YouTube/Jimmy Kimmel Live
Our favorite segment of Jimmy Kimmel Live! came back last night to celebrate the first game of the NFL season. Jimmy Kimmel introduced us to "Mean Tweets - NFL Edition," and it's easily the best edition of "Mean Tweets" we've seen yet on the show (except for Jimmy's own tweet about Matt Damon). Twitter users do not spare any feelings in this round of tweets.
Check out the hilarious sketch below:
Good on these athletes to take these insults so well, we can't imagine it's easy reading hateful things about yourself. But they were able to laugh along with the rest of us at the ridiculous things people will say on Twitter.
Some of our favorites are:
"F**K YOU DWIGHT FREENEY. I HOPE YOUR FOOT RIPS OFF IN THIS GAME YOU D**K."
"DeSean Jackson seems like no matter how much money he makes he won't stop shopping at Express."
"Isn't Steve Smith like 50 years old?"
- "No, actually I'm 35" (direct quote from Steve Smith)
"Did Brandon Marshall really cry in his post game interview?? Grow some balls bro."
But the best Mean Tweet (and reaction) of them all was:
YouTube/Jimmy Kimmel Live Follow @hollywood_com | Follow @analuisasrz
Soul band The Commodores are suing former bandmate Thomas Mcclary for allegedly using the group's name without permission. The Easy hitmakers, who reached their peak in the 1970s, still perform regularly despite the departure of Lionel Richie and McClary in the 1980s to pursue solo careers.
According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ.com, McClary is allegedly using The Commodores' name for his current shows. They claim he is confusing fans by calling his group The Commodores featuring Thomas McClary and singing their greatest hits.
The current line-up is seeking the money McClary made from the performances which he used their name to promote.
"Shut up crime!” It's the comic battle cry of the Crimson Bolt, a crimefighter garbed in a red patchwork costume and doling out steel-lugged justice to line butters and other scum of his city. Before being snatched up to helm Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn wrote and directed 2010's Super, a darkly comic deconstruction of the superhero genre, nestled right in the middle of the genre's hostile takeover of American cinema. The film follows Frank Darbo (Rainn Wilson, in one of the best performances of his career), a nebbish fry cook with only two good memories in a life filled with pain: 1) marrying the love of his life, and 2) helping a police officer subdue a criminal. When his wife (Liv Tyler), a recovering drug addict, slips back into addiction thanks to a local high level dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon), it is only a matter of time before Darbo snaps. And snapping for this man, who can only see the world in black in white, is to don a homemade superhero costume and beat ne'er-do-wells with a monkey wrench.
Super is an examination of what it would mean to be a superhero in the real world. It asks the question: What if someone lifted the techniques, methods, and moralities from a comic book, and applied them to real life? And the result is something far less fun than the Avengers, or even the similar-in-concept Kick-Ass. Frank's quest to rid his city of crime is one of a deluded man. While all manner of people decide to take the streets into their own hands in the pages of comic books, Super posits that anyone would have to be legitimately insane to become a costumed vigilante. It's not the whim of a well-adjusted individual, but someone who is severely broken in some way. It's a thread that Batman comics have been pulling for eons, but one that hasn't quite made it up to the big screen in a big blockbuster production.
Gunn's directorial debut is a much different superhero film than Guardians of the Galaxy promises to be, but it's easy to see why Marvel was so keen on having Gunn bring the property — Marvel's weirdest venture to date and a considerable gamble for the studio — to life. With Super, Gunn proves his deep understanding of the psychology of comic book superheroes, of the type of lunacy that it takes to become a vigilante. And to varying degrees, Both Super and Guardians are films that mess with the status quo of what most filmmgoers expect from their costumed heroes. At its core, Guardians of the Galaxy is a tale about a handful of galactic misfits that band together to save the day. Rocket, Groot, and Peter Quill don't resemble the stalwart Superman or the endlessly charming Tony Stark. Instead, they are the misfits. They are the losers, the outcasts, the downtrodden, the guys with a couple of screws loose. The Guardians of the Galaxy are more Frank Darbo than Clark Kent, and they are in the hands of a director that understands that.
It's easy to get caught up in the world of Orange is the New Black. The grittiness and emotional rawness of the show can lead you to believe that you are seeing prison life as it really is. Luckily, real former prisoners have spoken up about the show. Though there's a lot OITNB gets right about life behind bars, there's definitely some deviation from reality. Here are some of the real prisoners' best quotes, though we also recommend reading their full stories.
