sherrilina: (Lucrezia/Cesare (The Borgias))
[personal profile] sherrilina
I feel like this year many of my shows have been a tad lackluster, so I'm so glad to finally have The Borgias and Game of Thrones back to be excited about each week! \o/ And DW is back too with a new companion at last, which is also interesting, though I think I will save my review of that for another post.

Let's start with my thoughts on my favorite show, The Borgias, whose rollercoaster ride of a season premiere this past Sunday was the best of ANY of my shows all year (spoilers for 3x01):

Holy crap that was epic--what a premiere!!! :O I love the way it picked up right from the cliffhanger at the end of season 2, making for an unusually intense and exciting season opener that still nonetheless set up the storylines and character arcs for season 3 nicely.

So much to love in this episode! First there was Lucrezia saving the day with quick-thinking and ~physic (IT'S SCIENCE BITCHES!), being so smart and knowledgeable. (I also kind of loved how she sends Alfonso packing with a "yeah kay I can handle myself, thanks, don't need your protection, and if I do need something I have my psychotic big brother who gives me hearts for presents!" attitude--I was glad to see some effort to start putting some distance between them. Then there was Mama Bear Vanozza bringing all the wisdom to the yard with restraining Cesare and that great speech about how precarious their position is without Rodrigo as pope--such an interesting point that highlights again their outsider angst, and probably motivated Cesare even more to seize influence and power on his own so that he wouldn't have to worry about his father being on the papal throne for their survival; I'm really glad they included that, taking advantage of this fake!poisoning storyline to do so.

Cesare was more of a badass psycho than ever (I could not with his bamfery in this epp), with great lines such as:

"His soul does not depart until I give it leave!" (lol oh you)

and

"Stop, this is a house of god!"
"And God is angry."


I love how unhinged and ruthless he has become since season 1, his arc has been so well done. And yet there was still the delicious angst too over Juan (that scene when Rodrigo first asks for him and Cesare just let's go of his hand and walks away, UGH SO PERFECT, I'm glad we're not done with that rivalry angst even with Juan in the grave, lol) and *needing* his father's forgiveness--only to then not get it, really! His faaace when Rodrigo told him he would have to make his own peace, gay. I can't wait to see more tension between him and his father in the upcoming episodes...and on a shallow note, I am really glad that they found a better wig for Cesare this season! (Still not as good as season 1, but much better than the mop in season 2! His current hair looks like mine on a good day, lol).

And SFORZAS!!! <333 I have long had a soft spot for Cardinal Sassypants Sforza, so seeing so much focus on him in this episode was an unexpected treat. I freaking loved seeing him have his loyalties tested (even though he was seemed about to choose in favor of his family, you could tell he was torn up about it at least/very hesitant!), and trying to decide on the safest course, all the while also being his usual snarky self with the other Cardinals--especially his smack-down to Della Rovere, lol ( "your information somewhat preempts the matter"--YOUR ENTIRE SEASON OF PLOTTING FAILED, SUCKER!) and his comment to the one cardinal re: God answering their prayers regarding Rodrigo dying: "Depends on the nature of your prayers." BLESS. I hope we continue to see more of him, and maybe a confrontation with ~cousin Caterina. I also loved his scenes with Cesare, particularly the last one in the church in front of the candles--I just love how beautifully shot this show is, it's really a visual work of art.



I am so excited to see Caterina Sforza as a regular now as well, I actually squeed out loud when I saw Gina's name in the credits! :D I love that they seem to be setting her up as a ~seasonal Big Bad if you will (a much better foe than Della Rovere the last two seasons)--her calm reaction to her foiled plot, taking it all in stride and cleverly thinking up a new strategy to take down the Borgias, was so badass, AND THEN ENDING ON HER SNEAKING AROUND ROME IN HER HOOD IN SUCH A SINISTER MANNER WAS THE BEST, the perfect ending to such a flawless premiere. What an HBIC.

