Review of Game of Thrones S6E4: Book of the Stranger

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Image courtesy of Screencapped.net

Remember when I said that S6E2: Home was probably Game of Thrones’ best episode to date?

Yeeeah, I might be revising that opinion now.

After what felt like a down episode last week, S6E4: Book of the Stranger was just on fire – literally. (We’ll get to that.) Once again, the scenes were largely strong, with little to no fluff or filler.

We got what may have been the single most heartwarming scene on the show to date – Jon and Sansa’s reunion. I don’t think they could have chosen better when picking which two Starks to reunite first; giving us Jon and Sansa, who were never really close to begin with, was a lovely way to demonstrate how much pain both of them have experienced and how much they have both grown. Sansa insists Jon forgive her for her failings, but in light of everything since they last saw each other, those failings are so small that they can laugh about it too. Oddly enough, they are now closer than they ever have been.

They also needed each other, more than Bran or Arya (though not necessarily Rickon) needs their family. Jon needs someone to jolt him out of his semi-depression as he struggles with his feelings of betrayal and the pain of returning to confront his murderers. Sansa needs someone to help her take back Winterfell and get rid of Ramsay, and that cause is just enough to force an unwilling Jon out of his mood.

These scenes were so good it made me leery of the rest of the season, because good things NEVER happen to the Starks on this show, not without some kind of devastating payback later.

The other scenes happening in the North were equally fantastic. I am hardcore on board with the Tormund/Brienne shippers, because Tormund would have so much respect for Brienne that I’m not sure she would find elsewhere. Davos confronting Melisandre about serving Jon was a nice reminder of how mistaken and infallible Melisandre can be, but it confirms that she plans to serve Jon as she once served Stannis.

But the kicker, the WONDROUS kicker, was Brienne confronting Davos and Melisandre, reminding them that she witnessed Renly’s murder and then throwing it in their faces that she personally killed Stannis. (For a second I wondered if she was going to tell Davos that Melisandre burned Shireen, which definitely would have wedged a surprisingly friendly Melisandre and Davos apart, but alas – it was not to be.) The look of shock on Davos’ face…priceless.

I have never really cared for the North plotlines in the books, but damned if the show isn’t making a good run at turning them into my favorites.

Next up – Baelish is back! There were many cheers in my household when Baelish stepped out of that carriage, and even more cheers as he put the manipulation whammy on Lord Royce. Baelish looked like he was going to eat Royce alive when he accused Royce of treachery in front of Robyn, who is clearly wrapped around “Uncle Petyr’s” finger. It showcased the power that Baelish wields in the Vale very well, and it set up next week’s mission into the North to “rescue” Sansa.

In YET ANOTHER oddly touching scene, Yara and Theon’s reunion was also well-handled. I actually prefer this version over the books, because here we have Theon straight-up recognizing that he is not the right person to rule the Iron Islands and putting his support behind his sister. It caught her off-guard and softened her, reinforcing that she does care about him still. It’s also another step to Theon picking up the pieces of his life and getting rid of Reek.

After a few weeks of languishing, the King’s Landing storyline is finally poised to deliver some action. This time Cersei and Jaime came armed with a common cause, and it’s a good one – getting Margaery away from the Faith. And we actually got to see Margaery and her brother this week! Margaery has been one of my favorites for some time, and it did me proud to see that she remained unbroken, at least until her brother begged her to give in. It sounds like the Tyrell armies will be in town next week or the week after, and I highly doubt that Olenna will back down until her grandchildren are free. (Additional pro to this week in King’s Landing – no mention of the Dornish Fiasco!)

Meereen was better than usual this week, not that that’s saying terribly much. Tyrion is actually trying to make some progress on fixing Dany’s mess, hampered and questioned along the way by Missandei and Grey Worm. The writers continue to put a lot of the show’s best quotable lines in Tyrion’s mouth, and this week was no exception, with his line about both slavery and war being evil and being unable to stop them both. If Dany would just stay away a bit longer, Tyrion might be able to get Meereen on stable ground.

