The Winterfell battle on Sunday's 'Game of Thrones' is one of the show's lowest-ranked episodes

Helen Sloan/HBONot everyone was a fan of Sunday’s episode.
  • The “Game of Thrones” season eight episode “The Long Night” scored a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • It got a low score for this show.
  • The lowest-rated episode was way back on season five.
  • This post contains spoilers for season eight, episode three.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” had been building toward an epic battle between the Night King’s undead forces and the living for several episodes and really several seasons now.

But when that battle finally came during season eight, episode three, “The Long Night,” which aired Sunday, some viewers were left disappointed.

This post contains spoilers.

It was initially the second-lowest-ranked episode of the show

As of May 13, the episode had earned a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is very low for the show. Episodes on seasons one through seven averaged 94% on the review aggregator.

In fact, it was initialy the second-lowest score in the show’s history. The lowest-scoring episode was way back on season five. “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” earned a 54%, likely because it was the episode that depicted Sansa’s rape – a controversial choice among critics.

The score’s 75% rating was a low one for the show, but was quickly topped by the episodes that followed it. The episode is now the fourth-lowest, following “The Last of The Starks,” “The Bells,” and the aforementioned season five episode.

Reviews of ‘The Long Night’ criticised the ‘unsatisfying’ end of the White Walker threat

While most viewers can agree that watching Arya take down the Night King made for excellent television, many critics argued that destroying the villain three episodes before the finale could make for a lacklustre rest of the season.

Zach Kram from The Ringer said the episode was “a strangely unsatisfying conclusion to a story line that has sustained the show from the very beginning.”

Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall concurred, writing in his review, “If the war with the army of the dead was just meant as misdirection for the real final fight, then the least it could have given us was better spectacle than most of what ‘The Long Night’ had to offer.”

And the Daily Telegraph writer Ed Power said he was underwhelmed by what the show delivered. “Is it right to walk away from 82 minutes of ‘Game of Thrones’ with shrugged shoulders?” he asked.

Battle of winterfellHBOThe battle didn’t thrill everyone.

Critics weren’t the only ones frustrated by the episode

Fans online complained about the storytelling and the visuals. One of the chief complaints on Twitter was that it was hard to actually see the action because the battle took place at night and the scenes didn’t have much lighting.

Many fans were also disappointed that the show didn’t kill many major characters. It seemed almost unbelievable that they nearly all survived.

The show did receive some positive reviews

A 75% rating may seem low for a show like “Game of Thrones” that nearly always exceeds expectations. It’s hard to beat a show that has 22 episodes with a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

But it’s worth noting that for many shows a 75% is still something to celebrate. It’s well ahead of the 60% marker that denotes when something is critically “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes (versus “rotten”).

Jon snow winterfellHelen Sloan/HBOSome critics, however, were thrilled.

Some reviewers who praised the episode included Jeremy Egner from The New York Times, who said that “Sunday’s final clash was a masterpiece of tension and release, goose bumps and heartbreak, grandiosity and intimacy.”

IGN’s Laura Prudom also lauded the episode for “expertly balancing the many character plot threads while building a tangible sense of dread.” Erik Kain from Forbes called it “something truly special.”

This post has been updated.

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