Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Judgment Day

A lot of people deciding others' fates on Game Of Thrones this week.  And they're madder than usual on Mad Men.

"The Laws Of God And Men" is episode six of the season, and we get to Tyrion's trial, but that's at the end.  We start with Stannis and Davos sailing to Braavos to meet the leaders of the Iron Bank.  This isn't just any bank--king's rise and fall at their command.  Right now the Lannister's owe them a lot of gold, but are they a good risk?  Yet Stannis hardly has the manpower to take the kingdom back.  Unless he gets the backing of the Bank.

It's not looking good for the two, until Davos makes a speech reminding the bankers not only is Stannis the rightful king, but the Lannisters aren't going to last much longer. When Tywin goes--and that could happen any day--what will they do?  Tommen isn't ready, and Jaime and Cersei and Tyrion have so many flaws the place will fall apart.  He gets the money and Stannis is back in business.

Over in the North, Yara, pissed off at Bolton's Bastard, invades, planning to take back Theon. But there's no Theon, there's only Reek. She leaves. Her brother is dead to her. As a reward for his loyalty, Ramsay gives Reek a bath.  Turns out he needs him for his next mission--to impersonate Theon Greyjoy.  Interesting. (Theon has a certain sort of madness, but I do look forward to the day he becomes a man again--as much as possible, considering--and, I hope, kills his torturer.)

Over in Meereen, Dany has taken up residence as Queen.  She's hearing supplicants. Hundreds of them. Dragons do a lot of damage, after all.  Then some guy with a fancy name--I could look it up, but it's fancy enough that he may become a regular--demands to be allowed to give his father burial rites.  His father was one of the masters of Meereen crucified by Dany. (Barristan warned her about this.)  I thought we were gonna have a reverse-angle Antigone, but Dany actually complies.  A bit surprising.

Though the bigger question is just what will she do in Meereen. Her place is attacking King's Landing.  Speaking of which, we go to the Small Council (including Mace Tyrell and Prince Oberyn), where they're aware of Dany's exploits, and they're finally taking her seriously.  I told her last week not to stick around--she should at least be a moving target.  While we're at it, the Hound's been spotted (though no one knows he's with Arya) and Tywin raises the reward.  Let's hope we see how this affects him next week, since we didn't get our favorite odd couple this time around.

But, after a quick talk between Oberyn and Varys about what's important, it's time for the trial.  Jaime brings his brother--in chains--into the throne room.  And we get loads of anti-Tyrion testimony from everyone who hates him, which means just about everyone.  Even Varys, who allegedly cares about Tyrion.  Certainly Cersei does.  And they can all remember every nasty thing the Imp said about Joffrey.

Jaime is horrified his brother is being railroaded. So he makes a deal with dad, which was probably Tywin's plan in the first place. Tyrion will be found guilty, beg for mercy, and be allowed to take the black. But that also means Jaime quits the Kingsguard, goes to Casterly Rock and raises a bunch of little Lannisters to keep the line going. (I don't believe this show has ever been to Casterly Rock, and somehow I don't think Jamie's ever gonna get there.)

The trial continues and Tyrion, reassured by Jaime, seems willing to go along with the plan. But there's one more witness.  Shae. Oh yeah, we forgot all about her.  But we all knew she never got away.  Apparently, she's been gotten too--probably by Cersei, or maybe Tywin.  As part of some unholy deal, she lies about how Tyrion and Sansa conspired to kill Joffrey (as if they needed more evidence), and also talks about how she was paid as Tyrion's whore to do whatever he said.  Or is Shae still pissed that Tyrion gave her the kiss-off?

Either way, Tyrion doesn't like any of this one bit.  And here's where we get our mad man. He tells everyone how he saved King's Landing, and now he's sorry. He's even sorry he didn't kill Joffrey, but he did enjoy his death.  Somehow I don't think this is the confession Tywin wanted.  And then he pulls the strategy out of his back pocket that worked once in the Vale--trial by combat, which apparently anyone can ask for (and why wouldn't they if they know they can't win otherwise?).  But who will be his champion. Jaime's not ready, so will it be Bronn again?  Maybe, though Bronn's got a lot more to lose this time, and you know whoever the Crown gets to pick will be a tough customer.  And that's where the show ends.  The real trial, I'd guess, starts next episode.

