Game of Thrones ‘Dragonstone’ Review

Shall we begin?

As close to god damn perfect as TV can be the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere proved to be a satisfying payoff to a year of waiting.

An opening scene depicting Arya in Walder Frey’s face murdering the rest of his family kicked things off showing that the Stark’s are well and truly meaning business this time.

Stark power struggles as Jon and Sansa are still new to the whole ruling thing. Looking back it’s amazing to see how far these characters have come and now as Sansa wants to immediately go after Cersei whereas Jon is more worried about the white walkers their perspectives clash and Little Finger looks like he’s trying to use that to his advantage.

Cersei redecorates with a full map of all the people that hate her, Jamie looks on helpless as she alienates everyone and ignores intrinsic war problems like hunger and that one lady with the three fire breathing lizards with wings. Euron Greyjoy also pops up again as the sassy pirate he always should have been and I’m excited to see where that alliance goes.  I’m interested to see how long Cersei has left on the show. As one of the primary antagonists in Westeros, her death will remove a significant amount of the conflict.

I’m interested to see how long Cersei has left on the show. As one of the primary antagonists in Westeros, her death will remove a significant amount of the conflict.

Sandor Clegane makes an unexpected but welcomed return with the Brotherhood without Banner, the Hound’s ultimate quest to embrace his humanity has found him in one of his several love/hate relationships and I’m kinda here for it.

Across the sea, Sam is an apprentice Maester which look most entry level jobs these days involves a lot of manual work with a very tentative link to the field he wants to work in. He works out that the Dragonglass is at Dragonstone just as Stannis had said all those years ago and he sends a raven to Jon immediately.

And who should be making their way to Dragonstone but Daenerys herself with her fleet of ships and Tyrion by her side it’s a beautiful sequence acted in complete silence as she steps back in Westeros for the first time since childhood.

I’m anxious to see how this season plays out, there are plot points that have been seasons in the making and are about to explode this season, I hope things are burnt through too quickly.

Pretty Little Liars ‘Finale’ Review

-Warning the following contains spoilers from the final episode of Pretty Little Liars proceed with caution…

Or do whatever you want I’m a blog post, not a cop…

Pretty Little Liars came at the perfect time to say something interesting about cyber bullying and how quick our world went online. It addressed LGBT issues, addiction and murder throughout its seven-year run, Pretty Little Liars is part of pop culture history now and no one can take that away from them.

The twin theory has been floating around PLL since the first episode as in the books it’s Allie’s twin, Courtney that becomes one of the later plot twists. Of course, they had to turn it on its head I just didn’t expect it to be like this…

Till Death Do Us Part takes place a year after the previous episode which I think is probably for the best, it seems they’ve finally learnt their lesson after squishing the first three seasons into one school year.

There hasn’t been any word from A.D, Lucas is a tap dancer and Jenna has taken up horse riding…oh it’s a dream… I’m glad they are honouring the absurdist moments of PLL in the finale episode even if it’s more a nod then anything and Lucas gets a series wrap in a white top hat.

In the real world, it’s almost time for the wedding of Aria to her high school English teacher and everyone is excited, except Caleb and Hanna who are arguing after Hanna agrees to let Mona stay with them after she leaves Radley 2.0

I know this show doesn’t take place in the real world but shouldn’t Mona have a social worker? A concerned friend? A secret twin? Someone else out there that could take her away from this mess?

But everyone gets to the Lost Resort for the world’s most boring bachelor/bachelorette party (seriously if anyone was going to accidentally kill someone on their last night of freedom you would think it’d be these guys) And everyone gets busy except Toby and Spencer who bond over obscure word scrabble and unsaid feelings.

Except they don’t.

Yup, the long held Spencer twin theory turns out to be true with one shocking twist, Alex Drake is British. To be more exact she’s from the same place in England as Anne Hathaway from One Day.

Seriously, I think I could have been on board with the whole Spencer twin thing if it wasn’t so very clearly stuffed in at the last minute and the accent just felt unnecessarily jarring even for a show that balances the campy line.

The backstory being that Wren found Alex Drake in a pub in England by happenstance and told her the whole story of her sisters in the States and her secret twin. Cece and Alex bonded in Paris each with their own doctor boyfriend and a growing hatred for their sisters.

