Monday, June 24, 2013

"True Blood" Season 6, Episode 2: This little light of mine

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 12:32 PM

While watching last night's episode of "True Blood" I was struck by the following thought: "When did this show become 'Charmed'?"

Two episodes into Season 6 I'm finding myself increasingly concerned about the tone of this show. It takes itself SO seriously now. There's nothing fun, or slutty, or gritty, or subversive about it anymore. Most of the plotlines fall into two categories: dour or borderline corny.

We did get two amusing scenes last night. The first was a blink-and-you-missed-it moment in which Lafayette was playing dress-up with recently orphaned werewolf kid Emma. The second was Eric dorking it up as a faux government stooge to get access to the governor of Louisiana. Both were delightful to behold, and felt a bit like the show's glory days.

The rest of it, however, felt very far removed from the Southern Gothic camp that defined the show in its best seasons. The episode as a whole was more entertaining than the season premiere, but I'm worried about the overall energy for the season. Say what you will about previous showrunner Alan Ball, but at least his episodes almost always had a pulse (no pun intended). Let's breakdown the various plotlines:

-Drama magnet Sookie just happened upon an injured dude on the side of the road. At first she attempted to leave him there - nice, Sookie - but ultimately she offered to help. And wouldn't you know it? He's half-fairy, just like Sookie. I initially groaned, because this show has a terrible track record when it comes to fairies. But this new guy Ben is so hot that I'm willing to go with it, so long as he keeps his shirt mostly unbuttoned. Sookie continued to demonstrate how astonishingly stupid she is by bringing this injured stranger back to her house, then letting a possibly concussed man fall asleep on her couch, and then turning Ben down when he offered to take her on a date. Sookie, look at him. LOOK AT HIM! And he doesn't turn into a wolf or want to suck the blood out of you. Idiot! (That said, I don't trust Ben at all. I suspect that the vampire who attacked him was Warlow, attracted by Ben's fae blood, and that in addition to roughing him up, the ancient vamp also glamoured Ben into working for him. But that's totally a guess.)

-Speaking of Warlow, we discovered that Rutger Hauer is not playing the Big Bad. He's Sookie and Jason's fairy ancestor, he is serving up some bedraggled Colonel Sanders Realness, and he apparently loves spaghetti. Hauer's character (I think his name is Niall; it sounded like "Nuh" whenever Jason said it) came back from fairyland to help his descendants with this Warlow problem. After dressing down Jason for spilling his family secrets to any stranger that would listen (seriously, Jason...), Niall determined that Warlow has escaped from the extra-dimensional prison Claudine sent him to after Warlow killed Sookie's parents years ago. He then explained that Warlow has been tormenting Niall's bloodline for years, and that in order to stop this some Stackhouse generations ago promised Warlow the first fae-powered girl in the bloodline. That'd be Sookie. The logic of this is dubious to me: terrible bad guy is destroying your family, so the best way to handle it is to just sacrifice someone else in your family? Dick move. At the end of the episode Niall trained Sookie on how to create some fairy-light bomb that will vaporize a vampire, but also permanently extinguish her fae powers. They should have just typed "MacGuffin" in giant white letters at the bottom of the screen and been done with it. Also, Niall's exposition dump this episode was beyond hamfisted, and even Rutger Hauer had a hard time delivering all of it in a manner even approaching believability. And lest we forget, this is the man who starred in "Ladyhawke." He has some experience with the ridiculous.

-The Bill plotline got crazier. I know; you thought it couldn't get more ridiculous than the Billith thing, right? Well, now Bill can see the future, specifically vampires being tortured/killed. After being approached by the naked, blood-covered answer to the Robert Palmer Girls last episode, Bill went into a trance and had a mental conference call with original Lilith. She vaguely told him how special he is, how he will have a major part to play in the coming conflict, and said explicitly that he is not a god, and that neither was she. That's the part that actually interests me about this whole crazy-ass storyline, and it has nothing to do with Bill, and more to do with Jessica. She had a surprisingly moving scene this episode where she prayed to Bill, who she is now accepting as a kind of vampire deity, asking him to bless and watch over all the people important to her, including Bill himself. Deborah Ann Woll is terrific, and having her watch in horror as Bill goes through this bizarre transformation is the only thing making this plot work for me. It's like Shelley Duvall in "The Shining," and her reaction to that freaky scene where comatose Bill telekinetically sucked every drop out of the blood hooker sold the moment to me, despite the hinky special effects.

