1. "Probably my second favorite 2020 show after Watchmen" In response to Reply # 0 Thu Nov-05-20 02:01 PM by Nodima
Granted, I haven't seen any of the other prestige stuff from HBO this year, but with Fargo just kinda being another season of Fargo I can't think of anything else I'd put up there with these two. Here's what I said over in GD
Been watching out for the star, Anya Taylor-Joy, since I caught her in The VVitch when I finally saw that last year. Or I should say I've wanted to, but I haven't seen Emma. yet (edit: I've now seen about 30 minutes of Emma. and the performances are great but I didn't have the patience for what that movie was) and most of the other stuff she's been in just isn't up my alley. She kills this thing, and then there's a couple of fun young character actors in here as well - the kid who played Jojen in Game of Thrones and Harry Melling - as well as Marielle Heller who directed Diary of a Teenage Girl and the Mr. Rogers movie but looks like she's been in front of the camera forever.
There is a lot of tropey bullshit at the front and back half of the show, in particular there's a downward spiral in the 6th episode that feels totally dissonant from the patient pace the first half of the show has, but even that's kind of fun in its own silly way. Plus it wouldn't be a movie/show set in the 60s starring an orphaned white girl if she didn't have a magical black friend to help her get back on track (to the point, she actually has a line of dialogue that points out that's NOT what she's doing while she's doing it).
But you get your Mad Men style set design, some real cool Rocky-but-it's-chess montages (if you play chess, it's almost worth watching just to see chess on screen look like chess in real life - Gary Kasparov designed a lot of the games' plots himself), a lot of interesting stuff between a pretty but socially inept girl figuring out what power she has in a world that's not prepared for her physically or mentally...but sometimes not for the typical reasons (!) and it's super brisk. First show I watched in a single sitting (while playing some video games and stuff, sure) in a long while and I'd totally recommend it with, again, a small caveat that it's got 80% prestige and 20% cheese but that cheese is some heavy, goat's milk-ass cheese.
2. "It was fun. ***spoilers***" In response to Reply # 0
I don't think it provided any insight into women moving through a male dominated social circle though....played like a Mad Men episode at times, but the lead chewed up the scenery and gave us a young Audrey Hepburn type IT girl vibe.
Jolene explaining that she wasn't the magical negro while being THE epitome of a magical negro was a hoot.
3. "RE: The Queen's Gambit (2020, Netflix)" In response to Reply # 0
>Has anyone else watched it yet? > >It was an easy watch (7 episodes) and the performances were >great particularly Anna Taylor-Joy. > >They were even able to make watching people stare at a >chessboard and each other riveting at times.
I really got into it and don’t regret watching it.
6. "I was not supposed to enjoy a show about a little white girl playing che..." In response to Reply # 0 Fri Nov-13-20 11:07 AM by Buddy_Gilapagos
As much as I did. The show is really really good. I skipped the movie so many times based on the scene netflix kept forcing me to watch when I started the app. Only watched it because a brother I trusted raved about it on Facebook.
I was trying to explain to my wife why its such compelling television and its all visual story-telling, compelling acting and characterization, layered over a Disney movie theme.
You just got to watch it to see it.
********** "Everyone has a plan until you punch them in the face. Then they don't have a plan anymore." (c) Mike Tyson
8. "Went in with zero expectations, and loved it" In response to Reply # 0
Small quibbles aside, and a few pacing issues on the back end, it was extremely well written, acted, staged, and directed. Who expected a coming of age story while playing chess in a Mad Men universe would be a hit?
Everybody here acted their asses off. Didn't see Split or anything else Anya Taylor-Joy has been in but she's definitely on my radar from here on out. The way her facial mannerisms and walk changed as the years went on were so well done. The set design as the years went on was fantastic. Netflix definitely put some money in this one. And the chess matches were all very well done and shot.
<-- Dave Thomas knows what's up... __________________________
Jay: Look here homie, any nigga can get a hit record. This here is about respect. Game: Like Gladys Knight. Jay: Aretha Franklin. Game: Word, I like her too. Jay: Nigga...
9. "Just finished last night" In response to Reply # 0
and enjoyed it like everyone else.
What stood out to me about the show was the pacing. I think the pacing was brilliant, it was a good slow burn.
It was slow at times but in a way that kept you engaged. It was steady, and confident -- so even when it ends and you don't know much about the future... you're just like okay thats fine because everything was done so confidently.
--- "though time has passed, im still the future" (c) black thought
14. "Did every episode feel like 2 combined in 1?" In response to Reply # 0
After about 3 episodes I told my girlfriend "it seems like we're covering a lot of ground, but I don't feel rushed." Each episode outside of the debut/pilot, seemed like it had two major storylines. Almost to the point where it could have been a stand alone episode at 25 minutes. Not a knock, just something I noticed.
