Sunday, June 29, 2014

(TV) Turn: Turn Renewed For A Second Season, Why?

There are many mysteries in American television but AMC's decision to give revolutionary war drama "Turn" a second season is as mysterious as it gets.

Despite a lukewarm critical response and equally lukewarm viewing numbers, AMC, despite having a reputation as network that gives shows a chance to catch fire, has a history of chucking shows with numbers and a critical response similar to Turn. Shows such as the solidly written and acted "Low Winter Sun and the excellent but underrated "Rubicon" come to mind as shows that were just as good if not better than "Turn" but were cancelled after their first seasons.

While it's common sense that not every show on the AMC roster can become the ratings behemoth that is The Walking Dead, Turn has all the elements to become a show worth watching as it's a great story and has an excellent cast but throughout its first run, you got the sense that there was something missing. However, AMC, undeterred by the not so great numbers, have given the show's creator a second season to find it. 

(TV) Falling Skies: Season 4 Behind the Scenes TNT

Take a look behind the scenes of TNT's alien post apocalypse hit show, Falling Skies. 

(TV) Falling Skies: Season 4 Episode 2 Promo "The Eye" (HD)

Check out the new trailer for tonight's latest episode of  Stephen Spielberg's Falling Skies.

(Movies) Dracula Untold: Luke Evans: Social Media Interview (The Hobbit, The Crow, Dracula Untold)

Watch Dracula Untold lead Luke Evans talk about his new role with Total Film

Saturday, June 28, 2014

(Movies) Dracula Untold: Movie Trailer starring Luke Evans, Dominic Cooper

Check out the trailer for the Gary Shore directed  "Dracula Untold" starring Luke Evans and Dominic Cooper.

(Movies) Transformers Age of Extinction: Transformers at the Box Office So Far

While Michael Bay maybe a critical bomb and the favorite whipping boy of any critic with a respect for cinema as an art form, the Transformers juggernaut continues to spin money undettered by the growing torrent of criticism.  

According to number posted by, the Michael Bay directed franchise has already taken $30m worldwide. Deadline reports that the film's opening could make $100m over the weekend which means the latest addition to the Transformers franchise is very likely make good on it's massive $210m production budget.

How Transformers has managed such large numbers in the face of universal critical disdain for the movie, predecessors and it's director is quite a feat in itself as even devotees to the source material the franchise on which the Transformer films are based on have washed their hands off the movie.

Nonetheless, the Transformer juggernaut continues spin money worldwide and it would be an unwise bet to hedge against the latest movie breaking the 1 billion mark. In sum, Transformers 4, the art of cinema, nil.


(Movies) Transformers Age of Extinction: Jeremy Jahns Reviews The New Transformers Movie, It's Not Pretty

Jeremy Jahns went to see the new Transformers movie and lets just say he wasn't impressed having to sit through, in his own words "a Michael Bay wet dream"

(Movies) Transformers Age of Extinction: What The Flick Review

What The Flick's Alonso Duralde (The Wrap and The Linoleum Kinife), Christy Lemire (, and Amy Nicholson (L.A Weekly) review the new installment of the Michael Bay directed big budget franchise.   

(Movies) School Dance Movie Screening (Nick Cannon, Kevin Hart, George Lopez, Mike Epps & More)

This is 50's Jack Thriller talks to cinema goers queuing outside to see the Nick Cannon directed "School Dance" starring Nick Cannon, Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, Katt Williams, George Lopez and much more.

(Movies) School Dance Official Red Band Trailer #1 (2014) - Nick Cannon Directed Movie HD

Watch the red band trailer for the Nick Cannon directed "School Dance" Starring Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Kevin Hart and George Lopez.

(TV) True Blood:Season 7- In the Weeks Ahead (HBO)

Get a glimpse of what's in store "In The Week's Ahead" in HBO's prime time staple True Blood. From the looks of it, our last season in Bon Temps may the be the show's best yet.

(TV) True Blood: Season 7 Episode 2 Clip #2 (HBO) "Can You Still Feel Me"

Watch the second newest snippet of this week's installment of the HBO hit below.

(TV) True Blood: Season 7 Episode 2 Clip 1 "Pizza Forensics"

Watch the first new snippet of this Sunday's installment of the still brilliant True Blood.

(Movies) Kevin Hart: Interview with HOT97

"Think Like A Man Too" Star Kevin Hart Talks With HOT97 about him new film, role and much more.

(Movies) Think Like a Man Too: The Film's Male Cast talk about the Vegas Themed Sequel

The male cast of  "Think Like A Man Too" give their take on the movies Las Vegas theme.

(Movies) Think Like A Man Too: Official Trailer 2014 Kevin Hart HD

Watch the official trailer for the "Think Like A Man" sequel, "Think Like a Man Too", Starring Kevin Hart.