-Eric and (ugh) Nora returned to Fangtasia to find Tara writhing in agony after being shot by the Louisiana state troopers last episode. Seems that humans have developed new anti-vamp weaponry, including silver bullets that emit UV rays that burn vampires from the inside out. That's actually kind of smart, and one of the themes emerging this season is science vs. supernatural, which we don't tend to get a lot of in paranormal fiction. Eric decides to take the fight to The Man, bluffs his way into a meeting with the governor of Louisiana (WAY too easily, and also, it's dark at 5:30 p.m. in this show?), and tries to glamour him into calling off the state-backed war against vamps. That goes poorly, as the governor reveals that humans have developed anti-glamour contacts that render that vamp power useless. He tries to take Eric into custody - he mentions "the camp," so we're definitely heading toward a vampire Holocaust thing here - but Eric flies away...only to pay a late-night visit to the governor's nubile young daughter. (Two other points here: Eric's flying seemed to surprise the humans, so that's another trick he's alerted them to; I suspect the "spitfire" the governor was discussing on the phone was Sarah Newlin. "Don't mess with Texas"?)

-On the "new tricks" tip, Forever Suffering Sam Merlotte was approached by a group of apparently human activists encouraging him to come out of the supernatural closet. The scene took an interesting turn when the leader of the group made a deliberate comparison between shifters and other supes staying hidden and her mixed-race grandparents standing up for their rights back in the 1960's. My question is, how exactly did these people know who Sam was? How did they know he's a shifter? We know that Luna's televised shift tipped off the population to the shape changers, but how did they identify her so quickly? And even if they did, how did that lead them to Sam in less than 24 hours? The episode ended with the activists getting surreptitious video footage of Sam openly discussing shifters and weres with Alcide and his pack, which showed up to take custody of Emma - ultimately by force. This was very weird characterization for Alcide, but I guess he's still hopped up on V from his packmaster fight, and high on being Head Wolf in Charge. Can I say, I'm growing increasingly tired of Alcide? He used to be charming and kind of an underdog (pun intended), but this new mas macho Alcide is not working for me. And I'm worried we'll never get Quinn in the show.

Quick round-up of the C and D plots:

-We got one bordering-on-embarrassing scene with Andy Bellefleur taking his now 4- or 5-year-old, totally verbal kids to the field where he met his fairy baby mama and demanded that she take them back. The kids giggling as they ran around Andy as he swore and yelled was kind of pathetically adorable, but this rapid-aging kids plot has been to death in other properties, and whatever qualities we once liked about Andy are rapidly vanishing at this point. Fairies ruin everything.

-The show called back to the awful Terry Ifrit plotline from last season by having his now-dead Army buddy's wife come find him at the bar. SHOW: WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT THIS PLOT. We never did. It was terrible, stupid, and had nothing to do with anything else. Terry Bellefleur is not even a tertiary character and he does not need his own storyline. Let it go. Give us Arlene as the likably bitchy waitress and Terry as her flustered husband/line cook and leave it at that.

-And then there's Pam. I think the show jumped the shark with the vampire bible/Authority crap, or possibly with the terribly handled witch plotline. But you can actually track this show's descent in quality by Pam's storyline. Remember when Pam was awesome? When we loved her because she had great witty barbs and absolutely no shits to give? That was a long time ago, and now all we get is Pam whining about Eric not liking her anymore and then hissing at Tara and then maybe making out with Tara. She is MISERABLE and absolutely exhausting to watch. The problem is that Pam basically serves no purpose anymore. As the show has expanded its focus to more global and mythological concerns (see: that stupid vampire bible shit) Fangtasia is awfully small beans. They tried to give Pam a plot last season by examining the maker/baby vamp relationship vis-à-vis her own separation from Eric, and her role in siring Tara. That worked to break down an otherwise hard-as-nails character. But when you break down a character you have to build them back up. We're now a solid two seasons into the Pam De Beaufort Pity Party, and I'm ready to leave. I don't give a shit about Pam and Eric. I don't give a shit about Pam and Tara, because they don't seem to actually LIKE each other very much. I feel like the show is shoving together two once-interesting characters that it has no idea what to do with anymore. I feel awful for both of those actresses, because they're both great. But now all they do is sit around in an empty bar and sulk. That's not fun, sexy, or scary. At the very least give us Ginger screaming in the corner!

