Game of Mad Men

Last week, I embarked upon a glorious experiment that, if my hypothesis was correct, would alter the course of human destiny. Placing two TVs side by side, I endeavored to watch the two best shows currently on TV—Game of Thrones and Mad Men—simultaneously. Now some people, simple people, might think that watching this way would get confusing. But like port and chocolate, peanut butter and honey, or mashed potatoes and balsamic vinegar (try it), the one brings something out in the other something that cannot be put into words. Viewing like this is the way of the future, you guys… that and hoverboards. (Where are they, science?) As I watched them together, I shall review them in a single post. Avast, mateys: here there be spoilers.

Game of Thrones

We open on Jaime Lannister’s severed hand, which you will recall was chopped off by Stan Rizzo last week. Jaime isn’t looking so hot… I mean, he’s still looking hot, but not super healthy. After falling off his horse, he is tormented by Ginsberg, Stan, and new lady copywriter before trying to fight them left-handed. This does not go so well. Later, by the fire, Brienne gives him a tough love pep talk “If you don’t like what they’re saying about you, change the conversation. I totally say that all the time. Quit whining. You sound like a woman.”

In King’s Landing, a lot is going on. Tyrion chats with the Master of Whispers, Dr. Arnold Rosen. Dr. Rosen (whose wife is cheating on him with Don Draper… you’d think he would know that, being Master of Whispers and all, but he’s still in the dark on that one as far as we know) can’t give Tyrion any insight as to whether or not his sister Betty Draper-Francis is trying to kill him, but assures him that revenge will be his in the end. He then reveals the story about that time he was castrated by that creepy new guy in the office who keeps trying to ingratiate himself to all the characters whose names we know at Sterling Cooper Draper Price. Then—ahh!—we see that Rosen has had creepy-new-guy in a box this whole time, with his mouth stitched shut like something out of the Hostel movies or something. Though, frankly, creepy new guy has been really annoying, so we all sort of saw that coming. Later, Rosen gossips with Ros about Pete Campbell’s sleazy interest in Sansa Stark. To try to protect her, Rosen chats with Henry Francis’ mother, aka The Queen of Thorns, to engage Sansa to one of her sons in Highgarden in order to keep her away from Campbell. Campbell, you will recall, was kicked out of his home in Connecticut last week by his wife Yara Greyjoy, and is now going to court Heinz for their ketchup account, which will bring him to the Eyrie. Megan Draper approaches Sansa about the possibility of a Tyrell engagement while Sansa is at prayer. “What were you praying for?” Megan asks Sansa. “For Don to find peace,” Sansa replies. Then they giggle and plan a sleepover or something and talk about how cool it would be for Sansa to marry Megan’s brother. Megan clearly knows how to play the game, and it’s clear she learned that from her wiley grandmother. In an earlier scene, we see how deftly she deals with her insane fiancé, SCDP partner Joffrey, whose lines this episode are focused almost exclusively on giggling over corpses.

Beyond the Wall, at Craster’s Keep, the Black Brothers are shoveling shit as they talk shit. They’re hungry and cold. Scarlet the Stupid Secretary cries to Harry about the fact that her baby boy will have to be fed to The Walking Dead zombies soon. As the day turns to night, The Lord Commander, Bert Cooper, is sitting with Craster inside the house. Cooper’s men are getting anxious and Craster is like “Back when you were shoveling shit out there, I noticed that Dolorous Ed’s time card was a little off. That’s five hours of shit shoveling you were being paid for that you didn’t work.” Then surliest looking man replies, “You still haven’t signed that birthday card I passed around, you bastard!” Then all hell breaks loose and everyone starts killing everyone, including Cooper and Craster, the former of which was totally really sad because he’s such a nice guy! Harry and Stupid Scarlet take this opportunity to run into the woods.

Then we come to Theon Greyjoy, who is being led to safety after torture and imprisonment by Bobby Draper. Oh Theon. I love you so much, even though you’re a douchebag. He laments his decision to betray SCDP by telling his new agency about the open Heinz account (after all, Don was like a father to him). This only makes him more sympathetic and makes me want to hug him more. Then, imagine my shock when Bobby has led Theon right back to the torture chamber—the mysterious room where he’s been forced to work on “Project K.” That Bobby: what a creepy little fuck. But then they get high and talk about hot dogs.

