Game of Thrones' penultimate episode has ruffled quite a lot of feathers since it debuted last night, and it looks like even Rotten Tomatoes is being affected. At the time of this writing, last night's episode, "The Bells", sits at a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes.
This makes "The Bells" tied for the worst-rated episode of the entire series' run, with Season 5's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" also earning a 54%. The "Critics Consensus" for the most recent episode, which tries to summarize what the reviews are saying, reads as follows: "Death, destruction, and the deterioration of Daenerys' sanity make "The Bells" an episode for the ages; but too much plot in too little time muddles the plot and may leave some viewers feeling its conclusions are a little unearned."
The score for "The Bells" - as well as the 57% earned by the previous episode, "The Last of the Starks" - brings Season 8's overall score down quite a bit, with an average rating of 74%. By comparison, the next lowest-rated season is actually Thrones' Season 1, which is still Certified Fresh at 91%.
Given the polarizing response that the season has had thus far - especially in recent weeks - it's probably easy for a lot of fans to justify this low rating. "The Bells", in particular, featured quite a lot of controversial moments, culminating in Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) turning King's Landing and its citizens to ash.
"I don't think she decided ahead of time that she was going to do what she did." co-showrunner DB Weiss explained after the episode aired. "Then she sees the Red Keep, which is to her the home that her family built when they first came over to this country 300 years ago. It's in this moment on the walls of King's Landing where she's looking at that symbol of everything that was taken from her, when she makes the decision to make this personal."
"If circumstances had been different, I don't think this side of Dany ever would have come out." co-showrunner David Benioff added. "If Cersei hadn't betrayed her, if Cersei hadn't executed Missandei, if Jon hadn't told her the truth… if any of these things happened in a different way, then I don't think we'd be seeing this side of Daenerys Targaryen."
What do you think of "The Bells" getting such a low Rotten Tomatoes score? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.