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Criticwire TV: 'Top of the Lake' concludes, 'Mad Men' Bounces Back, and 'Game of Thrones' Holds Strong

Criticwire By Forrest Cardamenis | Criticwire April 24, 2013 at 10:04AM

Jane Campion's Sundance mini-series "Top of the Lake" aired its final installment last week, and Beth Hanna of Thompson On Hollywood argued that it ended on "a beautiful note," making use of mise-en-scene to enhance (and foreshadow) the narrative, while Alan Sepinwall wrote for HitFix that the ambiguity "doesn't feel like a cheat." For the majority of critics writing about the show, the finale was an immensely satisfying conclusion.
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Daenerys of 'Game of Thrones'
Daenerys of 'Game of Thrones'

Meanwhile, "Game of Thrones" delivers again. By most accounts, "Walk of Punishment" was a great episode of "Game of Thrones," though some critics took a few issues with gratuitous nudity. With the fourth episode, "And Now His Watch Is Ended," praise is unanimous beyond the big storyline, which focused on Dany with this episode. The big, sprawling plot is certainly an apt starting point, however, as critics are singing high praise.

David Chute, Thompson On Hollywood:

"This episode is a Daenerys Stormborn special, easily the most satisfying since the Season One finale."

Nathan Campeau, Having Said That:

"Last week's ending was nothing compared to what we witnessed this week and somehow, when it seemed impossible, Daenerys Stormborn became even more of a badass than she already was...This was by far the most exciting ending of season and I would say easily one of the best endings this show has ever given us."

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix:

"But it's Dany's absolute victory in Astapor that's the episode's masterpiece, and its best example of how the show's deliberate, fragmented storytelling can pay off so beautifully at times...And that's why I watch 'Game of Thrones,' and why I ultimately forgive it for the parts that drag, or the parts that are too fragmented to make any impression at all. Because every now and then, a moment comes where my patience, and the show's patience, pays off as majestically as it did here."

Critics are also continuing to see the underdog theme manifest itself in different ways, with TV.com's Tim Surette noticing a formal parallel.

Tim Surette, TV.com:

"'Game of Thrones' has mastered alternating between the grandiose and the intimate, telling interweaving compelling smaller stories that affect the slowly moving larger picture, and vice versa."

Surette goes on to say that it makes sense for such a grandiose show to finds its footing, but that "Game of Thrones" has done so, and that "I think I'm ready to sign and wax-stamp the official document declaring 'Game of Thrones'' third season the best of the series so far, a mere four episodes in." He also noticed a theme running through the episode of cruelty and evil, a sentiment that many others echoed.

Tim Surette, TV.com:

"'And Now His Watch Is Ended' also had a rare consistent theme running through it, and it bluntly stated that no matter how bad you are, there is always someone worse out there."

Josh Hackson, Paste Magazine:

"From the camera's first glimpse of Jaime Lannister's cut-off hand, vengeance and cruelty dominate the stories of 'And Now His Watch Has Ended.'"

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix:

"Throughout the episode, we see characters waiting for the perfect opportunity to spring their revenge."

This theme was noticed especially in Theon's storyline, who is led back to the torture room by his presumed savior. The betrayal is a plot point that is confusing but still captivated critics, who saw no motivation for the move. At the same time, at only four episodes into the season, there is plenty of time for explanations, and if the stories of Jaime and Dany the past two weeks are any indicator, answers could arrive in a shocking fashion at any moment.

Next: "Mad Men," of course.

This article is related to: Criticwire TV, Mad Men, Top of the Lake


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