Goals for Summer 2017

Intros are stupid. Lets get down to business:

1) Get a quality tan.

Yes, I know. I said this before. But this time I’m serious. Remember that time I got a sunburn in the middle of the winter thanks to the light from my bedroom window? Well I’m already starting to use that to my advantage. Plus I’ve been vacuuming the pool on a near daily basis, and I’ll be visiting the beach next weekend. So mark my words: by the end of this summer, people are going to be mistaking me for a giant leather glove. I guarantee it.

2) Finish writing that book

I’m not going to tell you what it’s about until I finish it, but rest assured, it’s the Next Great American Novel. Or more accurately, it’s the Next Great YA Trilogy. 

I know what you’re thinking: do we really need another YA trilogy?

The answer is yes. We need exactly one more.

3) Confront my inner demons

This is a hard one, but a must. 

4) Watch all the TV shows and movies

There are so many good shows out there that I need to catch up on. Orange is the New Black, Veep, Game of Thrones, Curb your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mr. Robot, Doctor Who. And then there’s upcoming movies like Dunkirk, Spiderman: Homecoming, and uh, that’s kind of it. I’m excited for Stephen King’s It, but that won’t be until September.

I don’t know if anyone’s gone out and said this definitively, but yeah: television is better than movies. A TV is like a novel and movies are short stories. And sure, short stories are cool and everything, but War and Peace would not have been the classic it is today if it were written at forty pages. This is airtight logic I’m using here, so don’t bother questioning it.

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5) Go to some sort of amusement park

Did I ever tell you about my field trip in senior year of high school? The one where a hundred students in my class went to Six Flags in New Jersey, and they closed the place at eight o’clock so that it was only us and a couple other schools in the park?

Well it was awesome. We went on every single roller coaster in the park, and the lines ranged from short to nonexistent. There wasn’t even a line for Kingda Ka, and there’s always a line for Kingda Ka. The best was going on El Toro not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not five times, but six times in a row, because there was nobody else in line. 

I understand that unless I have enough money to close out the whole park, the lines are never going to be this short again. I’m going to actually have to wait, like some sort of peasant. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I just to want to go on another ride that’s high enough for me to see the curve of the earth.

6) Read more often

Not gonna lie, I have not been reading as much as I should’ve lately. I blame TV and movies, for being more immersive while also requiring less imagination. No wonder people are reading less. Look what books have to compete with! (Don’t click on that.)

7) Be better with money

I have a tendency to waste money on food, and while yes, I do need food to live, there are a lot of more cost-efficient ways for me to go about this. Like I could get into the habit of cooking at home, or I could start mooching off my parents more. Whichever’s easier.

I also waste money on non-food items, like that $99 premium option for WordPress that has yet to pay off. Or those walkie talkies that I haven’t even used. (“Just use your phone!”) So I’ll try my best to stick to a budget.

8) Continue resisting the urge to shoplift every time I’m stuck in a long line.

The other day I was at a store called Leslie’s Pool Supplies, buying a pair of goggles. There was only one cashier in the store, and after ten minutes of waiting, the line had barely moved an inch. I look at the exit and see there’s no anti-theft scanners by the exit, and I think to myself: I could totally get away with stealing these goggles. After all, I don’t see any cameras, and none of the other employees are paying attention. Plus it’s just a pair of goggles, costs $8.99. It’s a victimless crime!

But I did not shoplift that day. Because as I recall, one of the ten commandments states the following:

THALL SHALL NOT STEAL GOGGLES FROM LESLIE’S POOL SUPPLIES

I’m paraphrasing of course, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it said. I’m almost positive, in fact, that those were the exact words.

I’ve had this urge before, but I never followed through, and I hope to continue not-following through for the rest of my days. Unless I decide to become a gritty antihero. In that case I’ll be stealing all the goggles I can get my hands on. 

9) Get beta readers

By the end of the summer, at least, I should be getting some of these. I was hoping to have a finished book to send to people last year, but I’ll settle for this August. Hopefully late July.

Let’s just say, I’m a little nervous. I’ve had people critique my work before, but only short stories or individual chapters. I’ve never had a whole book — especially one as important to me as this one — be critiqued before, and I am concerned. I’ll do it, sure, but it’s going to be a very stressful process.

10) Have at least one of my preferred political candidates win an election

Excuse me if I sound bitter, but every single election I’ve paid attention to thus far has gone in the exact opposite direction I’d hoped. In 2008 I wanted McCain to win. In 2012 I wanted Romney to win. I actually started paying attention to politics around 2015 and in 2016 I rooted for Bernie. He lost. Then for Hillary, who lost.

I’ve since been paying attention to the smaller, special elections going on, like the one in Montana, where the Republican candidate assaulted a reporter the day before. I thought, “the guy committed a violent crime, on tape. Surely that’s a deal-breaker for most voters.”

But Montana has a tradition of early voting, so a good portion of the population voted before that whole shebang took place. As for the rest of them? Well, partisanship is strong. And body-slamming is pretty cool. I mean, look at this shit:

 wrestling aamir khan dangal body slam mahavir singh phogat GIF

(no but seriously, that whole thing was very depressing.)

Today, there’s a special election going on in Georgia, between Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R). By the time this is published, the results may be available, but as of now I’m still waiting for results, and I’m really hoping Ossoff wins. Mainly because 1. the attack ads against him have been all kinds of messed up, 2. the democrats could really use a win right now, 3. I like his policies, and 4. I’m not a fan of Karen’s.

I know this race doesn’t affect me directly, and there’s nothing I can do to change the results, but I’m including it as one of my goals anyway because it feels important. Plus, I needed to finish this list with something, and this was the only thing my brain could think up. Go Ossoff!

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So what are your goals for this summer? Or are you a normal person who doesn’t have goals for arbitrary periods of time? Either way, feel free to comment below. 

In Which My Procrastination Reaches Worrying New Heights

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Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. You see, I decided to buckle down on serious writing a few months ago, so I promised myself I wouldn’t blog about anything until I finished a complete manuscript. The bright side: I wrote sixty-four thousand words thus far. The not-so-bright side: I hit a wall. A big, ugly, brick wall that I have not been able to chisel my way through.

(Is that an overused metaphor? I feel like it is.)

So I came back to the same mistake I always make: I switched to another project.

I’ve found that the hardest part of a novel is not the beginning, or the end, or even the middle. The hardest part is that area before the climax, where everything has to be set up just right. Beginnings, meanwhile, are nice and easy. That’s the part where the readers have no idea what to expect, so you could just throw shit at them and they won’t even mind as long as it’s interesting.

To be fair to myself, at least this time the project I switched to was the sequel, instead of some unrelated story about identical twins selling gum, or about a group of kids who go back in time and are chased by evil time-travelling mercenaries with flimsy motives.