(Movies) The Internet's Own Boy: Hot Docs Q&A with Director Brian Knappenberger

Director Brian Knappenberger Talks about his new film "The Internet's Own Boy", at Hot Docs Q&A 

(Movies) The Internet's Own Boy: Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger on New Aaron Swartz Documentary

Producer and director of "We Are Legion: The Story of The Hacktivists" Brian Knappenberger talks to Reason TV about him new film, The Internet's Own Boy. 

(Movies) The Internet's Own Boy - Official Trailer

Watch the trailer of "We Are Legion: The Story of The Hactivists" producer and director Brian Knappenberger's new film, The Internet's Own Boy.

(TV) THR Showrunner Roundtable: Full and Uncensored Interview With The Most Powerful Showrunners in Television

Watch The Hollywood Reporter's insightful group interview with the most powerful showrunners in television including Ann Biderman (Ray Donovan), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel), Aaron Sorkin (The Newsroom), Matthew Weiner (Mad Men) and Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective)

(TV) Ray Donovan Season 2: Jon Voight on Mickey Donovan

The legendary actor talks about his Golden Globe winning turn as Ray's troublesome dad, Micky Donovan and Season 2 of the series.

(TV) Ray Donovan Season 2: Liev Schreiber on Ray

Ray Donovan's lead Liev Schreiber talks about his character in the show. 

(TV) Ray Donovan Season 2: Official Trailer

Season 2 is looking like a really eventful one for Ray and co in this trailer of Showtime's brilliant series Ray Donovan set to kick off July 13th.

(Movies) Pacific Rim: PSA - A Special Message (2014) - Guillermo del Toro Movie HD

Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim Director Guillermo Del Toro send a special message to Pacific Rim fans.

(TV) The Strain: Guillermo del Toro on 'The Strain' for FX Canada

Del Toro Talks about his new horror show on FX, "The Strain" in Canada.

(TV) The Strain: Guillermo Del Toro and Cast of FX's The Strain Present a New Vampire Mythology

Watch creator Guillermo Del Toro and cast of new upcoming horror series The Strain talk up the new show and "present a new Vampire Mythology"

(TV) The Strain - Extended Trailer (2014) New Horror Show by Guillermo Del Toro

Watch the extended trailer of Guillermo Del Toro's new upcoming TV horror series "The Strain set to air July 13th on FX.

Monday, June 16, 2014

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 4: Inside the Episode #10 (HBO)

(TV) Game of Thrones: Season 4 Episode 10 “The Children” TV Review

Game of Thrones has produced many WTF moments during its four season run but in this season’s finale “The Children” the WTF moments kept coming from the brutal showdown between Brienne and The Hound to Tywin Lannister having a Father’s Day from the pits of hell.

The Show’s creators David Benioff and DB Weiss have been crowing about the season finale being one of their best yet and it’s safe to say that their confidence was justified.

John, Mance, Stannis and The Wall

The show kicks off with John beyond the gate on his suicide mission to kill Mance, “The King beyond the Wall”. Having watched copious amounts of television and a plethora of main characters putting themselves in perilous positions, I was pretty sure nothing would really happen to John as he surrendered himself in order to talk to Mance but to say that things were tense would be an understatement.

However, for two men at war with each other and not a lot of love between them, John and Mance were pretty amicable as they both shared a cup of wildling moonshine and a chat about their lost comrades and Ygritte. Despite the abnormal civility between the two enemies, we know that John, with his mission in mind, is still angling for a chance to end the war by killing Mance eyeing all the sharp objects lying around. However, Mance, not too keen on trusting the bastard son of Ned Stark again, spots John eyeing a knife plunged into a table nearby then sternly questions whether he has stones to do it before a loud horn rings out interrupting Mance before he could slit John’s throat.

Strange riders cut through the unprepared wildlings subduing any opportunities for retaliation. We find out that riders are riders for House Baratheon as Stannis and Davos ride up to Mance’s quarters and arrest him. We’ve been waiting for years for the story to hot up on the wall with introduction Stannis, the red lady and Davos to the wall, things just might get interesting.

Dany and Meeren

Game of Thrones rarely gives its’ characters what they want and if they do they are confronted with cold and hard realities that pale in comparison to the grand visions they had in their heads of glory, conquest or absolute rule and nobody is experiencing this dichotomy as profoundly as the Mother of Dragons. The show is making the point constantly about difference between conquering and ruling as this week she learned that slavery may be an evil system but it provided an identity her “new world” can’t as a slave begs the Breaker of Chains to return to his old ones. 

Taken aback by the old man plea and his revelation that he’s not the only one who wishes to return to bondage, the Mother of Dragons allows the old man to sign a contract with his former owners which may provide a major loophole that might see the breaker of chains over a more agreeable (if that’s even possible) form of an injustice she made her name on. However the tough decision just kept on coming as a goat herder cradling what appears to be a child burnt to a crisp by one of Dany’s dragons.

