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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

HBO’s big return of ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Silicon Valley,’ ‘Veep’

It’s that time of the year again. HBO’s definitive block of “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Veep” returned Sunday evening for the network’s late spring/early summer line-up. Amazingly, all three shows have a “moments later” effect, as their previous seasons ended with game-changing stakes. “Game of Thrones” left several characters’ fates up in the air, “Silicon Valley” celebrated the success of Pied Piper receiving money – albeit not without a price –and “Veep” ended with a tied election.  There’s is a lot to unpack in these three shows, so let’s get started.

“Game of Thrones”

He’s dead, completely and utterly dead. “The Red Women” hits the ground running with the answer to a surprising cliffhanger at the end of last season. HBO has been vague as to whether or not Jon Snow is alive, featuring the character in the season six trailers. But that question is answered immediately in the first two minutes of the episode. This also marks the show’s diversion from the plot, since George RR Martin is still writing the sixth novel of his series. Other important developments throughout the episode include Ayra (Maisie Williams) adjusting to her recently developed blindness, Sansa (Sophie Tuner) and Theon (Alfie Allen) escaping the clutches of Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) walking the streets of Meereen only to discover a large fire destroying the ships.

There is still much to be discovered with the return of characters Hodor (Kristian Narin) and Bran Stark (Issac Hempstead Wright) and now there’s more of a surprise to the Red Women’s story, but “Game of Thrones” is acting on a tight balancing act. There’s nothing from the books that screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss can go on, other than the permissions they have been given by R.R. Martin himself.

At any moment this show could ultimately collapse on itself. For right now, the episode works for setting the stage of the next nine episodes and its possible endgame. Still, fans have seen this show at its worst and it could very well head back there.

Grade: B+

“Silicon Valley”

Programmer Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch)’s music app Pied Piper is now funded – which is awesome. What is not awesome is Richard getting kicked out of the CEO position in favor of someone with more experience running a company.

The people willing to help Pied Piper succeed is offering Richard a CTO position, which would allow him to continue to develop the technology necessary for the product while still maintaining some of the ownership. Angry he is losing the work he spent months trying to develop, Richard plans on moving over to another company to maintain his dignity. But as he quickly learns, that’s not always an easy thing to accomplish.

There’s very little action for the other characters during this half hour, except the witty dialogue that Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani). Mike Judge has been responsible for two of the most important animated series in the past 20 years, “Beavis and Butthead” and “King of the Hill.” Judge carries the sheer ridiculousness of these shows to “Silicon Valley.”

Before the intro starts, Richard and Erlich (T.J. Miller)  drive to the office to get his CEO position back and manage to hit an electronic deer made by undergraduate Stanford students. It’s a show that embraces technology while laughing at itself because the writers have experienced working in the field and know how frustrating it can be build up a company from scratch. It’s good to have this back.

Grade: A-



Even with the departure of show creator Armando Iannucci, it still looks and feels like the same show. Following the election, there is hope for Selina Meyer (Julia-Louis-Drefyus) to retake the presidency. A recount is allowed for the state of Nevada – after votes were tallied, a lead of less than half of a percent was found by Senator O’Brien, Selina’s opponent in the election last season.

The characters are still the same lovable narcissists we have come to enjoy the past four seasons and “The Morning After” is no exception. It’s also good to see Hugh Laurie sticking around as Tom James, one of the newer characters from the last season that was brought on to be a part of Selina’s team at the White House. Tension grows between Tom and Selina when he threatens to take the presidency, because he knows Selina will do something to ruin the chance of getting reelected.

When the creators of  “Community” and “The Boondocks” left, the show declined. “Veep” has not. New show runner David Mandel didn’t suddenly change what “Veep” was about overnight, and Julia Louis-Drefyus knows exactly where the show should be heading. It’s been left in very excellent hands.

Grade: A

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