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been doing so far this summer, in my pursuit of not writing:

  • I signed up for the premium option on WordPress. It may be a waste of money, or it may not, but hey, I can get a full refund within the next twenty-nine days. So here’s hoping I don’t forget.
  • I switched the theme of this blog again. What does everyone think? I like it, but there’s no way to put in a side-bar. If someone wants to read an old post of mine, how will they find it? I’ll try and figure that out. 
  • I’m back at McDonald’s again, mainly working the late nights. I’ve been doing a lot of 7 PM to 3 AM shifts, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, after seven  o’clock is where you get the most freedom at the job; you could snag all the fries you want and no one will care. But on the other hand, I do hate going to bed past three and waking up around noon every day. But on my third, grossly deformed hand: the seven to three shift goes by much faster than any other shift, because there’s so much to do and less people to do it. That sounds like a negative but it’s not. The more there is to do, the faster time flies.
  • I started watching American Gods, which has been amazing so far. I remember hearing that the show would go on for five seasons and I thought, “how could they stretch out one book for that long?” but it turns out I’m a fool for questioning the writers, because they’ve done a terrific job. 10/10, would watch again.
  • I also got into It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is kind of like Seinfeld, in that it follows a group of self-centered assholes who never learn from their mistakes. It’s hysterical, but Danny DeVito hasn’t even shown up yet. Where is he? I was told he’d be here.

Anyway, hello again, and thank you to those who’ve stuck around all these years. You’re the best. I know I haven’t been the most consistent blogger, but I do hope to get back into the swing of things here. At the very least, I hope you enjoy it while it lasts.

A Quick Recap of Doctor Who: Season Eight

With the ninth season (series?) of Doctor Who just around the corner, I’d say now would be a good time for me to help you get up to speed, so when Saturday, September 19th comes along, you won’t be thinking, “Who’s this guy with the weird eyebrows?” or “how come that blue box thingy is so big on the inside?”

Of course, you could just rewatch it all on your own, but I think it would be easier for all involved if you just read what I have to say, as I sum up each of the season eight episodes for your benefit:

Deep Breath

The season opens with an implausibly large dinosaur wreaking havoc among Victorian London. Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax (Strax!) are there, and not a single person seems to notice/nor care about Vastra or Strax’s appearance. The show just sort of expects us to go along with it, and I for one have no problem doing so.

The dinosaur coughs up the Tardis, and when the Paternoster Gang opens it up they find a brand new Doctor, who is acting slightly crazier than usual. Due to a ridiculous chain of events involving daleks, a time crack thingy and a new regeneration cycle, the Doctor has changed into his twelfth face. (Technically his thirteenth, but who’s counting?)

“Here we go again,” said Vastra, in a suitably ominous manner.

The rest of the episode can be broken into three separate plots. Plot one follows the Doctor finding out who he is. As a result the character’s pretty wacky for most of the episode. It’s not until the scene right before he may/may not have thrown that dude off the skin balloon that we get to see who he is really is.* Storyline 2 revolves around Clara’s character arc, where she suddenly develops a personality, which was practically unheard of at the time. She is given flaws and problems outside the doctor and she actually, like, grows as a person. Crazy, right?

Storyline 3 (the main one) is all about the mystery of who’s stealing body parts, and I thought it was reasonably well done. Especially the scene in the restaurant with those machine thingies. I don’t think I even breathed during that entire segment.

The episode ends with the mysterious appearance of this woman named Missy. I immediately assume that she’s the female version of the Master, but then dismiss that theory because that would be way too obvious.

*Oh, who am I kidding, he definitely threw that guy off the skin balloon. Classic Twelve, am I right?

Into the Dalek

This was the episode in which we realize just how much of a douche this new Doctor is. “Top layer if you want to say a few words,” was my favorite quote.

We were also introduced to Danny Pink in this episode, and from the moment he and Clara met you could just tell the two of them were going to fall in love. Not because of their amazing chemistry, (har!) but because now that Clara and the Doctor can no longer be a thing, she’s going to need another love interest to make googly eyes over. There’s also this wonderful over the top scene in which a student asks Danny if he ever killed someone, and Danny just sort of stands there as a single, perfect tear falls artfully down his cheek as sad music plays in the background.

I think it’s safe to say that Danny killed someone at one point.

Episode rating: 8.5/10

Robots of Sherwood

Like any Mark Gatiss episode, you can just tell the writers were high when they penned this script. It involved Robin Hood, a bunch of robot people, and an ending involving a golden arrow that made a million viewers all raise a sceptical eyebrow at the same time.

Coleman, who’s been killing it all season IMHO, rocks it again in this episode. Capaldi also rocks it. The guy playing Robin Hood was pretty chill as well.

Episode rating: 7/10

Listen

This was the first Moffat episode that had nothing to do with the season’s arc since The Beast Below, and it was a reminder of just how great he could be when he limits himself to a forty minute, self-contained story.

This episode wasn’t just terrifying and thought-provoking. It was important, despite having little to no future ramifications. It went further back into the Doctor’s past than we’ve ever gone before (I think), and it did so in a way that deepened his character and made perfect sense given everything we knew. It was also, like, really cool.

And I know I complain about Clara a lot (why has she not left yet?), but she was absolutely terrific here. Listen was one of the rare episodes in which she felt like a fleshed out human being, and as a result I was hooked on her every move. Everything she said, every facial expression she made was on point. It makes me upset that Clara was rarely as well written as she was here, because I know Jenna Coleman’s fantastic in the role.

This was a very controversial episode, by the way, and there are many varying different opinions on it throughout the fandom, all of which are perfectly valid. That being said, my opinion is 100% correct and anyone who disagrees with me is a bumbling buffoon.

Episode Rating: 9.9/10. (A tenth of a point is taken off due to the fact that later events in the season have made Orson Pink’s very existence a plot hole, not that I really care.)

Time Heist

My word count is almost at a thousand and I’m not even close to done yet, so I’m going to have speed things up a bit.

Time Heist was a fun, twisty episode, with reasonably interesting side characters and a plausible ending. I am a little bugged at just how easy this bank was to infiltrate. (Why are the vents so big?!)

Episode Rating: 8/10.

The Caretaker

This was the episode in which my enthusiasm for the season started to falter. It’s here that we get the start of that horrifically contrived Danny-Doctor conflict (ugh) and that scene in which Danny saves the day with a ridiculous somersault flip.

On the bright side, we were properly introduced to Courtney, who everyone on the internet seems to hate, but not me. She was rad, guys.

Episode Rating: 5.5/10. 

Kill the Moon

This was a strange episode, in that it went from great to absolutely horrible and back again, sometimes within minutes of each other. 