On racism:"The show is racist. Yes, I said it. That’s because the entire prison apparatus is racist, thus any show based on it, rooted in it, must also be racist." – Bruce Reilly for RIfuture.org
On ingenuity: "From Sophia’s stylish silver shower shoes made from duct tape and Morello’s Kool-Aid as mascara/lip gloss to the hooch at Tricia’s Irish wake, prisoners learn to make do with less. This echoes my experience. I saw inmates cut hair with toenail clippers (no pimped-out full-service salons like Sophia’s!), cook grilled cheese with a laundry room iron, and fashion free weights from massive boulders in laundry bags and tied around a bar." – Jeff Smith in Buzzfeed
On suffering: "[On the show] you don't see someone sitting in the corner crying, and someone sitting at the other end of the table crying." – Diana Delgado in the Chicago Tribune
On segregation: “If you’re a drug offender, you hang out with drug offenders. If you’re in for a money crime, people think you’re intelligent. Then you have the sex offenders that you really don’t mess with at all.” – Michelle Vaughn in New York Magazine
"In Orange, the races eat together, which was exceptionally rare at the Kentucky prison where I spent 2010. I did it my first week when I was the only white guy in my cell block and didn’t know any other whites; an Aryan Brotherhood member pulled me aside later that day and advised me not to do so again." – Jeff Smith
On showering: "The shower itself is disgusting. There was different types of molds and funguses growing on the shower — out and around the shower." – Jason Porter, a former inmate at the prison where some of Orange is the New Black is shot
On visits: “Your hair looks like a mess, and you’re wearing that awful gray potato sack, and then you wait so long just for a one-hour visit.” – Laura in New York Magazine
British rapper Example has turned on his former mentor Mike Skinner, insisting The Streets star's career bombed after his third album. The Stay Awake hitmaker got his big break when Skinner signed him to his record company, The Beats, in 2006, and he put out five singles and his debut album What We Made on the label before it closed in 2007.
However, he has now taken a swipe at his former boss Skinner by suggesting the star's career was effectively ended by his 2006 release The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living.
The album - on which Skinner wrote extensively about his struggle to deal with stardom - divided critics and fans, and Example is adamant the record sounded the death knell for his former mentor's music career.
He tells Q magazine, "Mike Skinner's third album was all about fame and money. That's the moment it kind of finished for him."
Skinner went on to release two more albums but split up The Streets in 2011.
There's a scene in a recent episode of Mad Men in which Megan Draper (Jessica Paré) has a threesome with her husband Don and her new friend Amy. It would be easy to claim that this scene represents Megan's free spirit, and that she embodies the progressive movement of the 1960s. It would also be false.
In fact, this scene and Megan's detachment in the morning after imply that Megan isn't as progressive as she thinks she is. Born into privilege and dependent on Don's finances, Megan hates the fact that she's old-fashioned, so she dabbles into what she believes will make her appear bohemian. She calls herself an actress, dresses in the latest trendy fashion, and throws hip parties for her guitar playing friends. When no one's watching, however, she asks Don for money and puts up with his philandering.
So much of Mad Men is about the construction of identity, and about trying to be someone you're not--someone you think you ought to be. The female characters, especially, grapple with this, especially as conceptions of womanhood became complicated in the 1960s. Megan is perhaps the most interesting precisely because she can't accept who she truly is. Whereas Betty has at least come to terms with the fact that she's a terrible mother who never wanted children, and Peggy recently acknowledged her loneliness and isolation as a career driven woman with no family, Megan hasn't realized the extent to which her entire public appearance is a facade.
There are some viewers, however, who believe that Megan is a "new woman." They suggest that while she indeed loves and depends on Don, she gives equal attention to her career aspirations, and uproots traditional order with her bohemian lifestyle. These viewers, I think, are missing the point. Unlike Stephanie, Anna Draper's niece who genuinely embodies the counter-culture, Megan is a spoiled rich kid who wants a taste of that life without any of the consequences Joan Didion famously wrote about in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Megan presents herself as a radical while she lives comfortably out of Don's pocket, which means that she's not radical at all.
What do you think? Am I being too harsh on Megan, or is she as fake as I make her out to be. Cast your vote in the poll below.