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Season 3, Episode 10: The finale that didn't feel like a finale

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 1:23 AM

I was fascinated to see how the showrunners would wrap up this season, especially given the intense public reaction to last episode’s Red Wedding. The answer is, they didn’t. Not really. What we got in the Season 3 finale felt more like a place holder than a proper finish. Some of the storylines were given a feeling of finality, or at least transformation, while others were being ramped up for Season 4. But all in all it was an unsatisfying ending that mostly served to just reposition everyone on the map.

See, this is the one place where I think splitting Book 3 over two seasons ended up hurting the series. Some people were downright infuriated by last week’s shocking ending, and feeling like the unceasing Stark misery was just too much to take. In the book, the Red Wedding happens midway through -- long enough so that readers still felt compelled to finish it, even if they hated that scene. And without spoiling it, the end of Book 3 gives readers some sweet, sweet vengeance as the comeuppance starts to get doled out to several characters. People only watching the show are left to feel that nothing but horror is on the horizon. And, well, that’s true. But the thing to remember is that horror is on the horizon for ALL of them, not just the “good guys.” I said a long time ago that I don’t believe anyone is going to survive this mess. I still think that’s going to be more true than not.

Anyway, let’s see where everyone ended up at the end of Season 3:

*We saw the aftermath of the Red Wedding, including Robb’s forces being decimated in slaughter and fire. The show also “went there” by actually showing the viewers his wolf’s head stuck on to his beheaded body. That kind of surprised me, but I realized that it was essential for Arya to see that image, so she knew her brother (and by extension, her mother) were really and truly dead. I know everyone is upset about the continued butchering of the Starks, but show-only fans need to understand two things. 1) From a narrative standpoint, all they’ve done is take out the “expected” leaders of the Stark clan -- the mother, father, and eldest son. What we have left are the bastard son, two daughters, and a severely disabled son. A big part of what Martin is doing with this series is exploring unlikely heroes in a medieval setting. How many straight, highborn, non-deformed men are the “heroes” at this point? 2) The Starks are actually not the main characters of this series. They’re the entry point, but they become less central as the plot moves along.

*Arya and The Hound got the hell out of the Twins and are currently wandering around the River Lands semi-aimlessly. Well, that’s not true. Arya sure has something on her mind: bloody revenge. She gets a taste of it after murdering a Frey lacky gloating about his hand in the wedding massacre, and once again shows us the coin given to her from Jhaqar Hagar. Suffice it to say, that will remain a significant plotpoint.

*News of the Red Wedding has spread to King’s Landing, where the Small Council is gathered and King Joffrey reacts with unbridled glee to the news that Robb Stark is dead. The scene serves mostly to underscore Joffrey’s psychopathic nature (he wants to serve Robb’s head to Sansa at his upcoming wedding to Margaery) and again to have him spar with Tyrion. The family squabble is ended by Tywin, who finds that even he is having difficulty keeping Joffrey under control at this point. Ultimately Tywin and Tyrion have a heart to heart about how Tywin’s maneuver to end the war (he was absolutely involved in planning the wedding massacre) will ultimately screw them all, because the North will never forget what just happened. Tywin isn’t terribly concerned, and instead takes the opportunity to inform his youngest son that he very nearly drowned him in the ocean on the day he was born. These family reunions are so touching!

*Speaking of reunions, Jaime Lannister finally returns to King’s Landing (with both Brienne and Qyburn in tow) to discover that nobody recognizes him, and to get a fairly…restrained welcome from his sister/lover/mother of his children. Lena Headey has really grown on me over the seasons. At first I was terribly underwhelmed by her portrayal of Cersei. But she’s gotten much better over the years, and I thought her scenes with Tyrion this season were excellent. So I was irked that this scene, which we’ve been building to literally all season, just landed with a thud. There are a lot of mixed emotions for both of those characters and all we got were two people looking at each other. Missed opportunity.

*In good (?) Lannister news, Sansa and Tyrion had a really sweet scene in which the newlyweds bonded over how to handle sniggering d-bags. That moment of peace was shortlived once Sansa discovered that her husband’s family had most of her remaining family members brutally murdered. But hey, that’s what happens when you have a crap dowry.

*Even more interesting was the scene between Varys and Shae, something that NEVER happens in the book. Neither of those characters are point-of-view characters, and this scene made me understand why. Part of why we love Varys is that you never really know whose side he’s on (except his own, of course). The mystique works for him. Here he openly sides with Tyrion, calling him one of the only people who stands a chance of righting King’s Landing, and he begs Shae to take a sack full of diamonds and leave since she is a “distraction” to Tyrion. Varys is, unfortunately, more right than he knows, and Shae’s pride demands that she tell him to go to hell. My guess is we’ll be seeing more of Shae’s point of view next season, and that’s unfortunate for reasons similar to Varys. The ambiguity of her upcoming actions is what makes them so interesting.