In this season more than most the show has gone out of its way to show that while her dragons may be her ace in the hole they may also be her number weakness as their wild and terrifying nature can end up costing her dear. She has the equivalent of nuclear weapons in the GOT universe and when the goat herder reveals the bones of his dead daughter, it was like she found out that they were radioactive.

Fresh from the court meeting from hell, Dany leads the two dragons she can fins into the catacombs and chains the wild young dragons as Dany cries at the thought of the so called Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains forced into chaining her own children who are way too wild and dangerous to be free. It been a tough season for Dany and if she plans to experiment with the prospect of ruling, season 5 look like it turn out to be a nightmare for the last dragon.

Brienne, The Hound and Arya

GOT does violent duels like Michael Jordan did slam dunks but the battle between The Hound and Brienne was brilliant as it was brutal. After Brienne finds Arya practicing her water dancing, they share a short but warm chat about their fathers and their warrior ambitions before they’re rudely interrupted by The Hound, unfriendly and rude as ever so rude he forces Brienne to draw her sword.

What happened next was one of the best and most brutal fights in the show’s run as what starts out as a bread and butter sword fight turns into a primal fight to the death with both parties fighting dirty which Brienne ended with multiple blows with a rock to The Hounds’ head before throwing him over a hill.

As Brienne admonishes Pod for losing Arya, we see Arya catch with The Hound, badly injured and looking death in the eye. Season 4 has done a good job taking Arya down an even darker path and “The Children” continued the trend as she watches The Hound writhe in pain as he begs his road companion to kill him. Arya, dead eyed and emotionless, just watches The Hound as  he tries to goad her into killing him by going into graphic details what happened when he killed the butcher’s boy in the first season and openly rueing his opportunity to rape Sansa.

Arya, still unmoved by his desperate attempts to provoke her into killing him, walks over to The Hound, takes his bag of silver and walks off leaving him to die. It was quite a bum note to end one of the better odd couples on the show as while we thought Arya may have some feeling of camaraderie with her captor who has racked up a large body count protecting her from the worse Westeros has to offer but the way she ended her time with The Hound showed that wasn’t the case. 
The Lannisters and King’s Landing

I don’t know if it’s coincidence or great scheduling by HBO, but I suspected that with last night being father’s day it was going to be one to forget for one of Westeros shitty patriarchs and unfortunately for Tywin, one he wished had never happened. Let’s face it, if a parent ever deserved to fall at the hands of his children there is only one candidate that comes to mind, Tywin Lannister. He has made the lives of his children hell from using them like pieces in a chess board to sentencing one of them to death for a crime he knows full well they didn’t commit.

The Father’s day from hell got going with Cersei refusing to marry Loras Tyrell. Tywin, in his usual uncaring manner, dismisses his daughter’s defiance insisting on her acquiescence. Cersei, not exactly daddy’s little girl despite sharing a number of his nastier character traits, reveals that the worst kept secret in all of Westeros is true, she’s been sleeping with her brother and the Lannister bloodline is a little more purer than he’d like. Tywin, firm in the belief that the nasty rumours about his eldest son and only daughter were falsehoods, tells her she’s lying however we can see it on his face that he knows she’s telling the truth.  

Season 4 has been one disaster after another for the Lannisters as we predicted before GOT started as so far they have been largely shielded from the horrors that have visited just about everybody else the narrative. Another reason for this recent uptick in Lannister misery is that the show did threaten to make them the central focus of the show as the show is often at its best as the best and richly drawn characters in the show are Lannisters.

However, if there was ever a show where being the central focus of it was a downside, Game of Thrones fits it to the tee and all you need to do is look at the fate of the Starks for irrefutable proof. The show has also proved a perilous ground for fan favourites as we found out two weeks ago with the red viper and for the whole season with Tyrion who has spent season 4 losing loved ones, friends, and very nearly his life.

In this week’s finale Tyrion’s losing streak came to an end as one of his few allies and loved one left, Jamie, came through and broke his brother out of his cell. The Tyrion and Jamie relationship has been one of the high points in a strong season as Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster Waldau have played a blinder playing brothers who care deeply for each other’s in a world where your brother is pretty much your best friend or, much more likely, your worst enemy.

Jamie instructs the little brother to knock on the escape door for Varys to open it before they embrace. There are a number of heartbreaking scenes in the GOT cannon but Jamie’s and Tyrion’s farewell embrace must be the first heart-warming scene in GOT  for some time as the show has excelled a gut punching its audience we gotten used to its cynical approach of trampling all over our conditioned expectation for poetic justice in our storytelling.

