21 May 2013

"Second Sons" - Game Of Thrones 3x08

Welcome back everyone. Tonight, we watch the tale of the Second Sons, a notoriously unlucky group in Westeros. Their older brothers get the castle, the lady, the glory, the Valyrian Steel, and so on. Though in this episodes context there will be at least one other meaning, I'm sure. The HBO episode description also promises that Sam and Gilly will meet "an older gentleman." Much, much, older, if I'm not mistaken. And we'll see the setup for next episodes amazing suprise event. So lets begin, as always, with "Last week, on Game of Thrones."

First mention in the recap is Sam and Gilly alone in the woods, and Sam's special dagger. Then Shireen and Ser Davos. Jorah, Barristan, and Dany camp outside Yunkai. Margaery and Sansa have some girl chat. Tyrion has some 'splaining to do with Shae. Dany threatens the Masters of Yunkai, but Drogon won't play that shit. Melisandre reveals Genndry's parentage, Arya runs from the Brotherhood, and gets caught by the Hound. About as expected. I literally just finished my re-read of the relevant chapters from tonights episode, pertaining to Sansa and Tyrion anyway, and let me say how much cooler it would have been if the show had preserved Sansa's suprise. One minute she's being fitted for a new gown, free of charge, happy as she can be, the next, Cersei is draping the maiden's cloak over her shoulders and leading her off to the Sept.

And we're off. First scene, a rock. A fuzzy, out of focus rock. And behind it, Arya. Sandor Clegane is sleeping. Or is he? Hahaha. Excellent. That's a pretty fair deal Arya, I think you could do it. Sandor's such a nice captor. Offers to share his food. Everyone gets off on the redemptive story-arc of the Kingslayer, but Sandor really turns himself around well too. Just because he's not pretty, he gets the hate. Suprise Arya! The Hound defected. So thats the Red Fork. Beautiful scenery. Yes, Arya, you're on your way back to your family. Boy does that hit me right in the feels. Haha. Foreshadowing AND a funny line. Well played Sandor.

And here's your alternative meaning. The Second Sons mercenary group. We've dealt with Ser Bronn the sell sword, but never a group before. Far more common, for many reasons, in Essos than Westeros. Soldiers of fortune, companies of ill-repute. 2000 paid swords against the Unsullied. Good odds, certainly, but a fight that will cost Dany. She's getting smarter. And there he is folks. The man so many of us readers love to hate. Readers will not recognize him at first without his ridiculous blue hair and forked beard, but I've seen production stills showing that his dagger at least survived. Daario Naharys. Sellsword. Pretty boy. Bad boy. Piece of dung. Ok, I added that last one, but only because, well...never mind. The Titan's Bastard is showing himself to be pretty cocky. Another excellent line there, that makes waaaayy more sense in a few books. I'm not saying who, but I'm saying that one of the men in this room will find this whore later on. Daario is a little more soft-spoken than I'd expected. In this version he apparently works for Maro, instead of leading his own group, the Stormcrows. Oh boy do I not like this man already. Lefttenant? Are the Second Sons British? Grey Worm getting in on the threats! Excellent. These Missandei scenes are a little weird for me since she's supposed to be 12 in the books.

Ah, a castle. Thats supposed to be Dragonstone, except i see no stone Dragons. Melisandre has returned to King Stannis the Mannis, bringing her captive with her. Stannis should recognize Genndry, which is another little issue that this change brings about. Stannis and Jon Arryn visited Tobho Mott's forge during their investigation, and Ned later retraces their steps, which is when we, the  audience, first meet the Bull. I believe that the Mannis has never slaughtered a lamb. Why should such a man as he stoop so low. But I don't for a second believe that Melisandre has. Lit one on fire, sure, but with a knife, unlikely. Theres some serious tension in the room here.
Tonight on Reading Rainbow, Davos learns to read! You know, if you were going to teach a man to read, you could have started with easier words than Targaryen dragon names. The Mannis pays a visit to his dungeons. Thats Sons, your grace. Davos lost four on the Blackwater. I'm really not liking this portrayal of Stannis thus far. I liked him last season, one of the few things I did, but I haven't been able to buy into this season. He's almost coming off like he's drunk here. Thats not Stannis. That's not my one true King. That said, I do love me some Onion Knight. A great battle in the snow, you say? What an excellent idea. Put down this strange version of Stannis and become the King who Cared. Pay heed to your onion lord.

Meanwhile, back in Yunkai, which looks more and more like Tatooine every time we see it, the captains of the Second Sons meet in a tent. Mero with a whore in his lap, and, excellent, Daario with his. Love the hilt on that dagger. An interesting method for choosing. They're really overusing Valar Morghulis. Got to keep it fresh in peoples minds I guess.

Sansa prepares for her wedding. Sansa looks beautiful, though that dress is not cut as low as described in the books. Which is probably for the better, Sophie Turner does not turn 18 until after this season. Shae making this as akward as possible for Tyrion. It's interesting to see Tyrion's point of view on this, since in the books this is a Sansa POV chapter. Christ, he barely comes up to her chest.
Ok, Margaery is at the wedding, which is odd. The Tyrells are left completely in the dark until after the ceremony. She's gonna try plying her way into Cersei's favor. I just don't see that going over well Marge. But what a contrast between the two. Give me the rose over the Lion anyday. Cersei giving us the history lesson we've been missing about the Reynes of Castamere. Cersei skipping over the very relevant detail that it was Tywin, not Tytos, of House Lannister who crushed the Reynes. There it is, with a nice instrumental backing. Whoa, now thats a bit unneccesary Cersei. Wait, why isn't Sansa wearing her maindens cloak? Boy Joffrey is a deuchebag. He can barely contain that shit-eating grin. All four of the Kingsguard in attendance. They're doing a lousy job portraying the White Cloaks over all, downplaying their importance, I feel. The Sept of Baelor is beautiful. Well done set designers. Oh god he's such a dick! No crystal crown for the High Septon. Sansa kneels here. In the books, Ser Dontos the fool was summoned to act as a stool.

Quick cut to Dragonstone. Genndry looks nervous, and oh boy, should he be. But oh boy is Melisandre HOT. What's she going to do with that bed. Oh Genndry, don't take that wine. You stupid bull. What is she talking about? Oh Mel, honey, I don't think that Bobby B's cock was guided by any gods. Whoa, birth it? Is Genndry going to bang Mel. Because it sure looks like it. I'd worship R'hllor in a instant if this was what praying went like. She is smoking hot. Genndry has no idea what to do, thats obvious. Danger will Robinson! Danger! Gentlemen, if she breaks out the ropes on the first date, you should probably run. Fast, and far. And OH LORD THATS A LEECH! What the actual fuck. Oh, no, she did not just leech his cock. Wait, she's going to make Davos and the Mannis watch. Thats a terrible trade. At least in the book she offers to bang Davos to show him. Much better trade. And Stannis names the false kings, throwing the leeches into the fire. But to what purpose? Mel doesn't tell us. He names them usurpers, though I'd argue that the King in the North is only half a usurper, he doesn't want anything below the Riverlands.

