Chris Carter is not your friend

Chris Carter is breaking up Mulder and Scully and it breaks my heart.  

I’m in the middle of a very serious X-files rewatch.  After a bit of a slog through season 2, I’m back with Duane Barry and now?  The love is deep.

My 40-something roommate: “You’re one of those weird X-file kids, hunh?”  Yes.  Yes I am.

Chris Carter has never really expressed anything positive in terms of the Mulder and Scully relationship, and in fact seemed annoyed that fans were so interested in its development.  Nevermind that in the pilot Scully moons over Mulder instantly and also strips down to her skivvies in his hotel room for dubious reasons.  I’m sure none of that was purposeful on the part of the writer/director/creator.  

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The Americans and TV frustrations

There’s a lot of frustration in tv: shows cancelled in their prime, producers pushing weird storylines for viewers, actors leaving before the show is done.  But what has to be the most frustrating is watching a show that really COULD be good, could be great, and just never pushes that far.  That’s me and my latest binge-watch, The Americans.

The Americans is an FX drama starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.  The premise is that they’re Russian sleeper spies in the 1980’s – posing as an all-American couple with two kids in the suburbs while doing whatever KGB spies do in the DC area.  You know what is interesting about that premise?  EVERYTHING.  You know what we’re focusing on in the middle of season 2?  The couple freaking out about their daughter attending church.

Here are super interesting themes and plot points that come in the show or are implied:

  • Elizabeth and Phillip are complete strangers when they first meet to be “married” and Elizabeth is super uncomfortable with the whole thing for about 15 years
  • Phillip is in love with his “wife” but is afraid she thinks he’s hideous or disappointing
  • Their kids are being raised with typical modern all-American values that the two hate
  • KGB!  Russia!
  • Capturing the 1980’s zeitgeist!  80’s power!
  • They become BFFs with their FBI next door neighbor
  • The Reagan administration
  • spiiiiies.  Super spies!  Lifetime trained spies!
  • the transition between being a Russian spy in Moscow and moving to America

Instead, here are things the show has spent the majority of time on:

  • Elizabeth and Phillip’s cold, loveless, and awkward marriage
  • their daughter Paige going to church and quitting volleyball
  • the cold, loveless, and awkward marriage of their next door neighbors
  • lots of slow car chases
  • lots and LOTS of boring dinner/breakfast family conversations
  • did I mention their cold and loveless marriage ALL THE TIME
  • Keri Russell wearing her hair sideways forever

Keri Russell is pretty flat and humorless in the show, I think she is not suited to the role at all.  Matthew Rhys is amazing but can only really shine when he’s spy acting as someone else.  The writing is rather atrocious in season 1 but is starting to pick up in 2.  The best part of the show is Annet Mahendru who plays a Russian double (triple????) spy and is genuinely amazing and please get her her own show.  Please stop showing me Keri Russell yelling at her kids to get ready for school because they’re going to be late like, every single episode.  I am watching a spy show please.  No backpacks.

The show is certainly gaining traction in the second season (I’m halfway through).  They’re still being weird about Elizabeth and Phillip’s marriage – everything is good, then it’s not, nobody talks about anything.  They are priming their daughter to become a more complex character but it’s going to be slow.  The missions can sometimes be interesting.  I think what is severely lacking is an actual goal/endgame.  Destroying the Americans isn’t really something that’s going to happen…just little bits and pieces along the way.  So what are we watching for?  If that ultimate goal is a fool’s errand, then emphasize that and play off it it more.  How is this going to end and why should I keep sticking around to find out?

I’m still here, so I guess they’re doing something right. I just wish the show would tighten up the weekly plots and writing a bit more and give us a clear plot pathway, at least something to root for.  And for god’s sake do some work to match your sexy and stylish marketing.

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I WISH that was the show I was watching.  Only time will tell.

David Fincher has a woman problem

Vulture says Gone Girl Has a Woman Problem, and they’re not wrong.  Plenty has been written on the subject.  Trivializing domestic abuse is never good and seems to come at a particularly bad time as well.  But Gillian Flynn, the book and screenplay’s author, argues that she wants to see a pantheon of types of female characters and that “sociopath” should be among them.  I tend to agree but also acknowledge the serious problems with depictions of women in the book.