Another one bites the dust. Last week, Fox canceled one of its few sci-fi shows, Almost Human, reaffirming the network’s reputation as a bad home for science fiction programming. The network may have given rise to the sci-fi kingpin The X Files, as well as the well-liked Dark Angel, but they haven’t been able to find another hit since, which may be the result of too many early cancellations. Most notorious of the killed-too-soon sci-fi series are Joss Whedon’s Firefly and Dollhouse. But Whedon wasn’t the only victim: Terra Nova, Tru Calling, and now the J.J. Abrams produced detective series were all canceled before their time. So where is Fox going wrong?
It’s safe to say that Fox's first misstep took place in regards to Firefly. The show became such a cult hit that Whedon revived it for a concluding film, Serenity, and was asked if he might resuscitate the long-finished series after the Veronica Mars Kickstarter raised enough money to fund a film. Firefly was canceled after a mere 13 episodes when it wasn’t receiving the kind of viewership Fox expected. Given the amount of praise the series has gained in the 15 years since cancelation, it’s easy to see that Fox missed out on a diamond in the rough.
The problem with Fox is that the network never fully commits to its sci-fi shows and expects too much. If Fox wants to have a successful science fiction series on its network, they should give those shows creative freedom. For instance, Fox shouldn’t air episodes out of order (like it did with Almost Human) or try to force a show in a direction they think might be more successful (like it did with Firefly).
At this point, Fox’s bad reputation with sci-fi series has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more that Fox mistreats its science fiction series, the more sci-fi fans decide not to even bother investing in those shows. Science fiction is a niche genre that won’t appeal to as wide a range of viewers as reality competition shows, but that doesn’t mean the audience isn’t there. However, fans aren’t going to invest in a show that could very likely be canceled after 13 episodes.
Either Fox needs to decide it really wants to draw in science fiction fans, which might mean letting a show run a little longer than a single 13-episode season to allow viewers a chance to actually get invested; or, Fox should just give up. They’ve seemed to hit gold with its paranormal drama, Sleepy Hollow, so maybe Fox should stick with projects of that ilk and leave the sci-fi series to networks that will give them a real chance.
Universal Pictures via Everett Collection/Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
As Memorial Day approaches, American moviegoers prepare for an onslaught of summer blockbusters. Whether it's the latest edition of a franchise like X-Men: Days of Future Past or the possible beginning of one like Guardians of the Galaxy, everyone has gotten used to big, expensive films hitting the multiplex when the weather gets warm.
Of course, it wasn't always that way. The mid '70s work of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas helped usher in the current model that studios use in setting their summer releases. While the work of the two directors is iconic, what's followed hasn't always lived up to the term "blockbuster." Our writers argue whether things were better in the days when Lucas and Spielberg ruled the roost or if we're in a new golden age of big budget extravaganzas.
The Spectacular Spielberg (Jon Lisi)
Let’s just assume for a second that Jaws was never released in the summer of 1975.
Cynics might claim that the brilliant New Hollywood films of the 1970s like Five Easy Pieces, Nashville, and The Conversation would continue to be made as a result, but we all know that this so-called “American New Wave” was on the inevitable decline. Instead, we’d have to imagine a cinema in which the first major summer blockbuster from Hollywood was not Spielberg’s terrifying monster movie.
Is it possible to picture the summer blockbuster without Jaws? I don’t think so. For better or worse, Jaws is the gold standard to which all future summer blockbusters have been judged. The question that is asked as a result, then, is whether or not contemporary summer blockbusters like Transformers, Iron Man, The Avengers and other superhero amalgamations compare in quality to past summer blockbusters like Jaws, E.T., Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters?
If we are to answer this question honestly, we need to remove any consideration of money. After all, plenty of movies do well at the box office, and the massive success of the Twilight franchise shows how few of them are actually good. Instead, we need to focus on what the first summer blockbusters like Jaws and Star Wars had that contemporary ones like Transformers and Iron Man lack.
The most significance difference, I think, is that a summer blockbuster like Jaws isn’t about a shark, whereas a summer blockbuster like Transformers is about alien robots. That is, Jaws uses a series of shark attacks to investigate small-town mentality in an entertaining way. You can certainly sit back and enjoy the film literally — as a monster movie — but Spielberg wants you to think about what the shark reveals about American community and the ways individuals work together to solve a common problem.
Transformers, by contrast, doesn’t offer anything interesting beyond the initial spectacle. The digital effects may lure you into the theater, but after the stuff blows up, you aren’t left with anything to ponder. This may not matter to prepubescent boys, but for those interested in mainstream fare that is also intelligent, the contemporary summer blockbuster doesn’t suffice.
