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Saturday, June 29, 2024

House of the Dragon 2x01 | The Boys 4x01-4x04 | Fallout 1x07

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Taking our 1st stab into the Game of Thrones universe, House of the Dragon finally returns after 2 years away: #TeamBlack licks its wounds after the loss of Lucaerys Targaryen, while Daemon Targaryen amplifies Rhaenyra Targaryen's cries for vengeance. #TeamGreen finds the center does not hold and will have an even harder time of it after Blood and Cheese are through.

Oi! We're busting into The Boys universe, too! Covering the first 4 episodes, titled, Department of Dirty Tricks, Life Among the Septics, We'll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here, and Wisdom of the Ages. With it's next season (5) being its last, our full cast of characters are finally becoming much more self-aware. This makes them simultaneously terrifying and fascinating but also, more than anything else, moves them into a far more grey area than we're used to.

In varying degrees, everyone in this story is a "bad guy" or a coward: the difference is the degree to which they are self-aware. In contrast to the start of the series, we're not sure whether any of these characters see themselves as the hero of their own story (any longer). Regardless, they all do their best to forge a better path forward.

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

SPECIAL GUEST

Carinae Davey:

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HOUSE OF THE DRAGON

2x01 A Son for a Son

  • The opening scene at Castle Black. The (dis)honor in going to The Wall and parallels to Australia's colonial history.

  • Make sure you watched the correct episode, Bridget!

  • The sacrifice of Winterfell's Greybeard's during winter.
  • The show presents #TeamBlack (Rhaenyea Targaryen, et al) far more sympathetically compared to the books, which is basically a historical account by unreliable sources of hundreds of years of Targeryan reign.
  • The death of Jaehaerys Targaryen, Aegon Targaryen's heir, was motivated by a desire to fulfill Rhaenyra's call for revenge on Aemond Targaryen for killing her son, Lucaerys Targaryen. The books describes the actual decapitation in far more gruesome and sadistic detail.
  • Helaena Targaryen is a seer/dreamer and her visions hold significance that nobody else on the show seems to acknowledge.
  • The power dynamics between men and women are explored, particularly through the character of Ser Criston Cole.
  • The title sequence of the show has changed and contains references of Targaryen history, up until present day. Hoping that this will depict further events that will occur this season.
  • Personal responsibility is lacking in mostly male characters. Even the characters who are driven by loyalty and honor commit to actions that have consequences - for both themselves and the realm.
  • Playing the Game of Thrones requires making difficult choices: those ambitious enough to make a play for The Iron Throne must maintain healthy doses of honor, thinking of the good of the realm, and necessary force.
  • The complexity of the characters adds depth to the story and keeps the audience engaged. Tyland Lannister is played by Jefferson Hall, who also played Ser Hugh of the Vale on Game of Thrones. Dave thinks he looks far too similar to Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports, which really messes with his head.


  • Certain scenes (from this season and past ones) have significant meaning and foreshadow future developments.
  • We speculate on the direction of future episodes and the fate of certain characters.
  • The episode contains many mentions of brutal/wanton violence.
  • Harrenhal is a strategic location in the war between Team Black and Team Green, with a curse on all those who've inhabited it.

  • The lineage and relationships between the characters are complex and interconnected. We also discuss other spin-offs that were previously and are still in development.
  • Belief that Dragons wanes in Westeros as its society forgets over centuries. The spread of information is limited in a world with low-levels of literacy and a lack of communications infrastructure.
  • Lord Larys Strong raises questions from us about his motives, as a result of his actions in The Red Keep.
  • Humor is more contained and less prevalent in this series, when compared to Game of Thrones. Though House of the Dragon's plot is a more slimmed-down by comparison, it's still a complex tale that necessitates some academic vigilance to understand all its unfolding events.
  • Prior knowledge of the Game of Thrones universe enhances the viewing experience of House of the Dragon, but isn't required. Spinoffs often dive into the pre-existing universe to provide more depth and context.
  • The Targaryens have a strong and mystical sense of loyalty to their bloodline. It provides them with an odd sense of clarity when regarding those of other houses. They are also driven by a sense to right wrongs.

