Dear TV Writers: Your Fear of the Moonlighting Curse is Killing Your Show

What is the Moonlighting Curse, and why is it such a big deal to television writers? Read this in-depth look at the crippling phenomenon and find out!

Getting Rid of the Stigma: Mental Illness in Young Adult Fiction, by Megan Mann

In this piece, Megan brilliantly discusses the stigma of mental illness in literature and how some young adult novels are helping to change the landscape for this discussion.

In Appreciation of the Everyday Heroine

A mask does not a hero make. In this piece, I discuss why it's wrong to dismiss characters without costumes or masks as superheroes.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x15 Recap: "Part 15: There’s Some Some Fear in Letting Go" (Perfection) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

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"Part 15: There’s Some Fear in Letting Go"
Original Airdate: August 20, 2017

Dare I say this is a perfect episode? I love everything about it from start to finish.

It begins with love and light as Nadine armed with her gold shovel, frees Ed from her kooky (and insanely strong) grasp. She tells Ed to “run to her,” and he does. He heads straight to the Double R while Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” starts to play. How appropriate! He tells Norma that he’s free and she, she... excuses herself to talk to friggin’ Walter. OUCH. This is horrible! Ed stoically nurses his defeat with a cup of coffee.

Then the scene is intercut with Walter and Norma’s conversation and Big Ed and his big broken heart. Norma, thankfully, tells Walter to hit the road, to buy her out of the other franchises so she can go back to owning just the Double R and take care of her “wonderful” family. We cut back to Ed as Walter leaves and Otis’ crooning returns. Norma goes to Ed and he asks her to marry him, and they kiss! Shelly watches with tears in her eyes. (Maybe she’s getting ideas of a certain old flame? Fingers crossed.) The music swells and we cut to majestic views of the mountains and of the clouds in the sky. It’s like even nature is rejoicing because Ed and Norma are finally together and happy after all this time, and all's right with the world. For the moment, at least.

The love and light of that scene is in deep contrast to the villainy and darkness of what happens next. Mr. C arrives at the convenience store. I had to forgo my live-tweeting at this point, it was too enrapturing. I even tried not to blink — I didn’t want to miss anything. But, I did. Over an image of The Jumping Man, Sarah Palmer’s face appeared. I didn’t notice it, and found out about it afterward. What does it mean? Add that to the list of questions that arise throughout this episode. Mr. C doesn’t even know who Judy is! This whole scene at the convenience store is superb and very Lynchian. Unfortunately, David Bowie had passed before being able to return to his role as Phillip Jeffries, so now he’s a large, steaming, talking teapot? I’m not sure what that contraption was supposed to be, but it looked like the big bell-like electricity thingamabobs from wherever that place is that the Fireman was in on Part 8.

So many questions after this scene. Who is Judy? What were those numbers? Is this Bosomy Woman (who is played by a male actor) the key? I mean, she has the key to that door. Also, later Gersten is seen with a key hanging around her neck. I know we’re not supposed to talk about Judy, but how about we do? For real, WHO IS JUDY?

These are things to contemplate later because right after that mind warp that was the convenience store scene, Richard shows up, having followed Mr. C from The Farm. He tells him he recognizes him from a photo his mom, Audrey Horne, had of FBI agent, Cooper. They leave together, and the convenience store fades away in staticky flashes and smoke.

The next scene has someone else heavily tripping out in the woods besides Jerry. It’s Steven. Gersten is trying to calm him down, but he is so far gone, saying things like, “Will I be with the rhinoceros?” and “Or will I be, like, completely turquoise?” He has a gun and he talks about ending it. A man walking his dog (played by co-creator Mark Frost!) interrupts this madness. Gersten runs around the tree, the man hurries away, and a gunshot rings out through the forest — Steven’s fate unknown. The setting is really beautiful, and the camera stays on Gersten for a good long beat after the gunshot. Alicia Witt is pretty amazing here.

And then there’s a ZZ Top moment. No joke. The Roadhouse plays ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” as the MC turns the volume way up on a handmade poster of a volume dial. This randomness is prelude to James being weird with Renee in front of her husband, Chuck. Not surprisingly, Renee’s hubby doesn’t like “cool” guys blatantly flirting with his wife. He tells James to kindly refrain by pummeling him with his fists. This is a bad idea since James’ buddy has a Hulk hand that can smash your face in. Freddie uses his superpower on Chuck and his friend, sending them both to the intensive care unit, and him and James to jail.

With the help of Cecil B. DeMille in Sunset Boulevard, Cooper/Dougie sticks a fork in a light socket! Can this be what zaps him back to the Cooper we know? I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it would make sense, yes? Whether this revives him to the old Cooper or not, this scene was really great. Kyle MacLachlan has done a fine job with this version of Cooper, making him just as lovable as before but in an entirely different way.

The scene with Audrey and Charlie is odd as in it begs the question of why they don’t just leave and go to The Roadhouse. This is the third time we’ve seen Audrey and Charlie talk about going out, but never do. Could it be because Audrey’s actually still in a coma and this is all in her head, or is she stuck in some Black Lodge-like dimension? She questions her reality often, too. On Part 13 she wonders who she is and where she is. On this episode, she says she is seeing Charlie differently. “It’s impossible. You, Charlie. It’s you. I never saw you before the way I’m seeing you now, like I’m meeting a different person. Who are you, Charlie?” Great, like I don’t have my hands full with who Judy is, I gotta wonder who Charlie is, too?

And you know what? I love it. I love it so much.

This episode really is perfect, right down to the epic feels it delivers as we say goodbye to a beloved character. The Log Lady calls Hawk and tells him that she’s dying. It is moving and beautiful. Lynch gives this scene the weight and importance it deserves. Catherine Coulson breathed life into this cherished character that had a place in all our hearts, and Lynch let us properly say goodbye to her. The music that plays after Hawk delivers the news to Frank, Bobby, Andy, and Lucy is the same as when the Fireman produced the gold orb with Laura’s face in it on Part 8. This connects them as both being good and pure spirits, in my mind, and was the perfect choice of musical accompaniment.

The credits roll after an incredible scene of a young woman who is bullied out of the booth at The Roadhouse, who then crawls into the dancing crowd and screams while The Veils play on stage. This woman is credited as Ruby. Kind of close to Judy, huh? Also, I would watch an entire feature length film about this girl. She caught my interest immediately, and then in a short amount of time, displayed so much puzzling complexity and emotion.

The mystery doesn’t end there. At the end of the credits, the Bosomy Woman appears. Could she be Judy? Only three more installments left to find out.

Or not.

Stray Observations:
  • The exterior of the room where Mr. C meets Teapot Jeffries looks a lot like the motel where Leland met with Teresa Banks in Fire Walk With Me.
  • I love this FBI guy who is so filled with rage. 
  • Chantal and Hutch could have their own show. Their commentary on government and politics is timely yet humorous. 
  • Trying to figure out who Judy is such a mind-bender. She can really be almost any character on the show. Some of my top speculations are Naido, Diane, Sarah, Laura, and even Audrey. I’ve also heard great arguments for Major Briggs and Josie Packard. 
  • “In memory of Margaret Lanterman.” And there go the waterworks again.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

3rd Annual Golden Trio Awards -- COMEDY/VARIETY WINNERS

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After the voting, they are finally here —  the winners of your 2017 Golden Trio Awards! This year we had so many incredible nominees that it was difficult to narrow them all down to just three per category. But you chose, and here are your Comedy/Variety category winners!

We'll be releasing our Drama and Special Category winners soon!

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES

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GOLD — Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jenn: After binge-watching the entire series of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to get caught up to this year's season finale, I have to say that this show is just delightful. But the thing that I love about this show is the same thing that I love about New Girl — the characters are so fleshed-out that you actually believe they hang out when they're not on-screen together. I love the Nine-Nine and the fact that they all actually love each other (a hallmark of Mike Schur's comedies, to be honest). I'm really interested to see what happens next season!

SILVER — One Day At A Time

Chelsea: One Day At A Time was supposed to be a throwback for Norman Lear but ended up being one of the most heart-tugging, beautiful family shows on television. It’s wholesome and doesn’t have a cynical bone in its body, but it’s also not saccharine like other family comedies and doesn’t shy away from issues that affect the everyday family. It gives us strong Latina women dealing with racism, immigration, sexuality, Catholicism, and veterans affairs without ever becoming an after-school special. It’s so easy to fall in love with Alvarez family, and I suggest checking them out ASAP.

BRONZE — Sweet/Vicious

Chelsea: Sweet/Vicious is everything that’s right in a television show. It’s hysterical and heartfelt writing, killer acting, and wants to make society better. It’s not disposable television that we have in the background. It demands to be watched and for the viewers to fall for these strong women and go out and try to make the world safer. All I can say is thank you to this show for existing and I only wish it could have been around longer.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

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GOLD — Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Jenn: If you didn't already know that Andy Samberg was funny pre-Brooklyn Nine-Nine, then this FOX show just proves it. I love that Samberg has been given the opportunity to evolve in his performance as Jake Peralta though. Throughout the seasons, we've seen him grow from a lovable, but lazy detective to someone who's willing to sacrifice anything and everything for the sake of his friends. He fell in love, and continues to live from that place. In it all, Samberg has given a great performance and continues to make me cackle just by his facial expressions.