The show continued its usual trend as Tyrion ignores his brothers’ instruction to knock on the door to freedom and instead sneaks into his father bedroom to honour a family tradition of paying debts owed. However to his horror, he finds Shae, half naked, draped stomach first on Tywin’s bed. Heartbroken, Tyrion jumps on top of Shae after she reaches for a knife. Tyrion disarms Shae then strangles her to death.

Tyrion no doubt had a score to settle with Shae but we can tell from the look on his face when he strangled the life out the woman he had loved and loved him back that ending her life wasn’t in his plan for payback. Tyrion had become another victim of one of a long line of cruel ironies that litter the GOT narrative as he ends up killing the woman he went through great pains to protect.  

Broken from his murderous act, Tyrion spots Joffrey’s crossbow hung up on the wall. In the next scene, we follow a dishevelled Tyrion dragging the crossbow down a dark corridor which leads to a privy where he finds his father sites engineering bowel movements. In just about every scene we’ve seen the Lannister patriarch in he has radiated magisterial power and dominated every room he entered but in his privy, literally caught with his pants down by the son he hates with a crossbow and life’s worth of intent, we see Tywin in a position we doubt he’s ever been, one of vulnerability.

Tywin, the master politician and manipulator that he is tries to negotiate with his last born son who’s in no mood to hear his father who has countless times shown his contempt towards from birth. Sure enough, none of the old lion parlour tricks are working on a son he has done his utmost to slight and ridicule at every turn. The old lion then makes the fatal mistake of calling Shae a whore triggering Tyrion to shoot his father with a bow to the chest knocking him back. As Tyrion reloads the bow and aims it at his father, Tywin knows the jig is up and then reveals what he really thinks before Tyrion delivers a bow to the throat killing his father instantly.

All men die in Westeros but it but no one would suspect that feared and respected Tywin Lannister would be felled by his “demon monkey” son of “low cunning” in the shitter which is a fitting end for a man who put his family legacy over the family itself with dire consequences.

After killing his father, Tyrion follows Jamie’s orders and meets Varys who smuggles him onto a ship inside a wooden crate that resembled the crate opened last season revealed the sorcerer who made him a eunuch. GOT has many characters scheming in the background with their true intentions shrouded in mystery but Game of Thrones has from the beginning seemed  like a chess match being played by Varys and Littlefinger (the best schemers on both sides of the continent) and everybody else in the narrative is a piece to moved or removed on the chessboard.

We suppose we’ll have to wait until next season to see what happens to Tyrion as he sails with Varys across the narrow sea and thanks to a strong finale this week of strong season overall, the nine or ten month wait for more GOT will be painful.

Till next year.

Connect with The Carnage Report @TCRblogspot on Twitter or read our reviews of previous episodes this year  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

(TV) Cable TV Providers: Under Pressure?

While it’s no secret to close observers of the trend to cut the cord of increasingly expensive Cable TV providers, the US cable still hasn’t found an answer to the growing trend of consumers deciding switch their allegiance to big cable’s direct competitors: Satellite, telecoms, and video streaming services.

Companies, especially big ones, have many pros and cons but the biggest con all big companies have is that they do have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot. Cable TV providers as consolidated and concentrated as group of firms can get without a round anti-trust suits making the news, have made the mistake of raising prices on their subscribers as if there aren’t any alternatives out there that can provide their customers the content they love as and when they want it and for a whole lot cheaper.

The growing subscription fees offered by cable TV providers  have trigged a spree of cord cutting to the point it’s actually a cultural phenomenon, a cultural phenomenon that may cost them dear.     

According to a report in the LA Times, Cable TV providers will suffer a notable drop in household penetration as “more people are expected to embrace lower cost options, including free programming and online video services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video”[1].

This demand for cheaper alternatives to cable is being driven by a dual wedge of cable TV providers themselves jacking up the price for their services and people becoming increasingly cost conscious which means the new market household marker for TV subscriptions will be lost because “The high-cost of TV subscriptions has prompted families to switch -- and discouraged some younger consumers from getting their own TV subscription when they leave their parents’ homes”[2].

The big winners from this growing consumer diverge away from cable will be Satellite and telecoms giants such Direct TV and AT&T as Satellite TV providers stand to add 1.8 million customers to their already massive pool of subscribers and Telecom giants such as Verizon and AT&T are expected to pick up a massive 5.4 million subscribers in the next four years[3].

With news like this, it’s no surprise there has been a round of big mergers most notably between Comcast and Time Warner and, tellingly, between Direct TV and AT&T.

However, it’s not all bad for cable TV providers as they are well placed and currently are focused on exploiting the demand for content across a number of devices. The demand for content across a number of devices has shot up as according to a report by the New York Times “Mobile video viewing went up 57 percent over the same time last year, and overall online video was up 43 percent, representing more than 35 billion viewings”[4].

