Following in the precedent left by HBO’s adaption, the penultimate episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones is one concerned with delivering big payoffs that change the landscape of the series in a significant way. However, A Nest of Vipers is an episode that really bends over backwards to make these payoffs happen and, as a result, isn’t always as satisfying as it wants to be.
Part of this problem lies in the lineup of guest stars. In fact, it’s probably the most cameo-driven installment of the series yet with Tyrion, Cersei, Ramsay and Daenarys all returning to help accelerate the plot. These guest spots aren’t necessarily bad but with the exception of the duality between Cersei and Tyrion that Mira’s plotline explores, their appearance feels like a bit of a retread. Just like Iron from Ice, Ramsay Snow blows into Rodrik’s plotline like an act of god – leaving a trail of bodies in his wake – and just like in Sons of Winter, Asher has to appeal his cause to Daenarys’ better nature. These aren’t bad encounters, but their impact is undermined by the similarity to the series’ earlier efforts.
Speaking of the exiled prince, Asher’s exploits make up the bulk of the episode. There are some big choices to make and new environments to explore here that made it the most memorable element of the episode for me. Though, Telltale’s engine doesn’t do a great job of representing the size of the forces he’s recruiting to to bring back to Westeros.
As mentioned before, Mira’s plotline is also a highlight. What it lacks in narrative punch it makes up for in its effective use of Tyrion and Cersei as foils to Mira’s growing proficiency in the political arena of King’s Landing. It’ll be very interesting to see where the final episode of the series leaves her.
Disappointingly, it’s the core plotline that suffers the most. Rodrik’s scenes this episode feature some of the most compelling revelations, decisions and betrayals but their impact feels diminished by the shortcuts the episode takes to make them work.
If Telltale’s Game of Thrones series has been all about capturing the thrill of the TV show, A Nest of Vipers checks all the right boxes. There’s some difficult choices, great action beats and plenty of solemn declarations of family values. While some of these developments are dragged down by narrative-shortcuts, it still looks to be a big shift for the remaining pieces on the board.