the hyper-realistic (and far more frightening) pig mask that he’s used in the previous films.

We also get to see Jon’s first trap, and more interestingly, his first victim. The man’s name is Cecil, and he was the addict who accidentally hit Jon’s wife (Jill Tuck), causing her to miscarry. This trap is more simple than anything we’re used to seeing by Jigsaw, and it was interesting to see the sort of things he started with. Another interesting thing to mention is that we see the iconic puppet that Jigsaw uses as a proxy in his videos. It was originally meant as a gift for his son, and it’s only later that Jon adds the mechanical factor to the doll and makes it exponentially more terrifying.

The main test in this film is that of detective Rigg, who is head of the SWAT team whose members keep dying off in Jigsaw related events. For this reason, he has become obsessed with the case (and finding the still-missing Eric Matthews), and the aim of his test is to rid him of the obsession. Each of the traps he encounters on his journey bring him a little closer to understanding why Jigsaw does what he does.

The thing I liked most about this movie was that in spite of its many faults, this one definitely made you think about the moral code that Jon lived by and used to guide his tests. While the people in traps from the previous films were placed there for not appreciating what they had, the people in this film had all done something wrong. They weren’t being tested for things like infidelity or substance abuse, but rather for things like rape and child abuse. The people who Riggs sees in these traps are bad people who have done something wrong to hurt others. This is of course not to say that they deserve what they get, but it does get one thinking about the morals and the flaws in the judicial system that let people get away with things like this. It also really gets you thinking about your own morals, because as you watch these particular tests, you find yourself not rooting for the victims as you might have in some of the previous traps.

Rigg is told early on that Eric Matthews is still alive and will have 90 minutes to save himself. Much like in Saw 2, all detective Rigg has to do is spend enough time away. Eric’s trap will end at the end of the 90 minutes, but of course the detective misunderstands the game and does his best to get there before the timer runs out. This results in the death of all the people involved in the trap except for Mark Hoffman. Throughout the whole movie we see him “trapped” in the same contraption holding Eric, but at the end he remains unharmed. It is then that he releases himself and identifies himself as the next Jigsaw.

The twist would have been much more effective had the timeline not been so confusing to figure out, but it still left us with a lot to ponder and, more importantly; it gave us a new Jigsaw killer to carry on the series with.

This film did not work. It certainly didn’t work on it’s own because it was entirely dependent on us knowing the story up to that point. It makes sense that you’re going to be confused if you jump in in the middle of a series, but I think that the other movies would have still been somewhat self sufficient if you had no idea what was going on. That was certainly not the case with this movie. This one also didn’t work as part of the series (at least not very effectively) because while all the information was there, it was jumbled up and confusing. The best thing that we can say it did to really further the story, was assure us that there was someone to carry on Jigsaw’s work, and let the audience know that there was more to come.


Saw V: This was a decent addition to the franchise as it went back and explained a lot of the story that was confusing people in 4. It also had an interesting story for the people involved in the main trap. I didn’t like it much as a movie on its own though, simply because while it didn’t have any glaring problems like 4 did, the writing was a little underwhelming, there’s not much development in the Jigsaw storyline (since it mostly just goes back and explains the information we got in 4) and the stories just didn’t tie together very well. It had a lot of interesting things, but the writing was a lot sloppier than what I would have hoped for, and had come to expect from the Saw movies.

The film features a group test of 5 people who have all played a key role in a fire that took 8 lives. One person dies in each of the first three test rooms, as it is the shared belief of the victims that the tests are designed to pick off one person in each test. Of course, in the final room, they realize that all of the previous tests were made for five people, and that had they worked together not a single one of the tests would have been fatal. It was an interesting story, and it really was told well.

The rest of the movie goes back and tells about how Mark Hoffman got involved with Jon’s work. He wanted to kill a man named Seth Baxter, who got away with the murder of Mark’s sister, and he thought a good way to avoid suspicion was to pin the killing on Jigsaw. He sets up a trap for Seth that was impossible to escape and of course, the murder is attributed to Jon, who doesn’t appreciate taking credit for what he views as inferior work. He ultimately blackmails Mark into becoming his new recruit.

Strahm meanwhile is figuring out that Mark has been the accomplice that they’ve been looking for, but his obsession causes him to fail his test (much like with Rigg in the fourth film.) When he dies, he is of course pinned with being the very accomplice that he was trying to catch.

