Thinking about this blog, I decided it shouldn’t be purely academic. I mean, this is about storytelling and there are a plethora of great stories to talk about in books, film, and of course on premium cable.
So, I think it would be fun to take a dive into the real world and examine some of the stories that I’m currently obsessing over. Right now that happens to be two show that air on Sunday nights:
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR GAME OF THRONES- SPOILS OF WAR & TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN- STARTING POSITION
I’ll start with Game of Thrones. Last night’s episode was amazing for a lot of reasons, but one scene stands out as an instant GOT classic. That freaking battle!
When Daenerys came over the horizon, mounted atop her dragon, I felt a surge of adrenaline followed by dread. In GOT battles are never one-sided. At least, not for the viewer. There are always casualties. Characters on both sides who were invested in (except in Battle of the Bastards, screw the Boltons).
Last night was no exception. There were four characters put into serious jeopardy during the battle: Jaime, Bronn, Daenerys, and Drogon (yes- I count him as a character).
We open the scene with Jaime and Bronn- a bromance for the ages- and charging towards them, just about every blood-crazed, Dothraki horsemen in Westeros.
As if they weren’t bad enough, also barreling down on Jaime’s position is Daenerys Stormborn on the back of a goddamn dragon! The scene is well-acted as Bronn (Jerome Flynn) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), two characters familiar and confident in battle, look confused and shaken for the majority of the scene as their troops and supplies are literally set ablaze.
The conflict was at all time high, as the show writers pitted each set of characters in direct opposition to one another. How hard was it to cheer for Bronn- who we all love- when he manned the Scorpion in a mission to bring down Drogon and Dany along with him? I know I was torn on a deep, psychological level.
Later, when she is finally downed, Jaime spots Dany distracted by Drogon’s injury. He seizes the moment and charges, lance in hand. At that moment, I empathized most with poor Tyrion, watching above, as his beloved brother was about to either die painfully or murder the queen Tyrion’s chosen to serve.
This battle, like the Lannisters, paid off a lot of debts. By debts, I mean scenes, some that stretch as far back as season one. Watching the Dothraki mow down the Lannister’s men I thought back to the words of King Robert as he explained their threat to Cersei:
Given the outcome of this battle, I wonder if Cersei will give her late husband’s advice a second thought. I doubt it, but what do you think?
Twin Peaks: The Return
This episode’s title, Starting Position, is an apt one given the amount of time we spend in the place it all began- Twin Peaks. And, like last week, we saw the return of one of our OG characters- Big Ed.
Not only did Ed return, but for a fleeting moment, it looked as if he and Norma had finally worked out their complicated love affair. All hopes were soon shattered, though, as Ed explains to Bobby, “There’s nothing going on here.”
Lynch has left clues to the fates of the characters we left behind in Twin Peaks, and like Agent Cooper, many seem to be stuck in a limbo, unable to move forward. Big Ed is still hung up on a thirty year, unrequited love. Bobby has lost his relationship with Shelly while their daughter, Becky, is trapped in a toxic love affair.
Other characters are physically tied to a single location. Nadine in her back office, watching Dr. Amp’s (formally Dr. Jacoby) raging web series. Log Lady, only seen in her house talking to Hawk over the landline which anchors her to the setting. Sarah Palmer on her couch sipping homemade cocktails, and watching violence, played on loop, on her TV. And then there’s Audrey.
We’ve only seen Audrey in two episodes now, arguing with her husband(?), Charlie, in a house full of anachronism- a rotary phone on Charlie’s desk last week, and this week a large wooden radio cabinet in the background. These may be stylistic choices by the famously eccentric showrunner, but could there be more to this?
It was mentioned earlier that Audrey was left in a coma after the bank explosion that ended season two. Did she ever come out of this coma? Or, like Cooper, has she spent the last twenty-five years locked away from the physical realm? In a lodge of her mind’s own making?
If this is our starting position, where do we go from here?
On the plus side, James seems to be doing well.