This is the last week, thank goodness, that I'll be doing a recap of three dramas in one post, since Once Upon A Time
had its season finale
on Sunday. For that matter, Game Of Thrones
only has three more episodes and Mad Men
four. Hard to believe they're almost over and Sundays will return to normal and boring.
By the way, due to computer problems, I can't put any pictures up. I hope my words will paint them.
Once Upon A Time
, "A Land Without Magic":
I'll give them credit, the show delivered. No holding back. There was more forward motion in the finale than just about all the rest of the season. Whether it was good or not, or bodes well for season two, is a different question.
Anyway, after so many episodes where things proceeded at a snail's pace, it was thrilling to have Emma realize right off the bat what's going ont--the Curse and everything. Henry, who ate Regina's poisoned apple, is brought into the hospital, but the doctors can't figure out what's wrong. Of course they can't, their machines don't measure magic. I've always been squeamish about allowing magic in the "real" world of Storybrooke--I like two different realms. Tobad for me, I guess, since the writers like using magic to solve their problems.
Emma looks at the contents of Henry's bag (including an Apollo bar
) and sees that big damn book of his. Of course, it's all true! Regina runs in. Emma shoves her into a closet and confronts her. It was quite satisfying to have both finally understand each other. Regina, for her part, isn't happy that Henry is dying. (So Emma's first take on her that made her stay in Storybrooke--that Regina doesn't love Henry--was false. Of course, the producers have gone in and out and around on motivations so many times already in the first season that you can't expect them to keep things consistent.)
So they go to Gold's to find out how to save Henry. Turns out he's still got a little magic hidden away. It's surprising how much magic remains in Storybrooke considering it's not supposed to be there at all. There's some true-love juice in a dragon that Regina is still hiding underground. How convenient.
Meanwhile, Regina reneges on his deal with Jefferson, so he frees Belle from Regina's hidden asylum. Huh? How'd he know? Can his telescope see through walls? Anyway, Belle is told to go to Gold.
At this point, I might add, we're not sure what side to be on. Everyone seems to be trying to help Henry, but should Emma trust Regina or Gold? She goes to August who's almost all wood, which she can see. Why is he wood? I thought getting her to believe would save him, but apparently his being a good boy is tied up in breaking the curse. And while we're at it, just what breaks the curse? That's never been made clear, but you would have thought Emma accepting her place as Storybrooke's savior would do it.
Anyway, Emma goes far underground, helped by Regina, to slay the dragon. (In the fairyback we get similar activity, leading to where the show started--with true love's kiss saving Snow White and freeing the entire realm.) I might add considering an hour ago Emma didn't believe in magic, she's taking slaying a dragon pretty calmly.
She gets the true love and on the way back up to the surface Gold, who's tied up Regina, tricks Emma into giving it to him. Hey, I though Gold just wanted the curse to be over so he could go back and be with his son--how come he's got this new intrigue going on?
You might have thought Gold was angry at Regina for her treachery with Belle, but only now does Belle drop by Gold's shop. It's a tearful reunion, and, once again, though Gold gets what he wants and has own personal true love, he still wishes to continue with his nefarious plan.
Henry dies. But we know what can revive him, as we've known from the start of the show, and have been wondering why Emma, who now believes in fairy tales, can't figure out. Henry needs true love's kiss, and it works between mom and son as well as it works between lovers. She kisses Henry, he comes back to life, and, in fact, a wave passes through Storybrooke and everyone's memory is restored.
I see. So to break the curse, not only does Emma have to realize who she is, but her son has to be dying and she has to kiss him. Lucky for her it worked out that way.
Anyway, everyone is in the know, and Regina realizes she better watch out. Snow White and Charming reunite. Unfortunately, we don't get to see Emma meet her roommate, who's the same age as her, but is also her mother (and Henry is Mary Margaret's grandson).
I guess the producers figured if the show had been canceled, they could have finished with this nice sense of closure. But the show is a hit, so they need to move it into the next season. So Gold dumps his true love juice down a well and a big cloud sweeps through town bringing back magic. I guess.
