Sunday, April 26, 2015

Film Score of the Week: Robin Hood--Prince of Thieves, by Michael Kamen (1991)

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is one of my favorite movies from childhood. As an adult, I recognize that it's at least partially terrible. The script is questionable at best, and the acting--across the board--deserves its own wing in the Terrible Hall of Fame. The movie is also way too long, and pretty much fails at tone. 

But! Robin Hood has two major things going for it that effectively disguise it as almost a good movie: some really great production and costume design, that straddles at a perfect crossroads between myth and history, and a score that's so great that it creates emotional resonance where story and acting failed to do so. 

The opening credits fly through most of the score's major themes in just over two minutes. There's the great "Hey, this is important stuff!" crescendo from about 0:20-0:38, the sweet action trumpets riff that kicks in at 0:52, and the romantic theme that uncomfortably reminds me of Bryan Adams, which weasels its way in briefly at the 1:10 mark. All three parts work for what the movie is selling. The action theme is Indiana Jones-like, the dramatic crescendo feels mythic, and the Bryan Adams bit is like proto-Titanic in all of the worst/best ways. Taken together, it's a score that succeeds at an A+ level in everything it tries to do. 

Before this, Michael Kamen was mostly known for orchestrating rock music pieces like Pink Floyd's The Wall, and scoring both the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard franchises, which actually had very effective scores for what they were trying to do. Later, he became perhaps best known (at least to some demos) as the conductor on Metallica's S&M (Symphony & Metallica) album. Kamen received an Oscar nomination for this film, but not for the score; it was for co-writing the interminable Bryan Adams song "(Everything I Do) I Do it for You." Four years later, Kamen received another Oscar nomination for co-writing another Bryan Adams film theme, this time for Don Juan DeMarco. So for those keeping track at home, Kamen received 2 Oscar nominations for Bryan Adams songs, but zero for his film scores. That sentence pretty much captures everything wrong with the Academy's music branch. 

Sadly Kamen died in 2003 at just 55 years old, but his work lives on. 

What I Watched: 2015, Week 10

What I watched last week (film titles link to trailers):

Rosewater (Jon Stewart, 2014)
The Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore, 2014)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 1 (Francis Lawrence, 2014)
Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2015)

Five Thoughts: 

1. I'm not necessarily opposed to film franchises splitting final installments into "Part 1 and Part 2." I'm a firm believer that all good stories deserve to be told in the length that they need, and if that's two movies, then so be it. When the Harry Potter franchise split The Deathly Hollows into two movies (becoming the first major movie franchise to do this), it felt like a decision based more on necessity and practicality than based on finances, though I'm sure Warner Brothers had no problem with their profits getting doubled. The results worked. Both parts of the final Harry Potter story functioned as a movie unto themselves, and we received an ending to the saga that felt neither rushed nor unnecessarily drawn out. 

That is emphatically not the case with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 1, which never feels like a movie at all. Here's the entirety of what happens in Mockingjay--Part 1: Katniss becomes the leader of the district rebellion against the capital, and finds out Peta has been psychologically reprogrammed against her. That's it. Seriously, that somehow soaks up 123 minutes of screen time. Basically, this entire movie could have ceased to exist, and just been a Star Wars-like screen scroll to open Mockingjay--Part 2. Except those Star Wars screen scrolls usually encompassed three paragraphs, and I don't even know how you get three paragraphs of plot description out of this movie. It took me 21 words, and I'm catastrophically long-winded. 

Financially, this move makes perfect sense. The Hunger Games movies are making a killing at the box office, so of course Lionsgate wanted to extend that as much as possible, and in an era where most franchises are turning out new films every 2-3 years until the end of time, having only three books in the series is limiting. It just sucks that Lionsgate's desire for an additional movie somehow trumped the problem of not actually having enough material for such a strategy. But then, Hollywood has never been one to let a lack of material get in the way of a quick buck. 

2. There's been some nice April competition from While We're Young and It Follows, but Ex Machina is the best film of 2015 so far. Telling the story of a computer coder attempting to find the flaws in a human-like (and yes, sexy) AI robot at the secluded mountain home of her creator, Ex Machina is the type of science fiction film we'll be discussing and referencing for years--quite possibly the Blade Runner of the 2010s. And as with Blade Runner, the big ideas and philosophies of the film are dressed up in a truly breathtaking production design.

