Game of Thrones Episode 2 was marked by seemingly meaningful interactions between the various characters, which is now finally beginning to see some payoff. I say some, because there were a few scenes that came across as padding time and unnecessary. On top of that, Episode 5, A Nest of Vipers, was the first and only so far where the decisions of some characters make very little sense, less so if you are familiar with some of them through the show or books. With all of that said, Episode 5 does do a great job of setting up the final episode.
Gared Tuttle's storyline (Spoilers for his storyline in A Nest of Vipers below), which contains the most unique elements of any in Telltale's Game of Thrones, is also the biggest one that felt filler-y and made little sense this episode. A Nest of Vipers is spent convincing Cotter's sister, Sylvi, to take the group to the North Grove. She is both unwilling to let Gared in on what she knows about the North Grove or take the group there.
She hints that something terrible happened to the last group that decided to search for the North Grove, and that her plan was to go meet Mance and head south. She is dead set on this, and Cotter is of no help because he tells Gared he will go wherever Sylvi goes, so he is unwilling to try to convince her as well.
Sylvi gives no hints that she is even considering going to the North Grove, but by the end of the episode, guess where the group is going? Not south.
Telltale has a good premise for the story in Gared trying to convince Sylvi to take them to where she thinks the North Grove is. That would have allowed for some interesting development on her part, as well as offer an opportunity to drop hints at what actually may be there. However, none of that happens, and what leads to the decision to head to the North Grove feels incredibly contrived.
Basically, Gared and Sylvi are getting to know one another a little better when wights start to attack. Eventually, they get overwhelmed and where do they decide to run for? The North Grove.
It just made very little sense at all considering how adamant Sylvi had been—not including her obvious hatred for Crows. Especially since she mentioned an out on where they could go for protection, her original destination, to meet Mance. Why run for the North Grove, where she had been thoroughly unconvinced of going, instead of toward Mance?
So, Gared's storyline in A Nest of Vipers didn't have a lot of meaningful interaction in it. There was nothing in the story that really pushed the group towards the North Grove. It felt as though Telltale were in a bind on where Gared was and thought of something to get the group towards the North Grove.
I don't want to give more of the story away than I have already, but something fairly similar happens with Mira Forrester and Cersei Lannister. Cersei makes a decision to have Mira do something that makes little to no sense. Basically, Cersei has Mira lie for her in what is the most obvious attempt at lying ever. However, the ramifications of Mira's actions are yet to be seen, so maybe in the end it will make sense.
Those ramifications are yet to be seen in all of the storylines, too. With all that is going on—Gared looking for the North Grove, Mira looking for allies, Asha trying to bring an army ...—we have to know that some of that hopelessness that has defined the Forresters so far will shine through. The question is, which ones will fail and which will succeed?
Another question is, just how long does Telltale plan on Episode 6 being? Is Gared going to reach the North Grove and somehow get south of the wall in that time to be there for the final clash with the Whitehills? Does Mira obtain help for her family and how does it get to her family? Will the Whitehills and Forresters clash and what will be the outcome? There is just so much to resolve and the average of near two hours an episode doesn't seem sufficient.
One also has to wonder just how many more unexpected moments are in the future because A Nest of Vipers increased the tension quite a bit. There are always a few surprises every episode, but Episode 5 had more than usual, including the most difficult decision yet at the very end of the episode. Though, what led to that end was also a bit forced.
Telltale's Game of Thrones story is finally coming into its own in A Nest of Vipers, distancing itself from the samey-ness of the earlier episodes. Stories are starting to have payoffs, tension is building to a big climax, and there are still a lot of mysteries to be solved and threads to finish. Telltale, as they have done every time in the past, have created a lot of potential for a pretty spectacular ending.
Hopefully the Forresters aren't too crushed; they do deserve to win a little bit sometime.
What have you thought of Telltale's attempt at Game of Thrones so far? How do you think certain storylines are going to end?
A Nest of Vipers has some shortcomings but is an overall solid episode, leaving behind a good amount of potential for what should be a climactic ending.(Review Policy)