It's very unclear, then, what the next season promises. I can't imagine they'll cut out the fairyback sections, but what exists and what doesn't? Is fairytale land around anymore, but completely depopulated? Will Storybrooke people be able to pop back and forth? Won't cobblers and dwarves and crickets and fairies feel a little sillly living in modern-day Maine? Will the magic be confined to Storybrooke, or will it work anywhere on the planet?
Why did Rumpel even need this? With the curse lifted, couldn't he go back to his old realm, and enjoy the love of Belle and his son? And if he wants more magic, he could go back and dump Belle and the gang? I don't understand his plan. The only one who seems to like it is Regina, Gold's main enemy, who will finally get her magic back. But, once again, with the curse lifted couldn't she just have gone back to the realm and assumed her old powers? The real question would have been where Emma and Henry go, since they're creature of the real world, but their bloodline is of the other realm. (Also, what about the poor doctor, who has to go back and be a cricket, or the editor, who has to go back and be a mirror.)
Anyway, more magic, no matter where, promises a duller second season to me.
, "Dark Shadows":
The title comes from Megan's friend who's auditioning for the Dark Shadows
soap. (Matt Weiner must have known a Dark Shadows
movie was coming out, but could he have planned this episode to fall on the same weekend?) But it's also about characters showing their dark side. I'm not sure if we've ever had an episode where everyone looked so bad.
We start with Betty (she's back) on her diet. Breakfast: dry toast, half a grapefruit and some cheese cubes. She seems to have lost some weight since last time, so maybe it's working.
On the elevator with the name partners, Pete is happy that Victor (Navasky, as it turns out) of The New York Times
is doing a profile on hip (or hep) agencies, and wants to talk to him. Meanwhile, Don reviews recent work from the agency and notices Ginsberg is doing most of it. The kid's a dynamo. It seems to unsettle Don a bit.
Bert is unhappy that Pete is bringing in all the business, so he tips off Roger to a Manishewitz product. Jane is Jewish so she could help. Hey, they're not divorced yet.
The kids are staying with Don and Megan. Sally is working on a family tree project. Megan gives her some acting tips. Don has to drop into work and looks through Ginsberg's file for Sno Ball material and is amused, but also stirred--how long has it been since he's done any new work? He starts dictating new ideas, see if he's still got it.
Betty picks up the kids at Don's apartment and runs into Megan. That used to be her--not just Don's wife, but a young beauty. It's uncomfortable for both of them. When Betty puts Gene to bed, she has a quick hit of whipped cream in a can, and spits out most of it. Hard to keep on that diet.
At the SCDP meeting, Ginsberg's Sno Ball idea--hit me in the face with one--is greeted with approval. Don then pitches his own idea with the devil (as in "chance in hell") and the others are impressed. But it's an odd moment, the man in charge pitching to his underlings. Ginsberg is impressed that a guy who no longer writes came up with it.
Betty's at her Weight Watchers meeting. She's lost a pound, but she had a bad week due to her confrontation with Megan in Don's snazzy new pad. Is Betty softening a bit. Is her new, miserable position teaching her anything?
Megan goes over Dark Shadows
lines with her friend Julia, and Megan (who's so with it) thinks the show is idiotic. Maybe, but her friend figures she's lost touch, living on 73rd and Park, not having to wait tables if she can't find work.
Roger calls in Ginsberg. He wants help for ideas with the Manishewitz meeting. Have these two been together before? It's fascinating. Michael, almost a parody of a tummeling Jew, and Roger, with his caustic Waspy wit. The two most overtly funny guys facing off. Anyway, Roger is doing this because of his opposition to Pete. Roger has to pay off Ginsberg. This is the third time this season Roger hands over a wad of dough to get what he wants. The show knows fans have noticed, so Roger says, in one of the better lines this year, he's got to start carrying less cash.
