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Spoiler Alert Thursday

They cancel “Human Target,” renew “House,” and give us this? Fox must really hate its audience.

In case it wasn’t clear, I really don’t like that woman.

At least the CW had the good sense to renew “Supernatural,” cancel “Hellcats,” and give us another 22 nearly identical episodes of “Nikita.” Because CW gives its audience what it wants, here are some backstage hijinks at the “Supernatural” set–Dean about to ingest Castiel’s “weapon of heaven.” For the fan-girls and fan-boys, of course.

I don’t understand how, but io9 claims that HP Lovecraft will figure in one of this week’s two “Supernatural” episodes.

With respect to new episodes this week, the “NCIS” season finale was a steaming pile–but it was nice to see Jack from “Dawson’s Creek” pull some sweet gymnastics moves when in cuffs. Likewise, “The Killing” was also a steaming pile, but that is to be expected. What is not to be expected–but apparently true–is that the show will most likely be renewed for a second season. Unbelievable. In case you were wondering, “The Office” is funnier without Michael. But everyone knew this or at least should have.

But all this is beside the point. The only thing you care about, dear readers, is what I thought about the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones.” In short, it was fantastic: we finally got a full episode of that violence we’ve all been waiting for–and our first taste of man-on-man sex. The most awesome part of the episode was when Tyrion beat a man to death with a shield. It wasn’t clear, however, why they were ambushed by dirty men throwing rocks in the first place. The creepiest part of the episode was when the eight year old Robin Arryn was feeding from his absolutely insane mother’s breast. The worst part was when The Mountain executed his horse after losing at the tournament. (And then freaked out more, attacking the un-armed Knight of Flowers who was subsequently defended by The Hound, who seemed happy to have the opportunity to possibly kill his older brother.) It must be hard being Jaime Lannister: bring an entire platoon of troops to take on a middle-aged man, Jorry, and two guards and you only win the fight because one of your men stabs Ned in the back of the leg with a spear during your duel–and, not that it matters to a man of your stature or wealth, but that middle aged man also kills a bunch of your guards.

What we learnt: Ser Hugh, the former squire of John Arryn and now deceased, was most likely the poisoner, although it remains unclear as to who is behind the plot–the Lannisters, Lord Varys, or someone else entirely. That Robert has a whole army of bastards around King’s Landing. The bastards in themselves are likely not significant, but, rather, their features: they all have dark hair and similar facial features. This sets the bastards apart from Joffrey, the heir to the throne, who is likely Lannister on both sides (as are likely the rest of his “legitimate” children). When Robert dies, the whole kingdom will fall apart: it is only “his fat body holding it all together.” There are a number of obvious successors: Joffrey, the presumed heir but who is likely illegitimate and thus has no claim to the throne; Renly, the younger brother of Robert, who is third in line but has the support of his lover, the Knight of Flowers and his family’s wealth which is said to rival that of the Lannisters; Stannis, the eldest of Robert’s brothers; and, of course, the crazy albinos, but especially, Daenerys Targaryen. Based upon Theon Greyjoy, we should expect his family to seek independence and given that the Starks–presumably Robb because Ned is unlikely to live long–seem to have no interest in the throne or in Southern politics, that they too will claim independence.

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May 19, 2011 - Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays

13 Comments

  1. Have you read the books? Because that was an uncanny prediction of future events…

    Comment by Tom Elrod | May 19, 2011

  2. They’re renewing House… but without Cuddy. I am the last House fan on earth, but even I am skeptical of the need for another season, particularly without one of the main characters. Even moreso, I’m worried they’re going to “resolve” House’s character in a stupid way — like introducing some new character he falls in love with and by the end of the season she’s pregnant and he embraces normal domesticity, etc.

    As for this season, I feel like it went moderately well. The finale, with House’s self-surgery, may well count as “the most shocking episode ever.”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | May 19, 2011

  3. “most shocking…” until the next on!

    GoT: if Daenerys doesn’t lead an invasion finding herself content with blissful domesticity in a Dothraki horse-skin teepee, then that will be a major let down because why bother with all the dragon stuff? No dragons, no point. The only lines Theon gets are either to make fun of Jon or to talk about the spirit of independent rebellion embodied in his people. Renly clearly wants to be king and now that his lover has shaved his chest, pits and presumably everywhere else, he has a bank to finance his claim. Joffrey also clearly wants to be king and he is basically insane and has a pile of money–ideal qualifications for the crown. But, of course, he looks like Draco Malfoy which means he must be the product of incest. Meanwhile, Ned has been spending all his time looking at Robert’s bastard and must have noticed that their features and Joffrey’s features are nothing alike. Plus, Robert clearly likes fucking with people–especially Lannisters–and what would be a funnier joke than to leave no legitimate heirs. Lastly, Ned is a man of what passes for honor in their world. He has no option but to support the only legitimate claim to the throne, which would be Robert’s other brother. And men of honor tend not live long. Doing the right thing is a good way to do. Which brings us to Robb, who clearly hates the Lannisters but who also clearly has no interest in the politics of the other kingdoms, leaving him in a position of 1 relative freedom post feud with Lannisters (after Ned’s fight there is no option but feud) and 2 holding the balance of power. Long term prediction: even if Robb wants to be king, he will have to turn his attention north because there is no one else to stop those pale freaky monsters from beyond the wall–the Black Watch is clearly not presently prepared to stop an invasion if monsters.

    Plus, I called Ned’s death in the episode after arriving at King’s Landing. And I called Joffrey as clearly inbred a few episodes ago. This is a soap opera about succession– so it isn’t about parents, but children. It’s all there–it isn’t necessary to have read the books to see what is plainly obvious. I’ve only made it to the equivalent of halfway through the second episode in the book.