The film is written and directed by Alex Garland, who started as novelist in the '90s, only getting into the film industry when his novel "The Beach" was adapted into the 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. That launched a working relationship between Garland and director Danny Boyle, and Garland wrote original screenplays to two subsequent (and very good) Boyle films, 28 Days Later and Sunshine. Here Garland is directing for the first time, from his third original screenplay. For someone who began as a novelist, it's shocking how intrinsically cinematic his talent is. This is a beautiful film, and one that uses every nuance of camera technique to capture its moods and secrets. 

The robot in question is played by Swedish beauty Alicia Vikander (of the Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair) and her obvious sexiness is used by the movie in almost every way sexiness really can be--it arouses us, discomforts us, distracts us, excites us, and misdirects us. It's also quite clever the way the film uses our own expectations against us. Garland knows that a huge portion of his audience will have seen Blade Runner, and have a natural predilection to compare the two, and he uses that to his advantage. 

Garland's stories tend to be about protagonists who undertake extreme measures to find more out of life, and eventually, inevitably, regret it. Ex Machina fits with that. Mostly. 

3. After watching Ex Machina, I'm even more excited to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, because they're sort of about the same thing--the perils of trying to create truly self-aware AI. Of course, the means the two movies use to tell their stories and raise their concerns are a bit different. While The Avengers uses Thunder Gods, Iron Men, Super Soldiers, Hulks, and Mutants whatever Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch are (since Fox controls the X-Men franchise, Marvel isn't allowed to call them mutants), Ex Machina only has four actors, and takes place almost entirely inside a secluded house. In that sense, Ex Machina is really the art-house version of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I love that we have incredibly talented writer/directors like Alex Garland and Joss Whedon to explore the same story through both sides of that entertainment divide. 

4. Rosewater, Jon Stewart's debut as both a writer and director of theatrical feature films, manages to simultaneously prove why he might have a bright future with that path, and why he might not. Mechanically, Rosewater is very well done. It's paced quite well (impressive for a first-time screenwriter), the story elements flow naturally, there are creative uses of camera angle and distance, and good editing that knows when to let us in on the passage of time and when to keep it ambiguous. But for as technically accomplished as the film is, there's no creative soul to anchor it. It doesn't tell us anything (other than wrongful imprisonment is bad, and if you didn't know that going in, I'm not sure what to tell ya), it doesn't seem to have a point of view, and we're never really sure why this particular story is worth dramatizing on film more than any other dozens of stories that are just like it. 

The movie is fine. It's not boring, and it's not pointless, but it's also not really the opposite of either of those things. It stakes out an unimpressive middle ground. It's hard to tell what's more surprising about the results--that someone who's never directed (or really worked in cinema at all) would be so technically adept at it, or that someone who's always had such a great creative voice would suddenly silence that when working in a different medium. 

5. The Song of the Sea was an interesting departure from most contemporary English-language animated films. It prompted a shocking realization out of me about how few animated films are really visually beautiful, instead of just visually impressive. All of the great Pixar and Dreamworks computer-animated movies are incredibly detailed and amazing to behold, but they don't have a painterly beauty to them. The Song of the Sea does, and it is absolutely gorgeous at times. Here's a nice breakdown of the film's visual style: 

But for as accomplished as The Song of the Sea is visually, it's story is very simple and quaint, and feels rather boring and even juvenile in comparison to what Pixar and Dreamworks regularly give us with their animated features. 

It's difficult not to look at this movie and know it kept The Lego Movie out of the Oscar race for Best Animated Feature. I haven't seen The Boxtrolls, but the other three nominees--Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya--were all getting in regardless, so The Song of the Sea sneaking into the field is probably what kept Lego Batman snarling from the sidelines. Thinking about that calls into question what we ought to be measuring when we talk about Best Animated Feature. Purely as a work of animation, I can understand how The Song of the Sea deserved to make the cut. It's the most visually stunning of the bunch. But it's also the least fulfilling movie of the bunch, and if we're judging the totality of the finished product (as opposed to merely the animation itself), then The Lego Movie truly and utterly got fucked. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S5, E2)

Season 5, Episode 2: “The House of Black and White”

Last Week's Rankings: "The Wars to Come"

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


1.   Arya Stark

With no better candidate for poll position (more on that at #5), Arya Stark ascends to the top of the rankings for having the most badass moment of the week: when three young men on the streets of Braavos threatened to take her sword because of how much it’s worth, she pulled it out, looked them dead in the eye, and coldly said, “Nothing’s worth anything to dead men.”