The great:

I loved how Clara went off at the Doctor near the end. It was a long time coming, that scene was. Also, the first half of the episode was very tense, and it gave me some Interstellar vibes, despite the fact that I hadn’t actually seen Interstellar until just a few weeks ago.

The horrible:

The entire concept, from the problem (the moon is an egg?) to the solution, (it turns into a dragon, which then immediately lays another egg that’s exactly the same size and shape as the moon), was just terrible. I know a lot of suspension of disbelief is required for this show, but this was too much.

Episode rating: 6/10

Mummy on the Orient Express

Loved this episode. The plot was tense and well done, and the character-work between Clara and the Doctor was great. The idea of having the timer shown on screen was genius.

Well, it wasn’t genius, but I’m glad they decided to do it.

My only quibble with the episode was that there should have been one between this and Kill the Moon, in which the Doctor travels alone for a little while. To have Clara say, “I never want to travel with you again!” at the end of one episode, only to immediately be seen traveling with him in the next, seems a bit cheap. I got over it pretty quickly though, so . . . *shrugs.*

Episode rating: 9/10.

Flatline

Twas a fun episode, and a great one for Clara, and it was only hampered by a bunch of one dimensional, kind of boring side characters. But we also got a tiny tardis, so all its flaws are forgiven.

Episode rating: 8.5/10

In the Forest of the Night

This episode was so bad that after watching it, I immediately drove to the nearest beach and just stared at the horizon for a few days, contemplating the meaning of my existence.

Episode rating: 2/10

Dark Water

Danny dies in the dopiest way possible, and Clara goes to extreme lengths to save him. “I’m in love with Danny Pink,” she says, and I just roll my eyes. I mean, if the show wants me to believe that she was really in love with him then sure, I’ll play along, but it would help if they had some sort of chemistry, or if I had felt anything at all when the two of them were together. (The only time I could remember actually enjoying their relationship was in Listen, and it was all downhill after that.)

The rest of the episode, however, was suitably dark and creepy, and the reveal of the cybermen would’ve been gasp-worthy had the internet not spoiled it weeks before. And that whole concept of people feeling what happens to them after they die was wonderfully disturbing. So disturbing, in fact, that I genuinely found myself wondering what type of effect this could have on the emotional well-being of the children watching it.

Episode Rating: 9/10.

Death in Heaven

So now that Missy’s in the middle of taking over the world with her cyberman, (Oh yeah, Missy is the Master after all, by the way. Totally forgot to mention that.), it’s up to Kate Stewart and the obvious-stand-in-for-the-fans Osgood to save the day. It ends terribly, with Kate getting thrown out of a plane and Osgood being (presumably) blasted into smithereens.

But Missy is defeated in the end, the Doctor realizes he’s an idiot (about goddamn time), and Danny finally stays dead.

I gotta say, this episode would’ve been so much better if Danny wasn’t in it. Every moment he appeared was just annoying to watch. The whole time I was thinking, “just die already, you boring excuse for a character,” and I wasn’t able to truly enjoy the episode because of my (completely understandable, considering the show’s history) fear that Danny would somehow be brought back to life.

On the bright side, Clara gets an appropriate, satisfying ending in this episode. “It appears that’s the last we’ll see of Clara,” I say, starting to look forward to the show’s next companion.

Rating: 6.5/10

Last Christmas

This episode was tense and scary, but it was ultimately ruined by that obnoxious ending.

While I was a bit upset that they were bringing Clara back for another episode, I eventually warmed up to it, and I even ended up shedding a Tardis-shaped tear during the end of the episode, when it appeared that this was Clara’s final good-bye.

That was the perfect ending for Clara, but then the show stomped all over it with a “ha, just kidding! Clara’s here to stay after all!” And while I do like Clara, I think her time has finally come. 

Otherwise, I think the episode itself was really good. It was just that the ending felt so cheap, and it left such a bad taste in my mouth. 

Rating: 6.5/10

So all in all, it was a pretty up and down season. (Aren’t they all?) But I think it was one of the stronger ones, due to the fresh, interesting relationship between the two main characters that admittedly sort of stopped being fresh near the end. Sure, it had its moments of suckiness, but I think we could all agree that it was at least better than season seven. 

My Ten Favorite Shows Ever (This List is a Doozy)

I’m pretty sure I’ve done a Top Ten Shows list, but if I did it must’ve been so long ago that I have lost all recollection of it. Plus, my list has probably changed since then, so here we are.

10) Phineas and Ferb

Oh, Phineas and Ferb. Quite possibly the greatest animated show of this decade. Of course, it’s the only animated show I’ve watched in the last year, so perhaps I’m not the best judge of these things.

Anywho, this show is technically a kid’s show, but it’s so smartly-written that people of all ages can enjoy it. Not to mention how rewarding it is to long-term viewers, with the inside jokes it sprinkled into every episode. The show’s basically like a children’s version of Family Guy, except, y’know, funny.

Favorite Character: Heinz Doofenshmirtz, due to his ridiculously tragic backstory.

9) The Leftovers

People like to hate on this show, because it’s written by the guy who wrote Lost. I’m not sure I fully understand why people didn’t like Lost, but I for one loved every moment of it, so when I found out the creator of that show was making a new one I had to check it out. Plus, the trailer piqued my interest.

I mean, look at the trailer. You see people crying, sexual content, more people crying, violence, more violence, more sexual content, all while this dark-yet-groovy song plays in the background. You can tell from the trailer that this is an angry, angsty show.

A lot of people criticize it because it’s too angsty, and depressing, and they do have a point. The show can be accurately summed up as “Sad people being sad.” But I liked it anyway, because of how it portrays grief and the ways characters handle it. (Hint: they handle it badly). Plus, the acting is amazing, from every member of the cast, and not to mention, the soundtrack is glorious. 

Favorite character: Nora.

8) Scrubs

Sure, the show got way too wacky near the end, but the first four or five seasons were a near-perfect blend of comedy and drama, as far as I recall.

A lot of people think of the show as a simple, light-hearted sitcom, but it managed to get pretty damn dark at times. In one episode a main character’s best friend dies and he hallucinates about him for the entire second half. One episode was basically just two main characters sitting in a room with a terminally ill patient, giving him comfort before he died. One episode started off with a voiceover saying “Out of every three patients admitted in the ICU, one of them will die,” as the three interns are introduced to three separate loveable patients. This has the audience wondering, “hmm, I wonder which one of them will die,” up until last few minutes when all three of them die, because fuck you, viewers, statistics don’t always match perfectly with the situations given.

And yet, the show still had times for scenes like this:

Favorite character: Elliot for the first three/four seasons. Then it’s Dr. Cox.

