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House of the Dragon – Episode 8 teases raised stakes and targets emotional highs as the series builds toward its climax. Does it deliver?

Could Viserys have avoided conflict if he had chosen another successor? Who is the best option? Let’s find out below.

Spoilers ahead:

House of the Dragon – Episode 8: The Lord of the Tides

Viserys has been wilting in front of our eyes for eight weeks now, and the final minutes of episode 8 sees the flustered king succumb to his illness. However, this isn’t before Viserys gets a last hurrah and makes a considerable mark on the series.

When Corlys Velaryon is wounded in battle, the vultures start circling and whispering about succession. In Rhaenyra’s absence, Lucery’s claim to Driftmark has come into question. Rhaenyra returns to King’s Landing to defend her son with the help of Daemon. What they find upon arriving is a shift in power and Viserys on his deathbed.

King Viserys on his deathbed in House of the Dragon - Episode 8.

After Rhaenyra begs her father to defend her (perhaps for the last time), Viserys does something astonishing and climbs out from his deathbed. It interrupts the hearing and takes a long, painful walk across the throne room. The music set to the scene tells the audience the moment is emotional, almost to the point of being over the top, but thankfully it is moving.

We have seen Viserys fall from the highest position to his most vulnerable, but it’s here where he shows the defiant and kingly qualities he often lacked in health. He affirms Rhaenyra’s position and, for a time, even reconciles the family.

However, this is undone when, speaking in a state of delirium, he recounts Aegon the Conqueror’s dream of uniting the land. Alicent hears and thinks that Viserys has had a sudden change of heart: it’s their son Aegon that should sit on the Iron Throne. Viserys slips away while picturing his first wife, and Alicent leaves the room with a new sense of purpose.

We know the Dance of Dragons civil is coming, but is there any way it could have been avoided? What if Viserys chose another successor? let’s look at some of the Targaryen candidates:

Rhaenyra – 5/10

Rhaenyna has the temperament and tenacity to be a great leader, but she isn’t popular with everyone. Not even a union with Daemon and plenty of heirs can quell objection. We know that her claim in part causes the Dance of Dragons, so we can rule her out.

Rhaenyra looking past the camera.

Alicent – 6/10

Alicent appears popular with lords and ladies in Westeros, but it’s unlikely they would choose her over a Targaryen. For a start, she doesn’t a dragon. To keep the throne, she would have to use violence Larys strong.

Rhaenys – 6/10

Rhaenys is the Queen Who Never Was. She has a powerful dragon, she is cunning and co-commands the largest naval force in Westeros, but she wouldn’t be popular with the lords and ladies. Sadly, sexism is still very much a thing in Westeros.

Rhaenys Targaryen

Daemon – 7/10

Daemon has children with Rhaenyra Targaryen and Laena Velaryon, which would unite their dragons and a large navy. Although Daemon has mellowed over the years, he is still hotheaded. He decapitates Vaemond’s in episode 8. No, Daemon is a better warrior and anti-hero than a king.

Daemon Targaryen.

Aegon or Aemond Targaryen – 5/10

They are Viserys sons and both have dragons. Aemond has the largest living dragon, Vhagar. That said, neither of them has a good bone in their body. There is no way Rhaenyra would accept them knowing her father would have wanted better.

Aegon and Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon - Episode 8.

Corlys Velaryon – 8/10

In my opinion, Corlys Velaryon is the best option to succeed King Viserys. Okay, he’s not a Targaryen, per se, but hear me out.

Like the Targaryens, Corlys can trace his family back to Valyria. He has the largest navy in Westeros and is experienced in battle, he’s married the Rhaenys, who was almost queen, and his children and wife have dragons. At one stage, they owned the largest and oldest dragon, Vhagar.

Viserys should have made Corlys and Rhaenys king and queen of Westeros upon his death on the condition their children assume the Targaryen name and heraldry.

Of course, Viserys never got that chance. Nor did he probably consider it an option.

Corlys Velaryon.

Conclusion

House of the Dragon – Episode 8 was gripping. Paddy Considine gave an amazing performance as King Viserys and will certainly be remembered as the Ned Stark of this series, as a flawed patriarch unable to hold this family together. Paddy deserves every ounce of praise he receives. I only wish we could have spent more time with him and further explored what made his character great.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

If you would like to learn more about House Targaryen, you can read their family history in George R. R. Martin’s Fire and Blood novel here:

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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”

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Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Silenced

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Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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