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Everything You Need to Know for Game of Thrones Season 5

the-sand-snakesMeet the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.

1. New House & New Location

We met our first member of House Martell, Prince Oberyn, last season.  (Who can forget his sultry voice, his disdain for Lannisters’, and his way with candles?)  Sadly, the Mountain crushed our handsome prince (pun definitely intended) during a battle by combat that resulted in the infamous Oberyn Headsplosion.  For those of you that didn’t read the books, House Martell is the head family in the Kingdom of Dorne ruling out of the castle of Sunspear.  Dorne, the southernmost point of the Seven Kingdoms, has been mentioned in Game of Thrones before.  You may recall that when Tyrion was serving as Hand of the King, he orchestrated a plot to have Marcella Baratheon (Lannister) sent away from King’s Landing.  The little lion princess is currently trapped living in Dorne.

Dorne is different from the rest of the kingdoms of Westeros in that it was never truly conquered by the Targaryen’s.  Dorne swore fielty to the Iron Throne by choice centuries after Aegon’s invasion.  Like their ancestors that came before House Martell, Dornish noble Houses follow gender-blind equal primogeniture, in which the eldest child is the heir regardless of whether they are male or female.  The words of the Martells are “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” and bastard children assume the name of “Sand.”  The Martells are deeply resentful of the Lannister family and blame Tywin for the death of Elia Martell, wife of Prince Rhaegar Targeryen, and her children.

This season, we will meet even more members of House Martell.  Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand, will be returning to report the dreadful news of Oberyn’s death to the reigning Prince of Dorne and Oberyn’s older brother, Prince Doran Martell.  We will also be meeting the Sand Snakes, the bastard daughters of Oberyn and Ellaria.  The Sand Snakes are skilled fighters trained by their father and will most certainly be seeking revenge against the Lannisters.

Rumor has it that Jaime Lannister will be departing King’s Landing and riding south to broker peace in Dorne.  Bookreaders know this is a change in Jaime’s story and I’m interested to see how they fit this into Jaime’s character progression.  Perhaps the Kingslayer will arrive just in time to save Princess Marcella from the deadly grasp of the Sand Snakes?

Sand_Snakes_torture_with_scorpionsSand Snakes using scorpion torture. NBD

2. No Bran, No Hodor.

‘Nough said.  This season will not include Bran Stark or his gentle giant companion, Hodor, as the TV series has caught up to his storyline.  Who will be around to “Hodor” for us?!

3. Who Crossed the Narrow Sea?

When we left, Arya had set her sights on Braavos. For those of you in need of a refresh, remember Jaqen H’ghar? Jaqen helped Arya, Hot Pie, and Gendry escape Harrenhal in season two and then he changed into another person like whoosh. That’s because he was a member of the Faceless Men, a trained group of assassins. Arya used the coin given to her by Jaqen to gain passage to cross the Narrow Sea. Is Arya on her way to become an assassin?  Will she soon be just as deadly as Jaqen?

The last we saw of Tyrion, he was being packed into a box by Varys and boarding a ship set sail for freedom. This was all after he killed Tywin on the toilet and strangled Shae with her own necklace. Can we all just have a slow clap for Tyrion?

But, where is he going? Judging by this season 5 poster, we can make one guess:

game of thrones season 5 dragon and tyrion

Also, in recent clips we’ve heard this exchange between Varys and Tyrion:

V: The Seven Kingdoms needs a ruler loved by millions with a powerful army and the right family name.
T: Good luck finding him.
V: Who said anything about ‘him’?”

4. The Wall is Getting Crowded

The Brothers of the Night’s Watch are no longer alone.

At the end of last season, we saw the arrival of Stannis Baratheon at The Wall where he saved Jon Snow from certain imprisonment and possible death at the hands of Mance Rayder. The goal here for Stannis is to protect all of Westeros from the White Walkers and prove himself the One True King.

The Night’s Watch also needs a new leader (RIP Lord Commander Mormont).  Who will be chosen to take the lead?  Will Stannis insert himself, or will he allow a new Brother to rise to the top?

Bonus, rumor has it Melisandre will set her eyes on Jon Snow. Man, this guy’s got a thing for redheads, I VOLUNTEER!

5. And everyone else?

Dark Sansa

Sansa has officially made a deal with the devil, as in Littlefinger. (Reminder: Littlefinger revealed at the end of season four that HE was the one who killed Jon Arryn, which instigated King Robert riding North and setting Game of Thrones in motion).  Now that she’s dyed her hair and decided to join the “game,” what’s next for these two? I don’t know but I bet it’ll be a little creepy.

Third time’s a charm?

Poor Margaery is set to marry a king, again. Will sweet, innocent Tommen survive the wedding? Only time will tell.

It’s a man’s man’s man’s world

…but all her men are gone! What will Cersei do without Tywin, Tyrion, or Jaime to manipulate and whine to, or about?  Will there be anyone to protect her when it’s time for her to pay for her many, many crimes?

This is a real mystery

We already know that Brienne of Tarth’s storyline is deviating pretty dramatically from the books. After taking down The Hound but losing Arya, what’s next for her and Podrick? Will she stay on her mission to find the Stark girls?

Oh, Reek

Things are still pretty bad for Theon/Reek. Our favorite Ironborn has spent the last two seasons as the tortured servant of Ramsay Bolton. Will he ever escape? Sometimes I watch season one of Game of Thrones just to remind myself of cocky, self-absorbed Theon. Gah, so attractive. Just me? Okay.

Trouble in Paradise

At the conclusion of the season, Daenerys finally learned the truth about Jorah Mormont’s original reason for seeking her out and “protecting” her.  (He was a spy for King Robert working to regain his freedom in Westeros.)  Dany banished Jorah from her encampment and sent him to the #FriendZone4Life.

Breaker of Chains Used Chains

After Dany learned that the dragons committed the horrific crime of killing a child, she was forced to put them in chains and lock them away. Something tells me this is not going to end well considering Drogon is MIA.

Budding Romance?