The “TV everywhere” trend has also been a great ally for cable TV providers as it has helped them maximize their advantage over their growing list of competitors: sports programming. According to the New York Times “TV Everywhere viewing rose 246 percent… driven mainly by interest in sports programming”[5].

In sum, Cable TV providers are under pressure but it’s pressure they can handle, for now at least.

[1] M. James, 2014, Cable TV predicted to lose customers to phone and satellite firms,
[2] Ibid
[3] Ibid
[4] M. Wood, 2014, TV Apps Are Soaring in Popularity, Report Says,
[5] Ibid

(Note To The Reader) New Music Section To Added To The Carnage Report

To the Reader,

2014 has been a great year for us so far having added the What's Dope segment that's been doing well so far thanks you guys and we plan to keep it coming. Our Game of Thrones coverage has also gotten a good response so thanks again to you guys as we are just as big fans of the Westerosi bloodbath as much as you are (personally can't wait for episode 9 and 10, watch out for our reviews coming up).

However as a culture mag, we can't really call ourselves a culture mag without a music section and we plan to have one up for you by next week Monday. Our music section will be killer as we will have the latest and best videos, interviews, articles and new music around the scene all in one place.

It's been a long time coming and we hope you'll love reading as we will love delivering it.  

Thanks for reading,

Alex Clarke
Founder and Editor
The Carnage Report

(Whats Dope) Spent: Looking for Change

There have been plenty of films about squeeze people in the middle and working class have fared since the financial crisis six years ago but few have shown the real stunting effect the crisis has had on the hopes and dreams of many Americans across the country.

Spent-Looking for Change is dope because it showed through portraying the despairing but hopeful stories of a handful Americans fighting against the tide of student, payday and title loans in their effort live out their american dream or simply survive till the next paycheck as personal and economic circumstances has thrown down an gauntlet few would envy but many in the US and worldwide has had to combat.

Another dope aspect of Spent: Looking For Change was how it showed payday and title loan companies through their polices and procedures profit off the desperation of the subjects in the film and no doubt millions of Americans still feeling the pinch of the great recession. The film also did a great job in showing how the US credit system not only exploit those how can't credit but excludes altogether those who can't killing the aspirations for enterprising students  or middle class Americans with a bad credit score owing to chaotic circumstances or the fact they took a student loan in the first place.

The film also does fine job of showing how people, shut out of the traditional channels to acquire credit are pushed in to the intially welcoming arms of predatory and unforgiving payday and title loan enterprises who act and operate like an industry who knows they have their customers by the short and curlies and aren't afraid to let them know it as this film depicts brilliantly.   

I'm sure there a few of you that may look upon their choices and see the role the subjects of the film played in their own misery but what this film does well is show the options that confronted the subjects making their choices understandable upon closer inspection,And that's the real punch behind this documentary, the growing trend of banks shutting people out of traditional channels to get credit and the proliferation of payday lenders has brewed a poisonous cocktail or limited choices and eye watering amounts of household and personal debt that Americans, for far too long, have been forced to drink.

All in all, Spent: Looking For Change is brilliant portrayal of ordinary American going up extraordinary odds thrive or just to survive the changing economic and financial landscape that has left many Americans without choices and increasingly without hope and the film's effort to shine a light on this growing and increasingly entrenched trend is why this Spent: Looking For Change is dope.

Watch below the brilliant Spent:Looking For Change documentary   

(Movies) Transformers: Age of Extinction Official International Michael Bay Movie HD

Watch below the international movie trailer for the fourth edition in the Transformer Series, the action packed and Michael Bay directed Transformers: Age of Extinction.

(TV) 24: Live Another Day-Season 9 Episode 7 "5:00 PM - 6:00 PM" (HD)

(TV) Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 8 “The Mountain and The Viper” TV Review

Oh no!! They did it again!! The Bastards!!! They did it again!!! For all the pacing problems and rushed scenes in previous episodes setting up the big events set to go down in the last two episodes, “The Mountain and The Viper” was bloody brilliant and bloody infuriating in equal measure.

Game of Thrones has had its fair share of gory and tragic deaths but Oberyn’s death literally at the hands of The Mountain left me squirming and slightly depressed as I was expecting Dornish prince to win but as the show has proved time and again, come into Game of Thrones with expectations at your peril.  

This week’s episode brilliantly directed and written as director Alex Graves and show creators David Benioff and DB Weiss as they went balls to the wall throughout this episode all the way to the bloody and disgusting end. Pedro Pascal has been brilliant the moment he showed on screen as The Red Viper and I would like to see what he does in the future as actors with genuine onscreen charisma just aren't a dime a dozen these days.

The Wildlings, The Wall and Moles Town

Much went on in Westeros and Essos in “The Mountain and The Viper” as the episode kicked off with the brutal sacking of Moles Town. To be fair, it’s been on the cards for a while but it was still well done like pretty much everything else in this great episode which is quite easily the best instalment the season so far. As we watch Ygritte, Thormond and the Thenns slice and dice their through the brothel town. We get the feeling that this is routine as there is little huff and puff involved in their work.

