Post-Easter Reviews: Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead

Celebrating Easter has never been a particularly big deal with my family, so I spent the holiday working, sleeping, and watching television. In particular, I watched the season premiere of Game of Thrones and the season finale of The Walking Dead.

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Cause shows about — or at least including — walking corpses should be watched on Easter, right? Right?

Spoilers for both TV shows — not the books — ahead.

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“Valar Dohaeris”

1. Sam finds a dead body in the snow. The body is decapitated, and holding its own head. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to know who the dead guy is, but he looks an awful lot like Jesus, which can’t be accidental, right? Surely not when the premiere airs on Easter.

2. In the credits, Winterfell is smoldering. Heh. Excellent.

3. “They said you lost your nose, but it’s not as gruesome as all that.” Awesome. If you haven’t read the books — or haven’t had to put up with your friends, who have read the books and still won’t shut up about them — that reference is probably lost on you.

4. Loyalty is a fine quality in a person, but it unfortunately often leads to very bad decisions if you’ve wasted your fidelity on a moron, a psychopath, or a psychopathic moron. Case in point: Davos.

davos-seaworth

Davos — who I like considerably more in the TV show — has miraculously survived from last season’s battle, only to go back to Stannis, who’s burning people alive based on the recommendations of Melissandre. For said loyalty, Davos is almost immediately thrown in jail. You need better friends, Davos.

5. Charles Dance continues to be awesome, but Twyin Lannister is a dick.

6. “Because the truth is always terrible, or boring.” Agreed, Sansa. Agreed.

7. Margaery Tyrell vs Cersei Lannister.

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YES.

8. Without going into book spoilers, the change in Barristan Selmy’s storyline seems like the smart play for the show and doesn’t bother me at all.

9. Not going into book spoilers is hard, though, at least when it comes to certain characters like, say, Shae, who comes off a little different in the books than she does in the series. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I think her storyline is going to deviate slightly from the source material, and if it happens the way I think it will . . . well, I haven’t decided how I feel about that yet.

10. Finally, Roz better have an actual storyline this season. I was finally given hope at the end of season two, and I need season three to deliver on that hope, because currently, she is the most useless, unnecessary character on the entire show, and the time spent on her could be better spent on Arya, Jamie, Brienne, Varys, or any of the other infinitely better characters that didn’t appear on tonight’s premiere.

Conclusions: Happy to have it back!
Episode Grade: A

The Walking Dead - Season 3 - Poster Art - Frank Ockenfels/AMC

“Welcome to the Tombs”

1. Going into the finale, this was my Survival Likelihood List:

Absolutely Won’t Die: Rick, Daryl
Almost Certainly Won’t Die: Michonne, Tyrese, Carl
Could Die: Herschel, Maggie, Glenn, Carol, Andrea, Beth, Tyrese’s Sister
Hopefully WON’T Die: Glenn, Carol
Hopefully WILL Die: Beth
Almost Certainly Will Die: Milton
Absolutely Will Die: The Governor, Martinez, Tyrese’s Annoying Friend

Well, I failed. But I prefer to think that the The Walking Dead failed because they DID. I can’t BELIEVE that The Governor is still alive, and I’m, personally, highly disappointed by this development.

David-Morrissey-in-The-Walking-Dead-Welcome-to-the-Tombs

The Governor didn’t start off so bad, as a villain, but by the end of season three, I was highly disenchanted with him. I wanted him to be charismatic and menacing and scary. Instead, he was . . . I don’t know. Cartoonish? I can see the broad strokes of how the Governor’s arc was supposed to unfold, but it just didn’t pan out right, so I was happy to finally be getting rid of him . . . only to have him ride off into the sunset with Martinez and the Other Lackey Whose Name I Never Learned, making his return in later seasons almost an inevitability. Godammit.

2. Actually, my disappointment with the Governor is a big part of my problem with Andrea’s whole storyline too. If the Governor actually was charismatic and seductive and all the things he’s clearly supposed to be, I probably could have bought Andrea staying with him longer than she should have. But since those two have no chemistry whatsoever . . . yeah, it doesn’t work. And while I know Andrea’s supposed to be caught between a rock and a hard place, frantically working to broker a peace between the town and the prison and save all the innocent lives . . . yeah, that doesn’t end up working either, partly because the writing is inconsistent as all hell, and partly because Andrea has a tendency to flounce off and pout, which makes it very hard to take her seriously.

3. On the upside, I do like Andrea’s actual death.

andrea

Despite my intense dislike of Andrea, I did have a small amount of sympathy for her by the end, mostly because I tend to feel sorry for characters who fight like hell to survive and then die anyway. Getting stuck in a room with a zombie while you’re tied to a chair sucks; ask Glenn. Actually, for that reason alone, I’m glad Andrea died — it would be a little much to have two of our heroes survive being tied to chairs with zombies trying to feast on them, all in the same season.

Mostly, though, I just feel sorry for Michonne. I suspect that Michonne will become one of my favorite characters, now that she talks and has occasional facial expressions.

