It was the biggest small screen phenomenon of the 2010s. Each season, nay, episode, was an event. Discussion of the show would flood social media every night the show aired and the morning after. Premiere parties were thrown. Cosplays were made. Memes were created. Game of Thrones was a cultural icon.
I didn’t make it past the first season.
Game of Thrones was a young show when I stumbled upon it. Season one had recently ended, and I heard rave things about the editing, the production value, the music, the acting, and more. I was told by friends that the show was shocking and would blow my mind; that I’d never be able to see what’s coming next. I jumped in.
As I watched the opening scene, I noted how elaborate the setting was and how detailed the costumes were. Dead bodies started to appear, and soon I was watching a man get decapitated. As his head was tossed into frame, I remember thinking: “this feels like it’s trying to shock me.” Maybe I was biased by having been told I won’t know what to expect, but the trend of feeling like the show was constantly trying to blow my mind persisted, both in the show’s imagery and jarring character actions.
Westeros isn’t our world, and the premiere needs to establish the environment the story is taking place in. The more shocking the violence, the better we’ll understand what kind of awful place Westeros is. It establishes a world where no good man stands a chance and you never know what’s going to happen next, and it really establishes this. By the time the premiere “Winter is Coming” ends, viewers have witnessed multiple beheadings, rape, incest, and (attempted) child murder. Yes, Jaime Lannister pushes 10-year-old Bran out the window in the final shot of the episode.
This cliffhanger didn’t grip me. It left me disliking Jamie a hell of a lot, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t dashing to hit play on the next episode. I didn’t care all that much about Bran, so the fact that he may now be dead didn’t affect me. It was a bit of a bummer that he’s a child, for sure, but asides from just not being invested in the characters yet, it felt again as if the show was trying to shock me with its brutality. As I understand it, this moment had massive implications on the story to come, so to say it was there for shock value only would be completely false. In the framework of the episode, though, there had already been so much emphasis on stunning me that it was impossible to distinguish between a plot development and a moment meant for shock value, even if in theory they were intertwined.
This only got worse as the season went on, as the White Walkers and the beheading in the premiere weren’t followed up on. Bran’s storyline also seemed stagnant as he developed amnesia after the fall. The lack of follow up made me question the point of these moments. The blood, violence, and nudity continued as well, and the intense imagery began to make me numb to shocking plot points and character twists. They melted into each other, each trying to outdo the other in blowing my mind. Between watching an innocent canine get slaughtered, watching Danearys eat a heart, and witnessing Little Finger’s betrayal, Ned Stark’s death became just another moment. I wasn’t surprised by this development because the show had trained me to expect these twists.
Part of what makes a twist effective is the pulling of the rug from under your feet. You realize that things aren’t what you thought they were, and now the status quo has changed. Due to Game of Thrones’ method of storytelling, there didn’t seem to be a status quo. Season one established a world with no rug, so I was unable to get comfortable with any situation or any scenario.
This style made the show prime “edge of your seat” viewing, and for some viewers, that lack of security made the ride thrilling, but for me, it felt like there was nothing to hold on to. With Game of Thrones’ “no one is safe” philosophy, I found it hard to become invested in anyone’s story. You win or die when you play the Game of Thrones, so at any moment their story could come to an end to serve the larger purpose of the show. This isn’t to say that the show never put character at the forefront. It may have; again, I didn’t watch so I don’t know. The emphasis on head trauma and blowing minds in season one, however, implied to me that the show’s priorities were different than my own.
That’s not to say that I hated it. There are several aspects of the first season I enjoyed. I loved that Ned’s role in the story advanced the theme that those who are noble and play by the rules are doomed to fail. Arya seemed pretty cool, and I liked her dog that was still alive. She was so loyal! I considered watching the second season for Tyrion alone (I had my poor sister update me on Tyrion’s journey every week).
I almost jumped back onto the show several times over the last eight years; four times to be precise. Once when I saw the trailer for season two and heard Varys say to Tyrion, “A small man can cast a large shadow.” Once when I heard that Joffrey got poisoned in season four, cause he was annoying AF. Once when a girl I was into was more into Game of Thrones than she was me. And lastly when season eight was starting, because I bought into a Game of Thrones pool at my sister’s office and wanted to see how I did (I did pretty well). Unfortunately, the characters I was invested in weren’t enough to balance out my fear that the characters would end up serving the show, nor enough for me to put up with the gratuitous violence and the diminishing returns of the shocking moments.