So far we’ve seen Ygritte ruthlessly cut her way through villages without much in the way of emotional baggage but in her short scene where she spots Gilly and baby Sam hiding away from the carnage, we realize that Ygritte humanity hasn’t gone on permanent vacation as she instructs Gilly to stay quiet as blood seeps from the floorboards above.

We’ve known for some time that the men of the nightswatch, for the lack of a better or subtle phrase, are truly buggered. Faced with the fact that the wildling offensive at Moles Town has trimmed their already meagre numbers and face an army that each member of the nightswatch would have to kill at least 5,000 wildlings a piece just to make a dent, the mood at the wall was sombre to say the least.

In short trip to the wall this week, we find John, Sam and co totally despondent as they face the near certain prospect of their brutal deaths. We find Sam cursing himself over his decision to send Gilly to Moles Town as we see his reaction to the news  of the Moles Towm massacre. However, looking at the options that presented Sam, he shouldn’t be too hard on himself as he was forced to make the calculation that Gilly has a better chance of surviving a small company of professional murderers than a 100,000 strong army looking to “set the largest fire the north has ever seen”  

Dany, Grey Worm , Missandei and Jorah

Westeros is miserable place and Essos isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs either but finally, GOT has thrown together at least two characters in Grey Womr and Missandei who many have a chance of happiness in a very unhappy world. However, things didn’t as Grey Worm was caught by Missandei ogling her naked body.

So far we’ve seen little looks here and there between the two and many have seen this storyline as a complete distraction and waste of time in wider scope of the GOT narrative but for us, it a much needed break from seriously unhappy people ordering and committing murder all in service of getting their hindparts on arguably the ugliest and most uncomfortable chair in fiction.

We catch Missandei soon after having a chat with the Mother of Dragons about the incident that degenerates into a hilarious discussion into the extent of the unsullied castration as Dany speculates whether the “pillar” or “stone” was cut. Later, we find Missandei in the throne room with Grey Worm who apologies for gawking at her, she insists that there no need for it before strangely apologizing for his childhood castration.  

Grey Worm gives an even stranger but understandable answer as he sees his castration as a blessing as without it, he wouldn’t be in command of one of the more superior armies in the GOT universe and touchingly, he notes that wouldn’t have met her. I don’t know about you but I don’t think anybody male in real life or fiction has had such a positive attitude about being castrated as a toddler but power to him, he’s able to see the positives in his past traumas. Sure, the scene was no 101 in romance but in Game of Thrones that’s as good as it’s going to get.

In playing the Game of Thrones, secrets have a way of biting you in the arse exactly when you wouldn't like them too and this is what happened to Jorah. He has been at Dany’s side from the beginning and has had a key role in her rise from a slave bride in all but name to a formidable queen with a feared army. He also has harboured a deep love for the mother of dragons that she’s probably aware but is not prepared to act on.

He is also been the source of some of Dany’s smarter decision of late from resisting the temptation to march on King’s Landing upon the news of the death of King Joffrey and rule over Meereen to advising her against succumbing to her growing blind spot for nuance and murdering all the masters in Yunkai. However his days of giving Dany advice are over thanks one of Vary’s little birds handing Ser Barristan Selmy a copy of his pardon issued by King Robert. Ser Barristan, being the man of honour he is, approaches Jorah first with the poison letter looking to get the truth from his colleague and rival before he informs the queen first.

The tension is palpable in the next scene as Jorah approaches the mother of dragons. She asks him why he got a pardon from King Robert, he rightly tells that the pardon is nothing more than a crafty but obvious ploy by Tywin Lannister to split the camp and rob the mother of dragons of easily her best adviser. However, the mother dragon informs him that the date on the pardon is exactly around the time they meet up. Jorah then confesses to his rather brief spell as a spy for the realm. Dany, so far calm and relaxed, probes Jorah over the nature of his dispatches with the spider making him reveal his role in letting the realm in on the birth of her yet to be born son and the assassination attempt that he stopped.

Dany, not exactly known for her ability to see the grey in any given situation, admonishes her chief adviser for his transgressions as Jorah reminds her that the assassination attempt against was thwarted because of him but Dany, ever obstinate, was having none of it. Dany then proceeds to banish her most loyal adviser which I feel could be a serious mistake as he is, despite his early betrayal, her best adviser and most importantly, the adviser who has more than most to smooth her still rough edges when it comes to dealing with the nuances of power.    