[spoilers below]

But let’s take a look at David Fincher.  When Amy slits Desi’s throat mid-coitus and straddles him, covered in blood, she becomes this terrifying woman-angel of death and she is also a monster to be feared by men.  Mid-movie the bumbling but still Ben Affleck-ed Nick states he’s “tired of being picked apart by women.”  Poor, poor Nick, hated by all the mean bitches of the world and loved by the psycho one.

Is Fincher bro-ing it up with the guys over how scary and evil women are?  Let’s take a look.

Gone Girl: The media acts as a mass of angry, judgmental women with a Nancy Grace-type at the helm.  A man can’t catch a break in this world!  A woman disappears but she turns out to be faking it out of spite, as women are wont to do.  Being a bumbling dude means you get taken advantage of by all kinds of crazy.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Well, what can you say.  The book is the ultimate middle-aged fanfiction, where the hot 90’s punk chick who’s like 19 is totally into the stuffy old dude.  It’s about how the hatred of women affects society and murderers but my own opinion is out as to whether it’s a searing take on misogyny or just reveling in it for a story.  Women are all victims in this story except for Lisbeth, another avenging angel, but one who is made to kneel and suffer terribly for her freedom.  Not into it.

The Social Network: This one maybe makes me the saddest of all.  I once had a job where I worked with students studying computer science and got to mentor a number of women starting in the field.  To know them and their struggles so well and to see them totally erased from life and history in that movie kills me and I can’t watch it anymore, even though I do love the movie.  Also, Priscilla Chan: let’s talk about being erased from history.  Maybe I’m alone here but I’d maybe rather watch a movie about a power couple of geniuses who change the world and stick together through life’s greatest changes than about a guy being butthurt about his girlfriend dumping him.

The only women in the film are Erica, the bitch who dumps him and he can’t get over, Christy who is a crazy possessive bitch who sets stuff on fire, Rashida Jones who doesn’t even do anything in the movie (???) and those 17 year olds who can’t play videogames.  This is both Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s burden to bear.

Zodiac: Women are victims or Chloe Sevigny, who is also a victim of a man’s obsession.  She and the family are an afterthought after one cool-girl date.

Fight Club: At least fight club wears its gender conversation on its sleeve.  I have a whole big theory about this one and most of the critical world realizes that this is meant to be a criticism of hyper posturing violent masculinity but that goes over some people’s heads.  Brad Pitt is never better than he is here.  But yeah: this movie is men vs. women.  Women kind of win at the end but are definitely not the focus.

I don’t know.  I just wonder: what kind of stories would directors like Fincher, Nolan, Anderson, and Scott make if they stepped out of their very male comfort zones and thought about women for once?

Lucy Sucks

Lucy, a recent film directed by Luc Besson and starring Scarlett Johansson, did all right at the box office, beating Hercules in the week of July 27th.  But the tired and uninspired story is not much more than theater filler at the end of the day [insert joke about the molecules of the universe here].

Lucy_(2014_film)_poster

Lucy is an unknown but scrappy street urchin who we meet on the streets of Taiwan, arguing with her shady and very greasy boyfriend.  She’s messy and hungover and wearing a tight dress.  She is maybe a prostitute.  Shady boyfriend convinces her, eventually through force, to take a suitcase into a fancy looking office building and drop it off.  Of course things go terribly wrong, and she quickly finds herself in the midst of a drug smuggling operation that needs a mule.

Besson cuts these first scenes of Lucy being dragged into the situation with wildlife videos of jungle cats stalking and eating gazelles.  It’s not exactly groundbreaking but it’s at least interesting.  I imagine Besson shrugging modestly and going “eh, I was trying something new.”  Unfortunately it’s really one of the very few interesting touches in the entire film.

“Lucy” slugs along to a number of improbable and seemingly unimportant plot points, asking an extreme amount of suspension of disbelief from the audience while giving nothing.  Lucy ingests large amounts of this experimental drug on accident and becomes a Neo-esque god, making the internet really fast and tapping into cellphone conversations that for some reason look like lines of code.  For some reason: Lucy becomes less empathetic and more prone to senseless violence the more she ingests the drug.  For some reason: the entire knowledge of the universe can fit on a flash drive that sparkles.  For some reason: we are supposed to care about any of the characters in this film.