I kept tabs, though. I was curious about how the show would manage to keep surprising its audience in any meaningful way since I had already been conditioned to expect the unexpected in season one. From what I could gather, it’s almost as if the show became a game itself. Viewers guessed about who would die and when, and speculated over who would obtain the throne, hence my sister’s office pool. Between The Red Wedding, Battle of the Bastards, and “hold the door;” Game of Thrones consistently swerved, shocked, and impressed the audience, or at least that’s what my news feed implied. However, that sort of thrill ride can compromise a story.
The promise of the unexpected cannot hold universally true if you want to tell a coherent story. Even with dozens of smaller characters, a story will always center around the few meaningful pieces: Danaerys, Jon Snow, Arya, Cersei, my boy Tyrion, etc. The Game of Thrones writers knew this, which is why every name above made it through 8 seasons, and innately most viewers know this, which is why everyone knew Jon Snow wouldn’t stay dead. These are the characters audiences are intended to hold on to, but if your storytelling philosophy relies so heavily on shock and a constantly shifting status quo, what happens to these characters when your plot lines start to wrap up? What happens when the answers are provided, the pieces are in place, and all that’s left to watch is the main players finish their arcs? Characters may end up getting sacrificed to maintain the ride. This is where the crux of my fears and the decision to stop watching lied. After wrapping up the first season, I felt that eventually the characters I was interested in would become subject to the machine, sacrificed to keep the engine that powered Game of Thrones running.
I didn’t want to get invested in a character’s story only to have them literally axed in the middle of their arc. I didn’t want to watch Tyrion lose his swagger because the plot needed him in a different place than he would want to be. And I didn’t want to watch more beheadings, rape, and thirteen-year-olds drink out of their mom’s.
I don’t know if characters were sacrificed for plot or philosophy at any point after season one. Considering all the praise Game of Thrones got, I imagine they weren’t, at least not until the last two seasons. The conversation around season seven got heated (I remember a lot of talk about characters warping across the continent), and the internet erupted in season eight. What I saw was mostly negative, such as characters acting out of character, plot lines being rushed, and arguments over the difference between foreshadowing and character development. I don’t know if these complaints were the realization of my initial fears or completely unrelated. I will never know for sure.
I never made it past the first season.
Does This Major Character Exit Confirm Jughead’s Death on ‘Riverdale’ Season 4?
Over the weekend, Riverdale fans were hit with some devastating news — not one, but two cast members were leaving the show.
Skeet Ulrich, who plays Jughead’s (Cole Sprouse) father, F.P. Jones, in the series, announced is departure following The CW’s fourth season.
In a statement to Deadline, Ulrich wrote: “I’m incredibly grateful for the friendships I’ve made on Riverdale, and I will miss seeing everyone on a daily basis.” He added, “I’m proud to have been part of such a talented group of people, in front of the camera and behind. But I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on to explore other creative opportunities.”
The former Scream actor also addressed the exit on his social media writing, “I can’t even begin to thank you all for the unwavering support and love!! It is remarkable and deeply appreciated. I may be leaving Riverdale but my experience over the last four years will never leave my heart. A very special thanks to @writerras for giving me this opportunity ❤️”
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I can’t even begin to thank you all for the unwavering support and love!! It is remarkable and deeply appreciated. I may be leaving Riverdale but my experience over the last four years will never leave my heart. A very special thanks to @writerras for giving me this opportunity ❤️
And if losing one parental figure in a town where they’re already scarce isn’t bad enough, Marisol Nichols, who plays Veronica Lodge’s (Camila Mendes) mother, Hermione Lodge, in the series, also announced her departure.
She shared similar sentiments on Instagram writing, “I am incredible grateful for my time on Riverdale, my second family. These are friendships that go beyond set life. Portraying Hermione Lodge was a joy, and working with this cast was an honor, truly.
The best part has been all of you. Without your enthusiastic embracing of our show and these characters we wouldn’t be here. Thank you for the opportunity to entertain you all,” alongside a poster from the most recent season.
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I am incredible grateful for my time on Riverdale, my second family. These are friendships that go beyond set life. Portraying Hermione Lodge was a joy, and working with this cast was an honor, truly. The best part has been all of you. Without your enthusiastic embracing of our show and these characters we wouldn’t be here. Thank you for the opportunity to entertain you all. ❤️
It’s unclear if either will reprise their roles in guest appearances, but you have to wonder how the series will explain their departures.
Producer and writer Roberto Aguirre posted a photo of Ulrich’s character Jones and assured fans that “All will be revealed before this season of #Riverdale ends,” which is slightly worrisome considering where the series left off with Jughead’s storyline.
On Riverdale Season 4 Episode 13, Betty seemingly killed Jughead by hitting him over the head with a rock after being triggered by a “magic word” given to Donna by The Farm’s incarcerated Evelyn Evernever.
