The best “Game of Thrones” season five finale recaps and reviews

But seriously: Valar morghulis. (Spoilers below.)

Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones” season finale was one for the ages, and in the HBO drama’s grand tradition of killing its darlings, not everyone made it out alive. Since we know that you’re spending all morning reading the litany of recaps, reviews and thinkpieces that have emerged online, we thought we would do you a solid and round up the best of the web’s Westerosi offerings.

(Photo courtesy of HBO)
(Photo courtesy of HBO)

Enjoy, white walkers.

8 ways Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover changes the conversation about transgender issues

WESTWOOD, CA - JUNE 01: A photo editor views the July cover of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner on June 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner is an Olympic athlete who came out publicly as transgender in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA – JUNE 01: A photo editor views the July cover of Vanity Fair featuring Caitlyn Jenner on June 1, 2015 in Westwood, California. Formerly known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner is an Olympic athlete who came out publicly as transgender in a televised interview with Diane Sawyer. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, unveiled her new identity Monday with the release of her anticipated Vanity Fair cover. This is Jenner’s latest public step following her interview with Diane Sawyer in late April where she revealed, “For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.”

This new move has the potential to further open up public conversation regarding transgender individuals. Jenner said in a video for Vanity Fair, “I hope with my honesty, I can make it easier for somebody else down the line.”

• The release of Jenner’s new name has led to confusion and concern on how to address Jenner and other transgender people. GLAAD has responded to the cover release by providing a tip sheet for transgender terminology. While originally intended to help journalists in their reporting, the list serves as a solid set of guidelines no matter what your profession is.

•  There’s also a friendly little bot on Twitter called @she_not_he who has been, “politely correcting Twitter users who misgender Caitlyn Jenner in their tweets.”

After Vanity Fair tweeted their July cover, Jenner made her first tweet from her new Twitter account, @Caitlyn_Jenner. Jenner later broke the Guinness world record for fastest to reach 1 million followers on Twitter, coming in at just under four hours and beating previous record-holder Barack Obama.

•  Obama tweeted in response to Jenner’s first tweet on Monday, “It takes courage to share your story,” and asked others to share theirs at the Organizing for Action website.

•  Celebrity reaction has been largely supportive of Jenner, with many stars tweeting and Instagramming their support on Monday.

•  Laverne Cox, transgender activist and one of the stars of the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” penned a short essay on her Tumblr page celebrating Jenner’s transition while imploring the public to celebrate non-famous transgender individuals who don’t or can’t conform to typical beauty standards.

• Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover comes a little over a year after Cox’s landmark Time cover was released. Titled “The Transgender Tipping Point,” the story kick-started a national conversation about transitioning and cemented Cox’s status as a pioneer in bringing transgender individuals to the mainstream.

• Jenner’s cover issue will hit newsstands on June 9. In July, her reality television series is set to premier. The show will be produced by many of the same executives as “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and it promises to not focus on ratings, but rather to tell Jenner’s story the way she wants it to be told.

To read more about Jenner’s public transition, click here.

‘Mad Men’ finale: Read all the reviews

It’s the morning after the season finale of acclaimed and beloved television drama “Mad Men.” That means it’s time to read every review and recap on the Internet for the very last time.

(Justina Mintz/AMC via AP)
(Justina Mintz/AMC via AP)

Well, not every review. But a lot of them. Get to reading about the fates of Don, Peggy, Joan, Pete, Roger, Sally, Betty and the rest, and after you’ve studied up, replay the Statesman’s live chat about the finale with culture writer Joe Gross, online editor Courtney Sebesta, features editor Sharon Chapman and myself.

How to keep the Don Draper lifestyle alive after the ‘Mad Men’ finale

Don Draper is dead. Long live Don Draper.

That’s not a spoiler for the series finale of AMC’s “Mad Men,” airing Sunday. It’s a fact of life, because after the ragged remnants of Sterling Cooper & Partners gulps their last gimlets, it’s the end of Draper’s televised irresponsibility, debauchery and feats of charisma. But much like Joseph Gordon Levitt at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises,” someone must carry on the torch for our departed hero. Be the Peggy Olson you wish to see in the world.

(Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)
(Photo by Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

Here are seven ways you can keep the Draper lifestyle alive after Jon Hamm shelves his Brylcreem for the last time. Minus the compulsive adultery. And the child neglect, and the identity theft. And … almost everything except for the cosmetic stuff.

  1. Catch a movie in the middle of the workday: New York’s favorite creative director is famous for his frequent escapist jaunts to the movie theater for a little “Casino Royale” or “Godzilla.” You are responsible for the consequences, of course, but why not look up some showtimes and check out of the office early today? We hear “Mad Max: Fury Road” is great, but “Pitch Perfect 2” is also an option. If you’d rather bask in a silver screen classic that Don himself might have played hooky for, check out the Paramount Theater’s summer movie schedule.
  2. Find your favorite bar to get an Old Fashioned: It’s Draper’s drink of choice, after all. Perhaps your poison will be the Bonneville’s peach and ginger version of the classic cocktail; the League has a more traditional version to wet your whistle. Or, as Don often does, you could mix your own. Try this torched citrus spin, or a smoky Oaxacan recipe featuring mezcal. (Also, check out this list of “Mad Men”-inspired cocktails.)
  3. Have a career-stalling breakdown during a meeting: You can console yourself with a Hershey bar. We recommend the ones with almonds.
  4. Head west: As any “Mad Men” fan worth their salt knows, Sally and Bobby’s dad likes to disappear to California for extended stretches of time with no warning. While Don favors Los Angeles, here’s a couple other Golden State options: Anaheim’s Disneyland (where you might want to propose to your secretary, like Don did) or San Francisco (which, come to think of it, might not be too Draperesque of a destination).
  5. Dress sharp: With the show’s plot transitioning into the 1970s during the final season, you’re apt to find a box of skinny ties on clearance somewhere.
  6. Change the conversation: There’s no better way to do it than with a well-emailed GIF.
  7. Check into a hotel for the day: But maybe not for, y’know, the reasons Don might. How about a midday nap after your trip to the movies? There’s a new JW Marriott downtown.


