Friday, June 26, 2015
--I will say that the CGI for the Dome falling in the alternative reality was quite stunning.
--Big Jim please stop shooting people, especially your son. I know Junior is Little Crazy Pants but putting a bullet in him is not the answer. Also, please stop declaring that "this is my town!" You're a tool.
--"We have to have the egg!!" Yes, Gollum. We know it is the Precious.
--Someone is going to have to explain why simply setting the egg on top of the largest cocoon caused it to shoot off fireworks.
--If the writers wanted the reveal that Chester's Mill was Fake in the future alternate reality, then they needed to not use the very obvious "purple haze" for each and every single transition to Chester's Mill.
--Obviously Ava and Christine are not natural citizens of Chester's Mill, and probably not of planet Earth. But what is Ava to Christine? Daughter? Lieutenant? Rival?
--How many times was "move on" uttered this episode? I'd really like a tally.
--"There's nothing good on TV anymore, anyway." Meta. Meta as hell, y'all.
--Actual. Pod. People.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Sansa's rape was for Theon's character development because Hollywood continues to deny the female agency and perspective and instead myopically focuses on the male. I hated the rape aspect as a whole, but from an objective standpoint it is part of GRRM's world, rape in general and marital rape specifically. But during a time when we're supposed to be focused on Sansa's trauma, heartache, and pain...they went to Theon and instead we focused on how Sansa's rape was affecting him. That's a big no-no for me. And in the end, it is Theon who is the hero to poor defenseless Sansa. Nothing about the rape of Sansa and her situation furthers her character. It makes her pitiable but after 3 seasons with Joffery, Sansa is already pitiable. It makes Ramsey a monster but after watching him flay and slice up Theon, he is already a monster. It makes the Bolton family the enemies of the Starks, but after Roose betrayed Robb at the Twins and then took Winterfell for himself, the Boltons already are the enemies of the Starks. In other words, packing Sansa off to Winterfell and having her married and raped by Ramsey Snow served no purpose in furthering Sansa's arc or the arc of the grand narrative. I'll just keep reminding myself that Sansa is really in the Vale, eating lemon cakes, and toying with Harry the Heir at Littefinger's insistence.
Her walk back to Meereen is all about "vs": Peace vs War, Dragon vs Harpy, Meereen vs Westeros, Monster vs Mother. And all of that--ALL OF THAT--was cut from this "adaptation." They want Dany to be a badass except when it comes to the really important non-dragon, non-fire and blood moments when they clearly find her boring or something (or maybe they don't get her). If I look back I am lost, to go forward I must go back, dragons plants no trees, sitting next to Drogon waiting for the Dothraki, remembering that her house words are "fire and blood...." ALL of those are so incredibly important to who Dany is: she is the balance of life and death, the harmony of the never ending cycle of rebirth and loss of life. She is the Mother and The Dragon. She is war and she is peace. She is Brahma and Shiva. She can create a new world ONLY after she has destroyed the old one. But if you were just watching the show you'd only know that 1) she's hot 2) has dragons 3) has a lot of men that are in love with her and 4) is in deep shit cause oh no! the Dothraki found her! I bet they are mad or something! Golly, I hope those two men who love her so much find her quick cause otherwise she's doooooomed! Poor Sad Female!