When we last saw Greyworm and Missandei she was teaching him the Common Tongue. As their lessons progressed, they bonded over the loss of their homelands. While swimming, Greyworm noticed Missandei bathing naked. When she notices him watching, she stands up slowly to let him get an eye full before covering herself. Later, he apologizes but she says she wasn’t uncomfortable. Is this the Westeros version of flirting?

And lastly…

Where in the Seven Kingdoms is Gendry?!

gendrymoving

6. In Memorandum

To the characters that didn’t survive season four, we remember you fondly (or not so much).

Tywin Lannister
Joffrey Lannister
Shae
The Hound (maybe, maybe not? I don’t believe it until I see him dead.)
Lysa Arryn
Oberyn Martell
Jojen Reed
Grenn and Pyp
Ygritte
Lord Commander Jeor Mormont

Game of Thrones recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera and Elizabeth Bond.  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.

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How Did ‘The Slap’ Land?

theslapAs much as it pains me to admit, all of the marketing that NBC’s The Slap forced on me while I was binge watching The Blacklist OnDemand worked and I was one of 5.1 million viewers to tune in to the live premiere last night.  I watched for two reasons – the ensemble cast and the intriguing premise.  The commercials leading up to the premiere revealed a dynamic family party featuring a fired up Zachary Quinto…slapping the shit out of a young child.  It’s not ideal behavior; it’s not normal for TV; it’s provocative.  I had to find out just why any grown man would behave in such a way.  I also had one burning question – how could this entire show be based on one crazed moment?  Turns out, there’s a whole lot more going on in Brooklyn.

So how was The Slap and is it worth your time?  I break down my thoughts about what worked and what didn’t work below.  You can decide if it’s the kind of thing for you.

What The Slap Delivered:

  • The cast really is phenomenal.  Peter Sarsgaard makes me giddy like a little girl.  After watching his breathtaking performance as Ray Seward in AMC’s The Killing, I knew that I would watch him in anything he did going forward.  Add Zachary Quinto, Uma Thurman, Thandie Newton, Melissa George, and Brian Cox and you have the potential for a true knock-out success.

 

  • The show is about more than a slap.  This group of friends and family is twisted and their history, convoluted.  Each character brings something different to the table and their interactions are what will make this really interesting.  (Just to give you a taste, we have a man having an affair with his babysitter, an artist, an abusive husband, and a set of overbearing wealthy Greek parents.)  The storylines of the show already go way beyond child rearing and discipline.  In the first hour, the show introduces themes like adultery, social class distinctions, working man vs. rich man, relationships, career struggles, parental interference in relationships.  And that’s just some of it.

 

  • The show makes you think.  This is not an example of mindless television.  It’s the polar opposite.  Each theme, and each character, somehow forced me to think about how our own personal choices can deeply affect other people.  I’m also still trying to figure out with whom I’m empathizing with most.  I keep wondering things like, What would I do if someone slapped my nonexistent kid?  Would I have slapped a kid who kicked me?  Many people are also questioning the choice to make Hugo (the five-year old who gets slapped) a child that is still breast-feeding.  While I understand the aversion to this sensitive topic, I’m actually glad that they chose to include it.  It drove home the point for me that normal is relative and what I consider normal is far different from what someone else considers normal.  Despite that, respect must still be a two way street.  I still can’t decide if I think Hugo deserved the slap from Harry (Quinto), but the bottom line is that this show still has me thinking and questioning a day later.  I’m pulled in.

What The Slap Whiffed On:

  • The voice over narrator.  At random points in the episode, a third party voice chimed in with narrations about what was happening on screen and what the character was thinking.  It felt out of place and a little bit insulting, as if the audience isn’t smart enough to catch on to these things, or the actor wasn’t talented enough to convey it.

 

  • Confusion.  Family relationships aren’t 100% clear.  Right now, I’m still not sure if Harry is related to the child that he slapped, or if he’s simply a family friend.  While it was evident that most of this group of people were very familiar with each other, and some of their family ties were made clear, there is still some confusion.  In a show that is this driven by relationships, you would think they would have done a better job of letting us know exactly who was who.

While I’m still not convinced that this show will be winning any Emmy’s next year, I have decided I’m going to stick with it and see it to the end.  I think The Slap is smart and I appreciate any TV that has great acting and intriguing stories.  I’m invested in these people and this incident and I want to know what happens.  Though I do have to admit, I was relieved when I found out that this show is only going to be an eight-episode mini-series.  If it does turn out to be a let-down, I can forget it ever happened and let The Slap fade away like a real nasty bruise.


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True Blood Season 7 Premiere React – The Beginning of the End

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It’s hard to imagine that True Blood has been a part of our lives for only the past seven years.  It feels like a decade ago that we watched Sookie Stackhouse, a part-human part-fairy waitress from Bon Temps, Louisiana, meet her very first vampire.  Lately, we can hardly even remember the days when Bill was thought of with giddy girl-crushing love and admiration.  It’s difficult to even say his name anymore. (“Do you think Sookie will end up with Bilith?  I mean, Bill…”)

For Jenn O’Mara and Ashley Foster, the final season of True Blood is bittersweet.  They’ve been with the show for it all – through the good, the bad, and the ugly of seven seasons.  They witnessed every True Death, every True Blood drink order, every Sookie Stackhouse sex scene, all of it.  Saying good bye to the weirdos citizens of Bon Temps who manage to survive Season 7 isn’t going to be easy.  So in order to get the most of the season, they’re hashing out every possible theory, question, and mystery that the season has to offer.   Below is their Q&A discussion of their burning questions left after Sunday’s season premiere of True Blood.

 


 

1. Do we miss Tara already?

TaraTB

Ashley: Sorry, no. Pam was the only thing that made her interesting. Good-bye.

Jenn: Nope!  I’ve always preferred Book Tara over TV Tara.  TV Tara’s place on True Blood always felt forced and out of place.  Her death, though mildly rushed and severely disappointing, started off the final season with the feeling that no one is safe, ever, even in the first 30 seconds of an episode!  It really is the beginning of the end…


2. What/who drew away the crazed vamps from Merlotte’s?

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Ashley:  Sarah Newlin. Crazy I know…but let’s think about this for a second.  She is a freaking can of crazy.  She’s ALWAYS hated vampires and certainly despises the ground Jason Stackhouse walks on.  Add that up and what’s stopping her from tearing him and his town apart?  Think of it this way, she has the motive and if she can control the Hep V vamps, she certainly has the ammo. Who better to destroy a whole species along with her enemies than the one person we would never suspect?  Sarah Newlin is a weed and she keeps coming back stronger in some weird way in every season. I mean, hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn.

