Game of Thrones “Mockingbird” Review

by Matthew Thompson (Images-HBO. The Game of Thrones site can be found here)

My clear favorite aspect of “Mockingbird” was the three visits that Tyrion received in his cell this week. I remember commenting a few weeks back that Tyrion probably wouldn’t have much to do between the wedding and upcoming trial other than some guests he’d be seeing while imprisoned, but Game of Thrones has made the most of these visits. I guess it isn’t very surprising. Tyrion has been the strongest part of the season and arguably the show as a whole to this point. And while Game of Thrones most memorable moments have come in the form of shocking deaths (Ned’s, the Red Wedding) and surprising action sequences (Tyrion’s wildfire trap in the Battle of Blackwater, Dany freeing the slaves in Astapor), placing two of the show’s brilliant characters in a room for an extended bit of conversation can deliver just as great of a scene as those flashier ones.

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“If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.” -Tyrion says before Oberyn disagrees in the absolute coolest way possible.

Of course, Tyrion’s visits this week are all about him finding his champion for his upcoming Trial by Combat. His first two guests are probably the most likely candidates. Jaime knows he can’t win a fight as he is still getting to grips with his life as a lefty. And Bronn decides it is not worth the risk. But what it leads to is a much more exciting proposition. Jaime reveals that Gregor “The Mountain that Rides” Clegane will be Cersei’s champion which makes Tyrion’s final visitor, Oberyn Martell, the perfect man to oppose him. While Oberyn came here for the wedding and stayed to judge the trial and sit on the small council, it has been no secret he has had revenge on his mind. The Mountain and Tywin seemed to top his hitlist and he will go against them both in this duel, The Mountain literally and Tywin more figuratively.

Peter Dinklage was spectacular in the scene as he finally sees some hope in his dire situation, but I also can’t say enough good things about Pedro Pascal’s work here as Oberyn Martell. I may sound like a broken record at this point, but he has exceeded my expectations as the fiery Dornish Prince and this week’s powerful scene with Tyrion is just another feather in his cap. Over the past couple of years when other one-on-one fights have occured, I have alluded to one down the road that I was anticipating even more and now it is almost here. I can only hope that the show can do justice to one of my favorite moments in the series when it returns in a couple of weeks.

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The quiet moments of Sansa building a miniature version of her childhood home of Winterfell act as a nice contrast to the wild events that follow.

There was also some strong material in the Eyrie. It begins on a low-key note with Sansa building a snow castle version of Winterfell. I wish that particular part was given a bit more time to breathe. It is a serene moment before shit really hits the fan with Sansa slapping little Robin, Littlefinger kissing Sansa, and then a jealous Lysa confronting her before Petyr comes in and throws her out the Moondoor. I also kind of wish they would have waited to reveal her and Petyr’s hand in poisoning Jon Arryn until this moment like in the book. It was a chapter that really left my head spinning, but that seems like a small gripe on what was a fairly well-done sequence overall. Sansa has jumped from one bad situation to another, so it should be interesting to see what happens with her going forward.

The rest of the time this episode was spent scattered around a number of storylines. Arya and the Hound come upon a man and relieve him of his suffering. Arya also gets to kill Rorge after he and Biter attack Westeros’ favorite odd couple. The Hound later tells Arya where his fear of fire comes from which along with a rather silly scene with the Mountain reminds viewers that he isn’t the nicest of guys with his part in the Trial by Combat so close on the horizon. I enjoyed Pod and Brienne’s scenes this week as well where they meet up with Hotpie and he gives them a badass piece of Direwolf bread and tells them that Arya could very likely still be alive. It was good to see Hotpie again and both of these odd pairings continue to be a fun way to spend a few minutes each episode.

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“They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.” -Dany states in Essos’ greatest dress.

The other three storylines touched on here didn’t do a lot for me. Jon and company return to the Wall where he is ordered to lock up Ghost, presumably because Alliser Thorne knows the limitations of GoT’s CG budget, and tries to convince the leaders at Castle Black to seal up the tunnel to no avail. It feels like we have been in a holding pattern up North most of this season waiting for the looming battle. Dany’s scenes came off a bit goofy to me. She sends Daario off to clean up the mess in Yunkai after they finally relieve all of that sexual tension. Jorah shows up just in time to become a little more depressed by his status as the Daenerys’ best of friends, but does impart some much-needed advice that will help things go over more smoothly in Yunkai hopefully. Finally there was a short scene involving Melisandre and Selyse which helped the show to meet its weekly quota of nudity and give us the idea that Mel has some kind of plans in store for Shireen.