SILVER — Donald Glover (Atlanta)

Ashvini: Donald Glover’s Earn Marks is clever, and someone who doesn’t mind the grind, but is always willing to walk away. Glover has always had the ability to exude a controlled nonchalance, that remains inspiring to young people out there who just want to be weird, yet are determined to make a name for themselves in a world that often rejects outsiders. In Atlanta, the audience sees this characteristic ten-fold. Whether Earn is hustling to get his rapper cousin (Paper Boi) a gig or trying to source some fast food without a fight, he stays compelling, charming, and ever-resilient in a tough, chaotic industry, maintaining a mellow bravado that frankly no one else but Glover can pull off.

BRONZE — Jake Johnson (New Girl)

Jenn: This season of New Girl was incredible — it was, in fact, one of my favorite seasons. And that is thanks in part to Jake Johnson’s performance. Johnson is a versatile actor on a show that primarily uses him for silly plot shenanigans. But this season, Nick Miller got the chance to really grow and figure out who he is and what he wants out of life. This season saw the restoration of Nick and Jess’ relationship, and Jake Johnson played those scenes with the perfect blend of humor and heart.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

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GOLD — Kristen Bell (The Good Place)

Jenn: I’ve always loved Kristen Bell — from the cheesy rom-com When In Rome to the animated Frozen — because of how versatile she is. Her facial nuances are what really sell her comedy and boy, does she make some of the absolute BEST faces in The Good Place. I love watching Eleanor evolve as the series progresses. Bell plays an unlikable heroine in this show. We know we should probably root against Eleanor and all of the terrible things she does (or did in her life on earth). But there’s something so inherently likable and charming about the way Kristen Bell manages to extract the humor and humanity in each of her characters. I have to believe that’s why she was voted into the coveted gold spot.

SILVER — Justina Machado (One Day At A Time)

Chelsea: When I think about all the storylines Justina Machado had to play during the first season of One Day At A Time, I always end up forgetting just how hilarious she is between bouts of tears. A single mother and disabled war veteran trying to keep it all together is already so meaty but you can’t have the tears without a little laughter. Watching her bust her kids' chops, spar with her mother, and be an icon to her daughter’s best friend is a treat to us all. She holds this show together in a special way that wouldn’t work if the character was broader or more reserved. Machado never misses a beat while perfectly balancing Penelope’s humor, hopes, and struggles. I cannot think of a more deserving actress to be recognized and look forward to seeing her grow even more in season two.

BRONZE — Issa Rae (Insecure)

Chelsea: After years of hard work and crushing the YouTube space, HBO ordered Issa Rae’s Insecure to series and brought the Awkward Black Girl we all loved into our homes. The first season was hilarious, poignant, and just important. I do have to say that I am not the best person to be writing about this show and how important it is to black women. I’m a pasty white queer girl from the Midwest, and the best thing this show does is not only give a voice to the women that see themselves in Issa Rae, but that we all can relate to Issa’s awkward relationship moments or her friendship with Molly. The themes of the show are both universal and specific, and that’s the mark of great television. Rae is not only a wonderful actress but a brilliant creator, and I cannot wait to see what she does next. If you haven’t caught Insecure, go binge it on HBO and fall in love with this delightful world.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

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GOLD — Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Chelsea: Terry Crews is a treasure and we do not deserve the adorable teddy bear that is Terry Jeffords. He’s a man in touch with his feelings and the strongest person in any room. He stands up for his fellow cops and isn’t afraid to stand up to them when they’re in the wrong. Crews takes this adorable persona he’s cultivated since White Chicks and develops this guy into the dream best friend, boss, and father. For this and so so much more, he earned this golden spot.

SILVER — Alec Baldwin (Saturday Night Live)

Chelsea: I don’t think we would have survived the election or this post-election without the brilliance that is Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression. It’s so sharp and biting that the real Donald Trump can’t help but tweet about it. Baldwin has always been a staple at SNL but this year really allowed him to grow and create a character that was bigger than all of us. Without it, so many of us would have gone mad with fear and anxiety over the world being on fire, but Baldwin took this monster that we all underestimated and really got under his skin. And somehow along the way, gave us hope that we can get through this mess of a time. If that’s not worthy enough of an award then I don’t know what is.

BRONZE — Ted Danson (The Good Place)

Jenn: Okay, if you didn't watch The Good Place this year, you're missing out. It was one of the smartest, funniest shows on television this year while also containing one of the best twists in recent memory. Ted Danson is a gem throughout the series, playing The Good Place's friendly neighborhood architect with ease. He's charming and slightly aloof, and that's the kind of character Danson fits naturally with when it comes to comedy. But the show's twist (which I won't spoil for you) allows Danson to explore a totally different side of his acting range and man, was it just brilliant to watch. Catch up on this show — it's on Netflix now! — and enjoy Ted Danson as much as I did.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

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GOLD — Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)

Chelsea: The best part of Mike Schur television shows are how the women are allowed to be different kinds of people. Rosa Diaz is the toughest and coolest gal on television, and Stephanie Beatriz is a gem. She embodies the Ron Swanson archetype of curmudgeonly co-worker with a heart of gold. She’ll do anything for her friends, and you better not cross her. She doesn’t fall into the “I’m not like other girls” stereotype or the girl who is only friends with guys. Beatriz takes this type and transforms her into this complex cop that you want on your side at all times. Always a stand-out in this golden cast, it’s finally her time to shine.

SILVER — Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live)

Jenn: Look, Imma let you finish but Kate McKinnon deserves to have won an award in this year’s race — and I’m glad she did! If nothing else, she needed this because of her heartfelt in-character rendition of “Hallelujah” (which still brings a few tears to my eyes). Thank you, Kate McKinnon for getting us through this hellish election season with your incredible wit, ability to perfectly embody any character you play, and your devotion to your craft.

BRONZE — Rita Moreno (One Day At A Time)

Chelsea: If I’m even 8% as cool as Rita Moreno is when I’m her age, I know I’ll have lived a glorious life. The woman has the sharpest wit and timing than any other comedian, but more heart than all of them combined. Lydia’s not only the coolest grandmother in the show but her daughter’s rock and the voice of reason. She loves God but she loves her family more. Moreno's performance gives religion a good name and gives One Day At A Time an elegance and flair that most sitcoms can only dream of having.

OUTSTANDING LATE NIGHT/VARIETY SERIES

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GOLD — Last Week Tonight

Ashvini: Watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is always cathartic. He often finds himself confounded by the world’s daily societal dilemmas; in turn, the audience gets to watch him yell in agony at controversial figures like Donald Trump and Paul Ryan for the lunacy of their actions — actions that he disavows and spins into pleasing punchlines. Yet, unlike other late night/variety series hosts out there, his journalistic approach isn’t one born out of entertainment, rather it’s hard evidence and methodical research that solidifies his place as an effective show host. And that is something to be revered — in a time where journalists and seekers of truth are being considered pariahs, Oliver still chooses to analyze taboo topics and put them on the audience’s radar, and he does so exceedingly well. His video thinkpieces gain “trending status,” but they hold a quality and depth that is so hard to find in the vacuous nature of his profession. Perhaps it’s British accent or his genuine demeanor. Either way, it’s easy to trust his rationale.

SILVER — The Late Late Show

Chelsea: James Corden is the treasure we do not deserve. From his Carpool Karaoke’s that somehow still seem to surprise me to his crazy in studio games, he has not only revitalized late night but the variety comedy format that has been missing for decades. He can have biting commentary on our politics as an outsider or belt a showstopping tune while dressed as Belle. He’s a voice of positivity (but not so positive he let’s hateful people get by). His platform is for more than just silly games and he brings so much heart to television that we really need. Years ago people thought it was crazy that this rando Brit was taking over and now we can’t imagine the late night landscape without its new king.

BRONZE — Saturday Night Live

Jenn: Truth be told, I stuck around with Saturday Night Live this year for the election skits — and they delivered in spades (often making me laugh at the absurdity so hard that I wanted to cry). In spite of some of the cast transitions and occasionally bumpy jokes and sketches, SNL remains a source of comedy and consistency for a lot of people. Congrats on the bronze medal!

OUTSTANDING HOST

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GOLD — John Oliver

Jenn: Dear John Oliver, thank you for getting me through the election season with your hilarity and sharp truth bombs. Last Week Tonight was a saving grace for a lot of us, and Oliver continually delivered his A-game. Whether he was talking about Russia, the elections, or the Dalai Lama, Oliver's impeccable wit and pursuit of journalism was utter perfection. I love that he’s able to eloquently deliver truth and news, while still making it accessible to us all. Thank you, John Oliver. We’ll need you for the next few years.

SILVER — James Corden

Jenn: James Corden has consistently been such a bright, fun host. He's charming and sweet and you can tell that he's always genuinely interested in his guests. He has the kind of personality that is perfectly suited for late night television, and what always strikes me is that Corden doesn't really delve into mean-spirited jokes (apart from those rap battles), and treats his guests and audience with the kind of class and respect that they deserve. He's funny and talented and I'm glad he won the silver medal in our awards!

BRONZE — Samantha Bee

Chelsea: In the sea of late night testosterone, it’s Samantha Bee’s voice I trust in these absurd political times. While Colbert and John Oliver are great voices, sometimes you just need to hear certain political statements from a woman. It just has more meaning hearing things from her than regurgitated feminist statements from white men that feel a little hollow. With Samantha Bee, you feel her frustration, her grit, her fight because she’s had to work so much harder to get where she is compared to those other dudes. Those are the women I look up to and for all that and so much more, Bee deserves this award.

