Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game Of Thrones S2E1, S2E2, Mad Men S5E2

Lena Headey's good but Peter Dinklage steals the show as usual
It's been 12 years since I read A Clash of Kings which is the second book in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire sequence. I have only vague memories of that novel but Game of Thrones S2E1 surprisingly brought a lot of those memories from the depths of goodness knows where. The episode begins in the aftermath of Eddard Stark's death as various houses jockey for power in Westeros. The episode nicely captured many of the diverse strands of the novel and brought us up to date with the characters from Game of Thrones. As usual Peter Dinklage stole every scene he was in and in fact, if you'll notice, he's been given top billing. From what I remember of Clash we get to know even more characters than were in GOT and the civil war on Westeros becomes even more complicated. I don't know how the TV series is going to cope with all this without shortchanging some of the actors or compressing some of action.  
Anyway S2E1 was all about scene setting and recapitulation and it did it pretty well. We got some nice Northern Irish landscapes in S2E1: several different Ulster forests, a piece of beach that looked a bit like Whitepark Bay and snowy volcanic vistas that definitely were not Ireland and must have been Iceland. E2 established a few more characters and laid the seeds for a bit of a story that I do remember about Greyjoy. It was nice to see Richard O'Brien popping up as Greyjoy's dad. Plenty of T&A in episode 2 for the pervy TV reviewers complaining about the lack of it in E1. Good use of British regional accents too in these episodes: as well as Yorkshire we got Geordieland, Welsh, Scottish, mild Ulster and soft Irish, as well as Peter Dinklage's dodgy home counties voice.  
Not much happened in the two episodes but the strands of future conflict were definitely laid. GOT S2E1 B+ S2E2 B
Regarding Mad Men E2, like the blogger in the New York Times, I too was surprised to see them go the Frasier route with January Jones's pregnancy. We already had someone close to Don die of cancer so it would have been bathos to give Betty cancer too. There was therefore zero dramatic tension and the lameness of the storyline readily became apparent. I have a feeling that the writers on Mad Men dislike January Jones as a person so they've been thinking up ways to humiliate the character. Maybe. Mad Men S5 E2 C-