Jenn:  I think Ashley is onto something seriously intriguing with Sarah Newlin.  If it is her, I bet Jason Stackhouse will really regret sparing her life.  But what if it’s something even crazier, like a king or queen from another state poised to rock Louisiana for a gigantic takeover?  Or it could be the Fae.  The only thing vampires love more than our half-fairy heroine are full-blown fairies.  The vamps have massacred their fair share of fairies and we’ve yet to see the show take on the book version of the Fae.  This theory has some  potential.  But I still think it’s probably the Fellowship and Sarah.


3. Where the hell is Eric Northman?

eric-northman-naked-true-blood

A: I’d like to think he is waiting on me at home with a bubble bath and some champagne….but that’s just me. But in all seriousness, my imagination isn’t taking me anywhere on this one. I just feel like he’s actually dead, dead. It’s almost as if he’s had his moment in the sun (literally). But, then again, why would they be leading Pam on a rat race?

J:  He’s alive, somewhere.  (I only say this confidently because of season previews.  Without the Internet, I’d still be crying over his death…)  My King..I mean…Eric…probably buried himself in the snow when the fire started and is alive, laying majestically naked, somewhere near a body of water.  Pam will find him soon, remind him he’s acting crazy and needs to be home, and bring him back to Bon Temps just in time to fight Bill for our girl, Sookie.

Side note – Just at the point I started realizing the episode felt empty without Eric, we cut to Pam.  It’s as if the writers can feel it, too.  I bet when they aren’t writing (and thinking) about Alexander and his naked bod every 10 minutes, they start to become sweaty and distracted.  On a serious note – I hope there aren’t many more episodes without Eric Northman.  He’s by far my favorite character (show and book) and this is the last season.  I want all the Eric I can get.


4. Is Jessica going to kill all these fairies?

jessica-true-blood

A: I think Jessica is going to take a note from her maker and protect Adelaide like Bill did with Sookie. Jessica is definitely the one character who has had a ton of growing pains since her characters introduction to the series and it seems like she’s one of the few who has learned from her mistakes. So definitely not, Jessica is a good girl all the way.

J:  As much as I think Jessica shouldn’t in order to show that her character has indeed learned to become a civil and humane vampire (much quicker than any of the older vamps, I might add. Bill was a couple hundo years old for Pete’s sake),  I kind  of want her to for one reason – bad ass factor.  One of the things I love most about True Blood is it’s intense gore, violence, and high number of ‘WTF EWMYGOSH’ moments.  Jessica killing the only fairy that survived her the first time has potential to be freakin’ awesome.


5. Will Sookie really end up with Alcide?

sookie-alcide-true-blood

A: I hope not. I mean, that’s like asking if Bella is going to end up with Jacob. #sorrynotsorry (Spoiler Alert!) I know Sookie ends up with Sam in the books, but honestly I’m Team Bill. It seems like the show is getting back to the basics in the first episode this season. I mean, hello, did you see those season one-esque glances Bill and Sookie were exchanging back and forth? Unfortunately, I don’t think Alcide will ever fully accept Sookie for her past and her faults. Bill has never had that issue….

J:  Only when Lafayette ends up with Holly aka NEVER.  Alcide is on his way out the door and I hope last night was the only episode where they are together.  (Spoiler!) I also hope she doesn’t end up with Sam.   I get how and why the book ended in that way.  It worked for the books and for the story within the books.  But this isn’t that story.  Sookie and everything else about Bon Temps is different so please, please give us the fan-ending we’ve wanted since Season 1 Episode 1 before any of us even read the books.

Sookie + Bill = Forever ❤
sookie-bill-true-blood


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Top 7 OMG Did That Just Happen?! Moments from GOT 4×8

danytoppost

Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and the Viper,” could have easily been the penultimate episode of the season.  But alas, we were treated to a jaw-dropping eighth episode that had more ‘OHMYGOD’ moments than I could count.  In honor of the Seven Kingdoms and the Seven New Gods, here are my top seven favorite ‘DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!’ moments from Sunday’s action-packed episode.

7. Reek becomes Theon Greyjoy (again) and helps Ramsay Snow become Ramsay Bolton.

reek4x8

Everyone’s least favorite character, Ramsay Snow, finally got what he wanted and became Ramsay Bolton, thanks to his pet dog human, Reek.  Reek pretended to be his former self, Theon Greyjoy, and coaxed the Iron Islanders holding Moat Cailin into opening up their doors to earn “freedom” from the Northerners.  Instead, much to our dismay, they were flayed and killed by the Boltons and the creepy duo of Ramsay and Reek just became much more powerful (and much more disturbing).  Pleased with his bastard, Roose Bolton granted Ramsay his biggest wish and gave him the family last name and all that comes with it.

6. Ygritte shows mercy for Gilly and Baby Sam.

ygritte4x8

I don’t know about you, but Ygritte is the worst scorned woman I’ve ever seen.  She’s taken to killing innocent men, women, and children of the North to get back at her former lover, Jon Snow.   So when she came face to face with Gilly, and showed her mercy, I literally cried and clapped at the same time.  I knew that the Ygritte that Jon (and the audience) fell in love with in Season 3 was still in there somewhere.  Now I wonder, will Ygritte show Jon the same mercy if she comes face to face with him in the Battle of Castle Black?  Tune in next week to find out.

5. Arya finds out everyone in her family is dead and laughs it off, hysterically.

arya4x8

When Arya and The Hound learned that Lysa Arryn had died just three days before their arrival, and The Hound was stripped of yet another bounty, what else was Arya to do but laugh?  It almost felt like she was laughing at the viewers for thinking a Stark reunion was going to happen.  Haven’t we learned by now that the Starks will never run into each other no matter how close they get?