The days of people fucking with Arya Stark are over, and who knows how much deadlier she’ll get hanging out with Jaqen H’ghar in “The House of Black and White.”

2.   Jon Snow, the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s

Being elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch—a position one presumably holds for life—doesn’t really fit my personal definition of winning, but whatever. Jon seems happy about it, and happiness is so fleeting in Westeros that it can’t go ignored.

(Also worth mentioning: the deciding vote for Lord Commander was cast by Maester Aemon, who is of the Targaryen family, and may or may not be related to Jon Snow.)

3.   Kevan Lannister, Master of Telling Cersei to Shut It

Anyone that takes no shit from Cersei is a winner.

4.   Littlefinger

It’s a bit creepy and disconcerting how much he has Sansa under his thumb, to the extent that she won’t accept protection from a knight sworn to protect her. In terms of how much his schemes and plots seem to be working out, Littlefinger is probably the only character on the show that’s really and truly winning the Game of Thrones at the moment. Which brings me to…

5.   Losing

With Joffrey and Tywin kicked off the playing board last year, doesn’t it feel a bit like no one’s actually winning (yet) this season? Things haven’t been this bad for Khaleesi since she kept shouting “Where are my dragons??” way back in Season 2, Tyrion is the most wanted man in the world, Jon Snow lost Ygritte and now has the creepy attentions of Melisandre, Sansa is with Littlefinger (no further explanation necessary), Jamie is about to go on what looks like a suicide mission, and Cersei is just running up the score on the title of Least Popular Girl in the Seven Kingdoms.

Things are certainly better in Westeros post-Joffrey and Tywin, but it’s also hard to win without an opponent.

Honorable Mentions: The Counsel of Ser Barristan, Cersei’s Vengeance Meter, Bronn’s Tolerance for Non-Silence, Drogon Living the Dream


1.   Daenerys’s Karma and the Ghost of Robb Stark

Everything that happened to Khaleesi this week—had a prisoner awaiting trial, who's killed by someone her side, who she then had to execute to preserve the rule of law—we already saw play out with Robb Stark in Season 3. He had two Lannister cousins captive, they were killed by one of his Bannermen, Rickard Karstark, who Robb then executed to prove that the high concept of justice really means something. As we all know, that sent Robb’s karma into an unrecoverable tailspin, and the Red Wedding happened a few episodes later.

Now, I don’t think Daenerys necessarily needs to worry about her whole army getting slaughtered at a wedding in a few weeks, but Game of Thrones has shown us plenty of times that there’s no sure reward for trying to do the right thing. Sometimes, you get the opposite.

2.   Cersei Lannister, Definitely Not the King's Hand

Meetings of the Small Council haven’t been this much fun since the bygone days of Season 2, when Tyrion was Hand of the King. More please. 

3.   The Dwarves of the Seven Kingdoms

Because their lives were so great already, but now Joffrey isn't around to employ them, and Cersei is having them all killed. Sorry 'bout ya. 

4.   Brienne’s Protection Resumé

She’s been in charge of protecting five people:
·      The 1st was murdered by a shadow demon (and she got the blame)
·      The 2nd had her throat slit after watching her son, daughter-in-law, and unborn grandchild get slaughtered at a wedding
·      The 3rd only had his hand cut off
·      The 4th refused her protection and then watched her fight to the death against someone called “The Hound” before scampering off
·      The 5th refused her protection in favor of a brothel owner named “Littlefinger”
So, ummm, not such smooth sailing for Brienne’s dream of noble knighthood.

5.   The Legendary Bravery of Janos Slynt

Tell it like it is, Sam.

Honorable Mentions: The Son of the Harpy, Mareenese Lawbreakers, Podrick’s Horseback Riding Ability, Not Having a Hand of the King, The Pigeons of Braavos

Confirmed Kills: 6 (2 of Littlefinger’s guards, 2 executions in Mareen, 1 dwarf that was definitely not Tyrion, 1 decapitated pigeon)

Season Death Tally: 8

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Film Score of the Week: Atonement, by Dario Marianelli (2007)

Despite the quality of even the best film scores, they're largely all part of the same musical phylum. Great film scores always function for their films, but I've only ever seen a few that really interacted with their films, and Atonement was the first time I noticed such a thing. 