THE BOYS

4x01 Department of Dirty Tricks
4x02 Life Among the Septics
4x03 We'll Keep the Red Flag Flying Here
4x04 Wisdom of the Ages

  • The fourth season of The Boys explores themes of societal divide and the desire to be the hero of one's own story.
  • Character development is a key aspect of the season, with A-Train, Billy Butcher, Starlight, and others undergoing significant arcs.
  • The hosts speculate on the endgame of Victoria Newman and the potential role of the virus in taking down Homelander.
  • The complex relationships between fathers and children are explored.
  • The search for acceptance and love is a common theme.
  • The show delves into gray areas of morality.
  • The motivations and struggles of Homelander are examined. Legacy and learned-behavior play a role.
  • Vought is the primary manipulator, influencing not only all characters, but the world.
  • Parallels/Mirroring between the characters.
  • The nature vs nurture of Homelander's actual existence of emotions are debated.
  • Power corrupts all individuals. Supes to varying degrees, are an example of absolute power corrupting, absolutely.
  • Societal and institutional pressures play a role in shaping individuals, particularly Homelander and Ryan.
  • The parallels between the show and real-life political dynamics are discussed: Media used to play a much more significant role in shaping public opinion and amplifying certain voices. Now, in both our universe and that of The Boys, social media has given everyone a voice. Constant exposure to news can generate fear and paranoia, affecting people's behavior.
  • The Boys explores fluid power dynamics, the manipulation and corruption of corporations and institutions, and the moral ambiguity of its characters.
  • The show uses hyper-violence and gratuitous sexually suggestive situations (to put it diplomatically) to challenge viewers' sense of morality.
  • A-Train is undergoing a redemption arc and we wonder whether he might end up being the hero of this story, since he was the supe that started Hughie Campbell on his journey with The Boys. When Hughie forgives A-Train, it's because he sees bigger picture beyond his original quest for revenge.
  • Starlight's character is complex: with more of her past revealed, it slowly shifts our perception of her as she proceeds to unravel.
  • Male nudity, by way of Splinter, is seen as a step towards more on-screen egalitarian nudity.
  • The fate of Barbara, Project Manager for Project Odessa, is left uncertain. Even though Homelander is CEO of Vought in name, it's real unclear who is running the show.
  • The relationships between all characters in The Boys are complex and involve seeking power, regaining control, and finding acceptance:
    • Kimiko and Frenchie's relationship is couched in mutual acceptance and love: they have a deep connection that goes beyond romance (but not limited to, perhaps).
    • Homelander/Butcher and Ryan's relationship is complicated by the (physical/positional) power dynamic between them, their upbringing, and the trauma they have endured.
    • Marvin "Mother's" Milk struggles with control: his character represents the need for order and stability.
  • All the characters on this show have continued to reinvent themselves in their desire for purpose and acceptance; however, as characters confront their past in an attempt to move forward, they acquire an overwhelming dose of self-awareness, which sends them down a dark path of their own making.
  • The Boys is still a show that mostly doesn't tend to take itself too seriously and has funny moments.
  • We apologize for the uncharacteristic lack of structure, easter eggs, and detail in this episode discussion: this was done out of necessity to stay ahead of our episode releases.
  • Still, in episode 4, Dave attempted to read some of the information that was left on the Project Odessa bulletin board, but it was predominantly incomprehensible.

FALLOUT

1x07 The Radio

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  • First impressions and character analysis of The Ghoul's motivations and moral ambiguity play a significant role in shaping our understanding of the narrative.
  • The impact of choices in a post-apocalyptic world is explored, highlighting the consequences and ethical dilemmas faced by each character.
  • Past experiences and personal history influence the present decisions and behaviors of the characters, adding depth to their actions and motivations.
  • The trepidation exhibited by the (former) members of Vault 33 as they prepare to enter their new home in Vault 32, venturing into the unknown, reflects the fear of change and uncertainty. The emotional impact of leaving behind familiar surroundings and adapting to a new environment is a significant theme in the conversation. 
  • Pop culture references and cameos, like the appearances of Eric Estrada and Fred Armisen, can generate excitement and anticipation among fans.
  • Family dynamics and relationships play a significant role in shaping individual experiences and perspectives. The influence of family on musical tastes show how, for some of us and over time, we wind up accepting them where, at first, we rejected it.
  • The role of scientists in the Fallout universe: Vault 4's overseers versus Lee Moldaver / Miss Williams.
  • Mutants, Super Mutants, and Behemoths. Mutated animals seen in the games, including dogs that look like ghouls.
  • The productization of society and the impact of scientific experimentation in the show/games. The conversation explores the absolute power (which corrupts, absolutely) of The Ones Ring in Lord of the Rings and how close the Fallout universe really was to The Jetsons by way of the Tesla Magazine Cooper Howard was reading.

