Matt Braunger was raised in Portland, Oregon and exposed to a lot of art there, both high and low. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from a small NYC college called Manhattanville, he moved to Chicago and chose to do the low kind (comedy). He studied under Del Close (the father of modern improv), was kicked off his improv team for refusing to take further classes, and clumsily pivoted to stand-up comedy (the lowest of the low). That was 20 years ago. Since then he’s performed on every Late Night show on television, has had two comedy specials on Comedy Central, and one on Netflix. His three comedy albums (Soak Up the Night, Shovel Fighter, and Big Dumb Animal) are among the most listened to on internet and streaming radio. In 2007 Matt co-founded one of the most beloved comedy festivals in the country, Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival. On its tenth anniversary, he recorded his new comedy special, Finally Live in Portland, during the fest in a former porn theatre, The Paris. FLIP is out via Comedy Dynamics and on streaming services everywhere, including Amazon Prime, iTunes Store, and many more.
Braunger’s latest endeavor is a podcast called “Advice from a Dipshit with Matt Braunger,” available on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple and everywhere else. In each episode, Braunger hears messages left for him by people wanting advice, then doles it out from a well-meaning dipshit’s perspective.
Matt lives in Los Angeles now but goes back to Portland every chance he gets.
Hey friends and fans! Thanks for following my dumb recap series of a very serious show. Shout out to everybody who, like me, loves Dragon Times but also recognizes it as being completely ridiculous. It’s a violent, fantasy-world soap opera and I am here for it, like the guy in the front row at a pro wrestling match getting other men’s sweat on his screaming face, and maybe at one point catching a thrown chair with it.
Let’s go, Dragon Times!
Quick recap of last week: Arya and the Hound had a nice ride in the woods, Jaime got dissed and laid and got mean to Brienne, Jon Snow literally did the “You can’t tell anyone, but…” move that hasn’t worked since grade school, and the nicest person in the seven realms got beheaded.
Cue the Dragon Times theme!
Just once don’t you wish The Mountain or someone super scary would pop up in the opening and wave at you? I do.
We open on Varys writing about how shitty Jon Snow is at keeping a secret. A girl comes in and tells him someone won’t eat. I’m guessing it’s Jon, keeping himself sad. The girl tells him she thinks soldiers are watching her. They have a cool, secret bond. Did Varys have a kid before he got snipped? Stay tuned.
Dinklage is watching everything from a cliff, pensive as ever. Varys and Jon are walking on the beach, talking about someone who won’t eat. Turns out it’s Daenerys, sad about her dragon. Well, at least she has a reason. Jeez, you imagine having a dragon and losing to a guy like Asshole Sailor [Ed. note: Euron Greyjoy] and Queen Angryface [Cersei]? I’d be livid. Varys tells Jon they both know what Dae is going to do: Go apeshit with dragonfire. ‘Natch. He also knows about Jon and tells him. Jon literally looks off in the distance like, “I can’t trust ANYBODY!” Dude, come on. Anyway, he’s not having it. To him, Dae is still Bae.
Dinklage wanders into… a cave of some kind? No, it’s a huge royal room for Dragon Dae to brood in, looking off in the distance. She knows Jon’s been telling. Wait, hold on, Dinklage tells her Varys knows. Dae knows he told him, though. Dang dang dang! Dink parries, telling her he’s glad he was told, to protect her. Cough cough. Hoo boy, Dae is gonna go after Sansa. Where is the unity, gals?? She is THIS close to putting Tyrion into her last remaining dragon’s mouth right now. Close up on Dae. Whoa, she looks rough. Like, New Year’s Day hungover rough.
Varys is putting away his letter, burning it in fact. He knows they’re coming for him, taking off his jewelry like Al Pacino going to his certain death in Donnie Brasco. Grey Worm and the gang lead him out onto the beach at night. Look, can’t we just build a bonfire, throw on Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” and drink margs? Tyrion comes up and tells him, “Look, I had to tell on you.” Varys says goodbye to Dink, who understandably feels like crap. Who will he swap sarcasm with now? Not Jon, he’s too sincere. Dae sentences him to death. Do they have to burn him? Give him a bad pill or something. Annnnnnnd roasted.
Man, that was cold-blooded.
