Tube Talk: Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episodes 5 and 6

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We enter the halfway point of Game of Thrones’ fifth year and holy shit do we have something to talk about.

SPOILERS!

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Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 5: Kill the Boy: GRADE: B+

The North
So up in The North we got a couple ongoings here and well the first is far less interesting. Brienne and Podrick run into a servant that is still loyal to the Starks and use him to relay a message to Sansa to light a candle on Winterfell’s highest tower should she ever be in trouble and they will come to help.

Not that compelling, but the dinner table in Winterfell sure is. Ramsay and Sansa join Roose and and Walda at dinner where shit gets super awkward. In a great moment of some uneasy tension, Ramsay attempt to get Reek to apologize to Sansa for murdering Bran and Rickon, which starts making Sansa feel uncomfortable and the way Alfie Allen plays Reek being so timid and scared at doing so is just great. Also awkward for the fact that Bran and Rickon aren’t exactly dead. We also see much more into the damaged and fucked mind of Ramsay as Roose and Walda announce they are expecting a child which even though being very much alove with now, Ramsay feels his status as Roose’s heir is in jeopardy, but is reassured it isn’t and is asked for support in resisting the upcoming attack on Winterfell by Stannis.

This episode really shows how well Iwan Rheon as at playing creepy, unstable bastards so well. Having first played a bit more so unstable character on Misfits (watch Misfits), Iwan as has been someone to keep an eye out for me and I was happy to see him on Game of Thrones, then once we got to really meet Ramsay Bolton, holy fuck. Ramsay is truly becoming Jefforey 2.0 now that he’s buried. The show will always need an antagonistic force like that aside from Cersei and Ramsay is filling in the role nicely. Even during his conversation with Myranda you could possibly see it go a completely different and horrifying way. He’s such a force on the show, a horrifying, deranged force of nature that brings something to the show. I’d seriously double look at someone saying Ramsay is their favorite character.

The Wall
Meanwhile Jon snow continues his rise into most interesting character of the season so far as he seeks some advice from Maester Aemon about gaining the wildlings as allies which he then tells him to just really follow his heart. With Jon as Lord Commander, he needs to do what he believes is right in leading the Night’s Watch. Only decision and feelings Jon has to worry about are his own and I’m still so happy about where this has gone this season. Jon Snow’s quick turnaround into why I wanna watch the show for him is still magic.

Jon then frees Tormund Giantsbane and offers him the wildlings to settle south of the wall if they agree to an alliance with the Night’s Watch, but that’s all for naught as Tormund reveals most of the wildlings have made their way to Hardhome and the only way the alliance is possible is for Jon to speak to them himself. Of course the others reject the idea when proposed, but Jon says fuck it can goes ahead with it anyway. Jon’s just like fuck it and he’s going to do it anyway, thus showing that the words os Aemon are still ringing in his ear. Jon must prove himself as the leader that the Night’s Watch deserves and just like anything with Jon Snow season, I’m anxious about it.

The other aspect of the Wall section didn’t leave much an impact on me.I’m not that overly excited about Sam and Gilly’s part, it was just fine and continues to involve a great part of the show that we aren’t getting in the White Walkers in trying to find a weakness. I would love to be seeing some White Walkers. Maybe they’re being saved up for the penultimate(!) chapter of the season when all the heavy shit goes down. Stannis also decides to not wait on Jon’s talk with the wildlings to march towards Winterfell. Not much there grabbing me aside from that, which again shows how strong the show has gotten when focusing on Jon.

The Narrow Sea
We conclude this episode across the Narrow Sea whee it turns out Grey Worm lived, so massive fuck up on my part, I’m sorry. Once again, only seen the show and not read any of the books. While Missandei keeps an eye on him, Daenerys once again deals with Hizdahr zo Loraq and various leaders of the great families and its there we get to meet the dragons again and they promptly start to burn and eat one of them. I’m continuing to enjoy Daenerys’ story this season as she’s discovering more and more what type of leader she really is and how she will be an effective ruler. This is the first time that her leadership has needed to be proven than before.

Grey Worm wakes up a few days later and a nice little touching moment between Grey Worm and Missandei occurs. A nice show of loving emotion on this show in a while that feels genuine. Missandei then advises with Daenerys about how to deal with the Sons of the Harpy and reminds Daenerys she has the ability to find solutions no one else can see and find a double whammy of a solution by not only agreeing to reopen the fighting pits to Hizhahr, but also agree to marry him to make peace for the people of Meereen. Unexpected is how I’d best describe that, its a nice plan that shows how calculated Daenerys is when she wants to lay out a plan in order to acheive what she wants. I like the set up for this and curious where it goes.

But of course we can’t end the episode without checking in on Jorah and Tyrion’s excellent adventure. They decide to shortcut through Valyria and see a dragon fly overhead. Its honestly majestic in how they shot that. Beautiful, lovely, destruction causing dragon. Nature’s truest fine creation. Oh yeah then they run into some greyscale infected stone men. The sequence in question is nicely shot and well paced. Camera is in perfect alignment so I can honestly tell what the hell is going on, please take notice most modern action films. Its got great tension to it in the furiousness of the stone men and suspense when Tyrion is pulled under, only to be saved by Joran, who as it turns out is infected with greyscale now and hasn’t quite disclosed that with Tyrion.

Kill the Boy is a more than worthy installment in the season that continues forth the storylines already in place for the season while introducing new elements to them that make for great possibilities. Its quite an intriguing chapter.

