TV Minus the TV: Game of Thrones dances with dragons, and Hannibal looks tasty
Welcome to TV Minus the TV, a column full of thoughts about TV shows watched on laptops published on the internet for you to read on your phone.
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Game of Thrones #509, “The Dance of Dragons” by Bryce Rudow
Digesting Season 2 of Hannibal as an Aperitif for Season 3 by Charles Bramesco
Game of Thrones #509, “The Dance of Dragons”
The Wheel in the Sky Keeps on Turning
By Bryce Rudow (@brycetrudow)
Two episodes ago, when we were finally rewarded with some Tyrion-Dany banter, the Mother of Dragons told the Half-Man that she was going to crush “the wheel” of Westerosi politics; a noble, but hubristic, ambition. Because even if she and Drogon the Well-Timed stopped the wheel from spinning temporarily, there’s really only one person that will determine the wheel’s ultimate fate:
The Night’s King is essentially death incarnate, and he and eternal winter are slowly but surely coming this way. He is the powerful boss at the end of the video game, and the outcome of that clash will be what makes or breaks the future of the Westerosi wheel – and the world in general.
But with only Jon Snow, the Night’s Watch, a few hundred Wildlings, and Wun-Wun, the saddest looking giant in the world, as the only people near The Wall, that leaves an interesting dilemma for the rest of the show…
How are we supposed to give a shit about feudal political disputes when there are ice zombies coming after us?
I think the scientific term for this is The Avengers Conundrum, but when you have a universal threat like Skrulls or White Walkers, it’s hard to get significantly invested in something as relatively meaningless as Dornish baby mama drama.#
There’s really only a few options the show has, but it looks like it’s going with a smorgasbord of them…
1. You raise the stakes for the individuals that we care about:
Stannis’ journey has been mapped out in the audience’s head almost as long as it has been in Stannis’, and this grueling march to Winterfell has taken its toll on more than just that one freezing dude with the empty bowl. Sure we may hate the Boltons and hopefully Stannis’ siege on Winterfell means Sansa gets saved, but to keep this storyline compelling, something big had to happen, something hot. Something that really sizzles.#
They may have milked this heartwrencher for all it was worth by giving Shireen a nice ‘I love life’ speech right before her untimely immolation, but as Stannis the Increasingly Fanatical understood, this wasn’t even a choice. It had to happen to keep things moving forward. It’s the same reason why Cersei the Scene Stealer is finally having her come to Jesus/the Seven Gods moment too.
2. You dazzle us with wonder:
Want to know how to stop people like my friend Ben and I from asking too many questions about that very questionable Harpy attack scene?
Show us dragons!
Even if there was what we can only hope was a Neverending Story homage thrown in there, it is undeniably awesome to watch a dragon fly around and breathe fire and bite people in half. And considering flying fire-breathers are going to be pretty necessary when it comes to the inevitable fight against the ice zombies, you can be sure we’re going to get tons of opportunities to dance with these babies.
3. You introduce another universal threat:
Game of Thrones loves its subtle cliffhangers, and Jorah the Infected grabbing Dany’s hand at the end of the episode should have shot chills down everyone’s spine. Because the only thing worse than one kind of zombie attack is two kinds of zombie attacks, and something tells me the heavily populated City of Meereen doesn’t have adequate grayscale epidemic relief centers set up. This may not be the kind of step forward we were looking for with Dany’s storyline, but it definitely spices things up a bit.
As Master Splinter says in the first Ninja Turles movie, death comes for us all. For those of us self-aware enough to not get wrapped up in religious dogma, that means that every day that we live, we reckon with the truth that there is a finality to this life. Sometimes it’s hard to find meaning in that kind of existence, thus why we have nihilism, but sometimes it’s the perfect catalyst to do something truly world-changing.
And isn’t that what season finales are for?
Digesting Season 2 of Hannibal as an Aperitif for Season 3
How Do You Say ‘Last Season on Hannibal’ in Japanese?
By Charles Bramesco (@intothecrevasse)
In a somewhat transparent bid to assert itself as the heir apparent to Breaking Bad (at least in terms of visually ornate, morally murky psychothrillers), the second season of Hannibal began with an in medias res flash-forward. Lawrence Fishburne’s agent Jack Crawford arrives at Hannibal Lecter’s (Mads Mikkelsen) home and savagely attacks him. After a magnificent fight scene that ends with Crawford fatally stabbed, he drags himself into Lecter’s pantry and locks the door.
The first half of season two was commanded by Will Graham’s (Hugh Dancy) tireless campaign to prove his innocence and expose Dr. Lecter as the culprit behind many of the recent killings that have horrified Baltimoreans — and viewers — since season one. Will begins the season on trial for the Chesapeake Ripper killings, but a series of twisty and occasionally convoluted plot twists eventually exonerate him.# Series creator Bryan Fuller continues his deranged game of cat and mouse, freely and constantly swapping the roles of manipulator and manipulated between characters. The rambling list of deceased characters continued to grow, starting with the bailiff and judge at Will’s trial and ending with viewers bidding a fond farewell to Abigail Hobbs. We left Will Graham in jeopardy, bleeding on the floor while Lecter and Dr. Du Maurier jet-set for France.
In the second season, the series refined its sensibility and narrowed in on a specific voice. Some brilliant guest direction from Vincenzo Natali (Splice) and David Slade (Hard Candy) helped Hannibal formulate some exquisitely gruesome visuals and the general feeling of urbane sleekness that seduced viewers week after week. Admittedly, some clunky scriptwriting fumbles weight meditations on death, the value of life, and the slippery natures of good and evil. But season three promises even more sadistic Grand Guignol horror and foundationally sound character-driven drama to keep viewers meat-hooked.
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