Morgan Freeman has an odd stint as a professor of chemistry (??) who also does research on the brain and touts the awful and untrue “Humans only use 10% of their brain” theory that is literally the reasoning of the entire film.  He gives a lecture on the subject at the beginning of the film that drags on way too long and loses points for having engaged and interested students.  We know they are all really on their smartphones through class.  He stumbles through the lecture like reading off of queue cards and can’t seem to muster up any excitement through the rest of the film.

The film grinds through an endless number of cliches that just seem shameful at this point.  The most recent influence is “Limitless” (2011) and then we’ll stretch back to the “Matrix “(1999) all the way to “Akira” which was TWENTY-SIX fucking years ago.  What I’m saying is: this story has been told already, lots of times, and why are you doing it again, Besson?  For reasons not very clear and that happen incredibly quickly, Lucy can control all communication waves, can move people about with her mind, and can travel through time.  Any of this would be very interesting if even an attempt were made at explaining it, or if we truly dug into some fascinating stuff about physics, time, and the mutability of matter.  I am genuinely interested in these things!  Sadly, “Cosmos” invokes a sense of wonder and possibility far better than “Lucy” can even dream.

Confession: I really liked “Limitless”!  It is a movie that knows EXACTLY what it is and gains strength from that.  The humor is great and understated, the problems are human and understandable, the wish-fulfillment feels real.  They actually try to give explanations as to why certain things happen in the movie’s own universe.  It is good enough that we can actually get to an interesting discussion about the bigger themes, to start: let’s compare Eddie’s pre-medication self with his final, realized, ideal self.  What does shlubby wannabe writer say about us in the 21st century?

“Lucy” doesn’t even begin to get there.  We have no idea who she is and why she’s hanging out in Taiwan for most of the movie.  Johansson tries this horrible affectation of a, well, affected person, maybe somewhere on the autism spectrum, who doesn’t make eye contact, talks in monotone, and has weird tics while explaining her new god-like state.  Compelling stuff, George Lucas can’t wait to hire her.

The only good parts of the film come from the small moments of humor: a bumbling padre of French cops (led by Amr Waked whose character seems to be left on the cutting room floor), a nurse’s face as she backs out of Lucy’s hospital room, a mob boss rushing the opening of a bomb because he has other things to do.  I wish Besson would stick to these small, humorous moments instead of wading into scifi cliches.  He should know better.

That’s really what truly has my ire: I wanted to like it so much!  I love “The Professional” and acknowledge that “The Fifth Element” is beloved, and Besson has great style.  I keep giving Johansson a chance, I don’t know why.  This movie had potential to be good.  There is no reason it should end up an uninteresting, jumbled mess of a story with no real heart.

Here are some interesting things to do with a story like this.  Actually give me an interesting theory on the beginning of the universe and the cause of the big bang.  Draw parallels between Lucy’s capacity as a woman to have a baby versus “reproducing” on a cellular/god-like level.  Have the protagonist become MORE attuned to humanity and human emotions as they gain powers, instead of becoming a murdering automaton.  Last: write actual interesting characters.

I guess “Lucy” isn’t a bad way to pass an afternoon watching cable, but I personally wouldn’t  waste the time.  The world itself is far too fascinating and marvelous to tell boring stories.  Shame on Besson.  I’m off to rewatch “Limitless.”

Outlander S1E1 Recap

Outlander!  OUT-LAN-DER!  I have the fever.  Not quite in the Game of Thrones area yet but it’s more in my nether regions, you know?  I have a Scot thing.  You should meet my husband, he has dark curly red-brown hair and a deep barrel chest.  I’m a slave to myself.

Due to technical difficulties I am JUST NOW getting access to the new episodes, being that I am poor and do not have tv.  Thrifty, let’s say.  I realize I am late but we’re still gonna talk about OUTLANDER!  Here is my season 1 recap and review.

I am going to talk about the books in my recaps so don’t be a dick about it.  Like 18 different crazy storylines happen in each book, they last an eternity, you don’t even know.

OK: We’re talking about Outlander.  I started the books like, a month ago, and now I’m in the middle of book 3.  The writing is…pretty bad.  The story is addicting like, up at 3:30am on a work night reading with my kindle plugged in for backup battery addicting.  The romance is awesome.  The sexual politics kind of suck.  I am so excited for this show I can’t stand it.