*The Theon Greyjoy Torture Hour returned, this time confirming what has thus far been left up for debate: his captor is indeed Ramsey Snow, the Bastard of Bolton. (The Boltons came out of nowhere this season to become the best bunch of murderous sociopaths in Westeros -- well done, boys!) After some completely unsubtle sausage innuendo through which we discovered that Theon is now technically a eunuch, Ramsey continued the psychological breaking of Theon by making Theon refer to himself by his new name: Reek. This is a significant departure from the book. Here Ramsey seems to come up with the name on the spot, as a reference to Theon being nothing but a pile of “stinking meat.” In the books, Reek is an established character who for a chunk of the series is actually Ramsey in disguise -- he goes all the way back to Book 2, possibly even the first one. There’s a whole backstory to it that is awful and disturbing. But I can’t imagine that jettisoning it will really hurt the ongoing Theon/Reek plotline.

*One of the better moments of the episode to me was using the Theon plot to solidify Yara (in the books called Asha) as a real point of view character in the series. Yara has been barely seen in Season 3, but after getting the Westeros equivalent of the SNL “Dick in a Box” skit (Step 1: Cut off Theon’s junk; Step 2: Put it in a box; Step 3: Send it to the Iron Isles) she informs her father to stuff it and takes a boat full of pirates to get back her brother. Yara/Asha is a great character, and it’s her story that makes the Iron Islands stuff even worth caring about. I was surprised to see that there was not another significant development in the Greyjoy family, but I guess they’re saving all that for Season 4.

*Jon Snow’s dumb ass got caught by Ygritte, and after Jon whined to her like a baby (“I’ve got to go home!”) and said that he knew she would never hurt him, Ygritte proved that Jon really DOES know nothing by shooting him with at least three arrows. This is another scene that was exclusive to the show -- Jon was seriously injured when escaping the Wilding group -- and the thing that makes no sense is that Ygritte found him, but the rest of the Wildlings were nowhere to be found. I can’t imagine that JormundGiantsbane just let her run off for some bucolic couples therapy.

*Jon’s brother Bran finally made it to The Wall with his motley crew, and stayed the night in the Nightfort. He told The Reeds and Hodor the tale of the Rat Cook, which may seem pointless, but stressed to the viewer just how huge a deal the Frey betrayal was in the eyes of the Westerosi gods. It also served to spook the kids just as Sam and Gilly climbed up a well into the Nightfort. Information about White Walkers was exchanged, dragonglass daggers and arrowheads were given (so apparently Sam had the whole damn sack he found at the Fist of the First Men), and then Sam showed Bran and the bunch the “secret way” out of the Nightfort. Which…did not look secret at all. It look like just a regular passageway. In the books I feel like this section was way cooler, involving a magic passage, a weirwood door, and spells that warded off nonhuman creatures. Which becomes very important in Bran’s story pretty much immediately…

*Finally we wrapped up, as we seemingly always do, with Daenerys. The Mother of Dragons became a mother once again, this time to thousands of Yunkish slaves who spilled out of the city to greet their emancipator. It was a nicely filmed scene that again showcased the leader Dany has become. It grew to a “moment” with the dragons flying and Dany being raised up by her new “children,” chanting “Mysah,” which means “mother.” I hope Dany enjoyed her time at Medieval Lolapalooza, because everything pretty much goes to hell for her from here. One thing the show didn’t mention: I believe all of these new non-slaves that have joined her are primarily whores and domestics who have no practical application in her army. And that’s a LOT of new mouths to feed. So like all single mothers, Dany is in for a very challenging road. But at least she has her dragons. Nothing could go wrong there, right?

And that does it for Season 3. It ended not with a bang, but with crowdsurfing. There were any number of cliffhangers they could have gone with, and they chose none of the above. An interesting approach. Will it be enough to keep people coming back for more? I hope so. While the Red Wedding is probably the most shocking moment in all the books yet published, there are plenty more “Oh, Shit!” scenes yet to come. And my hope is that the show will vastly improve on the sloppy, slow-moving plots of Books 4 and 5. But first let’s get through the rest of Book 3. There’s another wedding on the horizon…

Monday, June 3, 2013

"Game of Thrones" Season 3, Episode 9: A nice day for a Red Wedding

Posted By on Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 11:04 AM

The Starks and The Tullys really shouldn't have been that surprised by the ending of last night's episode. If they'd bothered to look at the bridal registry they could have seen that all the Freys had signed up to bring BETRAYAL and DEATH!