Mad Men this week was "The Runaways," but who does that mean?  A lot of people in this show are running away from something or other.

The show starts oddly, with Stan discovering a comic strip Lou is drawing--Scout's Honor.  It soon becomes an office joke.  Meanwhile, Peggy is bossing Don around, and Don is taking it.  What's happened to you, Peggy?  And Ginsberg is being driven crazy by the new IBM. He's ranting. (I've been wondering what's happened to Ginzy.  Not that long ago he seemed to be writing more than half the agency's copy.)

Don gets a call from Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece. She's grown up, and out--she pregnant.  And in Hollywood.  He offers help.  She can stay with Megan and he'll fly up that day (it's Friday).

There's a Betty/Henry/Sally/Bobby plot, but I think it was weak enough that we'll skip over it.

Lou finds out the gang knows about his efforts, and blows up in a meeting. Everyone has to stay late--even Don. That'll learn 'em.  Don works hard and asks for time off early, but jerky Lou won't let him.  Then when it's too late Lou reschedules the meeting for Monday. (Has there ever been a less appealing character?)

Megan takes in Stephanie and they seem to hit it off. But then Megan gets a bit jealous--young, beautiful, and knows all about Don.  Megan cuts her a check for a grand and tells her to take a hike.  Don gets there on Saturday and Stephanie is gone.

Back at the office, Ginberg is working over the weekend.  The computer sound is driving him crazy.  He goes out to see it and there are Lou and Jim, conspiring.  Last week's episode was "The Monolith," but here's the great 2001 parody, as Ginsberg looks back and forth at the soundless lips of the two men talking, feeding his growing paranoia.  That night he drops in on Peggy to work there where it's quieter. He's going over the edge.  A bit later he makes a play for Peggy.  She fights him off, and he leaves.

Over in LA, Don's feeling out of place at Megan's party when who should drop by but Harry (with a woman). He's actually glad to see him, and they split for a bar. Once there, Harry admits the wheels are in motion to force Don out.  Lou and Jim and hoping to get a big cigarette account, and since Don has famously said he won't work for cigarettes (in a purely cynical move), he'd have to go.  Interesting.  Don later returns and goes to bed--where he gets involved in a threesome with Megan and her gal pal Amy.

Back at the office on Monday, Ginsberg comes to Peggy's office, ready to apologize.  He's brought a gift.  His nipple, which he cut off.  He's had a psychotic break.  He's carted off--either to Bellevue or The Unsullied.

I'm wondering, with Ginsberg gone, does the agency need Don more?  In any case, Don has his own plan, breaking into a secret meeting with Jim, Lou (creating another threesome) and the cigarette guys. He makes a pitch--full of promise of what a good job he can do, and a threat that there are other potential cigarette clients.  He leaves the building, getting Lou and Jim a taxi.  Jim isn't thrilled, but I say score one for Draper.  We're close to the end of the half-season--is a battle for control shaping up?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more time, as a recent reader of the later GOT books (which I genuinely liked), I am really enjoying this season. I have a vague sense (I think) but really don't know what's coming. OK I probably still would've liked it fine if the books were strictly adhered to as well but this is like watching an exciting reinvention.

Also just to compare the reading versus the watching experience- due to the more compressed time frame, its probably easier to deal with new characters and situations- in long discursive books which are designed to draw you in and immerse you in a world, introducing new characters and situation and back stories can be difficult and frustrating- you have to basically start a new book and learn about new people and back stories after spending the last 20 hours with the main characters. Even if you eventually like it, it can really slow you down. TV and movies have the same issue but unless a whole season gets hijacked, the whole set up is done and over with comparatively quickly.

7:12 AM, May 14, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

The TV show has established a huge cast of characters--for a TV show, anyway. But they can't expand forever. You've got to keep up on the favorites (and occasionally kill a few) and only introduce a few new regulars each season or the show wouldn't be possible to follow.

The books may have the time to introduce, say, the history of Dorne or the Iron Islands, but we don't have the time here. And so if the show gets further and further away from the books, that's not only necessary, it's a good thing.

11:18 AM, May 14, 2014  
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4:17 AM, July 08, 2016  

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