I am on board with every part of this equation (except for the creepy sex and sometimes abusive relationship stuff).  Battlestar, Scotland, kilts, cheesecake, castles, magic ruins, witches, hot sex, good romance, annnnd…just hot Scottish dude, not gonna lie.  That’s like the number one, with the scifi/history element being a close second.  This show was made for me and I appreciate it.

*phew*
*phew*

I am curious how they’re gonna handle some of the more questionable parts of the book, namely (in book one) Jaimie whipping Claire and the overall acceptance of this kind of thing as something good that clears the air between everybody.  But we’ll get to that later.

So now: Outlander premiere recap!

I am going to admit that narration without purpose is one of my number one greatest hates in the world.  I do lead a sheltered life.  But narration in film is lazy – film is a visual medium and simply telling the audience what is going on is the absolute least use of the medium or talents.

Also, people disappear all the time?  Is there a rash of children wandering from their parents and never been seen again?  BAD narration, bad!

Ok: Claire is a trauma nurse in WWII.  She’s right in the thick of it, gets a face full of blood and doesn’t even care.  This is Claire the Mary Sue at her best.  She’s badass and swigs from champagne bottles like a mofo!  It’s a bit over the top for me, but I also like them emphasizing all the shit she must have gone through in the war as a nurse, which the book only lightly touches on with suggestion.  I do think it creates a good parallel between the war and the violent past she goes back to.

I do have to say: it feels pretty awesome to see Claire there, in the center of the shot, covered in blood and just being badass and the star of her own show and shit.  She’s not being sexy or being filmed as sexy.  She’s dirty and tired and covered in blood and she’s just dealing with that like a person.  Feels good.

Claire if your 1940’s life can be encapsulated in a vase then I say BORING.

I am way into the bagpipe Renfaire theme and so is my 14 year old self.  If there was a unicorn in this it would literally be perfection.

I think I love Tobias Menzies.  He was such a doddering idiot in Game of Thrones, his face was just so good!  And now he’s got the “I can’t perceive if anyone cares what I’m talking about” academic thing down along with some swagger and British repression.  Good is what I’m saying!  Good at being boring and also maybe more understandable than in the books.

Now Claire and Frank are in the streets of Inverness on their second honeymoon after the war.  “I think I should know the look of blood by now.”  Claire’s snappiness sometimes is overly snarky teenager but that’s part of her character and I just need to deal with that.

Claire’s “oh god this again” face as Frank yammers on about Scottish Halloween is very apt.  Sorry husband.

Claire and Frank jumping on the bed and sharing war stories is a very good moment and very well written scene.  Ending on the squeaky mattress and the smiling grandmotherly B&B lady is a bit gauche I think but I guess that’s where we’re going with this.

It’s interesting to see how light and playful Claire is around Frank.  I do think if things had been different, she probably would have taken a back seat to his teaching and have faded into the role of Frank’s charming wife.  Compare Claire in the Reverend’s study with her in the woods with Jaimie and we see who she really is.

This lady is way too dramatic about this tea leaf reading.  Let’s skip over this scene.

Yeah, Claire’s “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ” needs some work.  It sounds off.  Hopefully Caitriana gets the hang of it.

OMG ghost Jaimie TEARS.  I spent all of book two crying about them being separated.  CRYING.  ALL THE TEARS for true love.  The way he reaches out his hand to steady himself!  It’s Mr. Darcy wet shirt level.

But we are also banning, as of this moment, anyone uttering “You look like you’ve seen a ghost” from all tv and movies forever, thanks.

“Sex was our bridge back to one another” UGH VOICEOVER DIE NOW.

The druid ruins dance scene was definitely brought to you by the Scotland Tourism Board.

The transition scene, of Claire in the car accident as a comparison to time travel, is beautifully done.  I am a huge sucker for the “gasp before the impact” sort of scene, where it builds up and then gets very quiet.  My favorite example is in Batman Begins and the many cuts to the “why do we fall” scene

Now we are in the 18th century, FINALLY.  I’m just skipping over the rest until we get to HOT JAMIE YES.  Pop that arm Claire!  You can always count on Jamie getting ridiculously injured every five minutes.

Yesssss Jaimie wrap your manly kilt around me, you’re so thoughtful, and also have a kilt.  And also feed me whiskey.  Perfect.

