29 April 2013

Mad Men Recap: Taking Inventory

"Now is the time a man and woman need to be together most!...You gonna get on the ark with your father?" asks Ginsberg Sr. during last night's "The Flood." Unfolding around the assassination of MLK Jr., Mad Men asks whom everyone will have with them when "the flood" hits. In the wake of this particular tragedy, Don discovers his amazing son at the same time as Pete realizes he's lost his wife and daughter. It's a disorienting night for families all around.

During the advertising awards banquet, SCDP is seated so far away from the dais, they can barely see guest speaker Paul Newman. Peggy's table is just as far, and her friend Harry Hamlin is giving Megan a look like they'll be married by the end of next season. While the famed monogamist* speaks, someone yells the news that MLK's been shot. In the chaos afterwards, Don forgets all about Peggy's perceived wrongdoings and offers her a ride home. Their temporary reunion is one of the few positive outcomes of the tragedy.
*Let's just say Paul Newman knows exactly who's on "the ark" with him.

Peggy has been in the market for a new apartment, and a fabulously fur-coated Lennon Parham has shown her a place on York Avenue. It's about as far east as you could possibly go in Manhattan, and Peggy's lover/non-financially-contributing roommate Abe is more into the West 80s. He's more interested in raising children there, which flips Peggy's switch like an electrocuted circuit breaker. "KIDS!?!?!?!?!" she repeats, her jaw on the floor. She's in love all over again.

Speaking of kids, Don forgets to pick up his brood in the confusion and panic following the assassination. Even with riots still breaking out all over Harlem, Betty forces Don to come fetch the goddamn children, since Bobby's driving her crazy by tearing up the misaligned wallpaper in the Francis Mansion. Bobby completely kills it this episode. He fakes a stomachache so he can watch tv while Sally does some dumb park thing with Megan. He tells the truth about being punished with no TV and gets taken to see Planet of the Apes twice. Once he understands the ending, he sighs "Jesus" and then offers solace to a black janitor at the theater. Later that night, he can't sleep because he's scared Henry will be shot. This kid's got his act together. He's an entire person. Don's in love all over again, and I am too.

Sylvia and the good doctor are visiting DC for the episode, and I have to say that it's 1000x better to watch Don with his son than Don with his Catholic mistress. Mad Men suddenly has the Wes Anderson flourishes you'd expect a late 60s-set show to have. I mean, would you look at this Milk Duds box Don has to open for Bobby?? More Bobby! MORE BOBBY FOREVER!!

Across town, another dutiful son finds that his father set him up on a surprise blind date. Ginsberg takes the lovely Jewish teacher Beverly to a diner and stumbles all over himself, chiding his soup order and admitting that, yes, he's a virgin, it's no big deal. Jon Snow was a virgin too, it's actually no big deal, really, no big deal at all, so you can stop talking about it already. He goes home to be with his father.

Meanwhile, Pete physically can't go home. Trudy's still enforcing the Cos Cob exile, and Pete's stuck in his Manhattan apartment eating Chinese takeout alone. At work the next day, he gets into it with Harry Crane after Harry bitches about not getting to air commercials during all this news coverage. "That man had a wife and four children," Pete counters. And now he has no wife and no children. I guess now that Pete and Harry have faced off and Pete was on the side of decency, we know how we're supposed to feel about Harry.

So how are we supposed to feel about Ethan Rom? He's introduced as "Brandon Walsh," like from 90210, and then everyone slyly changes it to "Randall Walsh," like that changes anything. This dude is a freak. He sing-croaks like a frog, and Stan giggles up a storm. "The heavens are telling us to change!" I didn't get any of that.

In the midst of watching all of our tragedy-adjacent white characters deal with the tragedy, we see snippets of African American characters face the news. Diner workers collapse in tears, and secretaries come into work despite expectations that they'll stay home. Dawn and Peggy's secretary both fight to stay at work, and Dawn receives the awkwardest hug of all time from Joan. These characters are dealing with the assassination happening to them, in their neighborhoods, while our main characters are far enough away from the threat that they can take inventory of their family members. Don even gets the luxury of realizing he loves his own son.

