Last night 3 of HBO's hit shows delivered some incredible season finales. A lot happened and we have a lot to think about for the next seasons.
Game of Thrones
In the wake of Battle of the Bastards, we have but a moment to catch our breath before giant plot points reveal themselves in the stunning finale, The Winds of Winter. The North names a king, King's Landing gains a queen, all while another queen sails to take The Iron Throne. So much happened last night so let's start at the beginning.
The first 25 or so minutes of The Winds of Winter were the most cinematic in the shows history. A very reserved score, starting just with a melodic tune on the piano slowly adds in cello and vocals. Give it a listen here, it's fantastic.
We always knew Cersei was fucked up but in this episode she unleashes the monster that we always thought she could be. She kills hundreds by setting off The Mad King's wildfire reserves, including her queen and The High Sparrow. She locks a Silent Sister in a room with Zombie Mountain. She causes her sons suicide, has his body burned and eagerly takes his throne. What is even more messed up is that she blew up the bodies of her other children. This whole sequence was so suspenseful and heart-breaking, but also it felt satisfying to see the wildfire explosion that's been hinted at all season. Cersei will no doubt be the big villain in Season 7 and we might be begging for King Joffrey to come back.
With so much tragedy in the first we see a lot of great things happen in the second half. Arya avengers her mother and brother and put an end to Walder Freys long, disgusting life. Dany names Tyrion Hand of the Queen. Lyanna Mormont rouses The North into proclaiming Jon their King, which Sansa finds bittersweet. I don't like where this business with her and Little Finger is headed. Will Sansa cause the second death of Jon Snow? Without The Red Woman around he could be gone for good.
Of course, it only takes Olenna Tyrell and Varys to come to Dorne for it to become interesting. Two of the show’s best conspirators are now in cahoots (assuming the Queen of Thorns agrees to Varys’ terms, which, at this point, why wouldn’t she?). So we’re seeing the power dynamic shift into 4 factions at this point in the show.
- Cersei, Jaime(?), and King’s Landing
- Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Sam, Littlefinger, Houses of The North, and The Knights of the Vale
- Daenerys, Tyrion, Varys, the Greyjoys, the Tyrells, the Unsullied, the Second Sons, and the Dothraki
- The Night King and the Army of the Dead
I think it can be expected that the Stark faction will join the Targaryen faction. Leaving Cersei in the way of Daenerys’ rule. Jaime seemed none to thrilled that Cersei was Queen of the Seven Kingdoms as he returned to King’s Landing. The Kingslayer stopped the Mad King from igniting the wildfire caches years earlier, and now Cersei has done exactly that. Is Jaime finally going to fall out of love with his sister, now that she’s in power, and adopted an all-black wardrobe?
The most important event in last night's episode was overshadowed by so many amazing moments. Bran returns to his vision where he left off in The Tower of Joy, and it is finally revealed that Ned Stark is not Jon Snow's father and Lyanna Stark is his mother. I have a theory that Jon and Dany are twins. In the books Dany is a year younger than Jon and we all know the story of how she was storm born so this seems unlikely. If The Mad King is the father, her and Jon could be brother and sister. However, it seems more like that Rhaegar Targaryen is the father, making Dany Jon's Aunt. The truth behind this matter is the cornerstone of the meaning of the entire story. There is a reason for everything that is happening that has yet to be revealed. This is a big deal that this secret was revealed and it was the most satisfying part of the finale for me.
This will go down in history as one of the greatest season finales of television history. The episode was visually remarkable, and masterfully written. It gave fans the answers to questions they've been asking for years. Next season we may see Stark reunions and Stark betrayal, Bran will reveal more secrets from the history of Westeros, and I can't wait the Battle of The Mad Queens. Dany's dragons will reach Westeros at the perfect time, let us not forget, Winter is Here.
The season finale of Silicon Valley got right into it, immediately the addressing the big conflict set up at the end of last week's episode: the fake users. Richard realizes what Jared did right away (it was pretty obvious) and the two carry the secret. However, when Erlich leverages the fake user surge into a multi-million investment offer, the secrets carries more weight.