  • The discussion covers a variety of food preferences in the show/games and experiences, including the concept of experimenting on corn and potatoes. The conversation also touches on unusual food trends, such as coleslaw popsicles and exotic ice cream flavors.
  • The attention to detail in the show is remarkable, with the Red Rocket Station being a perfect example of the show's dedication to replicating the game's environment.


  • The evolving relationship between Lucy MacLean and Maximus reflects the characters' desire for connection and purpose in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • The conversation delves into the themes of love, purpose, and the impact of the post-apocalyptic world on the characters, providing a deeper understanding of the show's narrative and character development.

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Monday, June 17, 2024

Fallout |1x06 "The Trap"

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Expectations are subverted at every turn: and they're just going to do it again next episode! Who's side are you on? Is Cooper Howard or Barb Howard the hero? Is Maximus or Lucy MacLean right about Vault 4? ...and when, since opinions swap! Or is forcing us into a binary choice an intentional distraction that benefits a more malevolent force?
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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

SPECIAL GUEST

Carinae Davey:

  • You don't want to miss out on these new designs (t-shirts, mugs, pillows, smartphone cases, wall art, etc) reflecting our discussions on Amazon Prime's Fallout! Grab either the yellow accent (on default blue background) or blue accent (on default yellow background) SQUAWK-Tec designs or our SQUAWKING Fallout logo design (if you look real closely, you can see the DEAD in SQUAWKING's shadow).

  • In addition to these designs, and in case you missed them somehow, why not take a look at the  alternate Fear The Walking Dead Season 8B discussion logo design Sherrandy was wearing during this episode or even the FearTWD Season 8A Logo and ART designs?


  • Talking about the singularly unique and pleasant convention experience for fans and cast of The Walking Dead Universe at The Camp. Sincerely hoping we get to talk about our time there, before it leaves our brains, but we do need to eventually post our panel discussion with FearTWD's Mo Collins and (newcomer, to The Camp) Danay Garcia!
    Photo Credit: @JessicaTCos

  • After rattling off a bunch of facts about Vault 4's lore from the games, last episode, we're fairly convinced the show's depiction fits fairly well into the overall canon. The only thing that doesn't fit very well: in the games, this vault was meant to have no assigned roles nor overseers so that the vault dwellers would figure it out for themselves whereas, on the show, scientists (specifically, Lloyd Hawthorne and his wife, Cassandra Hawthorne) had specific roles and their purpose was to specifically study the effects of radiation on human DNA.

  • Rachael's reaction to this episode is hilarious: mostly sounds with excessive use of the word what. She's mostly referring to the culty Shady Sands memorial ceremony at the end, which safely(?) transitions us to Lucy MacLean & Maximus' cringy sex talk while waiting in Room 604 (intake).

  • In response to Sherrandy's amusement over Maximus' reaction to both hot showers and caviar, we go over the contents of Maximus' gift basket: Sugar Bombs Cereal, Vault-Tec Caviar, Oysters, Cram Classic, Yum Yum Brands Deviled Eggs, Salty Snacks Mixed Nuts, Blamco Mac & Cheese, Fancy Lads Snack Cakes,  Champagne, and Water.

  • It's also an opportunity to juxtapose what the simple life means to both Cooper Howard (pre-fallout) and Maximus, coming from opposite sides of the survivalist spectrum, by way of the song Give Me the Simple Life by June Christy.

  • We were really excited to see Matt Berry actually (re)appear on the show as the voice actor for Mr. Handy, Sebastian "Seabass" Leslie, by way of The Howards' Vault-Tec commercial wrap-party. The robot was originally a television character that Rob-Co made for the show that they ended up mass-producing for households across the country after they bought out the entertainment studio. Seabass tells Cooper all of this to explain how society is the product to those who are actually in control.

  • Dave stops the show to alert the audience that both Bridget and Sherrandy's takes are no longer to be trusted since they watched the rest of the series. Only Rachael and he have not watched ahead.
  • As a reminder, the fall of Shady Sands and The New California Republic is a new development outside the lore of the games. We lay out the timelines and where they differ. In the games, one of the possible endings involves nuking Shady Sands, but this occurs in 2281, whereas in the show, it alludes to 2277 (the bicentennial of The Great War).