In the aftermath of a huge shakeup, it's only natural to look for someone close to you. Some people have them, and some people don't. Who did Dawn spend that night with, hiding from potential riots? Were Joan and Roger completely alone, and is their separation a hint at what's missing from their lives? Why didn't we see Joan with her son and mother? And why does Megan's dad have to be such an asshole all the time?

photos courtesy amctv.com

Game of Thrones Recap: Fire Kissy

"Kissed By Fire" is a reference to the redheaded wildlings of the north, but we also happen to see a whole lot of Fire God devotees in this episode. Thoros of Myr channels R'hllor's magic to resurrect Beric Dondarrion, and even Stannis's wife (to whom Melisandre has told EVERYTHING) worships the Lord of Light from her Dragonstone tower. A monotheistic craze is sweeping Westeros, and honestly, it's got a pretty good chance at winning the throne. More are unified under R'hllor than under any other ruler. (Oh I get it, "R'hllor" = "ruler" = toot toot!)

As the wildling generals press Jon for details about the Wall, Ygritte continues to defend the ex-crow's honor. Just to be sure, she takes his honor into her own hands and makes Jon break his vow of chastity in a hot spring cave. It turns out he's a preternaturally talented lover. Maybe his foray into "kissing her there" is the same thing that makes Podrick so legendary down in King's Landing. Or maybe the ladies of Westeros just have the lowest expectations of all time.

Despite wielding a flaming sword, Beric loses the Hound's trial by combat. The Hound impales him and giggles at how much R'hllor must like him. But Thoros brings Beric back to life - for the sixth time - and soon the Hound is flipping out. He won his match, so he's free to go. But his tail is so far between his legs, you can see it in front. Arya is understandably upset.

Remember that bannerman who was ultra pissed at Catelyn for letting Jaime go? He finally gets his pale revenge by killing the Lannister prisoner boys at Riverrun. Robb is more upset about Carstark's Karstark's attitude than his crime, and he's compelled to hang the helpers and behead the leader. Of course, this halves Robb's forces on the battlefield. BUT WHAT'S RIGHT IS RIGHT!

Robb thinks he's got a fantastic solution in asking the Freys for help in taking Casterly Rock, but I'm not so sure. What on earth can he offer the Freys? Why would they help him now? It's going to be one awkward convo.

Cersei can tell the Tyrells are up to something, so she has Littlefinger look into it. His sneaky gay spy finds out that Loras plans to marry Sansa, and Cersei can't have that. She tells Tywin, who arranges to slip his children right into the equation: Tyrion will marry Sansa, and Cersei will marry Loras. This way, a Lannister will sit in the North and in the Reach. Cersei's like BUT I DIDN'T-- AWW, I WISH I WERE SMARTER!

Meanwhile, Olenna Tyrell remains the most cunning person in the capitol. I'd like to see her face off against Daenerys. What on earth would happen?

What is this, Jersey Shore? What's with all the hot tubs lately? This time it's shared by Brienne and Jaime, the latter having just lost even more of his arm to a wacky maester whose "experiments" have been condemned as "too bold." The Kingslayer explains the context of Aegon's Aerys's murder (the Mad King wanted Jaime to bring him Tywin's head and planned to use wildfire to burn EVERYONE to the ground), and we see for the first time that maybe stabbing someone in the back isn't necessarily so ignoble. I did a little research, and it seems that Jaime was only around 16 when he became the Kingslayer. Then again, I believe Robb's supposed to be that age now. When I was 16, my main accomplishment was successfully setting the VCR to record Gilmore Girls and Smallville every week.

At Melisandre's bidding, Stannis visits his cloistered wife and daughter in a Dragonstone tower. I vaguely remember something about him needing royal blood, and I'm worried for the kid (Shireen, I think). Shireen suffers from greyscale, a disease that makes half her face hard and stony, but she's a sunny girl who loves her father's friend, the Onion Knight. Unfortunately, his outburst against Melisandre made him a traitor. Shireen visits him in the dungeon and offers him books, then offers to teach him to read. Shireen = Bobby Draper tonight. Sometimes children are waaaayyyy better than everyone else.

Now that Daenerys is on her way to Yunkai, she wants her soldiers to give themselves names they can be proud of. Grey Worm, the head soldier, tells her he likes his slave name because it's the name he had when Daenerys Stormborn freed him. Plus, again, what would a person whose free will has been beaten out of him choose? "My name is, uhhh, whatever you want?" Nearby Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy have a pissing contest over who's more loyal to the mother of dragons. I guess it's a reasonable question, since there are now 8,000 unquestionably loyal soldiers ready to do anything for her.