Stay tuned later in the week for our Drama winners!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x07 Recap: “The Dragon and the Wolf” (A Song of Ice and Fire) [Contributor: Melanie]


“The Dragon and the Wolf”
Original Airdate: August 27, 2017

The dreaded season finale break of Game of Thrones is upon us one final time. And of all the breaks, this one might be one of the most painful. We know the end is nigh with next season closing out the story, we watched the Wall come down, we finally got confirmation of Jon’s true parentage, and Jon and Dany solidified their allegiance in more ways than one...

This episode was not only the longest one in the history of the series, clocking in at 79 minutes, but also was the most-watched episode and highest-rated episode of a show for HBO ever. 12.1 million people watched live, and as many as 16.5 million could have watched in total with streaming and DVRs taken into account. That’s two million more viewers than the previous episode, four million viewers up from this time last year, and nine million more than the highest-rated episode of the first season. Game of Thrones has come a long way, and will likely top out huge for its final season.

I’m not going to weigh this intro down too much, so let's jump straight into the recap.

IN KING'S LANDING


The Unsullied, the Dothraki, and Daenerys’ retainers have arrived at the Dragon Pit outside King’s Landing to meet with Cersei and her loyalists. Everyone arrives to tense atmosphere, with Dany arriving last on Drogon. The meeting begins with Euron calling out Theon for his cowardice and insulting Tyrion. Order is restored and Tyrion attempts to plead their case. They show Cersei and Jaime the wight and Jon demonstrates the only ways to kill them. Dany asks Cersei only for a ceasefire — for them both to recall their forces and focus on the threat to the North.

Cersei eventually agrees to offer some aid, in exchange for Jon’s ambivalence in the matter of the Iron Throne. He reveals that he already pledged himself to Daenerys and cannot “serve two queens.” Outraged that her enemies conspired in an alliance behind her back, Cersei storms out of the meeting. Tyrion goes after to speak with Cersei while the others criticize Jon’s decision to openly endorse Dany without consulting anyone first. Euron Greyjoy says he will take his fleet to the Iron Islands and wait out the war.

Tyrion and Cersei meet privately where they have a long-awaited argument over past crimes and the very nature of their relationship. Tyrion surmises that Cersei is pregnant and appeals to her maternal instincts to protect her child.

At the Dragon Pit, Dany explains to Jon how her family lost their power when they lost their dragons and explains that her family ends with her, as she can’t have children. Jon argues that the curse of the witch may have been a lie. They’re interrupted by Cersei returning with Tyrion where she pledges her armies to Dany and Jon’s fight. The parties exit the summit — not without Brienne telling Jaime off for his obsessive loyalty to Cersei first, shaking him.

Later, Cersei reveals to Jaime that she had no intention of helping Dany and Jon and instead intends to wait it out while the Night King destroys them both, with Euron still secretly backing her. Jaime is shocked and storms out of the palace, despite Cersei’s threat that she would have him killed for treason. He rides North as the first winter snowfall comes to King’s Landing.


IN DRAGONSTONE


Dany, Jon, and the rest of the council are working out strategy for setting up defenses in Winterfell. Though Jorah suggests Dany fly in on Drogon, she decides a show of unity, by arriving with Jon, is a better approach. They adjourn and, later, Theon speaks with Jon about his past misdeeds and his poor track record of decision making. Jon absolves him of guilt and tells him he is “a Stark and a Greyjoy.” Theon says he wants to save his sister because she was the only one who came for him when the Boltons had him prisoner. Jon agrees and Theon goes out to convince his men to sail for the Iron Islands against Euron. They refuse and beat Theon on the beach. But when one of the men tries to wound him with a well-placed kick between the legs, Theon — a eunuch — is unharmed. He turns the tide of the fight and convinces his men to sail with him to free Yara.

IN THE NORTH


Sansa receives a raven from Brienne informing her of the content of the summit and that Jon has bent the knee to Daenerys. Littlefinger talks with Sansa about the possibility of Arya plotting to betray her and take the title of Lady of Winterfell for herself. Sansa seems to consider this. Later she has her men, Bran, and Arya gathered together in the great hall, seemingly ready to put Arya on trial. But instead, accuses Baelish of treason against their family as the one who orchestrated the entire war between the Starks and the Lannisters. The Starks find him guilty sentence him to death, with Arya carrying out the punishment.

Sam and Gilly arrive and meet with Bran. They discuss what they have mutually discovered about Jon — that his father was Rhaegar Targaryen, his mother Lyanna Stark, and that his birth was legitimate.

Meanwhile on the way North, Dany and Jon consummate their attraction to one other while Tyrion looks at the closed bedroom door with worry.

BEYOND THE WALL


At Eastwatch, Tormund, Beric, and the men manning it watch as a White Walker army approaches. Their defenses are useless, however, when the Night King appears on Viserion and uses his firepower to destroy the Wall, allowing the army of the dead to begin a march south.

UNPACKING IT ALL


I’m going to save the theorizing for a follow-up post later this week and try to keep focus just to this episode. I will say this much: This was probably one of the greatest examples of how rushed the seventh season has been. Don’t get me wrong — this episode was amazing and, compared to last week, it allowed breathing time for virtually every reunion and drawn out political debate you could want. In fact, the entrance to the Dragon Pit scene was probably the most soap opera the show has ever gotten and it was handled perfectly with poignant eye contact between characters, quick bits of dialogue, and excellent shots showcasing an ensemble cast of over ten main characters, managing to make them all an important player in the scene.

But the reveal of Jon’s lineage seemed like a bit much to cram in a minute and thirty second sequence, especially since we spent all of last season trailing around Lyanna in Bran’s greendreams just to get a glimpse of baby Jon. Then suddenly it’s an info dump right at the end of the episode when Sam magically appears in Winterfell — having crossed the entire continent — and immediately talks about family trees with Bran.

Moving along from the rushed delivery, we have to ask the question: What does this information mean? For starters, it means in the Targaryen line, Jon’s claim is better than Dany’s as the rule in the Targaryen dynasty is “sons of first sons come before second sons.” But are Dany and Jon going to really care all that much when they find out? One thing Game of Thrones has always been about is the factor of nurture and what you believe about yourself above the truth of your nature and what others tell you.

For example, Dany fought tooth and nail against the possibility of becoming her father. Tyrion even pointed out this episode that she chose advisers who would stop her from doing something cruel, even if she could not stop herself. Tyrion himself has been told all his life he’s a drunken freeloader when, in actuality, he’s silently worked to ensure his family survives in the face of every insult that could be thrown at his stature and birth status. Jon Snow — a Targaryen by birth — was raised to believe he was Ned Stark’s son and acted accordingly with loyalty and honor, was granted a direwolf by the powers that be in the their world in season one, and is fiercely loyal to the North.

Jon’s identity does not change with the reveal of his true given and family names. Just as he told Theon in the throne room of Dragonstone, he was raised a Stark and that’s enough. Though he knows he has an emotional connection to the Targaryen dynasty through Dany (and his future dragon Rhaegal), I don’t seem him pursuing his claim to the Iron Throne. I don’t see Dany pursuing her claim either. I foresee the scene we saw in season two when Dany was in the House of the Undying and she turned from the Iron Throne to go north. The capital was decayed and covered in snow (winter did come to the capital last night), and Cersei will be left alone, queen of the ashes.

That being said, there is also an element of fate here. After all, Emilia Clarke said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that Dany — who has been fighting her family traditions and the traps they cause — may not be so happy to find she managed to walk right into a traditional Targaryen incestuous relationship with literally the last person on earth one would have thought was an immediate family member to her. And it does seem like some seriously fateful events that they survived firepits, mutinies, sieges, and treks across vast continents to meet. It was revealed by director Alan Taylor that George R.R. Martin informed him the major plot point of the series was going to be Dany and Jon meeting.

One last bit I want to talk about on this side of things (before shifting gears to the North clapping back hard at Littlefinger) is Tyrion. This episode featured an amazing scene between Tyrion and Cersei where they spat all their problems at each other and, when given the chance, Cersei did not order Tyrion murdered — as she always boasted she would do. While she didn’t plan to help, she had a personal and revelatory conversation with Tyrion that was years in the making and was delivered beautifully by Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage.

Jaime, meanwhile, showed some spine against Cersei by walking away from her (another brother she could not order to kill) and heading north to aid in the fight against the dead. One thing about Tyrion in the episode, however, was odd. It harkened back to a 1993 pitch George R.R. Martin submitted for the series which outlined a plot thread where Tyrion falls in love with Dany and it causes a rivalry between him and Jon Snow.

This seems farfetched. I thought it was a tossed plotline when I read it. However, Cersei does comment that Dany is Tyrion’s “type” and the original outline of this episode featured Bronn noticing that Tyrion was attracted to Dany. The scene of Tyrion watching, unnerved, as Jon enters Dany’s cabin in the middle of the night seems to push this idea that their relationship doesn’t sit well with him — despite the fact that it would be a politically advantageous relationship for everyone. Further credence for this comes from the book, as a friend reminded me. Aegon the Conqueror (Dany) and Rhaenys (Jon) were in love while their third sibling, Visneya (Tyrion), was also in love with Aegon but her feelings were not returned. (He eventually married both his sisters to spare Visneya embarrassment.) Following the cyclical nature of the show and the recurrence of the Three Headed Dragon, there’s narrative precedence for Tyrion developing feelings for Dany. It’s something to watch.