I’m aware that there are exceptions. For instance, the films by Christopher Nolan merge commerce and art quite successfully, as do most Pixar films. However, these are anomalies, and for the most part, contemporary summer blockbusters have failed to live up to the standard Jaws set nearly 40 years ago.
A Marvel-ous New Era (Brendon McCullin)
The passage of time tends to lend a glow to the early blockbusters of Spielberg and Lucas. In reality, Spielberg went the Hitchcock route with Jaws because he was forced to by external conditions. And we can argue how much the performances by Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw had to do with his directing. Lucas, for his part, might have been great at story concepts but he always had a tin ear when it came to dialogue (leading to the famous Harrison Ford rant, "You can type this s**t, but you sure as hell can't say it").
That's not to denigrate what Spielberg and Lucas did — they each authored cultural phenomena that altered American filmmaking and the movie industry as a whole — but let's not go too crazy. Some of their contemporaries, particularly screenwriters like John Milius and Robert Towne, may have liked them personally, but didn't always love how they handled their craft.
The fact is there has always been and will always be a place in Hollywood for big, crowd-pleasing popcorn movies… and there have always been good and bad ones. Just because Jaws was better than The Towering Inferno and Star Wars was better than Airport '77 doesn’t necessarily kick into the same strata of cinematic history as The Godfather.
If we were having this argument 15 to 20 years ago, I would be completely on board. Back when Michael Bay was unleashing a steady stream of trash like Armageddon and The Rock on audiences and what amounted to good storytelling was Will Smith making wisecracks while fighting aliens in Independence Day… well, yes, that was a low point for summer blockbusters. Heck, that was a low point for film in general.
Since then, however, a new group of filmmakers who value story as much as visual pyrotechnics have taken the lead on some of the biggest tent-pole movies in recent years. Some of them, such as Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) come from the writer dominated domain of television. Others, like Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Kenneth Branagh (Thor) are themselves actors and work to make their stars look good.
Combine that group with the aforementioned Nolan (The Dark Knight) and the Pixar team under John Lasseter and really, you would be hard pressed to find another period that matched the number of talented, conscientious, and literate filmmakers that are willing to helm blockbusters.
The nice thing is that many of these directors — particularly Whedon and Abrams — clearly gained some of their sensibilities as youngsters watching the films of Lucas and Spielberg. You're never going to get rid of people like Bay and movies like his Transformers franchise, but blockbusters are in as good of hands now as they've ever been.
20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection
I believe it was René Descartes who wisely tweeted #HatersGonnaHate. The second you land in the public eye people will hate your sense of style, the geometry of your face, or even the sound of your voice. But what about when this hatred is justly deserved? Katherine Heigl has managed to alienate Hollywood insiders, fans, and audiences. She has attacked people who have helped shape her success like Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes. She’s even going after pharmacy chain, Duane Reade. Is anyone safe?
Heigl was a child model and best known for her role on the television series Roswell. Her movie credits at the time included horror movies Valentine, Bride of Chucky, and the body-switching family movie Wish Upon a Star. Then she lucked into a movie role in Knocked Up. She shined in the stoner comedy and the film was hugely successful. However, she later came out and said that the film was a little sexist. Now… that’s not a punishable offense. Apatow’s films are not renowned for their feminist ideals. However, she did break the Hollywood golden rule by burning a bridge. She also didn’t do much in the way of helping feminism with her roles playing roles similar to her annoying shrew role in Knocked Up in other romantic comedies.
Most of her success is due to Grey’s Anatomy. She was floating around the C-List until she was tapped to play charming Dr. Izzie Stevens. She even won an Emmy in 2007 for a major storyline for her character. However, to prove she has no loyalty at all she turned down a second Emmy nomination in 2008 stating:
“I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”
The only way to read that statement is as a huge slap in the face to the writers and show runner responsible for her success. It’s easy to point fingers and condescend when you’re successful. However, neither she or T.R. Knight found much success after being asked to get written off the show. She even said she wanted to return. However, Rhimes put it best when she told Oprah, “On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them.” Looks like Heigl may need Olivia Pope’s help to get out of this mess. It’s also worth mentioning that she told Oprah this after mentioning part of Scandal’s success is their “no a*****e policy.” Do with that what you will.
