Following Missandei's death and learning that her advisors plotting against her, Dany is clearly shaken. She scolds Tyrion for his loose tongue and making too many mistakes. The only person who could have consoled Dany was Jon, but he instead walks out after just saying hello, and hence, makes Dany feel worse... I wish I knew what Kit Harrington (Jon's actor) had done to the writers of the show. It seems they have an agenda to ruin Jon, who was the hero of the story until the previous season, and portray him as the most useless and insignificant character.
Within the campgrounds, Tyrion keeps defying his queen and frees his brother who was recently captured by the unsullied. Tyrion makes Jamie promise to persuade Cersei to surrender the throne and flea the city. The viewers of the show know how unlikely it is for Cersei to accept that proposition; the fact that Tyrion doesn't know his own sister is mind boggling to me.
Besides Jamie, we also see Arya and the Hound sneak into Kingslanding while Dany's army are lining up outside the gate. When all the pieces are in their rightful place on the chessboard (from Dany's unsullied and Dothraki to Cersei's Golden Company and the Iron fleet), we suddenly see something penetrate the clouds making a hole for the sun to shine, and descend towards the sea... It's Dany riding Drogon who is ready to set the whole Iron fleet on fire. Euron Greyjoy shoots Scorpion arrows at Drogon, but Dany has learned her lesson from the previous encounter and knows how to dodge and take out the enemy without taking damage. The dragon also blows up the gate and kills the Golden Army troops lined up in the front. The battle seems to be over, and we hear the bells ring as a sign of the city's surrender. But suddenly Dany decides that surrender is not enough, and the whole city (military and civilian) has to pay for Missandei's death and maybe also for her own hardships earlier in life. Dany and Drogon set the whole city on fire and destroy most of the Red Keep (the king's castle). At this point, Cersei, Qyburn (hand of the queen), and the Mountain realize that they have lost and need to escape and save their lives.
On the grounds, we see Arya and the Hound in the Red Keep. Hound pulls Arya aside and asks her to reevaluate her vendetta lest she becomes like the Hound. Seems the words land well with Arya, and Arya thanks the Hound after calling him by his first name, Sandor. They go separate ways, and we see Hound run into Cersei's entourage. Sandor 'The Hound' Clegane challenges his older brother, Gregor 'The Mountain' Clegane, to a duel. Cersei runs to the lower levels of the castle and lets us watch the much anticipated Clegane Bowl. Our friend, the Hound, takes the upper hand in the beginning, but the Mountain is an undead zombie and there is no killing him with natural means. As a poetic climax to the Hound's revenge story, he tackles his brother off the ledge and both jump into the fire. This is a poetic ending since it all began when the Mountain pushed the Hound into the fire when they were children. This incident had scarred the Hound for life (physically and mentally).
Jamie also manages to find a way into the castle. He has to go through Euron Greyjoy first, but a few stab wounds are not enough to hold Jamie back from finding his way to Cersei. The twins / romantic lovers have an emotional reunion, and try to find a way out. All the exits are blocked with debris though, and the dragon is tearing down the castle. Cersei cries and says she doesn't want to die. Jamie holds her and says nothing matters but them. They seemingly die in each other's arms under the ruins of the castle.
We catch up with Jon, who has a crisis of conscious and looks to his left and right with utmost confusion. The least valuable player of season 8 decides to gather a handful of his followers and get out of the city. Arya is also on the grounds. The most lethal and fearless assassin in the land is also shellshocked. She runs from a few stampedes, dodges debris, and drags people with her to their deaths!
From a filmmaking point of view, these stampede scenes and the scale of dragon attacks are simply marvellous. But I was bored looking at Arya running away from a different stampede every few minutes. Instead of showing debris, rocks, and stampedes, perhaps more character development with other characters would have been useful... This was the only episode this season that I looked at my watch hoping that it would end sooner.
I am seriously losing faith in the writers (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) and their ability to conclude the series the way it deserves. The books spent a lot of time justifying each character's actions and motivations. In this season, though, characters turn on a dime. Dany is an empathetic leader who wants to free people from tyranny, and then in a split second, decides to burn them all. Arya, for the second time, becomes a scared little girl despite years of training as a faceless man. Jon, the pragmatic hero of the story, has turned into a bumbling idiot whose absence from the scenes wouldn't change the plot one bit. Or Tyrion, the smartest person in the realm, also becomes an emotional fool who doesn't have a goal or a plan.
I read that George R. R. Martin (the author of the books) had given the showrunners an outline of how he wanted to end the saga. As we all know, the journey is almost as important as the destination. The show may take us to that destination, but so far, I'm disappointed with the route that they have taken us on in the last few episodes. Despite the impressive shots and spectacular filmmaking, I'd give this episode a 7/10.