Dae is sitting by the fire now, probably started with Varys’ remains. She’s kicking it with Worm, giving him some of Miss’ stuff. He throws it into the fireplace. Big night for burning things in Dragon Times. Jon shows up because something sad is happening and he doesn’t want to be left out. Dae and Sexy Snow stare at each other, then Dae blames Varys’ death on Sansa. It was as much a message to her as it was a punishment for Varys. Dae Dae is ice, ice, baby. Too cold, too cold. He tells her he loves her as a queen, and more? They make out and cry at the same time. Jon gets weirded out, which is weird. Sadness is his jam! He doesn’t want to kiss anymore. Dae is all about ruling with fear. Eeesh, not a good sign for anybody rooting against Cersei. Which is everybody.
Tyrion is arguing not to attack the city, because innocents will be killed. Dae is, like before, not giving any Fs. “It’s my fault they’re in there, so I gotta kill them.” Hmmm, doesn’t make a lot of sense. “Ready the Unsullied.” Tyrion’s last ditch is, “Hey, how about they surrender? Then no killing, cool?” She’s cool, but didn’t they try that last time and an awesome lady got beheaded instead? Tyrion walks off, and she stops him with, “Your brother tried to run away last night.” Oh shit!
“Next time you fail me, it’s dragon breath for you.”
Villages crowd in the front of Dragonstone as Jon and Tyrion row a boat to shore. It’s really pretty with all the torches. Davos is there and they tell him Dragon Queen wants to attack. He’s bummed, like everybody. Tyrion asks a favor of Davos as he is “The greatest smuggler alive.” Side note: There’s a whiskey called Old Smuggler, and it’s bad. Never drink it. Hound and Arya roll up and tell the soldiers she’s there to kill Cersei and end the war. I mean, if not her, who? She killed King Blue Darth Maul, after all. Tyrion rolls up to the Unsullied and butchers their language trying to ask for someone who drinks out of skulls, I think. The soldier speaks English to him, like people did to me every time I tried to speak French in Paris when I was there. Tyrion gets in to see Jaime, who’s being held in a tent prison. He got caught because they saw his fake gold hand. Eeesh, dude. Tyrion is there to convince Jaime to talk his sister into surrendering. I mean, she’s not even boning him anymore. Why would she listen to him? They go back and forth for a while, Jaime finally going, “Ah, maybe I die tomorrow, whatever.” Tyrion offers him an escape, take Cersei, and sail away. Okay, yeah, Tyrion’s got into some harder stuff than wine. Whoa, Jaime is into it. Ty takes off his dog collar and tells him get going, taking a massive gamble on Dae forgiving him for releasing Handless Handsome. They share a tender moment, evidently Jaime was always nice to him growing up when no one else was. Hug it out!
Ominous music playing…
Boats at sea, waiting for war. Jeez, those giant crossbows are something else. Wait for another 1,000 years when they invent cannons! Asshole Sailor [Euron Greyjoy] is ready. Arrows set! Soldiers run to their battle stations. Man, if I had to be a soldier in Dragon Times, I’d have to go with archer. Just stay in the back, letting arrows loose away from the action? That’s the sweet life. Arya and Hound are secretly behind castle walls. Hey, so is Jaime! Evidently a raised hood is all you need to sneak anywhere in that place. Lots of soldiers in gold helmets. Wait, no, bronze. They look scared or anxious. One guy in front isn’t wearing a helmet as a big “I’m cool” statement. Tyrion, Jon, and Davos are waiting for the bells of surrender from Cersei, who’s looking from her evil perch way up in the tower. Cersei rocks some good crushed velvet every ep, have you noticed?
Hound and Arya get inside JUST in time. A mom and her kid get out of the way after the door is closed just in time to not get crushed. Jaime is waving his gold hand like a Lannister passport to get past the velvet rope. Everybody on both sides is staring off into the distance. Euron looks restless on his boat and peers into the clouds.
Quick prediction: Dae is going to break her promise to wait for the bells and burn this motherfucker right now with her dragon. Let’s see what happens…
Here comes a dragon!!! They ready the big arrows and let a couple fly, but they miss. Dragon [Drogon] takes out like three ships. Wait, make that seven. They shoot some more arrows and miss again. Oh man, she’s a-roastin’ everybody on a boat right now. That dragon is way better at dodging giant arrows than the other one was. Screaming burning men everywhere!