In an alternate universe, this honest, folksy Heigl could be the key to breaking down the tyranny of the Hollywood machine. However, she proves with her behavior that she’s probably just a jerk. She was poised to become like Sandra Bullock, a woman whose worst movies are still utterly delightful. But the main difference is that Bullock is likable. Bullock has handled a high profile divorce from good-press-black-hole Jesse James with diplomacy and grace. She handled her pre-Oscar campaigning with humor and personality. She is the folksy good-old girl that Heigl wishes she could be.
You cannot be outspoken and and make diva-ish demands while playing America's sweetheart roles. Hollywood Reporter has published multiple accounts of bad behavior by Heigl and her momager Nancy Heigl. If that’s not enough, she’s just smug. For example, when she was a presenter at the Emmys, where she won the now infamous award, she took a second to go off script to passive aggressively mock the announcer. If we can learn anything from the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem, when it comes to the petty stuff like that, “Let it go!”
As if it isn’t enough she’s alienated herself from Hollywood, Heigl has decided to get litigious over a tweet. Now, Walgreens’ New York division Duane Reade, was pretty shameless in posting a paparazzi photo of Heigl coming out of the store with her purchases. But it’s not a 6 million dollar offense. Patronizing a store or using a product in public is sort of public domain. Tons of celebrities inadvertently endorse Starbucks, Red Bull, or brands of cigarettes. Policing social media does not seem like her place given her questionable integrity. Her time would be better spent sending 6 million tweets of thanks to the people who saw One For the Money.
It looks like Heigl is set to return to television. Maybe she has learned from all her bad behavior and can convince the whole world that she isn’t hypocritical, smug, passive aggressive, or a diva. Hopefully nothing but good things come to her. The one thing we have learned from Heigl is the negativity you put out in the world does come back to you.
"Breaker of Chains" opens exactly where "The Lion and the Rose" closed: on Joffrey's purple, breathless face, his lifeless eyes staring up at his screaming mother.
It's a good place to kick off the events of the episode, a unifying theme for many of the disjointed segments that make up this week's Game of Thrones, and one that helps remind the audience of the chaos that has now gripped Westeros once again. The king is dead, his uncle is arrested for the crime and King's landing has been closed off to prevent any more conspirators from getting away while the shock waves ripple out towards the rest of the kingdom, leaving everyone scrambling to react.
It's the citizens in King's Landings who understandably react most strongly to those waves, starting with Sansa, who is spirited away from the wedding feast by Ser Dontos to a ship that's waiting for her in the harbor. The plot, it turns out, was devised by Littlefinger, who returns briefly with a distractingly awkward accent to take care of the witnesses (Ser Dontos, we barely knew ye) and fulfill the promise he made to Catelyn Stark to protect her daughters. As he guides her below deck to sail off somewhere safer, it's hard to feel as if Sansa is truly safe with him, no matter how many times he tries to reiterate that she is. She's finally out of the Lannisters' clutches, and with Joffrey dead, there's no longer the imminent threat of death and torture hanging over her head... but Littlefinger has never been a man to be trusted, so it doesn't look like poor Sansa is out of the woods just yet.
Meanwhile, her husband is in prison, awaiting news about his upcoming trial. Tyrion's been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit before, and he's frantically efficient in laying out an attempted plan of defense with Podrick, who comes to bring him food and some basic accoutrements, and - more importantly - news about the ways Tyrion's family intends to take him down. Peter Dinklage bounces from beat to beat within the scene with the kind of effortlessness that make all of his scenes such a delight to watch, and it's when he's pacing around his cell, trading barbs and plots with Pod that the episode truly comes alive. Hopefully the the date of his trial arrives quickly, as Game of Thrones really does need him to give the episode a shot in the arm every so often, and his imprisonment will drastically cut down on Dinklage's screentime.
But what starts as a manic conversation exploring possible options for escape and defense eventually slows its pace as Tyrion learns that Pod has been asked to testify against him. He's resolute in his decision to send his squire away for his own protection, and Dinklage's blank stare as he gives his last orders betray just how badly this particular blow has hurt him. Pod's reluctant to leave his master behind prove he truly is the most loyal squire who ever lived, but we're hoping that he won't be gone for too long. What would we do with all of our "Pod for the Iron Throne" buttons otherwise?
Meanwhile, the rest of the Lannisters are coping with Joffrey's sudden death in different ways. Tywin is, as expected, all business, lecturing Tommen about what makes a good king over the body of his dead grandson. Tywin is all about power, and this tragedy gives him plenty of opportunities to gain more, as everybody is in far too much shock to stop him from digging his claws into the new king. Charles Dance tears into his big monologue in the sept with relish and tackles his conversation with Oberyn with the same kind of zeal. Tywin is usually a despicable character, and his all-encompassing desire for the throne blinds him to the feelings or morals of others, and while Dance never shies away from these aspects of Tywin, he is always wonderful to watch.