Finally, Micheletto makes the best Super Nanny-Assassin EVER, lmao:



This was even cuter than Rodrigo with Giovanni last year! ;) Thank god he was there to save the day/figure things out. (Also now I have the urge to see him walking slow-mo with the baby away from an explosion, lol). It's so good to see my favorite ginger assassin, he has been too scant in the promos.

Not so much Cesare/Lucrezia this week (it looks like the big stuff is coming in the next couple of epps!), but I did enjoy the little moments we did get--him ordering the physician to do everything Lucrezia said (he has complete faith in her, naturally!), and praising her for it repeatedly (God's grace as a total afterthought, lol, way less important a factor to him), the way he held her/played with her hands while he praised her and told her to take Vanozza home...



...and then the hug! <33 I love the way they just kept standing there together, entwined...;)



Really, the only thing missing was more Giulia, not sure where she went after the first 5 min. But yeah, it is SO good to have this show back in my life, and with such a strong start! ♥ This season looks like it will be fantastic if they keep this up...my one concern though is the way Showtime seems to be making every episode available a week early for OnDemand customers (and thus people who torrent in turn)--if they keep this up, it's going to really suck for those of us watching it as it airs normally (I actually got regular Showtime last week for TB so I wouldn't have to worry about finding a good stream/DL each week, and to support the show). :/ Everyone who dls or gets OnDemand will watch the epp early and discussion posts will be thrown off-kilter and there will be spoilers everywhere on Tumblr, etc, and I will feel perpetually behind despite being able to watch it "live". And imagine if this is the case for the finale too?! Please reconsider, Showtime. :(

+ Before I talk about the first three episodes of s3 GoT, I realize I never laid down my thoughts of season 2:

Unpopular Opinion Time: I enjoyed season 2 faaaar more than season 1, sry not sry. Yes, Cat and Robb/Jeyne were a hot mess and ruined, and the Dany storyline had its annoying moments because of the changes, BUT AT LEAST SEASON 2 WAS EXCITING WITH SHIT HAPPENING, as opposed to being BORING AND SLOW AS HELL like season 1 was for 75% of the time. Like really, when I see people complaining about the s3 premiere being boring and such I'm like, "did you see season 1?!" and when I see GoT fans on ONTD talking about how ~slow The Borgias s1 is I'm like, "And yet you enjoyed s1 of GoT, which was as slow if not slower...?" (Or maybe it also helped that TB actually had compelling characters that gripped me/made me feel invested from the get-go, whereas GoT not so much...Dany was the first one to tug at my heartstrings at all and give me feels, which is partly why I feel so attached to her. The fact that if you don't read the books it's really hard to even keep track of who most characters are doesn't help either). Even now that I've read the book, and am way more invested in the characters and 'verse, I found myself *still* becoming bored after the first 15 min or so when I rewatched the pilot of s1. :/

But enough complaining about season 1. I also enjoyed season 2 because I knew all the characters and the world at last, and the storyline finally picked up, and led to some really compelling and gripping stuff that only began emerging at the end of s1 outside of a few storylines like Dany's. It is only in s2 that I really got into the show and found it must-see TV each week/got why people were into it. I rewatched the s2 premiere recently and again loved it so much more than s1's premiere--I loved seeing all the fallout from the events in the end of season 1, and the way they set the mood for the new season.

Awesome things in season 2 that I loved:

-Jaimie & Brienne's Epic Road Trip: I'm glad they moved this up to begin this season! Their banter/interactions were pure gold. I also not only enjoyed meeting Brienne as a character, but loved seeing more of Jaimie, as well (whereas I was indifferent to him in s1, finding his interactions with Cersei to be pretty demeaning and awful)--he had some great conversations while imprisoned in Robb's camp (and lbr that was the last time Robb scenes were interesting).