Alex created a lair complete with a fake prop house and locking cells (apparently all construction companies in Rosewood are great at no questions asked work)  and keeps Spencer in a cell while taking over her life. She also kidnaps Ezra because Alex is a messy bitch who lives for drama.

However, the main foil to Alex’s plan is Jenna and an oversensitive horse who recognise that she’s not Spencer and warn Toby who rolls with it.

Things are seemingly wrapped up with a wedding an engagement and a pregnancy announcement but the door is left open as Mona apparently has Mary and Alex Drake in a Dollhouse and the new Rosewood bitch is now missing…

This show was never going to have a satisfying ending with N.A.T club, Toby’s mom and if Wren is truly dead (or if they know he’s the baby daddy) still up in the air I’m at least grateful this show was crazy right till the end

 

Pretty Little Liars ‘Farewell, my lovely’ Review

With only one more episode to go Pretty Little Liars gives us some solid answers but there are still mysteries to be solved in Rosewood.

Aria’s still on the outs with the Liars but with Rollin’s body in her car she devises a plan to make things up to them by taking the fall. As she works this out she has a conversation with herself and I was kinda hoping this would lead to the discovery that Aria had been talking to herself for the past seven seasons and her split personality was A.D.

What can I say a girl can dream.

The big reveal of the night came from Mona, the underrated hero of this whole series. As fingers looked to be pointing squarely towards her for the role of A.D most viewers worked out that it immediately took her off the suspect list.

Instead, thanks to a break in her reality Mona reverts back to her previous nerdy status and informs the girl’s that she killed Charlotte. This didn’t feel like the shocking reveal it was amped up to be, I had my money on either her or Jason and due to the fact Jason didn’t pop up fifteen minutes before the end Mona became a safe bet.

The game ends with the girls receiving the final few puzzle pieces and the location of Rollins body only to be beaten to the punch by Detective Tanner who literally bulldozes over their plans.

The arrest fake-out is sort of something that should have been put to bed in season three but as the girls accept their fate Mary Drake swoops in and takes the blame.

I really hope this story is solidly put to bed now as I didn’t care about Rollins when he was alive and I didn’t care about him when he was dead.

But A.D is going to be revealed next week and I think they’ve truly exhausted all options for a satisfying ending. But maybe be they’ll prove me wrong, my money is still on Sean…

Twin Peaks ‘Part Six’ Review

It’s confusing, it’s upsetting and it’s a little crazy but what else would Twin Peaks be? Although still making very little sense episode six has found a balance between the old and the new characters which happen to be both frustrating and intriguing all at once.

As Dougie continues to amble his way through an insurance job and bookie debt collectors there are signs that the Dale Cooper we know and love might be waking up. Whether it’s his interest in the police badge or the One-Armed man informing him he has to wake up. Coop has to be coming back.

The Double R Diner continues to be the most satisfying part of the revival as it appears the infamous giggling Heidi has returned to work after a twenty-five-year hiatus or did she never really leave?

With the cyclical nature of most of Lynch’s work, Twin Peaks thrives on repetition including the numbers ‘324810’ which feature on the intersection a child gets run over in this episode. Whether this is to set up the ‘Kid’ as being the douchebag’s second coming or to show that Carl Rodd can also see things in the way that Dougie can see lies and jackpots will play out in the next episode.

It’s beautiful, it’s tragic and it’s mind-melting, Twin Peaks is starting to feel like home again.

Book Review: The Roanoke Girls

-Spoilers for the first 2 chapters of the book-

In a way all the signs were there, we joined Lane returning to a small Kansas town to find her cousin Allegra who has disappeared. We know that she had some sort of tumultuous summer living with her grandparents ten years ago.

It all starts off simply enough, Lane is facing her past after running away but we don’t know exactly why until Lane asks her grandfather if he’s still ‘fucking her.’

The Roanoke Girls starts with a sparse family tree and a quote from Lolita so it’s not like it was hidden but the incest but this did genuinely shock me and the casual attitude the book and the characters treated this issue did leave a bad taste in my mouth. I was expecting some sort of sordid family secret but the banality factor of it irked me a bit.

By revealing the Roanoke family secret so quickly was an interesting decision, as we shift between ‘now’ and ‘then’ we know more than the poor innocent Lane who’s come to live with her family after the death of her mother. Tension builds with the family secret being unpeeled layers as the book goes on.

Along with the family tensions we see the before and after of teenage relationships with Cooper and Tommy and how they are both ‘now’ and ‘then.’

