The weekend of April 26th is shaping up to be grand in more ways than one. This is, of course, the highly anticipated release date of Avengers: Endgame, the culminating event of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and a conclusion 10 years in the making. That in and of itself would be enough to mark this as a particularly noteworthy weekend of pop culture consumption, but a pair of standout episodes from two very different television shows actually make this a trifecta of epic viewing options.
This Sunday marks the third episode of Game of Thrones’s final season, and it’s a big one. This is the Battle of Winterfell episode, which runs a whopping 1 hour and 22 minutes in length and presents one long, continuous battle for the bulk of that runtime. Indeed, the show’s producers have been touting this as the longest battle sequence ever put to film, giving “Helm’s Deep” from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers a run for its money. The episode took 11 weeks to film, all involving night shoots, and was brought to life by director Miguel Sapochnik, who directed the iconic Game of Thrones episodes “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards.”
As if the enormity of the action wasn’t enough, given that this is the third-to-last episode of Game of Thrones ever, fans are fully expecting some major character casualties. The Army of the Dead marches on Winterfell, just as most of our heroes have assembled at the castle in the North to stand their ground and prevent the Night King from taking over Westeros. For a show that killed off its lead at the end of the first season, all bets are off. Fans are bracing for an emotionally distressing and tension-filled viewing experience—which also kinda mirrors the experience of watching Avengers: Endgame, so maybe try and catch the Marvel movie on Friday or Saturday, yeah?
But there’s another must-see episode of television airing this weekend that serves as the perfect palate cleanser following the emotionally draining Endgame and Game of Thrones: the fifth episode of Barry’s second season. The HBO comedy series was co-created by and stars Bill Hader as a hitman who’s trying to create a new life for himself as an actor, but who keeps getting roped back into his old bad habits.
Barry Season 2 Episode 5 is titled “ronny/lilly” and was co-written and directed by Hader. While fans of the show will no doubt get a kick out of this outstanding piece of work, you don’t necessarily have to have seen the series before to enjoy the episode–which people will be talking about on Monday morning.
Indeed, “ronny/lilly” is almost like an outstanding, self-contained short film directed by Hader; one marked by extraordinary directing, brutal action beats, and a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. The less said about the plot of this episode the better, but trust me when I say you’ll likely come away dying to see Hader direct a feature film of his own. It’s that good.
So yeah, if you really want to make the most of this noteworthy weekend, go see Avengers: Endgame on Friday and/or Saturday, tune into the epic Battle of Winterfell episode of Game of Thrones on HBO Sunday night at 9pm ET, then top it all off with a hilarious and surprising episode of Barry immediately after, at 10:25pm ET on HBO. It is, truly, a monumental pop culture weekend.