Meanwhile up North, Littlefinger’s gambit to drive a wedge in the Starks finally ran its course. We’re not sure exactly when Sansa, Bran, and Arya got their nonsense together. It could have been after Arya and Sansa’s game of faces. Maybe Bran finally shared what he knew about Littlefinger. Maybe none of them were as dumb as we were feared and knew all along. But Littlefinger is dead, I got another point in my deadpool, and order is restored to Winterfell (only to be massively upset when Jon arrives back and the news comes out). But this is a momentous death for the series. As pointed out by Sansa, Littelfinger was responsible for it all. He had Jon Arryn killed, he planted the idea the Lannisters did it, he ordered the attempted assassination of Bran, he betrayed Ned at King’s Landing. He’s the reason Ned left Winterfell in the first place and sparked the War of Five Kings.

With Littlefinger gone, the “game” is over. It’s incredibly fitting, as winter arrives, the Wall comes down, the wights move south, and the last player in this childish game for the Iron Throne is gone. So, as Jon says, the war is here. And it is real.

Be on the lookout for my follow-up theories post coming this week. I'll delve more into what Jon’s lineage means, if it’s possible Bran inadvertently helped the White Walkers, if Dany’s five million reminders this season that she’s barren is foreshadowing, and who — if anyone — will get that throne in the end.

Bachelor in Paradise 4x03 & 4x04 Roundtable: WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU! [Contributors: Chelsea, Alisa, and Rebecca]


The ladies are back for another round of Bachelor in Paradise discussion. This week, they talk about the couples they're rooting for and what they're anticipating for the remainder of the season.

Now that the show is back on track, how do you feel about the cast? Are there any couples you’re rooting for? 


Rebecca: I’m really liking the cast so far. They seem to have a good mix of people, a good amount of drama, and good couples that have started to form. Right now, it seems like Taylor and Derek are the only real couple, and I don’t really care about either one of them. I’m still rooting for Dean and Kristina to work things out, and I actually really like Adam and Raven together.

Alisa: So of course, I really loved Dean and Kristina at first, but then Dean turned into such a skeezy frat boy and just no. I think if Ben Z. could turn down the nerves a bit (hey, buddy, I get it, I’m obsessed with my dogs too, but maybe ask the girls questions about them, yeah?) then he and Kristina could be super cute together. I agree with Rebecca that Taylor and Derek seem really solid, but ugh, Taylor’s so annoying and I’m just over seeing them make out. Overall, I think the cast is pretty good, and I’m really rooting for Raven, Ben Z., Kristina, and Diggy to all hopefully find true love in paradise this season.

Chelsea: My heart is so hurt by Dean this week. WE WERE ROOTING FOR YOU! I don’t care what y’all say — I love Ben Z. talking about his dog. That is totally me and I respect a man that obsesses over his four-legged friend. Derek and Taylor may be the most real of the couples so far, but I cannot stand Derek. Knowing he broke up with Olivia right before heading to Paradise makes me question his intentions. He’s no better than Nick Viall.

I really just support Raven and all her life choices. She’s entertaining and knows what she’s here for.

Dean is breaking all of our hearts with this love triangle. Are you Team Kristina or Team Danielle L.? 


Rebecca: DEFINITELY Team Kristina. I love Dean, but I don’t like the way he’s playing her right now. I think his feelings for Danielle L. are fueled by lust whereas he seemed to have a real connection with Kristina, so he needs to get his act together

Alisa: Like, okay, I get it, Dean is damaged from a rocky childhood and losing his mother to cancer. That’s awful and heartbreaking. But Kristina was legit kicked out of her home as a child by her mom after she resorted to eating lipstick because she hadn’t eaten in like three days, ended up on the streets, and then in an orphanage, and finally fortunately adopted. Her childhood was beyond traumatic and damaging and she came out of it as this beautiful-souled human. And so honestly I need Dean to step up and realize that really bad things have happened to more people than just him and take the necessary steps to start to heal those childhood wounds. He and Kristina seemed like they had a genuine connection and an understanding of each other’s pain.

I have absolutely nothing against Danielle L., but I don’t think she’s looking for a deep connection; she’s in Paradise to have fun. And that’s totally fine, but she can have fun with anyone. Honestly, I think Dean realized he and Kristina could truly have something beautiful and it scared him so he ran from it. If he doesn’t fix this fast, it’s gonna be one of the biggest mistakes he ever makes.

Chelsea: I really just want Kristina to be happy. Dean and Kristina had such great potential and it was cute how they spent time outside of the show together when production was halted. I kind of want her to find someone new if Dean isn’t going to treat her right. I have nothing against Danielle L. but I really don’t know her and I don’t like Dean playing games. Grow up, man.

Four guys went home this week. Who were you happy to see leave? Who would you have given another chance to? 


Rebecca: I wasn’t super sad to see anyone go home. I found Vinny entertaining, but I wasn’t devastated to watch him leave. Although I wish he had hung around another week so I didn’t have to have that intense secondhand embarrassment about the rose shirt thing.

Alisa: I was bummed Vinny left so fast. He was pretty entertaining last season. But I honestly don’t even remember who else left, so good riddance.

Chelsea: It was nice to see Vinny again since he was such a major player last season but he really wasn’t doing much this year, so I wasn’t sad to see him go. I was cheering when Alex, Iggy, and Santa left. Like boys, BYE! I cannot stand those drama queens.


Bonus Question: NURSE DANIELLE AND WELLS?


Rebecca: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. That kiss was so sweet and so romantic and so surprising and I absolutely loved everything about it. Nurse Danielle, I am so proud of you for jetting off to Africa to save lives, but PLEASE don’t meet anyone over there, okay? And Wells, you better wait for her, because she’ll be back, and you two need to be together forever.

(Can you tell I’m the one who added the bonus question?)

Alisa: Nurse Danielle and Wells are the pure and innocent Bachelor in Paradise couple we desperately needed but definitely don’t deserve. I think it’s adorable that Wells feels she’s out of his league and that they both just kept gushing about each other the whole time. I hope he’s there waiting with a rose in the Nashville airport when she gets back from Africa and that they live happily ever after and have lots of babies.

Chelsea: These two are my FAVORITE contestants from their respective seasons. When I heard on social media that they had been friends for years, I immediately wondered if anything was happening between them. Wells is such a cutie and deserves to find love, and Nurse Danielle has always been above this franchise. I don’t care if the show is just playing up an old friendship, they are both so lovely and I want them to have the cutest lives together. Also, OF COURSE NURSE DANIELLE WOULD LEAVE THIS NONSENSE TO GO SAVE THE WORLD; WE DO NOT DESERVE HER!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x16 Recap: "Part 16: No Knock No Doorbell" (Isn’t It Too Dreamy?) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

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"Part 16: No Knock No Doorbell"
Original Airdate: August 27, 2017

Okay, I said that Part 15 might be a perfect episode, but THIS really is. Lynch keeps topping himself.

Say what you will about evil Mr. C, but he did get his demonic spawn, Richard, zapped out of existence. Peace out, Dick. Mr. C wasn’t too broken up about it. He merely said, “Goodbye, my son” with minimal emotion and then went on his merry way after trying to send a text to Diane.

A lot of action happens at The Jones’ house while they are at the hospital with a comatose Dougie. Chantal and Hutch show up first, waiting to assassinate Douglas Jones. Then the Las Vegas FBI shows up finally identifying the correct Mr. and Mrs. Jones. The Mitchum Brothers’ circus (as Chantal aptly describes them) arrive to stock the Jones’ home with food. A neighbor comes home and takes issue with Chantal and Hutch parked too close to his driveway. Naturally, a bloody gunfight ensues. That was pretty intense, and ended with The Hutchens dead and the neighbor arrested. Well, that escalated quickly. I went from being worried about Chantal’s last bag of Cheetos to mourning her death.

Now about that comatose Dougie. He is no longer comatose nor is he Dougie. COOP IS BACK, Y’ALL! Can I get a thumbs up? And he’s not back just a little bit, but “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.” MIKE updates him and gives him the owl cave ring. Cooper asks MIKE if he has the seed. Apparently that’s what the gold ball bearing left behind by Dougie is called. Cooper plucks some of his own hair out of his head and gives it to MIKE. “I need you to make another one.” I think he is having MIKE make another Dougie to go live with Janey-E and Sonny Jim. When he says goodbye to them (which is a real ugly-cry moment) he says, “Dougie, I mean, I, will be back.” He lets the Mitchum Brothers in on what’s going on as they make their way to Twin Peaks.

It was shocking to have Cooper back so instantly. He was immediately back to his old self. Even the Twin Peaks theme music started to play. “I am the FBI,” he tells Bushnell. Suffice it to say, I was ELATED, and may have even blacked out from joy for a second. That’s possible, right?

We go from happy shock to devastating shock. Diane receives the text from Mr. C, and it sends her into an anxious fit. She says, “I remember” and texts him back the coordinates. The music that played when we were first introduced to Mr. C back on Part 1 begins to play as Diane makes her way to Gordon. This is incredibly tense because we were just shown that she has a gun in her purse and this song introduced an evil character all those weeks ago.

