Two great shows ended their seasons this week: Game of Thrones with a tumultuous 4th season and Fargo’s elliptical first. I’ll try to avoid spoilers but some are going to be inevitable.
Game of Thrones introduced (and re-introduced) some characters and then as quickly eliminated them. I really liked the character (and the acting) of the late Oberon Martel – it was a refreshing change. I would have liked to see this character evolve a bit more, but we still have the Sand Snakes and more surprises I am sure coming from Dorne. In the north, the peeks into the backstory (not in the books!) about the white walkers was great as was the skeleton battle. The battle at the wall was a little disappointing (what happened to the giants and why would they throw Mag the Mighty into the very first battle to test the mettle of the men of the Night’s Watch?) but the episode overall was great. I was personally sad to see Ygritte go but as a book reader, it did not come as a surprise. The Dany storyline kind of wanders – as she does in the books, so we will have to wait until next year to see how they pick up the pace. If I can throw in a prediction, I think that next season will end with the battle that is pre-saged in front of Mereen at the end of Dance of Dragons. It was a pity to see her chain up the dragons and for Ser Jorah to be sent off in disgrace. Dumbass should have been a bit more careful. I will not go into all the details of the final sequences for those that may have missed the last episode, but I really found it excellent and very close to the book. I felt that there were a few unsettling parts to how the season was written that were a bit uneven – the rape scene which was forgotten the following episode (and really, really forgotten in the last episode, and the betrayals of Shea because the actress really did give us the impression that she loved Tyrion and even gave up on offers of money and escape from Tyrion to be with him. Are we supposed to believe now that all along Tywin was controlling her? It was a bit of a stretch and I think that these are two places where the writing room made some critical errors. Nonetheless, it was a fine season and probably feature the best final episode so far.
Fargo was an excellent take on the movie albeit some years later in hollywood time. It is quirky and full of Easter eggs for fans of the original Cohen brothers movie. In fact, I would highly suggest watching the movie immediately before starting on the show. The acting of Martin Freeman was spectacular as was that of Bob Odinkirk (!!). I thought I would have a hard time letting go of their previous portrayals of Watson, Bilbo, and Saul but no, they were perfectly suited to their Fargo roles too. Billy Bob Thornton was OVER THE TOP as one of TV’s great badass bad guys as well. I thought that the atmosphere all white up in Minnesota was spectacular and the accents and ways of life of folks were delightfully quirky. The last episode was my favorite as it did wrap things up rather cleanly (other than the deaf guy – what happened to him after? and that naughty neighbor of Grimley? and the horny, drunken widow, what happened to her?) and it was honestly the most satisfying end to a season that I can remember for a long time. Folks have criticised the pacing for being too slow, but I just kind of went with the flow and enjoyed it. The single camera moving sequence in Fargo at the mob headquarters has been compared to that in Beaumont Texas in True Detective and I felt it was more beautiful even if that of True Detective was more exhilarating. If you haven’t watched this show yet, do so and you will probably be pleasantly surprised. I promised no spoilers so I’ll let you discover it for yourself 🙂