  • We juxtapose the past with the present. Vault-Tec has a vested interest to accelerate The Great War (violating all principles) while the so-called Communists (Charlie Whiteknife et al) are trying to save it by exposing them. What's interesting is how, even though Overseer Benjamin is very prejudicial towards surfies, he still takes them in: adhering to the principles passed down to him by his forebears, despite his feelings towards them. What's even more fascinating Benjamin's nativist attitude: his family is obviously from the surface, since they've only occupied the vault for the last 100 years, yet he regards all surface-dwellers as his lesser. This is punctuated in the way he insists on instructing all newcomers on how a toilet works, which none of us disagree with, really.

  • Obviously, Lucy & Maximus are falling for each other, but the show makes it obvious by way of the Falling Objects sign in the intake room. Without any real instruction on human sexuality and even though Maximus has the desires of an adult human male towards the opposite sex, his framework is that of a pre-pubescent child. This leads to a rather uncomfortable topic for most: Dave relates this to the manner in which little boys, often prompted by the weirdo of the bunch, show each other their genitalia at sleepover parties. Left to their own devices, with limited education and no real parental figures, the aspirants in The Brotherhood of Steel are essentially little boys flashing their wieners to one another and absurd/terrifying notions of human sexuality.

  • Benjamin accidentally drinking from a moldy mug of coffee (among a handful on his desk) might be a nod to the gamers who would spend many sleepless nights playing the games doing the same thing. Dave takes this opportunity to give an example from his own life, watching his friend play World of Warcraft for hours on end with many leftover cups of 7-Eleven coffee littered about his desk. And speaking of mugs, why not grab one of two (or both?) SQUAWK-Tec mugs and/or even a SQUAWKING Fallout logo mug, my fellow products?

  • The Pip-Boy is pre-war technology: Barb and the scientists are using it, even at the party. This links us back to Seabass' speech about people being products and how, in our reality, attention is currency. Pre-war Cooper Howard is actually the biggest influencer of his time. Still, Barb is the product behind him. The irony is that Cooper has been walking around completely unaware of how influential he really is - now that he is coming online, he's also realizing his contribution to the end of the world and is maybe determined to know the truth and put a stop to it.

  • Still, we have sympathy for Barb: she regards (nuclear) Fallout as an inevitability and is scrambling to make sure she and her family are in the best possible position. Cooper, at the moment, is taking the hint and is determined - by way of attending Charlie Whiteknife's meeting, representing everything he is against - that maybe there's a way out of Barb's foregone conclusion.

  • Sherrandy finally reveals her theory: what if Ma June's partner, Barv, is actually Barb Howard? Laughter does follow this, but Sherrandy, in earnest, explains that it would be ironic that she would be hiding in plain sight and it is a little strange that they go through the bother of introducing her to the audience to never return.
  • Rachael supports Sherrandy's theory further by reminding everyone the words of Sorrel "The President of the Government" Booker, You're still looking for her. That could be Barb or Janey Howard, but not both. Sherrandy expertly compares his character to the actor, Sorrell Brooke, who played Jefferson Davis "Boss" Hogg in The Dukes of Hazard: Booker looks and even dresses a lot like Boss Hogg, and his deputies look and act much the same. Speaking of names, Cooper Howard's first initial and last name, said/spelled fast, sounds like Coward... what that could mean, we don't know yet.

  • Bridget has to leave because she's not feeling well. We soldier on.
  • Francisco, in the audience, points out that one of the wanted posters might be a super mutant, as well as obvious depictions of The Ghoul and Lee Moldaver. Speaking of Moldaver, it's interesting that her pre-war, flashback reveal to Cooper Howard occurs at the end of the episode as it cuts back and forth between the past and present: the banner of the flame mother (another one of Moldaver's names) is unfurled at the height of the freakiness that was the Shady Sands memorial ceremony.

  • What's great about this episode is that you automatically assume that by the very nature of Lucy and Maximus being sucked down into a trap that drops them into Vault 4, you already think this place is bad news. The show, then, lulls you - and Maximus, who was very mistrustful of this place from the start - into a sense of complacency. By the end, Lucy, who was intrinsically trustful of the vault dwellers, is now terrified of them (especially after their disturbing ceremony), while Maximus is lounging around, listening to records, slurping down oysters, and munching on popcorn while couch-potatoing to a looping video of a waterfall. But what if this subversion of expectations is also a subversion of expectations? What if the experiments happening on Level 12 are altruistic, rather than nefarious? Considering the knowledge we gleaned about Vault 4 from the last episode, what if these vault dwellers were saddled with having to save these pregnant women in cryopods, prior to their arrival, from the terrible fate of their young (gulpers? geckos?) devouring them? Birdie alludes to this when she says  I'm sure if we came to your home we would say the same thing. Speaking of cryopods, the first Fallout game emerged in the late 1990s, after many years discussing the viability of cryostasis on humanity, primarily to leave a patient suffering from fatal illnesses in suspended animation in order to someday invent a cure in order to save their lives.