She finally tells Gordon, Tammy, and Albert what happened that night that Cooper came to see her. It was about three or four years after she had stopped hearing from him. He was very interested in what was going on at the Bureau. He kissed Diane, and that is when she sensed that something was very wrong. Laura Dern gives an achingly gripping performance as Diane, telling the agents that Cooper’s doppelganger raped her. He then took her to an old gas station, most likely the convenience store. As she recalls this nightmare, she glances down at the text message and has a frantic realization. “I’m in the sheriff’s station. I’m not me. I’m not me.” She pulls her gun, but Tammy and Albert were ready and shoot first. Diane’s body disappears with a bang. Tammy thankfully voices what my stress addled brain would’ve eventually got to, “They’re real. That was a real tulpa.” So if the real Diane is at the sheriff’s station, is she Naido? Oh, wow!

Diane’s doppelganger appears in the Red Room. MIKE tells her that someone manufactured her and she’s like no, duh, but in her more colorful language. She disappears in a similar manner as Dougie did on Part 3, leaving behind a “seed.”

The cut to The Roadhouse indicates that the episode is almost over, but, holy moly, what happens in those last minutes is INSANITY. First it’s Eddie freakin’ Vedder introduced with his birth name, Edward Louis Severson. As I listen to his eloquent song, “Out of Sand,” I wait for the credits to start rolling. They don’t. Instead Audrey and Charlie walk in! After Vedder finishes his song, the MC says, “Ladies and gentlemen, Audrey’s Dance.” OH MY GOD. Her music starts to play, and my eyes instantly fill with tears. The dance floor clears, and Audrey Horne dances dreamily as the crowd watches her and collectively sways. It is the most beautiful thing ever. At times during her dance, she had a huge smile on her face, genuine bliss. The reverie is broken by a man running through and attacking another man. Audrey runs to Charlie and tells him to get her out. Smash cut to Audrey looking at herself in a mirror. She is not made up the way she was at The Roadhouse, and she is scared and confused of her own image. WHAT THE WHAT? Electricity crackles and we cut back to The Roadhouse stage where the band continues “Audrey’s Dance,” but it is backwards! Audrey must be in a lodge of sorts.

So, Richard is dead, Cooper is back, Diane is gone (or what we thought was Diane), Audrey is waking up, and Chantal ate her last Cheeto. Cooper is headed to Twin Peaks, and all we have left is the two-hour season finale. “I have no idea where it will lead us, but I have a definite feeling that it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”

Stray Observations:

  • Jerry witnessed the death of Richard, but I’m not sure what that means that he was there. He just blamed his binoculars for the whole ordeal. 
  • I had three minor heart attacks from this episode. Cooper’s revival, Diane’s doppelganger reveal and demise, and Audrey’s dance followed by evidence of her being trapped in a dimension. 
  • “: - ) ALL.” What does Mr. C’s text mean?
  • I wish they made a bigger deal of Cooper drinking coffee on the way to the plane. I mean, it’s his first cup of coffee after being back as himself! It was more of a production for Bradley to get his bloody mary. 
  • “Here’s to us, Audrey.” “Here’s to Billy.” Is Billy Cooper in Audrey’s dimension? She says she’s in love with Billy. She needs to find Billy. It’s possible, no?
  • Some of the lyrics in “Out of Sand” seem to really fit The Return: “I am who I am / Who I was I will never be again [...] I stare at my reflection to the bone / Blurred eyes look back at me / Full of blame and sympathy”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Younger 4x09 Recap: “The Incident at Pound Ridge” (Josh Gets Revenge) [Guest Poster: Bibi]


“The Incident at Pound Ridge”
Original Airdate: August 23, 2017

This week’s episode of Younger begins with Josh and Claire are chatting about her hometown in Ireland. Josh says he will wait for her at the bar, until she's free. Claire says she took the night off the following day, and Josh invites her on a proper date.

At Empirical, the team learns that adult coloring books have grown significantly and that they should try to find a way to get into that market. Kelsey gets a bold idea to see if Josh can be lured with a $10,000 advance as long as he uses the tattoo designs he owns and creates an adult coloring book based on them. Josh is in. The only thing is that this would be in Millennial's imprint, and he would need to meet and be vetted by Charles first. Still reeling from the fact that Liza cheated on him with Charles, this could go terribly wrong for everyone involved.

Meanwhile, Diana is spearheading the company picnic at Charles's house that weekend. All authors are invited, including Pauline. Charles states boldly that Pauline is staying with her sister, but she will receive an invitation just like everyone else. In an attempt to give Charles more of a narrative, we meet a no-name friend of his, who gives him unsolicited advice. He tells Charles that Pauline is a different person and maybe he should consider reconciling with her. (He also says all marriages are crazy and wishes his wife would leave him for a year, so take it with a grain of salt.) Charles says that he found someone else. He swears the man to secrecy about this vague piece of news before departing.

Liza and Pauline meet up for more book edits. Pauline starts the conversation on the wrong foot by gossiping with Liza. She heard that Charles might be seeing someone and she wants to know who. Liza stops her before the conversation spirals (and ultimately leads to Pauline finding out that the someone is her).

On their proper date, Claire talks about her video game internship and living in the moment. Claire and Josh eat jalapeƱos and it's Claire's first time being venturing into the land of heat. Afterwards, they go back to his place. While getting intimate, Josh starts screaming in pain. Apparently, her hands are still covered with jalapeƱo residue. Whoops!

The next day, Kelsey talks to Josh and thinks that he has real potential with his book deal. She recommends he attend the company picnic to meet the team. I realized in this moment that Josh was trying to keep Liza’s integrity and did not confide in Kelsey that Charles is one of the reasons they broke up. She keeps pushing the issue until Josh agrees. Josh tells Claire the story of everything that happened, and Claire recommends that he should go to the picnic and prove he's he the bigger man. ... And do it all while getting $10,000 from the company.

Before the picnic, Diana finds out that Liza introduced Josh and Claire and got him the job at Millennial. She says they need to have a chat about her not being a door mat. At the picnic, when Charles and Josh interact and re-introduce themselves, it is awkward and Liza is holding her breath while watching from afar.

Pauline pulls Liza to the side and finds out that Liza is her daughters' babysitter, when the kids rush to Liza with glee. Pauline offers a tour of the home but it feels odd considering the fact that they she no longer lives there. Pauline realizes that she is just a guest and there are no photos of her in the house she built anymore. She also keeps asking Liza about who Charles is seeing, but this is not Liza’s place or news to share really; this is a conversation she should be having with her estranged husband. Diana basically kidnaps Pauline so Liza can officiate the potato sack race.

In the potato sack race, of course Josh and Charles are neck-and-neck in competition. They fall at the same time, and Charles bumps into Josh on the way down. He immediately apologizes. But this is clearly a trigger for Josh, who then punches Charles and walks away. Josh could not control his emotions because one: he's obviously still not over Liza; and two, it was a bad idea for Kelsey to get him to come. Of course, Josh has still not told Kelsey the real reason why he and Liza broke up so she is majorly confused as to what happened.

Liza follows Charles, who is not actually upset. He realizes that Josh must have seen he and Liza kissing in the Hamptons, and feels like Josh's punch was warranted. The two then passionately kiss, and Charles asks Liza to stay the night. She declines, saying that everything has changed now. Charles says his feelings are the same, but Liza knows with Pauline back in the picture, things are different.

The night ends with Kelsey asking questions and going straight to Liza for answers. Liza confesses that she and Charles had a moment in the Hamptons. Kelsey sternly warns her not to sleep with him, because it will end badly for everyone if she does.

Why did Pauline keeping asking Liza about Charles' new woman? She needs to ask Charles directly. Do you think Liza and Charles are really done? Will Charles still give Josh the book deal since he understands why he punched him? Until next week! Share your thoughts below!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x06 Recap: "Beyond the Wall" (Death is the Enemy) [Contributor: Melanie]


"Beyond the Wall"
Original Airdate: August 20, 2017

The worst thing that could ever have possibly happened on Game of Thrones happened this week — a dragon is dead and the White Walkers have taken control of it. The long held “Ice Dragon” theory (that I also outlined in a post last week) has come to fruition and no one is really happy about having to say "I told you so." As the witch once said to Dany in season one, only death pays for life. And this week she ended up trading Viserion for the safety of Jon and the rest of the company beyond the Wall.

This is an episode that so easily could have not worked. And many outlets criticized the pacing (what would have once taken several episodes to travel is traversed in a single episode to make up for shortened time this season). But somehow the spectacle of it all, finally seeing Dany’s book three dream about fighting White Walkers, and watching Team Dragon assemble Avengers-style to take on the Night King is fan service in the best possible way.

IN DRAGONSTONE


Dany and Tyrion discuss their situation and she notes that she seems to be surrounded by men wanting to be heroes and who often do stupid things to get there, naming Drogo, Daario, Jorah, and Jon. When Tyrion argues that all the men she listed have fallen in love her at some point in their lives, she denies Jon’s affection for her. Tyrion disagrees.

Tyrion presses the issue of succession, to ensure that Dany’s legacy and the world she creates remains after she dies. He notes that, while she cannot have children, she can choose her own successor to protect her kingdom after she’s gone. Her frustration with Tyrion from previous episodes continues and she tells him his attempts to think of the long game instead of looking at the immediate present got their armies and supplies destroyed.

Later, when the raven asking for help arrives at Dragonstone, Dany mounts her dragons, ready to save them. Tyrion argues against her risking herself for them, saying that “the most important person in the world” cannot risk her life every time someone asks for help, and warning that — if she died — the world would too. She ignores his advice and takes off anyway.