Fans immediately began looking for clues to discredit what was being presented on the screen because Jughead can’t really be dead, can he?
Riverdale is known for playing tricks on the audience and showing a storyline that doesn’t reflect what’s actually happening, so fans believe that Jughead’s death is either a fake-out or part of his long-term plan to take down Stonewall Prep, Brett, Donna, and the rest of them.
And truthfully, there are a lot of clues suggesting that’s the case despite the flas-forward scenes that show F.P. looking for Jughead in the forest (with presumed killer Betty), F.P. identifying Jughead’s body with Betty, and later, F.P. arresting Betty, Veronica, and Archie for Jughead’s murder.
Fans were content believing that the scenes were just part of Jughead’s “perfect murder” novel… until now.
The announcement that Ulrich is leaving the show threw everyone for a loop because it might be confirmation that Sprouse’s’ Jughead dies on the show.
Parents aren’t heavily involved in their teenagers’ lives in the murder-capital of the world, but they do exist and pop in from time-to-time.
Jughead and F.P. have grown close over the course of four-seasons mending their fractured relationship and become a dynamic father-son duo that supports each other and has each other’s back.
If Jughead died, F.P. would be heartbroken, disgusted, and looking to get out of a town that reminded him of his son.
It would take something major like a loss for F.P to leave Riverdale and never look back.
Still, we’re choosing to remain optimistic.
Maybe F.P. is so fed up after finding out Jughead faked his death that it strains their relationship and he skips town.
Or maybe F.P. just realizes he doesn’t want to be surrounded by the toxicity of a town famous for the Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, and Hiram Lodge.
If he’s lucky, he’ll get a good job offer somewhere else and join the ranks of the only few people (see also: Josie) to successfully get out of Riverdale alive. This may not be a bad thing.
Riverdale seems to be a town that holds people back from living their full potential.
And after all, Jughead is likely going off to college next year, so having the parents around won’t be as necessary. Plus, Archie’s been doing just fine taking care of himself since his father Fred’s (the late Luke Perry) passing.
If we’re being forced to say goodbye to F.P. let’s hope his other storylines — his romance with Alice and his role as Sheriff — get proper closure.
Hermione’s departure isn’t as crippling because Veronica is still left with one, albeit worse, paren.
Her story was never as pivotal as F.P’s. or her husband, Hiram’s, and so, it’ll be much easier to explain her departure. I can even see them saying something like Hermione realized she doesn’t want to be with Hiram anymore and is moving back to New York City. Done deal.
How do you think Riverdale will write off F.P. and Hermione?
Does F.P.’s exit confirm Jughead’s death?
Riverdale was renewed for a fifth season in January 2020.
These Are the 5 Best Grey’s Anatomy Episodes
There’s no doubt that Grey’s Anatomy is the number 1 medical drama of all time. It’s received numerous accolades, an unending list of seasons, and yet, it continues to resonate with viewers throughout the years and generational shifts. It’s hard to choose just one of our favorite episodes when there are literally hundreds to choose from, so don’t make us. But, what we can do is compile a list of some of the standouts. So here are our choices of episodes that made the A-list. *Ordered by season, not by preference*
It’s the End of the World (Season 2 Episode 16)
A bomb inside a body cavity. Need we say more? The show was great at diversifying the stories and including extremely unique cases. We use “was” because at a certain point they had to start recycling old ideas. In this episode, Meredith makes the absurd decision to stick her hand inside a body to keep the bomb from exploding. Code black was first introduced to us and we watched as the time ticked down waiting for the grand explosion. To our joy, Meredith survived and kept all her limbs intact. This marked the first major moment Meredith put her life at risk and was questioned about her sanity and the reasons she put herself in harm’s way deliberately. A highly stressful hour that made you feel like you were playing the child’s game “Perfection” racing to place all the shapes before the top blew. (Calling all you 90’s babies.)
Stairway to Heaven (Season 5 Episode 13)
The singular moment of the hour that put this episode on the list was the clever way Denny kept reiterating his “I am here for you” phrase. Once Izzy finally deciphered the hidden meaning behind Denny’s cryptic message, paired with the little boy Jackson’s steep decline from liver failure, emotions were running rampant. It put us on a true emotional roller coaster. Though, they only let us drop a few seconds before announcing there was a liver available for Jackson. Thankfully there were no deaths in the filming of this episode. Unless you count the inmate on death row’s final few seconds. If you identify as an Izzy fan, this episode was certainly a standout for her character.