Speaking of Dany, holy hell. Dany’s refusal to leave wasn’t necessarily puzzling in and of itself, though I was curious how she thought she could take over the Dothraki without Drogon, but once I saw her put her hand on that brazier in the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen…

This is what Dany is best at – fire and blood, her house’s words. She’s not good at governing, but she’s damn good at setting things on fire and using awe and fear to build a following that helps her seize power. And regardless of whether Book!Dany is immune to fire, the show is clearly operating under the assumption that she is. The image of her yet again walking out of the conflagration unharmed is a powerful one, and now she’s acquired yet another large army. It’s about to be bad news bears for the cities of Slaver’s Bay.

On the whole, this season has re-energized my enthusiasm for the characters and the story. I’m chomping at the bit again to get each week’s episode in a way that I just couldn’t muster for the last two seasons, and I have a feeling this will be my favorite season to date once it’s complete.

-Regina

Originally appeared on Regina’s blog

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Review of Game of Thrones S6E3: Oathbreaker

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This week’s episode wasn’t firing on all cylinders the way last week’s was, but it was still an okay episode overall.

In particular, I thought Jon’s storyline was well-handled. Kudos to Kit Harrington for that initial scene, because it really was one of his better pieces of acting. He did an excellent job of portraying how unsettling and unnerving it would be to return from the dead remembering your own murder. Likewise, Melisandre was also strong in that scene, with her desperate questioning of Jon about the afterlife and fervent urging that someone must be Azor Ahai (pretty clearly Jon at this point).

The concluding execution scene was probably my favorite of the episode. I really like what the show has done with Alliser Thorne; far from the straight-up jerk he was in the books, Show!Alliser has been portrayed in the last few seasons as a short-sighted but principled man who disagrees with Jon and acts on it. His final words were a perfect conclusion to that arc and very satisfying overall. I was scared for a moment that Jon was going to have mercy and cut Olly down. I’m glad he didn’t – we needed to see that death has changed Jon. And like many have speculated in the past few months, Jon’s watch has ended.

The next-best scene was the long-awaited (and sadly incomplete) Tower of Joy scene. I wish they had kept the dialogue from the books between Ned and the Kingsguard, but on the whole the scene was still satisfying. Arthur Dayne was fun to watch, and Bran’s commentary made the scene more enjoyable, in my eyes – there’s nothing this show does better than strip away innocence. I should have known better than to think that we’d get to see the inside of the Tower of Joy, but it was still enjoyable.

The rest of the episode was varying degrees of interesting:

  • I’m really over Cersei trying to be Tywin, though I did love Kevan just up and leaving her when she tried to force her way into the Small Council meeting.
  • Relatedly, Dorne got mentioned and now I’m terrified that Dorne is not over.
  • As much as I love Tyrion, the extended scene between him, Grey Worm and Missandei was wholly unnecessary.
  • After showing some promising signs of growing a backbone, Tommen almost immediately caved to the High Sparrow in conversation – I don’t see this ending well.
  • I asked where Sam and Gilly were last week, and now I regret it.
  • Poor Shaggydog. I’m sure I don’t like where the North is headed.
  • Arya is one “Eye of the Tiger” short of a training montage. But she has her sight back now, so that’s something.

Other than Jon’s scenes and the Tower of Joy, the only other scene I can say I definitely enjoyed was watching Varys in action. We’ve known for a while that Varys wields a lot of power and leverage, but I really liked him in action. I found him quite threatening and ominous in this scene, and I look forward to more like it.

To be honest, I was hoping for more Sansa/Brienne this week, but was disappointed. Thankfully, it looks like she’ll be back next week – along with Baelish (finally!). I’m ready to put this episode behind me as the first truly mediocre one of the season and get excited for whatever we’re about to see in episode four.

-Regina

Originally posted on Regina’s personal blog

Guest Review: Captain America: Civil War

Hello dudes, dudettes and nerds of all ages,

I’m Nerdie Weekend. My hobbies include: nail art, cars, and dabbling
in the nerd world stateside and abroad. I also enjoy a good traipse
around world, souvenir shopping and sports. So as you can see, my
plate is rather full. I don’t consider myself a full nerd girl, but
definitely one who can survive your polite comic convention chitchat.

So, now that we’ve been acquainted, let’s talk about the movie that came
out last Friday in my residing country: Captain America: Civil War.

Let me say this: O.M.G.