Oh! So then we get to see Sally Draper, Thoros of Myr, and the Hound all brought to the cave set of Megan’s soap opera. They are brought before Beric Dondarrion, who waxes poetic about how he and his band are ghost like and that they’re committed to the Red God, Joan Harris. Then they declare that the Hound is going to be given a steamy love scene with none other than, dum dum duuuuuuuuuuuum: Beric!

At last, we get to Daenerys Targaryen, who has promised Herb the Jaguar creepster that he can sleep with one of her dragons in exchange for 8,000 Unsullied. This is probably my favorite scene in all of the books, so I was really looking forward to seeing it on screen, and it did not disappoint. After the exchange is made, Dany is all “J/K J/K! BACKSIES!” and then orders both her new army and her dragon to raze the Jaguar lot to the ground. Her badassery knows no bounds.

Mad Men

The episode begins in Littlefinger’s bordello. Littlefinger, Don, and the Hound are talking about the possibility of forming a political alliance despite the displeasure they know it would evoke from Tywin Lannister. The Hound wants the crew to come up with a new tagline for House Clegane (neither viewers nor readers know their house words yet!). They decide to keep this very quiet for now—just Littlefinger, Don, and the staff artist, Bran, will be involved in making the presentation to the Hound. They work up in a tree in Bran’s dream, where a three-eyed crow and that kid from Love, Actually find out about it, but they’re cool, so it’s no big deal.

Meanwhile, Joan’s sister, Missandei comes to visit. Missandei is a sworn banner to House Mary Kay (their words are “God first, family second, career third” and their color is pink), but she is thinking of switching her allegiance to House Avon. The women talk about leaning in, and all that, and eventually go out wind up making out with Lancel Lannister for a little while. In the morning, Missandei regrets it and the two have a heart to heart about the lie of being able to have it all. “Why do men get to rule the world?” Missandei moans. “The gods have willed it so,” Joan replies.

Joan’s woes stem from her still not being taken seriously back at the office as the Lord of Harrenhal. After Joan fires Gilly for making too much noise during childbirth, Sam Tarly gets pissed off that he was also not given lands and titles after all he’s done for the company—after all, he has just put together a new TV show musical starring “Broadway Joe Namath” in order to soften the image of their very important clients, House Greyjoy! While Sam does not receive a partnership, he has successfully demonstrated to the viewer that Westeros is still really sexist, even in the 1960s, but that the partners are ultimately, if not fully, for Joan.

Things appear to be looking up for Don’s wife Margery Tyrell, though, whose TV role looks like it will be getting more serious. Don gets pissed off, because Don is a cock, and Margery tries to smooth things over by bringing Don out to dinner with her co-star and writer, Robb Stark and his wife Talisa, who it turns out are swingers. Don is thoroughly bemused yet amused. The Starks are cool about Don and Margery’s not wanting to swap, but they’re still pretty weird when Don comes to Sept of Baelor to see Margery wave to crowds. “This is my job, Don!” she declares angrily.

One of the more interesting plots this week was that of Dawn, Don’s squire. Dawn talks about the terrors that occur while playing this mad game for power. “They would see Madison Avenue burn if they could rule the ashes,” she confides in her friend, who is planning her wedding. “And did I tell you about how they cut off Ned Stark’s head? It’s crazy there!” Dawn gets in trouble with Joan after being involved in the whole Gilly thing, but is ultimately made Hand of the King. Dawn welcomes this opportunity, but Joan merely stares at her deadpan and says “It’s a punishment. You know what they say: the King eats and the hand takes the shit.”

But the real Judas kiss of this whole episode, laden with betrayals, is when Peggy and her team come to the meeting with House Clegane. Everyone is shocked! How did she know about this secret meeting? Don and his team come up with “The Mountain that Heinz” and Peggy and her team come up with “House Clegane: The Only Marauders.” The Cleganes go with Peggy’s pitch. To make matters worse, Don and his team have also pissed of Tywin Lannister, who found out about their dealings!

So things are looking crazy in New York and Westeros. I can’t wait to see what happens next!