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Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 6: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken: GRADE: B-

Braavos
Arya continues her training over in Braavos by cleaning bodies, but after a while she starts asking Jaqen what exactly they do with the bodies of those that die in the temple and we don’t get a damn answer. Pretty sneaky, sneaky man. Arya’s struggle to keep herself secret and wanting to learn the ways of the Faceless Man is one of the better conflicts of the episode since she does need to convincingly lie in order to pass the game of faces and the past has proven she can’t quite do that. Arya is stubborn in how she must let it be known she is Arya Stark and not gonna take much shit from anyone. She’s one of the only few Starks left and feels a sense of honor to keep the name known and alive. She can’t even do it well around Jaqen. She lies to him and herself. Its a nicely done scene that sets up the point in the episode when she is eventually able to convincingly lie when a man and his sick daughter come to the temple. She tells her how she will die peacefully, that she was once ill like her before poisoning her and cleaning the body. While in the chamber where all the faces of those that die in the temple are, Jaqen tells her she is ready to become someone else. Its a pretty well done scene, but I think I honestly like it more for how creepy and great the chamber looks with all those faces in the walls. Its a lovely piece of set design.

Dorne
Dorne this week, both a highlight and yet not as I thought it more since the initial airing of the episode. Trystane and Myrcella walk through the Water Gardens, and make plans to marry one another, which Doran isn’t too pleased about, but what timing as at that same time Jaime and Bronn walk by dressed as Dornish guards and enact their rescue plan. The fight is on and is fairly good but then the Sand Snakes arrive and the fight is better. Game of Thrones has been getting progressively better about its fight scenes as its gone along. They were good in the beginning but now are incredibly done. This was a thrill to see be done as there is so much going on but yet I wasn’t lost. The fight goes on until they are all arrested, Ellaria too who was nearby and I gotta question, I think Ellaria would be smarter than to not be this nearby in case shit went bad. I mean she’s organized the whole Sand Snakes, has a plan in tact, and clearly knows what she is doing and as stated to Doran that she wants revenge via Myrcella’s death. She should know better than this and is a weak character moment for me. It doesn’t add up in all honesty, but I’m curious to see where this goes now, but her getting caught like that was just dumb to me.

The Narrow Sea
Meanwhile on Jorah and Tyrion’s excellent adventure, I’m calling that all season so get used to it, Jorah and Tyrion are captured by slavers and Tyrion convinces them to take them to Meereen so Jorah can fight in the newly reopened pits. That’s about what happens there and that’s really all I got. I mean Joran and Tyrion’s back and forth is good, it is, but not much else this week other than Jorah still secretly has greyscale and they got caught. Moving on!

King’s Landing
Baelish is back and right away confronted by Lancel and the Sparrows, but he merely dismisses them as he goes to see Cersei and convinces his way back on while informing her of Stannis’ upcoming attack on the Boltons.

Now comes the cat claws! Olenna is here in an effort to help Margaery free Loras and oh my goodness the catty bitchiness between Diana Rigg and Lena Dunham is so perfect. Their back and forth with each scratch of their paw is just glorious. All this happens the the trail of Loras who is on said trail for being homosexual, surely a wet dream for those living in Alabama and Mississippi. All seems fine until the High Sparrow brings in Olyvar to testify and says he has been with Loras and that Margaery has seen them in bed together. High Sparrow is convinced and Loras and Margaery are both arrested and Tommen just sits their looking dumb. Mainly I like this section for seeing Baelish back in King’s Landing but the cat fight between Olenna and Cersei is a highlight in of itself. Its so good.

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Winterfell
Alright its time to talk about that scene. Sansa and Ramsay marry each other and afterwards he orders Reek to stay behind since he saw Sansa grow up, he’ll see her become a woman. Ramsay rips Sansa’s dress open and rape her and we hold on Reek’s reaction as we hear the act take place.

To say this caused a reaction is the hugest fucking understatement of the week right now. Rape has yet again entered the discussion on Game of Thrones. Now of course we must bring up the other two times where rape was a plot device on the show. Season one in Winter is Coming when Drogo not waiting for Daenerys to consent to sex on their wedding night and of course that infamous scene in last season’s Breaker of Chains. Now where as Breaker of Chains was discovered as a bad sense of communication between the director and writers, Winter is coming and Unbowed are just horrible. Drogo maybe you can make the case for as a barbarian type and was maybe a bit uncivilized, but its still terrible and its not really addressed here and that’s the problem here is how rape seems to causally be used for story on here but never touched upon again. Now as for the scene itself, it was terrible, I myself didn’t care for the end of the episode. I just felt uncomfortable during the whole damn thing, but I think this has the far better chance of being mentioned again. Winter and Breaker never were addressed again on the show and that has rubbed several people the wrong way, but the way and time this certain scene came about sets it up for redemption in terms of Sansa and Reek’s characters and a possible comeuppance of Ramsay Bolton, that consequences will come, but time can only tell on this one.

The scene has caused an uproar such as several people to stop watching the show of The Mary Sue to cease promotion of the show on their site. Sure Alfie Allen perfectly played his part by showing the reaction, but that’s not gonna help this scene at all as its causing major backlash. I’m staying with the show, but given this is the third time such an instance of this has happened, if its not addressed right away or dealt with in leu of the story for the season, I’m gonna start having some doubts as to the showrunners of Game of Thrones. If something as scarring and horrifying as rape is gonna enter your story, you need to have a purpose for it and its never really served a purpose on Game of Thrones and I hope against hope that it does this time or else the show is in some serious, serious trouble.

Tube Talk: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Johnny and Dora

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The times they are a-changing for the Nine-Nine.

SPOILERS!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Episode 23: Johnny and Dora: GRADE: A-

Well here we are and man I was kinda sideswiped by this one. Expectation was that going into the finale of the second season would all be about getting Jake and Amy together, but that wasn’t the case.

Jake and Amy are awkwardly put on an assignment which requires them stake out and trail Brooklyn’s most prolific identity thief, Michael Augustine. More awkward is when they have they follow him undercover as an engaged couple at a restaurant. This provided some nice laughs, such as coming up with the names Johnny and Dora and their fake backstory. Really its also a good showcase on the talents of Andy Samberg and Melissa Fumero together. Its a great balance of awkward comedy and good timing of lines.