This movie will do well with comic buffs, noobs, and everyone in
between. I don’t want to interfere with ticket sales so I won’t be
spoiling a bunch. This movie is a great mix of character development,
action, and of course eye candy for all us nerd girls.

But this isn’t the film’s only good point.

This movie has its fair share of surprises which can really make you
rethink the characters that, by this point, you have held near and
dear. Your favorites may surprise you, and those you loath may be
hated a little less. It also makes some good commentary on politics,
friendship, and people.

I know what you’re thinking, “it’s Marvel, so the goodie two-shoes are
going to carpe the diem all over the screen. Good vs. bad has never
been so clean cut.” Well, this movie definitely proved to me that the
Marvel world is not all rainbows and unicorns. There are in fact
shades of gray and “lessers of two evils.”

Hope you enjoy the film and make sure you stick around to see BOTH sneak peeks!

Enjoy some popcorn for me,

~ Nerdie

Review of Game of Thrones S6E2: Home

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How do I feel about S6E2: Home? 10/10, would gladly watch again.

This is easily the best single episode in several seasons. Unlike many GoT episodes, I didn’t feel like a single scene was wasted or unimportant. We covered a lot of ground, without feeling rushed or hurried. Each moment was given its due, and boy, were there a lot of moments.

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Me and the other queens, after Home aired

Obviously, spoilers inbound (though if you’ve managed not to get spoiled thus far you deserve some kind of medal).

The episode started off by retroducing us to Bran, who was excluded from season 5. They quickly established his ability to see the past through the trees and all but confirmed that this is how they will reveal Jon’s parentage with the introduction of young Lyanna Stark.

The Iron Islands are not my favorite plotline, and I honestly haven’t much missed them for the last two seasons. That being said, their scenes were some of the best of the night, particularly the scene with Balon and Euron on the bridge. I had been wondering for some time if Euron and/or Victarion were going to make a show appearance, and this answered that question for me. It’s also wonderful to see Yara back, and I cannot wait for the kingsmoot which presumably will occur within a few episodes.

We finally got to see Tommen, and he’s finally gaining character depth. Essentially, he feels like a powerless coward, and he knows he needs to grow a spine to be an effective king. (Problematically, he thinks his mother is the best one to teach him this).

We also got a fun little confrontation between Jaime and the High Sparrow. Jaime’s interaction with the High Sparrow presents a nice contrast to Cersei’s. Unlike her, most of Jaime’s major sins are out in public and well-known already, and he has little to hide (other than his ongoing affair with his sister).

Sansa and Theon were oddly touching, and I’m so glad Sansa now knows that she is not, in fact, the only living Stark. Speaking of which, Arya’s training is definitely moving quickly enough to satisfy my need for plot development (if perhaps a little too quickly to be believable).

Then there was Tyrion and the dragons. Oh, man, this was so good. I really really want Tyrion to end up with a dragon, and the story he told about wanting a dragon as a child just made me want it even more. Seeing him with Viserion and Rhaegal would have been touching if it wasn’t also terrifying. I look forward to seeing Tyrion with the dragons again.

Let’s not forget Winterfell and the Boltons either. Just when you think Ramsay can’t get any worse, he kills all of his remaining family. If I had one quibble with this episode, it was that I can’t imagine politically-savvy Roose ever getting so close to Ramsay immediately after he gets disinherited without checking him for weapons – and in that regard, I wasn’t terribly satisfied with Roose’s death. But it did have to happen, and the follow-up with Walda and her son cemented Ramsay as worse than Joffrey for me.

And finally…the Wall. Hoo boy. We knew it was coming, everyone has been calling it for months, but seeing it in action was something else. First, Dolorous Edd returned with the wildlings, then Davos persuaded Melisandre to give resurrecting Jon an attempt. I’m a big fan of how they’re handling Melisandre this season; unlike prior seasons, she is incredibly vulnerable, her faith shattered. Her vulnerability makes her more accessible and (I feel) more likeable.

The ending scene was handled perfectly. Just…perfectly. I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. It was completely appropriate that Jon and Ghost be alone when Jon woke.

This is the episode I wanted as the season premiere. It got me jazzed up and excited for the show in a way I haven’t been for quite some time. I can’t wait to see Jon confront his killers next week!