7) Game of Thrones

This would have been in top three a month ago, but after season 5 it’s slid down a bit. Mostly due to the fact that last season was sort of terrible, in most parts. That whole Dorne storyline was a complete disaster, and Sansa in Winterfell was a huge disappointment. (I had such high hopes for that storyline, too.) Also, it’s getting too depressing, and it’s pissing me off how Ramsay is apparently some sort of unstoppable supervillain incapable of making mistakes. Not to mention the unexplained disappearance of Ser Pounce.

But hey, the first season of show was perfect, in my eyes, and the second, third and fourth seasons weren’t too shabby either. So for that it makes the list.

Favorite character: Arya Stark

6) Doctor Who

A ridiculously inconsistent show, in which you’ll have a bad episode followed by an amazing episode followed by a terrible episode followed by an okay episode. When Doctor Who is bad, it’s very, very bad. But when it’s at its best, it’s truly one of the best shows on television.

Also, it’s been around for over fifty years, so I feel like I should give it points for that.

Favorite character: The Doctor, obviously.

5) The Walking Dead

The first episode of this show was brilliant, but I feel like it was all downhill from there. Season 2 was pretty terrible, and season 3 was fun, but it wasn’t particularly well-written and ended with the most anti-climactic finale ever. But then a new showrunner took over, and while season 4 was hardly perfect and the first half of season 5 was a bit of a mess. (Why did that character die again? What was the point of that whole storyline?), by the time we got to Alexandria the show was firing on all cylinders. The story suddenly went into a completely different direction, and the results were brilliant. I love Dark Rick, and Evil Carol, and Badass Glenn, and barely-in-the-show-anymore Tara. The Walking Dead has grown a beard, I’d say. (Don’t click that.)

Favorite character: I have a soft spot in my heart for Tara, who has been my favorite since the moment she was introduced. Though I do wish she’d get more than a few lines every couple episodes. Oh well. Hopefully she isn’t eaten alive next season.

4) Lost

I feel like the reason a lot of people hate on this show was because they were only watching it for the mystery aspect. They took a show with amazing characters, storylines and themes and subtext and they watered it down to a list of questions they wanted answered. And I feel like that’s a terrible way to watch any show, especially this one.

Sure there’s a lot of mysteries, and some of them are never answered and others are answered in unsatisfactory ways, but for me the show was never about the mystery. I just wanted to see what beloved characters like Jack and Sawyer and Desmond and Claire (loved Claire for some reason) were up to, and I just wanted them to have a satisfying ending. And they did.

That’s right, the ending was in fact, a great ending. Flawed, but still great. I said it, and I will stand by that decision for the rest of my life.

Favorite character: Desmond.

Holy shit is Walt terrifying

3) Breaking Bad

The story of a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin, this is one of the rare TV shows where each season was better than the one before it. In terms of writing and cinematography, this show is pretty much flawless. I have only one complaint about the show, but I can’t get into it right now due to spoilers. (Please ask me below, so I can rant accordingly.)

Favorite character: Mike. I’d like to pet his oddly shaped head.

2) Orange is the New Black

While yes, objectively speaking, this show does not deserve a higher rank that Breaking Bad, but I’m going to give it one anyway, if only because I find the show much more enjoyable to watch, even though it gets very dark and emotional at times. BB was great and all, but it was so tense that I found it painful to watch for the majority of the show’s run. Each episode was like having an hour long minor heart attack. OitNB, meanwhile, is significantly less exhausting, while still maintaining a high quality of writing.

Oh, those glorious characters. From the heartbreaking and hilarious Crazy Eyes to the clinically insane yet still lovable Morello*, every one of the many characters on this show, characters you rarely get to see on television, are wonderful in their own way.

Favorite character: Taystee, due to her love of books.

1) The Wire

It’s amazing how a show with no soundtrack, except for that one tune they play in the final five seconds, can be my favorite show. Usually, the show’s soundtrack is the primary factor in how I pick my shows (see: #9), and yet this show has none. But that’s okay. The Wire doesn’t have a score, because it’s too busy keeping things real.

Every heartbreaking tragedy hits hard, because you know that things like this have actually happened to people and are still happening today. This is a show that can make a marker stain on someone’s couch end up being the saddest thing ever, and make a man walking up a staircase a hugely celebratory moment. The show plays with your emotions without even trying.

Other things this show has going for it:

  • Morally ambiguous characters.
  • Subtlety.
  • Ridiculously talented child actors.
  • Ridiculously talented adult actors.
  • Humor!
  • Insights on the human condition.
  • Diversity.
  • More diversity.
  • Realism.
  • Multiple storylines that interweave seamlessly.
  • Social commentary.
  • Themes.
  • Motifs.
  • Parallels.
  • Non-gratuitous violence.
  • Chris Partlow. (The most terrifying male character on television?)
  • Snoop. (The most terrifying female character on television? She shoots people with nail guns, people. Stay away.)
  • Cool camera angles.
  • Badass moments.
  • A critical look at the war on drugs.
  • A critical look on politics
  • A critical look at the education system.
  • A critical look at journalism.
  • A critical look at whatever the hell season 2 was about. (I think it was about boats, or something?)

I admit, readers, season 2 of The Wire was a bit weak compared to the rest of it, but it was still better than 90% of everything else on television.

Basically, if you could go through your life having only watched one TV show, let it be this one. Even if you’re not hooked on the first few episodes, keep watching anyway. You won’t regret it, or I’ll give you your money back.

Favorite character: Rhonda Pearlman. She was chill.

*Is there a specific reason why Morello isn’t in a mental hospital instead of a prison? She should really be getting some sort of psychiatric treatment.

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So, that’s my list. What do you think of it? What are your top ten favorite shows? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are you surprised that Sherlock isn’t there? Because I admit, by this point I’ve forgotten that show’s entire existence. What was it about again? Something about baking, I believe…

Game of Thrones: The Wars to Come: Review

Warning: There will be spoilers abound, for both this episode and any episode preceding it. In fact, there will be spoiler immediately after this warning.

However, nothing that hasn’t yet happen in the books will be spoiled, so that’s nice.

The end of season four left with a lot of questions. Where is Tyrion going to go? How will Jaime and Cercei react to their father’s death? Where oh where is Ser Pounce?

You know, Ser Pounce, Tommen’s cat, AKA the breakout star of season four?

The Wars to Come answers roughly two thirds of these questions. The episode starts off with a flashback of Cersei Lannister, played by a girl who looks more like Lena Headey than Lena Headey did at that age. She and an unnamed friend visit a surprisingly attractive witch in a hut, who as it turns out can tell the future, and it is not pretty. A younger, more beautiful woman will take her place as queen, and all three of her children will die terribly. I think. I couldn’t make that last part out. 

I like to think that Cersei went her whole life afterwards trying to convince herself that the prophecy was false. But after the events of last season, with Joffrey dead and Margaery continuing to gain power and influence, she’s now stubbornly trying to stop it from coming true. Is it a spoiler to say that there’ll be a bigger focus on Cersei’s storyline this season? Because it totally shouldn’t it be.