Reek, Ramsey Snow Bolton and Moat Cailin

Westeros has its fair share of psychopaths and sadists but Ramsey Snow is the worst of them all bar none as we watch another disturbing interaction between the Bolton Bastard and the cypher formerly known as Theon Greyjoy. Almost every scene between Ramsey and Theon/Reek has been a tough and uncomfortable watch as this week was no exception to the rule as Ramsey “prep talks” Theon into convincing the iron born soldiers held up at Moat Cailin to surrender and vacate the castle by reminding him who he really is, Reek and nothing more ‘till he’s food for the maggots.

Alfie Allen hasn’t put a foot wrong as the once pompous and treacherous prince of the Iron Islands but his turn as the shell shocked and tormented “Reek” has been excellent as we get just from his eyes and body movement the results of his torture and overwhelming shame.
As Theon rides into Moat Cailin we find out that the Bolton’s would probably have had to wait out the remaining iron born at the moat a day or two as a combination of sickness and hunger had taken most of their numbers. Theon is escorted into the main court where he finds small company of despondent iron born soldiers and their ailed commander barely able to stand up.

Theon offers the Bolton’s terms of surrender to the commander who from the off is rather skeptical of the sincerity of the offer and his supposed prince no doubt in light of the fact he’s marching with the Bolton’s. Probably fortified by the death and sickness that has visited him and his charges, the commander is more than willing to pay the iron price before his sickness brings him low forcing his soldiers to pick him up. Not willing to quit and almost smelling the fear on Theon as he plugs for their surrender, the commander spits at his prince in disgust and berates his lack of spirit by asking him is he a woman.

He continues to tell his prince shove the terms of surrender where the sun don’t shine as his skepticism and aggressive questioning nearly sends Theon into a full blown nervous breakdown only avoided by the brave and obstinate commander getting an axe in his head by one of his not so brave and obstinate charges more than willing to take the terms of surrender.

Being an commander of an iron born army must be most dangerous job in the world as that’s twice we've seen an iron born army brutally abandon their commander when going got tough as Theon himself, to his ruin, found out as he was knocked out mid speech and given tothe Bolton's by his own company at the end of season 2. In the next shot, we find the iron born soldiers flayed and mutilated by the Bolton’s with Ramsey, smug faced as ever reminding Theon how the Bolton’s deal with their enemies when they’ve got them cornered.

Later on in the episode, we catch up with the Boltons as Ramsey shows his father in what was one of the more stunning wide shots in the season. Roose Bolton, ever the cold fish, blankly stares back at his deranged son and ask him to walk with him.  In earlier episodes we’ve seen that the father and son dynamic between the two is more Tywin and Tyrion Lannister than John Snow and Ned Stark so any walk between these two up a hill didn’t look to have a good ending.

Unfortunately, it did for one of the more undeserving characters in the history of the show as Ramsey Snow became a Bolton. The only rational reaction to this news is WTF as why would Roose Bolton, a man just as cold and calculating as Tywin Lannister, make an heir of a son he knows to be murderous psychopath with little in the way of a conscience. From what we’ve seen Roose has kept him at arm’s length because he knows he’s liability so it makes no sense on his part to legitimize a son that might one day kill him to take top spot.  

Sansa, Littlefinger and the Vale

If there was a theme for “the mountain and the viper” it would be the prevalence of hidden depths as Sansa, easily the most powerless and often thought the most witless character in the Game of Thrones universe showed her growing understanding of the game and her superior acting skills as both Sansa and Sophie Turner played a blinder this week.

Baelish, an amoral schemer by nature, found himself in one of those rare occurrences in his time at the Vale, a real pickle as three lords of the Vale grill the Lord of The Vale in all but name. Baelish does his best to sell the idea that Lysa Arryn jumped to her death through the moon door but the lords are having none of it and having had their fill of Baelish suicide story, they pull what they thought would be their ace in the hole, Petyr Baelish’s mysterious “niece”.

For four seasons, we haven’t seen Baelish in an position where he wasn’t in total control of those around him moving pieces on the board playing his on game of chess but in this instance, he was at the mercy of a girl he thought to be stupid and unwilling to learn. However, Baelish had nothing to worry as Sansa pulled off an Oscar winning performance by first revealing who she was, emphasizing Littlefinger’s role in helping her and most importantly, backing up Baelish’s version of events.

It’s was always obvious that Sophie Turner was an talented actress but she outdid herself as she showed a girl not only acting her boots off but using the only emotions she can easily access to pull wool over the eyes of the Lords of the Vale, fear and deep sadness.

However, it wasn’t really a shock that Sansa could access her emotions and use them to her advantage as she had spent a good deal of the GOT narrative suppressing them in aid of her ultimate survival which she did with aplomb barring a few slips in front of company she trusted and the unwisely to the scheming Tyrells informing them of the truly brutal nature of the late boy king.