4. Sansa becomes Dark Sansa & lies and dyes for Petyr Baelish.

darksansa

When Petyr was questioned about the mysterious “suicide” of Lysa Arryn, Sansa was called in to witness.  As she stood giving her testimony, Petyr watched on silently and in awe.  Here stood this young, naïve girl, whom he once told was a terrible liar, spinning a brilliant and intricate web of truth and lies.  Sansa painted a picture of Petyr as a saint who was motivated by his burning desire to rescue Sansa.  Later, in an attempt to cover her famous Tully-red hair, Sansa steps out as Dark Sansa, with dyed dark locks to help her look more like her “uncle” Petyr.  The weird thing?  She almost appears to be flirting with Baelish.  It is clear that Sansa doesn’t know the extent of Petyr’s hand in the destruction of her family, but she knows he is dangerous.  Has she fallen under his twisted spell or is Sansa playing a long con?

3. Tywin sentences Tyrion to death.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 8.28.00 PM

The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the verdict from the Trial by Combat.  As you’ll find out in our top moment, Tyrion Lannister lost the trial in the most head-splitting way.  In the final moments of the episode, Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King and father of Tyrion, stands and sentences his son to death.  Dun dun dunnnn.

2. Dany permanently dismisses Jorah Mormont.

dany-jorah4x8

Tywin was a part of more than one verdict this week.  In a twist from the book storyline, Tywin Lannister sent Daenerys’ Queen’s Guard, Barristan Selmy, a letter, which was a copy of the Royal Pardon that was granted to Jorah Mormont in Season 1. (Remember, Jorah was leaking confidential secrets to Robert and his Council and assisted with an assassination attempt on Dany’s life). Despite his deep admiration and love for Dany, and his change of loyalty (he ultimately prevented the assassination), the Mother of Dragons showed no mercy and exiled Jorah from her Council and from Meereen.  Poor Jorah. The old bear looked heartbroken as he rode on horse-back out of the city.  While I normally stand 100% behind the Breaker of Chains, I had trouble supporting this decision because of the way the TV show played it out.  It comes off like Dany is another puppet being manipulated at the hands of  Tywin Lannister.  Is this the beginning of her downfall?

1. Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

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Thank you to Game of Thrones for creating yet another scene that I couldn’t bear to watch – the epic trial by combat between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne, Oberyn Martell.  (Who knew anything could be worse than the Red Wedding?)

Oberyn, who was fighting as Tyrion’s champion to gain revenge for his sister, bopped around like Inigo Montoya waving a spear.  The Rep Viper repeated over and over again, “Elia Martell of Dorne.  You raped her, you murdered her.  You killed her children,” as he fought and stabbed the Mountain.  Oberyn was quick with his spear and took down the Mountain with apparent ease.  But he was too cocky and too confident and wouldn’t kill Gregor Clegane until he got his confession.  Before Oberyn could realize what was happening, Clegane punched Oberyn’s teeth out of his face.  The Mountain then climbed on top of The Viper, held his head in between his gigantic hands, and squashed it like one of the beetles Tyrion’s cousin squashed, all while confessing to his heinous crimes.  The worst part of this entire scene was knowing Oberyn was warned to wear a helmet and his Paramour stood completely helpless as she watched the worst moment of Game of Thrones – Oberyn’s Headsplosion.

And this perfectly sums up how we all feel. 

paramour4x8


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‘Dual Survival’ New Host React

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If you missed the beginning of the new season of the soap opera survival show, Dual Survival, you may be wondering why Cody Lundin wasn’t in the latest episode.  That’s because Cody got fired.  That’s right, people.  Everyone’s favorite no-shoe-wearing, tree-hugging hippie is no longer on the show.  I know, it’s devastating.  And I’m thinking all the same things you are – Cody Lundin was the best and this is crazy news.  How did this happen?  Can the show survive without him?  Below is a breakdown of the drama on set and my reaction to the new host of Dual Survival.

RIP Cody & Dave

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First, we lost Dave Canterbury, who was found guilty of fabricating the truth on his original resume sent to the Discovery Channel.  [Hear Dave admit the truth and share his reasoning behind the act in this public apology to his fans.]  I was devastated over the loss of Dave because I truly enjoyed the chemistry and hostile banter between him and Cody.  The two were constantly name-calling and bickering about how to do things the “right” way but they always worked collaboratively and as a team, complementing each other with their varying skills in nature.

In Season 3, Joe Teti, former U.S. military soldier and special-ops operative, replaced Dave on the show.  Joe, a total Type-A personality, likes to do things his way and only his way, and he clashed immediately with Cody Lundin.  At first, I enjoyed having the comic relief of the bickering sans Dave but Joe was harsher and more judgmental.  He didn’t seem to value Cody’s talents or opinions and their arguments were fueled by anger and annoyance.  The pair lacked the camaraderie that was so present between Cody and Dave.

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Cody and Joe wrapped up Season 3 and began filming a new season late in 2013.  Season 4 is focused on surviving in the most intense and dangerous situations in the world.  Unfortunately for us, Cody only made it through the first three locations (Sri Lanka, Arabian Desert, and Norway) before he was “let go” from the Discovery Channel.

Cody’s firing came after a clash between the hosts while filming in Norway.  Cody, who hasn’t worn shoes in 23 years, upset Joe by wearing wool socks in the deep snow.  Joe felt like Cody was “jeopardizing their mission and Joe’s safety” and screamed at Cody during a meltdown over differing opinions about a shelter location. [Check out the “fight” here.]  While it was evident that the hosts were clearly upset with one another and were slinging insults and shouting expletives, they seemed to come to terms by the conclusion of the episode.  In fact, if I didn’t already know that this was “the fight” I would have never deemed it worthy of a firing. But alas, Cody was canned and Joe met his new partner in last night’s new episode entitled, “No Man Is An Island,” filmed on a remote island in Panama.