Hating this overlong flashback intercut with them discovering the ambush rock and Frank’s history lesson is too much.  We haven’t forgotten the scene that happened 10 minutes prior.  This makes me worried for ongoing voiceover: they don’t trust the audience.

Jamie is hurt AGAIN.  I have to warn you all that the entire book is just Jamie getting hurt in new and more interesting ways and Claire treating him tearfully.  About 50% of the time I am hearing Britta Perry talk about her “trembling feminine fingers.”

Claire’s sass with Jamie does seem to hearken back to how she would’ve been treating soldiers, keeping them tough and awake.  What I love about this is you can kind of tell how young Jamie is, he’s only like 22 or something, and he’s totally instantly smitten with Claire.  He’s being all cheeky but kind of bashful and she is just giving it right back to him and he liiiiikes it.

And we’re at Castle Leoch!  Now we can finally get to the good stuff, I hope.

 

14 reasons we suddenly find Petyr Baelish extremely attractive

1. Gillen is a character actor and has a secret boner all through The Mountain and the Viper.

2. Related but not contradictory: Aidan Gillen is just bringing it right now.

3. Secretly ship GothSansa/Petyr (no no no we are horrible).

4. Smart is sexy and heedless, weaselly cunning is kind of like smart?

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5. Someone slipping us a love potion in our pre-episode beer.

6. Hormones.

7. Accent confusion distracts and distorts our emotions.

8. Just really like lemon cakes.

9. We’ve got a thing for salt and pepper.

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10. We were bored and he was, you know, just kind of there.

11. “Mockingbird” triggered our Hunger Games endorphins.

12. We like a well-cut tunic.

13. Remember when Ned Stark was still alive, and he just needed a shower like, every moment?

stark

 

 

 

 

14. Oberyn, Ned, Robb, and Renly dead.

 

The Mountain and the Viper

I mean, OMG, and all of that.  Maybe I am thrown into a deep deep depression whose name is Oberyn Martell.  Just maybe.  Are you there with me?

Let’s get to it then.

I just want to say that this is an interesting and kind of odd introductory scene: secondary horrible characters who we don’t know and are quickly slaughtered.  But beyond that, this wandering long shot of the prostitute and her harassment of Gilly.  It’s done in a hyperrealistic way which is different from the typical filming.  Alex Graves is an old pro but maybe he just wanted to try something new?  The “slice of life” thing does fit in with all the snapshots we see of the actual people of Westeros: not the warriors or the kings or the houses, just regular people suffering immensely.  Anyway, this scene is shot in a very modern and meandering way and I’m not quite sure why.  The quick cut from the slaughter scene to Samwell is also abrupt and strange.

Do we ever know why the Wildlings are just killing innocent villagers left and right?  I mean, I guess to enrage the Night’s Watch and have them come out to fight in the open.  But jeez oh man.  Maybe spare the kids and old women?  Do they hate southerners so much?

The Missandei-Grey Worm stuff is trying to be innocent and cute, and I’m trying to like it, but it’s awfully awkward.  First off – Dany is a stone cold bitch about the Unsullied and their man parts.  She’s all telling Missandei to get over her hangups, stop thinking about eunuchs, and get with the program.  Missandei is obviously way uncomfortable with Dany’s new Samantha persona.

Grey Worm is a pretty bad colonial fantasy: he values his slavery and deformation because of his eventual freedom.  Slavery was fine because now he gets to hang out with the nice white lady who saved him.  I realize GRRM didn’t write from the most modern of standpoints in terms of avoiding racial and harmful stereotype cliches, but the show could work to do a little better.  Plus we all know what Snoop thinks:

Then Missandei and Grey Worm in the throne room: awkwaaaaaard.  Maybe one day it will be cute.  They’ll probably both die horribly, though.  That’s what you do to my heart, Game of Thrones.  You just rip it out over and over again.

Ok: the Boltons, creepy or the creepiest?  I feel like Alfie Allen is doing some great work but it’s so sad it’s hard to savor.  This scene is a callback to Theon’s taking of Winterfell, with a grand speech of resistance and then a blow to the head.  What’s past is prologue.

Theon’s entire story just got reset.  The Boltons are the dark Starks: the (now legitimized) curly-haired bastard son, and the hard-ass father, warden of the north.  And poor, poor Theon as prisoner, once again.

