This week’s TVEye takes another amazing trip to Westeros with Game of Thrones, a detour down an apocalyptic alternate universe in Fringe, and a slow and rainy day in Seattle on The Killing.
GAME OF THRONES (Episode 2 ‘The Kingsroad’) Biggest show on television right now? You betcha. Is Game of Thrones the best show on television right now? This remains to be seen, but so far, after only two episodes, it’s making a damn strong case. As the well-read dwarf Tyrion Lannister, Peter Dinklage is setting the bar high for his fellow cast mates. With an arrogant air about him, Dinklage plays Tyrion to his most intelligent and appropriately selfish levels. Sean Bean is equally perfect as the strong and sympathetic lead Eddard Stark. Bean, known for playing the similar role of Boromir in LOTR, really shines with this type of character. It’s impossible not to instantly love Eddard for his unwavering strength of character and genuine love and respect for his children. It’s the interactions between him and his children that I find the most intriguing among all of the Thrones characters. A touching moment between him and his bastard son John Snow seals a common love and respect between two characters that are supposed to be far removed by the strict protocols of royal servitude. But they’re not. Eddard breaks protocol with his youngest daughter as well, a precocious young tomboy who antagonizes a dangerous quarrel with the weak and spoiled teenaged Lannister Prince. Eddard sides with his two daughters; however the king forces him to kill his older daughter’s dire wolf as retribution. Eddard’s youngest son, now in a coma caused from being pushed off of a tower is the target for an assassin who attempts to kill him in the night. The Lannister Queen and her twin brother, with whom she is in a secret incest relationship, hire the assassin who is instantly torn asunder by the boys dire wolf. Each of the Stark children, including Snow have their own wolf. The family dynamic is so strong in Thrones, and the Lannister and Stark drama far overshadows the storylines of Daenerys Targaryen, her family, and the Dothrakian barbarians she has married into. I’ve not read the books, but my wife (a huge fan) insists that Daenerys will play a huge role as the story progresses. I said it last week and I’ll repeat again this week; Game of Thrones is epic television. Hell, its epic storytelling period. The production value of this series is staggering, and as Thrones prepares to further introduce us to Castle Black and the Great Wall of the north, it will most certainly continue to amaze.
FRINGE (Episode 63 ‘6:02 AM EST’) The last two episodes of Fringe have been pretty special, sending my sci-fi sensibilities tingling into fanboy euphoria. Two weeks ago we had the animated subconscious of Olivia in which Leonard Nimoy, Joshua Jackson, and John Noble fought there way through a horde of zombies and onto a floating zeppelin. Yeah. What’s better than that? Last weeks episode was literally the start of the apocalypse, nothing big. Walternate uses the DNA of Peter’s newborn (and still unknown) son to start the mysterious doomsday machine. The universal rift this causes leads to massive universal displacement and results in the sympathetic powering up of the machine built on our side as well. This was a duel universe episode, flashing from one to the other as the chaos ensued. Walternate proclaims that his actions have forced him to “destroy one universe to save one.” Fauxlivia, in a surprise move that makes one question how different her and Olivia (her other universe self) really are, tries to stop Walternate and cross over to warn Peter. She fails. Olivia meanwhile teams with Sam Weiss, who is revealed to be the author of the First Peoples Books, and from the looks of it, will be a major player in the final 2 episodes of the season. The most heart wrenching scenes in Fringe history have come throughout the season as Walter grapples with his role as the instigator of this apocalyptic rift of universes. We’ll see if he is indeed as responsible as he believes. I have a hunch he is not. In the meantime, I look forward to the final episodes of this intense and scientifically amazing season. Forget 2012, the Apocalypse is now!
THE KILLING (Episode 5) If you’re a regular TVEye reader than you know of my love for AMC. They have the historically accurate genius of Mad Men. Then there’s the ambitious zombie epic Walking Dead. And don’t forget their greatest series, the darkest and most uncomfortable series on television, Breaking Bad. With their new series The Killing, AMC has done it again. The Killing is a slow burner crime story in which every little clue and detail is obsessed over carefully, with no jumpy moments of unrealistic pacing. Like the amazing Twin Peaks once did, The Killing focuses on one crime throughout the show, the murder of the young Rosie Larsen. As evidence surfaces and suspects are processed and released, we are treated to every facet of the case as it happens. This means that the Larsen family and all those involved are shown in equally slow pace. The heart of this story is Mireille Enos’ portrayal of Detective Sarah Linden, the lead homicide detective on the case. Enos’ subtlety drives such realism in the character that she almost becomes comforting to the audience, haunting the dark and tangled crime scenes with an over-involved psyche of calm and safety. The other major player in The Killing is its setting. The gloomy, overcast rain drenched streets along the Seattle (shot in Vancouver) waterfront provide a perfect home for such a dark and depressing story. This week’s episode revealed some of the mysterious organized crime connections of Rosie’s fathers past. Mr. Larsen is a deep and complex character, holding strong for his family while breaking down behind the scenes. It will be interesting to see where his involvement goes in future episodes. How he fits within the tangled web of Rosie’s teacher, her past flings, and the political campaign of a prominent councilman will surely begin to unravel as the season moves along. No matter how it turns out, The Killing is great storytelling, not as weird as Twin Peaks (my all time favorite show) but surprisingly dark and disturbing in its stark realism. AMC has done it yet again.
Stay Tuned for more TVEye next week!