  • Melisandre (obviously)
  • Thoros of Myr & Beric Dondarrion (see above)
  • Stannis's wife (")
  • Stannis's daughter (because she's a red head!)
  • Catelyn & Sansa Stark (same reason)
  • Ygritte (")
  • Tyrion (about to marry a redhead)
  • Jaime (that whole wildfire plot seemed to have kissed his brain pretty permanently)
  • Daenerys (routinely, by her dragons)


photos courtesy HBO

22 April 2013

Mad Men Recap: Double Crossers!

Last night's "To Have and to Hold" followed Don and Pete's secretive "Project K," Joan's unappreciated role in the SCDP partnership, and the conundrum Megan faces when her work makes Don jealous. Each storyline features a double-cross, and each character has at least 15 seconds' worth of Oscar-worthy, very pissed-off spaz attacks. Sincerely, every single person in the cast of Mad Men is in turn WAY PISSED. And it adds up to one great hour of television.

Don and Pete introduce the green-blazered Heinz Ketchup to "Project K" at Pete's apartment, shrouding the pitch in secrecy to keep Baked Beans from finding out. They're chasing "the green" even though they've committed to exclusivity with Beans. The dirty double-crossers smoke a joint in their tin-foiled secret office and come up with "Pass the Heinz," a pitch featuring gorgeous ketchup-loving foods that just seem incomplete without that drizzle of red. Don's pretty proud of himself...until he realizes he's been double crossed!

Peggy and Chaoueulhge run into SCDP in the Ketchup lobby and Don stays back to eavesdrop on Peggy's pitch. "Heinz. The Only Ketchup," she begins, showing off her red tights and throwing out Draperisms like "if you don't like what they're saying, change the conversation." Peggy's selling the shit out of her pitch, but in the end, JWT wins Ketchup in the room. Chauw wants to commiserate with SCDP at a nearby bar, but the feeling isn't mutual. Stan's so pissed, he flips Peggy the bird. Oh, and Ken drops by to let everyone know they've lost Baked Beans. He's extremely pissed.

Joan's friend/sister/cousin Kate is visiting, and surprise surprise, she's looking to double cross her Mary Kay job by taking an interview with Avon. She's also interested in stepping out on her husband at home, double crossing her own wedding vows. Joan and Kate end up at a party on St. Marks Place that a telephone-themed diner waiter takes them to. I wonder if Sandy's at this party, admiring the watercolor projections and recalling anecdotes of an annoying, fat, suburban housewhale. The next morning Joan and Kate wake up in the same bed with ripped sleeves and hangovers. "Do you need to throw up?!" demands Joan's mother.

At work, Joan's new partnership position hasn't changed much for her place in the hierarchy. Secretaries still think of her as their mother hen, rather than their own bosses' boss. When Joan fires Harry Crane's secretary (Scarlet) for asking Dawn to cover for her missing an afternoon of work, Harry forgets she's his boss too. He unfires Scarlet and tells the partners every ugly opinion he's ever had about Joan's position. He's done so much for the company, and what he's done has been in the light of day! He's solely responsible for the "Dow Presents Broadway Joe on Broadway Showcase!" He deserves a partnership! Not Joan, the woman who resorted to using her body to keep the company afloat with Jaguar's business! Every single character who wasn't pissed off yet is now duly PISSED.

The next day, Sterling and Cooper offer Harry the full $23,500 commission they received for the Dow television showcase. Unfortunately, Harry is still ULTRA PISSED. He wants that partnership, and he weakly threatens to go somewhere where they'll appreciate all his hard work. He feels double crossed that Joan has the partnership he somehow deserves. In Harry's case and often in Don's, Mad Men reminds us of that 60s white male point of view: so entitled to power and a pristine reputation, things get very ugly when anyone disagrees.

Don's in the middle of the hugest double cross of his life, seeing as his "actor" wife wants to start kissing people on camera for money. "You know who does that?" he manages to say with a straight face. Megan's excited for the storyline because it means more exposure, but her creepy older lady costar poisons the well. She and her husband take the Drapers out to dinner so they can try one thousand times to convince them to swing. "Are you sure? Swinging's all the rage. You know Megan's having a sex scene, right? I guess you might as well swing now, huh?" The costar lady is trying to physically double-cross Don and Megan with her husband and herself. 