Meanwhile, at the Wedding celebration, Lady Olenna tries to sort out the new family ties between the Tyrells and the Lannisters, and oh boy is Loras peeved. Tywin looks none too happy either. Oh boy is Joff an idiot. Ignoring even Mommy's good counsel now. Shae is not a happy woman, though I'm not sure why she's there. Tyrion is sloshed, and Tywin is not having any of it. Ser Loras gets a moment alone with Cersei. And she opens by being a raging bitch. Good move. And there is Joff's threat. Sansa may be wedded to Tyrion, but of course, the King has rights. Thankfully, Jahaerys I Targaryen made illegal the right of First Night, but Joff doesn't seem the kind of King who will respect that law. And now the bedding. First real mention we've had of this Westerosi custom in the tv show. The males carry the bride up to the bedchamber, stripping her and making bawdy jokes as they go, then the females bring the groom along, repeating the process. The couple is then left alone to consumate the marriage, of course, with observers outside the door listening for proof, especially in political marriages. And Tyrion drops the hammer. This is the second of several final straws for the Half-man, who is constantly shit upon by his family. Their is no justice or fairness for Tyrion in these times. He led the defense of Kings landing, only to be shat upon and have his father and Ser Loras steal the glory. Now, a bride he does not want is forced upon him. And Joff's little shit face looks like a good place for that dagger to go, though we know he won't. Tywin restores order, and wtf is he doing with his hand? Of course if anyone can turn this back to their favor, its Tyrion. Is he really going to leave out the line about storming the portcullis? Thats a damn shame. He's actually drunk here, isn't he. In the books it was an act, that he was as drunk as he acts. I doubt anyone predicted Sophie Turner would be this tall when they casted her, but it actually adds to this mismatch. They're leaving out alot of Tyrion's more important (IMHO) lines here, he's not trying to explain how he would treat her, how he can be noble, kind, etc. Haha, nice tribute to the Night's Watch there. I disagree 100% with the plot of making him such a drunk here. Shamed out of a chance to show his better side.

Meanwhile, in Essos, a member of the Unsullied walks Dany's camp. But he bears a mysteriously familiar dagger on his belt. Meanwhile, Missandei shames the Khaleesi's Dothraki pronunciation, while bragging about how many languages she speaks. Nothing like a tent-invasion while bathing. Did not a single one of these sentries pick up on the intruder? Daario presents the heads of the Titan's Bastard and his accomplice to  the Khaleesi. There go all the rumors that Emilia Clarke had a no-nudity clause this season. Thank the gods for that much. Impressive mental control from the sellsword here, keeping eye contact the entire time. Wonder how many shots that took.

Oooh, nice fade. Oh this could be interesting. Shae doing her duties to Sansa. And she takes the sheets, seeing no blood, but knowing there should be. Is she helping or not, I'm not sure.

YES! Finally. Its time for one of my favorite moments. Sam and Gilly, on the run. We should add in at least Grenn here, but not sure they will. Man, that tree has a face allright. I wonder if anyone is watching over the Westerosi Weirwood network. These Ravens sure are. Now Gilly can't make a fire either? I knew Sam was useless but damn. That is one terribly convenient open door. Sam you dope. The Free folk don't name their children yet. Ravens still quorking outside. Nice to know someones watching. His name is bad-ass Tarly. Can't wait to see him in the show. Not that he really needs to be, but I always pictured Randal as some big bad ass warrior. The Ravens are warning you Sam. Pay heed! Pay heed Ser Piggy! Does the Cold come before the Others? Or with them? Oh Sam you fuck, don't drop that torch. This, my friends, is an Ohter. Not a wight, not a zombie. Holy hell did it just freeze snap his sword. Hmm..conenient fact. The Others fucking hate Dragonglass. I'm not big on the freezing and shattering mechanic, he should have melted to be accurate, but....wait....Sam, really? You're just leaving the dagger? C'mon man. I defended you all season, saying wait for this moment, wait for Sam the Slayer, and you LEAVE THE ANTI-OTHER SUPERWEAPON BEHIND? Oh, look, a +100 Dagger of Defeating my chief foe, I surely won't be needing that again. You dumbass.

So there we have it. Only two episodes remaining. Some pretty major plot points here, and two of them I think could have been handled better. Eventually, I think that show-only folk will come to hate Daario as I and so many others have. Tyrion could have been portrayed in a more serious, better light this episode. And lastly, how will anyone believe that Ser Piggy, the biggest coward in the Night's Watch, maybe even the realm, just killed an Other? Grenn should have been there to witness that. Excellent touch with the Ravens at the end there, foreshadowing a future meeting for Sam and Gilly with a man who posseses, shall we say, Coldhands.

Lets talk about next week. If you only watch the show, yet for some reason read this blog, please, I beg you, ignore every single bit of Game of Thrones related internet you can for the next two weeks. There are assholes out there who want to spoil this for you, and you all know that every season, Episode 9 is the big dramatic moment. So do yourself that favor. No episode next week, due to memorial day, so you've got some time to do some serious reading if you're catching up, rereading, etc. And to get your Westerosi finest ready. After all, Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun is to be wed, and we're all invited. The Hound is not, but thats never stopped him before. Until then, remember, that what is dead may never die, but rises again, stronger and with more C'thulhu references. (And unlike Theon's penis, which will never rise again. Ever)
- The Penguin

16 May 2013

Star Trek - Into Darkness ****SPOILERS******

Alright , just in case anyones still reading this, I'm giving an even heavier spoiler warning than my normal blog contains. I just saw Star Trek Into Darkness (Because JJ Abrams hates numbers). If you haven't seen it yet and want to see it unspoiled and unbiased, turn away now. No seriously. I will give away the entire plot.

So, lets get this out of the way first. Despite every denial by cast members and crew, yes, Benedict Cumberbatch is portraying Khan Noonien Singh. John Harrison is merely a smokescreen. Khan is also the only name Cumberbatch gives, we only get the full name later, when...you know what, we'll get to that later.

So that noone can say I'm unfairly bashing this movie, let me begin by talking about the things this movie did right. Timewise, about 60% of the movie was good. However, the 40% that was bad was the far more important and powerful 40%.

Things that were good:
1) The cast: The cast was (mostly) excellent. I'm not entirely qualified to judge acting skills, so I'm basing this on how much they feel, to me, as if they get the spirit of their character. Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban stand above the others, though Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, and John Cho were all also quite good. Benedict Cumberbatch played Khan admirably, despite the shortcomings of the character's writing and the fact that he looks nothing like Khan is supposed to. I truly felt that Quinto and Urban had their characters down perfectly, and at times would have sworn I was looking at a young Nimoy instead of Zack Quinto on screen. I didn't always buy Chris Pine as Kirk, but thats because noone can ever be Shatner.

