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Game of Thrones – S07E06 – Death is the Enemy

So, despite the pretty cool little battle, despite the extra long length, despite the little fellowship of heroes, I have to say, I found this entire episode really unsatisfying.  I think the main part is just, is a shinning example, of all of the nitpicky problems with the series this season.  Problems that are easy to overlook and ignore, except when they are all crammed into one episode.

There were two focuses here plot wise, the mission to capture one of the undead soldiers and the drama between Sansa and Arya.  I’m going to touch on the Arya/Sansa thing first.  I like Arya, but she has taken a sudden and weird turn.  Maybe she isn’t even Arya, with the whole Faceless God thing going on, but she seems needlessly sinister.  No, she and Sansa have never really gotten along, and no, I don’t like Sansa, but Sansa seems to be reverting to her spoiled winey princess Sansa from the early episodes a lot and Ayra is just suddenly evil.  She all but threatened Sansa for starters, like literally “I can just take your face and become you”.  She also seems to be making rash and unjustified actions over that dumb letter she wrote way back in like Season 2, asking Rob to side with Cersei.  The letter was years ago, and she was clearly under a ton of duress and basically a prisoner.  The whole situation feels a little ridiculous.

There’s some speculation that Arya will go to King’s Landing for the little meeting as Sansa, and she will kill Cersei, which would make some sense.  The whole prophesy thing is that Cersei will be killed by the Volenquar, which is “little Brother”, but they keep pushing how Arya, despite being a girl, acts more like a boy, not to mention she could end up taking the face of Jaime or Tyrion for the actual act.

Anyway, onto the who Fellowship of the Zombie, or whatever.  There was a lot of little chit chatty conversations pushing the story of the these characters along a bit.  My problems all tend to come from the battle.  For starters, the group ends up trapped on an island surrounded by the dead.  They somehow survive this for the time it takes for Gendry to run all the way back to Eastwatch, for a Raven to fly to Dragonstone, and for Dany to fly from Dragonstone to the north.  It’s all very contrived, and not awful in itself, except it’s not the kind of way this show has been run from the start.  It’s very “TV Show convenient” instead of “Epic Game of Thrones Fantasy”.

The battle itself was very confusing, confusing because people kept dying, except no one “important” dies, there seemed to always be a convenient nobody that showed up out of nowhere to be killed.  Like literally from nowhere, the scenes surrounding the events would just show our heroes, when someone needed to die, it would be some noname FreeFolk soldier.  Well, aside from Beric’s buddy.  It seemed really clear he was the patsy even last episode because he’s the one I didn’t immediately recognize as anyone.

I kind of feel like this group was just too protected by Plot Armor.  For example, there was a close call with Tormund.  There really isn’t any reason Torbund couldn’t have been killed off in classic GoT style, aside from fans like pairing him up with Brienne.  Beric would be another one to be disposable, aside from they never really explained very well his purpose to keep being revived.  Then there was Jon’s “death” which served absolutely zero purpose than to suddenly make Dany decide she loves him I guess.  A better rework, Jon is close to being killed, Beric jumps in and saves him, now Beric had a purpose, save Jon, the obvious contender for future king.  They even have connections through The Lord of Light.  Instead Jon gets saved, literally from nowhere by Benjen, who rescues him, then sacrifices himself for Jon’s escape.  Like I said, “TV Show convenient”.

It’s just sloppy.

They made a big deal about how this season would be 7 episodes but be more epic, it just feels rushed and too compacted.

 

Game of Thrones – S07E05 – Eastwatch

I just want to say, this show is really starting to show itself as a TV show, now that ti’s well surpassed the books.  Yes, there were pulls from the books, however out of order they may have occurred, but now there is definitely a lot of “showey” things going on.  For example, a happenstance gathering of hero characters.  There is also a LOT of time compression, which wasn’t quite as using in the earlier episodes.

I only really bring up the time thing because it was sort of brought up.  Sam mentioned that it had been years since he had seen Bran.  Which means a lot more time has passed than really shown.

On the whole, this was a very talky set up the future episode.  Jaime is clearly more and more disturbed by Cersei’s actions.  Though she kind of regains his trust by claiming to be pregnant with his child, though I feel like that’s probably a lie.  Tyrion still seems to have some doubts about Dany, after she has her dragon toast Randall Tarley and his son.  Tyrion seems to get over it a bit, and through Davos and Bronn, Jaime and Tyrion have a little meet up at the request of Daenerys.  Dany wants to discuss a truce to allow them to fight off the army of the dead currently marching down from the North.  As part of this meeting, Jon is going to lead a group to capture one of the dead army soldiers in order to show proof that the army is real.

