"There are four more episodes to come before Game of Thrones airs its series finale, but I feel confident in stating that we've witnessed the HBO drama's finest hour," says Maureen Ryan, who describes Sunday's episode as "its own rich and intimate thing." "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," she says, was "far more powerful and moving" than the HBO drama's signature battle and "big death" episodes. "TV often uses death as a cheap escape hatch, rather than have characters do the hard work that change requires," says Ryan. "But the core of 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms' involved characters displaying their personal growth, their willingness to discard old ways of thinking, and their willingness to be vulnerable and honest." Ryan adds: "Like many of the best episodes of TV, 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms' didn't just tell an involving story with people we care about, it restated and dove deeply into the show's core questions. Are compromise and growth possible? Should good people even bother trying to fight a constant tide of evil? What do you prioritize when presented with conflicting loyalties? Should you just give in to the darkness in your fight to survive, or is it possible to believe in even a battered form of hope? It's not a spoiler to say that Westeros will not survive as it was, no matter what happens in the enormous battles to come. But by learning as much as they have — by demonstrating that people can change — the episode kept alive the idea that Westeros is worth saving, possibly (though I won't shed a tear for the racist and sexist characters that bite the dust)."