Again, it wasn’t a bad movie, and my biggest issue with it was simply that the stories were so minimally connected to one another, so it just seemed lacking in comparison to the others. That being said, it was still entertaining and furthered the overall story of the series. I’d definitely say that it worked better as an installment of the franchise than as a movie on it’s own.


Saw VI: This was disappointing to me in many of the same ways that the fifth one was. I thought both storylines were really good, and while they seemed to connect a little more in this one than in 5, it still wasn’t as tied together as I would have liked. What I really did like about this one was the story of the people being tested, because once again it really made its audience think about morality.

The victims in this movie are chosen for having done something wrong (much like the victims in 4) only these people aren’t breaking any laws, they’re doing their jobs. The two people from the beginning are loan sharks who have ruined people’s lives because of their work. All the victims in the main game work for a health insurance company, which provides for some interesting social commentary.

There have been a lot of different takes on the issue of health insurance companies both through movies and television, but this was my personal favorite. Of course, it is the least factual which has its drawbacks, and the consequences are illustrated to an absurd degree, but I still think that as an eye opener and as a story it was effective.

The main test is performed by William Easton, an executive for the health insurance company who develops an equation to determine who they will consider for coverage. Of course, we find out this is the same man who declined coverage for an experimental cancer treatment for Jon. He passes through a series of tests that put his morals and his equation to the test.

Ultimately, we learn that the test wasn’t his however, and his fate lies in the hands of the wife of a man who was denied coverage as well. This was intended as the big twist, and while it was written in a way that could definitely have been shocking, I feel like this was a little easier to see through than the surprise endings of other films.

This movie tried to connect William’s story to the part of the story that dealt with Jon’s work being carried out, but this was done a lot sloppier than anything from the first three movies. William’s sister (who we see is also in the main trap) has written a book on the life of Jon Kramer for her own gain, and there are also the obvious ties to Jon’s backstory. William of course had a run in with Jon as well, but they’re just not as connected as I would have liked for them to be.

Mark in the meantime, struggles to keep his involvement with Jon Kramer and the more recent Jigsaw killings away from the police, who are almost on to him. He barely escapes, and even then he only does so by murdering a number of people when they learn the truth. We also see Jill trying to carry out the last request of her husband by testing Mark, a test that is supposed to be fatal to him but he manages to escape.

While overall I was disappointed with most of the story, I really liked some of the things we learned in flashbacks. For instance; Amanda didn’t fail her test because of emotional stress, she failed her test because she was being blackmailed by Mark. She had been with Cecil on the night that he forced Jill to miscarry, and Mark threatened to tell Jon about that if she didn’t shoot Lynn (knowing full well that she was being tested and that this would prove fatal to her.)

It had many of the same pros and cons that the fifth one had, but I think it did more to further the overall story and it was also more entertaining as a stand alone piece. It was one of my favorites after the original three.


Saw 3D: The Final Chapter: I think that as an independent piece, this was my least favorite (other than 4) but as an ending to the series it was actually pretty effective. It opens with three members of a love triangle stuck in one of the traps. The woman has been sleeping with both of the men, and while I think this is a really weak motive for being chosen, I did like the opening overall. Unlike all the other traps, this one took place in a display case, right out in public, which there was of course a massive audience for. I think it would have been more effective if they had either carried the public theme throughout the other traps in the movie, or at the very least explained how it was set up. It seemed completely unconnected to everything else in the film, but it was very shocking, which was a good way to start off the final Saw movie.

In this film, we see the tests of a man name Bobby, who has written a book about his experience surviving a Jigsaw trap. This was a scam, as he had never been tested by Jigsaw prior to writing this book, but he is being tested now, along with all of the people who helped him with this illusion (even those who did it unknowingly.) While his story was fake, we do get to see into the lives of those who actually survived the killings, which was a very interesting addition to the film, and retroactively added a sense of depth to the story. We get to see how people were really affected, and the different reactions to Jigsaw’s tests.

It also lets us see Lawrence, who we have been wondering about since the end of the first movie. He did survive, and we get to see him briefly at the support group meeting, which was nice after not knowing what happened to him for so long.