His tears, as he tries to stammer out his name!  Ah, kill me.  A friend of the book series told me that what was appealing to her was how almost all the characters changed in one way or another, and you often felt sympathy or found yourself rooting for someone you had hated earlier.  People change, were redeemed, etc.  I asked: even Theon?  She looked very sad for a moment and said “Even Theon.”

Amazing camera work when Ramsay is giving Theon his pep talk.  Theon is hemmed in by Ramsay’s body, we only see his eyes peek out from his shoulder, nervous and darting back and forth.

Ok: THE GOOD STUFF.  Sansaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa power!

Amazing camera work, once again, in Baelish’s interrogation scene.  It starts with a close-up of his face and he’s calm and controlled, but you can see his annoyance at the highborn lords and lady’s line of questioning.  He expects it and is annoyed by it all the same.  In some ways, it’s almost like he’s a child again, learning to bow to all the “betters” he was surrounded by.  We flip to his small form dwarfed by the foreboding committee, all hyper focused on him.  And then: a mention of Sansa.  Suddenly we’re above him, we can almost see the sweat forming on his brow.  He’s not prepared for this one and she could absolutely unravel everything in a moment.

Sansa is my girl, as you may recall.  Here is everything Sansa does:

First she makes him squirm.  She lets him know, through her faux-apology, that his entire fate rests in her hands.  She probably could have gotten him imprisoned or thrown out the Moon Door, and the kind lords of the Vale would take care of her as an allied family.

But she doesn’t.

Sansa lived her life in fear and powerless at King’s Landing.  She was, as she said, without any friends or allies there.  Sansa gets a lot of flak but I just see a young girl surviving: figuring out when to stay quiet, who to watch, when to lie and about what.  And although she didn’t have any grand transformation like Arya, she had been quietly learning all along from Cersei, Margaery, Olenna, and Shae.  Maybe she finally realized that men have loved her, men like Baelish and the Hound, who did see her frailty and wanted to shelter her instead of abuse her.

Now she is using herself.  She’s using her character, from King’s Landing, of the naive and fearful girl to play everyone right into her hands.  How could anyone ever expect little Sansa to tell a lie, when she cries so sweetly?

Here is what else she does: she safeguards herself against Baelish, as much as she can.  By telling her identity and story to the lords and lady of the Vale, she knows they will be looking out for her welfare.  She lets slip that Petyr kissed her, only to say it was a “peck on the cheek” – a lie, to remind Baelish that she still holds the power over this narrative.  She emphasizes Petyr is an uncle to her, to ward him off any unseemly signs of affection in public.

Not that it’s going to help.  Petyr is so turned on right now it’s shameful.  And I’m thoroughly ashamed of digging this storyline.  Sexy evil Baelish and goth Sansa 4-eva!

SER JORAH BREAKS MY HEART.  And that is all I have to say about that.

Ok all that Bolton stuff is over so back to the Petyr and Sansa show.

Sophie Turner looks so young in these scenes it’s like she’s gone beyond and become a symbol of youth.  All of her scenes in the Eyrie look like they’re from dramatic 17th century paintings.  Petyr is kind of in awe of her but he also hates owing her.  He challenges her, saying she doesn’t really know who he is or what he wants.  Until Sansa looks him in the eyes, with her sad knowing stare, and strikes him speechless.  Beautiful women have always been men’s downfall in stories, even the smartest and most cunning of men.

What I see in these scenes is Sansa taking her place as the lady of the Eyrie.  In King’s Landing she was nothing.  Now she has schemed enough to be protected and loved by those in power.  What’s more, she is assuming the roles of both her mother and Lysa.  Catelyn was the chase, Lysa was the partner in crime.  Sansa acknowledges Baelish’s affections, she will partner with him in his schemes, but will she really love him?  (Lysa said no).

Oberyn deserves his own post.  More to come tomorrow.

 

 

 

Things my Followers in Skyrim have thought

They live to serve me (sexy), but sometimes. . .

“Sure, let’s just wander into this vampire castle.  I’m the only mortal here still alive, but I’m sure it will be fine.”

“It’s fine, I’ll take on all these guys while you hunt for treasure.  I’m good to go.”

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“Do you really need 1000 pounds of shit on this trip?  I run your household, I know you don’t need the money.”

