Mad Men: Pizza House!

MAD MEN: 5.08 “Lady Lazarus”

Get your pitchforks ready, folks. I’m ready to be attacked.

I’m a fan of Rory Gilmore. You know me. Gilmore Girls is definitely one of my go-to shows. Alexis Bledel shined as Rory. In fact, I even liked her in both of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies. But there’s one thing that she’s not good at: playing an older woman in an unhappy marriage.

See, I really like Rory. And I’m wording that accurately. I like RORY. And Alexis Bledel makes a good RORY. But that’s about it. Everything else that I’ve seen her in — movies, TV shows, even Sisterhood — she’s got just about one note, and that is the whispy, blue-eyed, puppy-faced Rory. When she has this expression, she looks about sixteen years old, right about the time when Rory was her best. So making her an older woman in the 1960s, married to a quite older man just didn’t fit. Sorry, folks, Rory didn’t do the job. I didn’t believe it for a minute.

Which is mildly entertaining, since I believed an older Mr. Belding was someone other than Mr. Belding when he was in a mere 30 seconds of the show. Way to go, Dennis Haskins.

So it was rather annoying seeing Alexis Bledel in this show. She just didn’t fit. She was a teenager or early 20-something in a costume, playing a role that didn’t fit. I get that there’s a disconnect; she’s turning 31 this year. But it was just bad casting, and she just didn’t fit the part.

Rory aside, the point we’re supposed to take from this is that she’s one unhappy woman, and Pete’s still a despicable human being. The fact that he actually went home with the man whose wife he was sleeping with was just horrible. Uggh, Pete.

As for Don, well, he had his own marital issues to deal with. Megan has quit the firm to become an actress. Everyone had their own responses to the news, but Don’s was the most cryptic. It was clear he wasn’t the happiest to hear it, but he didn’t quite know what to do with the news. Was he just unsure what others would think of it? Or did it throw a wrench into his own view of what his new life is?

If anything, he sure didn’t like what it did to his business. Peggy royally screwed up playing his wife for the client — “Just try it!” — and he took his aggression out on her. But perhaps he just missed Megan.

I’m not entirely sure. Nor do I know what the empty elevator shaft really meant. Perhaps you readers can jump in with some analysis. Either way, Don doesn’t know what’s coming next, and frankly, neither do we.

Game of Thrones: 2.06 “The Old Gods and the New”

GAME OF THRONES: 2.06 “The Old Gods and the New”

If I remember correctly, episode six of last season was the point in which the story really picked up the pace and started to get interesting. Similarly, here in season two, it appears like the tenuous status quo that existed for several of our characters has begun to fall apart, or at least looks like it is about to. Bran and Rickon’s safe home of Winterfell is upended by Theon’s conquest; Robb and Catelyn are distraught by the news and rely on an untrustworthy looking bannerman and his “bastard” to bring the castle back into the fold; Theon makes one bad decision after another in an attempt to prove his manhood; Joffrey’s petulance causes a deadly riot to break out in the streets of King’s Landing; Jon’s mercy leads him to get lost in the icebergs with the fireheaded wildling, Ygritte; Arya’s true nature is nearly revealed to Tywin; and Dany’s dragons are abducted.

Varys’ lecture to Tyrion on the nature of power came to mind as I was thinking about this episode. Power is a trick, and this idea is driven home in both Winterfell and King’s Landing. Theon thinks he exercises power and control over the inhabitants of Winterfell, but Roderick’s defiance of him makes him look bad, and forces him to execute the old soldier to save face. It’s clear that he didn’t want to do it, but he loses control of events and in the end is forced to bring his sword clumsily down on the old man’s neck. The botched execution makes him look weak in front of his men, and monstrous in front of the conquered people of Winterfell. While Theon still holds nominal control over the castle, his rule is weak and has no foundation. Similarly, Joffrey thinks Kingship affords him power over everything, but his “divine right” doesn’t mean much when a hungry mob of commoners vastly outnumbers his guardians. Trying to exert power over others, and failing (as Joffrey and Theon do here, and even as Dany does in her attempt to convince the merchants of Qarth to give her ships to sail to Westeros) can spark a situation that spirals out of control. If Ned’s sudden, unexpected execution last season has taught us anything, it should be this: Once things have spiraled out of control, there’s no telling how widespread and damaging the fallout could be.

A few things:

  • How many times have I used the adjective ‘brutal’ to describe this show? Probably too many, but I’ll use it again. Roderick’s execution was just brutal. His last words to Bran (“I’m going to see your father now” or something similar), to Bran’s anguished wailing, to the look of disgust and shock on Theon’s face after it was over combined to make a really powerful scene.
  • I am really, really enjoying any little bit of interaction between Tywin and Arya. They play off each other so well. I also enjoyed getting a look into Tywin’s thoughts on his father, and the story of how he forced dyslexic Jaime to learn how to read as a boy. I never really had a very clear sense of Papa Lannister in the books, but in the series he comes across as wonderfully cold, calculating, and above all, infinitely practical.
  • It was great to see Tyrion lashing out at Joffrey for being so cruel and stupid. As an added bonus, we got to see the young brat get faceslapped again. That never gets old.