One of the biggest complaints that I have about the movie is the set of traps that Bobby goes through in his test. They don’t seem particularly inventive or difficult in comparison to those that we’ve seen in previous movies. It’s not just the traps that Bobby goes through (because this could be explained away by the fact that Mark is the weakest engineer out of all those who have ever been involved with the Jigsaw killings) but also the ones that we see in the flashbacks of the survivors who are introduced in this film.

There’s also a bit of a contradiction here, as there were a lot more survivors at the meeting than there should have been. I didn’t worry about it too much, figuring that there were also a lot of family members of victims, but it still sort of negates a lot of what was implied in the first movie about the recent start of Jigsaw’s tests, and there’s not really a logical place to insert the new survivors into the timeline where it makes a lot of sense. That aside, I still really liked meeting new survivors and seeing the support group.

As the movie progresses, we see that Bobby is in charge of rescuing the people who helped him with his scam, and he ultimately is unable to pass a single one of Jigsaw’s tests, proving himself unworthy of being called a survivor after all. In the meantime, we meet Investigator Matt Gibson, who is working on the word of Jill Tuck to try and stop Hoffman.

The twists in this movie are extremely underwhelming where the traps and backstory are concerned, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the ending. After going on another insanely implausible killing spree where he kills Detective Gibson, Jill Tuck and just about everyone else in the department, Mark Hoffman is brought down by three people who are wearing pig masks. While we don’t learn the identities of two of the figures, one pulls off his mask and we see that it’s none other than Dr. Lawrence Gordon. We then learn that he not only survived, but has been helping Jigsaw since the end of the first movie, performing medical procedures when they were needed in the tests. (Explaining how the key got behind the man’s eye in the opening of the second movie for instance.) He then leaves Mark for dead in the same room where he had his test, bringing the series full circle, which I for one felt was a very satisfying end.

I also have another marketing complaint for this one. It was called “Saw 3D: The Final Chapter” and as you can imagine, it was released to theaters in 3D. Now, like with many 3D movies, bits of the movie were obviously shot in a way that was supposed to be impressive with the 3D effect, but the special effects for the film seemed to be completely banking on the fact that you were seeing it in 3D. This was fine in the theater, but the DVD was only ever released in 2D, so, I’m sure you can see my issues with that.

Some story issues and major effects issues aside, I think that overall the movie did justice to wrapping up the film, and it did tie up a lot of loose ends while adding new information and giving us a more realistic connection to the survivors. It maybe didn’t work as well as some of the other ones, but I think it also deserves a little more credit than it got.


So, with the seven movies covered, the only thing left to talk about is the series as a whole. Like the individual movies, the series had its ups and downs, but as I said in the beginning of this article, I’m a huge fan. I think it was worth watching just for the concept alone. I think if you enjoyed the first couple, then even the later ones which are not as good are worth watching just for the new information you get about the characters.

There’s also the fact that this series made a huge impact on other horror films. The “creative death apparatus” genre as I like to refer to it (more commonly referred to as “torture porn”) was practically defined by the Saw films. We have Saw to thanks for many movies that have been released since then, such as Gag, Are You Scared, Vile, Captivity, and countless other horror titles that were clearly inspired by this franchise.

Hopefully this has illustrated some of the opinions that other Saw fans have, and has made those who hated the series consider some of the finer points of the franchise in a new light, but either way, thank you guys for reading.

Last Day to Support Bloody Men

Posted by Edwina Caustic on September 11, 2017

Rubén Gerardo Alfaro Moreno a.k.a. Myrkky Photography is known for his horror special effects and male portraits. Well worth a follow on his Instagram. Today is the last day to back his Kickstarter RED – Male portraits by Myrkky Photography. I wish the Kickstarter had a video because I’d really like to see the blood splashing in real time, although the book does include some behind the scenes fun. Happily it appears he has completed initial production of the book and just needs to print it now, so this is a Kickstarter you can back knowing your coffee table will be that much gorier asap. Check out more images on his Kickstarter now.

Myrkky’s RED is titillating and disturbing collection where men are seen as both violent and vulnerable. In the series of photographs, one wonders whether the subject is a sexy male victim or the perpetrator of a gruesome crime. Either way, each photograph focuses on the emotional load behind RED: all of the subjects are deeply human: which do you see? When one feels emotional one is in a vulnerable state, and at the same time, there is great strength in their maleness, a contract that is often unseen, and perhaps uncomfortable to see.