Fun fact: in the books, Shireen and Stannis are about 1,000 miles apart from each other. While I've always seen Stannis as an Agamemnon figure, I've also seen him as someone who subverts Agamemnon, especially where his daughter is concerned. Where Agamemnon kills Iphigenia, I've often predicted that Stannis will arrive too late to save his daughter from his own wife and his Red Woman (who has stopped wearing red in the show...odd). Once again, Stannis burning Shireen at the stake without so much as a blink is a disconnect from what was previously established for the character of Stannis. A few episodes prior to the conflagration, Stannis gave the most passionate speech I think we've ever heard from him about how Shireen is his child, two weeks ago he sent Mel away for even suggesting that they hurt Shireen. And then he decides to burn his only child--his heir--why? It doesn't make narrative sense for Stannis to go from point A to point Z without a layover in point B-Y. How did he get to that emotional point? HOW?! Just because of the lack of food? Because in ADWD, they are at that point and know what Stannis says: "pray harder." Also, they aren't lacking food given that Stannis orders the slain 100+ horses to be cut up into meat. In the books, those he burns are traitors or his enemies, not his own men and not his own family. If Stannis were to arrive back to Castle Black (where Mel and Shireen are in the books) it would be just right after Mel sets Shireen ablaze. That's Stannis's tragedy. He's always just off by a bit. So why have Stannis burn Shireen? Because the writers don't want us to cheer for anyone except Tyrion, Jon, and Dany. Those are their three big damn heroes and everyone else be damned, never mind the very carefully layered book construction that paints all three as far more grey than white hatted heroes. So Stannis burns his child because it's shocking; because it would set the audience's heart aflutter and make them talk and tweet and watch next week to see if the sacrifice was worth it--never mind the fact that R'hllor does not actually exist in Martin's universe. But it was an unearned scene; the situation was not that horrible, no more so than it was the previous episode unless I am willing to suspend all my disbelief and accept that Ramsey Bolton really stormed into an entire army encampment with 19 men and killed hundreds of horses and burned all the foodstuffs without anyone noticing (really...not one person noticed or captured one of the Northmen?) And finally to have it be Selyese, who all season has been Queen Burn-All-The-Things, be the one to suddenly turn into the considerate parent who doesn't want her daughter burned and then kills herself in the finale. It was like watching a Greek farce in which one bad thing happens, one right after the next: Stannis burns his daughter, men desert him, his wife kills herself, and Mel leaves. Why did Mel leave exactly? Mel in the books wouldn't abandon her Azor Ahai (even though he's clearly not Azor Ahai). The writers on GoT just straight up hate Stannis for some inexplicable reason and don't seem to understand him. It isn't ambition that drives Stannis; it's duty. His final words to Brienne (whom I'll be skipping since she is so far removed from Book Brienne I don't even think we can call her Brienne) "do your duty" are actually perfect so I applaud the writers on that, but otherwise they don't get that Stannis is the best commander in Westeros, knows how to conduct war and what it takes to win a war and win a siege, and doesn't actually want the Throne but feels that he has to take it because it's what his duty requires of him since he is Robert's true heir.
The other and last aspect I am going to talk about are the events of the Wall (because I can't touch Dorne with a ten foot pole). If I just said go read the books would that be enough? No, probably not. There was no build up, no time spent on why the men of the Night's Watch are angry, why this is "for the Watch." In the books, there is a moment--a singular moment--in which Jon chooses something that casts him as an Oath Breaker. Up until that point, the men under him are upset with Jon's decisions but they don't oppose him violently. But when Jon makes his decision to, essentially, break his oaths to the Watch, that's when the men decide to kill him. And it's powerful and sad--the men doing the killing are actually crying. And of course Jon's not really dead but you wouldn't know this from the show. In the books it's clear based on clues to what--or who--Jon really is and it is his final words, "Ghost," that indicate that Jon has most likely warged but we don't even know where Ghost is here in GoT! Does Ghost still exist for Jon? He appeared once this season for Sam..... There was none of this Emo Olly nonsense in the books and this "Olly" insertion is the best example of something that is straight from the minds of the show runners that just abysmally fails. But what angers me more than the messed up For the Watch moment were the final moments between Sam and Jon. In what universe does Sam leave Jon willingly? In what universe does Sam ask to be sent away from the danger? None. There is no universe in which that is true. It is so so so so important to both characters that it is Jon who orders Sam to go to Oldtown and become a Maester. He does it to keep Aemon Targaryen (already dead now) and Mance Rayder's son (who does not exist on the show) safe from Melisandre and her obsession with King's blood. Sam goes to learn more about the Walkers, but it is Jon making a very cold, hard decision that is all about killing the boy so that the man can live. But Sam asking to go to Oldtown reeks of desertion and fear and being a coward. And while Sam might be a coward, he'd never willingly abandon Jon Snow. It just goes to show that the show runners don't understand the characters GRRM handed them on a silver platter.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Do you know what I did this week? I re-watched (almost) the entire series of Mad Men. AMC aired the whole shebang and I found myself drawn in, like the proverbial moth to a flame. What can I say? I can't resist the heady dose of complex characters, narrative, symbols and themes. Here we are at the end of everything Mad Men. The last Old Fashioned has been drunk, the last cigarette has been lit, the last ad has been pitched. What did I expect from the finale? I think, in my head, I expected something like Don traveling back to New York and having conversations with those he left behind. After all, the finale is called "Person to Person." But, as usual, Matthew Weiner subverted my expectations (remember when I firmly believed that Don Draper would die before the 1970s?) and gave me something that was out of the box, weird, and little bit confusing. That's Mad Men, though. In no universe, thinking about it now, would Weiner write something so introspective as what I just proposed. People don't work like that in Weiner's world--and indeed, do they really work that way in the real world? I've been saying for a long time that 'people do not fundamentally' change is the central tenant of Mad Men. The best they can hope for is to accept their own issues and learn to live within them. Don staying a self absorbed asshole who is also a mad genius when it comes to advertising? He doesn't change. He becomes only mildly self aware and uses this new found moment of clarity not to heal but to sell hope and love to the starving American public. Because at the end of the day, he's still Donald Draper. And he'd like to buy the world a Coke. One more drink for the road? Let's go.