This is where the “happenstance” gathering of heroes come into play.  Now cured of his Grayscale, Ser Jorah returns to Dragonstone and joins Jon’s band.  Davos, while dropping Tyrion off for his meeting heads into Flea Bottom and recruits Gendry, who is no longer rowing, who joins the crew.  After they arrive at Eastwatch, they pick up Tormund Giantsbane who is leading the Wildlings at Eastwatch along with a couple of prisoners they had in a cell, Sandor Clegane and Berric Dondarrion.

All of these random folks around the world, all brought together conveniently to form a nice little hero party of warriors.  Also Gendry looks a hell of a lot like Christian Bale now.

There is also something up with Littlefinger.  But then, Littlefinger is always up to no good.

There’s only two episodes left.  I imagine the next episode will deal primarily with capturing the zombie soldier.  And probably a bit of whatever Arya caught Littlefinger doing.  The last episode of the season will be the meeting between Cersei and Dany, and Cersei trying to pull some betrayal because she is a stupid bitch.  This will all set up the final season with the battle against the army of the dead and whomever ends up on the throne.

Oh and Gilly and Sam came across and blew off a little bit about Rehgar Targarion having his marriage annulled and being remarried in a secret ceremony.  Because someone realized that it doesn’t matter if Jon is the son of Rehgar and Lyanna Stark, he would still be a bastard with no claim to anything.

 

 

Game of Thrones – S07E04 – The Spoils of War

So yeah, definitely one of the best episode of the series, though if I had them all laid out there might be better in there somewhere.  I kind of feel like the clear simplifying that’s been going on is really helping things a bit, there’s isn’t anything going on over seas anymore really, there’s not random places we don’t really care about like Dorne or Riverrun.  This particular episode essentially just had three main events, and all of them pretty good.

Firstly was Arya Stark’s return to Winterfell and her reunion with Bran and Sansa.  Arya has long been one of my favorite characters.  Her entire story is very adventury and has had so many twists and turns.  She’s also turned into this crazy bad ass assassin killing machine along the way.  Everything here was so well done.  Her getting stopped at the gates was a nice reflection on how she’s been treated in the past.  Her and Sansa meeting again, despite not really getting along in the past.  Even while it’s clear Sansa is less of a snobby bitch, Arya is still making jabs at her over the whole Lady Stark thing.  The reunion with Bran and her receiving the dagger from Bran seemed like a bit of foreshadowing as well.  This knife very likely belonged to Jaime or Cersei, who are the most likely people who ordered the assassin against Bran.  How appropriate would it be if that dagger were to be used against that very same person in the long run end game of things?

Then there was her little sparing match with Brienne.  Both so similar in their desire to buck the normal trend of Ladies but both so very different in their methods.  And such a contrast in fighting styles.  They both clearly enjoyed it and it was nice to see Brienne not stop halfway to apologize for kicking over Arya.

The middle act was a short scene with Jon, once again trying to convince Dany to help him fight the Night King.  She still says not until he bends the knee to her, so, in the end, not much has changed on that front.  Theon also returned from his crushing defeat at the hands of Euron Greyjoy, and ran into Jon, who was not particularly happy to see him.  Seriously though, FUCK THEON.

Then we wrap up with quite possibly the best battle of the series.  Everyone last season was raving about Bastard Bowl, but this battle was definitely better.  The battles in general keep getting better, I remember being supremely disappointed by how tiny the Battle of the Blackwater felt.  This battle, despite just being an attack on Jaime’s little convoy of gold, felt pretty grand.  It’s an interesting pairing to be sure.  Jaime has the Lannister Army, but it’s not super clear if he has all of it, the best of it, I imagine there ares some left in Highgarden and some still in King’s Landing.  Meanwhile, they are facing the Dothraki, who are not as well armed and armored, but they are much more berserker in their fighting style and certainly not any sort of force that the Lannister soldiers have ever faced.  This kind of cuts both ways though, since the Dothraki likely haven’t faced a ton of heavily armored soliders.

Then there is the dragon, and Dany.  Definitely something Jaime and his men have never seen or faced.  The dragon alone could probably have wiped out the entire force.  Maybe.  as Bronn demonstrates late int he battle, the dragons are not as invincible as everyone thinks.  I imagine that King’s Landing will be outfitted with a great many of those giant catapults on it’s battlements in preparation for the inevitable attack by Dany’s forces.