Now again I’ve stated I really hope they have some plan for this to work and honestly we still don’t know. We don’t seem to see them become “official” as it were and honestly one problem of this is how their friendship is centered around being weird and awkward, but still having a mutual respect for each other. I’m interesting how this will be tackled in the upcoming third season since the Boyle and Gina secret relationship this season was a highlight and showed how they could balance two people in the precinct being together and make it work. The writing in relationships on this show, both romantic and non romantic, are a big part as to why the show works as well as it does. Its the characters bond with each other from all these year and the sparkling chemistry of the cast as well. However season three goes with Jake and Amy, I’m now more curious and confident about it now since we last got major hints of it in the wedding episode of the season.

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Elsewhere Boyle and Rosa might become a thing next season. Its Rosa’s birthday and she wants to celebrate it about as much as you’d think, but Boyle seems to be up to something. She things Marcus wants to throw a surprise party and Rosa really does get upset by this, thinking Boyle doesn’t even really know her at all, but of course he knows all the little things about her, even that she just wanted Lorelai to be happy at the end of Gilmore Girls.

Boyle and Rosa was funny for a bit last season before you realize really how creepy it is with Boyle going full Boyle as its not just funny when characters are that infatuated with someone, but the latter half of season one and season two as a whole has gone out its way to correct that and they are really just a pair of great fans, but the real notice of a future comes when it turns out its an empty bar rented out by Marcus so they are alone, but its Boyle’s idea. The look on Rosa’s face says plenty, but she shakes it off enough to give him a hug and for her to be called Roro. Boyle earned that one and you all know it.

The main source of conflict and really the meat of the episode comes from Holt’s possible leaving of the Nine-Nine and he only has told Terry and Gina as he trusts them to steal letter that’s really more a MacGuffin to help save his job against Wuntch. Once again the dream team of Terry and Gina prove comedy gold and go right to work after Gina puts her phone on airplane mode, which means serious business since she doesn’t even do that on airplanes. The highlight of hilarity comes from Gina distracting a birdwatching receptionist as Terry tries hard and amusingly fails again and again to open it so fuck it, he just lifts it up and carries it out with them and I had to pause because I started laughing for five minutes straight afterward.

As also mentioned before the addition of Kyra Sedgwick as Wuntch has proven to be not just a great antagonistic force for Holt, but really more so the Nine-Nine with the way she’s gone after Holt and the precinct’s performance, which using resources for such things as the Jimmy Jab Games and the events of Halloween II, its understandable. Her back and fourth with Andre Braugher always is a highlight and their talk in the interrogation room and Holt’s office is no different, but its the exchange in the office that changes everything.

Wuntch leverages the entire careers of everyone in the precinct should Holt refuse the promotion that would force him to leave in addition to the letter. Its a great setup that comes from no where and really adds nicely done drama to the situation and more so when Holt announces he’s leaving where he even starts showing emotion that makes Jake beg him to go back to be robot captain with awkwardly done robot noises from Holt. Gina just ups and leaves with him so there’s now two missing components to the Nine-Nine gone. Alright really one, but we all know Gina is kinda the glue of the whole damn place.

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The season ends with possibilities all around from a Holtless precinct, to a brand new captain that leaves us on a cliffhanger, new loves popping up, and what will the future now hold for Gina as she goes on and rules the world? Season three is already set up for loads of things to come and I’ll be waiting here to see what happens.

FINALE GRADE: A-

SEASON GRADE: A-

Tube Talk: Mad Men: Person to Person

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“I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.”

SPOILERS!

Mad Men: Season 7: Episode 14: Person to Person: GRADE: A

Its interesting the title of the series finale of Mad Men never had Don Draper be person to person with anyone in the office or that he’s really known from work. Instead he calls the three most important women in his life and has one last talk with them over the phone. Sally, Betty, and then most importantly, Peggy.

I had expectations for the finale, but mostly in how character arcs and stories would be wrapped up. I learned now to not expect certain things. I don’t make any real predictions or theories anymore in the case of shows like Mad Men or The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., or Hannibal since I wanna be surprised and taken along for the ride. Predicting what I’d want now, kinda kills the viewing experience and if I don’t get what I want instead of what the story needs, I’m upset and disappointed and that is especially the case with series finales. The only other series finales I’ve seen this year has been the ending of Parks and Recreation and Justified where I had no idea of what was going to go on or how the characters would end each of their journeys and I was extremely pleased by that. So what about the swan song for Mad Men? I can firmly and honestly say that Mad Men got the ending it fully deserved.

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Don Draper keeps on the way of the wandering traveler in the fall of 1970 and we find him racing cars across Utah and turns out he’s witnessed Gary Gabelich break the land speed record at Bonneville Speedway. Ah that Don, seeing magical things. Well he’s living a life of banging and well honestly this was a weak point, I mean yeah its establishing Don’s place in the finale, but it just kinda stumbled to get going in all honesty, but once he makes the phone call to Sally, the episode gets going because that’s when Don hears the news of Betty’s diagnosis. Suddenly Don’s mind goes back to how he tried to help Anna Draper when she came down with cancer, swoop in and save the day, not because its the right thing to do but because it what he thinks he needs to do in order to redeem himself and be a good guy, but Sally dismisses this since she knows this won’t be possible. Don slightly dismisses her dismissal as basically, “The fuck she knows?” Its not until he calls a sick and defeated looking Betty that it sinks in he knows its the wrong idea.

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Don and Betty’s talk is heartbreaking. Its brutal, honest, and hurtful in how Don’s face expresses so much when he hears from Betty and knows living with him is the worst idea since he’s really not around that much at all right now. He can’t give Sally, Bobby, and Gene stability nor a woman in their lives. The better choices is to live with Betty’s brother and his wife. This scene just oozes great drama and they aren’t even in the same room. January Jones once agains rides high on the great writing involved in her story from last week, even if it was mostly enjoyable for Sally’s reaction and such, but she really sinks her teeth in the last moment she’ll most likely have with Don until her funeral. Its really just fantastic.