Unanswered Questions:

  • For the love of the old gods and the new, WHERE is Petyr Baelish?
  • So, can Rhaegal and Viserion get out now that they’re unchained? Because that could be interesting.
  • Where is Sam? I find it odd that we haven’t seen GRRM’s analog yet, given how many other plots we’ve touched on.
  • Is Dorne just going to be written off and ignored now? (Please say yes. I can’t take it anymore).

-Regina

Originally appeared on Regina’s blog

The 100: “Stealing Fire”

Okay, I’m just going to start with the elephants in the room.

  1. I am still VERY upset that Lexa is dead. It was a waste of a character and a disappointment to the LGBTQ-ally community.
  2. When did the clans become The Hunger Games?
  3. When did The 100 become The Game of Thrones?

Really Pike has become the ultimate bad guy, complete with executions timed at dramatic intervals that allow just enough room for people to get away.  I guess the writers did kind of get this correct in that I hate him entirely, especially for what he does in this episode. This show really is all about the drama. I think that’s why the cinematography over-uses the over-the-shoulder close-up.

I have to say, while the bad guys and the individual plot lines are rough, there are some individual scenes that are wonderfully well written. In this particular episode there are several touching moments between Abby and Cain that basically resulted in me not hating Abby as much. Anyone who has been following my blog knows that not hating Abby is a really serious feat for me.

Really, while I’m very annoyed with this storyline, and frankly ready for this show to hit a peaceful end, they did a lot of thing right with this episode. The emotion has returned and while the final death of the episode left me heartbroken, I know that it’s because the actor is moving on to do another show, which makes me happy.

The main thing wrong really just comes back around to Lexa’s death. I cannot believe they killed her and I am still VERY angry about it. Frankly, I despise this new leader just for existing let alone the fact that she is evil to the core. I really wish we could just get Clarke back in the main game and done with these ridiculous side-missions. She’s more of a Grounder than anyone at this point…including Octavia.

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S. Glad the Grounders are at least continuing with the Screw the Patriarchy approach to government.

Review of Game of Thrones S6E1: The Red Woman

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The Day has finally arrived.

The Day when book readers no longer have the smug superiority of knowing what happens.

The Day where we officially have no basis to say whether the book or show is better.

The Day where we have to address all the problems GRRM created in book five.

Crap.

For the record, I’ve read all of GRRM’s books, so watching this episode felt very strange to me. It’s kind of exhilarating not knowing what happens, and I look forward to some real suspense this season.

On the other hand, well. We’ll get to that.

Let’s start with the things I liked:

  • The Stark girls continue to be a highlight. I’m so glad we’ve finally gotten to blind Arya, and I hope the Faceless Man plotline speeds up. And yay, Sansa is finally away from Ramsay and maybe can actually become her own woman now, you know, with more agency and less rape. I was so glad to see her reunite with Brienne and accept Brienne’s service.
  • Tyrion in Meereen with Varys is wonderful. Just wonderful. I could do an entire show of this. I love seeing Tyrion back in charge, and having Varys there with him is a great change from the books that allows the two of them to play off each other.
  • Seeing Dany back among the Dothraki is also a wonderful change of pace. She was a much better Khaleesi than a Queen of Meereen, and seeing her shock the Khal and his wives with her knowledge of Dothraki and her position was a highlight of the episode – as was seeing her shock and anger when they told her she was going to Vaes Dothrak (as we all guessed).
  • I’m a fan of the Jorah/Daario buddy cop show, even if they found Dany’s ring way too easily.

And now the not-so-great:

  • Dorne. WHAT THE HELL. Dorne was bad enough last season, with all the characters turned into caricatures of their book-selves and the death of Myrcella. My desire to shoot the Sand Snakes hasn’t changed, which is unfortunate because I really liked them in the books. And it was PAINFUL to watch Doran and Areo Hotah die. The two of them are wonderful and nuanced in the books, and their undignified deaths in the show were just the shit icing on a shitty Dornish cake.
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My feelings on Dorne

  • Get Jaime away from Cersei already. Jaime’s arc was the main reason I liked Feast for Crows – I loved that he had finally realized what a horrible person he had been and what a horrible person his sister still was. I really want Show!Jaime to get with the program here.
  • My soul cries for lack of Petyr Baelish. I simply MUST know what shenanigans he’s up to.

