Game of Thrones 3.08 "Second Sons" ReviewA tv review article by: Dylan Garsee, Nick Hanover
3.08 "Second Sons
Nick Hanover: Let's start backwards this week, Dylan. Because I know Chekhov's Dragonglass has been on your mind since, oh, last season and I wouldn't want to get in the way of you finally getting to point out the obviousness of that plot point.
Dylan Garsee: Here, let me get into character for my Samwell Tarly voice.
*stuffs whole thing of cotton candy in mouth*
"Gilly, this magical blade thing I found, I don't know what it does. Except it may protect us from the crow summoning evil Craig T. Nelson-looking ghost zombie."
"Oh snap, it did protect us from the crow summoning evil Craig T. Nelson-looking ghost zombie!"
Nick: I was just glad that it was in fact a White Walker and not the murderous gang of grackles that resides in my back yard. I thought maybe they had used their magic to insert themselves into our Game of Thrones watch party.
Dylan: They're attracted to the copious amounts of Lone Star and pumpkin spice cake.
Nick: Most people already know it's the National Beer of Texas, but what they don't know is that it's also the Beer Beyond the Wall.
As much as I enjoyed watching Sam actually do something, I was a little disappointed in how convenient that development was. There was only one White Walker? It only took one hit? And in the shoulder no less? Why didn't the crows interfere like the grackles do when the squirrels try to do literally anything in the yard?
Dylan: I think the fact that you're asking questions about logic in this universe has unveiled the true issue of this season so far: it has been so poorly paced that we as viewers have removed ourselves from the world of the show and are now acting as passive viewers. Before, every week I would look forward to spending an hour in Westeros and Essos. Now, I'm merely *watching* Game of Thrones.
Nick: That's a good point. The pacing of this season and the way the show has doled out information in such a vague fashion has made the seams far more visible. Luckily, this episode was a step up from the past few before it, and we were treated to some genuinely great material, specifically the wedding fiasco.
I was so glad to see Peter Dinklage get some room to actually act this time out, and he killed the wedding scene with a perfect mixture of cynical not-give-a-fuck-itude and genuine sadness at the whole situation.
Dylan: That was such a heartbreaking series of events, from Tyrion and Sansa's wedding preparation, to their actual nuptials, and even the reception were felt so uncomfortable but not awkward. Nobody wanted to be there, and it could have been shot very humorously, especially Joff taking the stool away.
For some reason, I got a whole "Amadeus" vibe from the scenes in King's Landing. Not story wise, just atmospherically.
Nick: Yeah, I can see that, it was very claustrophobic and maddening, especially in the way it illustrated how privilege and elitism can be a different kind of imprisonment.
But seeing Tyrion lose his temper and stand up to his horrible nephew also served as a reminder that King's Landing may lack the threat of invading forces at the moment, but the situation in the royal chambers is tense enough to make it certain that it will soon be exploding. Cersei's threat towards Margaery, Joffrey and Tyrion's bickering, Tywin's threats to everyone-- this is a recipe for disaster.
It also reminded us how important Jaime was to that balance within the Lannister clan.
Dylan: Just another reason why Jaime is the coolest mother fucker in all of Westeros.
Speaking of incestuous blonde twins, were you as excited for the return of Cersei in "drunk cranky aunt" mode?
Because I sure as hell was.
Nick: If by excited you meant did I hope Loras would shove her off the balcony, then yes.
Dylan: But really, who is the more interesting character? Gay-ass Loras, or Head Bitch in Charge Cersei?
Sorry, I didn't go to Tuezgayz last night, I need to get my gay out somehow.
Nick: She'd be especially interesting falling off of a large building.
Nick: On that subject, though, Cersei is clearly going down. She's hemorrhaging power and she has managed to piss off literally everyone in her family, including her own son. Her new husband, who at least tried to be cordial towards her, is her last chance at some kind of power since he clearly has no interest in ruling anything, and yet she can't stop herself from being awful to him, too. The people of King's Landing would love to rip her to shreds and Joffrey is so out of her control it wouldn't surprise me if he's hoping to get to introduce her to his crossbow at some point. Cersei needs to figure out how to put the charm back on, or she's going to be at rock bottom soon.
Dylan: She is never going to change, no matter how much shit happens to her.
But besides the two most interesting things to happen in this episode, I'm having a very difficult time remember what else happened in this episode.
Oh wait, there was that horribly disgusting Melisandre/Gendry sex scene.
And I find it disgusting simply because of one small blink-and-you-miss-it motion Melisandre did during it.
She, let's say readjusted himself in herself.
And for some reason, that was the grossest thing in the entire world to me.
Nick: Welcome to Dylan's Heterosexual Nightmares, Westeros Edition
Dylan: I mean, like I understand that action andimayhavedoneitmyselfafewtimeshereandtherewhat.