Thankfully we get a bit aside with Roger planning out his schedule with his wedding with Marie coming up and it even gives Meredith a send off which I didn’t expect at all since the company has caught on that Roger doesn’t need her and Caroline. Its a shame, especially after she had already translated Roger’s speech into pig latin! Damn you, McCann Erickson! DAMN YOU!

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Elsewhere we life going on. Pete is getting ready to go and shares one last nice little moment with Peggy in her office and after all they been through together, it was a very nicely done and the closure they needed, even if it involved Harry Crane at some point. Ah Harry’s last scene is being upset Peggy can’t make their lunch because of work and huffs off eating cookies. Yeah seems about right for him.

Joan, man, Joan’s parts were good and what she needed in terms of wrapping up her character. As Richard told her, her life is “undeveloped property”. She can truly build something for herself now out of advertising and given how well things are with Richard, Florida vacations and cocaine and all, she truly can build a life with someone she loves. Though when she meets Ken Cosgrove, we will miss your inspired tap dancing, about helping out with an industrial film that Dow needs and as Joan looks over what needs to be done, it just clicks in her head that this is her next step, how she needs. Joan will start a production company and that’s gonna take all her attention away from Richard. He says he doesn’t wanna root for her to fail, but by saying that he really is. He’s not happy how the property has developed and feels displeased in Joan’s new career path. He turns down her marriage proposal since he’s still displeased with how his first marriage experience left him and that shows the final nail in the coffin of this brief, but very influential love for both of them. They leave each other, but Joan is all too happy about what’s to come now after talking with Roger to know that Kevin will be taken care of with his newly revised will and even offers Peggy a partnership in the new production company, but she seems hesitant. Sure they’d be their own bosses, but Peggy has really become her own boss wherever she is. She’s risen up in the ranks at every agency and doesn’t take shit from anyone. More on that in a bit.

Don continues and well surprise Caity Lotz’s Stephanie is here. Don goes visit her to give back the family ring and we discover the father of her kid took him and left to go with his parents and seeing what shit shape Don is in, they go to a spiritual retreat more upstate and yeah I seriously can tell you I never expected to see this in the ending of Mad Men. They go and things seem fine, letting themselves be open, more so Stephanie than Don at least, but Stephanie up and abandons Don after hearing troubling feedback about being a mother, and man I love seeing Caity Lotz here or on Arrow where she’s been able to show off what a damn good talent she is in acting. Don suddenly then has a moment of realization which leads to the best scene in the whole finale.

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Distraught and in the midst of a panic attack, Don calls Peggy and confesses everything. He doesn’t outwardly admits to being Dick Whitman but it is mentioned. Peggy goes from being pissed to being worried, even saying how McCann would gladly bring him back and he could still get the Coca-Cola account, but they continue their talk, Don crying and feeling defeated, but Peggy only wanting to help someone deeply close to her. Don called because he never said goodbye to her and hangs up.

I’ve been saying in each of these reviews of Peggy and Elisabeth Moss have been the MVP of this final season and I mean that with her scenes here. Seeing the sheer confidence yet again and her personality in full play gives me joy to see how she has progressed and changed over the seven year run of the show. Especially in the following scene where she and Stan finally own up and confess their love for each other. Stan is revealed to be working at McCann and once again confront each other when Peggy is lamenting joining Joan and some heated words are said and they continue after she calls Stan about the phone call she had just been on with Don. The argument starts but then turns into the confessions, one of which being she’s turned down Joan’s offer and they embrace in a kiss in her office. It was nicely done, not over the top or hokey at all, but done the way Mad Men should have and did do it.

We also get to see Roger have one last fling on the show and a hilarious post sex argument with Marie. But also to go back to the Roger and Joan scene, that was a nice touch as well to see the two just being them and concerned parents for their child. Roger isn’t trying to force his way in, but he just wants the best for two very important people in his life and that got me all teary eyed. Just really damn good stuff.

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Don sees a reflection of himself a man named Leonard at a confessional seminar where Leonard confesses about living a life similar as Don’s and ultimately feeling unloved and not that all important in his life at home and at work and how they feel their unable to give love because of how wrapped up in work they can become and Don breaks down. He cries as Leonard cries and they hug, embracing each other in solidarity.

We then come to the end of the show. Don in the lotus position and meditating as we see Peggy and Stan still together, Pete off to start his new life with Trudy and Tammy, Roger speaking french on his Paris honeymoon with Marie, Joan operating Holloway-Harris from her dining room, and Sally performing housework while Betty smokes and reads a book behind her. Then back to Don, eyes closed and in perfect harmony with everyone on the hilltop, finally finding inner peace but also inspiration.

We end on this.

Don finds inspiration it seems and goes back to McCann Erickson with this.

Mad Men from the start was about the characters, but characters set within a usually idealized time and showing how unidealistic it really was. Its much like our own world now, sure as was the 70s and 80s and 90s and so on. Don’s words from the Carousel pitch often still ring true throughout the whole show about nostalgia. Nostalgia is delicate, but sweet and pain from an old wound according the to Greeks. Nostalgia was a mindset for Mad Men, but to show the downfall of nostalgia since it can often be that as much as a good thing. From Don’s unpleasant flashbacks to his family life to more pleasant ones like how he first met Roger and got into the business. Nostalgia of the 60s and its historical events helps us deconstruct the time and the characters to not show just the bad side of many of them, but what they are truly worth as people. To show the full person and that’s what Mad Men did best in its run and that’s what it did best in its final hour. This was the ending Mad Men deserved and I for one am glad I didn’t see any of this coming.

So long everyone, its been a great ride.

FINALE GRADE: A

SERIES GRADE: A

Tube Talk: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Chopper

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GET TO THE CHOPPA!

SPOILERS!