18. "I thought that was what they were implying..." In response to Reply # 17
>for a minute I was thinking the russians brought the model in >to throw Elizabeth off her game, it just all seemed a little >too convenient.
She was introduced as having been hanging around Benny who was the current US champion. Keep in mind the KGB had been watching Beth and getting intel on her. The model girl didn't know where'd she be from week to week, then randomly showed up in Paris when Beth as there and about to play the Russian dude, and then completely threw Beth off her game getting her back drinking and keeping her out late. On top of that before the final match the photographer dude showed up and even joked that the Russians pushed through his media credentials so he could throw her off.
They didn't implicitly state it or show it with the model, and it's complicated with the fact that the actual Russian chess players were so gracious when Beth won in the end. But I'm pretty sure that model was supposed to have been planted by the KGB/Russian government.
20. "if the model was planted does that make the character/storyline " In response to Reply # 18 Fri Jan-15-21 02:45 PM by 3xKrazy
better or worse?
I'm not even really sure. either way it seemed extra dumb. perhaps if the dialogue was better I could've gotten on board with it. but the snotty french model bemoaning the 'insipidness' of models...I'm like, ya I've seen this before. and showing up the night before the match begging elizabeth to come down and get trashed. this was just too easy.
my assumption was that the model wasn't planted because as you said they never made it clear that she was and never reintegrated her into the story.
also, the model was introduced through those other foreign chess dudes (maybe in the 60's it was common for chess nerds to roll with french models??) who helped elizabeth defeat borgov in the end. which isn't to say that the KGB couldn't have still recruited her...but it just made the whole angle extra fuzzy.
21. "Her dialogue was cheesy because she was someone hired to play " In response to Reply # 20
the role of a model. Was she an actual model? I don't know - but whether she was or not she was hired by the KGB/Russian government to play the role of a model into chess players getting information on them and conveniently throwing them off their game if possible. That's why her dialogue was clunky and a bit obvious. Beth had a weakness for her in that she was into fashion and a bit envious of the glamour of being a model. She fell for it, and lost that match.
>but the snotty french model bemoaning the >'insipidness' of models...I'm like, ya I've seen this before. >and showing up the night before the match begging elizabeth to >come down and get trashed. this was just too easy.
>my assumption was that the model wasn't planted because as you >said they never made it clear that she was and never >reintegrated her into the story.
They could have added a scene to make it clear cut that Cleo was a plant, but again I took the photographer's mention how his credentials were expedited as enough confirmation. Cleo's role for the Russians was over by that point, so no need for her to show up again to make what happened explicitly clear. Also remember that Beth told Cleo that the photographer was the only person she'd loved - which would be how the Russians found out about him and pushed through his credentials.
>also, the model was introduced through those other foreign >chess dudes (maybe in the 60's it was common for chess nerds >to roll with french models??) who helped elizabeth defeat >borgov in the end. which isn't to say that the KGB couldn't >have still recruited her...but it just made the whole angle >extra fuzzy.
She had already been recruited by the KGB before she started hanging with Benny. He was the US champ, and they were using her to get intel on the American chess players. Again - that elevator scene where they were talking about the intel they had on Beth (they called her a drunk) made it clear that they were getting intel - and a spy/plant like Cleo was exactly how.
At the end of the day it wasn't super important to the plot because the actual Russian players were gracious. But it showed that not only was she up against Borgov, and the other Russian players who worked as a team on strategy, but the actual Russian government itself was doing shady stuff to ensure their players won. They showed it in a much more subtle way than Rocky IV, but it's the same idea.
22. "elizabeth's addictions were pretty out in the open" In response to Reply # 21
and existed long before the model came into the picture on that one random night at benny's apartment. I don't think the KGB needed a mole on the inside to figure out that beth was addicted to booze and pills.
what you're saying could all certainly be true but I'm not sure if it's as matter of fact as you paint it...unless the show creators came out and gave interviews confirming this?
like you said, all in all a pretty small plot point but this in conjunction with the downward spiral stuff was not a high point of the show.
23. "True. I just feel like something like this was something small to give " In response to Reply # 22
the plot a bit of depth. I think it's good for a show to have some elements not explicitly stated to leave it up to debate. Going back to your original thought about it feeling "jarring" because of how the rest of the show was handled - I think that's a sign that you aren't supposed to take it at face value.
I just Googled to see if anyone else was talking about it - in this article they lay out the argument better than me:
The Queen's Gambit: How The Russians Sabotaged Elizabeth in Paris
When Elizabeth faced Vasily Borgov in Paris, she blew her chance to beat the chess Grandmaster — because the Russians set her up to fail.