Meet Matt Graham

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The new host of Dual Survival is named Matt Graham, formerly on Discovery’s Dude, You’re Screwed.  Matt is a contemporary Stone Age expert and lives off the land in the wilds of Utah from the middle of winter to the middle of the summer every year.  He is an expert in hunting and gathering, building fires using primitive methods and is trained in hunting with an atlatl and bow and in Judo, Tae Kwan Do, Wushu Kung fu, and Jeet Kune Do.  He also proudly revealed that he makes his own clothing (very little clothing, I might add) and sandals from natural, organic materials.

What Works with Matt

  • He’s a smokeshow (sorry, I’m not sorry for saying it).
    – If the decision between Matt and Cody was based purely on looks, Matt would win over and over again.  He’s gorgeous and I will certainly enjoy staring at him.
  • He’s an expert at building fires.
    – This is critical because Joe has already proven to want to do everything but build a fire and really enjoys to hunt and kill animals.  Cody built every fire on the show and it was critical that the new host had the same skill set.
  • He’s not afraid to disagree with Joe.
    – First, he drank water directly from a stream, much to Joe’s dismay, and seemed to survive just fine.  Then, he hunted a pig with an atlatl (like a boss) and scolded Joe for interfering and needlessly spearing the dying animal.  He also referred to Joe as G.I. Joe.  It was great.
  • He doesn’t like to wear a lot of clothing and he rocks a beard. 
    – This supplements my earlier point that Matt is a smokeshow.
  • He’s a brilliant hunter-gatherer.
    – Matt already taught the audience a new method of cooking raw meat underground and an easy way to make tea in the jungle.  Even Joe was super impressed with his nutrient-filled hot water.

 

What Didn’t Work with Matt

  • He wears shoes.
    – Sure, he makes his very thin sandals so they aren’t technically real shoes but still.  As absurd and comical as it was to watch Cody tramp barefoot through swamps, snow, and deserts, I think he was the freakin’ man for making a choice and sticking by it for 23 years, no matter how much ridicule he received.  He worked hard to do it and modified the way he walked to accommodate his choice (he walked toe-to-heel rather than heel-to-toe).  Talk about dedication!
  • The show feels like its Joe’s world and every other host is just living in it.
    – The big showdown between Cody and Joe was more like Joe screaming at Cody for not doing things the way Joe preferred and Cody, the host with the most seniority, losing his job over it.  How long will it take for Joe to decide Matt doesn’t fit and we see another host lose their job?
  • He’s not Cody.
    – When all is said and done, Cody Lundin was a brilliant survivalist and he taught me more about surviving in nature than any host on the show.  I learned many different ways to build a fire and how to purify water, gauge the amount of sunlight left in a day, and gauge what direction is South based on foliage, all from the comfort of my couch.

 

Ultimately, if someone has to replace Cody Lundin, Matt Graham is the perfect choice.  He brings a uniqueness to the screen that counters Joe in all the best ways.  He’s positive and happy and he loves Earth and what he’s doing.  He is also brilliant and his skill-set, while similar to Cody’s, is brand new to the show and brings a whole new perspective and feeling.  Matt will teach the audience plenty, and hopefully he continues to put Joe in his place while doing so.

 

 Be sure to tune into the Discovery Channel at 9pm on Wednesdays for brand new episodes of Dual Survival to see how things work out with Matt Graham and Joe Teti.

 

Fond Farewell to the Man, the Myth, and the Shoeless Legend 

https://rockpaperwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/d4188-corylundin.jpg

 


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‘Game of Thrones’ Mystery – Who Killed [SPOILER]?

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS from Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. DO NOT READ if you haven’t watched “The Lion and the Rose.”

Let’s go over what we know. King Joffrey Baratheon [finally] met his maker during his wedding to Margaery Tyrell aka the Purple Wedding on Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. After consuming some wine, courtesy of his Cupbearer, and indulging on the Pigeon Pie, Joffrey began to choke. His choking quickly escalated until he suffocated and died. But Joffrey didn’t just choke to death – it was too quick, too painful, too brutal. Joffrey was poisoned, and Cersei knows it. Now the big question is who killed the King? We break down our list of suspects below.

Olenna Tyrell

olenna-tyrell

Lady Olenna has the means, the motive, and the opportunity. She despises Tywin; she wants to protect her granddaughter from the twisted Joffrey; she provided all of the food and drink for the wedding, making the pie and/or wine all the easier to poison. During the Purple Wedding, she flitted around the High Table and fiddled with Sansa’s hair and necklace; the same peculiar necklace that was given to Sansa by Ser Dantos, the fool from GOT 4×1. One of our RPW writers noticed an interesting fact – when Sansa first wore the necklace, it sported seven purple jewels. After Lady Olenna played with her hair, there were only six crystals hanging from the necklace. Did Olenna swipe a crystal filled with poison? Is she in cahoots with Dantos?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

Who killed Joffrey Baratheon?

It doesn’t help Olenna’s case that she also gave sage advice to Sansa during their chat. “War is war, but killing a man at a wedding, horrid. What sort of monster would do such a thing?” In the GOT world, things aren’t usually spelled out so clearly but when murdering a king, what better way to avoid suspicion? Killed Joffrey: Highly Likely

Oberyn Martell

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“The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts,” said Oberyn to Tyrion during our Season 4 opener. We know that Oberyn isn’t in Kings Landing for a friendly hello. He’s here for revenge. Oberyn’s sister was Elia Martell, wife to Rhagaer Targaryen. During the war, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing killing Elia and her children. Rumor has it, Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds the Lannister’s, specifically Tywin, directly responsible for the death of his family members.

