Game of Thrones’ controversial penultimate episode, entitled “The Bells,” which aired this past Sunday, was watched by a record 18.4 million viewers across HBO’s platforms (linear, HBO GO and HBO NOW), exceeding the previous series high of 17.8 million viewers two weeks ago for the episode “The Long Night,” focusing on the Battle of Winterfell.
In addition to the series high for the night, the 9:00 p.m. airing reached a time-period high for GOT, with an average of 12.5 million viewers, surpassing the season seven finale of 12.1 million viewers.
Season eight of Game of Thrones is averaging 43 million viewers per episode in gross audience, an increase of more than ten million viewers when compared to season seven.
It’s important to note while the ratings were high, criticism of the episode also was high as the the episode is the critically-lowest rated episode of the entire series standing at 49% (based on 68 reviews) on Rotten Tomatoes.
The aggregate also says the series’ eighth and final season is struggling relative to its predecessors. The previous week’s score stands at 57% score, causing season 8 to drop to 73% on Monday. Every other season is Certified Fresh at 91% or higher on the Tomatometer. The final episode will have to score an 89% or higher for the season overall to qualify for Certified Fresh status. It is now mathematically impossible for the season to be anything but the lowest-scoring season of the series.
These were some of the choice words critics had for GOT:
“For viewers who have stuck around for eight seasons of the HBO fantasy series, all that’s left after the penultimate episode is ash and a bad taste.” — Kelly Lawler, USA Today
“For a battle that’s been years in the making, that was more than a little disappointing.” — Paul Dailly, TV Fanatic
“The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, ‘The Bells,’ has too much to do and too little time for people to stop and explain how they’re feeling. As a result, everything is big.” — Dave Gonzales, Thrillist
“Sorry. But no. I just didn’t buy that. Any of it.” — Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph (UK)
Here is the trailer for the final episode:
The VEEP series finale, airing just before 11:00 p.m., reached a season-high 1.1 million viewers. The first replay and viewing on HBO’s streaming services brought total viewing to 1.6 million viewers, also a season high.
What did you think of the episode? Did you hate Dany’s turn to the Dark side? Or did you see it coming?