Deadshirt Is Watching… is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows. This week: Game of Thrones, My Crazy Ex, and Arrow!
Joe Stando is watching…
Game of Thrones
Season 5, Episode 4, “The Sons of the Harpy”
Sundays, 9/8c on HBO
Game of Thrones is an odd show because while each episode is roughly the same length, some of them feel very long, and others very short. I’m not sure why that is, whether it’s a question of which plotlines are included and highlighted, or just how many crazy things happen. Regardless, this episode felt a little light to me, despite featuring plenty of good action. I’m not complaining about it by any means, but it didn’t feel quite as bursting with events as last week’s episode. I’m very interested in Sansa and Arya’s stories, and everywhere else the show is beginning to deviate significantly from the books. And it’s good to see Tyrion back in a slightly more clever and jovial mode, as he spent the bulk of last season being a downer. I’m never super crazy about ending on a big cliffhanger, but the fight with Grey Worm and Ser Barristan was well-directed and believable for two talented but sadly mortal warriors. A solid week, all in all, and we’re finally past the point of the leaked episodes so spoilers are slightly easier to avoid.
Episode Highlight: Lots of good stuff in this one, from Jamie and Bronn’s fight with some soldiers to our introduction to the Sand Snakes, but my pick has to be the developments in the major arc back in King’s Landing. The Faith is a very interesting concept, and the High Sparrow’s militant sect has been a solid musing on the nature of religious extremism and schisms. Arming this splinter group has served Cersei’s purposes for now, but zealotous faith is like a wildfire, dangerous and unpredictable. It’s hard to see this not coming back on Cersei and everyone else deemed not devout enough, and soon.
Haley Winters is watching…
My Crazy Ex
Season 1, Episode 6: “Prison, Pros, and Princes”
Wednesdays at 9/8c on LMN
There are days when you’re energetic and focused and want to catch up on all your AMC dramas, and there are days when all you can handle is episodic carnival food on LMN. And so what? LMN, formerly known as the Lifetime Movie Network, has figured out some serious shit when it comes to programming their TV-clickbait style shows (other titles in this block include I Love You…But I Lied and the ever-entertaining Ghost Inside My Child). My Crazy Ex is a reflexive leveling up for the channel, not because its content is anything we haven’t seen before a thousand times over, but because it replaces the old “shock and drama” reality cues with…actual comedy. Whatttt.
I have all sorts of problems with the concept of the “Crazy Ex” in the first place, especially when it’s being thrown at women, but hell’s bells, this is a funny show. Just as you’d expect, it’s a showcase for “real” people to share their nightmare ex stories. How much of it is real? Hard to say. We’ve got our basic talking heads (the “real” people) and their fractionally more attractive actor counterparts playing the scenes. If this were Untold Stories of the ER or another “reality” program that makes use of dramatized reenactments, the obviously scripted lines, both from the actors and the “real” people, would add to the show’s overall cheesiness. But someone at LMN had a crazy idea, which must have played out in a company email along the lines of, “If we’re going to script our shows, why not make the scripts actually good?”
The result is a show that plays more like an evening at a UCB sketch show than an hour of Lifetime reality. It’s tightly written, cast with comedic actors, and surprisingly bold in its sense of humor. Does it matter if Kelly is actually serving seven years of prison time for drugging and chaining Robert to a radiator in her basement for a week? No, but it was hella funny to watch her force feed him spaghetti while cooing, “Do you know what Stockholm Syndrome is?” Whether you’re reeling from your own breakup and want to bask in a little schadenfreude or you’re just looking for something light to go with your popcorn, My Crazy Ex delivers the goods.
Episode Highlight: “I MacGyvered a grappling hook out of a spoon and some Christmas lights. It was my only hope of getting out of there.”
Dylan Roth is Watching…
Season 3, Episode 23: “Al Sah-Him”
Wednesdays at 8/7c, The CW
Arrow has always been a sort of off-brand (though technically the same brand) Batman TV series, casting the traditionally swashbuckling archer as a grim avenger of the night and surrounding him with a sprawling ensemble of apprentices and villains. The second half of this season, however, has straight-up adapted classic Batman mythology, and has done a pretty fair job at it. Here, hooded vigilante Oliver Queen has been chosen as the next Ra’s al Ghul, leader of the League of Assassins. Manipulated and brainwashed, Oliver is now Al Sah-Him, a cold-blooded killer, and Team Arrow has little hope of getting their friend back.
This marks the second time this year that the show’s leading man has been presumed lost (first he was thought to be literally dead, now he’s just “beyond saving”), which more than anything has proven the strength of the ensemble cast. Arrow has developed from a show about one grumpy guy’s crusade to a family drama about superheroes, which is, to me, pretty exciting. This episode features very little Oliver, but plenty of Black Canary, Nyssa al Ghul, Thea Queen, and most importantly Felicity Smoak, the real star of the show. I know it’s unlikely to happen, but if things go truly south with Oliver and the League and he ends up being Killed Off For Real, the show wouldn’t really suffer at all.
These last few episodes have also been doing a great job of setting up not only a new season of Arrow, but also the upcoming spin-off that will feature characters from both Arrow and The Flash. This week’s Arrow and last week’s Flash both referenced H.I.V.E., an evil organization of Teen Titans fame. The DC/CW team is doing a terrific job building a larger universe, and I’m actually pretty excited at the prospect of having a third hour to watch each week.
Episode Highlight: After years on the sidelines, looks like Thea is finally going to truly join Team Arrow! (Hey, remember in Season One when Ollie used to call her “Speedy?” Eeeeeeeehhhhh?)