-Theon:I'm not a big fan of his in ACOK because at that time his inner thoughts are mostly so obnoxious and gross, but on the show we don't see that and they also made some great changes that made him a bit more sympathetic, such as him not deciding on his own to take over Winterfell, and originally intending to warn Robb of the attack by letter. Which all combined with Alfie's fantastic performance made for some really compelling and beautifully done TV. So many great scenes, like him being "re-baptised" into the Drunken God faith, writing and then burning that letter, "you are truly lost," and Asha (god what is her fake name on the show again?) recalling him as a baby and asking that he escape with her before it's too late. His whole storyline of not ever really belonging anywhere seemed more tragic in the show, and I hope they can do the rest of his identity storyline just as well.

-Arya's Storyline: While in retrospect after reading the book I now wish they had gone with that sequence of events, I still found Arya as cupbearer to Tywin to be really tense and exciting--they made for some of my favorite scenes of s2. And I don't mind them trying to humanize Tywin a little bit, rounding him out more as a character while still maintaining the fact that he was a shitty parent to his own children. Tywin did have a side his siblings loved at least. Jaquen Hagar was also perfect and spot-on, and I really enjoyed his interactions with Arya--though I wish she had been the one to kill the guard like in the book, since that was an important character moment for her.

-Dany/Jorah: This season made me ship it, negl (the first pairing in the series to give me any feels, tbh-even just approaching it as unrequited). It's definitely portrayed more romantically on the show, with all the added lines like "You must be their strength." "As you are mine." and that fabulous scene where he lays out just why he so keenly supports her cause (which I really wish had been in the book):

“You have a good claim, a title, a birthright, but you have something more than that. You may cover it up and deny it, but you have a gentle heart. You would not only be respected and feared, you would be loved. Someone who can rule and should rule. Centuries come and go without a person like that coming into the world. There are times when I look at you, and I still can’t believe you’re real.”

Also, Iain Glen. The "where are my dragons?!" storyline and other made-up stuff sucked, but these parts I enjoyed, along with seeing the adorable bb!dragons, period. I kind of hope that the show continues this trend and makes Ser Jorah less skeevy/arrogant when the betrayal is inevitably revealed. I would actually not mind if they cut the kiss scene entirely.

-Cersei: I also enjoyed her more this season (And on a shallow note loved her fabulous dresses even more, omg those sleeves!) I don't mind them making small changes to make her more sympathetic and likeable, especially since she still got the chance to be a BAMF, like in the "Power is Power" scene. I definitely think Show!Cersei is a better character than Book!Cersei, though it helps not seeing her inner thoughts I guess, and Lena just slays it. She was also priceless during the Battle of Blackwater Bay, lol--Drunk!Cersei ftw!

-King's Landing Scenery: I was thrilled when I heard that they had decided to start filming King's Landing and Qarth in and around Dubrovnik, Croatia, since I had the pleasure of visiting there a couple of years ago (actually around this time). Being able to location-spot while watching makes the show that much more enjoyable and fun, lol, and reminds me of that trip. (Someday I will get around to posting pics here, but in the words of Arya's ~dancing master: "not today.")

-Battle of Blackwater Bay: I think this one goes without saying, really--what an epic episode! It was such a nice change of pace to have the whole episode focus in one place, rather than jumping around all over. And it was so well done--better than the book tbh, in terms of the tension and such.

-Ygritte: Jon's bits were still my least favorite and mostly boring, but they definitely got a little more interesting this season thanks to his new Sassy Wilding Friend Ygritte, who was awesome. If I have to see Emo!Jon, I prefer to have Ygritte there mocking him and telling him he knows nothing. :p And it was great to see this actress again after DA.

It's interesting watching season 3 now that I am ~newly empowered~ with book!knowledge. (It's also way more enjoyable in fandom being able to discuss and explore at will without worrying about being spoiled!) While there have been awful or boring bits in each episode, I have still been enjoying the season on the whole so far, and look forward to it each week (even better now that I have a GoT-TB double feature!). My thoughts on the first 3 epp of the new GoT season:

3x01

I enjoyed much of the episode--certain storylines dragged or were stupid (so tired of the hamfisted way they keep working in gratuitous female nudity--looking at you Bronn!), but others were great. I even ended up watching it twice in a row, since they just kept airing it over and over on HBO.