But it's something I never think about seeing on TV.
Nick: The Melisandre/Gendry stuff was all kinds of bizarre. I had a hard time believing she was going to straight up kill him, since that doesn't seem to be her style. But I have an equally hard time believing leeches can somehow be the meet-in-the-middle compromise for sacrificing him. Honestly, though, the rules for Melisandre and her religion appear to change so frequently that I don't know that it's worth it to dwell on it too much.
And hey, at least Davos is back, after a hooked on phonics session or two.
Dylan: I love that he figured out the word "enough". For someone who has never been able to read, that's a difficult word!
Nick: Is it me or does everything involving Stannis feel extremely ramshackle and thrown together at this point?
Dylan: It's very much "oh yeah, we have like 6 characters we forgot about. Let's make a story real quick."
Nick: We ostensibly got an important reveal with the Gendry plot, which is that shadow babbies or something similar may be heading for the various kings in play, but it was mostly vague and awkward and after, I couldn't say whether I had received actual information.
Dylan: Pardon me, Ser Gendry, but The Lord of Light requires I tie you up like the slut you are.
Nick: Weirdly, Daenerys' plot continues to move along nicely, in complete contrast to how season two went for her. Her mercenary problem now seems to be dealt with, thanks to the handsomer, non-misogynist lieutenant Daario, who beheaded his co-leaders in order to curry Daenerys' favor since she's beautiful and he likes beauty, or something.
Dylan: Okay, so Daario has that same problem that Taylor Kitch from Friday Night Lights has in that he has a giant potato head and greasy hair, yet we're supposed to find him attractive.
I say NAY!
Nick: Says the man coveting the not-Against Me! bassist crow.
Dylan: HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL SHUT UP!
Nick: Regardless of his attractiveness, Daario is an intriguing character, who is clearly a skilled warrior but whose loyalty remains in question. He's not too dissimilar from Jaqen H'ghar from last season. And I imagine he'll soon be a major thorn in both of Daenerys' current advisers' sides.
Dylan: Since they said Daario Naharis' name ninety times during the episode, you can make damn sure that he will be an important character.
Nick: I'm worried that Daenerys is going to be undone by infighting, because as cool as it is that she's gaining members in her army as she goes, they all have different motives, most of which conflict, and they are all vying for her attention at the potential cost of her purpose.
Dylan: But I feel she's so charismatic with both her charm and her three bloodthirsty dragons that any issue can be quickly resolved.
Nick: On a personal level, sure. But out in battle? That could get real ugly real quick.
Dylan: It's still pretty difficult to kill dragons.
Nick: True, but not too difficult to get close enough to kill Daenerys herself apparently, as Daario ably proved in this episode.
Dylan: Please don't kill Daenerys. She's the only character I don't hate, besides Brienne and Arya.
Nick: Speaking of Arya, her scenes with the Hound were fun to watch, even though they also felt mostly unnecessary. The acting sold it, though, as Maisie Williams and Rory McCann have a unique kind of chemistry. Sandor Clegane has long been a tragic character in the series, hated because of his monstrous looks and the fact that his brother IS a monster, and while it's easy to see why Arya wants him dead, it's equally easy to sympathize with him.
Dylan: Their relationship in the book is so intriguing, so I'm happy to see more of them on screen. But I really can't want to see the Mountain.
Nick: I hope that Hound gets his redemptive moment, because he seems to be more deserving of a second chance than Jaime. Not that I haven't enjoyed Jaime's turnaround, or anything, but the Hound honestly does seem to be the kind of guy who is perpetually stuck on the wrong side and as he told Arya, he's now said Fuck it, and I'd like to see him get some kind of peace.
Dylan: That's what this show does great: every character can be redeemed or hated in an instant.
Nick: I honestly don't know that there's much else to talk about, which is kind of disconcerting. I didn't hate this episode, but the more I think back on it, the more I realize how thin it was.
Dylan: Just like this season.
STEP UP YO GAME, GAME OF THRONES!
I'm giving this episode a 3.5, and I'm guessing you are too.
Nick: Yeah, it'd probably be more exciting for everyone if we disagreed more, but if nothing else, Game of Thrones is consistent in the reactions it provokes in people.
Dylan:That's a little worrisome.
Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is studying sociology, and when he's not winning trivia nights at pork-themed restaurants, writing a collection of essays on the gay perspective in geek culture. An avid record collector, Dylan can mostly be seen at Waterloo Records, holding that one God Speed You! Black Emperor record he can't afford and crying. You can follow him on twitter @garseed.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he's the last of the secret agents and he's your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Comics Bulletin, where he reigns as the co-managing editor, or at Panel Panopticon, which he started as a joke and now takes semi-seriously. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd rants about his potentially psychopathic roommate on twitter @Nick_Hanover and explore the world of his musical alter ego at Fitness and Pontypool.