Wouldn’t killing Joffrey be an eye for an eye? Killed Joffrey: Highly likely

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion-Lannister

Cersei’s #1 suspect is her baby brother, but did Tyrion really poison his nephew? We all know Tyrion hates Joffrey and that all Lannisters pay their debts. And Tyrion definitely owes Cersei quite a few debts at this point (Shae, his wedding to Sansa, just to name a couple). But is Tyrion stupid enough to poison his nephew at a public gathering, especially after he made numerous threats [including the most recent one in GOT 3×10] on Joffrey’s life in front of the Small Council? I doubt it. Many can argue that Tyrion was the last person to give Joffrey his wine cup, but Tyrion had no way to anticipate being made a fool of by his uncle in such fashion. If Tyrion is the culprit, he must’ve been carrying poison around for weeks waiting for an ideal moment. But to me, that’s still too far-fetched. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

Tywin Lannister

Charles Dance is a man for austere seasons in Game of Thrones

Let’s face it, Joffrey was like a wild dog that Tywin was trying to keep on a leash. With him out of the picture, the Iron Throne passes to Joffrey’s younger (and easier to control) brother. This means that Tywin is back in charge. And we know he fancies killing people at weddings. But, is the man cold blooded enough to kill his own (horrible) grandson? From a war perspective, it’s not a very smart move since it makes the Throne seem weak. Killed Joffrey: Sort of likely

Sansa Stark

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If having reasons to kill Joffrey was a contest, Sansa would win. He was responsible for killing her direwolf. He killed her father. He repeatedly humiliated her in public. He tortured her endlessly. His family was responsible for the death of her mother and brother. Then he pushes her off to his uncle. If the poison was in the cup, Sansa was indeed the last to hand it to Tyrion. But would Sansa have the guts to kill Joffrey? It’s not likely. She’s always been too terrified of him to act. Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Margaery Tyrell

margaery-tyrell-and-king-joffrey

Sure she’s marrying a psychopath and may want to protect her own skin. Yes, she did feed the pie to Joffrey but Margaery is such a public relations expert that I doubt she would willingly kill off her second husband. I mean, the girl is now two for two. She’s got two dead husbands and is officially damaged goods. Who’s going to want to marry her now? Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Cersei Lannister

gotCersei-Lannister

Bottom line, Cersei hates Tyrion. She so quickly pointed the finger at Tyrion, some would assume she orchestrated the death of Joffrey to take Tyrion out herself. You can even argue that Cersei so self-motivated, she saw married-Joffrey as a threat whom she could no longer control.  She could have orchestrated his death just to retain her own power.  But wouldn’t it have been easier to kill Sansa? I mean, two birds with one stone. Also, the Lannisters aren’t ones to act impulsively and killing your own son would be pretty impulsive. And as much as Cersei hates Tyrion, she loved Joffrey more. Throughout his reign, she was constantly trying to steer him in the right direction and make him a good leader (not possible). Killed Joffrey: Really Not likely

Melisandre

got-melisandre

While the Red Priestess was not present at the Purple Wedding, we can’t write her off as a suspect just yet. Recall in Game of Thrones Season 3×8 “Second Sons,” Melisandre tossed leeches filled with Gendry’s blood into a fire calling for the Lord of Light to kill Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, and Baelon Greyjoy as usurpers. Two of those men have now met their end. Can we give Melisandre credit for these deaths, or is it mere coincidence? If I were Baelon Greyjoy, I’d be very careful. Killed Joffrey: Not Likely

On a similar note, WHERE IS GENDRY? gendrymoving

 


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Game of Thrones 4×1 Recap – One episode, two swords

We’re baaacccckkkk and we are so thrilled for a brand new season of Game of Thrones. With a new House in town and the taste of vengeance in the air, this season guarantees to be fantastic. Let’s dive in. First and foremost, we have a credits update! Meet Dreadfort, the keep of House Bolton and the current location of poor Theon. Also, Meerean makes an appearance, the slave city with a giant pyramid. Dany’s on her way there but more on that later.

House Lannister

We kick off the episode with a scene symbolizing the complete destruction of House Stark with a true song of fire and Ice. Tywin Lannister stands watch as Ice, Ned Stark’s gigantic Valyrian steel blade, is welded down in fire, forging two new swords for House Lannister. Tywin completes the destruction by tossing Ned’s wolf-skin scabbard into the fire as the Rains of Castamere plays eerily in the background. The Red Wedding may have happened ten months ago for us, but in the GOT world, it was mere weeks ago, and it continues to be the wound that keeps bleeding.

[ASIDE: This entire scene was painful to watch, and served as a terse reminder of the events of Season 3. Just like the Red Wedding, Tywin stands in the shadows, unwilling to reveal himself and his role. Tywin constantly takes what isn’t his and remolds it into something new, giving the appearance of power and bold courage. But is Tywin really that courageous? Isn’t he known for hiding under Casterly Rock during Robert’s Rebellion, only daring to step forth into King’s Landing when he knew the city was starving, ripe for sacking? Does he ever take responsibility for what he does? Was the Red Wedding not a cowardly move in itself? Tywin feared the Young Wolf and thus found a way to defeat him without facing him in battle. I think Tywin Lannister is a façade – a man who thinks he has all the power in the world but is really living in a house of cards, with children who are sleeping together and a grandson who holds a false claim to the throne. Every empire burns to the ground, and I can’t wait until Tywin Lannisters’ does just that. END OF ASIDE]

Tywin presents one of the new Valyrian blades to his one-handed son, Jaime Lannister, who clumsily receives his new sword. Tywin questions Jaime’s intentions for his future, imploring Jaime to leave the King’s Guard (since he can’t really fight with a sword anymore) and return to Casterly Rock and rule in his place. Jaime refuses. His honor, his word, his reputation are already spoiled and he refuses to abandon yet another post at the whims of another. Tywin is shocked that his 40 year old son still doesn’t get it and dismisses Jaime, but allows him to keep his present. “A one handed man with no family needs all the help he can get.” As Jaime leaves his fathers’ chamber, we see a sly [sexy] smile spread across his face. Wonder what that’s about.

Next, we catch up with everyone’s favorite imp, Tyrion Lannister, Master of Coin, accompanied by Bron and Pod. They are waiting to receive the party from Dorne, which sailed to King’s Landing for Joffrey’s wedding. In brilliant GOT fashion, Tyrion proceeds to discuss the Dornish sigils and the “bad blood” between House Martell and House Lannister, clueing the audience to the significance of the new characters and providing us with a Westerosi history lesson.

Much to Tyrion’s dismay, the Dornish reveal that Prince Doran did not sail to the capital due to illness. His brother, Prince Oberyn of House Martell, came instead and snuck into the city in the wee morning hours. Tyion has an idea where he may find him.