Although Don and Megan escape the Costar-Swingingtons after dinner, Don shows up on set the next day to spy on Megan's sex scene. He fumes at her in the dressing room and accuses her of the very thing he's actually doing to her in real life on a daily basis with the woman who lives downstairs. Megan's acting an affair, Don's living one. And he's PISSED.

The only character who's not a double crosser is sweet, innocent Dawn. She covers for her fellow secretary, sacrifices her personal life for the sake of work, and apologizes to Joan by asking to have her salary docked for Scarlet's lost time. She's not trying to get anyone in trouble or do anything behind anyone's back (at least, not ever again). While we see Dawn's indiscretion and forgive her for it, we conspicuously don't see whatever the heck it is the ubiquitous Bob Benson's hiding. What goes on under that frozen winning smile? And how many double crosses are we looking at here?

Meredith, you're hopeless.

photos courtesy amctv.com

Game Of Thrones Recap: NO JEOR NOOOOO!

No Robb, no Stannis, no problem! Last night's "And Now His Watch Is Ended" jettisoned GoT's non-starter storylines and embraced its more active ones, and I'm hoping this pace holds up through the end of the season. Let Astapor be a coxswain for the rest of the game board! Onwards, Westeros!

What we have here is a classic romcom set-up: now that Jaime's lost his hand, he's totally hopeless! He falls into mud puddles nonstop and drinks horse pee. He's so distraught, he even stops eating. It's up to Brienne to cheer him up, so she reminds him how bad every single other person in the world has it. She can't help asking why he saved her with the Sapphire-Tarth lie, and he finds he has no answer. It's time for a long, handless, soul-searching journey of the heart.


Tyrion visits the Spider to find out why Cersei tried to have him killed at Blackwater. Although Varys has no answer for that, he does finally explain how he became a eunuch. A magician bought him as a young boy, you'd think to molest him, but instead he paralyzed Varys and fed his severed penis and testicles to a blue brazier that spoke back. Instead of going Jaime's route and giving up, Varys took himself from the slums of Myr to the Small Council of the King. And along the way he found his old magician friend and stowed him in a box. This is all to say Varys hates magic.

In the latest installment of Bran Dreams™, Jojen encourages Bran to climb a tree to catch the 3-eyed raven. Up in the tree, Catelyn warns him never to climb anymore, and she throws him off just like Jaime did. I think I might've seen a Worry Doll Wreath™ in there. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Joffrey shows Margaery around the Targaryan crypts, cackling gleefully as he recounts their gruesome deaths. Margaery loves his stories as always, and she "accidentally" steers them toward the front doors of the castle, where commoners are griping loudly. She encourages Joffrey to stand there and smile, just like her, waving to the people so they can admire their king. This may be the first time I've seen Joffrey smile without holding a weapon.

Theon and his mysterious savior return to the castle to beg his sister Yara for protection. Along the way, Theon regrets his choice to "pay the iron price" for Winterfell, and he mourns his "real father" Ned. I never thought Theon was capable of such reflection and remorse. I thought his brain was too little for self-review. Is this a new Theon Greyjoy? And will it matter, now that he's right back in his old torture chamber, betrayed by his teensy Northern-born rescuer?

Thanks to Ros the Literate Ex-Prostitute, Varys figures out that Littlefinger wants to take Sansa away with him to the Aerie. He relays his concern to Lady Olenna, noting that Sansa's claim to Winterfell would allow Littlefinger to raise an army. So they hatch a scheme for Margaery to carry out: the queen-to-be takes Sansa on a walk and suggests she marry Loras. She tells her she'd like to be sisters, but really, the marriage would prove one huge problem-solver. Sansa would gain her freedom from the Lannisters, and Margaery would avoid a Littlefinger uprising during her reign. This all seems great, which means it inevitably will turn into shit.