2)The Opening: The beginning of the movie was a lot of fun. Primitive people drawing an image of the Enterprise to worship is basically what I always figured Starfleet was worried about when the Prime Directive was violated on such a young species. Honestly, it was a great movie right up until Harrison turned to the camera and said "My name is Khan."

3) The Visuals: I thought the visual element was good, and even liked the look of the Klingons as sort of an intermediary between the original series and the first movies. Their ships also maintained a Klingon feel, while matching the "industrialized" feeling Abrams put into the movie, which I have no issue with. The battle scenes felt a bit rushed, but still looked excellent. I could have done without the cheesy "spear thrown right at the audience cause this is in 3d" moment, but then again, I could do without 3d in movies, period.

4)The Music: Excellent score, some nice musical nods to the Original Series and movies, as well as some consistent themes from last movie.

5)The Fanservice: This is extra impressive considering Abrams hates Star Trek, but there were plenty of great nods to the original series. One of my personal favorites was Dr Marcus asking Kirk if he remembered her friend Christine Chapel, the Nurse. Sulu was also sure to let us know that the ship used by Kirk to sneak onto Quonos was supposedly confiscated in the "Mud" incident. (For those unfamiliar, Harry Mud was a recurring "villain" in the original series) I also enjoyed that the events of the previous movie sparked the early creation of Starfleet's Section 31, which you may recall as the ultra-secret arm of Starfleet that attempted to recruit Julian Bashir on DS9.

6)Seatbelts: I've been asking this question since the first time I saw an original Star Trek show. Everytime any version of the Enterprise takes a hit from enemy weapons, consoles explode (because in the future they have terrible electrical surges apparently), the ship tilts, and people fall over, often right out of their chairs. This movie inserts over-the-shoulder harnesses for the bridge crew, which quite frankly makes you wonder, why the hell didn't anyone think of this before.

7)Being Suprised: I spoilered this movie for myself in advance. That did not affect my viewing. Honestly, one of the things I most thought I'd hate in advance was the use of Khan's "super-blood" to revive Kirk. The way it was played out led to a pretty epic fight scene. And you know what, the Original Series used some pretty hoakie plot devices itself at times. Plus, its better that Kirk is revived now. Otherwise, we would have had to endure JJ Abrams horrendous remake of Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock, which he probably would have called "Star Trek: Into Lightness" or some ridiculousness, because he hates numbers.

The Bad:
So now lets take a look at the bad. Here's my personal theory. JJ Abrams started writing this movie with good intent. Then he found out that he was going to be heading Disney's new Star Wars trilogy, which is what he always wanted to do anyhow, so he got lazy and just shoved a bunch of stolen bits from Star Trek II into the plot and called it done. Then, when someone pointed out to him that people would expect the ending, he just took two characters, lets call them Irk and Pock, and switched their roles. Right down to the iconic ending and Irk's trademark scream heard across space. He probably then had a nice laugh to himself, thinking he was so clever (spoiler alert, he's not) and called it a day.

So, after an intense firefight in an oddly uninhabited yet strangely well constructed area of Quonos (The Klingon Homeworld) Khan surrenders to Kirk and company. He surrenders willingly after literally destroying three Klingon atmospheric patrol ships and about 30 Klingons with what appears to be a minigun. Kirk accepts the surrender, then proceeds to administers a little justice of his own, fisticuff style, but Khan is completely unphased. This is the first of several moments showing that this Khan is apparently nigh-invulnerable, which original Khan was not. Its worth noting in the penultimate fight of Space Seed, Shatner-Kirk not only hurt Khan with his double-fist punch, but was able to knock him out with a pipe. Khan then proceeds to do his best Loki impersonation and allows himself to be jailed when he clearly had the upper hand. Well, as Carol Marcus and Dr McCoy soon find out, turns out that all 72 surviving members of Khan's original crew are implanted in the new high-tech super secret "Long Range photon torpedoes" Section 31 cooked up. The same 72 torpedoes that Sulu has aimed at their location in case Khan will not come willingly. . Turns out that after the destruction of Vulcan, Section 31 (led in this version of the 'verse by Admiral Marcus) found the Botany Bay, awoke Khan, and held the rest of his people hostage to his good behavior. Good behavior in this case meaning designing weapons for Starfleet. Marcus also, apparently wants to start a war with the Klingons. Why? We dont know, but in movies the military people always want to start wars. In his cell, Khan explains this to Kirk, along with the caveat that Kirk was sent to eliminate Khan on Quonos in such a way that would inevitably begin said war. Know, Khan, he of the superior intellect, knows all this, but chooses to go to Quonos anyway....he literally could have gone anywhere, he had Scotty's trans-warp beaming equation and a nifty personal transporter device. Yet he chose to play along with Marcus' plans. Why? We may never know. In the meantime, Kirk has McCoy examine Khan in the med-lab. For some inexplicable, absolutely a plot-device for later, reason, McCoy injects a sample of Khan's blood into a dead tribble, that he just happened to keep for some reason we'll never know.

While McCoy experiments on dead space-rodents,  The Enterprise is stranded due to warp failure, which Khan explains is intention, on Marcus' behalf. And new Chief Engineer Chekov (cause wtf why?) is unable to solve the issue. Scotty, meanwhile, is drunk in a bar in San Fran. He wouldn't sign to take the Torpedoes on board, and instead of just overriding him and signing for them, Kirk told him to accept the torpedoes or resign. He resigned. Because JJ needed a plot device later. Because we can't have an entire movie with Scotty as the chief engineer of the Enterprise. He was basically a cheap plot device last movie as well. So, after a a few moments and a largely off-screen discovery by said former Chief Engineer Scott, Admiral Marcus shows up in his new, bad-ass Federation warship. Dreadnought class. Real original naming. This ship, which appears to be a combination of the Excelsior class and the Constitution class on 'roids, is the pinnacle of Section 31's new plan. Advanced weapons/warp/transporters, all designed by Khan. Marcus shows up and after a bit of classic Kirk dialouge, gives up his pretense with the horrendous line 'well shit' and reveals that unsuprisingly, Khan was right, he really is a war-mongering asshole.Kirk tries to run but of course the Dreadnought overtakes them in warp, and shoots them so hard it actually knocks the Enterprise off course and out of warp. This is admittedly a pretty cool visual. Dr. Marcus convinces Kirk to let her speak to her father, hoping he won't blow up the ship with his daughter on board, because even terribly written cliche villains love their kids, and she's actually right. Did we mention the Dreadnough has transporters that ignore shields? Because it does. Which actually makes their attack unneccesary because they could have just scanned for Khan (the original series shows that his life sign is very different from a normal human) found him, and beamed him off with said transporters. But hey, its a new ship, they might have forgotten they had them. So at this point, Carol is taken off the bridge, and the Dreadnought attempts to resume fire, after accusing Kirk of consipiring with the enemy and going rogue, or as other people might put it, following Marcus' orders perfectly. However, Admiral Marcus forgot about the hidden plot device. Scotty stowed away on the ship, disables it, and locks out the computer, leaving them both dead in the water, right near Earth's moon. But of course without communications, so they cannot raise Starfleet for help. How starfleet doesnt notice two ships fighting that close to earth is mind-boggling. So, with his ship all but dead (no teleporters, communications, warp, or weapons) Kirk turns to the only person he can for help, which apparently is Khan. They excecute a ridiculous space-jump across the debris field between ships, and Scotty pulls of a miracle to get them in. Because the space-jump scene in the last movie wasn't enough.