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2: Episode 22: The Choppter: GRADE: B+

One of the few problems Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second year has stumbled with is the fact is its 23 episode order. Many of the great character growth and development, some of it if a little stalled by clearly filler episodes. Filler episodes and can entertaining, but again I gotta make my feelings be known on the struct of about 10-13 episode set like seasons. Many of my favorite shows now have that model and I wish network TV would with more of its shows if it wants to keep up with the likes of cable, Netflix, and Hulu. Really the show this seasons could have made a set focus of an arc focusing on the task force setup to find Giggle Pig, deal with the Jake and Amy situation, and still have classics such as “Chocolate Milk”, “USPIS”, “The Pontiac Bandit Returns”, “Windbreaker City”, and “Captain Peralta.

I say this as the season’s penultimate(!) episode indeed feels like it but I think it’d be stronger with a short episode order, but let us focus on the good we got now as Jake becomes his most coplike. Jake really is on point as a detective this week as an epic case seems to come by the Nine-Nine with four former bank robbers who are prime suspects from a case years ago when they stole $21 million and they seem to be dropping like flies. Jake is excited about the prospect of jumping out of a helicopter with machine guns in both hands and a knife in clenched between his teeth. Of course recovering millions of dollars too.

This episode also brings us the return of Chief Wuntch and I never knew how much I missed her until her and Holt’s first interaction in the episode.

Wuntch: “Hello, Raymond. How do you like my new office? 20th floor.”
Holt: “Yes, I never thought I’d see you this high up without a broom under you.”
Wuntch: “Enough niceties. Have a seat.”

Love it. She then gives all the requests they ask for which of course makes Holt hilariously paranoid as to her motive behind this and makes the case so much more important as she can officially have their asses if they fail. The way the case plays out is great as its wonderful to see the show be a great comedy, its also a very good cop show. It was a thrill to see this case play out and honestly it could have been perfect for the finale but the stakes and height of it are felt here.

A great moment comes in how much Holt needs this solved. He sees the failing of it as what Wuntch wants and he doesn’t want that since the Nine-Nine was his one chance since working in the public relations department. He needs this and its great to see Braugher play serious here again as it just shows what a great talent he is with his range. Then he gets hilarious again when getting right in the thick of things with Jake and Boyle and riding in the chopper is a series highlight. Alas the case is solved and for solving it, Wuntch promotes Holt to Head of Public Relations. Her plan was for her to succeed all along so she can promote him to make sure he doesn’t do police work again.

I feel more weight here with Holt possibly exiting the precinct than I did with Terry the previous week. This could really change everything and how its handled in the finale I can’t wait to see.

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The only subplot this weeks deals with Terry trying his best to get his twin girls into a prestigious pre-school. Its nice and holds up the episode well but I didn’t get as much out of it. Laughs came from Gina getting involved in school gossip, kids getting excited over a dead body, and Rosa suggesting just getting one kid in and swapping them out. Sadly Terry’s wife rejected the idea. There are nice character beats that are hit but I didn’t see this holding up as well compared to the main plot of the episode.

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The Chopper sets up events for the season finale very well and gives it some high stakes and from the looks of it the Jake and Amy situation will be resolved, but hopefully that’s not handled poorly as I now have more stakes in what happens with Captain Holt.

 

Tube Talk: Mad Men: The Milk and Honey Route

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Only getting closer to the end of the line.

SPOILERS!

Mad Men: Season 7: Episode 13: The Milk and Honey Route: GRADE: A

What would be Mad Men’s usual finale is instead its penultimate(!) episode and I’m glad about that. I think the split season now, but really that’s not what we’re here for, its for the next to last episode of Mad Men.

A major thing that plays into the episode is Don’s past as his true-self, Dick Whitman. Ah yes Dick Whitman, who accidentally killed his C.O. in Korea Don Draper and switched their tags out so he could get home and desert the war. That shows itself first in the opening dream sequence when Don is pulled over by an officer and thinks he’s been found out which stirs Don awake as he is still the weary traveler we saw him become in last week’s installment. Interesting enough we don’t see much of the agency this week and how they deal with this beyond Pete’s story with the return of Duck Phillips, but more on that below.

Don find himself stranded in Oklahoma and stays at a nearby motel where he meets a young man working there who seems to hustle Don for more money after finding him some booze and then reluctantly accepts an invite to a veteran’s to help raise repair money for one of their homes and this is played expertly well. I love worldly traveler Don Draper. That can be its own show in all honesty. Don is clearly finding his own way out of advertising, regaining himself, being him and I honestly didn’t see this coming. I never could predict this is where the show would be by the time it was ready to fully wind down, but I’m pretty glad about where its going. Don’s not only living a new life, but letting go of both of his old lives as Dick and as Don. A main theme for this season has been discovery and of course finality and Don seems to have truly found himself before everything as it seems comes to an end for him.

From his past as a child and over the course of the show, Don has always wanted his ideal of perfection but knew perfection is a thing to never find in life so he just wants to get the best he can, but can never hold on to it. With what he’s doing right now, Don is holding on to things. He’s living by his own rules and being who he feels he really is.

He recalls his time in Korea and his war story, minus the deserting it part, after nervously being introduced to someone else who server in Korea, which again shows the wide range in which Jon Hamm can play anything put in front of him. Don is then accused of stealing the money and after discovering the young worker there isn’s an employee but a hustler. Don shares some life advice upon him which the kid seems to take to heart. Don drives him to a bus-stop and hands him the car and just sits there at the bus-stop waiting for whatever is going to come next from him. Don’s journey is far from over and how that journey ends will be fascinating.

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A surprise in this installment is how much I felt for two characters I usually don’t feel much of anything for.

I’ve made my feelings noted that Betty has been a weak link in terms of the characters and January Jones’ performance, but she has proven to have wonderful moments on the show. I don’t completely hate the character, though there were times where I have. Not this time as Betty discovers via a broken rib that sent her to the doctor, she is dying of advanced lung cancer and has at best a year left to live and well she’s not gonna take treatment. Henry wants Betty to take the treatment but she refuses since even with the treatments it might not really do all that much for her. January Jones brings such a calmness to Betty in the face of something like this to know your time is at an end. Betty has done and said many things, but I think part of why she accepts her mortality as she does is because she’s done what she feels like she has in life including right now with her classes which make her happy. Betty is ready to go and already has the end in mind as seen when she gives Sally a note not to be opened until her death, but Sally feeling already overwhelmed having been told in secret by Henry and keeping things together, read the instructions of what she’s to do when Betty dies and my heart dropped.