What I particularly liked was how the battle kind of had me rooting for Jaime and Bronn.  The Lannisters are arguably the “bad guys” in the series, but I rather like both Jaime and Bronn.  Cersei is evil, these two are more just along for the ride.   I’ve also never been particularly fond of Daenerys either, though it’s clear the series is pushing her to be a top level hero character I’m supposed to love.

There was also a bit of possible set up and foreshadowing going on with Bronn.  Before the battle, Bronn was complaining that Jaime still hadn’t given him a castle yet, as promised.  While he seems to enjoy hanging around with Jaime, he also seems to be getting a little disgruntled at how things are going.  He’s essentially in it for the money, he’s not necessarily loyal to the Lannisters.  Keep in mind, that he started out in the service of Tyrion way back in Season 1, Tyrion being on the other side of the battle here.  Then there is Jaime, who, while loyal to his sister, seems to be getting increasingly frustrated by her crazy.  They no longer have any kids connecting them to each other either.  He’s also just learned that Tyrion was not responsible for killing Joffrey, which was the catalyst for Tyrion ending up in prison and killing their father and basically siding with Dany in the first place.  Perhapse something may come of all of this in the next episode,  considering both Jaime and Bronn survived the battle.  Then again, Jaime did try to run Dany through with a spear and Bronn did shoot Drogon with a giant crossbow bolt, so Daenerys likely isn’t going to be in a very forgiving mood if these two end up being prisoners.  There could be another angle here though, Tyrion kind of owes Jaime for freeing him before, Tyrion also seemed to have a bit of regret while watching the Lannister army get slaughtered by the Dothraki.  Perhapse Tyrion may end up betraying Dany and returning to King’s Landing.

 

Game of Thrones – S07E03 – The Queen’s Justice

A lot of talky set up in this episode, though it’s still all good stuff.  The opening chat between Deaneries and Jon was particularly great.  Both standing their ground against each other, both justified in their position against each other, both wanting each other’s support.  Layered in was the pretty good reunion of Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister.  I particularly love when Tyrion was complaining that Jon makes him look like he is a failure at brooding.  Ultimately Jon and Dani both come to a bit of understanding of each other’s position.  Dani grants Jon the right to mine Dragon Glass, though she does not pledge her support to Jon’s cause.  I kind of wonder what she will think of Jon when she learns of his true heritage.

On a side note, there is also a little interesting conversation between Varys and Melisandre, it’s very cryptic but it helps push my little theory more about Agents of the Gods or whatever you want to call them.  These two are definitely two of those, more than meets the eye lurking int he shadows bunch I mentioned a few week ago.

Euron returns his prisoners to Cersei, much to her joy.  The justice she dispenses to Ellaria Sand is pretty good, though the scene is a little clunky and repetitive.

Meanwhile Sansa Stark is showing her leadership prowess again in the North, with concern about how much food stock there is to last through the long winter.  At least someone is thinking ahead, sure they need to survive the Lannisters, and the Night King, but they also need to survive the Long Winter itself.  and unfortunately War consumes a lot of the resources needed to survive.  We also get a nice reunion between Sansa and Bran.  Sansa suggests he is still Lord of the North but Bran doesn’t want the job now that he is the Three Eyed Raven.  Sansa really doesn’t seem to want Jon in charge, which feels like it might become a problem in the long run.

Things wrap up with Dani’s forces taking Casterly Rock, and rather much more easily than expected.  It turns out it’s a bit of a trap.  Euron Greyjoy had swept in behind them and torched the ships that they arrived on, trapping the Unsillied forces on the main land.  Meanwhile most of the Lannister force was off with Jaime Lannister taking Highgarden.  Jaime grants Lady Olenna an easy death, though they have a little chat about how evil Cersei is, and in her last moments, she reveals to Jaime that she knew Joffrey was his son and that she was the one who killed him.  That’s one little mystery solved, though honestly, while tyrion was tried for the crime, she was the one I suspected was the real culprit.  It was pretty obvious that it wasn’t Tyrion to be sure.

I wanted to wrap up today’s post with a bit on Jaime Lannister.  Most of the villains of this series, for who they are, are pretty despicable, with the exception of Jaime.  Oh yes, he has done some disreputable things in his time, but for the most part, he’s just doing his best to do his job and deal with his sister.  He has proven repeatedly, like with Lady Olenna, or when he took Riverrun, and with Tyrion, just to name a few, that he has some level of sympathy and is not really cruel.  Basically, despite being on the “bad guy team” he’s still pretty chivalrous and just does what needs done.  There seems to be a lot of build up to him betraying Cersei, though who knows how that will turn out for him, or Cersei.  He isn’t too happy about Tommin or how the throne was claimed, he doesn’t really like how Euron’s playing out, there was the nudging by Lady Olenna before her death, there’s just lots of set up to provide doubt in Jaime’s mind about the way things are going.  Also notable, because they pointed it out this episode, he has a sword of note, since it’s a Valyrian steel blade.