I have been waiting for this episode since before the series even started airing. For the past few weeks people have been saying, "I don't know about this season; it's had some good episodes but it just doesn't seem to be going anywhere." If you haven't read the books I can see that point of view. But if you've read the source material, you know that a lot of things that seem minor, bordering on inconsequential, have actually been occurring at a fairly rapid pace in S3, and they have been paving the road to some major moments. Readers also knew that this week's shocking ending was coming, and the expectation of that alone was exciting.

I'm watching the show with a group that has - for the most part - stuck only to the show. So it was super fun to watch last night as their stunned silence turned into "Holy shit!/What the fuck?!" The Red Wedding is, for my money, THE biggest shocker in the books (the ones that have been published, anyway), and the scene lived up to its potential. The show did a very good job, although by the nature of the medium some of the details were lost. So let's go over a few of those, because they really add to the richness/tragedy of the situation. Spoilers on!

*The show did a great job communicating the ominous nature of the Tully/Frey wedding once the band kicked up. Cat (Michelle Fairley) realized that the door to the dining hall had just been locked, that Lord Bolton was wearing armor (and would not drink), etc. But the book was far more successful in building up a sense of unease as this event grew closer and closer, to the point where readers knew something awful was about to happen, but were still totally unprepared for what it turned out to be. The big "Oh Shit!" moment for Cat also might not have been communicated effectively in the show: the song being played by the band was "The Rains of Castamere," which was referenced in a previous episode by Cersei. The song is about a family that pissed off the Lannisters and which was subsequently literally wiped out by the Lions in return. So once Cat heard that at the wedding, she knew they'd been sold out. It's a chilling moment and Fairley played it very, very well. She was amazing in general this episode.

*The show has also not done a great job with establishing its tertiary characters -- this season it has done particularly poorly with the Reeds -- and that hurt this sequence vis-à-vis the significance of Roose Bolton. Bolton was at the wedding, the guest who would not drink wine and who was wearing armor under his fine dress clothes. Bolton was one of Rob's bannermen. He is also the person currently in charge of Harrenhal (in the show at least) and is the man who received and then released Jaime Lannister. His change of allegiance is significant. It demonstrates that the shrewd people of Westeros realized that there was no way Robb could win that war. There is also another important connection for Bolton that has yet to be verified by the show, but I assume is coming: his bastard son is the psychopath torturing the hell out of TheonGreyjoy. There's a reason House Bolton's standard is the flayed man.

*A minor detail, but one the show visually focused on: when the Starks and Tullys entered Lord Frey's home, dishes of bread and salt were passed around. This is an important Westerosi custom, and is essentially a contract between host and guest that no harm will come to either party during the visit. The fact that Lord Frey deliberately went through the custom, knowing full well he was leading these people to their deaths, is basically an affront to the gods old and new. But as you may have guessed by Frey's nonchalant reaction to Cat holding his wife hostage, Lord Frey is out of shits to give.

*It's interesting that I've seen the strongest reactions to the Red Wedding from women who were horrified by the murder of Talisa and her unborn child, specifically the viciousness with which she was stabbed in her belly. I don't know if this helps or not, but Talisa does not exist in the books. Robb has a totally different character for a wife, and she is not present at the Red Wedding - I believe she's still alive. I don't recall whether or not she was pregnant with Robb's kid. I remember people talking about the possibility, but I don't recall if it was ever confirmed. So basically, the baby murder was all for the show.

*The books also do a better job explaining that while the slaughter was going on inside the keep, Robb's army was similarly being demolished in its camp outside. I believe large tents that were set on fire were involved.

*I'll be curious to see if the show goes so far as to give us Robb's final fate: he is beheaded and his direwolf's head is sewn on to his body. It is unspeakably grim, but a) the show did show us Ned's head on a spike, and b) the show made a point of showing us Grey Wind for the first time in episodes, and specifically showed the wolf's death. That may have been so that Arya could actually witness yet more horror, instead of just realizing that she was standing right outside the castle inside which her brother and mother were being murdered. Arya bearing witness to the systematic snuffing out of her family is actually a key part of her character progression.

