Game of Thrones – A-
I’m growing really fond of these Bran flashbacks going on. This episode opens on one of them, as he is watching the legendary battle between his father, Ned, and Sir Arthur Dayne who he beats with the aid of another. This is not the story Bran was told all his life though. Did Ned Stark lie??? He was told his father won all by himself. Now poor Bran is questioning everything about his dad. It appears nothing is what it seems, and what’s real and true is questionable. Daenerys enters the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen, her punishment for not keeping her “oath” and returning after Khal Drogo’s death. Everyone is getting punished it seems. Jon Snow is back and his first order of business is vengeance against those who betrayed him and their oath. Is Jon Snow the same? No one knows for sure yet, even himself. A quick hanging and he is on his way. He gives up his station at the wall and passes it on to Ed, and Jon Snow is out, deuces. Of course, he leaves before Sansa gets there (sigh, this is so stressful as a viewer! When will these siblings reconnect???) But on the upside Rickon Stark is back! He is given to Ramsey as a gift (d’oh!) which can’t be good. On the downside, his direwolf Shaggydog is not. Seeing his wolf beheaded was just as upsetting as the hounds feasting on a baby. It was awful! But, alas, for the first time in many seasons all the Stark children are back in the mix — and this means something interesting has to be on its way in the coming eps.
– Navani Otero
Bob’s Burgers – A-
In an episode that’s bigger on heart than truly memorable laughs — although Max Greenfield has some highlights in his return as height-conscious teen vocalist Boo Boo — Tina risks ostracization (well, more so) to help her obstinate sister embrace her crush. Boo Boo’s solo dreams have led to the dissolution of Boyz 4 Now, and Tina’s fan club is out for his blood, but Louise is still crushing hard (and couldn’t care less about the band anyway) and wants to win a rollercoaster ride with her first love — and surely slap him at some point. The B4N fan club is in the contest, but harbors ulterior motives involving embarrassment and vomit. The end plays out with an impressive thriller chase of sorts — the kind of parody at which Bob’s Burgers so excels. However, it is another hallmark of top rate BB, its characters’ genuine inner goodness, that makes “Bye Bye Boo Boo” memorable. Louise lets her vulnerable caring side out with her passion for the pint-sized singer, while Tina’s love and protective instinct of her sister outweighs her awkwardness, and when the siblings team up, the show is at its best. Even the B-plot, a lightweight battle between Bob and Jimmy Pesto over gangsters and plaques, shines a light on the Belchers’ nature as even his enemy’s happ , iness warms Bob’s heart.
– Jason Thurston
Silicon Valley – A
The box is here to stay, and it’s time to “save the platform” once again. Bring on the spirit of those Ride or Die founding fathers, as Erlich so Erlich-y puts it before confusing the issue with an Oceans 11 reference — which in turn leads to a twisted getting-the-heist-together montage. We get yet more insight into the corporate force of nature that is Jack Barker in “Mainertzhagen’s Haversack,” a man who will soft-serve his team, coddling and/or distracting any possible dissenters with ego-stroking or folksy anecdotes — that is, until the objections feel a waste of his time, voiced by “players” he feels beneath him. At that point, like many a CEO I’ve met, he will turn viciously, as he does when Erlich tries to intervene (“before you waste my time with some freeform jazz odyssey of masurbatory bullshit, just tell me some concrete information you have for me that I do not ALREADY POSSESS”). If you freeze-frame, you can almost pinpoint the exact moment where Erlich’s heart breaks in half, and it’s hard to ever feel bad for the pompous bag of narcissism that is Erlich, but Jack Barker’s cruelty, warranted or not, makes me come close. Barker later confronts Richard after the latter goes over his head, and is sure, as Richard leaves with the shabbiest shadow of a hat in hand, to pierce him with the ol’ “If you shoot at the king, you better make sure you don’t miss” before making fun of Richard’s garbled reaction. Steven Tobolowsky owns oily and his true-form-of-evil salesman is an inspired add to Silicon Valley‘s halls of power. And what a day for Jared, who not only gets some solid burns in on Dinesh’s chain, but initially saves the heist with the tactic expressed in the episode — well, that’s of course before his bridge-too-far burn sets the wheel in motion for the inevitable next set of complications. End scene, and bring in the Bell Biv Devoe.