For a film which is largely about the power of typed words, the artistic decision for the opening scene score to use the sounds of a typewriter as its percussion was a stroke of pure brilliance.

I also particularly love the way it's used in this scene:

As the pivotal moments of the plot are being set in stone, the sounds of typing drive home the idea that the characters are essentially writing their own futures in the moment, and Briony in particular is editing events in her head into the version that makes the most sense. (Side note: how weird is it to see Theon Greyjoy in there?)

Composer Dario Marianelli won a well-deserved Oscar for this score, and he's been nominated two other times, both for other collaborations with director Joe Wright, Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Anna Karenina (2012). Surprisingly he doesn't have many other especially notable credits to his name. Beyond his Joe Wright collaborations (the aforementioned ones and The Soloist), his only films to get wide releases are V for Vendetta (which I remember being quite good), and four films I haven't seen: The Brave One, Eat Pray Love, The Boxtrolls, and 2011's Jane Eyre adaptation. Hopefully soon he'll find more directors that bring out his best. 

What I Watched: 2015, Week 9

What I watched last week (titles link to trailers):

Daredevil: Season One (Marvel/Netflix)
Fast & Furious (Justin Lin, 2009)
Fast Five (Justin Lin, 2011)
It Follows (David Robert Mitchell, 2015)

5 Thoughts:

1. It Follows is at least the best new horror film I've seen since The Cabin in the Woods, and maybe even since The Blair Witch Project, which was 16 years ago. (Related news: I don't tend to see many horror movies, as most of them are so poorly reviewed.)

I spent a solid day thinking about it, but not really in terms of story, which is rather simple, but more in terms of mechanics. Apropos for its title, the unsettling dread of the movie really does follow you, at least for a time. The next day, a friend asked me if it was scary, and I almost didn't know how to respond. It really comes down to how you define the word. There really aren't any moments in the film where you'll jump or scream, but the film devises a way of just maintaining a steady, mounting pace of unnerving you, and it's a feeling that really doesn't dissipate when the credits role. 

There's a brilliant style of cinematography in the film. Most horror films thrive on what you can't see just off screen--corners, darkness, stairwells, shut doors… anything to create a space of unknowing. Not only does It Follows NOT do that, but it goes so far in the opposite direction that it's like a magician emphatically displaying the emptiness of something. "Nothing to see here!" It Follows mostly takes place during the day, and often outside (though with virtually no direct sunlight, which is a nice artistic touch), and the camera frequently does complete 360 degree turns to show us the entire surrounding, and its apparent safety net. It's this illusion of fake safety, which virtually no other horror films attempt to create to this degree, that makes the proceedings so terrifying. 

It Follows will likely be remembered as a true classic in its genre. 

2. Two weeks ago I watched the first three Fast & Furious films, and wrote about how they tried a lot of things that mostly didn't work. But what did work about them was the trial and error process. Each film taught us something to do, and something not to do. The first film worked in the creation of a dynamic where the ties of family intersect with illegal racing, but failed in the recycled Point Break plot. The second film succeeded in plot (send these guys on a job), character interplay (the buddy cop dynamic), and stunts (increasingly insane), but utterly failed in losing the family atmosphere and casting power of the original. And then the third film just taught us everything not to do. 

Fast & Furious (2009's 4th film in the series) and Fast Five (2011's 5th entry) are where those lessons really started paying off. The Fast & Furious movies are one of the only franchises that have gotten noticeably better with time because they spent four movies figuring out what works, and then once they did, they made three more movies basically only doing those things. Writing it like that, it sounds so simple, so why is it so seemingly unique to this one franchise? 

Fast & Furious is basically just a better version of the first film, without the plot stolen from Point Break. It was a good back to basics move for the franchise, and it ended in a way that was effective in giving a new status quo to the franchise. Then Fast Five is really where it became the most fun franchise in Hollywood. I do have a bit of a difficult time with the climactic chase scene where the two mustangs drag a giant safe through the streets of Rio, because it so gleefully ignores every law of physics, but whatever. These aren't movies you see for their relationship to reality, and you just have to make a conscious decision to not let the absurdity distance you from the fun. 