The voiceover of Betty that Sally hears as she reads is devastating, just pure gut-wrenching and gripping. The writing and way January Jones commands this from her acting and the way the direction goes is incredible. A whole new light is shined on Betty and its a very flattering one. It shows one that has had regret over her time but a life that she loved and wouldn’t change for one moment. Its a life that has affected so many people wherever she knows it or not. Betty did things her way and she doesn’t give a fuck.

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Then there’s Pete. Pete goddamn Campbell. Pete is a slimeball, but man I hate how often I can relate to his passionate drive, determination, and work ethic, but as a human, man what a tool, but goddamn it if I wasn’t happy for him this week. Duck Phillips shows back up in the aftermath of Don’s sudden departure and offers Pete and new leash on a personal and professional life in a job with Learjet. First off, hey welcome back Duck Phillips, wondering when the hell you’d show up. Secondly, Pete’s decision making feels real here, how he takes his time on this and thinks upon it. As soon as his first scene in caring for his daughter she’s stung by a bee appears I could tell Trudy was going to play a big part in his events on the episode and I was right which means this and Community gives me a double dose of Alison Brie this week for TV and that’s great.

Pete tries to weight the options since he still has a pretty good contract but Duck wants to keep showing him why Learjet is still the better option. How much better a chance he has. Money too, but he does mention maybe having a family to present himself with would help, but given Pete is divorced, that’s gonna be hard. Pete starts to thing on that and takes the job and then tell’s Trudy and asks her to move with him to Wichita, Kansas. The back and fourth in the scene just plays out so well. Its really great and well Pete’s cunning words in his pitch to Trudy convince her to go along with this and get back together with Pete and take the plunge.

For all the shit Pete Campbell has done, he’s always had something about him that shows he has meant well and that he wants to be the best person he possible can, as we all want that for ourselves too. Pete is realizing that.

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I honestly can’t or don’t want to predict how Mad Men is going to close its doors come this Sunday, but however it does it I hope its in style and really fitting for the show, we get more wise one liners from Roger, send off for Joan, an awesome Peggy moment, and one last speech from Don. Let’s get that in addition to a wrapped up story.

Tube Talk: Games of Thrones: Season 5: Episodes 3 and 4

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Second installment in bi-weekly look at the fifth season continues!

SPOILERS!

Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 3: High Sparrow: GRADE: A

King’s Landing
We begin again in the centerpiece of so many stories where the bitchiness between Margaery nd Cersei never fails to disappoint. Its of course time for the wedding of Margaery and Tommen, which we can safely report had no murders of any kind occur, and Cersei tries to make sure she keeps her influence on her son. It was great to see this since Tommen is ripe for either Margaery and Cersei to play with. Cersei wants to keep a stronghold control in King’s Landing aside from being Cersei and Margery recognizes this and tries to convince Tommen to persuade Cersei to return to Casterly Rock. That of course happening over some of the most awkward pillow talk imaginable. I also really liked that as it brought some light levity to Game of Thrones which is always welcomed among the heavy shit going on in the show. Also hilarious, Margaery mockingly gossips of Tommen’s performance in bed. This power play is fascinating.

We also get to discover more about the High Sparrow, who debuts this week played by Jonathan Pryce who in usual Pryce fashion kills it. We get to this after Lancel attacks the High Septon in a whorehouse. After he and several other Sparrows walk naked through the streets and being called sinners, High Septon requests that the High Sparrow be executed which leads to Pryce killing it in the scene where he meets with Cersei to be told he won’t be executed, but instead has imprisoned the High Septon and that High Sparrow will replace him as head of the Faith. I loved getting to know the High Sparrow and his interaction with Cersei was fascinating to see as much you share said fascination with her as she talks to this eccentric philosopher. That’s High Sparrow’s dialogue and its wonderful to see him just talk like that and Pryce seems to be the right actor to pull it off. I’m so interested in what’s to come of him this season.

Our time in King’s Landing ends by seeing the body of Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane start shaking on Qyburn’s operating table. COVER YOUR EYES, PEOPLE!

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The North
Well up North, The Bolton’s fully take Winterfell where Reek happens to hear that the Boltons don’t have enough men to hold the North and that to keep up a stronghold might be to marry off Ramsay. So Baelish has agreed to marry Sansa to Ramsay. Oh what a horrifying thought that is. So of course she’s horrified at this thought given how she holds him responsible for the death of her brother and mother, but quickly sees is as a chance for revenge when Baelish brings it up and seeing that sudden turn in Sansa’s outlook on this was great development. It shows how Baelish has been such a factor in her way of thinking in their time together that usually, she’d just ignore this and wish death upon Ramsay Bolton rather than exacting the revenge herself. Sansa and Baelish are quickly becoming the most compelling duo on screen this season next to Brienne and Podrick who are still on their trail this week. Podrick explains how he came to serve to Tyrion and she to Renly. Great little moment of bonding with between the two as they continue on their journey with the hops of succeeding. She still swears to kill Stannis in revenge of Renly. I’m curious as to how their quests for revenge will go.

The Wall
Once again we get the absolute meat of the show with Jon Snow over at the wall. Now as the new Lord Commander, Jon refuses the offer made by Stannis last week because of his oath. He must stay with his men and is told that by Stannis that Jon and his army shall march onto Winterfell in a fortnight and leaves which leads Davos to ask Jon to take back Winterfell from the Boltons.

