'Game of Thrones' Reaches Its Penultimate Episode, 'Penny Dreadful' Heats Up

Game of Thrones: "The Dance of Dragons" | Not backing down from portraying the absolutely despicable, “Thrones” gave viewers the most disturbing and awful death of the entire series; the murder of Shireen, the adorable daughter of Stannis. Easily the most innocent character the series has ever had in its stable, Shireen was sacrificed by her own father in his bid to sit on the Iron Throne.

The twist heavily mirrored that of Greek mythology’s account of Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter, Iphigenia. There is no coming back from this for Stannis. He has never been a valiant or decent ruler. Sadly, Eddard Stark sacrificed his life and that of his family’s for a man, who didn’t deserve it so he could take his “rightful” place on the throne. This is one of the main takeaways of the storyline. Eddard Stark gave up everything for nothing.

On a personal note, I fast forwarded through what happened to Shireen. It’s important for viewers to give themselves permission to take the remote into their control when something is too much for them. It doesn’t make you a “bad” fan. After what transpired on the second season of “Vikings”, I vowed to never again endure a scene that could never be unseen. “Game of Thrones” has a right to tell its stories but that doesn’t mean I have to watch all of them.

From the abysmally appalling point of Shireen’s heinous end, the series rapidly switched gears as it traveled to Meereen with Daenerys, Tyrion and Jorah. What came forth was one of the most soaring scenes in the series’ history as they were faced with certain death. As chaos exploded around them, Tyrion saved Missandei by handily dispatching a baddie headed towards her. In a show of trust, Dany took Jorah’s hand as he attempted to lead her and the others out of harm’s way. It’s safe to say any animus Dany has been holding onto against her former confidant might be in the past.

When the gang was cornered with no exit in sight, the Mother of Dragons experienced a last-minute save at the hands/claws of one of her “offspring”. As he lit aflame her attackers, she mounted him and flew off to parts unknown. The reactionary shots from those she left on land were priceless. It was an electrifying sequence that lifted the series and super charged excitement for what’s to come in the season finale.

Side Notes/Burning Questions: It seems Dany has trained at least one of her dragons. How could spears penetrate the skin of a dragon? Why didn’t he simply breathe a giant fireball at the people who were throwing the spears at him? Secondly, how dumb were those people? They just witnessed a bunch of people getting burnt to a crisp and they stood there thinking they could take on a freaking dragon? Will Davos finally put an end to the tyrant that is Stannis Baratheon? Will Stannis and Melisandre get what they deserve? In the history of “Thrones” those who’ve deserved justice seldom get it and if they do, it takes a long time. Who will die in the season finale? Will whoever’s fate might hang in the balance be known for certain or be left a cliffhanger?
Penny Dreadful: "Glorious Horrors" | Dorian Gray hosted a huge bash for Angelique, who learned of the all too fickle temperament of Dorian’s affection. On hand to join in the festivities was a jealous Frankenstein who found himself in a similar position to Angelique as his newfound love, Lily, became entranced with Mr. Gray. Who, unbeknownst to Lily, is her beguiled former client/john from her days as Brona. Vanessa took a chance and invited Ethan to be her escort to the ball. Unfortunately he had to decline, due to the pesky timing of his werewolf schedule. The romantic travails of new lovers, Lily and Frankenstein, were not as obnoxious as they could’ve been. The parallel of Angelique and Frankenstein’s awareness of their paramour’s wandering hearts had a symmetry that made it seem like more than a mere plot device to stall story.

With The Creature scarcely seen, “Glorious Horrors” saw a superior swing in story overall. The shocking final seconds saw devilish Hecate and her “sisters” revealing themselves to Vanessa, who collapsed from the realization. What is particularly disconcerting is why she hasn’t been able to recognize Madame Kali from her time with the Cut-Wife. She caught quite a few substantial glimpses of the evil immortal minx back then.

The bizarre behavior of Sir Malcolm imbued the hour with its dark share of gallows humor. Why his pals didn’t question his behavior a little more thoroughly given the threat they’re under was a tad puzzling. Their enemies haven’t exactly been forthcoming in announcing themselves or their intentions.

Sides Notes/Burning Questions: RIP Sir Malcolm’s facial hair – it was a good beard. Vanessa’s bloody ball vision put Sissy Spacek’s iconic blood bath in “Carrie” to shame. Why didn’t Ethan let Sembene sit a little further away from him when he was wolf-ing out? Next week is shaping up to be one helluva of an episode. Vanessa described The Creature aka John Claire as being a “kind man”.

Wonder if she’d still feel that way if she knew he was killing people and threatening not to stop, if Frankenstein didn’t provide him with a bride. How does this guy fool so many people into thinking he’s something he’s not? Especially someone who has a sixth sense about people? From the looks of the next episode’s preview, things will be heating up between Miss Ives and Mr. Chandler. Thoughts?

[Images by HBO and Showtime]