Conveniently enough, this super-advance ship can be run with a minimal crew, possibly only one, Khan tells us. And Marcus didn't see that as something the genetically engineered mad man might possibly exploit? If he wasn't going to drag the rest of the galaxy down with him, I'd say the man deserved what he got. So Kirk, Khan, and Scotty storm the bridge, stun the crew, and, on Kirk's orders, Scotty drops Khan with a single stun shot. Ordered to keep him down, Scotty decides for some reason (again, plot device) to do so standing directly over Khan's legs. Cause phasers don't work at range apparently. Kirk confronts Marcus, Marcus continues to be a giant douche, and Khan, unsuprisingly, is stunned for about ten seconds. This is sign #2 of his improved physical capabilities. He kicks Scotty in the face, kick's Carol Marcus' leg out and breaks it, and throws Kirk across the bridge before grabbing Admiral Marcus by the head, and either crushing his skull or ripping it off, we're not really sure because the camera cuts to Carol Marcus' pale-face scream, the one from the trailer, which I thought was more "terrified of a ghost" than "oh shit he murdered my father", but hey, thats nitpicking.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Spock has had a brilliant idea. A terribly, awful, meta-gaming idea. "I know," said the Vulcan, "I'll call future me. Obviously, these screenwriters are such awful hacks, they couldn't invent another new villain, so old-me must certainly have faced this Khan. And even though the timeline only changed over a hundred years after Khan's launch, its totally understandable that Khan is no longer of Sikh origin, and has gotten taller, paler, thinner, way less muscular (but somehow stronger) and more British." So Spock calls Spock on the main bridge, neglecting that only Kirk knew of the double-Spock existence. Old-Spock (I hate the 'Spock-prime' nomenclature) tells young-spock that he swore never to help him meta-game, but Khan Noonien Singh (and this is the first/last/only time we hear his full name) is such a bad-ass, he'll make an exception. Nimoy-Spock doesn't tell Quinto-Spock that fighting Khan led to his death, but his face is terrible when Quinto-Spock asks him 'at what cost' they defeated Khan. Don't worry, Quinto-Spock, you'll soon learn. Oh yes, you will, for this movie is dark and full of rehashed plot. So they finish their conversation off-screen, and predictably, as soon as their done, Khan calls, because 1990's dicators were always polite and never interrupted conversations with your future self. (Side-bar, for all he was right about, how terribly wrong about the 90's was Gene Roddenberry?) Khan tells Spock he'll trade his crew for theirs, because Kirk, Scotty, and a new character that noone cares about, who lied and forged and used a false identity to get aboard the Enterprise so she could spy on her daddy, who always told her about everything except these new super torpedoes and his secret warship (Carol Marcus) are totally a fair trade for 72 genetically engineered super beings. Spock delays slightly, then allows Khan to beam the torpedoes containing his people onto the Dreadnaught, then Khan kicks Kirk once more for good measure, and teleports the Enterprise crew members into the brig he had been contained in, and gets off a pretty good one-liner. Turns out Nimoy-Spock gave Quinto-Spock a pretty good idea (because why would we want Quinto-Spock to develop his own ideas, lets just have the 200 year old guy who knows everything give him answers. Because character development doesn't happen without that. Fuck you JJ Abrams) because Spock had Dr. McCoy extricate the cryo-sleeping supermen from the torpedoes before beaming them across to Khan. On cue they explode, crippling the ship for the plot-appropriate length, and allowing us to focus on action the Enterprise.

Which we do, of course. McCoy fills Kirk in on their plot, then Kirk rallies Scotty and Chekov to try and restore the Enterprises badly damaged warp core (filled, I admit, with excellent Scotty lines). Chekov is sent off to hit an emergency reset of some sort, leaving Kirk and Scotty to fix the rest of the core, which is contained in, oh, really, you're actually going to do that eh JJ? If you've never seen Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, turn away now cause apparently we're going to spoil the ending of that too. So, you guessed it, the part that needs to be fixed is in an area filled with radiation that has to be fixed, and since this is the future, radiation suits are nowhere to be found when you need them, apparently. Kirk and Scotty argue over going in there, and as arguements on set often went between James Doohan and Shatner, Kirk punches Scotty, knocks him out, and seat belts him in to the engineering console. (Thats right, a seatbelt in engineering. the Enterprise D didnt even have those on the bridge) Kirk then climbs into the jeffries tube, finds the warp core, and fixes it the only way Captain Kirk knows how to fix something, by hitting it till it cooperates. Of course, the radiation is too much for a mere human, and with Spock seperated by only a sheet of glass, and their hands touching (through the glass), Kirk dies after avowing their friendship though thankfully not with the same words as last time. There is a pause, during which i have a terrible forethought, say to myself, no, he wouldn't, and of course, he does. With a face that can only be described as "painful constipation" or "i don't want to do this anymore than you want me to" Spock releases the line that William Shatner will forever be known for, the Khan scream.
Speaking of, you guys remember Khan right? Violent, genius, sociopath with his own super-advanced warship? Well, as soon as Spock finishes screaming, the dreadnought races by the Enterprise, intent on crashing into San Francisco, home to Starfleet HQ. Luckily, Khan is a few dilithium crystals short of a warp core, and crash lands his ship first into alcatraz, then san francisco bay, then the city itself. He then leaps off the ship, and attempts to run on foot. Uhura urges a visibly angry Spock (who is showing emotions, despite earlier claims he did not) to go after him. He beams down, and begins the chase scene, which I have to admit was pretty cool. Spock catches Khan, and the fist fight begins. Vulcans have above-human average strength, but Spock is half-Vulcan. Apparently that half was all Kirk was lacking as Spock is able to land several blows that hurt Khan. Which is lucky for him, because not only did Khan withstand the Vulcan Neck-pinch (it just hurt him? I don't even know) but he took six or seven point blank stun shots from Spock's phaser, and just shrugged them off. What the absolute fuck? Apparently genetically superior also means non-conductive nerves.