Henry is up late cooking steak. He's been eating fish with Betty and can't take it any longer. She comes in and they sit down. Henry is worried about John Lindsay's prospects. (Henry, or the modern writers, are smart. Linday's career would be one of the more spectacular crash and burns of the era.) Betty commiserates, but is she wondering if she bet on the wrong horse. Here she is out in the country, while Megan lives the high life in Manhattan. Betty says she'll support Henry. Once again, is she learning to empathize? Betty?
Roger calls Jane for helps with the new account. She demands he pay for a new apartment. He agrees. I know Roger's rich, but with alimony, pay-offs, etc., can he afford this?
Meanwhile, Pete's affair from last week comes in to his office to have sex. We knows it's fantasy, though this is the second time the show's pulled this trick this season. Of course, one was Don's fever dream while this is Pete's daydream. He can't wait for the Sunday Times
to come out.
At Betty's place she helps the kids, and sees a love note Don left Megan on construction paper. That's it. Sally's doing the family tree and Betty drops the bombs about Anna Draper. The bitch is back. For the first few seasons, Don's true identity was a major issue. Better finally found out and it led to the end of their marriage. Don told Megan and seems to be okay with it now. But this is a show that doesn't drop things easily. Let's not forget, Don impersonated an officer and deserted the army. These are felonies. What's to say the show won't end with Don doing serious time? This is not something you drop on a kid, but Betty doesn't care. She's mad and wants to hurt Don.
Pete, Ken and Harry look over the Sno Ball material--Mike's and Don's. They like both, but they like Mike's better. Can Don take this? Mike quotes "Ozymandias" though Stan, of all people, tells him he's missing the context.
At Don's place Sally is pissy with Megan. She's mommy's girl, all right. (And she seems to have food issues.) Sally brings up Anna, and Megan's tries to explain best she can. Betty's bomb has hit its target.
At Weight Watchers, if nothing else, we learn Thanksgiving is coming up--at this rate we'll be well into 1967 by the end of the season.
Megan tells Don about Anna. He explodes, and wants to call Betty, but Megan stops him. It's just what she wants. Sally overhears it all.
At the office, Ginsberg comes in late and sees Peggy. He drops he's doing work for Roger, just like she did. She hasn't been happy all episode (and probably longer) with the success of this new dynamo. The one she discovered.
Next morning, Pete calls Don about the Times article (apparently a real one) where SCDP is not mentioned. Pete is more pissed than Don, who doesn't need to be woken up by Pete's failures. The kids are up, so Don has a talk with Sally about Anna. Don says some nasty things about Betty, but tries to explain about Anna.
Roger meets a snippy Peggy in the elevator. She feels spurned, but he reminds her they're not marrid. Meanwhile, Don, Ken and Harry are in a cab preparing for the Sno Ball pitch. Don leaves Ginsberg's idea behind. Like everyone else, he's showing his worst side this week.
Betty tells Sally she got an A+ on the family tree but is really trying to pump her about Megan and Don. Sally turns the screws and says how they talked fondly about Anna. Betty is not happy, but she should know Sally learned from the best.
At Roger's dinner, Jane seems to have eyes for the Jewish son of the client. Roger doesn't seem thrilled (though Ginsberg's ideas go over well). They have words in the cab. She shows him her new place and they have sex. The next morning, she's says the place is ruined now--she left the last place due to memories. I thought this was a little too sensitive, but Roger agrees--that's the bad sort of thing he does to people.
Back at the office we find out Sno Ball bought it. Good work. But Ginsberg (showing his bad side) is pissed they didn't even hear his pitch. Peggy seems pleased (showing her bad side)
Pete is snide to his commuter train friend, even joking about porking her wife. It may be his bad side, but it's out so often it's hard to notice.
We get the third elevator confrontation of the episode when Ginsberg fights with with Don over Sno Ball. When Don says they bought it, that's what counts (and he doesn't like going in with two ideas), Ginsberg tries to stick it in a little by saying who cares, he's got a million ideas. Don responds good thing you work for me. Mike, reminding us a bit of Jimmy Barrett, says he feels bad for Don. Don--shades of The Fountainhead
--says he doesn't think about Ginsberg at all. Is the agency big enough for these two?