Is it just me, or is Tyrion completely adorable in this picture?

Meanwhile, Tyrion is stuck in what is probably the worst period of his entire life, and yet he manages to keep a somewhat good humor about it. Sort of. That whole scene with Tyrion drinking the wine, vomiting, and then pouring himself another glass is exactly the sort of black comedy you’d find on Breaking Bad. Suspiciously so, in fact. 

*puts on detective hat*

Aha! The director of this episode also directed thirty episodes of Breaking Bad. Mystery solved.

*takes off detective hat*

Tyrion and Varys talk for a while, and I just need to say, every scene where these two are together is pure gold. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be an entire season of them talking to each other on a tiny sailboat as they journey to Meereen, just the two of them.

Meanwhile, Jon is given the task to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis, in a scene I loved because it might just be the most meaningful scene Mance Rayder’s had in the entire show. Which isn’t saying much, because I feel like he’s barely been shown since his introduction. 

Also, Melisandre not-so-subtly hints that she’d like to have wild, crazy fire sex with Jon on the elevator ride up to the wall. When this happened in the books I found myself thinking, “No Jon, don’t do it! She’s evil!” But here I just shrugged and thought, “Eh, go ahead. I wouldn’t blame you.” Melisandre is one hottie with a body, if I dare say so.

Then there’s the Daenerys storyline, which might actually be my favorite one of the episode. Which is weird because as I recall from the books, her storyline in ADWD feature about seven chapters of mostly dullness followed by three chapters of epic shit happening. It appears that the show is heading towards those last three chapters (and beyond! *ominous music*) as soon as possible. 

It helps we got to see Daenerys’ actual emotions, instead of her simply acting queenly, which is all she did in season four. I think Emilia Clarke is a great actress when it comes to personal, vulnerable scenes (like when she’s talking to Daario or visiting her chained up dragons), but when she’s making grand, “badass” proclamations (I’m going to break the wheel, anyone?) I think she falls flat. 

Also, her eyebrows do not match her hair, and that’s been bugging me since season one. 

Other things of note:

—Margaery gives the most terrifying “perhaps” I’ve ever seen. I bet the moment she said that, Cersei suddenly felt a chill run through her body, though she did not know why.

—Speaking of Tyrells, I’d like to speak to whoever came up with the idea to have an exposition scene on the geography of Dorne via birthmark on Lora’s leg. Not sure I’d call it genius, but it was definitely inspired.

—Also, I find it hilarious how close Brienne and Sansa were to meeting. Poor Brienne. Oh,and poor Podrick. 

—I have no idea what Sansa and Littlefinger are up to, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

So all in all, I think this was a good premiere. It was slow, and nothing amazing happened, (Arya unfortunately never got to murder anyone this time.) but it carried a lot of promise for the season ahead. 

Rating: 7/10. Points taken off for Daenerys’ eyebrows.

So, what did you think? Did you enjoy the episode? What’s your opinion on Stannis? What wacky hijinks do you think Sam will get up to next? Is the Hound really dead? Is Tywin really dead? Is Jon really alive? Have you ever tried the sweet teas at McDonald’s? Because they’re only a dollar and eight cents and they taste surprisingly good.

Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments below. Or you could just comment on your thoughts of the episode. Or you could do neither of those things. No one’s forcing you to.

Doctor Who Series 8 Teaser Trailer: An In-Depth Analysis

I’m back everyone, and I’m healthy now, too. I’d make a bunch of excuses for my lack of posting lately*, but instead I’ll just dive straight into the teaser, pointing out all the symbolism, hidden meanings and foreshadowing that many of you less intelligent folk might’ve missed.

0:00: A pitch black screen. Is this Moffat’s way of saying that the new series will be darker and edgier than ever? If this means more Game of Thrones-esque beheadings and nudity, I hope so. Or perhaps it symbolizes the darkness inside the Doctor’s soul, which may play a major part in his journey to find Gallifrey and his ultimate decision to bring it back into the universe. Only time will tell.

0:01: Just like the Twelfth Doctor himself, the title pops up out of nowhere, for some reason. I believe this means we can expect more scary monsters to appear, which makes me optimistic for the show’s future.

0:02: Notice how the title starts out big and shrinks to a smaller, more reasonable size. This may foreshadow a decrease in the Doctor’s self-esteem. This is a brilliant, inspired piece of plotting, if you ask me.

0:04: We are shown a split second glimpse of the Doctor standing in the Tardis interior, with flames/weird lights bursting from the interior. Perhaps that’s not actually the twelfth Doctor, but The Master instead? It would explain why the Tardis doesn’t appear to be in a healthy state. Actually, there are rumors that the new companion, Danny Pink, is actually the Master in disguise, and it looks like this teaser has just confirmed it. Wow, way to give away such a major twist already, Moffat. Geez. Trailers reveal way too much these days.

0:05: Now the screen is completely blank again, almost definitely representing a companion’s death. Looks like Clara won’t make it to the ninth season, by the way things look. Killing off a major character is a bold thing to do, especially for a children’s show, but I think I like this new dark, pessimistic direction the show seems to be taking. It’s much more… sophisticated, in my humble-yet-superior opinion.

0:06: The shot keeps flickering while spooky music plays in the background, which makes me wonder: could series eight actually be a continuation of the one of the most subtle story arcs in the show’s history? Think about it: there were a lot of instances where light was shown flickering. Three times in Asylum of the Daleks and also in Blink, The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone. What do all these episodes have in common? All were written by the Moffat himself. We might have just found ourselves in a story arc starting all the back from series 3. Perhaps even earlier.

0:07: I like the clever juxtaposition of the dark, ominous background music and the happy DW logo that brings hope and joy to Whovians all over the world. Well done, Moffat. I never knew you have such a great sense of cinematic art.

0:09: Remember how River Song, back in series 5, said how the Tardis wasn’t actually supposed to make that sound—it was just the Doctor leaving the breaks on? Well, perhaps that wasn’t just some throwaway line, and actually some very subtle foreshadowing on Moffat’s part. Here we hear the Tardis sound, and we know that the Doctor is on the search for Gallifrey. Perhaps this is symbolizing that the Doctor is subconsciously stalling himself from finding his home planet? He says he wants to find it, but perhaps he is secretly afraid of what he’ll find? Man, that is deep.

0:10: There is a bright flashing light that then dissolves into the BBC One logo, that looks eerily similar to the Tardis exploding. Could this mean the show plans to revisit the events of series 5?

0:11: Now you could see “The New Doctor Lands,” while familiar, catchy music plays in the background. Notice how it says ‘lands,’ and not ‘arrives’ or ‘is back.’ Clearly, this is alluding to the Doctor landing on Gallifrey, or perhaps Earth or some other planet? Looks like we can expect to see new alien planets this series, or perhaps a Titanic themed episode. Or maybe the Slitheen are making a comeback.