A few more things:

  • Scene of the Week: Tyrion and Oberyn’s obviously. These two have been amazing this season wherever they pop up. Putting them together? Even better.
  • So we are on the third actor playing Gregor Clegane. I still think the original (Conan Stevens) was probably the best. His look fit better as the Hound’s brother and he looked a bit more menacing than the newest version. The new guy is huge though which I think makes him an improvement over the second Mountain who was a bit too skinny.
  • “Ummm… you were saying?” Brienne with the burn on Pod.
  • Missing in Action this Week: Just loads of people. Like Yara who is presumably somewhere hoping she can paddle faster than dogs can swim. And Tywin who we actually missed because he is always fantastic.

Season 4 continues to roll along with big events seeming to come every week now, something that should continue throughout the rest of the season. A week off for Memorial Day means a little longer until the next episode, but hopefully it is worth the wait!

What did you think of “Mockingbird”? Is this who you expected to be in the Trial by Combat? How do you think it will play out? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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8 comments on “Game of Thrones “Mockingbird” Review

  1. I’m not too surprised that Oberyn’s fighting for Tyrion here. Once you know that the mountain will be the opponent, it becomes clear enough. Though if it was someone else he was fighting I wouldn’t see it coming (and it wouldn’t make nearly as much sense anyway.)

    Despite this show’s reputation of killing off major characters I’d be surprised if Oberyn lost. Introduce an awesome character only to have him killed by a generic baddie before you even get to know him? Nah. Though I can’t see Oberyn being welcome in King’s Landing after this, so that should be interesting.

    I think my favorite scene was actually the meeting between Tyrion and Bronn.

    • Oh yeah, and I liked seeing the crazy lady fly. And the implied gruesome death when she hits the ground. Good riddance!

      • I guess you are right. Once they mentioned The Mountain, Oberyn became the obvious opponent. I still think there was some mystery going into this episode though. Well unless you looked at 8’s episode title. That kind of gave it away! The Tyrion/Bronn scene was definitely a winner too. I also thought Bronn looked rather silly… haha.

  2. I liked the Sansa segment. Glad that crazy woman is dead. And finally Sansa has someone looking out for her. What happened to Arya and Sansa’s Dire wolves? I think Ned killed one of them (Sansa’s?). I want to know what the other one is up to. Also we never hear from the littlest stark and his wolf since they split from his brother. I kind of wish they would just show the people who don’t have scenes. Kind of like a transition where we just see Tywin in his office or Arya around a fire before going to another location where we have a full scene. Since we have a week off I’m going to rewatch the whole season. Look for some of the stuff I missed. Only three more to go.

    • Yeah, Lady (Sansa’s direwolf is dead) and Nymeria (Arya’s direwolf) is still presumably out and about in Westeros somewhere. She had shooed it off with rocks. It was sad 😦 I hope they meet up again some time.

      Maybe they gave Rickon and Osha the season off. Might have been a way to cut back on costs, but they’d come back next year? I am not sure though. Can’t wait for next week!

      • Oh. The kid who plays Rickon got injured in a soccer match was wheelchair bound for last half of 2013 (probably around shooting schedule) Don’t know how he’s doing now. Maybe they will re-cast but that explains why he hasn’t been seen since.

  3. Some really good moments in the episode, my favorite is Oberyn championing Tyrion. Tryion gets the best scenes … all from his jail cell. I heard somewhere that for the actor playing Oberyn, this is the first scene he shot, pretty cool if that’s true. I liked the comedic undertone of Brienne, Pod and Hot Pie’s scene, the actress did a good yet subtle job with her lines. I feel the same way that the reveal of poisoning Jon Arryn would have been better in this episode. I liked the first Mountain actor the best but anyway the new guy is a beast, I hope the trial be combat doesn’t disappoint.

    • That is cool about Oberyn’s first scene. That is a heck of a scene to start with. He has been so wonderful in the role. I know we have both been looking forward to this trial! Hopefully it delivers!

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