Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Game of Thrones recap: the only thing that matters is the climb

An intense, revealing scene (and a viscerally horrifying visual) cuts to the heart of Game of Thrones' central power conflicts.

Aiden Gillen as Petyr Baelish and Conleth Hill as Lord Varys.
Honestly, I had a really hard time picking a scene to analyze this week. There were a lot of great moments in "The Climb": Lady Oleanna faced off with Tywin Lannister, Cersei and Tyrion actually showed one another some affection, and Jon and Ygritte engaged in some pulse-pounding mountaineering. In the end, though, I had to go with my gut and choose Littlefinger's tense, complex scene with Varys, purely because it contained the single image that stayed with me long after the closing credits had faded out: Ros's arrow-ridden corpse, tied to Joffrey's bed after Baelish decided that she was nothing more than a bad investment.

In Vulture's recap of "The Climb," Nina Shen Rastogi expresses her disgust with the tossed-off nature of Ros's death. Her reaction is something I completely understand: the fact that Littlefinger, who I'm beginning to suspect is as heartless as Joffrey (if not quite as twisted) ends Ros's life without so much as a second thought is bad enough. That he hands her over to Joffrey for what he knows will be the worst possible death is horrifying. And that he drops the fact casually into conversation, as an attempt to throw Varys off his game, is absolutely sickening.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why Happy Endings should have let Penny marry Pete

By returning to the status quo, the show once again reduced Penny's identity to that of a single girl, making a fool of herself for men.

Casey Wilson as Penny and Nick Zano as Pete.
I always assumed that Penny and Pete weren't actually going to end up married. Happy Endings is a show where character evolution happens extremely slowly, if it happens at all; Penny wasn't going to change overnight from an insecure single girl to a happily married woman in a stable relationship. And since Penny and Pete's breakup was inevitable, I'm glad it happened in the relatively low-key setting of "She Got Game Night," as opposed to the traditional disastrous wedding episode, which would have just rehashed the events of the show's pilot.

Still, though, I really wish Penny and Pete had actually gotten married. Partially this is because I enjoyed Nick Zano's presence, which offered a laid-back counterpoint to the general insanity of the Happy Endings gang. Mostly, though, I like that Penny and Pete's relationship allowed Penny to break out of the desperate-single-girl role that has defined her character throughout the show's three seasons.