Named For: "Through the Looking Glass" (Lost, 322)
Awarded To: The best action episode of the season
2010 Winner: "The End" (Lost, 616)
2011 Winner: "Full Measure" (Breaking Bad, 313)
10. "To the Lost" (Boardwalk Empire, 212) 1 point
5th by Jaydon
9. "Letters of Transit" (Fringe, 419) 4 points
2nd by Jack
8. "The Reichenbach Fall" (Sherlock, 203) 5 points
4th by Jaydon, 4th by Me
7. "The Gunfighter" (Justified, 301) 11 points
2nd by Tyson
6. "Chuck vs. the Frosted Tips" (Chuck, 503) 13 points
1st by Jack, 1st by Me
5. "Burnt and Purged Away" (Sons of Anarchy, 412) 17 points
2nd by Cecil and Matt
4. "Baelor" (Game of Thrones, 109) 18 points
2nd by T-time
3. "The Weekend" (Homeland, 107) 23 points
1st by Tyson, 3rd by Me
2. "Face Off" (Breaking Bad, 413) 28 points
1st by Jaydon, Rizzo, Larry, and Bonz
and the Poolie goes to...
1. "Blackwater" (Game of Thrones, 209) 31 points
1st by Cecil, T-time, Matt, and Mags, 2nd by Me
The two nominations this year gives Game of Thrones three total nominations and one win for best action episode of the season. Here to discuss the greatness of this episode is Poolie voter, T-time.
The episode focused primarily on the battle for which it is named, but the action doesn’t start immediately. Martin, showcasing that screenwriting talent he honed penning episodes of The Twilight Zone in the eighties, allows the tension to build. Generals and soldiers from both sides anticipate the battle as Stannis Baratheon’s fleet approaches the city of King’s Landing. Before a single ship is seen from the walls, the audience is keyed in to what is at stake for the participants, and the women huddling under the protection of Queen Cersei.
When the battle starts it is relentless. Although not what you might see in a future film, it is clear that the showrunners were right to ask for an increased budget for this episode. There are ships, wildflowers, siege weapons, everything besides the pole vaulting and choppers are brought out. It’s the only true battle of the series so far, and the wait was worth it. By the time Tyrion makes his rousing speech (the intonation on “let’s go kill them” is breathtaking) it feels like this fight has been going on for some time.
While it ends rapidly and with a finish that follows on events from previous episodes, we understand that had Tyrion not done what he had (with the wildfire, and then leading the sortie) the city would have fallen long before it could be saved by the once and future hand of the king. For viewers and fans of Tyrion, that’s all we really needed.
Because of the nature of the series, it would prove impossible to feature episodes that are this focused more than once or twice per season. But for the long-term health of Game of Thrones, and for our own viewing pleasure, it’s certainly nice to know that HBO is capable of producing an absolute gem like “Blackwater.”
by Tim Forcella