The TV Obsessed Week in Review: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, The Killing, Fringe, Fairly Legal, The Finder, Scandal, Community, Awake, Justified

I totally forgot to review Shamless and House of Lies in a rush of things last week, so I’ll have a few comments on them, though I won’t get too detailed. Their finales were both quite different than the bulk of the seasons, which were pretty wild for the sake of being wild. In contrast the finales really brought out the essence of the characters and framed the story to fit them.

Game of Thrones is still in the building up stages of the season, so there wasn’t too much going on in terms of big plot developments. The big developement was Theon going back home to a chilly welcoming and a hilarious joke by his sister. Mainly, the characters stayed put with smaller developments like Tyrion scheming, Davos hiring Salladhor Saan, Arya telling Gendry her real name, and Jon finding out what happens to the baby.

Major spoilers for the book, so don’t read ahead if you don’t want to be spoiled. There were quite a bit of diversions from the book, notably Stannis and Melisandre. Having just read the book, I can clearly remember that not happening. If they indeed did have sex which Melisandre claimed would bear a son, that would explain events later in the book, when Davos brings her under Storm’s End and she births out the shadow. In his monologue, Davos says he knows where the shadow came from, and I had thought he meant that the shadow was cast from himself (since during the boat ride they were arguing over light and shadows). One of the things the writers seem to be doing is differentiating Littlefinger from Varys. They seem pretty similar in the books, gathering information and the like, but in the show Littlefinger is more willing to physically harm people and is far more brutal. The biggest change I don’t understand is the naming of Asha to Yara. Maybe people would confuse Asha with Osha, but in context nobody should be confused.

The Killing is now turning towards Stan’s mob friends and the mysterious tattooed person. More red herrings?

I’m having a hard time deciding what made me most happy about Mad Men last night, the Peggy getting $400 from Roger and counting it, or Greg the rapist leaving for good. While Peggy finds out that Dawn is fine and not a thief and Joan finally frees herself from Greg, Don’s plot ends with far more uncertainty. Andrea, a former flame whom he and Megan see at the beginning of the episode, serves as a reminder of who Don is. He isn’t a great guy. He’s smooth and interesting, sure, but certainly not trustworthy. And we even see those darker impulses of his which sometimes come out, when he strangles Andrea to death, before it is revealed to be a dream.

Fringe: Lincoln has been the odd man out since he joined the show. He joined late and all his pining for Olivia was all for naught. So I was very pleased to see how the writers dealt with him. They gave him his own episode, leaving Peter and Olivia back at home, allowing he to operate individually in the other world alongside his counterpart. And then the writers gave themselves an opening for the future, killing off the other Lincoln, so our Lincoln could replace him, at least temporarily, which frees up time in the next episodes to focus on Olivia and Peter.

Fairly Legal is one of those shows that doesn’t require a comment every week. Mainly, the show depends entirely on how Kate acts. And her behavior is very predictable–she’s crazy. One something doesn’t go the way she exactly envisions, she throws a fit, and does anything, says anything to get things the way she wants to be. We don’t even know why she wants the things she wants, like why she hates Lauren so much, but we have to roll with that.

The Finder was moved to Friday and its ratings were far worse than they were before. So now it’s even more likely to be canceled. I like what the show tried to do in an age of science procedurals where random science terminology is bandied around by the actors. There is mention of Walter doing a Fourier transform, but the procedural element is Walter’s mystical ability to find things without any strict rules.

Aside from the cliches from all directions, Scandal has a very workable formula. The Shonda Rhimes style works in DC, with quick pacing applied to high-profile cases and people.

Awake once again proved it can be pushed further. Britten is beginning to lose himself between worlds and we realize that his situation may not be tenable. This is really interesting stuff for a show certain to be canceled.

The conclusion of Community second blanket fort episode was perfectly executed. In the Ken Burns PBS documentary style, the show allowed us to see how the war transpired and gave us a funny look at how the auxiliary characters acted during it.

Justified has built up so much through the course of the season that the second to last episode of the season went as one one might expect–with pure uncertainty. Everyone has so many secrets that no one really had a clear grip on what everyone else was up, so even when they tried to make deals, the whole thing blew up, leaving the sheriff dead and Quarles, Boyd, and everyone else on the loose.

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