It's Thanksgiving and Megan prepares a simple meal. Julia will be coming, and she got the part. How does Megan feel about that? Meanwhile, she doesn't want Don to open the window--it's a smog emergency, the air is toxic. Life before the Clear Air Act.
At Henry's place, Bets it about to dig in when Bobby says they have to say what they're thankful for first. (Sally notes Betty is hungry--was that a shot?) Bobby likes he's got two great houses to live in. When it's Betty's turn, she's happy for what she's got, but also that others don't have anything better. Got that, Megan?
We hear some old Chevalier and we're done. No Lane, litttle Joan. A little more Harry than usual, though he hasn't had a single episode this season where he really got to let her rip. Not much time left. Give Harry something to do, Matt.
A lively episode without a single big theme. While I've been hoping for Don to get back into the thick of things, I'm not sure if I wanted him to try to compete with the new kid on the block. Anyway, everyone is unhappy for one reason or another. Pete doesn't get the appreciation (and sex) he wants. Don has to pull tricks to beat Ginsberg, who himself is tugging on his leash. Roger and Jane try to make up a bit, but neither are where they want to be. Betty wonders how she got where she is. Sally is growing up into a testy, suspicious young woman. All in all, another week in Mad Men
Game Of Thrones
, "A Man Without Honor":
A lot of people snapping at the betters, and their inferiors, this week.
We start where we left off. Theon wakes up and sees the aftermath--the two boys, Hodor and Osha gone. Theon the leader is pissed. One of his men lips off an Theon beats him. He's learning, in a way, but he's still a major jerk. Theon gets the hounds and tries to track the boys. They meet the Maester on the way, and Theon explains what's the big deal, it's all a game. True, but these games easily end with death. Theon is waiting for his sister to get men there so they can hold Winterfell against a much larger group.
Meanwhile, the young Lord of Winterfell and his gang are figuring out what to do. They've got a lead, but they're on foot. And any place they stop at will be tortured for information.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow wakes up, holding Ygritte. What did you dream of, Jon? She taunts him and he doesn't know how to respond. The Night's Watch may be noble, but are the Wildlings much worse, or really any different, from the Crows. (Jon may be the show's biggest hearththrob, but he can also be fairly prissy.) Their byplay is like classic romantic comedy. Sort of a 39 Steps
vibe. But he's trying to get her back to the watch, while she knows the territory. Not good for Snow. The spar and bicker across the lovely, barren landscape, but Snow is lost. She leads him into Wildling territory. Somehow, I don't think this is the end of Snow. If anything, he could be a better leader for them that Mance Rayder, if he's willing to think a little differently.
By the way, Ygritte, like Ser Jorah, is a refugee from Downton Abbey
. I like them both better here.
At Harrenhal, Tywin is hanging as many as he can to find who wanted to kill him. Little does he know that his little cupbearer, right there in the room, was behind it. As he talks of slaughter, she considers stabbing him in the neck, but that's a no-go. They verbally spar--these Tywin/Arya scenes are among the show's best. She admires him in a way, and has always sought approval from father figures. But she knows he's the enemy and she's got a secret. He sees something in her, but also sees through her. First he knew she was a girl. Then he knew she was from the north. Now he figures she's high-born. There's only one more revelation left to make. She even shows off a bit for him, but he warns her not to be presumptuous.
Sansa runs into the Hound. He's got a thing for her, but his words are harsh because he knows they must be apart. (At least that's my take.)
Meanwhile, Xaro is demanding a meeting of the Thirteen. He's vouched for her, but that also mean he's vouced for Qarth. Is he playing some sort of bigger game?
At Robb's camp, he's still making googly eyes at Lady Talisa. He also shows himself to be a kind leader--too kind? Sir Alton has returned with Cersei's torn up paper, and since his old pen is filled, he's put in with the Kingslayer. Now he's off for a day--with Talie--to work out terms of a surrender.