Enter stage left – the one and only Oberyn Martell aka The Red Viper of Dorne. Oberyn is with his great paramour, Ellaria Sand (Sand because she’s a Dornish bastard; like Snow for our beloved Jon), and the pair are inspecting Baylish’s whores. After Prince Oberyn picks a boy who can he can have his way with, he suddenly becomes distracted as the tune of Rains of Castamere float through the brothel.   Oberyn ventures off to find the cause of the disturbance, despite Ellaria’s pleas.

Oberyn stumbles upon two couples whistling the Lannister tune. “Forgive me for staring, I don’t see many Lannisters where I come from.”

[ASIDE: The way those words ooze out of his mouth, and the way he burns his fingers on the candle as he walks, oh la la. I am already in love with Oberyn. END OF ASIDE]

The tension between the Lannister couples and Oberyn seeps out of the TV. The men make jabs at each other until the Red Viper stings. “May I tell you a secret? You’re not a golden lion. You’re just a pink little man whose far too slow on the draw.” Then, BAM, knife in one of the Lannisters wrists.

Tyrion enters just in time to disrupt the argument. Oberyn already knows the “King’s Imp Uncle” and the two men go for a stroll, talking truths to one another. Oberyn thinks Joffrey is offended since he is the second son, not the ruling Prince of Dorne. Tyrion questions Oberyn’s intentions, knowing there is more to the visit than attending a wedding. Then, in another genius dialogue-driven history lesson, we find out the true reason for the Martell/Lannister hatred. The last time Oberyn was in the capital was for his sister, Elia Martell’s, wedding to Rhagaer Targaryen. Elia had his children and cared for them until Rhagaer left her for another woman, the “kidnapped” Lyanna Stark, which caused Robert to wage war. After Rhagaer was killed, the Lannisters sacked King’s Landing, killing all remaining Targaryens, including Elia and her children. It is said that Elia was raped by the Mountain and then split in half. If this is the case, Oberyn holds Tywin directly responsible for her death and the deaths of his nephew and niece. “Tell your father I’m here. Tell him the Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.”

Whoa. These two actors were phenomenal together. The tension, the conflict, the dialogue, the accent. All fantastic. The chemistry between them is fantastic. GIMME MORE, PLEASE!

After Tyrion’s depressing conversation with his new wife, Sansa Stark, he goes back to his room to find Shae draped over his bed. She knows it’s a dangerous place but insisted on seeing him, since she hasn’t gotten any in weeks. Tyrion turns her down and makes her leave. In a fit of rage, she reveals she knows he tried to dismiss her from the city and she wants him to be a man and say it to her himself. Tyrion reveals he has no idea about Varys’ visit last season, as we correctly assumed. Then, Shae storms out of the room….and the audience sees that one of Cersei’s little birds was outside chirping. Uh oh.

Speaking of the Golden Queen, we catch up with Cersei Lannister as she presents her brother with a golden hand, with the help of the Un-Maester Qyburn. Cersei reveals that Maester Qyburn helped to relieve her of some symptoms. (Pregnancy symptoms? Or no longer able to get pregnant symptoms? Is this her way out of her marriage to Loras?) The twins talk about the events that got them here and Jaime’s plans for the future. He reveals he wants to stay in King’s Landing so he can be with her. He tries to seduce his sister (EW) but she denies him, making it so both Lannister boys aren’t getting any. Cersei then breaks his heart – she tells him he was gone for too long and it took too long to get back to her. The incestual scene is disrupted when Cersei’s bird flies into the room to tattle on Tyrion.

jaimegoldenhand

We get a glimpse of the Royal Wedding plans when we catch up with Olenna and Margaery Tyrell and Jaime and Joffrey. Olenna, determined to make a fashion statement at the wedding, is displeased with the necklace options for Margaery and sends her little doves out to find the most beautiful one in King’s Landing. Margaery has a different idea but Olenna warns her to be careful because even the walls have ears.

Jaime and King Joff discuss security for the wedding, and the fact that the war isn’t over as long as Stannis lives. Joffrey isn’t interested and would rather squabble with his uncle, blaming him for his imprisonment and poking fun at Jaime for being a 40 year old knight with no hand who has done “no good deeds.” Did anyone else think Jaime must’ve been thinking, “How did I create that,” as he watched Joffrey walk away?

House Targaryen

We get our first glimpse of the Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, being just that, mother of dragons. She’s sitting with a dragon in her lap, stroking Rhaego as if he is a puppy. The dragons are gigantic and have almost doubled in size. Suddenly, the other two dragons return with a dead sheep and the dragons begin to fight. Rhaego even snaps as Dany before the three fly off. Holy. Shit. The dragons are scary and on their way to becoming massive and uncontrollable. Ser Jorah Mormont so wisely states, “They are dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed, not even by their mother.” Why thank you Jorah, I shall call you Captain Obvious.

danydragons

Dany heads back to camp to discover Daario Naharis and Greyworm are missing – gambling. After she walks through her gigantic camp, she discovers the two men holding weapons to determine who has the right to ride beside Dany on road to Meereen. Dany quickly reins the boys in and we discover that Daario and Greyworm have a cute bro-competition going on. This scene felt kind of pointless and more like a chance to showcase the immense size of Dany’s horde and the new actor playing Daario Naharis but I’ll take any Dany time I can get.

Later, Dany and Missandei talk about Meereen and Missandei lets her know that she thinks the slave masters should fear Dany before Daario interrupts the women to talk strategy. He brings Dany three flowers, the flowers of Meereen, which are used for tea and poison, telling her if she wants to win over the peoples affections, she must become one with their lands. Dany is smitten, as are we, but seems to recognize Daario’s ploy for her heart.

Suddenly, the horde comes to a halt. There are dead children, mutilated and strung up, on every mile marker between there and Meereen – 163 in total. Barristan Selmy offers to ride ahead and bury the children but she refuses. She wants to see them all, and wants them to remove their collars before they are buried. Dany is going to liberate the enslaved and conquer the slavers. I’m afraid already for the masters of Meereen.

House Stark

The length of the Stark section is dwindling, you know, since they’re almost all dead.