Jon doesn’t have time for that right when he was to deal with decisions such as make Ser Alliser the new first Ragner and what to do about insubordinate Janos Slynt. Janos still isn’t too happy about Jon being Lord Commander and speaks his mind about which leads to his head getting cut off. Well he did some shit such as defying all order by Jon, but yeah Jon Snow just isn’t fucking around. This was great to see as the progression of Jon Snow this season with how he’s fully coming into his own and showing his own worth as to being able to lead the Night’s Watch. His hesitation plays nicely before its fully overcome by showing he will be made a joke of as Lord Commander, especially with Stannis looking over. Jon took great charge and shows you will respect him. Kit Harrington is truly playing it amazingly well and I am looking forward to his scenes every single week now.

Braavos
Arya continue on her path in Braavos to become a Faceless Man but is told, valar dohaeris which means that all men must serve. Arya is told she only wants to serve herself. We see Arya getting further into this and its interesting to see the ways of how this places works, but more so Maisie Williams’ performance as Arya which was so particularly heartbreaking in this episode. She’s confronted with who she is after being asked by the Waif who asks her and promptly beats Arya up after not being happy with the answer. Arya is noticed to have Arya’s things and must give them up in order to survive, which she does, but can’t get rid of her sword, Needle. She just can’t and I’m heartbroken over a sword. I’m getting emotional over someone’s sword. Damn you Game of Thrones for how good you are. Arya’s story this season shall be a fascinating one given she must now disregard who she is in a way in order to survive. I can’t wait for what’s next with her.

Volantis
We conclude our journey with Tyrion and Varys’ journey towards meeting Daenerys. Tyrion convinces Varys to let him roam about Volantis and it all goes well until Tryrion feels the need to Rifftrax a red priestess’ conversation to slaves. They hide out in a brothel where Tyrion can’t seem to find himself being able to have sex with a prostitute and while taking a leak, SUPRISE KIDNAPPING BY JORAH MORMONT! Yes Jorah is back after traveling among the friendzone. This took me by huge surprise in what was at first the weakest part of the episode until Tyrion went into the brothel. The way Dinklage painfully played the moment he can’t seem to want the prostitute is heartbreaking in how he suddenly remembers Shea. Tyrion is still gonna be feeling that shit for a while and I can’t blame him. It feels natural even for the progression of his character.

But Jorah, yeah holy shit Jorah is back and well I don’t know what to say. I’m a bit shocked and surprised. Let’s go on ahead to episode 4 and see what comes of it.

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Game of Thrones: Season 5: Episode 4: Sons of the Harpy: GRADE: A

King’s Landing
So after one stellar episode, we continue with another stellar episode that starts us off in King’s Landing where Cersei and Margaery’s powerplay over Tommen continues and it seems as if the first point goes to Cersei. After sending Mace Tyrell to the Iron Bank to negotiate a deal with hem about their debts, Cersei goes and meets once again with the High Sparrow and authorizes the revival of the Faith Militant who attack one of Baelish’s brothels and arrest Loras Tyrell for his homosexuality. I will say the sequence in which the Faith Militant do their deed is excellently well done and shot expertly. Paced just right to let the horrifying actions they perform play out and amp up then calm down as they arrest Loras. Episode director Mark Mylod does an excellent job here, even when Tommen is ordered by Margaery to go do something about Loras and speak with the High Sparrow but can’t since he is praying. The shot composition, look, and angles needed to give the situation between the Faith Militant and Tommen’s guards that uneasy feeling and tension is just so good. Its a seamlessly well done scene that gets across what it needs to and I think its an episode highlight.

As is the tension that further builds between Margaery and Cersei that sets the stage for a full implosion of this situation that I can’t wait to see!

Margaery goes off to get grandmother Olenna which means the return of Diana Rigg and I am so very happy about that.

The Wall
Meanwhile Stannis Baratheon has a heart. The most compelling thing this week was a father’s love for his daughter. When Shireen is bored and goes into the office of her father they strike up a talk which leads to an honest heart to heart about how when she was born and afflicted with greyscale, Stannis did everything, everything in his absolute power to try and cure her and it was fantastic. We’ve seen Stephen Dillane do this role well but this was a whole new side to Stannis and one I was pleased to surprisingly see. He cares deeply about what goes on around him and just isn’t a man greedy for the throne. Well he still is, but he’s a man under that and one that cares. It was just offputting to see but very welcomed.

Jon Snow this week deals with Lord Commander responsibilities such as signing aids for help, which he reluctantly signs one for the Boltons, but he knows the Night’s Watch needs all the help they need and the facial expressions Kit Harrington plays with this are really solid and convey so much without saying it. Of course the wisdom of Sam helps too. He’s then seduced by Melisandre to get him to join Stannis in taking Winterfell but goddamn even with Ygritte dead, Jon swears only loyalty to her and that was a nice character moment, which was then upstirred by Melisandre telling Jon that he knows nothing. Well that’s one hell of a kick to his balls and one that’s played very well.

Winterfell
Sansa however gets some bad news in that Baelish must return to King’s Landing at the request of Cersei in order to keep up some appearances and well I’m not too sure about how that is going to go for Baelish if Cersei knows, but I think she might not. All this done as Sansa lights candles for her deceased family, so yeah that place was lit the fuck up. But alas there is a silver lining as Sansa is told by Baelish that Stannis and his army are at Castle Black and suggests they will soon take Winterfell from the Boltons due to how they outnumber them and that since he believes all her relatives are dead, Sansa will be appointed Wardeness of the North and well I kinda hope that happens. Sansa coming to power would make for some excellent storytelling avenues and give Sophie Turner some meaty dialogue to play with.

Dorne
Dorne gets a spotlight this week as Jaime and Bronn make their way there and are an episode highlight with their conversation aboard the where Jaime admits his guilt over letting Tyrion loose which lead to the death of Tywin and how he seeks redemption. To see Jaime say that made sense for his character given how much he stood up for his brother, how he risked so much to save him and wanted the best for him, only to feel like he got his other hand cut off. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jerome Flynn’s back and fourth during this and really the whole episode is just excellent. I even love their wit after they take care of some Brone guards about how they need to bury them. Said fight has a highlight where Jaime kills the last one when the guard’s sword is caught in Jaime’s gold hand and uses the distraction to kill him. Excellently done.