 

Game of Thrones – S07E01 – Dragonstone

Arya really got a lot of good moments here, we get a secondary wrap up with the Freys. Jon and Sansa seem to have a bit of friction going on but things are rolling along alright in the north, we get some Sam moments at the Citidel, and it seems not all is well between Cersei and Jaime in King’s Landing. I have to say the moment with Arya and the Freys was a little bit disappointing, if only because it was so incredibly obvious what was going on. We know she killed Walder last episode, and we know she can replace people, and here we are, suddenly Walder is alive again.

Poor Sam, it seems that living in the Citidel isn’t quite what he had hoped. He’s spending his days cleaning up shit and putting away books int he library. It seems being a maester is less glamorous than expected. Meanwhile Euron Greyjoy is trying to court Cersei in exchange for his armada, and promises to bring her a priceless gift, which I suspect is a dragon (yeah right, that will happen). I know the show is known for doing the unexpected, but there is no way after 6 season of build up Dani and her army will be defeated by Euron and these Iron Fleet jokers given how much of a nobody he is in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention Dani has already demonstrated that a Dragon is not a slave and basically won’t listen to some random loser.

We also got a bit more with The Hound, Sandor Clegane. It’s not real clear what role he has yet to play here, though I suspect it’ll involve his brother, Gregor, aka The Mountain aka Cersei’s big intimidating possibly undead body guard. Poor Sandor really has nowhere to go, pretty much everyone on all sides hates him with good reason. Unlike Theon Greyjoy, he doesn’t really seem to be interested in trying to redeem himself.

Then of course there is the dramatic return to Westeros of Daenerys Targaryen.  I guess this is the end of the Essos moments and Slaver’s Bay.

I want to wrap up with a bit of speculation. There are a few characters, Sandor Clegane, The Red Woman, Lord Berric, they all are sort of peripheral to the whole grander story, but also keep reoccurring and coming back. They also often have some association with The Gods. I almost wonder if there is something to this, like these people are special, possibly even direct agents of The Gods perhaps, though they may not be aware (though some more aware then others, such as The Red Woman). Like these handful of people will ultimately serve some higher purpose, together. Only time will tell on that one though.

Recap – Agents of SHIELD S04E19 and 20 – Out of the Frying Pan Edition

Yeah, I’m slacking, I skipped last week.  It’s not even that I missed the episode or didn’t have time, I just, didn’t do the write up.  Like I mentioned a bit in the Episode 18 Recap, while I enjoy the trip down memory lane, there just feels like not a lot is actually happening here, so I’m pretty much just glossing over Episode 19, though more and more Fake Ward seems to understand what’s going on.  I still really want him to pass into the real world.

Which seems possible and likely.

Episode 20 sees what is essentially the culmination of The Framework.  AIDA completed her project and becomes a real girl, though she still seems to have some sort of crazy yet to be explained abilities.  Everyone else except Mack finally wake up and free themselves from the dream.  Mack, pretty expectedly, opted to remain in The Framework, with his daughter Hope.  Daisy didn’t seem to push him too hard, or even take the route taken with Fitz where they just knock him out and drop him in the portal.  I guess she just sort of assumed they could free him from the Outside, though given previews for the next episode, that may or may not happen.

Speaking of Daisy, I was really expecting some sort of Matrix moment involving either her or Coulson, basically,, killed in The Framework, but because they realize it’s fake, they “wake up” and don’t actually die.  Especially considering Daisy was holding the portal open using her Quake Powers (didn’t we do this plot once already).  I figured there wouldn’t be any way for her to pass through the portal while also holding it open.  Apparently the writers couldn’t figure this out either, since it just sort of cuts away and she wakes up.

The real long term consequence here will be that everyone remembers the events from within The Framework.  For Coulson and May, it’s just sort of an odd sort of memory, for Fitz, it seems like it’s kind of fucked him up again, since he now suddenly realize just what he did to Agnes, among others.

I also wanted to mention how great it was for Radcliffe to get his redemption, and how it worked in the overall sense pretty damn well.  Being betrayed by AIDA and seeing the end result of his dream twisted and used against him really made his change pretty convincing.  He was always pretty misguided in his efforts but seemed to mostly mean well.  I mean all he really wanted was to created the perfect VR world for himself and Agnes to live out their days.  Hell that was pretty much the entire point of AIDA originally, to let Agnes live on as a robot.