Sansa – Sansa is in mourning. During the Season 3 finale we saw her immediate reaction to her brother and mother’s deaths. Now knows the details. She stays awake at night thinking about how the Lannisters (via Bolton and Frey) mutilated her family members. They chopped off Robb’s head and sewed his direwolf’s there in its place. They sliced her mother’s neck to the bone and then threw her body into the river, discarded like trash. There’s no cheering up Sansa, not even with lemon cakes (um, can I have Sansa’s lemon cake? My mouth is practically watering). Don’t worry Sansa, misery loves company and she’s got plenty of company in the legion of GOT fans.

It takes a fool to cheer Sansa up, literally. After creepily following her through the garden, Ser Dontos — the former knight she rescued from Joffrey in Season 2 — gives her a charming necklace as a gift. The family heirloom is all he has left and wants her to have it and wear it proudly.

Later, Brienne of Tarth tries to convince Jaime that he has to honor his pledge to rescue Catelyn Stark’s daughters. With Arya presumed dead and Sansa married to his brother, that makes things a bit difficult for Jaime. With Jaime’s previous speech to Tywin about breaking his word, is it wrong of me to have hope that he’ll follow through? Also, don’t you love that Brienne and Jaime are still besties?

Jon Snow – Man, Ygritte is a woman scorned. To be honest, I can’t say I blame her. If my man left me for a 600-some guys that wear only black, I’d be a little peeved too. We check-in with Ygritte as she’s making arrows, surely thinking about firing more of them at Jon Snow. Her angry arrow making is short-lived as Tormund Giantsbane approaches.

Is it just me or does Giantsbane remind you of Rumpelstiltskin in his angry wig? No, maybe try upside down? I don’t know, I can’t take him seriously whenever he’s on my TV.

Tormund Giantsbane rumpelstiltskin shrek angry wig

In case you forgot (and missed Jon Snow’s recap to the council), last season a few of the Wildlings, led by Tormund Giantsbane, scaled The Wall and now intend to attack Castle Black from the south. Once they have control of the castle, they will open the gates to The Wall so Mance Rayder’s army can invade the southern lands. Right now they are waiting for Mance Rayder’s signal and it will be a big signal, says Jon Snow.

Anyway, back to Giantsbane and Ygritte. He’s giving her a hard time about Jon Snow, questioning whether or not she actually killed him. If she didn’t, their entire plan is at risk. Their conversation is interrupted when some weirdos show up. A group of tall pale bald men with creepy scars start talking about body types in a way that says, “I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just hungry and you seem like a delectable piece of meat.” Now, I’ve been binge watching NBC’s Hannibal lately and I just don’t know if I can handle another cannibal in my life right now. This group is called the Thenns and they are here to help with the Castle Black attack.

Speaking of Castle Black, let’s catch up with Jon Snow. He’s hanging out with Samwell, reacting to the Red Wedding news. He explains to Sam that he was always jealous of his brother Robb, but never wished harm upon him. Samwell knows the feeling since he feels that way about Jon Snow. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed in this whole scene. Like, that’s it, Jon Snow? You aren’t a little bit angry? Did Samwell tell him about seeing Bran? Are you at least going to try to save Bran? Maybe try to track down Arya? I NEED ANSWERS.

Well, at least he’s going to give the Night’s Watch council some answers. Members of the council want to end Jon Snow for breaking his vow (“You know nothing, Jon Snow”) and killing Qhorin Halfhand. Jon Snow begs the council to stop stressing about the little details and start preparing for the Wildlings. Can the Night’s Watch ready themselves in time for the attack?

Arya – Arya is still with The Hound. The Hound is obviously just looking for somewhere to drop Arya and not feel bad about it. Now they’re on their way to her crazy Aunt Lysa in the Vale of Arryn. The dynamic between these actors is really growing (see Jaime and Brienne from last season). Their banter is perfect and I love seeing hints of The Hound’s personality.

During their road trip, they decide to stop at a local tavern where several of The Mountain’s men are pissing outside, harassing the barkeep, etc. Arya immediately recognizes the pisser as Polliver, who in Season 2 captured Arya and her buddies after killing a bunch of people in the prison camp. Polliver steals Arya’s sword Needle and kills her friend Lommy because he cannot walk. Conveniently, Polliver still carries Needle.

Upon entering the tavern, Polliver recognizes The Hound and starts trying to impress him with his torturous ways. The Hound teases Polliver and it’s obvious that The Hound has decided to kill all of these people but is just waiting for them to make the first move. “You’re a talker,” he says, taking Polliver’s drink. “Listening to talkers makes me thirsty.” The fight starts.

Arya retreats to the corner. This fight seems really tough; The Hound does not seem to be winning. Also, there’s no backtrack. The quiet mixed with the clangs and the grunts is making me really anxious. Finally, Arya makes her move and the music kicks in. She gets her sword. Once Polliver is without a weapon, she stands over him and repeats the words he once said to Lommy, “Something wrong with your leg, boy? Can you walk? I’ve got to carry you. Fine little blade. Maybe I’ll pick my teeth with it.” She then slowly drives the blade into his throat, just like he did to Lommy. Meet the darker Arya of season four.

No news from Theon, Bran, or Rickon this week.

House Baratheon

There’s a brief chat between Brienne and Margaery where Brienne tells her what she remembers of Renly’s death. She saw a black fog with Stannis’ face murder Renly and vows to avenge “their king.” Quietly Margaery reminds her “Joffrey is their king now.” No update from Stannis but he should watch his back.

Rock Paper Watch’s Top Quote of 4×1:

Jenn’s Pick – “Perhaps I should just let Joffrey choose it for me, end up with a string of dead sparrow heads around my neck.” – Margaery Tyrell to Olenna.Elizabeth’s Pick – “Are you sure we’re not related? Ever since I’ve returned, every Lannister I’ve seen has been a miserable pain in my ass. Maybe you’re a Lannister too. You’ve got the hair for it. You’ve got the looks.” – Jaime to Brienne

Game of Thrones Recaps are authored by Jenn O’Mera (Lannister and Targaryen) and Elizabeth Bond (Stark and Baratheon).  Feel free to contact any author with feedback or questions.