In a way The Roanoke Girls is a coming of age novel and a story about when you don’t quite grow up.

At 240 pages The Roanoke Girls gripped me from the beginning to the end but after the initial reveal it didn’t shock me. If you’re interested in family dramas and stories about very damaged women then this is definitely the book for you…

 

Doctor Who ‘Knock, Knock’ Review

When you go to university and go travelling there’s a tentative line one must try and walk between travel anecdotes and travel monologues. We all know that bitch that went to Bali for six months and came back ‘so enlightened yah.’

Anyway Bill’s facing that exact problem in ‘Knock, Knock’ she’s even brought her weird slightly older travel companion to help her move in.

Bill’s cluelessness about issues such as ‘time-lords’ and ‘regeneration’ is disarming for long time fans of the show, but her attitude and freshness allows a perfect avenue to come into Doctor Who.

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And like companions before her, we’re getting the ‘everyday life’ episode for Bill, although unlike a Clara or a Rose Bill is at the start of her life with a small support system that we begin to suspect may not make it through the night.

Speaking of foreshadowing, long time fans of the show will have noticed a picture of Susan- the Doctor’s granddaughter from the original sixties series and Bill proceeded to call the Doctor her grandfather in this episode. Coincidence ? We shall see…

But the main antagonist of the episode is Mr Poirot himself, David Suchet makes an appearance as the creepy landlord, a nice bit of realism was the students dismissing him and his creepiness as nothing but a part of a cheap rent economy.

But when tenants go missing in rooms, the Doctor decides to stick around and investigate.

Indiscriminate bug aliens have been a staple of Doctor Who for years and this time they’ve apparently housed themselves in Bristol and are now feeding off students.

The creepy old house episode feels very typical of Doctor Who and it’s nice that they lean into it rather than do a twist on the genre. At the same time, they need to arc the season instead of constantly doing bottle episodes.

An episode reveal of a wooden zombie woman and her secret creepy landlord son is not only emotionally resonate but a moment of sleuthing for Bill as she’s the one to connect the dots.

As the woman and her son both perish it’s a reminder that a lot of Doctor Who’s genius is in its family drama as the relationships are more important than the sci-fi.

The episode ends with the Doctor in front of his vault and lilting piano music floating through it’s the opposite of the Doctor’s speech about life being about ‘seeing the fireworks’ yet he’s got someone inside the vault with enough fingers to play music well enough.

Who is in the vault? It sounds like there’s enough of a relationship between the Doctor and the persons/space thing in the vault. However, this is Moffat we’re talking about so it could be the Doctor’s secret sister, we better find out soon or I’m rioting.

Next week there’s a space station with a space suit problem and it seems like there’s trouble in store for Bill. Again following the pattern of Doctor Who episodes and so I’m a little worried how long this season can run on Mackie/Capaldi charm.

 

 

Riverdale ‘Anatomy of a murder’ Review

The murder of Jason Blossom finally reaches its conclusion in a twisting teenage small-town noir.

Performer of the episode: Cole Sprouse

Highlight: Mr Blossom’s sleep wig

*Spoilers*

The last episode FP Jones was arrested for the murder as the gun used in the murder showed up after Archie and Veronica broke into his trailer it looks like he’s being set up. But FP seemingly has a very clear story about he killed Jason Blossom in a kidnapping plot gone wrong.

Jughead disappears as the gang scramble to convince their parent’s of FP’s innocence but Molly Andrews (who we discover is a lawyer) points out that any evidence they think they found or didn’t find in his trailer would be inadmissible in court.  deciding to see his mother and Jellybean

Jughead is noping the fuck out deciding to see his mother and Jellybean on the other side of the country. Jughead is also apparently the only sixteen-year-old that doesn’t own a cellphone but knows his mother’s phone number well enough to dial it at a pay phone. However, continuing the tradition of shitty Riverdale parents Momma Jones apparently doesn’t want her son to be in a place away from his apparently murderous father.

At Pops, the gang finds Jughead waiting out his bus, broken by his father’s actions. Archie brings Jughead back to the house still trying to reason with his dad about FP’s innocence but Fred isn’t having any of it.

FP and Jughead finally come face to face with probably the best scene of the episode as we’d later realise FP’s shitty parental behaviour was caused by someone threatening Jughead’s life.