We got to see the shows funniest characters working together, as Danesh and Gilfoyle coyly offer Richard a flash drive with a program that can make the fake users appear real. Our "hero" is presented with a moral dilemma and of course does the right thing, even though it means the end of his company. Our villain Gavin Belson makes a comically low bid on Pied Piper and it seems all is lost, until we see a touching display of humility from Erlich as he outbids Gavin. After Richard and Erlich make up, and Danesh's video chat feature gets a ton of users, they reference the ending to the first episode of the show. The guys play their "always blue" game, laugh and have fun together, signifying that everything is somewhat back to normal.
This show is a lot like Game of Thrones, if something good happens something bad is right around the corner. Mike Judge uses Jian Yang's prank calls to Erlich as a way to make the viewer worry what bad news waits on the other line. Luckily, Jian Yang just pretended to be Erlich as an old man and we get a happy ending for the first time in a long time. I'm sure the guys will face their fare share of challenges in the next season, but for now all is right with the universe.
As always, President Selina Meyers carries herself with grace and dignity while pitching giving a founding father a rimjob. Veep was BAD for Selina this week/season/series. Last season ended with the electoral tie cliffhanger, and after everyone figured out that a Senate vote would lead to Tom James being elected president, Selina being VP was likely. But, after current VP and President of the Senate Andrew Doyle stabs Selina in the back and votes for Laura Montez (have to say it with her Ohio-Mexican accent), Selina is out of a job. Even her one legacy, freeing Tibet, slips into overtime and is credited to President Montez.
So what's next for our band of vulgar incompetent Washington insiders?
- Sue Wilson: Sue pivoted into the administrative assistant position of President Montez without a second thought, but I guess being immortal has its perks. Very little changed for Sue, but not losing can be called a win.
- Jonah Ryan: This failed, hairless, spastic bigfoot clone is a United States Congressmen. With his posse of fratboy staffers, he seems indestructible. Jonah seems that he could trip into success. Maybe we'll see him make moves on the White House in the future?
- Richard Splett: DC's most adorable aide wins big this episode, working for Representative Ryan, and hearing Selina admit she should have looked to him more was a big moment (only made better by his 100 clones scenario).
- Dan Egan: Dan knows when to jump ship, and I don't think the Oval Office's chair was cold yet before he was on TV covering the inauguration. Moving to CBS (with a B, yes) could see Dan playing critic to the moves of other characters, which he excels at.
- Catherine Meyer: Catherine's new style and animal sanctuary is getting great press, to the point that she may become more relevant than her mother. Selina wouldn't be able to handle a power shift in that regards well at all, so Catherine's success is going to equate to Selina's misery.
- Selina Meyer: Out of a job, losing staffers, the future is unknown for Selina. Assuming she's unwilling to quit her political climb, I can see her shifting to an advisory position in Washington, even as a lobbyist, which could lead to great role-reversal (imagine Selina having to suck up to Jonah or Furlong).
- Amy Brookhiemer: Amy is attached at the hip to Selina, even being dragged by Selina onto Marine One before it descended into a barren field. Amy's going to be stuck with Selina for the rest of her career, and her bolo-tie wearing boyfriend is going to be a high-point for her days going forward. Tragic.
- Mike McLintock: Mike isn't allowed to win, ever. Toting around a six-year-old on his chest, and with twins on the way, Mike looks to be a stay-at-home dad in future seasons. If his man-cave/nursery conversion is any previews of that, it will be pathetic and hilarious.
- Tom James: Tom was so close to the presidency, and it was his to lose.. While he still has his job in the Senate, you have to believe he's lost out on a lot more opportunities. Maybe he could be President Montez's economy czar?
To Be Determined
- Kent Davison: The number-crunching analyst seems to be the best choice to be kept in the White House. But Kent could also end up writing romance novels. Which honestly is win-win, but the Veep writers have been known to be cruel. We'll see what happens.
- Ben Cafferty: The eternal loser, Ben doesn't make out too bad in this one. Seen in the brief epilogue at Disneyland, Ben is emasculated in his Mickey Mouse hat, but that's really nothing new.
- Gary Walsh: Gary is happy. He's with Selina. Although her downfall could lead to Gary's reputation and stature in the bag-man community taking a tumble. Additionally, we saw Mike recording his freakout in the Roosevelt room, so that could have ramifications if leaked.
After showrunner Armando Iannucci's exit after last season, viewers were concerned if Veep could keep its bite. It sure did. I think the show had it's best episode to date (Congressional Ball was a whirlwind of profanity, backstabbing, fucking, and fucking-over) and the show has a bright future with a lot of options. I'm looking forward to Season 6.