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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Garden of Bones”

The second season of Game of Thrones really hit its stride tonight with “Garden of Bones.”

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “Garden of Bones”
Photo: HBO

The second season of Game of Thrones really hit its stride tonight with “Garden of Bones,” an episode that heightens the tension in a number of major inter-related conflicts to great effect. It’s arguably the season’s turning point, the moment where various characters quarrel and draw lines in the sand without really thinking too far in advance of what will come next. That concept is established early on when Robb Stark (Richard Madden) talks to a healer attending to the dead and dying on a decimated battlefield. The Starks have just clashed with the Lannisters, but you can’t really tell which side prevailed based on the valley full of indiscriminately decimated bodies.

In this sequence, episode writer Vanessa Taylor firmly establishes that “Garden of Bones” is the point in the season where allegiances are decisively forged and rescinded. The nurse, after sawing off the leg of a gangrenous soldier, incredulously chastises Robb by saying, “You’re fighting to overthrow a king, yet you have no plan for what comes after?” “First we have to win the war,” Robb firmly replies, but the damage caused by the question has been done. We now know that we’re in the thick of the plot, making the episode’s climactic finale a dramatic reminder that anything can happen from here on out.

While “Garden of Bones” is full of escalating confrontations, there are two conflicts that advance well beyond the rest. The first is Catelyn Stark’s (Michelle Fairley) beef with Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen), a dispute that’s needed squaring up ever since Catelyn’s husband, Ned Stark, was killed. The other fight that’s majorly advanced is the one between Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) and Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten), the latter of whom fights on behalf of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), Renly’s brother and rival, for Joffrey Baratheon’s (Jack Gleeson) crown.

No other character-defining dilemma heats up as significantly in “Garden of Bones” as Catelyn or Melisandre’s, not that of Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), now a captive but otherwise unmolested, and not even that of Daenarys Targaryn (Emilia Clarke), a beleaguered, resourceless leader who’s still fighting to keep her Dothraki cabal alive in the desert. Daenarys and her men are miraculously welcomed by the denizens of Qarth, a city whose walls are guarded by the titular garden. So Daenarys, Arya, and even Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the last of whom is now openly feuding with Joffrey, all basically survive the events of “Garden of Bones” with relatively non-threatening plot threads dangling over their heads. At least, there’s nothing as scary or scarring threatening them by episode’s end as there is for Catelyn and Melisandre, two almost-queens (Catelyn’s a widow and Melisandre’s Stannis’s mistress) that advise very different kings.

Melisandre, who serves as the power-hungry Stannis’s closest advisor, is the cause of the biggest happening in “Garden of Bones”: She gives birth to an evil shadow monster. The scene where Melisandre has Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) ferry her to a remote spot to give birth is the most shocking part of the episode even if it’s not the most explicitly violent (Joffrey beats two different women by proxy). We don’t yet know how Melisandre’s monster will affect Stannis’s renewed campaign against Renly, but now we know that the Baratheon brothers’ feud has just gotten really serious and really weird really quickly.

By contrast, the most chilling moment in “Garden of Bones” has to be the implicit rather than explicitly chilling moment when Catelyn opens a cask offered to her by Littlefinger that presumably contains Ned’s head (we don’t get to see it). The way she reacts to Littlefinger’s bizarre conciliatory gift is really moving. This is more than just a personal rift between Catelyn and Littlefinger now. The return of Ned’s head to Catelyn is sure to have an effect on the Lannister-versus-Stark struggle. Like the way that “Garden of Bones” ends with Melisandre’s shadow monster slithering out from between her legs, Catelyn’s subplot ends on more uncertain terms than when the episode begins. What comes next obviously matters for every character in the episode. But a tipping point has been reached by Melisandre and Catelyn.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAcftIUE6MQ

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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Watch: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Gets Teaser Trailer

When it rains, it pours.

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Photo: Columbia Pictures

When it rains, it pours. Four days after Quentin Tarantino once more laid into John Ford in a piece written for his Beverly Cinema website that saw the filmmaker referring to Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon as Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and two days after Columbia Pictures released poster art for QT’s ninth feature that wasn’t exactly of the highest order, the studio has released a teaser for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was announced early last year, with Tarantino describing it as “a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood.”

Set on the eve of the Manson family murders, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tells the story of TV actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), as they try to get involved in the film industry. The film also stars Margot Robbie (as Sharon Tate), Al Pacino, the late Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern in a part originally intended for the late Burt Reynolds.

See the teaser below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scf8nIJCvs4

Columbia Pictures will release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood on July 26.

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Watch the Stranger Things 3 Trailer, and to the Tune of Mötley Crüe and the Who

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence.

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Stranger Things 3
Photo: Netflix

A wise woman once said that there’s no such thing as a coincidence. On Friday, Jeff Tremaine’s The Dirt, a biopic about Mötley Crüe’s rise to fame, drops on Netflix. Today, the streaming service has released the trailer for the third season of Stranger Things. The clip opens with the strains of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home,” all the better to underline that the peace and quiet that returned to the fictional rural town of Hawkins, Indiana at the end of the show’s second season is just waiting to be upset again.

Little is known about the plot of the new season, and the trailer keeps things pretty vague, though the Duffer Brothers have suggested that the storyline will take place a year after the events of the last season—duh, we know when “Home Sweet Home” came out—and focus on the main characters’ puberty pangs. That said, according to Reddit sleuths who’ve obsessed over such details as the nuances of the new season’s poster art, it looks like Max and company are going to have to contend with demon rats no doubt released from the Upside Down.

See below for the new season’s trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEG3bmU_WaI

Stranger Things 3 premieres globally on July 4.

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