IN THE NORTH


Sansa and Arya’s passive game of cat and mouse comes to a head when Arya confronts her about her letter to Robb, written years ago. Sansa says she wrote the letter under duress and was trying to stay alive. Arya argues that she would have died rather than write those things to Robb and questions Sansa’s loyalty to her family.

Later, Sansa goes searching in Arya’s room and finds her faces. Arya explains her abilities as a Faceless Man and hands Sansa Littlefinger’s Valyrian dagger.

BEYOND THE WALL


Jon and company journey beyond the Wall. On the way, Jon attempts to give Jorah Longclaw, as it originally belonged to his father Jeor Mormont, who always hoped to give it to Jorah. But Jorah declines and instead tells Jon to give it to his own children one day. After a battle with an undead bear and finally stumbling on the Night King’s army, they capture a wight but find themselves surrounded by the army of the dead on all sides, content to let them freeze to death on their small island in the middle of an icy lake. Jon sends Gendry to get a raven to Daenerys asking for aid. They wait it for some time but the Hound, bored enough to toss rocks at the wights, accidentally reveals the lake has frozen over solid once more, allowing the army to advance.

As they are surrounded, Dany arrives with her three dragons and burns a significant portion of the army away. However, the Night King launches an icy spear at Viserion, sending him plummeting to the ground, killing him. Dany watches in horror and all but Jon manage to make it onto Drogon’s back. They’re forced to flee without him when the Night King prepares to launch another spear at Drogon. Jon is eventually rescued by Benjen Stark who gives him his horse and holds the army off long enough for Jon to make an escape.

At Eastwatch, Dany watches, in stoic silence, for any sign of Jon. He arrives back, exhausted and suffering the effects of hypothermia. He wakes, some days later, on a ship to find Dany waiting at his bedside. He apologizes to her for being the reason she lost her dragon. She tells him she needed to know the truth about the White Walkers, and now she does. She promises they will defeat the Night King, together. He takes her hand and, when she bristles at him calling her “Dany” because it’s what her brother used to call her, he offers instead “my queen” and swears fealty to her, telling her she is worthy of his loyalty and the rest of the world will one day follow. Dany then leaves the room, grateful — and flustered — telling him to rest.

Back at the site of the battle, the Night’s King places his hand on the fallen Viserion who opens his eyes once again — this time, bright blue.

UNPACKING IT ALL


It’s tough to put this into a context because it might be the biggest Game of Thrones game-changer since Ned Stark’s death in season one. A dragon is dead. The Night King now has that dragon in his army. Dany and Jon have formed an alliance. Alan Taylor, the director of this episode, said: “I remember when I was doing season one...George R.R. Martin came to visit. He did sort of say things that made it clear that the meeting and convergence of Jon and Dany was sort of the point of the series.” We’re moving into the endgame phase of our story, and the mysterious Song of Ice and Fire.

Up until now the season has had a bit of a back and forth trying to figure out where to settle Dany’s story: conqueror or egalitarian? Invader or prophesied hero? It’s caused some serious debate and some criticism for the lack of sureness in her story one way or another.This episode married both those narratives after several episodes of whiplash storytelling. Up until this point Dany has had an internal (and sometime external) battle over how to proceed, whether it was better to wipe Cersei off the map or delay her campaign for the kingdoms and join Jon.

The Night King decides for her.

When Jon calls for help, Dany responds. It’s a pivotal moment for her story. Up until this point she’s taken counsel, obeyed decisions, and silently watched her conquest and army crumble. But one can’t help but imagine the words of the late Lady Olenna ringing in her ears (“You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.”) when she makes the decision to save Jon. Tyrion tries to talk her out of it, says that that the important people of the world cannot risk her life for a few. Dany disagrees, echoing both her statement weeks ago (“What kind of queen am I if I’m not willing to risk my life fight them?”) and Jon’s challenge to Ramsay Bolton last season (“Will they want to fight for you when they hear you won’t fight for them?”) and goes charging into battle, at great personal cost, for the sake of a few men and the chance that they might get an upper hand in the war to come.

It’s a welcome relief to the red herring hints that she might find herself without allies or a throne after a few impulsive, violent stunts. But this episode hammered home the core of Dany’s decisions: helping other people. She grew up an orphan beggar, abused by her brother and chased by assassins but managed to never have the bitter and entitled streak that got her brother killed. And though she flirted with the possibility this season, she’s committed herself to protecting the realm before she takes a seat on the Iron Throne — if she ever does.

It’s probably the biggest moment for her since she came to Westeros, she has lost a child in a fight she didn’t believe was real, for the sake of a man who she still doesn’t know completely, and yet doesn't blame anyone or regret a thing. It was an incredibly moving scene that brought home the feeling of family between Dany and Jon (the “beggar queen” and the Bastard of Winterfell finally finding kinship in someone). As a personal aside, to see a man who served as the show’s archetypical fantasy hero not only get saved by a woman, but to unconditionally bow to her as his queen and ally. It’s a big step for someone who has spent years watching her favorite action heroes be men and forced to undergo the brunt of fanboy drivel against female characters in positions of leadership.

This episode was especially poignant for book readers who will recall in A Storm of Swords (book three) Dany dreamed she was fighting soldiers made of ice while on dragonback and that this (the battle in the dream) was the true war while the other (her conquest of Westeros) was the dream. It seems to have come to pass in this episode as she knowingly risks her chances at her crown to rescue a group of men from an army that may or may not exist. It’s another big moment, decades in the making, that is one of many reasons this has been the most satisfying season to date.

It seems almost pointless to discuss the other parts of this episode: the Stark drama. Playing Arya against Sansa is getting old fast and one can only hope it resolves quickly. However, many fans have noted that the cold war between the Stark sisters might actually be staged and the pair have been playing Littlefinger all along. After all, the game of faces involves making a lie sound like a truth, and Arya did offer up the dagger to Sansa, handle-first, like a call to action.

As for bigger theories, I’m going to leave that until after next week’s episode to fully flesh out. But the possibilities of this ice dragon breathing ice across the land to even more devastating effects than flames, the strange and repetitive hints in this episode about Dany’s ability to have children and mentions of Jon’s future children leading to many fan conclusions, and the true meaning behind the prophesied Song of Ice and Fire.

So what can we expect from the finale? Well we’ve got Cersei, Jaime, Bronn, Euron Jon, Dany, Tyrion, Viserys, Grey Worm, Missandei, Brienne, and Pod all in one scene. It sounds like fanfiction, but it’s real. Expect some massive shade throwing and absolutely NOTHING to get solved. I’m not saying a dragon died in vain, but I don’t see Cersei caring about anything at this point. Jon and Dany, I imagine, are on their own in this fight.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Twin Peaks: The Return 3x14 Recap: "Part 14: We Are Like The Dreamer" (Excuse Me While I Pick My Jaw Up Off The Floor) [Contributor: Erin Allen]

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"Part 14: We Are Like The Dreamer"
Original Airdate: August 13, 2017

Part 14 is one of those episodes that has so much information and so much happens that it just about makes your head explode.

One of those head-exploding moments happens very early on, so it is difficult to keep up with everything that takes place after. I’m talking, of course, of the reveal that Diane and Janey-E are half-sisters. I never would’ve thought Vegas and the Blue Rose Task Force would connect in this way.

I am so in awe of this connection, that my brain was only partially functioning during Gordon’s telling of his dream. I had to go back and watch the dream scene right after the episode ended to really appreciate the beauty and mystery of it, AND THE PRESENCE OF DAVID BOWIE. His character’s name has been mentioned frequently throughout the season. Gordon’s dream includes a scene from Fire Walk With Me when Phillip Jeffries returns to the FBI. It was a thrilling scene then and it is thrilling now. That all of this FWWM stuff is so important to the mythology continually blows my mind.

In beautiful black and white, and partly taking place in Paris (in the dream), the scene has the feeling of a foreign film, complete with Monica Bellucci as herself. That’s right. Monica Bellucci plays herself in a dream. What a trip. And what a dream. “We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?” Errr, what? Like I wasn’t confused enough before. But, who is the dreamer, Monica Bellucci?! Please help! Is this all a dream? This is where Charlie comes in to tell me, “This is Existentialism 101,” right?

Still reeling from Gordon’s dream while still reeling from the Diane/Janey-E news, Lynch compounds the mind-bending element by taking us to Jack Rabbit’s Palace. 253 yards East, amidst smoke and flashing electricity, Bobby, Hawk, Frank, and Andy find Naido, naked on the forest floor. She is alive and speaking in that staticky, staccato noise. Before they can do anything, at exactly 2:53, a vortex opens in the sky above them, and Andy disappears.

He appears in the room where the season began, sitting across from The Giant or ???????. He calls himself the Fireman this time. So that’s what the seven questions marks were for! Brilliant! Andy is shown many visions which include Laura, the two Coopers, Woodsmen, and Naido.

They all materialize back at Jack Rabbit’s Palace not knowing what happened. Andy knows, and takes charge. He cradles Naido and tells the other men, “She’s very important, and there are people who want her dead. [...] Don’t tell anybody about this.” I never expected to see Naido again after she flung out into space on Part 3, so this is super intriguing.

Lucy and Andy set up Naido in one of the cells at the station to keep her safe. After they leave, a stressful scene takes place between Naido, a drunk, and Chad. The drunk repeats every noise he hears, Chad is an ornery jerk, and Naido makes chirps like a monkey. Since I first thought Naido could be Judy back on Part 3, the monkey sounds make me think of that again.