Which brings us to the other Lannister children, and that terrible, uncomfortable, unnecessary scene. After Tywin finishes his first royal lesson, he escorts Tommen out of the sept while Jaime makes his way in, sending all of the priests and guards away. It's ostensibly to give Cersei a moment alone with Joffrey, but it's really a chance for them to mourn their child together, and it turns into a rape scene, as Cersei confronts Jaime about killing Tyrion to avenge the king and Jaime confronts the fact that the woman he loves is a hateful one. Of course, that doesn't explain why a man who has thus far established himself to be against sexual violence to attack his sister/lover right next to the body of their dead son, but nothing about this scene seems to make any sense.
In the books, Jaime and Cersei's encounter is a consensual one — although it is regarded by fans as being uncomfortably comical — a jarring expression of grief from two characters who don't know how to react to things the way normal people might. Here, it seems gratuitous, a horrific act added in for the sake of being shocking and appalling. It changes everything we know about Jaime, the Kingslayer who killed people for the right reasons, even knowing what it would do for his reputation. It takes any kind of affection out of his twisted love affair with his sister, and undoes all of the work that both the books and the show do to re-frame him as a complex, flawed human being rather than a complete monster. And it's a unnecessary and cruel punishment for Cersei, as regardless of the writers' intentions, it does read as a punishment for Cersei's wickedness, despite the fact that nobody deserves to endure such a horror, no matter what evils they themselves have committed.
"Breaker of Chains" leaves you reeling from that scene, but never follows up on it, leaving you shocked and uncomfortable for the rest of the episode, forcing you to attempt to pay attention to whatever the Wildlings are up to through the outrage you're still feeling. The fact that it's left completely unacknowledged colors the rest of the episode, which is already all over the place in terms of story and tone.
The ripples of discontent that Joffrey's death causes reach Dragonstone first, giving Stannis the perfect opportunity to attack the throne and reclaim his birthright. Davos, as usual, attempts to use logic against Stannis' religious fanaticism, as he's convinced that he can simply have Melisandre pray for his army to take the city and it will become true. His hand, however, understands that armies take money, and it's Shireen who gives him the idea of where to get it. The bond between Davos and Shireen continues to gives the show some much-needed sweetness, but we're still a bit worried about what might happen to the princess now that Melisandre has set her sights on her. Davos is the only one who would be be able to protect her from the Red Priestess, but we're hoping tht things won't get to a point where he needs to. Is it too much to ask for one child to make it through the series without being traumatized and corrupted?
Word about Joffrey's death hasn't seemed to make its way too far North or South, as neither Arya and the Hound (whose double act had the unfortunate task of serving as comic relief after Jamie and Cersei's scene this week) nor the Brothers of the Nightswatch seem to be concerned about the ramifications the lack of king could have on the land. Granted, with the Wildlings terrorizing villages and slaughtering whole families within running distance of Castle Black, they might have more pressing matters to attend to at the moment. Unfortunately, both plots seem to be spinning their wheels at the moment, waiting for the right moment to steal attention away from King's Landing.
And on the other side of the sea, Daenerys and her army have finally stopped their seemingly-endless marching to challenge the people of Mereen and attempt to free their slaves. Daario effortlessly takes down Mereen's champion with two quick slashes of his knife, impressing the Khaleesi in a way that foreshadows some major romantic developments. I'm less impressed by him, as there's still something about Daario that just screams "sleazy." The big ending moment of the episode came when Dany catapulted the broken chains of her former slaves, and while it was meant to be a major iconic moment, it felt flat and repetitive, which meant "Breaker of Chains" went out with a whimper.
With so many characters and plots running simultaneously on Game of Thrones, there's never going to be an easy way to keep every storyline moving without completely overwhelming the audience. The show is still having difficulty finding the right balance between action and exposition, resulting in episodes like "Breaker of Chains," which feature one or two big moments surrounded by long stretches of tiny developments. Any kind of frustration felt about that pace is only exacerbated by episodes like this one, where there shoehorned-in shock factor doesn't make up for the way the rest of the episode stalls. "Breaker of Chains" started out as a solid episode, but devolved into a perfect example of so many criticisms that fans have about the show.
Episode grade: C, or Two Pouting Jon Snows