Death and All His Friends (Season 6 Episode 24)
This was the first major season finale that made you stop and rethink Grey’s Anatomy’s intentions entirely. Thankfully no major characters were killed off, but they didn’t hesitate to write off a couple of interns. An episode that came a bit early for the times, it showcased a major shooting and the aftermath of such a gruesome event. It properly embedded a few laughable scenes, to break up the tension fueling the episode. It was a grand enough production that required a part 1 and part 2. The layers kept piling on, between a miscarriage, a love confession, and a faked death. If you’re looking to rerun the best of the best, make sure this is included.
Song Beneath the Song (Season 7 Episode 18)
Any TV drama that has the ability to throw in a musical episode is completely flexing their total reign over the airwaves. During its peak, which we’d contribute to its mid-range seasons, Grey’s Anatomy featured Sara Ramirez’s incredible vocals. Just when you thought there was no way a sad song could make a scene any sadder, the entire cast comes in and changes your mind. During Callie’s lifesaving surgery the cast broke out into “How to Save A Life,” and this was the pinnacle moment. Whether or not The Frey can take credit, the scene was still a beautiful recital of each actor’s musical abilities. Definitely an episode you need to rewatch for the maximum showcase of each actor’s skill set.
Flight (Season 8 Episode 24)
Following the trend of making its season finales strong and leaving viewers on an impossible cliffhanger, Season 8 was the finale of all finales. The plane crash that involved almost the entirety of the main characters kept us questioning everything. We had already witnessed the death of Lexi and wondered who the writers could take away next. Watching them try and fend for their lives in the wilderness was like a second dimension sequence. You’d assume surgeons would be the best candidates to survive a plane crash simply because they have the knowledge needed to try and stop bleedings and complete any major life-saving techniques. Though, as they only had basic medical kits they were left helpless waiting for others to find them. If you’re in need of an episode with the old cast, check out the full Season 8.
We’d love it if you commented a few of your favorite episodes from the 16 years Grey’s Anatomy has dominated television!
Who Will Be The Next ‘Bachelorette’ from Peter Weber’s Season?
Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor is coming to end (thank gosh, right?), which begs the most important question: Who will be the Bachelorette next season?
There have been many theories and suggestions, but let’s get one thing settled right away, if Victoria F. gets chosen, I will boycott the show. There I said it. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that either, I mean, she is clearly a manipulator and very toxic, but I digress, let’s get into the 5 frontrunners for next season’s leading role.
Depending on who wins this season, if anyone does considering many are speculating that Peter ends up alone, I think Hannah Anne has the best shot at being the Bachelorette. While some may argue that she is a little too young, I think she is sweet and confident and could make a great lead. She is ready for love and is willing to put herself out there to find it.
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If Hannah Anne does win Peter’s heart in the end, I think the next option would be Kelsey who was just sent packing during hometown week. As long as she stays away from champagne, I could definitely tolerate her as the Bachelorette. She does cry a little too much for my liking, but I think once the producers train her for the part, she could do it. She also does not shy away from drama, but instead feeds into it, and has a sad backstory, which Bachelor Nation loves!
While she did not receive much air time this season, I would love to see Natasha as the lead. Not only is it time for another African American Bachelorette, I mean let’s be real Rachel Lindsay was the only one a few years ago, but Natasha is also over 30, mature, and knows exactly what she wants. She had some of the best facial reactions of the season and her candor and honesty is similar to Hannah B’s, which makes her a front-runner in my eyes.
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At this point in my life, I just want to transfer good vibes, have peace, and SMILE. @pilot_pete I’ll cherish how you physically carried me though this process and only remember our many laughs and fun times together. Good luck to you. #thankyounext #queenariana #iknowiwill #theunderdogisstillakitty
A very unlikely fan favorite this season was Kelley, the lawyer from Chicago, and she is one of my top picks for next season! Bachelor Nation was drawn to her because of her intelligence, sarcasm, and drama-free attitude. She was unlike any other contestant this season with her level-headedness (I don’t think we saw her shed one single tear, which is VERY impressive) and her emotional maturity. Kelley refused to dumb herself down for the show and Peter’s affections, staying true to herself the entire way through. She would be the ideal candidate because she is a career-driven woman ready to settle down with a man on the same level as her.
And finally, it may be a pipe dream, but I would love to see Hannah ‘The Beast’ Brown back for a second time around! It wouldn’t be the first time considering Nick Viall has been on about 3 different seasons of the show, but I think after last year, she deserves another shot at love. While I was skeptical at first, Hannah B has been one of my all-time favorite Bachelorette’s. She is blunt, confident, and has been around the block before so she is not messing around. I would love to see her again, partially because the girls this season were not that impressive, and I just want her to be happy!
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