    Comment by Craig | May 19, 2011

  4. I think we have five or six episodes of Fringe on our DVR and there were a couple we missed that are no longer available online (or at least at the website my wife was on). At this point, catching up kind of feels like a chore and this is basically how we end up giving up on shows. It happened with In Plain Sight, Bones, Pushing Daisies, and others I’m forgetting I’m sure.

    I would actually be fine with just dumping our whole DVR queue because between the backlog and baseball games, it’s impacting my wife’s desire to get back to watching The Wire.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | May 19, 2011

  5. “Joffrey, the heir to the throne, who is likely Lannister on both sides”

    “This is a soap opera about succession– so it isn’t about parents, but children.”

    Thank you. Thank you. I feel stupid.

    Although there might be other ways to describe it, as in “sins of the fathers etc”, this helps a lot. GoT is about something.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | May 19, 2011

  6. Hope you weren’t being sarcastic, Bob. Sins of the fathers might work–after all, there remains the plot involving Jon Snow’s mother: what if she is a lady in one of the great houses? And Tyrion gives the impression that other than an allowance, he isn’t really part of the official structure of the Lannister family because “all dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes.” (I don’t know or can’t remember if Jaime or Tyrion is the elder son and, thus, who is the heir.)

    Plus, it better be about dragons, at least eventually.

    Comment by Craig | May 19, 2011

  7. 6:No sarcasm. I guess I shouldn’t feel sorry for Joffrey.

    I don’t think it is central to the plot, but I am presuming that a lot of people understand about Joffrey, like Tyrion and Robert, but a) can’t prove it, and b) can’t guess what would happen were it to become public, as in Jaime has already stabbed one king in the back, and c) the other heirs suck.

    Looks like the Iron Throne must always be taken by violence, and this even makes me a little sympathetic to the Lannisters.

    People were complaining that Ceirse and Robert were too friendly in their scene together, and now I agree.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | May 19, 2011

  8. Hell, I’m even a little sympathetic to the “Mad King.” Damn honourable Starks are a pain in the ass, and their conscience doesn’t keep the peace. See the abduction of Tyrion.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | May 19, 2011

  9. I’m not convinced that Catelyn’s decision to detain Tyrion was due to entirely noble motives. But then, sometimes honor demands vengeance. She didn’t think through the evidence presented to her: viz., that the dagger in question belonged to Tyrion therefore Tyrion was behind the murder plot. Tyrion clearly disproves this when he points out that a murderer wouldn’t use a weapon easily tracked back to him. (But then, Tyrion is smart; why not use a weapon of his own and then use the reasonable defense that he would never use his own weapon–but then, Tyrion also lacks motive: his life is likely to be unaffected if the incest is made public and he would likely really enjoy it.) Tyrion’s decision to protect Catelyn at the ambush rather than trying to escape also points to his innocence… but then, it also makes a good strategy if you are guilty.

    The madness of the Mad King remains unknown at this point. All that we know is that the people who overthrew him deemed him to be mad. Robert’s own policies do not seem to be especially sane: bankrupting the state, bleeding the Lannisters dry, leaving a bunch of bastards all over the place, and having no legitimate heirs. All he wants to do is drink, fuck and fight.

    That Joffrey is a weak lunatic is pretty obvious, as demonstrated by his temper tantrum after Arya beat him up and then his grand plan to get revenge on the Starks because a wolf bit him in the arm. Cersei even understands that Joffrey would likely make a bad king and she needs to position herself as the actual power with Joffrey as figurehead. Obviously, its good to have Jaime in your corner: clearly a good warrior who isn’t afraid to kill kings. Whether to the two Baratheon brothers would be bad kings is indeterminate: Stannis has only been referred to (as far as I can recall) and Renly hasn’t really done anything. Given the options, the best deal is likely in Daenerys who is learning to rule–and potentially armed with dragons.

    My interpretation of the Cersei/Robert scene was that they both knew and understood that the present arrangement is not going to last long one way or another–in part because Cersei is possibly working to destroy it–and that Robert’s death will cause severe problems. There is no harm in them being frank and honest with one another. Even people who don’t like each other can get along from time to time.

    Comment by Craig | May 19, 2011

  10. Craig,

    Clearly, it’s all there for astute viewers to piece together. I guess I’m just generally bad at predicting future narrative turns and thus am usually a sucker when it comes to plot, and am impressed with those who aren’t so easily duped. This may also explain why I often leave a movie thinking I rather enjoyed, only to realize, upon further examination, that is was rubbish. (This happened, for example, when I saw The Matrix sequels.)

    Comment by Tom Elrod | May 20, 2011

  11. Enjoyment is immediate; reflection upon that enjoyment is not. No wonder reflection often destroys or undermines that original enjoyment. This is the “you had to be there phenomenon”–something seems hilarious in the moment, you repeat it later to someone else, it isn’t funny and then you realize, “Objectively, this was not funny.”

    The episodes thus far of GoT have largely been ginormous info-dumps. Hopefully the king will die soon and the action will begin–killing by “hunting accident” seems to be a time-tested method in Westeros (c.f., Sam Tarly at The Wall) and Robert really does like to hunt. Multiple poisonings would stick out too much. As to who will win the wars of succession, I cannot predict that nor can I predict who, beyond Ned and Robert, will die this season–and that prediction is only possible on the basis that it is structurally necessary that they both die.

    Comment by Craig | May 21, 2011

  12. The early episodes of Boardwalk Empire seemed like infodumps as well. Presumably HBO has market research indicating that people love info and want it dumped.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | May 22, 2011

  13. Pedant alert!

    “Cf.” stands for one word, “confer”, so there should be a period only after the “f”, not after the “c” as well.

    Comment by ben | May 22, 2011


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