So, that's it for the Red Wedding. Robb is dead. Talisa is dead. Cat is dead. (I remember when reading the book I thought Cat MIGHT somehow get out of it gravely wounded, because Cat was a POV character from the very beginning of the series; her death was truly the most shocking to me.) The Stark Rebellion is over. But don't think for a second that things are going to settle down. The actions at the Twins serve to spin several characters onto totally different paths. (Ask yourself: what does Arya do now?) I'm very curious to see where the season finale leaves us, because the Red Wedding was the most shocking event of the third book. Well, until the OTHER wedding, but that's going to be in Season 4...

Some other thoughts on the episode:

*I have not been the biggest fan of Rory McCann as The Hound, but I thought the scenes between him and Arya this episode were terrific. I am realizing that part of that is the fact that Maisie Williams (Arya) may be incapable of delivering a bad performance (remember how amazing the Tywin and Arya Show was last season?), but there was the beginnings of an understanding between the two characters that felt very natural to me. And The Hound's line about Arya being terrified that everything was going to go wrong now that she was just seconds away from finally being safe...that is basically Arya's entire existence in a nutshell. Really good stuff.

*Bran got his first significant scene of the season, although it was largely set up for his arc in Season 4. I honestly believe that the Bran plotline has been the most poorly handled of the season. I don't know what the showrunners could have done - they had so many things to do in S3, and Bran's current situation isn't all that gripping. But trust me when I say that all of this Three-Eyed Crow stuff is building to something interesting. Unfortunately a lot of it has to deal with Westerosi legend that has been totally ignored by the show thus far. Have they even mentioned the Children of the Forest? The Green Men?The nature of the Godswoods?Bran the Builder? Expect the show to focus a lot more on Bran and his crew in S4, and expect things to get more exciting and creepy as they're joined by a mysterious new party member. (I am also glad that we finally got Osha and Rickon off the board in this episode. In the books they departed when the gang split up after the fall of Winterfell; I'm not really sure why they kept either of them around for any of Season 3. It's also curious that the show is sending them to a totally different location than their destination in the books, which frankly sounded way more interesting.)

*One last note on the Bran sequence: that tower setpiece is WAY cooler in the books. The tower is an interesting structure named for one of the former dragon queens of Westeros, it stands in the middle of a lake with the only access coming from a submerged foot bridge, and the whole battle with the Wildlings takes place at night, in a horrible thunderstorm. Production-wise it would have been nightmarish to execute, but it was kind of a bummer to see how much of that sequence was just thrown away. There was another interesting difference here: in the books, since Rickon and Shaddydog are long gone, they're not part of that scene at all. And I believe that Ghost is still with Jon at that point -- and senses that Bran/Summer is with them -- but I could be wrong. I honestly have totally lost track of the direwolves in the show. Have they even mentioned Nymeria since Season 1?

*Jon finally got away from the Wildlings and in the process majorly pissed off Ygritte. Note to guys out there: do not ditch your fire-kissed girlfriends in the midst of battle, because that is not going to end well for any party involved.

*The Sam and Gilly scene was largely pointless. It didn't even establish whether or not Sam left the dragonglass in the forest where he killed the White Walker, as it appeared that he did last episode. It did set up some important information that will come up next episode (I'm guessing) but the show really needs to work on making both Sam and Gilly more interesting. Right now they make me sad every time they're on screen, and we're actually going to see more of them as this all goes along. Unless they fix the chemistry between the two actors the upcoming boat sequence is going to be unwatchable.

*Lastly, we got the sack of Yunkai at the hands of Daenerys's captains, DaarioNaharis, Grey Worm, and Sir Jorah. This was largely offscreen and the entire point of the exercise was to establish that Dany can trust Daario at least somewhat, and that Jorah is intensely jealous and distrustful of him. What I noticed in this episode is that Dany herself seems to be fading into the background of her own plotline. Jorah is almost becoming the point-of-view character here. I don't mind that, necessarily, because I think Jorah is great. But the show has to be careful with Dany here, because since they've introduced Daario she's started to lose some of the regal nature that she's been growing into all along. That's obviously part of the point of Daario. But it's especially troublesome here, because the casting of Daario makes it unbelievable that Dany would be so swoon-prone around him. Puny McGirlhair is supposed to make the Mother of Dragons quiver? I don't buy it. (BTW: Have we skipped over Dany's betrayal prophecy?)

NEXT WEEK: I honestly don't know, because the preview showed us barely anything of consequence.

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