At the same time, McCoy is cursing Kirk over his dead body. He sits down at his desk in grief, only to notice that the dead tribble he left on his desk after injecting it with Khan's blood is SUDDENLY ALIVE!!!  (But seriously, its just laying there. Not contained in a cage, med-bay, or anything. Imagine if that now super-tribble got loose?) Unfortunately, during his bizarre medical experiment (Where is the PETA of the star trek universe? Who will speak for the tribbles? Sorry, couldn't resist) McCoy used up all the blood he had taken from Khan. So he needs more to save Kirk. In the meantime, they throw their captain into the 20th century sleeper tube Khan had formerly occupied. Of course, the comm-badge hasnt' been invented yet, so Spock really can't answer his flip-phone while slugging it out with Khan. Uhura beams down, tries the stun thing again, it still doesnt work, but does distract Khan long enough for Spock to break a piece off of the ship-thing they're fighting on and absolutely wail Khan in the face with it. (Remember earlier, when I said Shatner knocked him out with a piece of the engineering console? Same concept) The calm-emotionless Vulcan then proceeds to kneel atop Khan's chest and deliver an absolutely savage series of blows to Khan's head, only pausing when Uhura finally remembers to deliver the message she came down here to deliver. So Spock delivers one final uppercut, which we see from Khan's point of view (I did admit the visuals were good), and they take him prisoner.

We are then treated to Kirk's revival, some classic banter with the big three, and the movies ending. The Enterprise is re-christened, Kirk gives a big memorial speech at the newly repaired San Francisco headquarters, and Carol Marcus officially joins the crew of the Enterprise long enough let us know that yes, they will be sleeping together as soon as we go to credits, if they havent already. After all, they do have a son to concieve. We see Khan and his crew in their cryo-tubes being stored somewhere, presumably by top men. Top. Men. James T Kirk takes his chair on the repaired (but not hyphen-lettered) Enterprise, gathers his crew, and for a moment, I thought he was going to give the navigation order from Star Trek VI (Second star to the right, straight on till morning). Luckily, he did not, and as he recites the famous opening monologue, and a variant of the original series music plays, we fade to credits.

So lets recap, shall we?
1)Khan was not the primary villain in all this. Starfleet, or more specifically, Section 31 and Admiral Marcus was. We're seemingly meant to sympathize with Khan, since Starfleet is holding his people hostage to his work.
2) JJ Abrams took the ending plot of Star Trek II, reversed the roles of Kirk and Spock, and thought that this would make for good theater. I disagree.
3)For the first half of the movie, it is beaten into us that Spock will not show emotion, even in a fight with Uhura over their relationship.  As soon as Kirk is killed, saving the ship, Spock shows emotion, blaming Khan, even though he did not (directly) kill Kirk, and Kirk had done the same thing Spock would have done (And, btw, did do) in that situation. Kirk does what Spock would have done (And in the original timeline did do), so Spock then goes off and does what Kirk would have done, ending the threat with his fists.
4) Being taller, whiter, and thinner makes Khan stronger, more resilient, and gives him Wolverine-like regeneration techniques.These changes to Khan exist even though the timeline in Abrams universe shifted well after Khan's launch from Earth.
5) Because of the destruction of Vulcan by future Romulans, the Federation is somehow on the brink of war with the Klingons. Go figure. To be fair, in the original series the Federation was often on the brink of war with the Klingons, but they give the impression in this movie that it is only so because of the time-line altering events.
6) Need answers? Just call your future self for help! Don't bother trying to develop your self into the obvious hero you became in that timeline, just take the shortcut.

Like I said above, I spoiled this movie for myself in advance. I went to go see it despite that, hoping I would enjoy it anyway. I've been wrong about movies before. And honestly, I really enjoyed the movie, up until the reveal. And even parts after. Seeing how things were done I believe it is possible that they could have made a movie, used Khan as the villain (though i wish they hadn't) and done it well. But they didnt. I know it was bandied about as a distraction during the lead-up, so I'll mention it here, Benedict Cumberbatch would have made a great Gary Mitchell. He honestly was not a terrible Khan. I don't blame him for the characters issues. But in the end, he's no Ricardo Montalban. There was a rumor that Benicio Del Toro was initialy considered for the role, and visually that would probably have fit the mold better. But why do you need to rehash an old villain? Wrath of Khan was great because it was a recurring foe, an remnant of the original five year mission coming back to haunt Admiral Kirk. It is a testament to how great that movie was that when I just typed "Admiral Kirk" nearly all of you read it in Khans voice, probably the way he says it when he first learns of Kirk's promotion. Not to mention, when a villain is so iconic that they've reached the status of Khan, they should never be recast. No one but James Earl Jones should ever voice Darth Vader (Take notice JJ). There can be no other (Marvel Comics) Loki but Tom Hiddleston. And after Heath Ledger, it will take alot for me to buy into anyone else as The Joker on the big screen.
But seriously, how hard would it have been to WRITE AN ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Use the Klingons, the Gorn, the Breen, or the Tholians. Hell, you changed the timeline, so you don't even have to wait for first contact with Next generation era species. Lets see what happens if Kirk met the Cardassians. Or, heres a novel idea, how about a movie where the Romulans are villains, but aren't portrayed terribly! (I'm also looking at you Nemesis. I love the Romulans, but they get so screwed over in the movies) Seriously, any enemy race with the exceptions of the Borg and the Dominion would have worked. You wanted your own seperate  timeline to tell your own stories, so for the love of Gene, tell your own damn stories! 

In closing, I still reccommend you go see this movie. Form your own opinion. Tell me if you agree/disagree with my assessments. Till next time, Live long, and Prosper
- The Penguin

12 May 2013

The Bear and the Maiden Fair - Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 7

There are three weddings in A Storm of Swords. Three major, plot device weddings. And unless i'm mistaken, tonight we'll see one of them. As we learned last week, Sansa has been snatched from the loveless, but very well dressed, arms of Ser Loras Tyrell, the Night of Flowers, and instead set to be married to Tyrion of House Lannister, the Imp. Oh a tragic turn for the young Lady Stark. There are a few more moments I'm anticipating greatly, including one involving the one-handed wonder, but enough for now. Lets tune in, shall we?
Previously, we begin with the Freys wedding bargain. Loooove those hats the Freys wear. Then we stop in on the marriage discussions in King's Landing. Then on to Harrenhal, where Roose makes a deal to set Jaime free, but keeps Brienne. Dany commands the Unsullied to choose a leader, and they do. Theon's in a world of hurt. Melisandre buys Genndry from the Brotherhood, Jojen has a seizure, and Jon climbs the wall, ending in a glorious kiss, and a beautiful view. You know, for as cool as the map is in the opening credits, I really don't think the TV only viewers get a good sense of the geography in Westeros. That has worked in the producers favor at times, see the teleporting Lord Baelish in season 2, but I think a good shot of a map at some point might help. I know when I read the books the first time on Kindle, I didnt get a view of the map and it certainly helped when I did. Side track over, lets begin:

We open with the Free Folk, now south of the wall. I love when Ygritte mocks Jon Snow. I'm going to miss her. Not going to miss Orell though. He's a fucking creep. But he's dispensing some excellent advice here. When it comes to the wildlings, you truly do know nothing Jon Snow.