- Dany's scenes were fab but daaaamn are they speeding through her storyline, to the point that I worry about them burning through it too quickly! :/ I am also disappointed that they revealed Barristan's identity right off the bat, though I suppose it would have been harder to keep secret on a TV show when we've seen him before. I hope that this doesn't mean they also speed up Barristan's reveal about Ser Jorah and that breaking of ties...:/. She was fierce, and on a superficial level I loved that blue dress and necklace. It was good to see her bb dragons too, growing up so fast...the Astapor scene was perfect, and someone the nipple thing wasn't as horrifically squicky as reading it in the book (but still pretty gross! D: ).

- Speaking of failing to keep anything secret, I see they're cutting out the middleman where the Sansa story is concerned, and just having Littlefinger talking directly to her. I can see why they'd want to simplify the story and give Littlefinger more to do this season but IDK, it kind of ruins the big ~surprise twist~ at the end, and I also think it makes Littlefinger look a lot less clever--I mean talking with Sansa out in the open, looking like he's plotting with her, and where someone might overhear? Not your savviest, Petyr Baelish. And what are they doing with Roz there, exactly? :s Is she going to interfere or something? Her warning to Shae was very apt though, it was nice to see her being somewhat useful and not just walking breasts for once...

- Sansa: I feel like I'm the only one who didn't entirely love the Sansa-Shae game scene--IDK it was nice to see them interacting (Bechdel test and all), but Sansa seemed a bit petulant in it, less grown-up than she should be by now. And I say that as a fan...still, I look forward to the rest of her storyline, and it will be interesting to see how things go with Littlefinger (I hope he doesn't involve her in the Big Plan though).

- Lannisters: The Tyrion-Tywin scene was PERFECT, because the dialogue was pretty much lifted verbatim from the book, and of course Peter and Charles slayed it! I loved that scene in the book (and it's so important for this fascinating relationship), so I'm very glad they did it justice. I definitely felt for Tyrion there. The scene between Cersei and Tyrion, on the other hand, felt a little off to me, IDK. Though her line about not being afraid of him made me LOL because FALSE (unless they cut out the prophecy storyline that is). Cersei's evident rivalry with Margaery, however, was spot on! ;)

- Margaery: It was great to see all the baby-kissing and politically savvy campaigning to win over the people of King's Landing that we only hear about second-hand in the books (though I do hope we get Tyrion pointing out their role in the food scarcity earlier in the war, that they are now ~helping with). She is one smart cookie. Joffrey's "wtf" reaction was also priceless. I look forward to seeing more of her in action, though I admit the fact that the actress is so much older than her character's age makes me worry that it's going to be really weird and awkward when she "marries" little Tommen, even as sexless as that relationship is. I mean she looks Cersei's age! O_o

-Robb: Lol what happened in this scene? I guess Tywin killed all the Northmen they had as hostage when they left for King's Landing, and abandoned the castle? :s Though he mentioned the Mountain, so it was confusing...and I guess that was Roose Bolton in the back ~foreshadowing. Robb imprisoning his mother in Harrenhal was the worst, what a dick. He gets more screentime on the show, but it sure doesn't do him any favors...:/

-Jon Snow: This and the Sam opener were definitely the most boring parts along with Bronn's bits--I hope you soon transition into the more interesting character you become in the books Jon, and soon! (He and Bran really need to get their warg on too). Ygritte remains a BAMF though.

-Dragonstone: Eek, I hope they backtrack on what happened, because I would hate to see the great Davos/Stannis relationship ruined. :/

- King's Landing Scenery: Like I said above, I love seeing all the scenery of Dubrovnik, because it makes me remember my trip there, and there were several great shots that reminded me of my trip while Bronn and Tyrion were walking around on the City Wall (which I did while there--it's really cool!)--and

Anyway, it's a solid start, and I cant wait to see all the crazy stuff that goes down in ASOS onscreen--I just hope they can do most of the epic scenes justice...