But straining for meaning in every single detail is kind of like fighting against the current. At this point, I think I just want to relax and let it take me where it will. We are approaching the end of this wild ride, and we may get answers, we may not. But, it’s still the most fun I have had watching television in quite awhile.

Speaking of fun, how cool is the story that Freddie tells James? Freddie went into one of these vortexes, was told by the Fireman to put on a certain glove, and then move to Twin Peaks from freakin’ England to find his destiny. Um, that’s AMAZING. The whole thing about the glove is fascinating — he’s like a Twin Peaks superhero!

Sarah Palmer also seems like she might be a superhero, exacting vengeance on scummy creeps. Has she had this power all along? She might have, and we only saw a small glimpse into it with what was shown on the original run. This scene was uncomfortable, and frightening, and satisfying. On a show where violence is inflicted upon women practically every episode, it was beyond refreshing to see a dirtbag get what he deserved. Go Sarah!

Part 14 ends in a similar fashion to Part 12. Two women, Megan and Sophie (new characters), at The Roadhouse discuss some other names. Billy’s name comes up again — his current whereabouts unknown. Also Tina’s name is mentioned. She is Megan’s mom and Megan suspects that her and Billy had a thing.

More questions, but that’s okay. All the delicious speculation helps occupy the time until the next episode. Happy clue hunting, Peakies (or Peakers, or whatever you wish to call yourselves)!  

Stray Observations:
  • This Lois Duffy case. Wow, Bob, wow.
  • That window squeegee bit! All of Gordon’s reactions were great!  
  • “Deputy Diane reporting.”
  • The scene at the Las Vegas Field Office is so random, yet fits in so beautifully. “Wilson, how many times have I told you, this is what we do at the FBI!”
  • “Last night I had another Monica Bellucci dream.”
  • The despicable Chad is arrested. Ah, sweet justice!
  • “Where I come from we call a bloke like this a “Jobsworth.” A person who delights in acting in an obstructive or otherwise unhelpful manner, as in “I can’t do that, it’s more than my job’s worth.””
  • “He just fell over.” “With half his neck missing?!” 
  • Lissie performs “Wild Wild West” on The Roadhouse stage as the credits roll. Credits which include Monica Bellucci as herself (still not over that) and “In Memory of David Bowie.” Ouch, my feels. 

Bachelor in Paradise 4x01 & 4x02 Roundtable: Matchmaking and Misconduct [Contributors: Chelsea, Alisa, & Rebecca]


Everyone's favorite Bachelor spin-off has returned. Chelsea, Alisa, and Rebecca settle in to talk about the contestants who arrived in Paradise, as well as predictions for the season.

What did you think about the contestants that came to Paradise? Any past favorites? Any couples you’re cheering on? 


Rebecca: I really like the mix of people they’ve brought out for this season of Paradise. My favorite couple as of now is Dean and Kristina, and I really hope they work through the rocky patch they were in at the close of Tuesday’s episode. They’re both total sweethearts who have good chemistry and a lot in common. I was also thrilled to see Diggy, Nurse Danielle, and Raven... and of course, my fave Alexis — I adore all of them and really hope they all find love in Mexico! I was also happy to see Wells back in action, even as “just the bartender.” I have a feeling someone may try to cozy up to him (*cough cough* Nurse Danielle *cough*).

Alisa: I really hope Kristina and Dean can make it work because they both deserve love so much and I think they could really be great together if they can get through their issues. I’m so happy Diggy came to Paradise because I adore him. Raven, Nurse Danielle, and Derek are also faves of mine.

Chelsea: They have a really fun cast this year. Nurse Danielle, Raven, and Wells are my obvious favorites. I’m hoping for something on the Nurse Danielle/Wells front since they were friends before the show and that would be cute. I also just really want Wells to be the Bachelor since he’s so much fun. More Wells is what I’m getting at. Dean and Kristina are a surprising match and are so cute. I cannot wait to see how that develops.

Going into this week, we’ve all been wondering what happened with the sexual misconduct allegations. How did you think the show handled it when production restarted? What did you think of the cast talking about it? 


Rebecca: Yikes... I am not even sure where to start. I guess I’ll begin with the fact it was totally, completely scripted. It could have been a really educational discussion about consent, slut-shaming, and race, but instead turned into a ploy for ABC to save face. It was so obvious that the producers fed lines to the contestants, which made the whole thing really uncomfortable and awkward to watch. This article really sums up how I felt about the discussion in much better words than I can find. That all being said, kudos to Raven for her bravery and sharing her story of surviving sexual assault.

Alisa: Seriously so proud of Raven for sharing her story. That’s so difficult and I really hope that no one pressured her to share it and it was really just because she felt impressed to in the moment. As for the rest of it, eh. I mean, I’m glad they had a conversation about it at all and brought up consent, slut-shaming, and racism — all of which were factors in what happened and the aftermath. But they did it in typical ABC fashion, unfortunately, and — like Rebecca said — it just rang a little hollow.

Chelsea: I’ve been in a lot of HR and Title IX training this week for my new job, and I think I’m okay with it being scripted here. These are important topics that need to be talked about in a blunt fashion and that never happens on TV. You need to hear men talk about consent in relationships and have a prominently white cast talk about how race was a factor in the accusations. You need to make people uncomfortable because these aren’t things that are talked about frankly. I don’t think they could have gone further this week if they didn’t do it like this, and I imagine most of these contestants needed a little training in all these areas. There was no way ABC wasn’t going to script that and drive those lessons into every single one of the cast members’ heads.

That all aside, I’m so proud of Raven for speaking up as a sexual assault survivor. Society needs to give survivors platforms to talk about their experiences and she’s using hers well. She’s always been a favorite of mine for other reasons and now I just have the greatest respect for her.

Chris Harrison is a treasure and complete delight in those opening credits. What’s your favorite Chris Harrison moment in Paradise so far? 


Rebecca: Chris Harrison is SUCH a gem. He truly is too good for the messiness that is the Bachelor franchise, but my heart will absolutely shatter if he ever walks away from the show. He really is the perfect host. I usually fast forward through the opening credits after the first episode, but I think I’ll continue watching them all season as he totally owns those credits in that dapper suit. I’d let him rescue me from the ocean any day.

Alisa: Okay, so Chris Harrison is my biggest celebrity crush and that’s no secret to anyone including my boyfriend. I swear we’ve seen more of Chris Harrison in the first week of Paradise than we did the WHOLE SEASON of The Bachelorette, and I hope the Chris-fest continues all season long! Also, I think Chris — who always looks quite dapper — has really stepped up his wardrobe this season. That suit in the opening credits...those perfectly tailored slim fit linen pants in episode two... the man knows how to dress. Or at least knows the importance of a good stylist. Either way, I am here for it!

Chelsea: Chris Harrison is just a treasure and I adore how dorky he was playing lifeguard in a suit in those opening credits. He’s here to save the cast and viewers from all the crazy things this season. Paradise looks so great on him and his wardrobe person deserves a raise and fruit basket.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thrones and Theories For the Final Act of Game of Thrones [Contributor: Melanie]

Image result for game of thrones season 7 episode 5

DISCLAIMER: This was written several hours prior to the episode six leak and contains no information or theories beyond what was presented as of episode five.

Since my recaps for individual episodes have gotten too long and analytic for me to put in theories every week, I wanted to get them all out there before we move into the endgame stages of this season. As seven years of watching has told us, the penultimate episodes of Game of Thrones seasons tend to be the most important ones (though last season’s finale came very close to outshining “The Battle of the Bastards”). We’ve got a set-up of Jon leading a party into the wilds beyond the Wall to capture a wight and return with it, long enough to prove to Cersei the threat is real and hope she cares enough about literally anything besides herself (we’ll get into if that’s true or not).

So below I’ve listed out my theories and personal deadpools for the coming last two episodes and what it means going into the final season of the show. I’ll likely have a part two to this with amended theories when all is said and done. But for now, here is where things stand in my mind...


THE ICE DRAGON


At first glance, it sounds like a fanfic idea. But it’s a theory that has been floating for some time and George RR Martin himself has helped stoked those fires. Back in 1980, George RR Martin published a children’s novel companion entitled The Ice Dragon. Though Martin has claimed the stories contained in the short novel do not take place in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire many still believe it’s a massive hint to an element he decided to include in his books. Ice dragons do exist in the world of Game of Thrones — of course it’s in the same way many people thought the White Walkers existed, but look at where we are now.

Ice dragons are a completely different species of dragon from the ones found in Valyria, at least from what we know. They’re larger — where Valyrian dragons are “fire made flesh,” these ones are ice. According to legends told around Westerosi campfires, these dragons roam the Shivering Sea and the White Waste (an arctic sea north of Essos). There are theories that they’re descended, in some way, from the dragons found in the fires of Valyria, but they’re little more than myth in the world of GoT.

But will we see one this week? Or in coming episodes? I have to imagine the Night King has a lot more up his sleeve than an army of of snow zombies. Though the battle at Hardhome proved how deadly they can be, three dragon still seems like more than enough of a match when fighting from the safety of the air... unless the Night King has some aerial support of his own. From interviews with George RR Martin, we know he has had an interest the idea of an ice dragon long before A Song of Ice and Fire and it seems that interest may have even been what sparked the idea that became the book series. There’s a very real possibility that the final battle will be between the Targaryens and their dragons and the Night King and his.

