|06.28.16 at 9:23 pm ET|
|06.27.16 at 2:26 pm ET|
When Season 3 of “Silicon Valley” began, Richard Hendricks had lost control of his own company and was forced to work under a bunch of idiots. Naturally, he was miserable. By the end of Season 4, a forced sale from one group of idiots to another had Richard in a pretty similar position, though instead of being depressed, Richard and the incubees couldn’t have been happier.
The reason, other than the fact that they could push around their “new” money guys (Erlich and Big Head) in ways they couldn’t with Raviga? Because Richard seems obsessed with being on the cusp of something rather than actually achieving it. When Pied Piper is the buzzed-about up-and-coming company, he thrives. Once he achieves a shred of success, he’s “sweating through his sheets.” With the company now pivoting (as Jared hinted late in Season 1), Pied Piper is no longer a job for Richard, but once again an avenue for showing everyone how smart he is, which is ultimately the neurotic-yet-extremely vain engineer’s purpose in life.
Here are tres notes on the final episode of Season 3:
– Call me crazy, but as soon as Monica noted that Raviga was forcing a sale of Pied Piper, I was giddy at the idea of Gavin buying it. A season in which they had to work under Gavin would have been great, as he still would have remained the enemy much like Action Jack was in the early going of Season 3. He’s made to be unlikeable, but Gavin is one of the best characters on the show.
On the subject of villains/obstacles, the sale of Pied Piper from Raviga combined with the possibility of Monica being fired brings up one troubling question: Is this the end of Laurie? Hopefully not, as this show turned what looked to be a one-dimensional boss into one of the show’s more entertaining characters.
– It’s an upset when anything Erlich-related isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, so who would have thought his monologue would be so boring? The scene on which the entire episode was built — Erlich recalling how his borderline creepy lunch-hour activity turned into a company-saving offer of Round 2 funding — had enough jokes to justify how long it dragged, but for the first time maybe in show history the viewer could understand why he wears on his colleagues.
On the subject of Erlich, his overestimation on himself being put in context by the heavy hitters of the industry is the best running joke of the entire series. The look on his face when he offered to sign the term sheet, only to be told, “You can if you want, but we still need [Richard’s] signature,” was gold.
– Dinesh absolutely owned the scene in which he and Gilfoyle pledge their willingness to commit fraud. He tries to be so many things in this series — mostly cool, in several ways that never work — but trying to badass tops the list. The best part about it? He could be, since the person with whom he was dealing (Richard) was one of only two people on the show (the other being Jared, of course) who actually is less badass than him.
Unsung hero of the episode: Neil in the blue Kia Sportage
Best line: “How does this compare with a typical board meeting?”
Jian Yang watch: Two scenes and he knocked both of them out of the park. Keep in mind that this followed an episode in which Jian Yang had no lines, cementing that the writers are being careful to not overuse their show’s secret weapon.
Last season’s “And what about me?” from Erlich was perhaps the best walkoff line in television history, but Jian Yang’s “this is you as an old man” prank call to end Season 3 set the bar pretty high for however they’ll wrap up Season 4.
|06.27.16 at 10:48 am ET|
“Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss told us before season six that they believed this was the best season yet. Through five episodes, it appeared they were right. This season came out of the gates on fire, with major plot developments in every episode and one “wow” moment after another — Jon’s resurrection, the deaths of Balon Greyjoy and Roose Bolton, Rickon being turned over to Ramsay, Daenerys burning down the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen and taking over the Dothraki army, and of course, Hodor.
The season did slow down in episodes six through eight, and there have been some plot holes (some of which we’ve touched on in our reviews of the previous two episodes), so if anyone wanted to make a case against this season, they’d certainly have some ammunition. But for me, episodes nine and 10 seal it — this was the best season of “Game of Thrones” yet. (Our own Jerry Thornton makes the case for it being in the conversation for best season of any show ever.)
After getting one of the best battles the show has done (or any show has done) in episode nine, we got the best season finale and one of the best episodes of the entire series Sunday night. “The Winds of Winter” wrapped up some storylines that needed wrapping up while also pushing the show’s larger plot forward, and director Miguel Sapochnik (who also directed last week’s “Battle of the Bastards” and last season’s “Hardhome”) was masterful once again.
This season moved at breakneck pace at times (just look at how quickly so many characters made long-distance voyages), and I think that pace sets us up for a sprint to the series’ finish. We may only have 13 episodes left (split up over two seasons), and there’s obviously a lot that’s going to happen. On to our 7 Points:
1. Mad Queen Cersei
Well, Cersei did it. After plenty of foreshadowing, she used the wildfire under King’s Landing, took out a large chunk of her enemies, and inadvertently caused her son to commit suicide as a result. I’ll admit that I sometimes lose interest in what’s going on in King’s Landing because it seems kind of irrelevant compared to Jon, Dany, the White Walkers and anyone else who figures to be a major player in the ultimate final battle. But damn, this whole opening scene was so well done.
Ramin Djawadi’s music alone was enough to give me goosebumps — so eerie and foreboding. And if that wasn’t creepy enough, we also see the little birds (formerly Varys’, now Qyburn’s) turn violent. Cersei looks calmly evil the whole time, and Natalie Dormer has one last standout moment as Margaery realizes that something is wrong and desperately tries to evacuate the Sept of Baelor. Of all the characters killed in the explosion (we lose the High Sparrow, Loras and Mace Tyrell, and Kevan Lannister too), Margaery will be missed the most. Dormer did a great job and made Margaery both more important and more powerful than she is in the books.
Tommen was always more of a pawn than a king, and it’s not surprising to see him die, but the way he dies (jumping out his window after seeing the Sept blown up) and the way it was shot (just a straight shot with no dramatic buildup) actually made me feel kind of bad for him.
When we go back to King’s Landing later in the episode, Cersei takes the Iron Throne and is crowned Queen just as Jaime returns to the city. Jaime saw the smoldering ruins of the Sept and it’s safe to assume he’s already deduced exactly what happened. Jaime killed Mad King Aerys precisely because he wanted to use wildfire to burn people alive. Now that his sister has actually done it, what is he going to do about it? That’s one of the key questions that will have to wait for next season. Read the rest of this entry »
|06.23.16 at 8:59 am ET|
I’m about to leave for Buffalo to cover the NHL draft, so my contributions here won’t be plentiful the next couple days. As such, I leave you with a reminder that Dru Hill named three of their four studio albums after Dru puns (all images courtesy of Wikipedia).
Here is their first album, 1996’s self-titled “Dru Hill.” So I guess they had “Dru” in all four of their album names.
Then there was 1998’s “Enter the Dru.” If you don’t know what they were getting at there then I hate you.
2002 brought “Dru World Order.”
And the most clever (and not at all forced) of them all: “InDRUpendence Day.”
Such a shame that they didn’t keep recording albums. “J.D. Dru” would have been the most fire album of 2007.
|06.21.16 at 10:02 am ET|
When the Somerville-based Eternals released the Steely Dandy single “Raised by Wolves” earlier this year, I went from loving the song to champing at the bit (it is CHAMPING, NOT CHOMPING) for their upcoming LP.
Well, good news. It’s no longer upcoming and I am no longer champing. “Isn’t That Anyone” is here and it is terrific. The album is sonically more polished than their outstanding 2014 self-titled release, and the songwriting is every bit as good. Personal favorites include “Raised By Wolves,” “Out of Context,” “Bar Room Dancing,” “Affirmation I,” “Affirmation II” and the three songs I didn’t just name. Can’t recommend enough.
Once you’ve become fully obsessed, you’ll be able to catch them live this weekend. They’re playing an album release show Saturday night at Great Scott.