Sunday has become go-to night for TV, as we've got--for a couple of months anyway--both new Mad Men
and Game Of Thrones
. (Yep, spoilers ahead.)
Some have been complaining about Mad Men
's slow start. They said we're just doing the same things, and nothing is happening. If that's so, they should have been pleased by "To Have And To Hold,"
where a lot was going on, and a bunch of characters were thrown in the mix.
Don continues with his affair, but also plays the offended husband when his wife has a love scene on her soap opera. More interesting, the writer/star couple of the show are swingers, and there's not a foursome in the world that wouldn't be improved if Don and Megan joined in. Meanwhile, we get to see Joan at home and at play, still fighting for respect even though she's a partner. More surprising, Harry makes his play in a ham-handed way (especially his put-down of Joan--was that necessary?--you usually insult her without being aware of it) and shows surprising guts in demanding what's his. I've always felt Harry was one of those guys who didn't have many natural gifts but would keep falling up by being in the right place at the right time. We also see Ken worried that he's not getting respect, though I'm not sure if Pete would ever let him be a partner. We also get what was inevitable--a showdown between Don and Peggy. They both lose, and Stan loses bigger. The biggest surprise of all is we get a little background on Dawn, and the troubles she faces. (And she understands everyone's got problems, with the women in the agency always crying while the men drink themselves into a stupor.) There was no Betty--fine by me--and a lot of 1968, including Vietnam, Napalm, Joe Namath and the Electric Circus.
But I have to admit, I look forward to Game Of Thrones
even more. "And Now His Watch Is Ended"
was a big episode, at least as far as game-changers are concerned.
The show is modular, with so many separate stories that each week we have an MIA list. For instance, this week, no Snow, Mance, Ygritte, Osha, Bronn, Shae, Hodor, Littlefinger, Rob, Davos, Stannis or Melisandre. But what was left was plenty. Varys comes back big, explaining his past to Tyrion, pumping Ros for info, and making alliances with Olenna regarding Sansa. Margaery follows through and it looks like Sansa may enjoy (if that's the word) marriage with Loras. Meanwhile, Mags also plays Joffrey like a fiddle, bringing consternation to Cersei, who goes to dad and demands he do something about the young King. Looks like he will. And that's just in King's Landing. Up North, Bran is still having his (tiresome) dreams and Theon is led in a big circle back to his torturers, after having given up yet more info (he still sees Ned Stark as his father but was never really part of the clan). Then there's Arya, Gendry and the Hound taken to the cave where the Brotherhood without Banners hangs out. Turns out they're followers of this new Lord of Light, and Beric from season one will be fighting Clegane to see who's right.
Now onto the biggest stories. First, beyond the Wall, we get the Crows, starving and unhappy. They forget about any vows they ever made and kill Craster. If that's not enough, they kill Commander Mormont. In the bloodshed and confusion, Samwell runs off with Gilly and her baby.
Then there's Brienne and the recently behanded Jaime. Locke and his men taunt and hurt him, and he seems to have lost the will to live. (Locke is pretty calm about this--he needs Jaime alive.) But Brienne has a new-found respect for the Kingslayer, as he saved her life when he didn't need to. I have to believe the two will turn the tables on Locke, but there sure is a lot of pain on the way.
Finally, in the big story, Daenerys finally makes her move in Astapor. We all saw it coming, but it was still pretty glorious. She trades her dragon for the Unsullied, except a Dragon isn't a slave to be traded. Instead, she uses her soldiers to bring down the slaving city and the dragon to burn Kraznys. (And by the way, she can speak Valyrian.) After the carnage, she offers the slaves their freedom, but really, what are they gonna do but follow her? So she's got two of the best advisors around, Jorah and Barristan. She's got three dragons, the atomic bombs of the day. And she's got 8000 powerful, devoted soliders. Just give her the Iron Throne now.
Oh, I also checked out the latest Once Upon A Time
. It wants to be Lost
, but it's turned into Heroes
. The backstory is so complicated no one can follow it, including the writers, so the characters turn on a dime to fit whatever is required of them in the scene, no matter how stupid this means they act. And whenever there's a plot problem, the producers just pluck a new character from the world of public domain fiction. This week was Robin Hood (who lives in the same forest with the Seven Dwarfs--can't say I like that).