Baelish, not used to others lying in his defense or having to rely on others in general, later confronted Sansa over her choice to bail him out of a tough pickle and her answer was along the lines of “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. This may have shocked most viewers but Sansa has been forced to lie pretty much in every scene we’ve seen her in as the truth could have got her killed so lying to protect who has stuck his neck out for her so far is not beyond her capabilities as a person.

In short, The short but telling scene between her and Baelish marked not a transformation but a strange blossoming of a once damaged flower now realizing where she can exercise power and Baelish, notably, realizing just how much pull she may have with him and her understanding of his motives as far she’s concerned. 

Right after short scene in Sansa chambers, where at the blood gate with Arya and The Hound, now worse for wear thanks the flesh wound in his neck. They reach the end of the blood gate only to find out that there long and dangerous trip has been wasted and their situation may become that bit more precarious due to the death of Arya’s aunt Lysa which brings one of the best moments of the whole season when she laughs hysterically at the cruel cosmic joke constantly being played against her of being in close proximity to the death of just about family member she has left.

Westeros and its many gods has been cruel to its populace so it’s quite a treat to see one of its most afflicted victims find some levity in an utterly dire situation that may have got worse.  

Tyrion, Jamie, Oberyn and The Mountain at King’s Landing

There are many unlucky and hard done by people in the GOT universe but few can claim to have it worse than Tyrion who has had push away his  lover who ends up fitting him up for a murder he didn’t, getting accused of a murder by a sister whose wanted him dead from the moments he was born, betrayed by his bodyguard and friend and fatefully, getting sentenced to die by his own father who could care less.

However despite all his bad luck, he still finds a friend in his older brother Jamie, the only real friend he’s ever had. The scenes between Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau have been magic this season and this week’s installment was no different as the two brothers philosophize about Orson, a mentally challenged cousin with a penchant for killing beetles with a rock. While the conversation between the two was brilliant as always between the Lannister siblings, it did seem to be aimless and out of context but if your fate was literally in the hands of someone else, a discussion about anything but is understandable or in Tyrion’s case, desirable.

The Lannister siblings meditation on their mentally comes to an end as the bells toll for main set piece of the episode, the trial of combat between Mountain and The Viper. Oberyn has been one of the bright spots in GOT’ grand narrative and has stolen just about every scene he was in but now the main attraction which notably gave light to his main strength and as we found out to his and our detriment, his passion and confidence.

Both have made the red viper a compelling watch throughout the season so far and in his fight with the massive Gregor Clegane was no exception. Being the smaller and weaker man, we find the red viper enjoying some Dornish wine wearing super light armor wearing a knowing smile. Tyrion, concerned with the nuclear combustion levels of confidence brimming out of his champion, points out that his confidence may be blinding the Dornish prince to the need for stronger armour and a helmet against a man though twice his size and maybe three times his weight is armoured up to the hilt.

However as we saw, the Dornish prince lack of real armour or a solid head gear didn’t matter much as he spent most of the fight dancing round the mountain and frustrating the man giant at every step using his speed and reach offered by his spear to stay out the bear like clutches of the head of house Clegane. Done with dancing round with The Mountain, Oberyn put seemed to put an end to the duel as he brought The Mountain to his knees by running his spear across Cleganes’ calf then runs his spear straight through The Mountain’s gut instantly flooring the giant.

The feat shocks everybody as the Dornish prince was a clear second favorite but the feat of The Mountain, out cold and on the verge of death, justified Oberyn’s brash yet alluring pre-fight confidence. However, beating a formidable foe wasn’t enough for the Dornish prince as she harangues the out cold but still dangerous man giant to confess to his crimes against his Elia and his children and not only admit to his crimes but implicate his liege lord Tywin Lannister.

There are many unofficial show motto's for Game of Thrones that could be attached to this show, all of them as depressing as they are true but the one that stands out the most is “win or die” as Oberyn was to find out that if justice can’t be found in Westerosi courts, they definitely can’t be found in fights to the death.

Oberyn clearly wasn’t present when Cersei uttered the “win or die” mantra that has hung over the show since as The Mountain trips the Dornish prince in full flow of an epic rant for justice then punches his teeth and lights out. What happened next stayed with me for a few days after and I’m sure a large number of you reading this review as The Mountain mounts Oberyn and cruelly gives the him the confession he been looking for while gouging his eyes until his skull cracks and head explodes.

Game of Thrones has subjected us to a number of gruesome deaths of well-liked and hated characters alike but something about Oberyn’s awful death stuck from his traumatizing screams as The Mountains thick thumbs pressed his eyes to back of his skull to the horror on the face of his paramour watching her beloved meet a truly horrible death.

All in all, “The Mountain and the Viper” was a truly brilliant episode that once again proves that indeed Game of Thrones is the best thing on TV bar none at the moment.

Episode Rating:


Connect with The Carnage Report at @TCRblogspot and read the review of last week’s episode, “Mockingbird”.


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