--"I translated your speech into Pig Latin..."
--"And this...is a cactus." I have a lot of love for the final Pete and Peggy scene together. They've come so far, from the married man who seduced Peggy on her first day to having a very healthy level of respect. The fact that Peggy parrots back Pete's, "a thing like that..." to him was touching.
--Roger actually wore something other than a three-piece suit and Don wore jeans! I die of shock, y'all.
--The phone call between Betty and Don was quite heartbreaking, especially when Betty gave him the cold slap that him not being around is just "normal."
--"It'll get easier as you move forward." Really Don? Has that been you experience?
--"You have to let him go; it doesn't mean you don't care about him..." And with that, I bow out.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
And then there was one....
--Can we take a moment to appreciate how good Jon Hamm looks in 1960s/1970s casual drag? I mean, damn.
--Sally and Don were wearing the same colored shirts in their first phone call, with Sally wearing plaid, mirroring Don's plaid shirt in the final scene. Even half a country apart and those two are linked.
--"I walked into town and it's hard for me. I got flat feet." I didn't particularly care about Andy and his grifter storyline but it does serve to show how self aware Don can be. He knows this kid is him at a younger age, looking for a way out the only way he knows how: by conning people, something Don is an expert at doing. Don's best life advice: "you'll have to become someone else. That's not what you think it is." Quite a change from telling Peggy that "this never happened. It will shock you how much this never happened."
--Yes, Donald Draper got beat up with a phone book after he told his secret. It was a big bold move for him but it does rather reinforce the idea that he should keep his mouth shut.
--Loved Sally's orange coat.
--"You just do what you gotta do to come home." Or: Mad Men Season 7B in a nutshell.
--So, what is the final image of the show? Is it Don "Drapering" (the iconic shot of him lounging)? Is it a parallel to the first episode of Season 1 in which he sits by his children's beside, holding their hands (but this time with no Betty in the doorway?) Is it Don standing in the ocean, being re-baptized and reborn as Dick Whitman?
Monday, May 11, 2015
Let's not mince words: Issac is the avatar of Adam and Eddy into their own fictional universe. When it came to the Author in this two part finale, everything felt incredibly self aware and so very meta. I mean, this might be the most meta I've ever seen on any show outside of Supernatural. Isaac actually said #NoSpoilers (and if you follow the writers on Twitter then you know why that's significant). I honestly expected Adam and Eddy to appear, walking merrily along, waving and grinning. It's...interesting. I'll give the writers that. Isaac's story is pretty remedial in the end: he was a bitter employee who didn't like being taken for granted and denied what he thought was his bright future. He had a mean dictatorial boss who wanted Isaac to do things a certain way (or else!) and Isaac had to kowtow until one day he was chosen by Star Publications and started crafting his own stories--with a magic quill that made everything come to life. I am going to say this as clearly as I can: this is the story of Adam, Eddy, and ABC. Writers are clever and as much as I harp on Adam and Eddy and their now tawdry, soap opera filled show, they were (are) clever. They know how to say something without really saying it. The Author has always been Adam and Eddy's insert into their own story but never more so than now when they wrote Isaac making villains heroes (AKA: season two of OUAT and onward) and the heroes villains (just look at what they did to Snow White and Prince Charming this season). The Author even has rabid fans who demand that their favorite character(s) get happy endings while dressing up in cosplay. But in his heart, the Author is bitter that he wrote stories that no one ever wanted to read--that what he originally had to say wasn't good enough. What Issac ended up writing was a book that took all his frustrations over being told that his original ideas weren't good enough and used them to get some of his own back a little. If you know anything about this fandom and its politics--or anything about TV as a business--then you know that rumors circulate (and to be fair I don't know if any of this is true) that ABC demanded that Adam and Eddy push certain story lines over others because of fandom, because of popularity, because of what the media consumed and reported on, even though it wasn't what Adam and Eddy had in mind. A lot of that played out, I thought, in Isaac's story.