So it seems there are two episodes left, let’s get some predictions.  It’s been mentioned around the news outlets that Ghost Rider will return for the final episode, which seems like it’s probably going to end up being a showdown with AIDA and a rescue mission to retrieve Fitz.  Next Episode, based on the previews, looks to be mostly a lot of escapes.  Coulson and May on the sub get to escape from the Superior and the apparently sinking sub.  Mack gets to maybe escape from drowning in the real world if he decides to escape from The Framework, maybe he drowns but creates a new body with the machine AIDA used, though considering that machine is on the sub that’s sinking, that might be hard.  There’s also the need for the rest of the remaining SHIELD agents on The failing Zephyr, Simmons, Daisy, Yo-yo and the other flunkies, to escape the impending attack by The Superior’s planes.  Of course having Quake now awake could make short work of that.

The main things that seem up in the air, aside from if there will be a Season 5.  How will Mack get rescued.  I can’t imagine they kill him off permanently.  Maybe Mack dies and the real world end of the transfer device gets destroyed in the sub, but Fitz is able to build a second one, bringing Mack and Hope back.  What role will Ghost Rider play?  I have a feeling it will mostly just be some sort of muscle along side Daisy and Yo-yo to deal with AIDA.  Lastly, will Fake Ward find his way out of the Framework and return yet again for a new season as another different character.  It’s actually kind of a fun and pretty well done gimmick.

Agents of Hydra S04E18 – Return of The Bus

I’m not sure why but there have been a lot less promotional stills for these episodes lately.  I really need to find an effective way to take my own snapshots it seems.  I’m trying to get these a bit shorter though at least, so I don’t need as many images to go with them I suppose.

It helps that these episodes lately, while good, just feel like not much actually happens.  Given that it’s all Fake and in the Framework, it’s easy to dismiss it as ultimately not important.  I mean thing happen, important things, like the end of this episode, is pretty important to the real world, but there’s just a whole lot “look how things are all backwards!  ZANY!”  I like it, it just makes for a mediocre plot summary.

Anyway, the main event in this episode was of course the return of a long lost early character from the series.  One that I didn’t expect.  Yes, we get a return of The Bus.  Before The Zephyr, there was The Bus, alas it was destroyed while attacking a Hydra base, I think, it’s been a while.  It seems that in classic Framework fashion, The Bus has had it’s one major regret changed, resulting in an alternate life.  in this case, instead of being a giant bad ass plane, The Bus is now, a school bus.

I don’t know if it was actually intentional, but I loved that they stole this bus and kept calling it The Bus.

Oh yeah, and Triplet came back from the dead also.  They went on a mission to rescue a mystery operative which I figured would end up being Lincoln or Robbie Reyes or maybe Mike Peterson (Deathlok).  Turns out it was Trip.

We also got a nice fight with May and Mace, in the end Mace won despite May being juiced on on super soldier serum.  Lady Hydra (orders the troops to fire missiles on the structure containing everyone and Mace sacrifices himself to save everyone.  It’s such a bittersweet way to go, given how ultimately fake everything is.  His sacrifice seems to wake May up however, that and the children being rescued from their brainwashing and hydra missiles.  The episode ends with May bringing Daisy a Terragin crystal allowing her to regain her inhuman powers.

Recap – Agents of HYDRA S04E17 – Slippery Soapy SHIELD Edition

So a bit of positive news, it seems Agents of SHIELD is looking more likely to be renewed.  Or at least one USA Today Article suggests it should be.  There is less to the article than I’d hoped but hey, that’s kind of a plus.  I really feel like there is room for Agents AND the new Inhumans show.  Frankly, I’m way less interested in The Inhumans show.  I’ll still watch but it just interests me less.

Anyway, I kind of wonder how long this Framework plot line is going to last.  I feel like the What If Scenario we have going on is going to drag a bit if the plan is to run for the remaining 8 episodes.  Not to mention it means no Yo-yo at all except maybe in the end when they get free and it kind of abandons the plot line with The Superior being turned into a pseudo LMD and wanting to kill Coulson.  Also it leaves the plot with Nadir cocooning up in the ocean going nowhere.

Basically, there’s too many loose ends for 8 episodes of “How do we escape The Matrix?”

On a side note before getting into spoilers, there has been a lot of pretty heavy underlying commentary these last few episodes on the state of the world.  Effectively using Hydra as a metaphor for the whole Alt-right mess.  Like how Simmons comments that “They are all Nazis” last episode and Fitz this episode uses the phrase “Make Society Great Again.”

Anyway, onto the Spoiler Section…

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