0:13: Now “This August” is added. Notice how it doesn’t clarify on which series it is. This is probably because of the whole series/season** conflict, and the show runners don’t want to start a bunch of arguments in the comments that go a little like:

U.K. fan: It’s series 8, not season 8. Get it right.

American fan: Actually, this is a season. The show as a whole is what you’d call a series. Gosh, get a clue, stupid Brit.

U.K. fan: Maybe in America, where everyone is fat and lazy, but this is a British TV show, and thus should have British terms applied to it.

American fan: I’ll have you know that you British folk are almost just as bad as us when it comes to obesity rates, so you can’t really say anything there. Go drink some tea and watch Top Gear, loser.

U.K fan: Sorry, I couldn’t hear you, over the sound of our UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!!!

Sheldon: Bazinga.

So that was a wise move on Moffat’s part.

0:14: The teaser trailer ends, leaving us with quite a lot to work with. From just fourteen seconds, we now know that:

  1. The show will head in a darker direction. We can expect beheadings and nudity.
  2. A plot twist regarding the series five finale will be revealed.
  3. Amy Pond will make a return, along with the Slitheen and the exploding Tardis.
  4. This will be the most aesthetically impressive series.
  5. The Doctor will land somewhere.
  6. Series 8 will air in August.
  7. That’s it, really.

*I had mild elbow pain. You can’t possible expect me to be productive when I have mild elbow pain, can you?

**In the United States of America, and several other countries, I assume, shows are divided into seasons, and as a whole are considered series. While in the U.K. and other countries, an American season is considered a series. This causes all sorts of confusion and misunderstandings and several tragic deaths, yet both sides refuse to agree on a single term. Also, I apologize if I offended anyone with that fake argument above, but in my defense, I’ve seen several conversations on YouTube that were startlingly similar.

Also, check out Tess the Dancer’s entry for my blog party. It’s so terrible that it made me wonder whether the terribleness was actually intentional or not, and I think that was the point, so great job, Tess.

The Grammar Police

10 Reasons Not to Write a Decent Post Today

1) 24: Live Another Day is on, and there’s no way you’re missing that.
2) You’re too tired to do anything productive.
3) You’ve just discovered a life ruining new app that is so addicting, you can’t think about anything else, even if you tried.
4) You’re trying to read a thousand page epic fantasy novel (A Dance With Dragons, perhaps) as quickly as possible.
5) You have chemistry homework.
6) You have even more chemistry homework.
7) Your last post has been getting a lot of views, and you don’t want to take it out of the spotlight.
8) You’re too busy looking in the mirror and thinking “How come I’m not this beautiful all the time?” No, just me? Moving on…
9) You’re too busy planning a blog party to be scheduled this weekend or the next but can’t think of a theme. (Any ideas?)
10) You’re just that lazy.

The Five Worst Fictional Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, I decided to write a list of the five worst fictional mothers I could think of. I’m not sure why I bothered to type that last sentence, since I’m sure you’ve already figured that out from the title.

Before I begin, I should point out that unfortunately, I have yet to read/watch every single book, movie and TV show in existence, so chances are I’ll be leaving a few of them out. Feel free to comment with your list below.

Also, I didn’t bother to write a “Best Five Worst Fictional Mothers” list, because I think we all know how that would go:

  1. Molly Weasley
  2. Molly Weasley.
  3. Molly Weasley’s mother, because Molly sure didn’t get those parenting skill just by learning on the job.
  4. Molly Weasley.
  5. Molly Weasley.

Now, onto the real list:

(Caution: Spoilers for 5, 4 and 2.)

5) Lori Grimes, from The Walking Dead.

Lori gets a lot of hate from Walking Dead fans, and most of it is completely deserved. She’s whiny, inconsistent, and somehow managed to crash her car on an empty road. But that’s not important. The worst part is that she’s a comically bad mother, to the point where it became a running joke amongst the fans how she never knew where her son was. You could also blame Carl for this, since he always used to leave the house without telling anyone, but he still shouldn’t have gotten away with it so many times.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately?) once she started to improve, she died in a rather brutal, tragic way that made me forget how much I disliked her over the last two and a half seasons.

4) Brianna Barkesdale, from The Wire.

Brianna loves her son D’Angelo and will do anything for him—providing it doesn’t mess with her standard of living. And so when her son gets arrested because of his family’s drug selling shenanigans, she guilts him into agreeing to spend twenty years in prison and not rat them out. Not cool, Ma.


3) Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, and it’s TV adaptation.

Cersei loves her kids, that much is clear. But she loves them a little too much, to the point where she’s willing to forgive them (particularly Joffrey) for just about anything. I’m not one to lecture people on their parenting tactics, but if your son cuts open a pregnant cat just for teehees, you should at the very least give him a time out.

2) Margaret White from Carrie, by Stephen King.

This woman’s crazy, what with her extremely strict religious beliefs that might have been acceptable back in the puritan times, but nowadays would be considered insane. She even punishes her daughter—by locking her in a closet—for daring to get her period. (It should also be noted that she never even informed Carrie about the whole menstruation cycle to begin with, leaving her scared and confused in the girl’s locker room as everyone else made fun of her.) Her terrible parenting is what made Carrie such an outcast to begin with, and if it weren’t for her I’m sure the whole prom disaster never would’ve happened.

1) Lysa Tully from A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, and it’s TV adaptation.

She is just all types of crazy, isn’t she? She’s basically the Westeros equivalent of a helicopter parent who still breastfeeds her eight year old son. *shudders*

I like to think that if she has taken a more, shall we say, relaxed version of parenting, Robin might not had turned out as bratty, creepy or as sickly as he is now.

So what do you think? Who would you put on your “Worst Fictional Moms Ever” list? More importantly, Happy Mother’s Day.

Top Ten Things Going Through Ned Stark’s Head…

Caution: HUGE spoilers for Game of Thrones.

So I couldn’t think of anything to post that wouldn’t take a long time, so I decided to make a list partially inspired by David Letterman’s Top Ten list and partially inspired by Ned Stark getting his head chopped off.

The unfortunate thing is, we really never really got a chance to figure out what Ned was thinking right before he was beheaded. Even in the book, the whole incident was described from Arya’s point of view, which made it even more tragic, if you think about it. Luckily, I have a deep understanding of Ned Stark’s character, and I think it’s safe to say I could figure what Ned was most likely thinking. And the top ten most likely thoughts are:

*drum roll please*

10) I must admit, I did not see this coming.

9) At least my family’s safe now.

8) Perhaps I shouldn’t have trusted Littlefinger.

7) I can’t even.