The remaining members of the Night's Watch are recuperating at Craster's Keep, but they're starving to death without any of his food. Jeor does his best to keep his men under control, but they mutiny anyway. They kill Craster purposefully and Jeor foolishly. Depending on how many men are left at the Wall, the Night's Watch may have just ended. AND JEOR'S GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here we are, face to face with Beric Dondarrion, the coolest mystery guy around. Ned trusted him to kill the Mountain a decade ago, but he never could. Which makes it pretty lucky that his brother, the Hound, has just arrived in chains. The Hound will face all his past crimes in a trial by combat, and Beric will invoke Melisandre's god, R'hllor, to fight him. I can't WAIT for next week. I don't even know how to feel, besides excited.

Last week, when Dany offered to buy all 8,000 Unsullied for the price of one dragon, I hoped she might have something up her sleeve. It turns out, she has several things up her sleeve. First of all, she speaks High Valyrian very well, so she's heard everything Watto Rudeguy has said. Secondly, "a dragon is not a slave," which will make it hard for Watto to cash in on his payment. Particularly when said dragon is incinerating him to death. And lastly, Daenerys orders her troops to turn against their old masters and kill every last person holding a whip, thereby destroying Astapor. She's pretty good at this game!

After the ash settles, Dany frees her slave army and asks them to fight for her on their own volition. It's a nice thought, but can you really pose such a question to men who've had the ability to choose beaten out of them? I guess just as long as the illusion of choice is out there, that's all that matters. If Dany doesn't think she's a slave master, then I guess she isn't? Either way, she's killing it.

photos courtesy HBO

15 April 2013

Mad Men Recap: Collaborators (i.e. Prostitutes)

Just as I started to get this recap together, I heard the news about the Boston Marathon, where 2 bombs have just gone off at the finish line. News is still unfolding but I've seen a few pictures so far. I can't believe that I'd write something so stupid when things like this are happening. But when are things like this ever not happening? I can't believe this is the world we live in. I have no ideas about how you could effectively stop the repeated surprise tragedies I keep hearing about at work. I know that distraction from grief can help, and I will write the recap so that the few people who read this blog can have something to take their minds off things, but I can't believe this. My thoughts are in Boston.

Pete and Trudy Campbell are throwing a dinner party for their new neighbors, and it looks like they may become swingers soon. The husbands love Trudy and the wives love Pete, and it's only a matter of time before the Campbells buy a special goldfish bowl just for key chains.

Don Draper flashes back to his childhood in a whorehouse as he continues his affair with Sylvia Rosen (Linda Cardellini, the love of my life). It seems that he and his stepmother moved in with her sister after his father (and remaining biological parent) was kicked to death by a drunk horse or whatever. A man named Uncle Mac runs the place, and he's the rooster there, as he explains to young Don. Young Don does not try to rock the boat. In fact, young Don seems like he might be a deaf/mute.

Over at the Chaeousugh Agency, Peggy tries to be more pleasant to her staff. Her "just because the work needs work doesn't mean you aren't good people" schtick isn't quite enough to make her underlings like working for her. In fact, one enterprising copywriter puts a bottle of feminine itch powder and a fake job folder for it on her desk, citing "overcritical bacteria" and "other Olsens." She takes it pretty well.

Pete takes one of the wives from the dinner party to his Manhattan apartment. She says no to food, alcohol, and music. If only she'd say no to Pete, too. Afterwards, she wants to come up with cute little ways to signal each other in the neighborhood. "CAN WE MOVE IT ALONG," says Pete.

SCDP's clients are as persnickety as ever: Heinz Baked Beans doesn't want to have to work alongside the flashier Heinz Ketchup, and Jaguar wants the agency to "come up with" the idea to squeeze local radio ads into their budget. Clients, am I right??? The same guy who made Joan prostitute herself is still in charge of Jaguar, and it's painful to see them in such close proximity. The Baked Beans guy swears that he would "rather retire than watch that guy screw [his] girlfriend." Both clients give SCDP money to do their bidding, and both could take it away at any time. Thus, SCDP does whatever they want.

You've obviously noticed by now that there's a whooooole lot of prostitute imagery in this episode. Don gives Sylvia cash after their morning tryst, Joan has to face her first (and hopefully last) john, Don remembers his childhood in a whorehouse, and, as I mentioned above, SCDP is the ultimate gestating prostitute - "you pay us money, and we'll birth the advertising plan for your product as soon as possible to your exact specifications PLUS WE WILL DO ANYTHING ELSE IN THE MEANTIME."