Theon stops at a farm but can't find the boys. He decides it's better to be cruel than weak. Perhaps, but it's better yet to be smart. Theon does finally get an idea, and sends the Maester home.
Ser Jorah returns to see the devastated Daenerys. What's the point of taking over Westeros if she has no people. She barely knows the Targaryens and the Dothraki don't like her either. Her only follower left seems to be Jorah (who loves her, but has to hold himself back), and she even turns on him bit. At this point, all she wants is her dragons. He'll go out to get them.
Sansa dreams of violence and wakes up to discover she's had her first period. A big moment in a girl's life, but for her, great fear, since now it means it's time to have babies with Joffrey. Shae wants to help her hide it, but the Hound (what's he doing there?) finds out.
Cersei has a nice talk with Sansa. Don't love anyone but your kids. Love weakens you, but you can't but help love them. Even Cersei is willing to admit now Joffrey is difficult. But she had plenty of trouble with Robert, of course. (Not that it was his child anyway.)
In the pen, Alton has a nice talk with Jaime. We haven't seen Jaime since the first episode. (Well, I have, but it was in a Norwegian picture called Headhunters
.) Good to see him back. He's very smat and a great fighter, but has no honor at all--hence the title. They both talk about how wonderful certain moments of life are when things are done right. Jaime has him lean in to help him--and then kills him, which is how he helps him. The prison guard comes in and Jaime kills him to, and escapes.
This is no fun. Jaime was Robbs ace in the hole. Without him, the Lannisters can threaten Sansa and even Arya with impunity.
Jorak talks to the lady with the mask. Those weird Qarthians. She seems to know all about him--even that he loves Dany and has betrayed her. She tells him the thief is already with Dany. And we cut to the meeting of the Thirteen. It's a set-up. I thought they had a good system set up, but apparently Xaro didn't agree, so he gangs up with the House of the Undying (who have the dragons) to kill the other merchants.. Xaro names himself the King of Qarth. Maybe the merchants were getting a little inbred, but is Xaro's ambition too much? And does this mean Dany's way is free (if she teams with Xaro), or is she even in more danger? Jorah gets their too late. He even stabs one of the magicians, except it's just a spectre.
Back at Robb's camp, he's still out, but the Kingslayer has been caught. They want his head, but Catelyn (with Brienne) save him--for a while, anyway. Vengeance is fun, but Jaime is valuable. (Meanwhile, the men are losing a little faith in Robb due to his love affair.)
Late at night, Cersei and Tyrion have a talk. For the first time, brother and sister seem to feel a bit for each other. Tyrion knows Stannis (who's not in this episode) will be there within the week, and it's far from clear, without Tywin, they can defend themselves. Instead, they've got Joffrey, who's stupid, sadistic and cowardly. Cerseia wonders if he's not punishment for her incest. The Targaryens did it that way, but they had mad kinds. Tyrion says two out of three good kids isn't bad.
It's getting dark at Robb's camp. Men are drinking. Soon the Karstarks, who lost a man to Jaime, will be ready to kill. Who'll defend him. Catelyn goes into the pen. Jaime knows his fate, but he's as smart ass as always. He even rubs Ned's unfaithfulness in her face. (Hear that, Jon Snow?) He explains about all the vows a knight must take--so many, sooner or later you have to break them. (Hear that, Jon Snow?) And is it really worth defending a sadistic, insane leader?
Catelyn asks Brienne for her sword. But she has to know the Jaime is a card that hasn't yet been played. I get the feeling we'll be seeing more of Jaime.
At Winterfell, Theon shows he means business and unveils the two burnt corpses of Bran and Rickon. Or are they? This show has no trouble doing in people, but we didn't see them captured, nor can we recognize them now. I guess we'll find out next week.
So more maneuvering, but that's what the show is about. Only a few more episodes left, and a bunch of kings fighting for power. We don't know who will win, but they will clash, and it's guaranteed a lot of characters will die.
I've heard the show is starting to diverge more and more from the books. Good. Not only will spoilers be harder to create, but why should GOT
literary fans get to be surprised along with the rest of us.