And in the category of things I don’t know how to react to – that last scene. On the one hand, it was a nice reveal that Melisandre is not as she appears and that she has more power than one might guess. On the other hand…I did NOT need to see that. A shoulders-up reveal would have been fine. Really. I promise.

Overall though, this was a solid start to the season.

Unanswered Questions

  • IS JON SNOW DEAD FOR REALSIES AND FOREVER AGHGHGHGHGH?
  • Seriously though, where is Baelish?
  • What was Drogon doing while Dany was captured?
  • How are they going to reintroduce characters that have been off the show for over a season?
  • BUT IS JON DEAD BECAUSE I NEED TO KNOW DAMMIT

Shadowhunters: “Raising Hell”

I took a hiatus from this show because I just couldn’t anymore. If you’ve read my posts on previous episodes I’m sure you understand. But, as long as the show goes on I should continue my blogging quest. Bad reviews are more fun to write anyway.

My first reaction to coming back is that I really like Simon, even if he is hard-headed about where SAFETY is. Maybe it’s because he’s nerdy, maybe it’s because I know what happens, or maybe it’s because he reminds me of a better version of my high school boyfriend, but anyway, I like him. He’s pretty real, attractive and well-cast. My second favorite character is Jace’s abs…just his abs.

Speaking of which, part of me is happy that Jace and Simon’s relationship is so true to the books, but that means that their relationship is as irritating as it is in the books.

Really at this point most of this particular episode for me was about how true to the book they made these characters and while the main gang are all hits, there are a few misses for me. Wasn’t Hodge supposed to be some extra wise old guy? Not some 20 year-old who wishes he too had washboard abs?

And finally we got to really see Magnus, who I wish we had gotten to know sooner. For me, Magnus is just okay. The outfits and inappropriate looks are on point but as much as I loved Harry Shum Jr. in Glee, I just am not convinced he can play self-centered thoroughly enough to be Magnus Bane. My favorite part about Magnus is that thanks to him we get a break from the Alec <3s Jace crap, but he also provides some comic relief to break up all the whining.

“I was alive when the Dead Sea was just feeling a little poorly.”

It is great to have such an openly pan-sexual character as Magnus Bane. I always think of him as pan-sexual because while he seems more homosexual I have a feeling Magnus just generally appreciates a healthy sexual appetite. This kind of comfort level and depth in a homosexual character is really rare still both on TV and in Young Adult books and Magnus helps fill in that gap.

I am hopeful that Harry can pull off this character in future episodes, but then again I was hopeful this show would be good.

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S.

“It’s ever too early for Teriyaki.”

A quote to live by…

Once Upon a Time: “Labor of Love”

“It’s not everyday your wife tells you she was friends with a god.”

“A demigod.”

That quote pretty much sums up this episode. This episode is all about Snow White… not Mary Margaret…Snow. And, it is wonderful. I love getting to see young Snow (even if this girl’s acting needs polish). It makes beautiful sense that she was once besties with Herc.

I’m actually really happy about how they introduced Hercules. It’s been a while since we’ve had a good Snow-centered episode. I used to worry that we’d eventually lose the wonderful flashbacks to the Enchanted Forest and I’m happy that hasn’t occurred yet. The fact that Snow learned all her bandit skills from Hercules is super BAMF too. Really, this is a great Snow episode, her and Regina bonding has been a long time coming and I am so happy how they did it with both class and humor. My favorite line from this whole episode was so quick you almost didn’t catch it.

“It’s officially a cold day in Hell when I moved in with the Charmings.” -Regina

While Hercules is attractive and age appropriate for this version of the storyline, he kind of looks like he fell straight out of a boyband and I’m not sure how to feel about that. However, the Classics major in me is really happy that they stayed true to the twelve labors both in what they were and in spirit. The only negative I can really get into about this episode is that the level of fear that girl who is so obviously Megara has for Cerebus does not equal they money put int that CGI. I really thought they’d have given them a bigger budget for that sort of thing by now.

And even though we are adding a new character, this really just feels like an extension of the 100th episode. It’s really the 101st episode…which is very punny seeing as who makes their dramatic re-entrance during this episode. Hint…hint…

“The music…the gin…the glamour…the gin!”