And FP’s one call prison? Joaquin Phoenix with a call to forget about their insurance policy but as he boards a bus to San Junipero (I’d watch that spin-off tbh) and finally tells Kevin about the letterman jacket.

And inside is a USB cable showing footage from Jason’s kidnapping and who should walk in but Mr Blossom with a gun. Mr Blossom shoots his son in the head, Archie and the gang do what the Pretty Little Liars crew should have done in like season one and show the footage to the police.

The episode ends with Mr Blossom hung from the rafters (wig still intact) and drugs spilling out of maple syrup barrels.

Now the question is why?

And finally-

  • So it turns out the Coopers and Blossoms are third cousins (maybe?) and Mrs Blossom was surprisingly chill about this incest then again she probably suspected twincest was going on so cousins was probably refreshing
  • Archie comes off really well during this episode, proactive, investigating not overly concerned about his music
  • As spoilers turned out to be false I wonder if the cult plot and Sabrina rumours are fake

I think this was a really strong episode for a surprisingly great show and I think it’s probably wise for them not to end on this episode and instead establish new mysteries for the second season.

And you can watch the trailer for the finale right here…

Doctor Who ‘Thin Ice’ Review

Warning- Contains spoilers for Doctor Who

“You don’t steer the Tardis you reason with it”

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The arrival of Bill has honestly brought new life into Doctor Who, the chemistry between Capaldi and Mackie and the return to an episodic view has made the past three episodes of Doctor Who feel like a return to the old without everything being cloaked in mystery and long complex relationships. That’s not to say there isn’t some intrigue going on…

Basically, a kid’s show about time travel should be fun and Bill brings that in buckets.

In 1814 London something wicked and cold this way comes, something is underneath the Thames…

This episode is really Bill’s first proper foray into time travelling and refreshingly she points the realities of being a POC in the 18th century and she manages to also address like seven of the time travel rules that often go ignored with Doctor Who.

I say that this is the first real time-travelling trip as Bill begins to see the layers underneath the Doctor, realising her teacher and the man she’s decided to travel the universe might be a lil bit of a mass murderer.

A group of street kids in the 18th century are working to attract people to a fayre on the river so the lights underneath the river can suck people down in order to feed a mysterious alien. Bill is stunned at the casual way the Doctor deals with the death of this child and the fact he’s 2000 years old.

Bill and the Doctor discover this alien is linked to a new form of energy and an uppity British Lord Sutcliffe and his use of the creature for fuel. There are definite allusions to the ’11’ beast below episode with a sad unknown creature being used for the greed of humans in probably one of the most realistic attributes to the show. People suck.

But the Doctor puts the onus of the decision onto Bill as whether or not they should save or kill the beast she decides to save the creature, ultimately causing the end to Lord Sutcliffe and giving the street urchin kids a new life.

Also -I don’t know if it was foreshadowing or not- but several times during the episode the Doctor came dangerously close to losing his screwdriver it’d be interesting to see what he’d be like without it.

Back in the 21st century, Bill wants to know how they affected the future realising that the giant fish in a river was barely a footnote in history. Everything seemingly worked out for the group of orphans (I’d be interested to see if we a Sutcliffe descendant pops up in a later episode.)

The episode ends with the vault in the university and Matt Lucas talking to the door, notably, whatever is in the vault knocks four times and we all know what happened the last time someone did that…

 

Next week:

A haunted house on an all protein diet

Pretty Little Liars ‘These Boots Are Made for Stalking’ Review

Swimming, shoes and secrets oh my! Pretty Little Liars shows us no matter how much things change they just stay the same.

Nicole’s return from kidnapping sets Aria’s relationship with Ezra into another realm. As a reporter comes looking for him Aria begins to realise that maybe Ezria isn’t the centre of the world. The whole kidnapping disappearance storyline of Ezra’s finacè feels like it’s taking place in a completely different universe. Unless it turns out that Nicole is actually A.D the whole situation feels like an unnecessarily convoluted hurdle for the eventual wedding in the less than ten episodes.

Addison, the current Rosewood High bitch starts causing waves with Emily. The suspiciously familiar teenager actually feels like a nice addition this late in the game, especially mirrored against Allison. Addison (I wish they’d named her something else or maybe they have to rhyme in order to get full bitch powers) starts fucking with Emily and Emily is faced with trying to be a disciplinary to someone not much older than her.