“Oh so you’re a werewolf now?  Ok I guess that’s cool.”

“Wait wait, now you’re a vampire feeding off the innocent?  Can we at least avoid my family…oh nevermind.”

“Sure, let’s rob the dead and the burial urns.  No respect for the dead is in now.”

“Can we NOT annoy the giant and his mammoths this time?  Just once…ok fine.”

“Now we’re summoning Dremora lords.  Does that mean we’re partners?  I kind of have this religious thing…”

“Ok.  Lead a sacrifice to Boethiah.  I guess you know best.”

and finally…

“Ahh, it’s been three months, and I’ve served you faithfully.  We’ve carried off more gold than one man can count.  I think 25% is a good share. . .wait, what?”

The Neverending Marvel Story

Ryan Britt writes on The Awl about Comic Book Movies and the Forgotten Art of the Ending.  Was The Avengers really so confusing to the common man?

His thesis, or subject I suppose, is that Marvel has elevated the comic book movies into comic book-like installments themselves, with ongoing and intertwining plots that seem endless.  As such, closure is never had (or something of that nature).

My counterargument is: what about the serial?  The serial has been standard in storytelling for ages.  In movies, we have to only think back to Star Trek which has 11 iterations, most of them in the 70’s and 80’s, with who knows how many different show universes.  There were six Superman movies in the 70’s/80’s and something like 2-3 recent ones, along with Lois & Clark the tv show, Smallville, and endless cartoons.  We can probably also look to Godzilla and the monster-of-the-week genre to see how much we like to see the same thing over and over again, when it’s fun.

 

Game of Fucking Thrones: Mockingbird

Game of Throoooooooones.

I finally have a reliable way of viewing episodes almost as quickly as they come out, so let the reviews begin!

Tyrion’s journey in this episode is to truly and fully embrace the hatred of his family, and bring about his complete split with them.  The Lannisters value family above all else and he led a battle to defend his family and his family’s city.  Now he has to be pushed so far that he can destroy them.

That’s why he looks so disappointed when Jaimie doesn’t seem on board with using his death for noble, family-spiting purposes.  It’s not because Jaime won’t do it.  It’s because Tyrion is pushed so much farther than Jaime.  Jaime was always Tyrion’s one ally, however ineffective, and now he won’t even follow Tyrion on this grand quest to destroy their own family.  It is, after all, the only right thing to do.

Charlie Jane Anders over at io9.com is revealing that the scene with the dying man meeting Arya and the Hound is straight from Beckett, the actor a popular theater/Beckett actor.  But even better he’s the luggage salesman in the greatest movie ever, Joe vs. the Volcano.

This episode is about sharing and backstories.  But it’s also about people being pushed to the end and further.  People who are so low they have nothing to lose, so they reveal something true about themselves, or can hear truth from others.  Tyrion hears he is nothing from Jaime and Bronn, and he shares every wrong impulse that drove him to this place to Jaime.  He also comes to terms to his true relationship (evident all along) to Shae and Bronn.  Arya and the Hound can reveal their names and true relationship (“captor”) to the dying man, because he’s dying.  In fact, Arya tells him her last name to force the Hound to kill him.  Watch how sharply she says it, after a pause, and the jolt to Sandor, and how Arya does not flinch when the deed is done.

Personal pet peeve relief: I think Sandor wiping his blade off is the first time I’ve ever seen that action on this show.  I always took Aslan’s advice to heart and couldn’t believe how many fake knights DO NOT CLEAN THEIR SWORDS.  Come on, people!

The Hound is all about his bff Arya this episode.  He looks to her reaction constantly – especially when they hear that Joffrey is dead.  And he wants to help with her list.

Daenerys’ eyebrows are getting darker.  I hate that they don’t dye Cersei’s or Khaleesi’s.

There is zero chemistry between Daenerys and Daario.  I am on team boring Daario.  There are so many actors in the world who do nothing but ooze sexuality and they picked this dude?

The scene between Daenerys and Jorah either says something true about their relationship or something Daenerys is using, and either way she’s a bad ass.  She knows immediately she’s hurt Jorah by sleeping with Daario.  She doesn’t have to justify herself to Jorah, but she does have to make him feel better.  She offers what is either a convincing act or true friendship and gratitude – when she clasps his hands, when she takes his advice, when she makes it known.  She very deftly repaired any small crack in their relationship and allowed Jorah to do the legwork.