Back to the field. Everybody’s still quiet. They hear things blowing up. “Is that our ships?” Helmetless Joe [Harry Strickland, leader of the Golden Company] wishes he wore a helmet. Oh man, the whole gate blew up! Dragon is getting it in today. The armies of Dae charge the gates. Helmetless gets up in time to REALLY want a helmet. He catches Worm’s spear in the back. The Dothraki and the Unsullied are riding dirty through Winterfell. A burnt guy gets stabbed in the back. Lots of chopping, lots of screaming. Everybody’s either running, burning, or stabbed. Meanwhile, Cersei looks down from on high. Is she seeing this? Yep. Her lips part slightly, so you can tell she’s affected.
Tyrion walks amongst the dead. “But…. my plan!”
Back to Cersei, “It’s cool, we just have to shoot the dragon.”
Qyburn: “All our dragon shooters got fricasseed. We’re really, really fucked.”
Cersei: “Nah, we’re good.”
Meanwhile, Worm and Jon walk on, killing anybody’s who’s left. A bunch of soldiers stand in front of the gate. Jon and co. are like, “Dudes, it’s over.” Tyrion walks up the rear, looking at the tower Cersei is in. Jaime hurries along, presumably to tell Cersei her lover got burnt. (Did he, though? We didn’t see.) The dragon lands on top of a building and yells “Dragon!” over and over. The royal guards toss down their swords. Come on, guys, it’s a dragon.
Ring the bells!
Back to Cersei again. People are yelling, “Ring the bells!” showing that they’re MC Hammer fans (“Ring the bell, school’s in sucker!”). Dae sits on her dragon going, “Wow, I sure burnt a lot of folks today — good day.” Cersei is bumming hard. So is Dae, but just from frustration. Ring the fucking bells!
THE BELLS RING!
There’s gotta be some twist though, right? Like that’s not the surrender bell, that’s the Easter bell? Dae doesn’t trust it, same as me. Oh shit, she’s going to fly in and roast them anyway?? The dragon flies over the city as people run underneath. She’s roasting everybody again. Tyrion can’t believe it, but should totally be able to at this point. Worm is cool with it, and throws a spear into a dude’s back. “Shit,” says Jon Snow with his eyes. He tries to stop everybody from murdering. Because yeah, they surrendered. This is murder now. Worm goes on a spree. Man, this guy’s head straight exploded. Pretty cool. Dae is leaving nothing uncrisped.
Cersei is starting to look mildly concerned.
More running, burning, stabbing. Davos tries to save some villagers. People still getting chopped. Soldiers are giving in to their blood lust. Ah crap, a guy killed a woman in front of her kid. Not cool, man. Jon looks around like, “This is not what I wanted at all.” I’ve made a lot of jokes about how he wants to be sad, but even Jon Snow doesn’t want to be sad like this. Ah gross, a soldier is trying to rape now. Jon stabs him dead. Good work, Jon! That’s what swords are for.
Cersei looks like I do when my TV won’t load Netflix because my WiFi is on the fritz, not like a dragon is burning all her friends up. Wait, holy shit, did the dragon just blow up the tower she was in? Lemme rewind. Can’t tell.
Jaime’s on the beach. Holy heck, I knew it! Asshole Sailor is alive, swimming up to shore. He tells Jaime he’s the king now because he’s “fucking the queen.” He even offers to bring Jaime’s head to her she he can “kiss her one last time.” Gotta give it up to Asshole Sailor, he knows how to talk trash. Jaime attacks.
Back to Cersei. OK, she wasn’t in that tower but stuff is breaking around her because of the dragon. Another tower falls. Euron and Jaime are still squabbling. Euron’s almost getting to the sword! He gets it and stabs Jaime in the side. Oh kingslayer, it seems you might have gotten slayed.
Qyburn’s back with Cersei again.
“Look, you gotta go.”
“It’s safe in the tower. Anyway, might just drive to McDonald’s.”
“The tower’s on fire and your car has been stolen!”
She finally looks like it’s dawning on her. Ah, she’s crying. I would definitely cry too. Qyburn takes her hand and leads her out. He’s a good, nice scary wizard.