Meanwhile, Hanna spends most of the day sweating over a dress for Katherine, the senator’s daughter. Setting up a styling business (maybe?) with Mona Hanna starts to question whether or not her designs are good enough.

Spencer’s currently dealing with the repercussions of finding out that she’s Mary Drake’s daughter. Her story feels like the only one linked to the body of the plot. As she’s the first to discover Jenna Marshall’s return.

The second half of the episode we’re finally back at the big-ass board game that’s shaping the season, A.D seemingly behind Jenna receiving a copy of Hanna’s dress, Emily receiving Addison blackmail material and Emily finally embracing her dark side.

Aria is still upset that Ezra is off making nice with Nicole so she decides to go visit her at the clinic she’s staying in (Which might be in Rosewood? I don’t know…)But Holden follows her and manages to talk her out of bunny boiling. The two have a nice moment that makes wish Aria got the chance at normal relationships but we all know that’s not going to happen.

Emily finally rips Addison- and thus teenage Allison- a new one as the young teen threatens to go forth and expose her as inappropriate with students. (I mean Rosewood High employed Ezra so I doubt they’d have much of a problem with that) but it seems Little Alli’s plan blows up in her face as an email bragging about her plan is forwarded to the school principal.

With A.D seemingly behind the highschooler’s take down Emily receives another piece of the puzzle.

The game seems to be leading to a map of outside Rosewood but with very little clue to what it all means yet the girls are going to have to keep playing to find out.

Riverdale ‘Lost Weekend’ Review

Riverdale’s topsy-turvy take on high school stereotypes tackles the high school rager this week in its usually macabre fashion.

It’s Jughead’s birthday and as we’re informed several times throughout the episode that he’s a ‘weirdo who hates his birthday.’ It just so happens that this is also the weekend that Fred Andrews is going out of town to finalize his divorce.

Which all seems gosh darn convenient if you ask me.

But before we get to that Veronica Lodge is starring in baby-Good Wife for a solid part of the episode as the Lodge’s get ready to testify in Hiram’s case. Secrets come up surrounding a large amount of money the Blossoms have been paying the Lodges for the better part of a century and this episode looks to point the finger of blame squarely on Hiram for Jason’s death.

So that probably means that Hiram has nothing to do with it, personally I’m swaying more towards the Josie and the Pussycats using him as part of a blood ritual at the moment.

Betty is told about Jughead’s upcoming birthday from Archie because -spoiler alert- Jughead don’t like birthdays. But Betty’s cute and wants the best for him so puts together a low-key birthday party for Jughead.

Also, Betty and Veronica are given a nasty surprise when Chuck makes a reappearance in school, and it’s not because the actor that plays him can rent a car without paying the premiums, no it’s because Chuck’s All-American psycho demeanor and his knowledge of Betty’s slight attempted murder.

And then in the Vixen’s practice, there is of course, there’s a dance-off because that’s the most logical way for Veronica to work out her aggression towards Cheryl. Hairography ensues and Ronnie dances circles around Cheryl, leaving the redhead with a vendetta and a plan.

All of this is just the preamble to the party scenes, we knew it was happening but the writers do manage to fit everything together succinctly before we have Cheryl and Chuck barging through the door and ready to cause mayhem.

Weirdly I like Archie this episode, as he attempts to deal with his parent’s divorce he decides to raid his dad’s liquor cabinet meaning he’s pretty much wasted for like 90% of the episode and it’s not really addressed at all.

The party rages on as all the makers of Project X envisioned with everyone going crazy…except Jughead. As Betty goes to see him we enter the bit of the episode I didn’t like where Jughead just basically says he’s complicated for five minutes and Betty can’t understand why he can’t just suck it up for one night.

Things come to a head in a game of Secrets and Sins which Cheryl somehow manages to quieten an entire group of drunk teenagers enough for them to play. Cheryl attempts to humiliate Veronica with her dad’s misdeeds and then in my fave moment of the episode Veronica basically shits on Cheryl’s whole life and accuses her of twincest.

Then Chuck and Jug come to blows about that one time Betty tried to kill him and the party is over. I mean to be fair, that’s how most of my parties went in high school.

Ending tidbits

  • Betty’s mom knows FP, both from the Southside I’m excited to see where that goes
  • Veronica and Archie make out!!
  • Molly Ringwald makes an appearance as Momma Archie and what can I say I’m here for this  show