Meanwhile, the northern army is on the way to the Twins. Blackfish is with them, which is not supposed to be...not sure how thats going to play out. Could TV destroy another fan theory? Robb and Talisa are getting it on! It's good to be the king. HBO is really pushing for the equal opportunity ass showing. And Queen Talisa has an excellent one. Not worth losing half an army for though. Robb brings his strategy board wit him even on marches apparently. Smart man. Even in Westeros I don't think many people lay around writing letters in the nude. Robb looks very concerned looking over that map. Her mother, right, sure. Traitor. Why does Robb look constipated? A few suprises indeed. Well, that blows THAT fan theory right out of the water. We were never really sure whether Jeyne Westerling was pregnant or not, but now we know. Unless Talisa's lying of course. But if the Lannister Honeypot theory proves to not be true. then it will be a terrible thing that happens. Richard Madden has about the same romantic acting skill as Hayden Christensen tonight. Half expected him to talk about sand....

And we're back to the Wildlings. And Tormund is...humping a bag....thats more like it. He finally gave us a HAR! Yes! No mention of his giant member though....that was a perfect chance. Orell honing in on Ygritte here. Not a good decision. He also shouldn't try talking. If he wants her, he should just take her.

And now we've got weepy Sansa. Crying to Margaery it appears. Yes, Sansa you were stupid. But your time will still come. Like three books from now I'd say. Margaery makes some excellent points, and Sansa is complaining about the Imp while Margaery gets Joff. Yes, he's rather good looking. Which flies in the face of EVERY SINGLE DESCRIPTION OF TYRION IN THE BOOKS! Seriously. Hmmm, a  little bit of hinting at Margaery's proclivities there. Oh man, that is one true line. "We're very complicated, pleasing us take's practice." AMEN. Oh Sansa, you're so naive. Soooo naive. Queen Margaery essentially admits what she's done, and you miss it. Right over your head. Which is impressive at that height.
Now we've got Bronn and Tyrion, everyone's favorite bro team. Ouch. Bronn drops the Tysha-bomb on Tyrion. Not sure if it's a conscious makeup decision or not, but Tyrion looks younger tonight. I love Bronn.
Oh hey, the Iron Throne. Haven't seen that in forever. Tywin paying a visit to his royal grandson. Joff looking for insight to the small council, but denies to attend them. Oh Tywin is gonna slap this little shit down. Oh, look, they know about Dany. That can't end well. Tywin dismisses the threat of the dragons. Joffrey seems to be a little bit unneccesarily worried about this. Whats up his royal ass? Ring the bell Joff, schools in session. Verbal knockout, delivered. Joff ran roughshod over his mother, that shit ain't gonna fly with Granddaddy.

Meanwhile, lets look in on said curiosities across the sea. Yunkai awaits. Jorah's rocking some new armor, but I miss his old look. Barristan still going with the Obi-Wan look. The Khaleesi is determined to free every slave in Essos. Really annoying to blog when she talks in Valyrian. Gotta read the subtitles. Grey Worm gets a bit of face time. Man, the Unsullied really, really like bangin those shields. Oooh, whats in the chest. This guy looks awfully nervous in his slave-carriage. Holy shit those dragons are getting bigger. Dany's title gets longer every week. She would never be able to have a business card. Excellent negotiating tactic with the dragons there. So Dany gets the offer now from Yunkai she should have received in Qarth. Take all the boats you need, and GTFO of Essos. Drogon does not like this guy. He is viscious. Well that went poorly. Rhaegal is the coolest looking dragon, IMHO.

Tyrion and Shae have a moment together now. He's giving her gold chains. Boy, that might be important later. He may not rule the world, but oh boy does he rule a big part of it. Shae is really, really, unhappy with this arrangement. And once again, something happening now that should have happened a book ago. Shae was kept in a mance in the city under guard of the Hill Clan Tribesmen at first, only coming into service in the Red Keep during the battle of Blackwater, to keep her safe.

Not initially clear where we are, but great visual shot of sunken ships, as one still sails above them all. And its Melisandre, with Genndry. This crazy bitch is sailing them right underneath the shadow of the red keep. Red priestess has some serious balls. Not literally, of course, cause we've seen all there is to see, but. Great shot of the aftermath of Blackwater Bay. Is Mel about to reveal to Genndry his parentage? Thats a huge jump up. In the books, he still doesn't know. Brienne guesses later, but...holy shit..she told him. Beautiful visual of the Red Keep though. I get the why, but, its insane for Mel to risk sailing that close to enemy territory.

Arya still pissed with the Brotherhood, and who can blame her. Great line from Arya. Good to see she remembers her lessons from Syrio. And she's off. Arya bails on the brotherhood, and runs right into the arms of the Hound. Bet you all thought we were done with Sandor, didnt you? (All, of course, meaning tv only folk)

Jaime pays a last visit to Brienne before he sets off to King's Landing. And he drops an important plot point as well. Roose will be joining Robb at the Twins for the wedding. Brienne gets left with Locke, aka, the Wanna-be Vargo. Brienne transferring her oathed duties to Jaime. And I think we can all take him at his word now when he swears it. Aww, how sweet, she didnt call him Kingslayer. Awfully hard to mount a horse with only one hand eh, Kingslayer? Qyburn is going to ride back with Jaime. He manages to look creepy even doing nothing. And oh boy do you all need to remember that line. "The Lannisters send their regards." Changed a bit, for no reason, of course, but oh well. Locke makes osme douchey threats to Jaime on the way out, and fade to...

Theon. Well on his way to becoming the living sigil of House Bolton. Well, those are certainly an improvement over his last torturer. Well, good to know Theon's still got that. Wisely suspicious, but not smart enough. Theon is the most confused man in westeros right now. But he's still a man, at least. Well, thats interesting. I dont know who these two are or what they're playing at. Ah, the +5 warhorn of cockblocking. Even I'm getting sick of that sound Oh no..please don't show this. Not a man, just Reek. It rhymes with meek....

Now we've back with the Free-Folk. Nice little touch showing the close up of Ygritte's arrow fletching. If they keep that for later it will matter. And she shuts Jon Snow up nicely on this shot. Burned out windmill. Is that meant to be the same one that Theon took the children from. Kit Harrington trying hard not to laugh out loud at Rose Leslie's acting there. The interaction between the two of them has been tremendous. Interesting moment of tension here. Jon is not really carrying out Quorin's orders here. Nice job interrupting the catchphrase. Manse Rayder is different, but not that different. Yes, thats right. Us. Thats a great line. "If we die we die, but first, we live."