--Obviously over the course of two hours, there was a lot of plot. So my notes will be more extensive than normal. Let's start with Henry. I love this kid. He has come so far and I wish the writers would give him more to do now that we've really seen his acting chops. Henry asking the Apprentice if he could use the pen to bring back Neal gave me a lot of complex feelings. On the one hand, I cried a lot because it’s about TIME Henry finally talked about how much he misses his dad. But on the other, it was rather heartless for the writers to bring up Hook’s non existent death in that moment and compare it. From a purely fandom perspective, that’s…going to create waves. People can talk about how Hook wasn’t really dead since it was in a book and thus doesn’t fall into “dead is dead” (and I get the argument) but, again, from a fandom perspective, it’s only going to make matters worse. And in a lot of ways, it felt like the final slap that we can’t let Neal’s sacrifice be in vain (to quote Emma last season) but Hook’s sacrifice can be reversed and Emma is even begging for it to happen. I’m not even asking for SF….sail on CS, go be true love. I’m asking for Henry to have his father back. And yes I am well aware of MRJ's commitments to another show and that he will never come back.
--EXCUSE ME BUT NEAL TAUGHT HENRY HOW TO SAIL A SHIP, NOT HOOK.
--Forgive me for what I'm about to say, 'shippers, but seeing Captain Hook die was one of the greatest joys I've ever gotten from TV.
--I am literally going to ignore everything about CaptainSwan for my own sanity.
--And now I have to talk about Rumple. Well. Here goes: I hate the way his arc was finished this season. Having all the darkness sucked out of him is *so egregiously* hand wavey, it's insane. You mean to tell me that Rumple couldn't have figured out a way to do that himself to save his own life? Really? So Rumple can raise hell for an entire season but all it takes is a magic sucking hat and now he's human again? They couldn't even give him the "beast" ending from Beauty and The Beast. Also, why do I get the feeling that he'll be in that coma for a good long while?
--What was the point of Will Scarlett this season? What. Was. The. Point.
--Mal doesn't know who Lily's father was cause it was done dragon style. I can't even. However, OUAT isn't exactly a deep story so it's obviously Merlin.
--While the dragon and black tornado were graphically good, the background towns of the Enchanted Forest continue to be cringe worthy.
--Are Snowing just going to throw Isaac in a jail cell and that is that? What happened to August? Can he be turned back into a boy? Does Blue know anything about Merlin? If Emma had all her darkness removed then why did the Chernabog chase her? Where was Mal during all this? Henry is still the Author but broke the pen, so is he the Author in name only?
--Overall Rating for S4B: B
Operation Mongoose Part 1
Sympathy For the De Vil
Darkness On the Edge of Town
Operation Mongoose Part 2
Best Laid Plans
Poor Unfortunate Soul
Enter the Dragon
Heart of Gold
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
--"Advertising is not a comfortable place for everyone." Shirley is on POINT with that line. Love that a black female finally got to tell a white older man how it feels to be "other."
--"From now on, no one comes between me and your business." I hope Ferg gets pushed out of a window.
--"Maybe you're getting old." That was an incredibly sweet scene between Betty and Don. They were happy once, before Don Draper's inevitable pile of crap surfaced.
--BERT!! Sing for us!! But of course Bert appears, like Marely's ghost, to drop some Kerouac on Don: Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night? Like Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, Don Draper is heading west to trying to find his lost bliss.
--Peggy on roller skates is my life now.