6) Maybe if I quickly jerk my head away right before the sword comes down….

5) Man, I really shouldn’t have left Winterfell.

4) *humming the Game of Thones opening theme* God, that song’s catchy.

3) It’s okay. My son will avenge me.

2) Wait a minute—David Letterman’s retiring? But who’s going to replace him now? I guess I’d be okay with Craig Ferguson, but still, that sucks. And here I thought Oprah leaving was heartbreaking…

And the number one thing going through Ned Stark’s head before he lost it is…

1) The Hand of the king? Worst. Job. Ever.

Game of Thrones: First of His Name Review

(Caution: Spoilers for all Game of Thrones episodes up to this point. But none for anything that has yet to happen in the books.)

Well that was pretty satisfying, wasn’t it? While the first three seasons seemed to make a habit out of killing off all the beloved characters, this season seems to be (finally) killing off all the despicable ones. The ones we love to hate. First Polliver, then Joffrey, and now Owen Harper’s twin (Korl), Nicely Bearded Man (Locke) and the rest of those raping, baby-sacrificing mutineers. By this rate, Cersei, Ramsay, Tywin, Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, Lysa Tully, Janos Slynt, and Alliser Thorne should all be dead by the end of the season. Though I’m sure if that happens, the show will simply add a bunch of new despicable characters to the mix.

Also, poor Hodor. While Bran using him to kill Locke-the-hand-cutter-offer was a necessary—and really cool—move, it was still messed up, taking over someone’s body against their will. Hodor looked pretty damned confused and upset when Bran left his mind, and that just makes me confused and upset. Oh well, at least Bran can continue on his way to the three-eyed raven. I’m disappointed that there wasn’t a Stark reunion, but I couldn’t see how such a thing could happen without Jon taking them back to the wall, and no one wants that.

Meanwhile Lysa Tully and her son are just as warm and cuddly as they were back in season one. As in, not at all. Although I did get a good chuckle out of Lysa’s screams after the wedding, as even Sansa from her separate room could hear her. What? I’m immature.

It’s also revealed, in an extremely clunky exposition scene, that Littlefinger was basically behind everything that happened in the entire series so far. Betcha didn’t see that coming, huh? Littlefinger might have even surpassed Varys (whose gotten about ten minutes of screen time this entire season) in sneakiness. Now if only he wasn’t so much of a sex-offender, I might actually come to like him.

I should point out that if no one gets pushed out of that moon door, I’m going to start swinging. I believe a wise man once said about storytelling: If a gun is shown in the beginning, someone better fire it by the end. Similarly, if a door leading to a six hundred foot drop is revealed, someone important better be falling out of it. Personally, I hope it’s Lil’ Wayne. That guy needs to go.

Meanwhile, Daenerys realizes she hasn’t done nearly as good of a job at freeing Slaver’s Bay as she thought she did, and so she makes the decision to stay in Meereen and do what Queens do—she will stall. Just get to Westeros already, sheesh.

Meanwhile, Cersei is being sympathetic lately, but I think it’s an act. She’s totally just manipulating the judges for Tyrion’s trial. The judges are Tywin, Oberyn, and Mace Tyrell (Margaery’s father) and she is coincidentally acting nice to them all of a sudden. Letting Mace Tyrell know she’s actively trying to make his daughter a queen will surely put him on her side, and letting the Red Viper know she doesn’t approve of the whole “murdering little girls” thing certainly couldn’t hurt.

Some other thoughts:

  • I found it hilarious how Margaery was all, “Honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it,” when it came to marrying Tommen. Ha, good one, Marge.
  • I feel terrible for Sansa right now. First she’s betrothed to Joffrey, then to an eight (nine? ten?) year old kid who still breastfeeds. Speaking of which, are there any people left who still hate on Sansa? There better not be.
  • Neither Jaime, Davos or Tyrion got any lines in this episode, yet I didn’t notice their absence at all.
  • Jojen’s visions were perhaps the most intriguing part of the episode, and a marvel to look at. Go Team Bran! I’m rooting for you now.
  • Arya’s sword moves were extremely well-choreographed. Is Maisie Williams some sort of dancer in real life? I wouldn’t be surprised. Also, it should go without saying that every scene with her and the Hound is pure gold, despite the fact that they don’t advance the plot at all.

Rating: 8 out of 10. Good, but I don’t want to rate it too high unless a better episode comes along. (Reminder: my ratings are worthless.)

So what did you think of the episode? Did you like it? Did you kind of like it? Or did you hate it more than Joffrey? Comment below, unless you don’t want to.

Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose Review

(Click here for my review of “Two Swords.”)

Caution: Extreme Spoilers, but only for this episode and the episodes before it. Anything that happens afterwards in the books will not be mentioned.

What this episode should’ve been called: Finally!

I’m so glad Joffrey just kicked it, not only because he’s perhaps the most hateable villain I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, but because now I can talk openly about his death. And man, what a satisfying death that was.

I mean, did you see his face? Blood was pouring out of just about every orifice, and I like to think he was in extreme pain, yet somehow in all this, Joffrey still managed to find a way to mess with Tyrion. By blaming him for his death. Which is a bit ridiculous because if anything, Tyrion should be rewarded for killing Draco Malfoy’s cousin.

I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler to say whether or not Tyrion is innocent, because for all I know some TV-viewers think he is, but I’m just going to say it: he didn’t kill him.* Tyrion isn’t dumb enough to poison Joffrey when he knew he’d be the number one suspect. Of course, he’s still going to be blamed for it, and that sucks. But surely they won’t kill off such a major character, right?

Also, Tyrion ends his “friendship” with Shae, in a scene that could’ve been heartbreaking had Shae been a convincing actress. Don’t give me those dirty looks; I didn’t buy into her tears for a second. Also, Shae: stop being so oblivious to how dangerous those pesky Lannisters are. It’s like you want to die.Meanwhile, the few minutes we actually got with Bran were actually somewhat interesting, but perhaps that’s just because I haven’t reached that part in the books. Were one of those visions (with the empty throne room) the same Daenerys saw in The House of the Undying? And does this mean Bran will finally figure out that the extremely close Lannister twins pushed him off that castle? (Though it’s not like he could do anything about it at this point.) Anyway, I just hope the best for Bran, but more importantly, I hope the best for Hodor.

“Hodor.”

Meanwhile, Melisandre gets an interesting scene with Stannis’s daughter, where she says, “There’s only one hell. The one we live in now,” which is a bit disappointing, because Joffrey better not be going to heaven.