Ah, Bran and the Reeds. Not seeing any Direwolves. Osha has given up on talking to Meera, and tries to get a response out of Hodor. Which, of course, will only get you a Hodor. Ok, I'm gonna rant a moment here, because I'm going to object to this. In the books, Osha is the ONLY person in Winterfell who encourages Bran's wolf dreams before the Reeds arrive. Now, the tv show, for some inexplicable reason has turned her from Mulder to Scully. Bran has aged alot here. Gonna be tough to keep him young looking as the show moves on into the later books. I really don't like this change in Osha. I'm gonna assume this is leading to her taking Rickon back south. I do not recall if this little story is from the books or not. I like it either way, and I think it is, but I'm not sure at all. Really have to progress further in my re-read. Chilling (pun unintended) description of a wight from Osha. Sidebar, if Jojen plans on them getting north of the wall, without going to Castle black, what precisely does he have in mind? Climbing the wall with a child, a cripple, and weakling? Good luck.

Back to Qyburn and Ser Jaime now. Oooh, nice little background into Qyburn perhaps? He's a sick, sick, man. Sick burn Kingslayer. 300 gold dragons for Brienne? Thats a pretty good ransom. Unless you're expecting Brienne's weight in thappireth. Which, while it saved her at the time, is more or less Jaime's fault now. That new fangled conscience is really wearing on Ser Jaime. He's really playing up the "who chopped off my hand" card with these guys. God that castle is a mess. I know its a ruin, but it is supposed to be a liveable mess. I love this song. Oooh, gladiator games. Brienne shows amazing bravery with a wooden sword against a giant, actual bear. Locke is such a dick. Hehe. Great foreshadowing there. And Jaime jumps into the bear pit. Gonna take more than one crossbow bolt to stop that bear. Jaime just can't get a handle on this climb. Sorry, couldn't resist. Recognize that instrumental music? That's the Reynes of Castamere for those who forgot. The song of Tywin's power, and Jaime is coming into that power.

So turns out I was wrong about the wedding for this episode. I really expected to see Tyrion and Sansa get hitched tonight. But I suppose that will keep for next week. This episode was written by George RR Martin, and compared to his previous two episodes (Baelor in Season 1 and Blackwater in Season 2) it was a bit underwhelming. The dialogue between Jon and Ygritte was phenomenal once again, this season I feel we're finally connecting with Kit Harrington as Jon Snow. Its about time. I really dislike the swap around on Osha. Also kind of annoyed they can't manage to get Summer into one of these scenes. He's so important to Bran. Same for Grey Wind with Robb. It's like we've completely ignored them. They are as important to the Starks as the Dragons are to Dany, if not more. Three episodes to go. Two weddings (the third will be next season), at least one funeral. Given that GRRM wrote this episode and the theme of the Bear and The Maiden Fair, I'm suprised we didn't learn about Jorah's betrayal. Or rather, that Dany didn't learn about it. We already know from season 1. Next week we should meet Daario Naharys, Sellsword extraordinaire. I'm fairly certain that was him we saw teased in the "next week on". If he's anything like he is in the books, some female readers will love him, all male viewers will hate him, and he'll be responsible for more or less every single terrible decision the Khaleesi will make for the next three books. But thats all from me this week. Till next time, remember what we say to the God of death - Not Today
- The Penguin

06 May 2013

The Climb - Season 3, Episode 6

Welcome back all! Last week's episode was phenomenal, I think we can all agree. I absolutely loved their handling of Jon and Ygritte, and even limited by time as we are on the show, I truly felt for Rose Leslie when she wanted to stay in that cave. And oh, Jonny boy, you should have. Tonight, our episode is called "The Climb", so its safe to assume that Tormund will finally be leading his troops over the wall. This is an epic moment in the books, and I look forward to seeing it on screen. So lets begin shall we?
Our flashback begins with Bran and Jojen, then flash to Tormund and company. Now we've got Melisandre leaving Stannis, Tywin's marriage plans, and Jaime and Brienne arriving in Harrenhall. A little creepy shot of Reek, Rickard Karstark loses his head, Robb plans to return to Walder Frey. A moment of silence for Lord Commander Mormont, who is no longer with us, and a shorter one for Lord Berric, who's not nearly as dead as the Hound thinks he is. Cue the credits, and lets get this show on the road!

First up, we check in with Sam and Gilly. Oh man, this could be good. Sam clearly has no idea what he's doing. He should have read about fires in a book. Of course he's highborn. Peasants don't get so fat. Ah, there's the dagger. I love the look of obsidian. Jon's dagger is described as being sharper than steel but brittle. Sams assumedly the same. If what I expect to happen soon is going to happen, we need a few more Black Brother's to arrive. A religious hymn for the 7 seems a little out of place here. Creepy forest shots, and I keep expecting to see something moving, which, of course, is why we're not. 

South of the wall, we've got Meera and Osha, arguing over how to skin a rabbit. Osha could be an excellent role model for Meera here, since we're going to see more of her. Which I'm ok with. Pissing contest happening now. Bran is not happy. Not sure what he's making there in his lap. Hodor's here, Jojen's out cold, I don't see Rickon or the wolves. Jojen seems to be having a seizure here. He was said to be sickly, this is an interesting way of showing it. Similiar to how I expect we'll see young Robert Arryn later, which might confuse some viewers, since that useless little shit is not a greenseer. How does Jojen know who Jon Snow is or what he looks like? 

Speaking of Jon Snow, we're back north of the wall now. Good commentary from Tormund on how bad the Night's Watch has become at clearing the forest away from the wall. Jon and Ygritte both look nervous as hell. Maybe they should bang again. You know, for courage. Now that's love. There are few better moments in their relationship than when she imitates him. This is an excellent add on. Terrible foreshadowing, but an excellent, tender moment. 

Arya gets in a bit of archery practice, reciting her prayer as she takes shots as straw targets. Anguy offering advice and criticism, Thoros drinking. Explains why he and Robert Baratheon got along so well. The Brotherhood has company. Melisandre? Yup. Knew this was coming, as much as I didnt want it. They use the Braavosi saying as a greeting? WTF? Interesting. Mel exposing that Thoros was on a mission to convert Robert Baratheon. Boy oh boy did they not know Bobby B well. Mel not too pleased with Thoros here. Little bit of a "who loves R'hllor more" contest going on. And he takes her to see Berric. Mel seems to know about the resurrection bit, but is shocked Thoros can pull it off. Thoros, of course gives all credit to the Red God. Thoros speaking the words of GRRM right there. The Gods are just stories. Of course, now Thoros is born again R'hllorian. Berric what the fuck! There is no way that the Berric Dondarrion of the books would let her take Genndry. This is season 2 fuck up level. Let Genndry free. Whoa....Mel just predicted Arya's future with the Faceless men...and "we will meet again?" Cue up the "Arya kills Mel" prophecies. Well, now I'm pissed. Very, very pissed. I just lost alot of arguements on Reddit. This tv show has completely lost who Berric Dondarrion is supposed to be. He would never turn a boy over, especially if he was told that boy was the blood of Robert Baratheon, in his mind the one true King, the King he serves, so that he could be sacrificed for R'hllor's magic. No, no, no, no, no. 

Back on the wall, the Free Folk begin their climb. Jon has got to appreciate that elevator back at Castle Black a hell of alot more now, eh?  Yes, yes we were Ygritte. And Jon takes a chunk of ice to the face. Might have been intentional. 

