GAME OF THRONES 2.4: “Garden of Bones”

Well, there’s something you don’t see every day: A mysterious priestess giving birth to a smoke monster — onscreen. (Thank goodness they didn’t use that scene on LOST!) In an even more depraved scene, King Joffrey made a couple of royal whores beat one another. But I guess that’s just the way GAME OF THRONES rolls these days; gotta keep upping the depravity.

Robb Stark (Richard Madden) upped the ante by employing direwolves to soften up the Lannister army for another victory. A victory that so incensed Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) that he threatened to shoot Robb’s sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), with a crossbow. He settled for having her beaten and stripped at court. But then Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) intervened, rescuing Sansa and embarrassing his royal nephew in the process. (Not to mention teaching the court — and viewers — the difference between “helpful advice” and a “threat.”) In an effort to assuage Joffrey’s rage, Tyrion later sent his nephew Ros (Esmé Bianco) and another concubine, but the king forced Ros to beat the other girl savagely while he watched, which a cocked crossbow pointed at them both. The boy ain’t right in the head!
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NHL’s Shanahan Fails Yet Again

Brendan Shanahan, NHL senior vice president of player safety, has once again proved that if he is not flipping a coin to decide whether to discipline players, he must be trying to confuse the players and fans. His rulings – and non-rulings – have been so wildly inconsistent as to beggar the imagination. If he was purposely attempting to make people believe that he was ruling randomly, he could not do a better job.

The man does not mete out justice fairly. He is so scattershot in his rulings, that there is no way players or clubs could possibly anticipate what he is going to do next. The one thing – the one thing – an authority figure should be is consistent. Even if he Shanahan is unfair, he should be unfair to everyone. Parents need to present a united front in order to instill discipline in a child. If Dad decides one day that the penalty for sneaking a cookie before dinner is no TV before bed, and the next day there’s no punishment, and the day after that the kid is grounded for six months –what’s the penalty for sneaking a cookie? Who knows? Ask Brendan Shanahan.
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John Carter Has Its Revenge

I think it’s OK for John Carter fans to indulge in a little schadenfreude after hearing the news that Rich Ross, the chairman of Disney Studios, has stepped down from his post in the wake of the debacle that was the bungled release of the long-awaited John Carter.

Ross issued a resignation and made the situation look like it was voluntary, but Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke over at Deadline wrote, “Make no mistake, Ross was fired.” The report focuses on personality clashes with business partners and all sorts of insider stuff. Well, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer studio head.
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Francis Lawrence Will Direct Catching Fire

Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend and Constantine) has chosen to direct Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Reportedly, the competition came down to Lawrence and Moneyball’s Bennett Miller, but Miller didn’t like the rushed production schedule needed to meet the studio’s already-announced release date of Nov. 22, 2013. (Let’s hope that’s not wishful thinking.)

Lawrence is an interesting choice. I think of him more as a visual stylist coming off Constantine, but he did handle a pretty sprawling story in Will Smith’s I Am Legend. Both of those films were fantasy/sci-fi projects, and both were adaptations of existing material – Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend novel, and Constantine is the star of the comic book series Hellblazer – so he has experience translating stories. (For what it’s worth, Moneyball was a book, too, so that’s probably why Miller was a front-runner.) Also, Lawrence built a compelling and complicated world overrun by mutations for I Am Legend, and world-building was Hunger Games helmer Gary Ross’ Achilles’ heel.
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SURVIVOR: ONE WORLD 24.10: “I’m No Dummy”

If a show has a title like that, you gotta know that someone is going to prove himself or herself to be a dummy. And, since this season is populated almost exclusively by dummies, the odds were pretty good going in that somebody would do something stupid. Actually, a few somebodies.

With Jay gone, Troyzan realizes he’s on his own — and the women do their best to make him feel like a marked man (possibly a little something they learned from the cruel Colton). Troy decides that winning successive immunities or finding the new hidden immunity idol is his only path to success, so he starts hunting for the secret trinket and psyching himself to win challenges.
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 3.4: “Growing Pains”

What’s the matter with Lauren? I mean, seriously. Well, after last week’s tease, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT finally got to the bottom of it when Payson made good on her promise to force Lauren to visit a doctor. And, wouldn’t you know it, it also happens to be Parents Weekend at the USATC, so Payson has problems of her own.

But not as big as Kelly Parker (Nicole Gale Anderson), whose megalomaniacal mom Sheila (played once again by Kathy Najimy) came to town intent on making KP captain of the Olympic team at any cost. Sheila finagled an invite to stay at Coach McIntire’s (Dondré T. Whitfield) house while his wife was conveniently out of town, then pretended to cook him a meal, then blatantly offered to bride him with lucrative endorsement deals! What a nightmare for poor KP.
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MAD MEN 5.5: “Signal 30”

Pete Campbell and his portrayer, Vincent Kartheiser, got a genuine spotlight episode this week, and it illuminated just how dark Pete’s life has gotten lately. He seems to have it all: a great job, a pregnant wife and a home in the ritzy suburbs. But in Pete’s mind, none of it holds water.

The faucet in the kitchen is leaking, and Pete can’t sleep. The relentless drip, drip, drip of the water leaking away is clearly gnawing at his mind. It parallels his feeling that his life is being wasted and he is wasting away, drip by drip, living in the wilderness of the suburbs and laboring unappreciated at the office. Nothing is working out the way he imagined it, and his life is eroding, drop by drop… The monotonous sound is washing away everything he ever dreamed for his life.
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