Game of Thrones: The Ghost of Harrenhall

GAME OF THRONES: 2.05 “The Ghost of Harrenhall”

Last week’s episode ended with the grotesque birth of a shadow-like monster, one of rare moments of obvious magic in the series. The monster didn’t waste any time after being birthed to go ahead and take out Renly, leaving Westeros with one less King vying for the throne. Brienne’s anguished screams during Renly’s death were heartbreaking, but the speed at which she dispatched the knights that streamed into the tent to attack her helped remind us that her grief didn’t blunt her fighting edge.

The episode was packed full of plenty of other stuff beyond the opening act of regicide. To me, this felt like one of the busiest episodes of the season, maybe even of the series so far. Everyone but Robb gets screen time in this episode, and based on the plots being conceived by various characters (Stannis’s plan to invade King’s Landing via sea, led by “Admiral” Davos; Tyrion’s mystical Wildfire substance and how it factors into his plans for defense of the city; Theon’s sudden, cruel plan to fully betray Robb by striking into the heart of the North) it seems like episode 5 ends near the top of the rollercoaster, and the remaining half of the season will be spent flying down the other side at a breakneck pace. While the creators and writers of the show have done a great job squeezing a huge book into this season so far, ten episodes does feel a little short. I shouldn’t complain too much, because the show really has done a great job of fitting in character development and plot development into the same scenes, but I wish the show had more hours available so we could leisurely spend a little more time exploring these interesting people. Time waits for no one, though, on Westeros or Earth, so forward we go.

  • The best scene, hands down, was Arya describing to Tywin how the people of the North view Robb Stark, and then coolly delivering the line “Anyone can be killed” while staring right at Papa Lannister. I nearly cheered.
  • I really like how the series has expanded Margaery’s role a bit. I didn’t quite get her in the books, but in the series we see that she’s ambitious and motivated. Even though Renly’s gone, she’s not out of the game.
  • The landscape beyond the Wall looks suitably frozen and desolate for Jon and the other Rangers. We’ve not seen much of him recently, but now that he’s on a mission to assassinate the King Beyond the Wall, I think his story will heat up (pardon the pun.)
  • Poor Bran falls clear into Theon’s trap by sending most of Winterfell’s soldiers off to Torhen Square to repel an attack. Theon has been belittled and insulted by his family since he arrived on the Iron Islands. He knows that the only way to get their attention is to is to take a risk, and what better target is there than an undefended Winterfell, ruled by a crippled boy?

Mad Men: Go Get ‘Em, Tiger

MAD MEN: 5.07 “At the Codfish Ball”

I’m not entirely sure whether I should even review this episode. I mean, let’s face it. The only thing we’re all going to remember after this episode is Megan’s father’s (in)famous line, “One day your little girl will spread her legs and fly away.”

But really, there’s more than that. I was particularly interested in Megan in this episode. Not because her parents were there or because she was aware of their flawed relationship. It was really her professional life that grabbed my attention.

Heinz has been a difficult and horrible account. After Peggy was let go from it, the rest of creative had to pitch in to make a last, desperate attempt to get the baked beans account. They came up with something (something we don’t actually get see), but even that, no one’s really thrilled. Meanwhile, Megan comes up with the account that wins the day: generations — from the beginning of time to the space-driven future — will give baked beans to their kids. And they like them.

Megan came up with the pitch, and Don loved it. In fact, she even figured out the best time to pitch it during dinner, after she discovered they were going to be fired. Megan basically became a shining star in one episode.

There are only two problems: She’s a woman. And she’s the boss’ wife.

Megan’s quite aware that she’s not going to be taken seriously, which is something she struggled with even last week when she was pulled away from work to play at a Howard Johnson’s. She wants to prove herself more than ever. But then again, she wants to play nice. At first, she didn’t want to take credit for the idea because she knew how hard creative had worked on the current pitch. Then, she wanted to tell Peggy before she found out through the grapevine, clearly worried that she’d be stepping on her toes.

I have to admire that in Megan; she’s not playing the Manhattan game like the rest of the world. I have to admire Peggy’s response, too: genuine congratulations and happiness, with a smart speech to match. Kudos to them both.

Now, for the rest of the episode, what is there to say? I loved seeing Roger’s back-and-forth with Sally (so much so that I shared this tweet), only to be horrified when poor Sally walked in on Roger’s “moment” with Megan’s mother (at least it wasn’t shown as grotesquely as it has been on Game of Thrones). Sally’s clearly discovering way too much lately, between this and her night discussing murderers with her grandmother. We did get the return of creepy Glenn in this episode; I’m not sure what they’re going to do with that, but I am getting a little nervous about when that kid really does get his driver’s license and decides to visit her.

Meanwhile, Peggy has been asked to move in with her boyfriend. Now, I knew the moment that Joan said she might get proposed to that she wouldn’t actually get a proposal. But I’m not sure what’s worse: Expecting a proposal and getting dumped — or getting asked to move in together. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great step in the right direction. But this isn’t the same era as today, and it holds a much bigger stigma. And her mother had a fair concern. Couldn’t he just “use her up” as she put it and toss her away? I just wish Peggy had a real commitment.

Anyway, a good episode back that got us miles closer to the Don we used to know. I just hope next week, we have fewer subtitles.