I think here Jorah is also fighting against her going full Targaryen.  I think in the books especially there’s this fear that she has the hidden Targaryen crazy bloodlust, and being that she is so young and so powerful, it could come out.  Jorah is pleading with her using his own story to call on her humanity.  You can see her mania come full stop when he talks about the fate of his own head.

Also Danaerys gets soooooooome.  Get it guuurl.

Also: no full frontal male nudity HBO?  Seriously?

Ok: Arya and the Hound.  I want to nominate Peter Dinklage for Best Actor Emmy and Rory McCann and Pedro Pascal can duke it out for Supporting.  Probably all for this episode.  Sandor’s “I wasn’t stealing it I was just borrowing it” is the saddest thing to happen in Game of Thrones and just think to what I’m comparing it.  Like it mattered at all, at any point in time, that you were innocent, poor Sandor.

Sandor has not only reached his honesty breaking point (where, by the way, he kind of admits that he’s fond of little Arya.  If she’s not worth the ransom then why not kill her already?).  He’s feeling the cruelest sting all over again: that of the pain of being betrayed by your family.  Tyrion has been so betrayed (he reaches the point of no return with Oberyn’s story of their meeting) that his hurt will turn back on his family.  Sandor is a monster who’s been alone his entire life since he realized at like, six, that family meant nothing and his life and safety were an afterthought.  This is the best scene.

I don’t know what I can say about the scene between Tyrion and Oberyn that hasn’t already been said.  It is amazing and probably the highlight of the whole season, even with what is to come.  And it does what is so important in storytelling: bring things full circle.  Cersei has wanted Tyrion dead since the minute he was born.  Him on trial and in prison is just one painful long con.

Excellent bit of directing in this scene too.  Watch through Oberyn’s story as the camera switches back and forth between them, but for the end, it just lingers on Dinklage.  Let him do the work.  Thanks for not getting in the way, Alik Sakharov: it’s a rare gift.

Sansa!  Sansa Sansa Sansa.  I am Team Sansa everyone.  She is my long con.  They are making her absolutely beautiful in this season, but I think they are doing it by keeping her plain.  It seemed, I suppose, like her hair was let down a bit more.  Poor darling Sansa just wants five minutes of peace – she wants to go to some place where she’s not afraid and always acting for someone, so she can just feel things.

Everyone’s reviewing her fighting and slapping Robin as an impulsive and childish act.  But I saw it as her finally responding to her world and acting out.  She was engaged to a young, coddled asshole before, who took extreme joy in violence and flew into rages for no reason as well.  Sansa is finally well enough to start thinking of her home, envisioning it whole.  And Robin comes and stomps on it quite literally.  She punishes him, as Joffrey should have been punished, as she wanted to react.  She literally fought to protect her home.  Which is not something she’d been able to do in King’s Landing.

PETYR.  Oh, where to even begin.  My grand theory is that Sansa learns at the foot of Baelish, then smokes the asshole.  Because NOBODY EXPECTS SANSA.  That being said, he’s growing on me.  I think he’s a creepy psychopath but hey, when’s the last time that stopped us and HBO?

Here’s the thing about Baelish: he’s creating chaos, he’s climbing upward, and he doesn’t get caught (yet).  He lies to everyone twenty times over.  He’s supposedly such a powerful figure because nobody knows his motives, or what he wants.  But now we really know one thing he wants: Sansa, as a surrogate for Cat.  I don’t know if I yet believe if Baelish can actually love or if he’s devoid of the true emotion.  But in a safe place, the Eyrie, he showed some of his cards, just like everyone else.  And Lysa is the one at the end of the rope, so he can tell her the actual truth without repercussions.

Sure, Lysa was going to die all along, there’s no denying it.  But I can’t help but think Petyr relished killing her after she threatened the one thing he seems to care about.  What do we do to those who hurt the ones we love?

Proof that Sansa is learning: she knows exactly where Petyr is going.  When he tells Lysa “I have only ever loved one woman my entire life,” she knows it can’t be Lysa.

Lysa’s right, though.  Cat never loved Petyr, and neither will Sansa.  Poor crazy Lysa.  I will miss your crazy face, girl.