3x02:

I enjoyed seeing some of the characters that were missing last week, especially Jaimie 'n' Brienne's Excellent Adventure (they were so perfect, their banter and his snark and then their swordfight, which was really intense--and I loved how it looked like she was taking him for a walk at one point, lol) and Sansa's lunch with the Tyrrell Ladies (Olenna was PERFECT and just as I imagined--can't believe that's Emma Peel though!). Sansa finally working up the courage to tell the truth about Joffrey was heartbreaking (Sophie killed it!), though Margaery's totally blase reaction was priceless. ;) I loved all the details from the book they kept from that scene, down to Floras escorting Sansa there--if only they had included "Bear and the Maiden Fair" as well! (Though I guess they made up for that in 3x03, lol).

Also THEEEOOOOOON! ;_; Omg seeing him like that in this episode while still so full of Theon feels from ADWD...I can't. :/ Not much has even happened to him yet, but I'm already sobbing inside/my heart is breaking for him in advance, just thinking of what he has in store for him...:( I liked seeing Ramsay Bolton playing mind games with him by allowing him to escape only to then hunt him down, it's a nice way to include that aspect of his imprisonment in the book on the show. But I'm like "Nooooo, don't listen to him!". On a lighter note, this Misfits-referencing gif is hilarious, even if it also kind of makes me want to cry at the same time:



Jon Snow was pretty boring as usual, but I did enjoy them FINALLY introducing wargs, about damn time! They are waaay behind on that storyline on the show, and I hope they make up for lost time. In that vein, it was good to see Bran too (man he's grown up!), and see the Reeds introduced (the kid playing Jojen sure has grown up as well, I just saw him in "Human Nature" and the difference is striking!). Don't shoot the three-eyes crow though, Bran! The flashback dream with his brothers was also really sad...:/

Speaking of Robb though, he has just become so boring and annoying to me that I'm actually looking forward to him being offed, so I won't have to deal with him and his dull scenes anymore!. His wife Flopisa is no better...and That Cat Scene with Talisa and the dreamcatcher...well the less said, the better, except that "______ happened because Cat didn't love Jon Snow" is a hilarious meme. HOW ABSURD AND CRINGEWORTHY WAS THAT WHOLE SCENE THOUGH?! D: Especially the part where she would have ever wanted Jon to be legitimized, way to miss the whole point of why she disliked him...

Finally, I was a little disappointed with Arya's storyline, in how it was done. She seemed a bit reckless and stupid with her sword in facing the Brotherhood, and Thoros is just...not at all how he was described. :/ Also I missed Arya revealing herself to the Hound by yelling at him for killing Micah, that whole emotional scene was so emotional in the book. Anyway, I found it all a bit slow (also I'm pretty sure they referred to himself as "King's Men" in the books, but maybe that would have been too confusing), though I hope the rest of Arya's storyline will pick up once she goes off on her The Professional!style adventure with The Hound! ;).

Oh, and I almost forgot about Tyrion's scenes--the fact that now we have Shae reporting on Littlefinger's plotting with Sansa to Tyrion so he now suspects something there just underlines how STUPID they are making Littlefinger in having him communicate with Sansa directly out in the open with witnesses, like last week! *rolleyes* I know they wanted to streamline things by cutting out the middle man, but he still could have been more clever about it, sending her a note to meet alone in the Godswood at night like Dontos did. And the way the writers are already planting the idea of him having inappropriate feelings for Sansa in the audience's mind...well, at this rate, they should be calling him Bluntfinger. *sigh* Also, when Sansa does make her escape, how are the Lannisters believably going to be in the dark about where she went, given they know she has been plotting something with Petyr Baelish? I'm also a little wary about where they are going with the Tyrion/Shae conversation about if HE is attracted to Sansa...it will be creepy if they are implying he wants to marry her anyway...and is Shae's anger rooted in jealousy or protectiveness towards Sansa? I sure wonder how they are going to handle her death at the end, I feel they can't keep it the same as in the books given how much they have changed Shae's character and relationship with Tyrion on the show...I wonder if she will be a replacement for Tysha?