Amy Schumer sketch takes on rape through ‘Friday Night Lights’ parody

Not one to shy away from sensitive material, this week comedian Amy Schumer made a statement about rape by parodying one of Texas’ most famous television shows.

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival

The sketch is called “Football Town Lights” and plays off of “Friday Night Lights” and its iconic small-town football story, down to the show’s score and some of its first season plot points.

The sketch was included in Schumer’s Monday premiere of the third season of her show, “Inside Amy Schumer.” At a Sunday panel for her show at the Tribeca Film Festival, Schumer acknowledged that talking about rape in a comedy context “is always a risk.”

WARNING: The sketch contains mature themes. Viewer discretion is advised.

Watch: ‘Orange Is the New Black’ season 3 trailer is here

(screenshot via Netflix/YouTube)
(screenshot via Netflix/YouTube)

Piper is back and Red is back and Taystee is back and Poussey is back and you guys Alex Vause is back. Or, as she’s referred to in the trailer for season three of Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black,” the “Bettie Page of Litchfield.”

Mark your calendar for June 12, when your binge-watching habits will take a sharp up-tick. In the meantime, watch the trailer, which features new faces, new hairdos and quotes aplenty.

[h/t Mashable]

The beginning of the end: Best ‘Mad Men’ reads from around the web

Each year, AMC’s “Mad Men” provokes some of the best television criticism there is as the internet tries to break down the show’s many subtle style notes and troubled characters. As the show sets out on the last leg of its final season, even more have chimed in, offering their take on the television show’s significance and lasting legacy. To help you catch up, we’ve gathered some of the most thoughtful and most entertaining reads from around the web.

Beware, for spoilers are ahead.

(Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)
(Photo: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC)

• “Mad Men” is often praised for its clever use of music (see “10 ‘Mad Men’ Musical Moments That Will Take You On An Emotional Roller Coaster”). The centerpiece for many of today’s episode recaps of last night’s premiere is the use of Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” By underscoring Don’s increasingly empty life at the episode’s beginning and end, the melancholy song may have laid more groundwork for the rest of the season than the largely action-lacking episode.

• Today, Matthew Weiner explained more of the premiere — including the decision to bring back Rachel Menken — in an interview with Vulture. He did not, however, give any clues as to what any of the other characters (Megan? Michael Ginsberg? Peggy’s baby?! ) may be up to this season. Betty and Sally were also lacking from the episode, probably because their mother-daughter arguments would have fallen flat in the face of the epic feud between Joan and Peggy.

• “Mad Men” is also an ode to ’60s pop culture, which the New York Times took the time to illustrate last week in an artifact-by-artifact interactive. Last night’s jump to the 1970s jolted many and prompted a declaration by GQ of the “Mad Men Mustache Wars.” Others continue to track the show its fashion moments and the receding hairlines of some of the characters (cough, Pete Campbell, cough).

• Executive producer and nine-time director Scott Hornbacher has already alluded to a controversial ending. But let’s be honest — with so many critics, a hotly debated finale is inevitable.

The ‘Pretty Little Liars’ season finale: Everything you need to know

So wait, “A” is who? That’s right, guys: The ABC Family teen thriller “Pretty Little Liars” wrapped up its fifth season with plenty of shock, intrigue and one big reveal that surely left a few orthodontics-enhanced jaws on the floor. Here’s everything you need to know to catch up on the episode that’s taken over Austin’s trending topics on Twitter.

Lucy Hale, Sasha Pieterse, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, and Troian Bellisario attend the 'Pretty Little Liars' season finale screening at Ziegfeld Theater on March 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Lucy Hale, Sasha Pieterse, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, and Troian Bellisario attend the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ season finale screening at Ziegfeld Theater on March 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
  •  The biggest talker? “A,” the mysterious figure plaguing the series’ heroines, was revealed as (SPOILER AHEAD) Charles DiLaurentis. The problem is … no one knows who that is. Read more about the big unveiling, as well as the six most shocking moments from the episode.
  • “Pretty Little Liars” the TV show is based on a book series of the same name. But guess what: Even author Sara Shepard was in the dark about the revelation of “A’s” identity.
  • It looks like the show is pulling a “Parks and Recreation.” When the season six starts, the “Pretty Little Liars” storyline will jump ahead four years in time. Seems like a wasted opportunity to delve into some murderous collegiate shenanigans with Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer.
  • Enraged about the season finale? You’re not the only one. Fans took to Twitter to vent their outrage toward the producers, with many threatening that they won’t keep watching the show.
  • If this “Pretty Little Liars”-induced emotional roller coaster feels familiar, you’re not alone. BuzzFeed knows the “20 questions you’ve asked yourself while watching ‘Pretty Little Liars.'”