  • Going back to Maximus' hesitation, he was very squirrely when they were about to inject him with anesthetic prior to removing a tooth from his arm. Using teeth as ammunition was something we proposed in the second episode when we saw the Barber / Dentist sign in Filly.
  • At the beginning of the episode, you get to see Cooper Howard's commercial advertisement for Vault-Tec's vaults. In the first episode, we said we would look out for moments in the series where the screen would shift from anamorphic widescreen to either 16:9 or otherwise. Well, the commercial was one of those times, as the screen was in 4:3 (NTSC). In addition, the commercial included a number on the screen, which Dave both texted and called. You can hear the startling audio in the podcast, but here's a screenshot of the text conversation:

  • We compare Cooper Howard's tragic story to FearTWD's John Dorie, primarily from 6x04 The Key, where he thinks he knows which way is up until the rug is inevitably pulled out from underneath him, considering we know the great war happens. This is further exacerbated when he talks about the freedoms he thought he fought for: but what if the wars he fought - with fellow soldiers who never came back - were built on a lie, as well? If world governments are in cahoots with one another, it would be easy to stoke the flames of constant conflict and global tensions to distract their constituents enough to profit from the chaos. Toss in what appears to be a ton of collaboration between corporations, along with all the industries they are buying up, why wouldn't they? This pairs very nicely with Dave's theory that Vault-Tec+ corporations or The Enclave were the first mover in the great war.


  • Heading into the classroom of Vault 4, we not only see The New California Republic flag, but the Fallout: New Vegas opening title theme music. We also snag a sneak peek of one of their military uniforms on one of their Uncle Sam-esque posters behind the flag, which resembles that of the New Vegas cover.

  • Until this episode, none of us under stood that the end credit sequence held clues about the following episodes. The next episode is called The Radio and the end credits scene features a radio studio, K.P.S.S., which is protected by various traps to prevent trespassers and requests. I wonder what the end credits sequence will be for the last episode of the season? We take a moment to reflect on the presence of Tay Zonday as the voice of Fallout radio host, Three Dog, which we mentioned in the 3rd episode's blog, which subsequently becomes an earworm we we can't rid ourselves of for the rest of the episode.

  • Mr. Robert House's role in the TV show provide exciting connections to the games, enhancing the viewing experience for fans. He is the CEO of Rob-Co, which produces the terminals in the vaults, I-Bots, Sentibots, Protectrons, Stealth-Boys, Pip-Boys, and turrets (which we saw in the second episode). They partner with General Atomics to create Mr. Handy(s) and other military contracts. He also owns both Nuka Cola and Lucky 38 casinos and hotels. Amidst the great war he uploads his consciousness to a super computer, while preserving/enhancing his physical body, to literally become similar to The (Casino's) House in order to protect New Vegas from the fallout by controlling all security and defense systems.
  • Just before Cooper Howard enters the wrap party, he's seen glancing at his ad in the news paper. On the same page is an article about the failure of Nuka Cola's New Nuka. The paper is flipped over to reveal the front page of The Capital Post where the lead article is titled, Reds Losing Territory! More Troops Deployed to Far East. The second article reads, Wilson Atomatoys Face Lawsuit Over Giddyup Buttercup, and as far as the games go, the parts of this particular heavy metal toy is used as valuable materials to make a variety of things in the games.


  • Sherrandy has to leave early, as well, to make a doctor's appointment early in the morning. We soldier onward.
  • One last note, as The Ghoul is rapping with Sorrel Booker, he's sewing on the finger he cut off from Lucy's hand in the 4th episode. It informs us a little further on the regenerative capabilities of ghouls, in general, and justifies the existence of having a market for (feral) ghoul organs.

  • As we congratulate Carinae for not spoiling these episodes, we poke fun at how little a poker face Rachael would've made had she watched ahead. We proceed to tangent on both the childhood and present-day competitiveness nature of ourselves, our friends, and our tormentors.

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