I feel bad for Theon. (Show Theon, at least.) Being tortured for long periods of time is hardly fun, and it’s even less fun for those who have to sit through it every few episodes. Do we really need to keep seeing Ramsay do horrible things? We get the point. He’s evil. Let’s move on now. In fact, I seriously think season 3 would have been better off if Theon’s only appearance was in Mhysa (last season’s finale). It could’ve been a major shock to the audience, who’d be thinking, “Oh, so that’s what Theon’s been up to this whole time,” and not, “What body part is he going to lose now?”

Drawn out torture being implied>Drawn out torture being shown. I believe that was one of Pixar’s twenty-two storytelling tips.

That being said, I can’t wait to see where Theon’s storyline goes from this point on, because I’ve been told his chapters in A Dance with Dragons were some of the best in the series.

Other notes:

  • I like how this episode had Joffrey pulling countless amounts of obnoxious stunts, varying from the dwarrs reenacting the War of the Five Kings to him slicing up Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding gift. I knew about fifty kids in middle school who are just like him.
  • I’m a little upset they didn’t bring up an important revelation made in the books about Joffrey that would make everyone hate him even more. Book readers will know what I’m talking about.
  • Foreshadowing, foreshadowing everywhere! Particularly in the music. First, The Rains of Castamere was played, and then afterwards we heard the same happy music that played right before everyone you loved died at the Red Wedding.
  • Fun fact: the kid who plays Tommen is also the same kid who played one of the Lannister brothers in season 3; he was murdered by Karstark’s men. Also, Tommen is noticeably much less annoying than his older brother, so I think it’s safe to say he’d make a much better king.

Rating: “Out of ten? Eleven.”—The Doctor.

*Which is a shame, because if I could’ve chosen how Joffrey would die, I would’ve had Arya and Sansa take turns stabbing him while Tyrion held him down. But oh well, you can’t always get what you want. I’m a very sadistic person.

Game of Thrones: Two Swords Review

(Warning: this post will contain some profanity and sexual content, although if you’ve ever read or watched Game of Thrones, I’m sure it won’t bother you.)

Sorry for the lack of posting. I’ve been busy with Camp NaNoWriMo (over eleven thousand words so far!), and to make up for it I’m going to be blogging every single day in May. I pinkie promise.

So onto the review, which is for the season premiere of Game of Thrones, season 4. There will be spoilers for the episode itself, and everything that happened before it, TV show wise. But there will be no spoilers for anything that will happen later. But keep in mind that I’ve read eighty percent of the available books, so if you anger me, I could just give you a list of the soon to-be-deceased characters as revenge.

I wonder how many thousands of dollars per second these CGI dragons cost?

This was a bit of a slow episode, with lots of set up and foreshadowing and very few crazy moments (except that amazing ending scene, but we’ll discuss that later), but I think it was better than your typical GoT premiere. It didn’t try to spend too much time on too many POV characters, specifically Bran (yawn) and Theon (ouch). Instead we focused on the Lannisters, who are totally rocking it after Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa Stark have been slaughtered by that bastard Walder Frey. (On the bright side, Edmure Tully had a really successful Dothraki wedding.*)

One of my favorite parts about the show (and the books) is how Jaime Lannister actually ends up being a likeable character. While sure, the jerk-turned-nice guy development has been done to death, you rarely see a character who starts off as big of a jerk as the Kingslayer himself. I believe he’s first introduced having sex with his twin sister, and then, thirty seconds later, pushing a child off a castle.

(Of course, you can argue that his real motive was that he knew how boring Bran’s storyline would become, and so he tried to stop it from happening beforehand. Unfortunately, this backfired, when it turned out that shoving him out the window was the very thing that caused his boring storyline in the first place. If you think about it, Jaime was a hero from the very beginning.)

But then he got his hand cut off, which was a huge traumatic incident for him. I mean, that was his sword hand; his child-shoving hand! Even though he was jerk, I still felt a little bad for him. And after that moment, he continued to improve as a human being, to the point where he’s actually coming to be one of the more noble characters in the series. (Which isn’t saying much, to be honest.)

Here we see Jaime get disowned by his father, and then Cersei, who was the reason his father disowned him to begin with, basically says “I blame you for everything!” and storms off. Then he has to put up with that little brat Joffrey for what he assumes is the rest of his life.

(Side note: Joffrey’s a dick.)

Also, we are introduced to Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper himself, in an amazing fashion. In his only scene, we see him in a brothel with his wife, putting the moves on both the male and female prostitutes. Then we see him stab a smug Lannister in the hand, and then he tells Tyrion to tell his father that the Lannisters aren’t the only ones to pay their debts. Man, what a bad-ass. Also, a warning to people haven’t read the books: this guy might be important later.

Daenerys didn’t do much this episode except flirt with Daario and play with her ever growing dragons, who are starting to grow too wild, even for her. (If dragons can’t be tamed, just how did the first Targaryens use them to conquer Westeros?) Also, the people of Meereen, a slave-city with one too many vowels in its name, decided it would be fun to nail a child slave to a crucifix, just to make sure she knows where to go. Dany’s probably thinking, “Y’all just made it personal,” and is now planning to be even more harsh to those pesky Meereeners.

But let’s talk about that final scene. You know what I’m talking about. That super badass scene where Arya finally gets Needle back and gets revenge on Polliver (I thought his name was Raff? Whatever.) This scene was brilliant.

Arya and the Hound are an even better pairing than they are in the books, and the two of them are comedic gold. Such as when Arya asked for her own horse and he was all “Aw, the little lady wants a pony,” and of course there was this line:

Arya: He killed Lommy.

The Hound: What the fuck’s a Lommy?

Since it’s been two seasons since we’ve last seen Polliver, the show needed to make it clear that he was a bad guy and needed a good ol’ stab in the neck. Excuse me while I make a list of all the horrible things he did in just five minutes of screen-time:

  • Plan to gang-rape that girl in the tavern.
  • Plans to torture the tavern owner, so he’d tell them where he was hiding stuff. And hey, he may have another hidden daughter for them to rape.
  • He just assumes The Hound’s having sex with Arya, a ten year old girl, because that’s completely normal.
  • Talk casually about all those people he tortured, and how after the Mountain made him do it so much, it just “drains the fun right out of it.”
  • Was willing to let The Hound buy a chicken under his tab, in exchange for Arya. (“Lowell here likes them a bit broken in.”)

So yeah, watching Arya get to reenact what Polliver did to Lommy was pretty damn satisfying, although I much prefer the book’s version of the events. And just like the books, I’m a bit on the fence on whether or not I should cheer Arya on or be worried for her, because she’s going down a long and dangerous path down the dark side.

I grant this episode an eight out of ten. By any other show’s standards, this would be a lot higher. Personally, I can’t wait until next episode, when [spoiler] gets [spoiler] and [spoiler] finds out that [spoiler].

*I admit, I didn’t come up with that joke on my own. Someone in the AV Club wrote it. Just go to The Reins of Castamere review and I’m sure you’ll eventually find the comment.