4. Carl is the Bringer of Death.

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I’d be much more interested in Carl’s newfound, sociopathic tendencies if he didn’t stomp and pout quite so damn much. Good God, is Carl the new Andrea?

5. I still hate Carl less than Beth, though. Isn’t that sad? Her entire role in this show is to hold a baby and, occasionally, sing. GIVE HER A CHARACTER OR KILL HER ALREADY, PLEASE.

6. Here is my other problem with the finale: all season, this show has been building up the tension between the prison and the town. Months. We’ve been building this battle up for MONTHS. The plot lines of the last few episodes have been stretched especially thin, just so the big battle could happen in the season finale. And now we’re here; we’re finally, finally here, and . . .

. . . the battle lasts all of two minutes. The folks of Woodbury retreat, and in his rage, the Governor kills almost every single one of them. And that’s it. That’s the whole conflict.

Thing is, I don’t even mind that the Governor goes totally apeshit and kills all the people he’s supposed to be protecting. That actually works for me as a rock bottom of a (poorly written) character arc. But the battle, people. You still have to write a real battle! Violence has to ensue. Life has to be lost. Life should, at the very least, seem close to being lost. I cannot believe I waited the whole season for this bullshit.

7. At least, Ghost Lori is finally gone. Goodbye, Ghost Lori! I still feel that Sarah Wayne Callies got a lot more shit than she actually deserved, but that being said . . . please stay away, Ghost Lori. And take Beth with you. Living or dead, I don’t even care.

Conclusions: Still like it better than Season 2, but other than some really good moments, Season Three kind of fell flat on its face at the end there. Let’s hope that with our new NEW showrunner, Season Four will continue to improve.
Episode Grade: C

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2 Responses to Post-Easter Reviews: Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead

  1. Dave Nielsen says:

    I can’t BELIEVE that The Governor is still alive, and I’m, personally, highly disappointed by this development.

    I can believe it and would have been disappointed if they’d done the expected (always a bad thing).

    I wanted him to be charismatic and menacing and scary.

    He was.

    Instead, he was . . . I don’t know. Cartoonish?

    How so. There are other characters that could be said of, definitely. Merle, for one, with the anime style metal club with a spike he had instead of a hand.

    I was happy to finally be getting rid of him . . . only to have him ride off into the sunset with Martinez and the Other Lackey Whose Name I Never Learned, making his return in later seasons almost an inevitability. Godammit.

    I wasn’t. I thought it strange that he would want to do that. He knew it a strong possibility Rick and crew would go to Woodbury – and I’d have thought he’d want to make sure Andrea died. One thing that did disappoint me about the finale, and about the Governor himself all season, was that he had a bit of a James Bond Villain way of leaving and hoping things go perfectly to plan.

    But since those two have no chemistry whatsoever .

    I don’t know if that’s true, at least not at first. Later she stayed because she still thought Woodbury was a better bet.

    which makes it very hard to take her seriously.

    I’m not sure we were ever meant to. She was, like Milton, always supposed to be an idealistic fool and also, despite wanting to be seen as strong, a born follower and, despite having been I think a lawyer, kind of an idiot.

    On the upside, I do like Andrea’s actual death.

    Another death we don’t actually see. They didn’t show us her body with a bullet wound in her forehead. I don’t know what else they could do with her, given that she was bitten, but you never know.

    it would be a little much to have two of our heroes survive being tied to chairs with zombies trying to feast on them, all in the same season.

    True, but Milton, despite his blood loss, could probably have done something to help her out that way.

    . . . the battle lasts all of two minutes. The folks of Woodbury retreat, and in his rage, the Governor kills almost every single one of them. And that’s it. That’s the whole conflict.

    That was kind of a plus for me. It’s like in Kill Bill Vol. 2, I was dreading a rehash of the Bride-O-Ren fight and luckily it turned out differently. It’s not unrealistic for the Governor’s people to finally turn on him like that, and he’d been holding back so long on just letting loose like that on them. After that, his options were limited but I’d have thought he’d want to return to Woodbury instead of pussying out like that.

    But the battle, people. You still have to write a real battle! Violence has to ensue. Life has to be lost. Life should, at the very least, seem close to being lost.

    I partly agree with you there. There were several times that Maggie at least should have died. And it might have been better to have had Carl or Hershel be killed by the kid, but then I hate Carl and dislike Hershel’s whole Uncle Jesse schtick.

    • I do get what you mean, about it being cool when shows do unexpected things, and if I liked the Governor as a villain at all, I might even agree with you. But we clearly don’t see him in the same way, because I think he’s kind of a lame bad guy, not in idea but in execution. I didn’t find him believable. When I say the Governor’s cartoonish, I don’t mean in looks or style. I mean, depth of character, delivery of lines. I get the arc the writers were going for, but I didn’t find the performance believable enough. (Although I wouldn’t blame it ALL on the actor. Like I said, I think the writing on The Walking Dead is still, overall, pretty inconsistent.)

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