After all, Dany dreamed several times in the book of the Wall, and herself fighting an army of men in armor of ice and getting the feeling that “this was the real war” and “the other had been a dream.” Jon has similar dreams as well.

THE SUICIDE SQUAD


We know not all of our buddies in Jon’s group are making it home. Tormund has cheated death enough times on GoT that he might finally be on the chopping block here. Beric Dondarrion has also been brought back so many times that it’s likely time for him to go as well. Jon’s got bulletproof plot armor and I don’t see them bringing Gendry back just to off him an episode later (but anything is possible in this show). There’s a real chance Jorah may die but he still might have some resolutions to make with his family that save him from death up North. The Hound also seems to have an important role. His fear of fire, yet his ability to look into the flames and see visions is incredibly eerie. A fringe but still, somehow, active theory in the fandom is that he might even be the Prince That Was Promised. Fat chance. But he’s important. Then again, it’s entirely possible they all die and Jon makes it out as the only survivor of the group.

That all being said, I don’t actually think they’ll get their wight. I think this episode, in conjunction with the theory above, might serve a larger purpose at revealing had big the fight against the White Walkers will actually be.

“A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.” 

When Maester Aemon died, he lamented that he was leaving his niece, Daenerys, as the last of her kind. However, we’ve gotten almost 100% confirmation that she has more immediate family than she realized: not only is Jon snow the son of her eldest brother, but his conception and birth happened under legitimate circumstances, giving him the same last name as Dany. But, that’s not the end of the growing list of secret Targaryens. Dany may not be a brotherless orphan after all.

Jon’s scene with Drogon, where the dragon allowed him to place his hand on his snout, was an obvious hint to Jon’s heritage. Dragons have an exclusive bond with those of Valyrian descent, their fellow natives to the peninsula of Valyria and the Fourteen Flames. In fact, Quentyn Martell (a character cut from the show) was descended from the original Princess Daenerys who married into House Martell. He believed his ancestry (she was, roughly, his great-great-great grandmother) gave him connection with Dany’s dragons. He was wrong and burned alive by them when he attempted to touch one. But Drogon allows Jon to touch him and Tyrion is allowed to approach and touch Viserion and Rhaegal when they are in Meereen.

The theory that Tyrion is, in fact, Daenerys’ half-brother has been around just as long as R+L=J and just got a huge boost in possibility. King Aerys had an obsession with Joanna Lannister and eventually left court, where her husband Tywin was serving as Hand of the King, out of discomfort with his attentions. However, they fatefully meet again at a tournament held in King’s Landing and, almost a year later, she dies giving birth to Tyrion — taking the secret of his paternity to her grave. But, Tyrion is described in the books as having hair so fair that it’s nearly white. Tywin makes comments that he “cannot prove” Tyrion is not his son and — with his dying breath — tells Tyrion, “You are not son of mine.” Tyrion is also introduced to us with having a lifelong fascination with dragons and the desire to ride one some day.

He might be getting his chance. We know from a prophecy Dany witnessed in A Clash of Kings (though the show omitted it) that “the dragon must always have three heads” and, as per the traditional bond between dragons and riders, Dany and Drogon are bonded for life. That leaves a dragon open when Jon finally has his. It’s entirely possible that third dragon and the final spot in the Targaryen triad belongs to him.


HYSTERICAL PREGNANCY AND CERSEI'S VALONQAR


By which I mean that Cersei is a liar. It seems a little too convenient that just when she found out Jaime went behind her back, she whips out the one bit of information that would keep him loyal to her. According to prophecy, she will have no more children. Perhaps this betrayal of Jaime’s trust and abuse of his affection for her is what will finally make him see the light, that it’s possible for her to even turn against him, in order to hold onto her power. Between the two of them, Jaime is more likely to be the one to see reason if a wight is brought before them and I could see him joining in with Jon and Dany to deal with the evils beyond the Wall.

But according to prophecy, he may also be the one who kills Cersei as the woods witch told her a “valonqar” (High Valyrian for “younger brother”) will “choke the life out of [her].” Cersei thought it referred to Tyrion, but many have come to believe Jaime — who is the younger twin — is the one who will kill her. He’s no stranger to regicide and may find himself utterly devastated when he learns she lied about her pregnancy to ensnare him into loyalty.

There is, however, a theory that the use of the word valonqar is not an accident. It is the only time the witch speaks in High Valyrian, suggesting the younger brother in question will have ties to Valyria, the homeland of the Targaryens. If it’s true that Tyrion is Aerys’ bastard son, it would not only explain her odd use of the word  but also have been a massive clue the witch tossed Cersei about the truth of Tyrion’s parentage.

BREAKING THE WHEEL


Dany vowed in season five to “break the wheel” of power in Westeros that has kept the high lords in power and the people weak. She brought this back up in episode five of this season when she promised the Lannister soldiers that she intended to unseat Cersei and the political games of the Great Houses. So far the scene has certainly been set for entire overhaul of how Westeros is run. Not only are the majority of the Great Houses now extinct, but even their replacement houses have fallen. Doing a head count from the South up: the Martells are extinct, the Tyrells are extinct, their replacements — the Tarlys — are extinct, the Lannisters are down to three with no heirs (likely down by at least one more by the end of the season), the Baratheons are extinct, the Tullys are down to one with no heirs, the Greyjoys are down to three with no heirs (likely down by at least one more by the end of the season), the Arryns are extinct, and the Starks are down to three: a bastard and some unproductive infighting.

Balerion the Black Dread — Aegon the Conqueror's dragon — famously forged the Iron Throne in his flame. Based on Dany’s goals and the way things seem to be going in Westeros, rather than sit on the throne, I foresee her using the flames of her own Black Dread, Drogon, to melt down the throne and finally break that wheel that cause so much strife in the world. Not sure if it’ll happen by the end of this season, but this week’s episode is 71 minutes long and the finale is 81 minutes which gives plenty time for some serious plays (especially with how fast everyone suddenly seems to be able to move around the continent).


THE HANGING PIECES


I’m mainly talking about Euron Greyjoy here. We haven’t seen him in a while and that’s a little unnerving. While I don’t think he’ll play a part in the campaign at Eastwatch, I don’t entirely trust Cersei’s desire to negotiate an armistice with Dany, especially with Euron still wandering around the seas. According to interviews, he might just top out Ramsay and Joffrey for the most deplorable, universally disliked character on the show. That makes his absence nerve-wracking. In the books, Euron has in his possession the Hellhorn — horn forged from an enormous dragon — covered in Valyrian glyphs. It’s said that those who blow on the horn will gain control of any dragon who hears it; and that could mean trouble. There is no mention thus far of the horn in the show but I can’t imagine Qyburn and Cersei’s ominous plans to kill a dragon would end with such a fizz. With Cersei meeting with Qyburn and refusing to tell Jaime (and thus the audience) what they were discussing, right before agreeing to an armistice with Dany, it may suggest she has a secret weapon we don’t yet know about.

Meanwhile, will Melisandre be making her return this season? We know she left for Volantis after bringing Dany and Jon together, but claims she will have to return to Westeros one day because it was prophesied that she would die there. This means she still has some part to play in the war — perhaps called back to revive someone again?


ALL MEN MUST DIE


This week’s penultimate episode, “Death is the Enemy,” will become only the third 9th episode (or in this case 6th episode) in the show’s history not to feature a battle. It will instead feature our Hateful Eight (Seven) getting WRECKED by the White Walker army waiting for them beyond Eastwatch. Which begs the question... what will it really be about? We’re not getting the bombastic battles we’ve had in the past. The only other two episodes not to feature a battle at this pivotal point in the season were ones in which some portion of the plot trajectory was irrevocably altered: “Baelor,” in which Ned Stark was executed, and “The Rains of Castamere,” which featured the Red Wedding. So what could happen this week to rival those episodes (widely considered two of the biggest plot twists in TV history)?

We don’t know much about the White Walkers. But I have a feeling we’re going to learn something this week that’s going to change the plan of attack when it comes to them and possibly take things from horribly awful to really, really effing bad. On the one hand, there is the ice dragon theory that says the Night King will be able to match Dany’s trump card. There are theories, some intertwined with that one: that we’re going to lose a dragon (Viserion seems the most likely candidate). There is also the possibility of a deep and dark look into the the nature of the wights and the White Walkers. The wights are the resurrected bodies of those who have died. We caught a glimpse of Wun Wun among them in the first episode this season which begs the question: Are we about to see some old friends back from the grave?

At one point in the book, Jon dreams that he’s fighting Robb and Ned as wights. He still carries baggage over his inability to help his family when Ned was executed and Robb went to war and, eventually, died. With Sansa and the rest of the North questioning his loyalties, he may find himself facing that guilty once again. And he’s not the only one with baggage. Jorah may be facing down the wight of his father in atonement for his own sins against the Mormont family.

There’s some logistical questions. After all, Ned’s body is in the crypts at Winterfell and Robb’s was mutilated after his death at the Twins. But we don’t know exactly how wights are brought back and find their way into the army of the dead.

There is also an Instagram post from Jason Momoa of great interest that suggests Dany may meet of her own past demons in the army of the dead. Momoa was in Northern Ireland with the Game of Thrones creators Benioff and Weiss with the cheeky caption “ALOHA DROGO.” It’s slim at best, especially with Drogo burned on a pyre thousands of miles away, but if death is the enemy then so is everything that comes with it: regrets, unrealized potential, and the ghosts of the past.