Back to the cave. Euron gives the dying Jaime a backhanded compliment, so he starts crawling towards a sword. He gets it, Euron stabs him, but Jaime stabs him back! Jeez, the sounds are straight from a butcher shop. So much gristle! Euron dies happy as “The man who killed Jaime Lannister.”
Shit’s falling from the ceiling as Arya and Hound walk into the castle. Hound tells Arya to go home. She says no way, I’m killing her. Hound gives a daddy-daughter talk about revenge. “Don’t do it, you’ll end up looking like me. Come with me and you’ll die.” He walks off, and Arya tells him thanks. Some teenagers DO listen!
Dust falls everywhere as The Mountain and his gang walk Cersei out. Whoops, falling rocks! Everybody is crushed besides Cersei, Mountain, and Qyburn. Hound walks up! “Your grace.” Damn, that whole speech to Arya was bullshit, he just wanted revenge himself! He quickly dispatches three guards.
OH SHIT IT’S MOUNTAIN VS. THE HOUND!
Cersei asks him to stay by her side and he’s like “Nah.” Qyburn tries to intervene and gets tossed to his death. Bye, dude. Cersei exits. Hound charges, but can’t do much but knock off his helmet. He looks like Darth Vader with the helmet off, nice nod to the past, GOT.
Cersei is all by herself now, with the kingdom crashing down around her. Jaime stumbles in, all bloody. “Hey, I killed your boyfriend!” They hug.
“You lost your kingdom. I’m good.”
Rocks are still falling. Guys, get outside.
Mountain and Hound are still scrapping. Hound sticks his whole sword in him, but it doesn’t seem to do much. Mountain slaps him down the stairs then pulls out the sword. His shirt comes off too, revealing his rippage. Things don’t look good for the Hound.
Arya walks past the wreckage, everybody is dusty and wounded or dead. Brutal. Dae, what have you done? She gets run down by a bunch of people trying to escape. Hound is getting his ass kicked, Arya can somehow tell. She’s gotta save Dad! A woman picks Arya up and she runs off. Now everybody’s running while Hound keeps getting brutalized. Jeez, his brother’s banging him against a wall and choking him. Hound stabs and stabs but nothing.
“Fucking die!” Best line ever. Hound laughs.
Oh no, not the eyes! This dude loves that move. YEAH! Stabbed in the head. Whoa, he pulls that one out too. Hound is so frustrated he tackles Mountain off the side of the castle and they fall into the fire together. Man, Hound went out tough!
Jon, Davos, and hundreds of screaming villagers look at the wreckage. “Fall back!” says Jon. A little late, man. Everybody’s cooked.
Arya’s on the ground bloody, dusty, but pretty much okay. What a morning it’s been! Mondays, am I right? She coughs from breathing in all the ashes of dead people. A tower falls on more people, because of course. Some people huddle under what cover is left. You guys gotta get up, she tells them. Yeah guys, everything’s falling down. Go go go. She leads them out into the sun where Dothrakis are just chopping at people randomly. Whoops, maybe a lousy plan. Why is the dragon still roasting everybody? Doesn’t she want anyone left to be ruled over? Arya tries to save a mother and daughter but they get cooked like the rest. Oof.
Jaime is literally going by the plan, the only one to stick to it. He and Cersei are making a run for it. Oops, the exit collapsed from the dragoning. Cersei says she wants their baby to live, that she doesn’t want to die. Jaime tells her to look him in the eye and that nothing else matters but them. That’s some royal sister-brother-lover privilege right there! The walls are falling and they’re crushed. Ok!
Back to Arya. She’s a mess, like King’s Landing. Everything’s burning or made of ash. “All the roasted people….. where do they all come from/All the roasted people…. where do they all belong?” There’s a lone horse that’s somehow okay. I shall dub thee White Horse, the Unburnt! Arya walks up to it to see if it’s a ghost horse. It’s gotta be, right? Nope, she takes the bridle. He’s real. She pets his flank, gets on, and they ride off.
Next episode will be nothing but Dae and Jon arguing.
“The bells rang! They surrendered!! WHY did you burn EVERYBODY?”
“I TOLD you I never HEARD any BELLS, JON!”
See you then, Dragon Pals!