Game of Thrones Season 3, Episode 8 – “Second Sons”
Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Starring: Mark Addy, Alfie Allen, Emilia Clarke, James Cosmo, Liam Cunningham, Charles Dance, Stephen Dillane, Peter Dinklage, Natalie Dormer, Michelle Fairley, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Gillen, Jack Gleeson, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Conleth Hill, Ciarán Hinds, Carice van Houten, Sibel Kekilli, Harry Lloyd, Richard Madden, Patrick Malahide, Rory McCann, Sophie Turner, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, and Issac Hempstead-Wright
Air Date: May 19, 2013
I was not impressed with “Second Sons.”
There’s normally a point each season that I reach with Game of Thrones, where one of the later episodes in the season becomes just too predictable or flat out boring. The latter certainly isn’t the case, as there are plenty of individually strong moments throughout the episode, but the sum of the parts doesn’t work to something I’m excited about. Which is sad, all things considered, because the strong parts in this episode are good. So let’s start with the good.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) wedding comes a bit earlier than I had certainly excepted, providing a nice insight into the newfound hell both of these characters will have moving forward. Their reactions are typical of their characters, but the strongest moment comes from Tyrion’s forceful reaction to Joffrey’s (Jack Gleeson) taunting. We’ve seen these two clash before, but never in a manner this tense or heated. There’s a growing division within House Lannister and the rift continues to be forced opened by Tyrion’s desperation to change the place he’s in. But this wedding seals his (and Sansa’s) fates. The two are intertwined, and as Tyrion rightly states, his watch has now begun.
After what I’m going to assume was a lot of sitting and brooding in a chair, Stannis’ (Stephen Dillane) storyline is sparked to life by the arrival of Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie). Knowing how well things turned out the last time Stannis involved any of his bloodline in schemes for domination of the Iron Throne, I had a feeling things wouldn’t pan out well for my favorite blacksmith bastard. However, Gendry’s fate is left largely unknown by the episode’s conclusion, but that doesn’t mean he hadn’t undergone any pain (those leeches – yikes). However, the one plot of Stannis’ story that kept me invested over all others, was his sudden reversal on Davos (Liam Cunningham). While it’s nice to have the Onion Knight back in the proceedings, I have a feeling his faith to Stannis, Melisandre, and the Lord of Light’s higher calling won’t last much longer.
Outside of those two character interactions, the rest of the episode followed a rather predicable series of set-ups and conclusions. Dany’s (Emilia Clarke) story became the main offender of this problem. Her entire plot with the Second Sons played out exactly how I had anticipated, with Dany gaining a new force in the exact, specific manner I assumed would happen while watching the episode. This feeling is similar to guessing the entire movie, based off a trailer: it’s nice to know you were right in your assumptions, but that often doesn’t play well in one’s overall enjoyment of the presented material.
I know we’re getting closer to the end and there have to be various pieces set into motion, but that doesn’t mean that can’t be done in a more compelling manner and “Second Sons” just didn’t land with me the way I had anticipated. I’m hoping next week’s episode proves me wrong and makes me take the events of this week’s episode into a larger (and more appreciative) context.
– The episode’s final moments provide a nice bit of heroics and redemption from Sam (John Bradley). And while the catalyst (and setting) for Sam’s sudden machismo played out in an interesting fashion, the result of that scene wasn’t shocking in any capacity.
– A couple of nice, snarky Cersei (Lena Headey) moments, which are always appreciated and have been rather absent from this third season.
– Davos trying to read? A fantastic moment for the character and certainly a lot of fun to watch.