I am a little sad that we don’t have any more answers to our big questions like Why does purgatory look like Storybrook? Where did all the Darkness go when the crew went to purgatory? What the Hell (pun intended) is going on with Rumple?

But I have confidence that this season is going to continue on this epic level and that we will get there. I mean look at this epic bad guy. Hades is so solid. What more could you want from a villain than great outfits and on point dramatic exists?

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S. One final question that needs answering…how does Hook manage to look so hot even covered in blood?

The 100: “Terms and Conditions”

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Bellamy has taken a right turn into anti-character-development crazy town…like…what is he doing and why would his character be doing it? And he isn’t the only one. Raven’s whole side-trip (haha) is also not character appropriate. It is so not Raven to use her fellows like this…but at least that departure from sanity can be explained by a massive amount of drugs.

Monty is better than this too! Although I think that his poor decisions are still more justified than Bellamy’s because there is probably some mother-related emotional angst going on. Really I do like that each member of the original squad is getting their own piece of the plot development pie. But, I think I loved the “I hate you but I’m still your comrade” attitude of the first season that we have subsequently lost. I love watching relationships develop and bonds form on screen and this show has devolved into everyman for himself with no one person standing as a rallying point anymore. I hope that Clark steps up in the next few episodes to reprise that role.

Every choice has a price and every cloud has both a silver-lining and a dark side. Marcus has by far the most character development in this show. He has taken a 180 degree turn from Dolores Umbridge to Sirius Black and if he doesn’t escape the death trap that is Arcadia I will be very very angry…side note…what the Hell is Abby doing this whole time? Additionally, I need the old Bellamy back. The one who stood against the man and his regime all for family.

I will say though, I give mad praise to the music of this show. It is so good whoever is in charge of music needs a raise. Also, with how smart Monty’s mom is you’d think she’d have picked the side of the not-crazies. I guess intelligence and wisdom aren’t the same thing. #GeneralThemeOfTheShow

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S. I do believe they just made a whole episode without Clark…like something is wrong with this.

The 100: “Thirteen”

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I’ll begin with a warning. Usually I try to keep my reviews mostly spoiler free, but there is a MAJOR spoiler in this one because I had things that needed saying.

 

I loved and hated this episode for so many reasons. The first forty minutes were great. We FINALLY get to learn more about Alie. We learn about her creator, who I fully support. We get to learn about the destruction of the Earth and the end of the thirteenth space station. Really this backstory is what I’ve been desperate for these past few episodes. I needed this information to feel plugged in and I’m so happy that this storyline is getting it’s deserved time. We even get to learn more about The Grounders in this wonderful flashback.

I personally found Alie’s creator to be inspirational and justified, although I have a feeling that will be an unpopular opinion. Some of this may be because I called a lot of this. I had a really good feeling about the cause of the end of the world, where AI number two would be AND the instigation of The Commander.

However, as amazing as this flashback was this episode was highly disappointing for me. (Here’s the spoiler by the way.) My favorite part about this show is how sexual-preference fluidity and homosexuality was present, and not a big deal. I loved the idea that a main character could be bisexual and it was no big deal for this society. Lexa and Clarke’s relationship has been a saving grace for this show. It was truly my favorite storyline. Their big dramatic kiss this season made me soooo happy.

And then they ruined it.

Have you ever heard of LDS? Lesbian Death Syndrome. or the Bury Your Gays problem? It comes down to this… I challenge you to think of a lesbian character in main stream TV/movies that doesn’t come to a dramatic end. I understand that in this case Lexa’s death served some kind of purpose, but there were other ways to share the real role of The Commander. In more specific versions, LDS is the scenario that the lesbian character dies dramatically, right after achieving their greatest happiness almost as if saying that gays can’t be happy. Lexa dies shortly after her and Clarke finally engage in sexy time.

I’m very disappointed in this show. We finally had a real lesbian couple that made me smile, and they squashed it. Apparently, this actually caused the show creators to lose significant twitter followers and they also took a major hit in viewership for the following episode so I know I’m not the only one upset by this.

You guys had a really great start to this one…and then brutally murdered it in an unnecessary and highly complicated fashion.

Procrastination and Giggles,
The Red Queen

P.S. For more information about LDS try this website which is not for children here.