Megan runs into Sylvia in the laundry room just as she's firing her maid. It looks like Megan's had a rough week, seeing as she miscarried two days ago. Sylvia seems very guilty and looks like she wants to tell Megan the truth, but unlike Pete's blonde mistress, she keeps her mouth shut. She does remind Megan that neither of them believe in abortion, though.

Pete's clueless mistress tells everyone she knows about her affair and winds up running for safety at the Campbells' with a black eye and a busted nose. She's jumping the gun on this whole affair thing, and she's the only one who has no idea how to pace one of these things. Trudy offers to drive her to a hotel to spend the night, and when she gets back, she doesn't say a word to Pete. He actually thinks he's off the hook.

The next morning, of course, Trudy tells him how things are going to go from now on. Since his utter lack of discretion with the New York apartment has blown up in their faces, he's going to be living there from now on. They won't be divorcing, but if he so much as pees within 50 miles of the house without her express invitation, she's going to [kill him?]. I never heard exactly what she threatened him with, but it sounds pretty serious. Do not mess with Trudy Campbell. Just don't do it.

Over at Chaouwh, Ted overhears one of Peggy's phone calls with Stan about Heinz. Ted wants to use that information to go after Ketchup, but for some reason Peggy's reluctant. Peggy, look at your new boss. Look at your new office. You basically work at Cage & Fish in 1999. Live it up!!

Don spends the evening having dinner with the Rosens without Megan, who's "ill," and wouldn't you know it, Dr. Rosen gets called away. Why wasn't Don always dating doctors' wives? Their husbands are never around. Sylvia asks Don if he's sure he doesn't just want his young, beautiful wife Megan, and he assures her that he wants the Roman Catholic, herself. It's a very Don Draper pitch in that he sounds confident in his words, but if you really listen to them, they don't make much sense.

Later that night (once Don's finished having sex with Sylvia again), Megan tells him about her miscarriage. He tells her he wants kids when and if she does, and although it sounds very supportive, it's again a string of words that convey literally nothing. "When do you want kids? "Uh, up to you."

The whole thing culminates at the meeting with Jaguar, where SCDP is supposed to be suggesting this great radio ad idea. Don oversells it to the point of "Jersey wives can go pick up a Jag, it'll be great!" and the idea fails, just as he wants. Pete, who finally really has nothing, is exasperated that all of his ass-kissing is in vain. Roger (OH HI ROGER, WHERE YA BEEN?) reminds him about how much they gave up in Munich, and Pete has no idea what that is a reference to. For all the lapsed history students, the Munich Agreement was an effort to appease Nazi Germany by giving it a portion of Czechoslovakia called Sudetenland. It didn't work for very long.

We get one last flashback before the end of the episode, and it's Don spying on his pregnant stepmother getting screwed by Uncle Mac. In the 60s, Don collapses in before his apartment front door, unable to go in momentarily. How much has he let this happen to himself and his company? How long before, like Trudy, he finally puts his foot down?

If this week's Game of Thrones focused on mothers doing their jobs poorly, Mad Men was about how those mothers got themselves into motherhood in the first place. What must pregnancy and delivery (even figuratively) be like for a mother who is doing it for financial stability? Do we do the things we do in life for gain, or do we do them for love and happiness? And don't love and happiness count as "gain?" And if not for money, what would there be for SCDP to get in return?

photos courtesy amctv.com

Game Of Thrones Recap: Walk of [Shame &] Punishment

Welcome to Riverrun, the stomping grounds of Catelyn Stark, Littlefinger Baelish, and Lysa "Freakshow" Arryn. It's the newest location we've seen on the opening credits map, and something tells me it'll become important soon. But for right now, it's just another section of the game board, and I love it that way:

Catelyn's father has died, and her younger brother Edmure can't seem to get those flaming arrows to hit his funeral boat-pyre. Uncle Blackfish takes over and hits the boat with one try, turning around before he even sees it make contact like one of those cool bowlers. "Did I get a strike? Oh, cool, I was hoping I might. Didn't see."

Something tells me this is symbolic, but what does it mean? Old guys who make their own fortunes are more competent than young men who inherit theirs? If this whole thing is a "game" of thrones, "winning" power must be more legitimate than having it default to you? Blackfish explains to Edmure how badly Robb needs their support and armies. Do you really have to be 58 years old before you can figure this out on your own?

