Game of Thrones: 407 “Mockingbird” Review
Reviewed by Thomas Firth.
I’ve never liked episode seven of Game of Thrones as much as the other episodes. The best was probably “You Win or You Die” back in Season One, but even that seemed poor for this show’s standard. Perhaps because the episode is a branch from the early effervescence of the first half of the season to the predictably violent and gut-wrenching ending. I may be wrong, but this episode is probably my least favourite of the season so far. It’s oddly reminiscent of the early Thrones style of throwing a lot of scenes into the mix just to show us where the show’s heading and hope we like it. The foreshadowing that was promised has neglected to appear so far – I just hope it’s at least on the horizon. The only example that can be considered ‘epic’ is The Lion and the Rose. The formulaic approach of episode five (First of His Name) placed it in front of the others too. Mockingbird did provide some striking moments, but it’s quite clear that more internal stories (those being told by the characters) are constantly being recycled or, at best, slightly expanded.
The real importance of the episode was to link nicely with last week’s cliffhanger. Tyrion’s fate will now be decided by the gods, but who will be his champion? During the episode, he was greeted by three visitors, and only one held the honour of being a champion. Jaime is reluctant due to his loss of skill, and the probable fact that either Cersei or Tywin will be against his involvement. Ser Bronn, now getting married, is also reluctant due to the probability of his survival. He’s known for his dishonourable tactic of allowing his opponent to grow tired and then strike. It finally comes down to the unexpected arrival of Oberyn Martell, who is willing to be champion in order to have revenge on the Mountain for raping and murdering Ellia Martell, his sister. This follows a very poignant story recital from the Dornish knight, which is probably the best scene of this week’s episode. The time when Oberyn realised that Tyrion was not a ‘monster’ as he had been described, but a slightly ‘different’ baby.
Daenerys had a new experience in Meereen this week, with Daario paying her a surprise visit through the window. We don’t actually witness the goings on, but we can probably guess the content of their evening after realising that Daario had only left her quarters the following morning. The interesting twist, however, comes from Ser Jorah Mormont, who succeeds, for the very first time, to change the Khaleesi’s mind. He takes a page from his own past to persuade Daenerys to be merciful towards the Yunkai masters when Daario leads the Second Sons there.
It was a nice touch to reintroduce Hot Pie into the series, who gives Brienne and Podrick a new lead to find Sansa. Podrick is naturally worried about revealing the mission that they’ve been given by Jaime, but Hot Pie later tells them about his time with Arya and hands them a wolf-shaped loaf of bread, similar (but more expertly-crafted) to the one he’d made in Season Three. It’s pleasing to see that lines might be crossing soon, with Arya heading East towards the Eyrie where Sansa is and Brienne and Pod not far behind.
This week’s cliffhanger was no doubt shocking and notably cruel. Lysa has been a dangerous ‘friend’ for Sansa, but this time the Stark girl makes the mistake of slapping Robyn following an argument over her snow-built Winterfell. We viewers maybe surprised to realise that her only trustworthy ally in the Eyrie is Lord Baelish, even though he has deprived her of a mass of secrets. What really tips Lysa over the edge, however, is Baelish kissing Sansa. It’s an unpleasant thing to watch, and it’s hard not to think that he’s just using her as a conception of the only woman he ever loved: Catelyn. Swiftly, and without regret, Baelish throws Lysa through the moon door, callously ending her life. It’s ironic that Robyn’s obsession with moon doors leads to his mother’s death. This was typically gratifying for those who enjoy seeing main or recurring characters meet their end. But what does this mean for Lord Baelish?
Elsewhere, I found a more problematic side to the episode. Arya’s story is becoming a little bland and it seems one minute she hates the Hound and the next she’s treating him as a long-time friend. Their relationship may be progressing, but it’s hard to tell where exactly it’s going. Someone might have thought her killing another of her enemies (Rorge) would be enjoyable, but, to be honest, it was anticlimactic. Perhaps this is supposed to be a style similar to Daario Naharis‘ quick victory over the Meereen’s champion. One swipe and they’re dead. Also, the story of the Hound’s deformity comes into conversation once again, which is a bit frustrating, considering the fact that we’ve heard it a few times before.
Dragonstone was the most pointless scene, probably, of the season so far, with another dragging conversation between Selyse and Melisandre. Baratheon’s paranoia is that she will be thrown away be her husband because she is worthless compared to the Red Priestess, but as always, Melisandre underlines the fact that she is important. There’s no reason why she could be important, except for being a wife for Stannis. In addition, Melisandre going through her store of potions is negligible and ultimately, this storyline has a lack of direction. It seemed out of place in the episode and was almost trying to remind us that Melisandre was still there, just not doing anything. When utilising characters, it is important to have a reason for them being there – a point I have perhaps contradicted in the past.
I feel bias giving the episode an equal score to last week’s, but the final two scenes made up for the uneven script writing. I hope Game of Thrones will kick-off again with a sensational episode in two week’s but you can never be certain. It’s primarily important that the show takes a risk once in a while, before it can improve. Until then, it’s just another average day in Westeros.
P.S. As there is a short hiatus until The Mountain and the Viper, I’ve decided to write a recap of the first seven episodes of the season, detailing on what has changed since the end of Season Three in terms of the story, next week. Until the next episode, it’s probably best to go back to HBO Go and Sky Go to rewatch this season just to refresh your memories – I know I will.