Overall I think I liked last week's epp more, but on the other hand certain scenes this week were more awesome than much of last week...each episode is such a mixed bag, it makes it hard to rank them! :s

3x03:

This episode was so close to be perfect/the best so far, with almost every scene lifting dialogue straight from the books...but then they had to spend a solid TEN MINUTES or so on Podrick losing his virginity in order to satisfy their "male gaze/gratuitous nudity" clause! *rolleyes* I love Podrick but REALLY GUYS, REALLY?! We missed out on seeing Sansa and the Tyrells and Bran warging so many other more interesting and important storylines for that? And then to cement the bad taste in my mouth they threw in back-to-back attempted rape scenes--completely unnecessary in Theon's case (I'm a bit confused now about how they are proceeding there...:s), and far too prolonged in Brienne's. :/ Why show, why, are you that determined to not have one single really good epp? :s (At least I was able to end the night with the flawlessness that was The Borgias premiere). Oh and the Stannis/Melisandre scene was awful and terribly OOC for Stannis as well--why is she even going on this stupid random mission? Not liking where the Team Dragonstone storyline has been going so far, sorry to say...also, why exactly do we ALWAYS have to have Jon Snow/Night's Watch scenes in every episode? Everyone else has to skip, not fair! (And they remain among the most boring for me).

But anyway, ASIDE from all that nonsense, this episode was pretty good! I loved seeing the Tullys together, with the arrow-missing-scene from the book (oh Edmure you flop! Though the one they case is way older than I imagined) and Cat's heartbreaking memory of her father from childhood (so glad they included that)--it was a relief to get better Cat material after the M E S S that was her scene last week! I also thought Hot Pie's bread!wolf gift to Arya was sweet, although I wish Arya had been a bit more broken up about losing that member of her ~pack, as she was in the books. Jaimie/Brienne's banter was as amazing as ever (THEIR SNARK GIVES ME SO MUCH LIFE YOU GUYS), and the hand!slicing so well done (and made to be kind of lulzy with that pop version of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" playing immediately after over the credits--it reminded me of True Blood!). Poor Jaimie, though now we get to see:



The scene where the Lannisters play musical chairs in the small council was also golden, lmao at Tyrion's "intimate table" comment and Cersei's bitchfacing--and good to see Varys too, at last, and see them set into motion Littlefinger going to marry Lysa Arryn (though however will be unsubtly plot with Sansa now once he leaves? *rolleyes*).

But the absolute highlight for me were the Dany scenes once more (god I missed her last week!)--so many wonderful lines from the book that I squeed upon hearing/really wanted them to include! \o/ Most of all Ser Jorah's "Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died" line, which Iain Glen delivered perfectly--I both loved the Rhaegar reference (give me ALL the Rhaegar pls thnx) and the accurate point it made about fighting nobly being well and good, but you can't win that way in the end. I also liked his other point about the Unsullied--that they would not rape and pillage and sack cities, and thus be more a cleaner option for the people of Westeros, even if they were slaves. It was good to see more conflict between Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan like in the book, with them both making some valid points. At the same time, I quite enjoyed Dany laying down the law about criticism in public (image is important!) and just being fierce and determined/self-possessed and awesome in general--just look at this HBIC:



God I remember being so excited to learn the meaning of "valar morghulis" in the book, so I was happy it made it on the show, delivered in such a badass way too! ;). It was also great to see Missandei's developing friendship with Dany! <333. Though again, I hope they are moving things around because we are so far along in ASOS in her storyline, jeez! :/

Anyway, what did you all think? Which episode of s3 GoT have you guys enjoyed the most so far?

Oh and I am still interested in receiving characters for the character meme I posted here if anyone wants to give me one! ;)

 
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