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Also in Dorne, Ellaria gathers Oberyn’s three eldest bastard daughters to get them all in about revenge against Cersei by killing Myrcella and the point is even brought up that doing this might upset peace between them and once again, it was a bound by law trail by combat, but she don’t give a flying fuck. She learns about Jaimie’s arrive thank to the ship captain and she gets them all in on the plan. I’m curious as to how this goes.

Narrow Sea
We end across the Narrow Sea where Jorah steals a boat and starts his quest to Daenerys and we get a great scene where Tyrion deduces who Jorah is and just outwardly fucks with him about his motives and tries to get in his head, play with his emotions and its one of the most Tyrion moments that’s possibly been. It plays so well and is nicely directed and you can just the frustration in Jorah build and build before h knocks out Tyrion. I’m incredibly way too curious as to how Jorah is gonna factor into all of this.

Well Jorah has bad timing as Daenerys is dealing with once again refuses to open the fighting pits and also now that the Sons of the Harpy have attacked several citizens where a good portion of the Unsullied are slaughtered, but Grey Worm once again shows off his badassness before falling in battle with Ser Barristan. That sequence is also excellently shot to show the chaos and mayhem of the moment across the town when its suddenly upended like this. Direction is tight, solid, and actually shows all that goes on. It was really well done and add more tension and build up to Daenerys’ conflict with the Sons of the Harpy.

Though Daenerys does get one last great moment with Barristan in which she learns a bit more about her brother, Rhaegar Targaryen. It was a sweet little moment and a happy one for Daenerys. Last one I think she’ll have a for a while.

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Games of Thrones keeps going strong with a couple of excellently well done and well shot installments in its fifth year. The tension, character build up, and action are all in top form and makes for some excellent things to come and blood to be spilled.

Tube Talk: Mad Men: Lost Horizon

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“You think you’re gonna have fun like this over there?”

SPOILERS!

Mad Men: Season 7: Episode 12: Lost Horizon: GRADE: A

In what would usually be the penultimate chapter of a Mad Men season, it still feels quite like that in ways.

SC&P makes the big move to McCann but its not completely smooth. Peggy doesn’t have an office, Joan is treated like a second rate citizen, and Don is still hazy over Diana’s sudden departure.

Don gets a huge offering with his first job at McCann by getting to handle Miller Beer and well as soon as he hears that they are mainly relevant in the Midwest, Don just gets up and leaves, like out of nowhere and goes to Wisconsin. Well not right away, he does have to drive Sally off to school but learns from Betty that she got a ride there from a friend. Betty herself deep in her psych studying and right after is when Don goes right off to Wisconsin to try and find Diana or at least some answers. Don still wants some stability in this time where he doesn’t seem to have any or he doesn’t at least want to be who he is now, which is evident when a vision of Cooper appears to Don, welcome back Robert Morse, even if only for a few seconds. Bert even lays on some truth about Don. “You love to play the stranger.” that line encapsulates how Don best changes his stories by becoming someone else and he sees this with Diana.

Well he gets there has to lie a bit to get anywhere but gets nowhere. Diana’s ex-husband is pissed and even lays on some truth that Don isn’t the first person to go and do this. Its certainly something I wasn’t expecting to hear. Her ex doesn’t doesn’t wanna deal with Don’s shit at all and puts him out quick.

Don is of course taken back a bit and now must take the journey back to McCann and hopefully save face after walking out on the meeting. Yet when he picks up a hitchhiker who is on his way to St. Paul, Don takes him knowing its another five hours out of the way home. He wants to be taken out of what’s happening right now since he wouldn’t be the same man he will be at McCann, he wants to be the stranger now and that’s Don’s best open. I also really love that scene because David Bowie’s Space Oddity played at the end of the episode, so fuck yeah for Bowie!

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Another sign of how different things are is that Joan and Peggy aren’t given the same respect they got at SC&P simply because they are women. Joan deals with a guy who didn’t bother to know needed knowledge on a client of Joan’s and it costs them a bit and while Joan seems to have her complaints heard of, she’s just being played with. Christina Hendricks’ handling of Joan’s righteous hate in this situation plays perfectly. She’s proved everyone wrong, made partner, landed some of the most lucrative, and yet, this is still the thanks she gets when she has to move on to something new. Roger goes to bat but this can only end with Joan resigning, which she sadly does, unsure of what’s next now, but she does leave with $250,000 so silver lining I should say.

On the opposite spectrum is Peggy who demands to be taken seriously. Joan does and did as well, but Joan I think isn’t taken as seriously because of her appearance. Joan is always one to not give a fuck about her look, but it seems to have slightly undermined her work in the eyes of men at McCann, Peggy on the other hand continuously not to give a fuck, and get did her work and flipped off those that doubted her.

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Look at Peggy? She is the giver of no fucks at all. She’s having office issues and will work out of her old office until settled but while there has some reflections with Roger about SC&P and how things are completely different now. Elisabeth Moss as both herself and Peggy continues to be the MVP of this final season. Peggy has evolved and I’m not even sure this is her final form. She just has the brass confidence of Don but with her on sense of defiant confidence. It just works for her since where we seen her at the beginning of the show.

Her and Roger’s time in the old building was the highlight of the show. Peggy rollerskates right through the office as Roger plays Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo on an organ. Change is coming. Even evident by the back and fourth Roger had with Harry, who is just a pure dick now, at the opening of the episode about changes. Roger might now like this new development but its Roger. He’s just gonna take it on the chin, sip a drink, then ask for another. Roger is still captain of this ship and he’s gonna steer it in the direction it needs to go in.

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Mad Men ever so closer to the end doesn’t let up. Its still getting better and more boldly confident in itself than it ever has been before. Also full of bitter as fuck people which is always entertaining.