Talisa perpetuates rumors about Robb turning into a wolf at night as she dresses the little Lannister prisoners' scrapes. Thank you for not ruining ONE thing, finally!

Tywin makes Tyrion the Substitute Master of Coin so that Littlefinger can go to the Vale of Arryn to see about marring Lysa. As Littlefinger shows Tyrion around, he thanks him for releasing Ros, but no one offers any details about how that happened. It was clearly a power play, and I really would've liked to see how Tyrion choreographed her release.

As Tyrion's first act as Master of Coin, he sets up his squire Podrick with a 3-prostitute, virginity-ruining rager. Then he figures out that the kingdom is up to its eyeballs in debt to Tywin. Then he hears that the ladies had so much fun with Podrick, they returned their payment. Tyrion's like "HOLD UP, PRIORITIZE. LET ME SEE YO DICK, SON!!!!!"

Mance Rayder and his troops come across a giant spiral made of dead horse and man parts buried in the snow. "Always the artists," he compliments the Wights. He wants Jon to scale the Wall and surprise everyone inside. Great, should be easy enough.

The remaining members of the Night's Watch hole up at Craster's Keep for the night, and Craster asks why they don't eat Samwell to survive. My God, he's so right. I have truly never wanted to eat someone as much as I want to eat Samwell right now. He looks delicious. Like, so succulent. He looks like a rich, fatty, 5'3" walking porkchop. I've never felt this way before!

Arya, Gendry, and the Brotherhood leave Hot Pie behind because his brown bread has earned him a bakery job at an inn. I never thought I would be this sad to see him go. I think I like him more than I like Samwell because at least he's got enough sense to be pissy about his place in life. He bakes Arya a wolf-shaped bread and watches her go.

You know how to figure out if someone's worth rescuing? If they need the same help twice, they're useless, Theon. He finds a white horse (the most visible horse color) and canters through the woods, noticing only too late that a whole bunch of guys are hot on his tail. Yet again, this mystery dude saves Theon, but not before Theon's pants are down under his butt. Is this what it takes to keep Theon alive? If so, maybe go ahead and let him die, guys?

Theon Greyjoy is the Pete Campbell of Westeros - greedy, entitled, unbothered by his lack of sexual prowess and, in fact, still positive that he deserves a diverse array of poontang. Granted, he's a hard worker, but unfortunately, it's for none of the right reasons. Theon and Pete will most likely outlast everyone else.

Stannis complains to Melisandre about how much he wants to kill the teen kings of Westeros (Joffrey and Robb). She heavily implies that he should kill his own kid. These two!


This better be a giant ruse where the dragon she "sells" will kill Astapor Watto in a fiery blaze and return to her in mere minutes. The lady slave she purchased reminds her that "valar morghulis" (all men must die), but the khaleesi responds with "we are not men." THIS DRAGON BETTER KILL ALL MEN, THEN.

Brienne and Jaime are strapped back-to-back on a Bolton horse, arguing about their odds of escaping. Brienne's pretttty sure she could take them all, but Jaime begs her not to. They're arguing like oldyweds! The Boltons want to rape and kill Brienne since Jaime's the only one they need alive. Jaime talks them out of harming her, since her father has more sapphires than anyone else in the world (Tarth is famous for sapphires, after all), and his cooler head prevails. But only until they CUT OFF HIS SWORD HAND, instead. WHAT! If anyone can learn to fight just as well with his other hand, it's Jaime, but MAN!

This episode presented variations on the themes of competence (see: the flaming arrow scene, Theon's repeated inability to save himself) as well as absentee motherhood (see: Catelyn fearing she'll never see Bran and Rickon again, Dany using a dragon-child as currency). But what should we make of the "Walk of Punishment" episode title? Is Theon taking a walk of punishment for his crimes on Winterfell, or is he running away from punishment? Is Catelyn punishing herself too much for leaving the kids at home without enough protection? What sort of punishment will Daenerys rain on Watto once the deal is done? Because there's no way she's really selling that dragon. There's no FREAKING way.

Update: The Walk of Punishment is the name of that road Daenerys walks down where everyone's getting crucified on upper case Ts. Yipes.

photos courtesy HBO