Oh man, this guy is a dick. I wish they would just tell the tv viewers who he is. This game would still be just as much fun. This added bit is going to be one of my favorites I think. Where did they find this pyschopath? Ooooh, great line. "If you think this has a happy ending, you havent' been paying attention." Poor Theon, that could be the title of his biography. Obviously not an autobiography, because by the time Ramsay is done here, Theon won't be writing anything ever again. Theon's going to guess every castle in the North except the Dreadfort. This guy is 100% not a Karstark. Theon Greyjoy is about to join the Warren Mear's skin-care club. 

Robb is nowing meeting with the Freys. Very distinctive look for them. Lord Frey looking to become the third simultaenous holder of Harrenhal, along with Roose Bolton and Petyr Baelish. And there's the shoe-drop. Edmure's got to marry a Frey. Man, Edmure is a dick. Brynden is going to have to slap him down. Oh man do I love the Blackfish. Robb is slightly hypocritical here, considering how they changed his story in the show. Not his fault, just poor writing. Edmure agrees, and destiny is set. 

Brienne in a dress. Friggin weird. Jaime having some serious issues with cutting meat. Roose is a creepy bastard. There is an interesting parrellell between Roose Bolton and Tywin Lannister on this show. Bolton very concerned with Tywin not knowing who cut his hand off. Why might that be? Wants to be in Lannister good graces eh? Suspicious! Another gem of a line from Jaime. Roose doesn't drink, Jaime counters with "Do you understand how suspicious that is to ordinary people?" But of course, he's not going to let Brienne go. She's charged with treason, much like her master Catelyn Stark. Oh C'MON! Hand. You should have said HAND. 

And we cut from Roose to Tywin. Like I said, interesting parrellell. Lady Olenna haggling over the weddings.   The queen of thorns of course doesn't want Cersei anywhere near Loras. And, whoa, Lady Olenna completely outs her grandson. "A Sword Swallower through and through". Highgarden is the socially liberal of the seven nations. And Olenna slaps Tywin down with the counter rumor about Cersei. Its just as true, but Tywin denies it. And Tywin drops the Kingsguard threat. He moves to take away Mace's heir, same way Mad Aerys took away his. And Olenna wants no part of it. Good on her. 

Back to the wall. The climb is getting harder, wind's picking up, and as they say in the books, but not yet here, the Wall defends itself. There are old spells woven into that ice. Old magics. And oh damn, there goes a big old chunk of wall. It has been unseasonably warm lately. Or, less cold anyhow. Gods damn Orell is a dick. I can't wait until he gets a heaping helping of Longclaw in his belly.

Akward conversation time for Sansa and Loras now. I think Loras just described his perfect wedding gown. Its interesting to note here, what I should have in the last scene, that the show is completely ignoring the fact that Loras has brothers. Two of them, in fact, both older, and ahead of him for Highgarden. Many I'd talked to had suggested they'd be mentioned only when needed, much as Shireen had been for King Stannis, but it seems apparent that Loras is the only Tyrell son. Interesting change, and proof that Willas and Garland are not going to matter moving forward. Back in to the scene, we see that Cersei and Tyrion are spying in. Great line from Tyrion, "Its hard to say which of the four of us is getting the worst of this arrangement." Rare moment of the Lannister children agreeing here. Tyrion with an excellent point. He's given no credit whatsoever for saving the city. Ooh, showdown time. Did Cersei order Tyrion killed? Interesting, it's implied that it was Joff? That was never truly stated outright in the books, and I always believed it was Cersei. "Sword through bowels" sounds like a horrible disease, and probably wide-spread enough around Westeros to have reached epidemic status. I wonder if the Citadel has a Maester-run version of the CDC. But I digress. Oh man, are they going to have Tyrion tell her himself? Sansa, trust me, thats hardly the worst thing Shae's said to Tyrion. They're playing up the jealousy angle a bit. Uh oh, that line set off my spider-sense big time. Danger Sansa Stark, Danger! "I trust her, even though she tells me not to." Sansa, do you know how your father got caught? He trusted Littlefinger, who explicitly TOLD HIM NOT TO! So, if Shae is telling you that, you should listen. And listen well. Gonna be some very interesting reactions from both of the ladies in the room here. Tyrion is completely out of his depth here, a rare occurence. 

Now we've got Littlefinger and Varys in the throne room. Boy could this get interesting. Obviously, these two work hard behind the scenes to thwart and outmaneuver each other. But as good as Littlefinger is, he's way out of his depth against the Spider. Or in the books he is.....he's making some very overt threats against Ros here. This might be a happy movement for alot of readers. Littlefinger showing a very dark side here. "The good of the realm" There's the key for Lord Varys. His entire motivation in five words. Oh boy that is some sinister music behind Petyr here. "Chaos is a ladder" I'm not so sure about that. Joffrey killed Ros?!?! What the fuck!!!!!! Littlefinger is pissed. Sansa realizing now she lost her chance to escape. Wow...that was some major, major darkness from Petyr Baelish. 

Meanwhile, the actual climb comes to its close. Jon Snow is once again atop the wall. And what a view it is. Beautiful scene. No dialogue needed, just a kiss at the top of the world, and what a way to end it. 

So, lets react here. Very focused episode, only a few plots, and all but one very well done. I'm still pissed about the Genndry story. That, to me, destroys what Berric Dondarrion stands for. He is essentially the Westerosi Robin Hood, and he would NOT give up an innocent boy for sacrifice. I stand by that. But lets focus on the good. I enjoyed the scenes in King's Landing. They did an excellent job of portraying the machinations and behind the scenes power struggles, and I love that Lady Olenna stands up to Tywin, because there arent' many who would. The back and forth of Tyrion and Cersei was also wonderfully done. The two of them truly dont know how to act when they're not at cross purposes. Roose continues to be the Tywin of the North, and I cannot wait for next episode, and the furthering of the badassery of Jaime Lannister. Edmure's agreed to the wedding, and that sets us up for the inevitable in Episode 9. Arya's sown the seeds she needs to get away from the Brotherhood, setting up her bad buddy cop journey with the Hound. We didn't see Dany this episode, but that obviously will be different next week. 

Episode 7 is entitled "The Bear and the Maiden Faire." We've heard this song sung twice now this season, and it's about to become more important. Aside from the obvious in Harrenhal, I suspect that this will also involve Dany and Jorah Mormont, and a certain issue about his past allegiances. After all, she is the most fair maiden and he is the bear now. I hope we also see Sam and his heroic destiny, but I'm not so sure about that. There's time in Episode 8, alongside the first of two weddings we'll see this season. Tyrion and Sansa must be married before Edmure and Roslyn, so that Robb can change his will, making sure Tyrion doesn't get his tiny hands on Winterfell. 

And thats a wrap on this episode. Don't forget to pray to your local heart tree. The Weirwoods are watching. Till next week. 
- The Islander