The second time protagonist Elizabeth faces off against chess Grandmaster Vasily Borgov in The Queen's Gambit she loses, but her failure is not entirely her fault: the Russians set her up. The Netflix drama series is a sleeper hit that has received universal praise for its strong acting, tight storyline, and gorgeous aesthetics. The Queen's Gambit is a character-driven story focused on the growth of its protagonist. Her final attempt to defeat Borgov is the show's climax, which is bolstered by the two previous failures. From a narrative perspective, it was necessary for Beth to falter, but in the story itself, the second loss was avoidable — and is likely the direct result of Soviet interference.
The Queen's Gambit follows the rise of chess prodigy Elizabeth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy). Harmon is orphaned at a young age when her mother kills herself after Beth's father abandons them. Beth learns chess from the janitor at her orphanage, Mr. Shaibel, who teaches her the game's rules and etiquette. He is impressed by her natural talents for the game, and encourages her to pursue the sport competitively. As a teenager, she begins competing in local tournaments for the prize money, and quickly it becomes the focus of her life.
From an early age, Beth expresses an ambitious spirit. Despite the incredible adversity she faces in the male-dominated sport, Beth perseveres, winning tournament after tournament. The Queen's Gambit is inspired by true events, and by all accounts, is an accurate representation of the culture, especially at that time period. One of the subplots subtly fuelling tensions in the chess world is the dominance of the USSR in the world of chess, and the anti-Soviet sentiments among many American characters due to the Cold War. While The Queen's Gambit resists the temptation to portray the Russians, even the KGB (the Soviet Union's secret police force at the time), as two-dimensional villains, there are hints that the Russians would go to any length to maintain their dominance in the world of chess: including sabotaging Beth by sending her temptation in the form of Cleo the night before her big match against Borgov.
While The Queen's Gambit never comes out and explicitly reveals that Cleo was sent by the Russians, there are a number of hints that she was acting on their behalf — either as a "honeypot" agent of sorts, or simply as a convenient tool that they used to their advantage. Cleo's introduction in the Netflix drama series is suspicious — she appears open, but actually reveals very little about herself, and shows an aptitude for getting information out of others. Why she is in New York when she claims to live Paris, France is never answered in a satisfying manner — and when she does show up in Paris, it coincidentally is the night before Beth's big match. She insists that Beth meet with her then and there, implying that this is Beth's only chance to be with her. When Beth agrees, Cleo plies her with alcohol, encourages her to go flirt with men, and is shown in Beth's bed the next morning (with the room showing all the hallmarks of a wild night). Hungover, frantic, and off her game, Beth doesn't stand a chance against Borgov.
Before her Paris match against Borgov in The Queen's Gambit, Beth faced him in Mexico City; prior to the game, she overheard the KGB talking about her to Borgov in the elevator, demonstrating that they had done research on her and didn't consider her a threat (commenting that she's jet-lagged and a substance-abuser). When Beth appears in Paris to compete, she makes a point to say she's not jet-lagged, and even speaks in Russian as a way to tip off Borgov's ever-present KGB guards that she heard — and understood — them in that previous encounter. Borgov is noticeably shook by her comments. After she maintains sobriety throughout the tournament, the Russians (probably unbeknownst to Borgov) send her temptation in the form of Cleo because she's proven to be a threat — and Borgov's Grandmaster status is at stake if she can best him. While the Russians aren't villains in the Netflix show, they are an obstacle Beth needs to overcome — and are thus actively working against her.
While the Cleo theory is largely circumstantial, there is one piece of evidence that indicates she was involved with the KGB. While Cleo and Beth are at the bar together, Cleo asks her if she's ever been in love. Beth admits her unrequited feelings for Townes, a homosexual reporter she met at her first tournament. Beth had never admitted these feelings to anyone before (at least not the specifics), nor had her and Townes seen each other, let alone been seen together, in years — yet, he was at her match in Moscow, Russia on a work Visa. The characters even joke that he was sent to throw her off her game — but at this point in her character development, she's grown, and is not so easily sabotaged. While it's possible that Townes being at the tournament is a plot hole or contrivance, it's much more likely that the show's writer's were hinting that Cleo passed on that information, confirming that she was working for the KGB.
In the end of The Queen's Gambit, Beth learns that Russia is not the enemy her American security detail would have her believe. While the KGB may have been working against her, the overall attitude in Russia is friendly: the players all treat Beth with respect, and she becomes a beloved figure among Russian women, who flock for her autograph following each day of the tournament. The message of The Queen's Gambit is one of community: while Beth had ample reasons to distrust, or even hate, the Russians — especially after she was set up in Paris — she chooses instead to see them as her people. In the final moments of the Netflix miniseries, Beth rejects a political event to go join some Russian citizens for a friendly match of chess. It's a beautiful moment that brings the protagonist's story full circle, but more importantly, it's a strong message about tearing down barriers and finding common ground.