3. There's a 20-ish minute sequence in Batman Begins, from when Bruce Wayne returns from the orient to when Batman makes his debut and brings down Carmine Falcone (before the movie changes gears and gets into the Scarecrow poisoning the water plot), and Netflix's Daredevil is basically a 13 hour version of those twenty minutes. I mean that in the best possible way. As with Batman Begins, we don't see the hero in full costume until the climactic moment where he's ready to take down the crime lord for good, and everything prior is about how we get to that moment. Daredevil meanders a bit, as most shows do, but it keeps its eye on the prize because it knows what the prize is. It knows the payoff moment it's building towards, and it knows the key beats on the way there. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sucks because it has no idea what it's doing or what it wants to be. With Daredevil, there's never any question. 

And on that point, Daredevil is also notable for what it doesn't try to do. The indefensible 2003 film attempted to tell the entire Elektra story, along with having both The Kingpin and Bullseye play major roles. You can't do that in two hours, or at least not well. But the new iteration, which had 11 more hours to play with, still opted to leave Elektra and Bullseye on the bench. It was the right move. 

4. The biggest thing that's so immediately refreshing about Daredevil is that it's clearly a show meant for adults. One review I read (and I honestly can't remember which one it was) pointed out that this is likely the first major superhero movie or television show not attempting to sell lunch boxes, and I love that point. Marvel's movies depend on multiple viewings by 14-year old boys for their grosses (and therefore need 14-year old boys legally allowed to shell out for tickets), and Agents of S.U.C.K. has to follow the content restrictions of network television. Daredevil has no such problems on either front, and it takes advantage of that. This is a very violent show, and as Grantland's Alex Pappademas put it, "It reacquaints the comic book genre with pain and bodily consequence." But more than that, Daredevil also reacquaints the comic book genre with character deaths that aren't inserted for mere shock value. The characters who die here (which is about a third of the main cast) do so because playing in this world ought to realistically lead to death a fair amount of the time. It never feels like the product of a more ulterior motive than that. 

5. Some Daredevil pro/cons:
Pro--Vincent D'Onofrio is legitimately great as The Kingpin (which he's never actually called). 
Con--The Kingpin/Vanessa relationship felt way too rushed and ridiculous. Not from his end, but from hers. 
Pro--I really liked the actress who played Karen Page.
Con--I'm much less enthusiastic about the actor who played Foggy Nelson.
Pro--The series gets better in its middle and final thirds.
Con--The series' first third is its weakest. 
Pro--The amount of beatings Daredevil takes felt refreshing for a superhero flick.
Con--The amount of beatings Daredevil takes make his ability to walk by the series' end seem wildly unrealistic.
Pro--The cinematography and production design of the show were great.
Con--It needed a better score and theme music.
Pro--It hugely raises the hopes and expectations for Marvel's next Netflix series.
Con--That next series, A.K.A. Jessico Jones, is being created by the same person who wrote the screenplays to all five Twilight movies. 

We'll see where it goes from here. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Game of Thrones Power Rankings (S5, E1)

Season 5, Episode 1: “The Wars to Come”

In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.


1.   Consequences

For a show that, like Breaking Bad, has partially always been about the theme that actions will have consequences, the emphasis on those consequences seems to have already taken a major role this year. House Lannister is in ruin, the Wildling army lies captive, Daenerys is finding ruling to be much more difficult than conquering, and Tyrion spent his summer in a box, pushing his shit through air holes. As if all that weren’t enough, the season opener began with the show’s first-ever flashback, where a young Cersei learns an unenviable set of portents for her future. Fast forward back to that future, and older Cersei lays this sexy gem on her brother/lover:

You’re a man of action, aren’t you? When it occurs to you to do something, you do it, never mind the consequences. Take a look. Look at the consequences. Here they are.
She was literally talking about the dead father that was sprawled out in front of them, but figuratively, she might as well have been talking about “The Wars to Come” in Season 5.

2.   “The Good of the Realm”

For the first time since Game of Thrones began, we have a season debut where the realm actually isn’t in worse shape than it was this time last year. Now, I don’t dare suggest that Westeros is turning into a nice place to live, but without Joffrey’s reign of wretchedness, Tywin no longer writing letters and cutting deals, Castle Black safe from Mance Rayder’s Wildling army, and Arya, Tyrion, and Sansa finally free from several seasons of glorified imprisonment, things are indeed looking up.

