‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Recap

April 22, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
TV, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

A bunch of strong character moments helps to liven up another table-setting episode of Game of Thrones, as the true threat finally arrives on the doorstep.

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3.5

Summary

A bunch of strong character moments helps to liven up another table-setting episode of Game of Thrones, as the true threat finally arrives on the doorstep.

This Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 recap contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.


Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), having dragged his evidently massive balls through the gates of Winterfell, begins this episode stood before a who’s who of major Game of Thrones players, spearheaded by Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Oh, and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), for some reason, since we’re clearly continuing the trend of plonking him in a corner so he can mumble some meaningful call-backs to (very) early episodes.

Naturally, he’s mistrusted by everybody – everybody, that is, except Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), his long-time unlikely compatriot, who is quick to leap to his defense. He lost his hand to stop her getting raped, he sent her out looking for Sansa, and so on, and so forth; it’s enough to convince Sansa, although one gets the sense that her decision is partly rooted in trying to childishly one-up Dany, who predictably wants his head.

Jaime’s settling into Winterfell, at least. He has a brief chat with Bran by the Weirwood tree, one in which he apologizes for something that in the previous scene he explicitly said he wouldn’t apologize for, and which is loaded with “this is the final season” menace courtesy of everyone’s favorite armchair soothsayer. He also shares a moment with his long-suffering brother, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who is in Dany’s bad books since, contrary to his and her assurances, Cersei (Lena Headey) isn’t sending her armies north for support, but has instead enlisted hordes of the Golden Company and Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) magical teleporting armada to seize whatever the Night King (Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik) and his White Walkers leave behind that’s worth ruling. It’s nice to see the brothers getting on a bit, even if Jaime can’t quite help from gazing wistfully at Brienne from the ramparts, eventually volunteering to serve under her command, if she’ll have him (of course she will!).

Elsewhere, Dany is fuming at Tyrion’s apparent incompetence, but Jorah (Iain Glen), Westeros’s senior expert at being everyone’s second-best, manages to talk her around. And while you’re at it, your grace, why not have a natter with Sansa and try and patch things up there? A good idea from Jorah, one that seems to be going quite well; they bond over their mutual strong womanhood and love of Jon, but it all turns a bit sour when the North comes up. What’s going to happen after the dead are defeated and Dany sits on the Iron Throne? Luckily they’re interrupted by the arrival of Theon (Alfie Allen), having presumably fast-traveled across the continent to arrive in such record time, who wants to tearfully pledge himself to Winterfell’s seemingly hopeless cause. Dany, bless her, has never seen such solidarity among subject peoples. Is this what ruling is all about? We’ll make a queen of her yet.

If the montage didn’t give it away, a battle is coming. A big one. Swole, skinhead Gendry (Joe Dempsie) has been making dragonglass weapons and flirting with Arya (Maisie Williams); Davos “Up the ‘Toon” Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is handing out gruel and talking reluctant recruits into taking up arms. And in the war room, Jon is outlining a fittingly risky plan. Since the Night King’s armies are virtually unbeatable, the only chance our heroes have of victory is if they take him out personally. And to do that, they need to use Bran as bait, since the Night King wants to erase this world and the Three-Eyed Raven is “its memory”.

This episode treats us to a bunch of small, character-focused scenes that I rather appreciated, even if some admittedly felt like the show dutifully reminding us that certain minor characters do indeed still exist so that their inevitable deaths are a bit more impactful. But the scenes involving a fireside teambuilding session with Jaime, Tyrion, Davos, Brienne, Podrick (Daniel Portman) and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) is a treasure trove of small character moments, including the story of how Tormund got his name (and his brief thoughts on gender equality), and the long overdue knighting of Lady Brienne of Tarth.

And then the moment we’ve all been waiting for – two of them, in fact. First, Jon tells Dany about his parentage, and she takes it as expected; she immediately sees him as a threat to the throne. Neither of them has seen fit to be suitably appalled by the revelation that they’re blood relatives who have been having sex. But at least we didn’t have to sit on that info for half the season, which I must admit I was a little worried about.

Anyway, the second thing. As the episode closes, the Night King’s armies arrive.

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