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  • The Queen's Gambit (Netflix)

    No Spoilers
    I couldn't get enough of this show, and I am tempted to watch it a second time because everything else seems to pale by comparison.

    The chess in this show is legit! Garry Kasparov and Bruce Pandolfini were advisors, and the games were adapted from classic games of the era. There are a bunch of YouTube videos analyzing the key matches presented on the show. 
    If you don't know chess, it works too... and maybe will inspire you to learn. The filmmakers came up with pretty much every possible way to make chess cinematic.

    Every single character is so clearly defined, and well-acted. I wanted to learn more about even the most minor characters. I felt each episode could have been expanded to a full season.
    Great period detail. I would put it in the same category as The Americans and Mad Men in the way it completely transports you to another time.
    And, as everyone else has said, ATJ gives a breakout performance.

    I wish there would be a season 2. They could do a prequel or a sequel. ;)

  • Supporters of the Episode 805 The Bells, I have some questions.

    Not sure I would call myself a "supporter", but I will try to answer, having rewatched the episode last night.  (Please don't hate on me. Just trying to share my perspective as someone who was OK with the episode.)

    What was going through Dany’s mind as she was taking in the fact that The Bells were ringing? What was her tipping point? Was it in that moment?
    I don't think the show provides a definitive answer, so it is open to interpretation. But there is a lot of cross-cutting between Cersei and Dany. My sense from watching the episode was that Dany was thinking about Missandei.

    Why wasn’t surrender enough? Why destroy half the city and her own castle?
    She destroys the Keep to completely obliterate Cersei and the center of her power. It is less clear why she arbitrarily starts destroying streets not directly between her and the keep. Honestly, I think this was a probably a mis-step by the creators, and this is the primary sticking point that has infuriated so many fans.  It definitely crosses a line that seems out of character.  My best explanation is that the madness fully overcomes her, she gives in to Drogon's animal instincts, and he starts burning the nearest living thing.  Maybe he's hungry. Or maybe he's pissed about Viserion. Who knows what motivates a dragon.  I guess the scene still works for me as a sort of morality play about the danger of (literally) toying with fire...

    What is her reaction going to be next episode to what she did? Righteous fury? Or regret and think she went overboard? Does she think it was a good victory? If she thinks her lesson was taught, will she want to now help the poor? Will she still say she freed them from tyranny and also actually try to command that aid be given to those in need? Or will she have changed her mind and just want the focus on her and who cares about them?
    I guess we'll find out soon enough. ;)

    Will she want to rule from King’s Landing? Maybe order the Red Keep be rebuilt, or an even grander castle to be built?
    It seems more likely she would rule from Dragonstone. There is a certain symmetry to the story if she wipes out the city her ancestors built.

    How does she view Cersei’s army? The people? Does she think of them as the same thing? Will she execute more people? Will she accept some to swear to her as Queen and only kill high ranking people like the Tarly’s?
    A lot of this is open to interpretation. It seems her arc is from someone who started out as a liberator of the common people, but who is now evolving into an extremist who believes everything must be razed before something better can grow.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe her experience in Westeros has made her realize that the kinship she thought she felt with commoners is illusory. And now her true kinship to her Targaryen ancestors is ascendent. 

    What does she think of Grey Worm’s actions? If Grey Worm tells her that Jon tried stopping him, what does she think of that? And will she do anything about it?
    I imagine she's OK with what Grey Worm did.  Jon trying to stop him is part of Jon's fundamental nature, which will continue to sow (perhaps devastating) conflict with Dany.

    Does she even want to rule or just want to continue destroying everything?
    I think she is thinking: burn everything down, then rebuild fresh.

    I’m fine with her going mad. I was even anticipating it because it was very bluntly telegraphed. But in that final moment, I was completely lost. Was it clear to you? How do you feel about the other reasons stated by other supporters of the episode? Do you feel like there’s a fairly generally agreed upon reason? Do you feel it was weighted towards one particular reason or just a general little bit of everything?
    As above, I think it is open to interpretation. For me, as I watched, I felt it was most directly related to Missandei's death.  I agree with others that it would have been better for TV to show an immediate motivating reason. But I also don't think it's the end of the world to leave it open-ended.

    What happened and what does she want now. My brain isn’t connecting the final dots to understand her state of mind at the end of the episode to be able to guess what she wants with King’s Landing and it’s people.
    I think she wants to destroy King's Landing utterly because it is a symbol of her enemies. To "break the wheel" appears it will require a complete razing first.

    I'll end with a question: Compare Dany's arc to Theon's when he "broke bad". He also invaded a city, and murdered children and innocents ... albeit not on the same scale. His turn was also unexpected, since he had been presented as a fairly good character in the first season. Indeed, his motivation -- wanting to earn the respect of his family -- is arguably less justifiable than Dany's. Why was there not similar outrage about his actions? 
  • Twin Peaks The Return, Part 8

    @aberry89 I could ruminate a long time on #3, but I hope there a some Masters students out there that are already working on it. :)  

    The more I ponder this episode, the more I believe it may rank up there with some of the great all-time episodes of TV. It's easily in my list of top Twin Peaks episodes.

    As I said in an earlier post... we are witnessing one of our great living auteurs produce his magnum opus. This is Lynch's Finnegan's Wake or Ring Cycle. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Probably it will be both.

    To some degree it is criticism-proof because it is clearly such a pure expression of his creative vision. Every frame of Twin Peaks 3 is produced by a creator at the height of his powers, in total control of his craft. Only someone on Lynch's stature could take these sorts of risks, break so many rules, and test the patience of his audience to such a degree.  Some of his artistic choices may not pay off, but the ones that do are incredibly satisfying.   

    I'm just glad to be along for the ride.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return, Episodes 3-4

    Episode 4 fell a bit flat for me. It might have worked better if I'd watched it back-to-back with 3 (which I really liked). The "whimsical" scenes, to me, aren't all that funny, and feel over-extended. But, based on other podcasts I've listened to, they are clicking with other people. 

    For me, the Eraserhead dream sequence in 3 has been the high point so far. It's rare that a show or movie can really freak me out like that -- especially without resorting to graphic violence -- In recent memory only Legion has come close. 

    I think one of the triumphs of the new Twin Peaks is that it is true "stream of consciousness" television. There is no formula or pattern that dictates where it's going to go. This makes it incredibly compelling on first viewing. And even the "boring" parts are hypnotic because the viewer is anticipating the next surprise or unexpected turn, which may or may not even arrive.
  • Twin Peaks: The Return, Episodes 1 - 2

    Cooper rubbing that guy's jaw outside the storage unit. Holy shit, I don't even know. Just: WHAT. Disturbing, mesmerizing, odd. That's why I watch. I was kind of phone-watching in parts (that school principle being accused of murder and interrogated, snore), but this show has moments I've never seen anything like.
    Re-watching Fire Walk With Me tonight (instead of starting ep. 3). There is a very disturbing scene where Leland rubs or pinches Laura's cheek. Echoes....
    AntManBeecdriveElisa[Deleted User]DaveyMacDemic