Since almost day 1 of the show, “the good of the realm” has been one of Varys’ favorite phrases to utter anytime he’s trying to get what he wants, but suddenly those words seem far less cryptic than normal.

And speaking of…

3.   Varys

Way back in Season 1, episode 5, Arya overheard a conversation between Varys and Illyrio Mopatis about their plans for the realm, and it’s indicative of the kind of long game that Thrones has been playing that now, 36 episodes and four years later, we’re beginning to understand what those plans really are, as well as how carefully plotted they always were. When the show began, we were conditioned to believe that the right family name meant everything. But more and more every year, it seems Varys and Littlefinger have the real power—that of anonymity.

4.   Jon Snow’s Sexual Prospects

I mean, when Ygritte died, you probably weren’t thinking that Jon would be getting laid again anytime soon, what with living on a wall of ice with several dozen dudes, and having vowed to take no wife and father no children. But then in swoops the creepy-as-fuck Melisandre, asking about Snow’s virginity during a supremely awkward elevator ride. Does anyone know if the vow of the Night’s Watch to father no children includes smoke babies? 

5.   The Brothels of Mareen

When a city is patrolled by thousands of (literally) dickless warriors, it would seem the local brothels were missing out on a lot of potential clients. But who knew?? It turns out The Unsullied just want to cuddle, and are willing to pay dearly for that pleasure, from both their pockets and their throats.


1.   Mance Rayder

For a solid minute or two there, as the flames around Mance kept getting higher and any prospect of rescue had been snuffed out, it looked like he was about to have his full-on Braveheart moment, taking his execution in total silence until one last shout of “FREEDOM!!” to bring a final flurry of pride and meaning to what’s left of his army. But then Jon Snow shot him. Jesus, Jon, haven’t you seen Braveheart? Didn’t you know what was about to happen?!? You know nothing, Jon Snow.

2.   Ciaran Hinds (The Actor Playing Mance Rayder)

We’ve been hearing all along that Season 5 is when the show would start departing from the books in significant ways, and here’s the first example of that. Extensive Wikipedia research has taught me that Mance Rayder is not dead in the books, and that begs the question of when showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss settled on this particular plot point.

When Ciaran Hinds was hired to play Mance Rayder three years ago, it was a major coup in the casting seemingly on the promise of Mance playing a major role. But this was no Sean-Bean-as-Season-One’s-lead-star-and-then-oh-no-he’s-dead-style swindle by HBO. Hinds only appeared in five episodes, in what feels like a grand total of eight or nine scenes. On the assumption that this early exit was decided well after Hinds was already secured for the role, it feels like a waste of such a great acting talent.

3.   Daenerys Targaryen’s Invasion of Wersteros

Back in Season 3, Episode 4, when Khaleesi acquired The Unsullied, kept her dragons, then used both to start sweeping a bloody, slave-clearing path across Essos, while dropping the whip like it was basically a mic, it seemed the Baratheon/Lannister rule of King’s Landing was royally fucked.

But now, 17 episodes later, it’s inevitable to start wondering when this long-gestating invasion will actually happen. We’ve been stuck in Mareen for a while now, The Unsullied are starting to seriously miss their dicks, Jorah Mormont has gone from friend-zoned to exiled, two of the dragons are locked up, and the third is probably off killing babies with all the zeal of Cersei Lannister cleaning up her dead husband’s trysts. Things have definitely looked better for Khaleesi’s Iron Throne prospects.

Hopefully when she meets Tyrion and Varys (which hopefully will happen soon), things will get back on track.

4.   Robin Aryn’s Masculinity

Jesus dude, get your shit together. It’s cool if you don’t know how to fight, but maybe don’t whimper just from picking up a shield?

5.   Cersei Lannister’s Sexual Prospects

Of all people that we thought wouldn’t ever have to go through a dry spell as long as her family’s around, things suddenly aren’t looking so good. She’s pissed at Jamie, and they just missed a phenomenal chance for more awkward sex at another family deathbed, while her backup Jamie, cousin Lancel, has now become a religious zealot and walks around in a dirty robe. Well, at least there’s still Loras Tyrell, who, ummm, certainly kept his bed warm this week.

Confirmed Kills: 2 (Mance Rayder, 1 Unsullied who just wanted to cuddle)