TV REVIEWS

GAME OF THRONES 4×10 – "The Children"

GAME OF THRONES 4x10 - The Children

"The First Men called us The Children, but we were born long before them." The line that gives the Season Four finale of Game of Thrones its title comes from my least favorite storyline in all of George R.R. Martin's sprawling epic (which we will get to in due course). But, nestled as it is in this episode, something about that image also strikes me as terrifically resonant, and terribly sad. These people are called "children," but they are not: they are old, older than we would think by looking at them, older than we can possibly know.  Continue reading

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ORPHAN BLACK 2×08 – Variable and Full of Perturbation

Orphan Black 2x08 - Variable and Full of Perturbation

Last week I posted my longest review of an Orphan Black episode so far, and this week's will be my shortest. Some unavoidable travel forced me to more or less take the week off from my extracurricular blogging, and I don't want to fall another week behind trying to catch up. So this will really be just a placeholder where a proper review should be. Let us all enjoy the break from my long-winded over-analysis, shall we? Continue reading

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GAME OF THRONES 4×08 – "The Mountain and the Viper"

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The tricky thing about the whole concept of a "trial-by-combat" is that it presupposes the existence—and willful intervention—of a just god. That, to me, is a big leap of faith. I could be as innocent as a newborn baby, but if you put me in a ring with The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) I'm going to have about as much chance of winning as a newborn baby would. Unless "the gods" see fit to strike Gregor Clegane down with a thunderbolt—or, more likely, a laughter-induced choking fit—that trial is going to end in a guilty verdict, whether I'm innocent or not.  Continue reading

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ORPHAN BLACK 2×07 – "Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motions of Things"

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I began my reviews of Orphan Black saying that I wasn't quite sure whether the show had an overall theme or agenda, which now seems painfully obtuse. I don't think this was entirely my fault, however: the show's first season built a strong foundation for the series, but there was so much groundwork to lay, and so many complex plotlines to set in motion, and so many thought-provoking ideas to introduce, that it was hard to predict where exactly the show's thematic center might lay.

By now, however, Season Two has made it much more clear what this show is really about: it's about misogyny.

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ORPHAN BLACK 2×06 – "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings"

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It's a holiday weekend here in the States, and I don't actually have much to say about "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings," so I'm going to keep my review of Orphan Black uncharacteristically short this week.  Continue reading

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GAME OF THRONES 4×07 – "Mockingbird"

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We all have a vision of the world the way it should be. It's a place where we all grow up in happy families (who care for us as they should), and we all go on adventures (which work out just the way they're supposed to), and we all fall in love and live happily after (with the person who will love us back forever). It sounds like a nice place, that world.

"But," as Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) reminds us this week, "we don't live in that world." We're stuck in…well, the world. In this world, things are not so rosy, and not so fair, and not so reliable. They fuck us up, our mums and dads, and things often go to shit, and the people we love lie, and die, and let us down, and stubbornly refuse to love us back. Looking at our world, it feels sometimes like anything—or nothing—might be preferable.  Continue reading

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ORPHAN BLACK 2×05 -"Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est"

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As my longtime readers know, my usual "thing" in my TV reviews is to approach each episode in light of a particular, overarching theme. Orphan Black makes that job even easier, as it usually (though not always) suggests a unifying idea in its episode titles. This week is no different: "Ipsa Scientia Potestas Est" roughly translates to "knowledge itself is power," and power is the key word there.  Continue reading

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GAME OF THRONES 4×06 – "The Laws of Gods and Men"

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Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is put on trial, wrongfully accused of plotting to murder a child. He says he wants to confess, and then—in a fantastic monologue—confesses to everything but the crime with which he's charged. Finally, seeing no hope of justice, he demands a trial by combat.

Elsewhere, peasants petition their ruler for relief after a vicious attack. The ruler says they cannot restore the dead, they can only offer justice for the loss.

Meanwhile, the rightful king of Westeros, deposed and in exile, has been reduced to begging foreigners for gold.

Does this all sound familiar? Continue reading

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ORPHAN BLACK 2×04 – "Governed As It Were By Chance"

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Orphan Black is one of those shows—and they're my favorite kinds of shows—that can slip in and out of different genres with ease. Jumping back and forth between drama, action, mystery, comedy, and thriller as deftly as this show does is a rare thing; finding an actress like Tatiana Maslany, who is equally at home in all of those genres, is rarer still.  Continue reading

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GAME OF THRONES 4×05 – "First of His Name"

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One doesn't need to look too closely to find the unifying theme of this week's Game of Thrones, since Cersei (Lena Headley) more or less announces it in her conversation with Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal): "Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls," she says. It's also hard not to notice the absence in this episode of most of the major male characters: Tyrion, Jaime, Davos, Stannis, Theon, Sam, and most of the other men are conspicuously absent from "First of His Name." Instead, the episode is largely centered around five women: Cersei, Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), and Dany (Emilia Clarke).  Continue reading

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