I am compelled to write a quick post on tonight’s Game of Thrones episode, “Second Sons,” as something about it felt off. In fact, I cannot think of a single episode in all three seasons as lackluster as this. What was it? Was it the lack of Jamie Lannister, of the Starks? Not necessarily — “Blackwater” had none of those and proved a GoT episode can excel even when focusing on a single storyline. Perhaps it was the new sets? The banquet room was new, Melissandre’s room was new (?), and the camera angles all seemed new, as well.
Is Dany in her powerful, comfortable role — growing stale? And what’s up with this new Rico Suave “Captain” dude named Dario? Cheesy! Way too much ‘Menudo.’ Oh, and Ser Jorah won’t be too pleased.
If last week’s theme was animals, this week’s theme was all “second sons” and sons, hence the title: Yes, that’s the name of the troops Dany encounters but it applies to many other aspects of the episode, as well:
The Hound as a second son, discussing his big brother Gregor;
Tyrion’s plight as the ‘second son’, both literally and figuratively, in so many ways. Btw: anyone catch a SLIGHT hint of fondness — dare it be true?! — in Tywin towards Tyrion this episode? When the crowd chuckles as Tyrion struggles to cloak Sansa, it is Tywin who silences them with a simple look, and it is Tywin who steps in to ameliorate the clash between Tyrion and Joffrey. Sure, sure — those are all things he would’ve done — the first ‘because no one laughs at a Lannister’ and the second ‘because obviously it isn’t a good idea for Tyrion and Joffrey to get into a possibly fatal altercation. Still, call a me softie, I think there was more there…
Gendry the bastard son (will Stannis, having never had sons of his own, feel a certain fatherliness over his newly-discovered nephew?);
Melissandre and her use of Gendry’s blood — is she using it to create yet another shadow-figure ‘son’ as she did previously?
the Onion Knight discussing the loss of his own son;
and so on and so on…
Best scene of the episode: tie between The Hound and Arya on horseback vs Cersei cutting Margarey down to size with that story about the “second-wealthiest” family (talkin’ to you, Tyrells!) who were taught a fatal lesson by Tywin (also, there’s that ‘second’ theme popping up again). Slight bone to pick: no need for Cersei to clarify with Margarey that the Tyrells are the second-wealthiest family in the Seven Kingdoms. That seemed like a very deliberate, cheap insertion by the writers: “Hey, viewers: Just a reminder so you know this story Cersei is about to tell regarding the second-wealthiest family is a threat!” C’mon — Game of Thrones viewers are smarter than that. We already knew, if only from Grandmother Olana’s remarks. Don’t dumb it down.
Best line of the episode:
TYRION: “I threw up on a girl once, mid-act—I’m not proud of it.”
Honorable mention: CERSEI, cutting off Loras: “No one cares what your father once told you.” I love it when Cersei goes into her I’ve-had-one-too-many belligerent modes.
The star of this episode: SANSA. How far she has come since her days at Winterfell! She personified elegance and grace — a truly wholesome, innocent young woman now who is gritting her teeth and making the best of the awful circumstances that have befallen her. If someone stole the show this episode, it was Sansa.
Overall episode rating (and this is compared to other GoT episodes): 2 out of 5. It was so ’bleh’ that, by the time cringe-inducing Samwell popped up on my screen, I simply uttered ‘figures.’ Not even the white-walker could save the episode for me.
Here’s to a better episode next week!